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How Much of Your B2B Lead Generation Budget is Spent on Outsourced Telemarketing?

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Telemarketing Budget

Have you ever read something that was completely contrary to your own experience with the subject, causing you to doubt its accuracy?

That’s what happened to me when I read Aberdeen Group’s recent report, B2B TeleServices: The 2008 Buyer’s Guide.

As a consultant who specializes in B2B sales leads, I’m frequently asked by clients to help them select outsourced telemarketing companies, and to implement or improve their outsourced telemarketing lead generation, follow-up and qualification programs. So I was looking forward to reading Aberdeen’s report, thinking it would be a useful resource.

However, I quickly turned from an eager reader to true skeptic as I read some of the findings and conclusions of the report.

For example, the report stated that the companies included in Aberdeen’s study were spending an average of 33 percent of their total lead generation budget on B2B teleservices. And those companies which Aberdeen determined were “best in class” were spending an average of 44 percent.

Based on my own, first-hand experience working on B2B sales lead programs for dozens of leading companies–large, mid-sized and small–these percentages seemed way too high.

So, to check my sanity, I informally polled a number of other industry experts. This included a few CEOs of B2B call centers, a handful B2B marketers who outsource their telemarketing for lead generation, follow up and qualification, and a few other consultants who work in and around B2B telemarketing. I asked them to read the report and let me know if they thought about those particular numbers.

What were the results of my small, informal poll?

While some of the numbers in the report appeared to be more realistic, 100 percent of those I polled agreed that Aberdeen’s percentage of lead generation budget numbers were way too high.

The B2B telemarketing company CEOs wished that their clients actually were actually spending 33 percent to 44 percent of their lead generation budgets on outsourced teleservices. Instead, they reported that their clients are spending far less.

In the opinion of fellow consultant and friend, Michael A. Brown, the Business to Business By Phone® expert, “The Aberdeen numbers (about the percentage of lead generation budgets spent on outsourced teleservices) can’t be correct. They just don’t ring true.”

The sampling of B2B marketers I polled, all users of outsourced telemarketing services as part of their lead generation, follow-up and qualification programs, said that the budget percentage numbers reported by Aberdeen were significantly higher than their own spending.

Michael Brown polled a few of his own clients too. They told him that they believe that the average B2B lead generation budget percentages for outsourced teleservices should be less than half those reported by Aberdeen.

Although my own small, informal poll isn’t statistically valid, perhaps the sampling of companies that Aberdeen studied wasn’t truly representative either. Or perhaps those surveyed by Aberdeen exaggerated their spending. Who knows?

Regardless, I’m sad to say that my skepticism of the high lead generation budget percentage numbers reported by Aberdeen causes me to question all the other numbers in their buyer’s guide as well.

How about you?

What percentage of your B2B lead generation budget is allocated for outsourced teleservices?


Hi Mac,
I think you bring up an interesting point.

As a demand generation vendor who had some involvement in the Aberdeen study I wonder if the results were skewed based on vendors like me encouraging my best/highest usage customers participate in the study? Curious on your thoughts?


Mac, I’m happy to discuss my data with you at your convenience. Of particular focus should be what constitutes “statistically valid.”

Best regards,
Peter Ostrow



I suspect that encouraging the best/highest usage customers to participate in the study DID bias the results.

As a result I think the research results in the Aberdeen buyers guide probably do apply to the best/highest usage customers of outsourced teleservices, but they are not representative of the average B2B marketer using outsourced teleservices.




Please do share your thoughts on what is statistically valid.

Don’t statistically valid samples need to be both large enough AND representative of the group being reported on?

Will’s comments (above) lead me to believe that the sample of companies participating in the research were not truely representative of the group (B2B marketers who use outsourced lead generation teleservices), even if the sample group was large enough.



Actually, Mac, the participation of vendor customers represents about 5% of the overall survey respondent total; the remainder come from the Aberdeen Customer Management community of 75,000 opted-in marketing and sales practitioners.



Thanks for commenting. It is a year late, but as some people say “better late than never.”

I guess it depends on how the survey question was asked, and what your participants classified as being included in their “lead generation budget.”

If their “lead generation budget” excluded marketing tactics and media, such as email, tradeshows or advertising, that are usually designed to boost brand awareness AND to generate leads, and only included funding for tactics and campaigns that have no other purpose than to generate leads, then your findings may be correct.

But if campaigns, media and tactics that included lead generation as only one of their multiple objectives were counted as part of the lead generation budget, then I believe your numbers are much too large.



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