Steps To Start a Lead Generation Busines

Anyone with the right sales and marketing skills can start a lead generation company to provide a valuable service to businesses that have a proven need.

It doesn’t take much to create a product. You can use proven strategies and you don’t have to invent the wheel to get results.

This guide will cover everything you need to start a lead generation agency or business.

We will cover all aspects of the subject, including:

What is a lead generation company?

How much does it cost to start one?

What software and tools do you need?

How to identify your target customer

Which business model should you use

How to get leads for your clients

You’ll be able to identify the best steps to take to get your business started by the end.

Let’s get started.

What is a lead generation business?

Businesses that want to increase their customer base use lead generation companies to sell qualified leads.

A lead generation business acts as a broker between businesses that use your service and potential customers who match their ideal customer profile.

Lead generation agencies and services are used by business owners who don’t have the time or skill to acquire clients but still need a steady stream of leads every month.

You can create a system that allows you to send qualified leads to established businesses each month. This will allow you to make consistent profits and not even need to call the leads.

There are several popular models that lead gen agencies use, and I’ll discuss them later.

Let’s now take a look at the main reasons to start one.

Why start a lead generation business?1. 1. Easy to Start

Lead generation is a great option if you are interested in starting a business but don’t have a product to sell.

This is a no barrier to entry, because you don’t have to build anything.

You’ll be able to get started quickly if you have experience in sales and marketing.

There is a clear need, as more than half marketers believe that generating sales-ready leads for their business is their greatest challenge.

2. 2.Easily validate your idea and industry

Google is the best place to search for leads that you are selling.

You’ll likely see a list with Google Ads.

This is the validation that you need.

These marketers and business owners are prepared to spend money on qualified traffic to their sites.

You can provide them with leads every month and they will be more than happy to pay for your services or their paid ads.

Your services will need to be packaged and sold in a way that is convenient for your customers. We’ll discuss that later.

What is the cost to start a lead generation agency?

Although there is a cost barrier to starting a lead generation agency, it’s much more affordable than other business models.

You can start a lead generation agency with a website. There are also a few tools that will help you reach out to leads and engage them.

Let’s look at the essential and desirable tools that you should have in the next section.

Useful tools and software for lead generation businesses

Remember that the pricing information we provide is only an estimate. The price of each tool will vary depending on what features and plans you choose.

Domain Name

Cost estimate:$10-20 per annum

It is vital to have a custom domain for your website and business. If you have only a LinkedIn and Facebook account, no one will be interested in doing business with you. A website is not necessary, but it will help you showcase your work.

Google Domains, Namecheap offer two options for domain registrars.

Buy two domains at once when buying your domain. The domain will host your website and the other will be used to send cold emails (more details later).

Email provider

Cost estimate:$5-10 per Month

You will need to have a paid Outlook account or Google account in order to send large numbers of emails.

Outlook’s email delivery is better, however both will work and are better than free accounts.

Make sure you have all the technical details such as DMARC, SPF, and DKIM set up when you create your email account. These details will allow email servers to identify who is sending the emails, so your emails would not end up in the spam folder.


Cost estimate:$49 per Month

We’ll be getting into this more later. But you will need a tool that automates and personalizes your cold outreach.

QuickMail offers all you need to set up email campaigns, import prospects and warm up your email accounts.

It is specifically designed for lead generation agencies and features such as:

Email Warmup System

Multiple team members can use the same inbox

Analytics to determine what is working

All campaigns can be managed from one dashboard

Zapier integrates with the software, so you can send leads to Google Sheets or your clients’ CRM. You can also automate any other tasks that you need to streamline your workflow.

To run automated, personalized outreach campaigns that generate leads for clients, you will need a website, an email address, as well as an email outreach tool.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator

Cost estimateMonthly: $99

LinkedIn is a great tool for finding leads if your clients are B2B companies.

Advanced search features will help you quickly identify leads within your industry. You can also use LinkedIn automation software for connecting and engaging prospects at scale.

If you use LinkedIn frequently, Sales Navigator is essential. Wex’ll show more benefits of using LinkedIn in your lead generation company further down.

Contact Database for B2B

Cost estimate:$100 per month

Apollo, a tool that allows you to find email addresses at large based on firmographic and lead demographic criteria, is a great option.

For example, you can run a search for companies with {{Software company} + {{10 employees}} + {{Chicago}}.|You can search for companies that have + 10 employees + + Chicago.}

These tools will provide you with a list to match your criteria. You can then start reaching out to these companies to find out if they are interested in your services.


Cost estimate:$296 per Month

BuiltWith is a powerful tool for generating leads based upon the technology they use (e.g. Shopify store owners).

You can add the technology that a client should use, and it will show you all websites that use it as well as additional details about other tools in their tech stack.

Although it is expensive, if you can generate qualified leads with it, and get good ROI.


Cost estimate:$80 per Month

Unbounce is a simple-to-use landing-page builder that can help you create pages for your ad campaigns.

To create high-converting landing pages you don’t have to know any programming or design skills. It connects with many CRMs, Zapier and other email marketing platforms.

These tools allow you to run professional inbound campaigns and have access to detailed information about prospects. This will ensure that you are targeting the right prospects and increase your lead generation process.

While there are cheaper landing page builders on platforms such as WordPress, Unbounce is easy to use and can be implemented quickly. It will deliver clear ROI if your visitors are qualified.

Which type of business entity do you need?

You will be reaching out to businesses and handling leads and client information, so it is important to set up a business entity like an LLC.

I strongly discourage you from running lead generation campaigns without an LLC.

You have the option of hiring full-time employees or contractors to assist you in running your business.

To Consider:

You should also consider that cold outreach laws in your locality will apply to you.

It could also include:

CCPA California


CASL Canada

GDPR – European Union

These laws do not prohibit cold outreach to business owners.

They do not allow you to send low-quality emails or direct sales calls to prospects who aren’t interested in your services.

This means that you cannot just grab a list from LinkedIn and then hit Send to send your email campaign.

You can take the time to review your email lists and personalize each email.

Identifying your target audience

The most important step in starting a lead generation business is to identify your customer – that is, the person you are selling leads to.

This impacts everything from your branding to sales tactics to how you generate leads.

These are some factors to consider when choosing your customer type.

1. 1. Location 

Local lead generation is a very popular model.

This means that you will target specific companies in a particular city or region. You might choose to target:

London real estate agents

Software development agencies in Boston

Plumbers in NYC

Your market must be located in a single area. This will make it easy to identify potential customers, but there are downsides.

The benefits of focusing on local lead generation:

There is less competition

It is easy to find potential customers

Access to local resources such as your Chamber of Commerce and local business networks

It is easier to establish relationships with local business owners

Direct Mail can be used

The disadvantages of local lead generation

It is more difficult to scale indefinitely

Markets with a smaller total addressable area

Clients with smaller budgets may be able to afford more

You can also focus your lead generation business in a specific industry.

This will allow you to reach a wider market and, theoretically, have more customers than if your services were limited to local businesses. International companies may have greater budgets than small local businesses and will understand your ROI better than smaller ones.

You might, for example, sell leads to:

Software companies

Design agencies

Financial advisors

Industries-Based Benefits

Still highly specific

Scalability to new markets and countries without having to change your messaging

Customers will all experience similar pain points

There will never be enough leads

The down side of industry-based pricing

It can be difficult to find great-fit leads

Sensitivity to more diluted messages

Average Contract Value/Cost Per Lead

Another way to choose your market is to use the Average Contract Value or industry Cost per Lead.

Industries with higher lead costs could be more profitable as they can charge more to their customers.

A financial advisory firm, or a software development company would probably pay more for leads than a salon.

Ahrefs and Google Keyword Planner are great tools to determine if an industry is highly competitive or high-cost-per-lead.

If we search for the keyword “Hair Salon” in the United States, then we see that the average cost per click (CPC), for search ads, is $2.50.

The CPC for Financial Advisor is $30.00.

How do Lead Generation Businesses Earn Money?

Next, you’ll need to consider how you’re going to make money.

There are several common pricing models for lead generation businesses. Let’s take a look at them.

Option 1: Monthly Retainer

A popular model is the flat fee retainer model.

It’s a simple strategy, and it works by sending companies a set amount of leads every month for a fixed price.

Essentially, you’ll provide a service like ZoomInfo or Apollo, but in a white-label, white-glove style.

After all, business owners don’t want to be filtering through hundreds of thousands of potential leads. They would prefer a set amount, pre-qualified, delivered to them.

Depending on the industry, lead qualification level, the price you can charge will vary.

One consideration when choosing this model is that it can be harder to charge a premium.

As you’re delivering a pre-agreed amount of leads, you’ll risk focusing on quantity over quality. This could result in lower conversion rates for your clients, making them less receptive to continuing with your service.

As well as that, if you deliver a small business owner 300 leads at once, it might be too much for them to handle.

They’ll pay you once, but then cancel, as it’ll take them months to go through the list due to the constraints of their business and team size.

Option 2: Cost Per Lead

Another variation is a Cost Per Lead (CPL) model.

You can usually charge anywhere from $20 to potentially hundreds per lead, depending on your industry and how qualified the lead is.

This method usually takes more work than the flat fee model, and most companies are selling leads on a CPL basis

This is popular for a few reasons.

First, you can use your client’s branding, assuming they’ve agreed to it when you pitched them. Your ads and lead generation strategies can be uniquely targeted to their perfect customer, and won’t be as generic as if you were just dipping into a lead database.

Secondly, it makes selling easy. Your clients will be confident knowing they only pay if the leads you deliver match their ICP.

Third, it’s easy to work out your profit margins. A simple way to work it out is: 

Price Client Buys Leads from You – Cost to Acquire Lead = Profit

There’s also potential for the leads to be higher quality. If you’re using Facebook or Google Ads, the leads entering your sales funnel will be actively looking for help with a problem your customers can help with.

If your ads include a form submission, those form submissions will contain information your client can use to make closing the sale easy for them to close.

Another strategy, which we’ll cover more later on, is to set up websites for your lead gen efforts.

For example, you could set up a website optimized to rank for a query like “Lawyers in Seattle”. The website can have a contact form, with clear instructions to fill it out with relevant details, and a way to get in touch with them. Once your site is ranking, it’ll be bringing in leads on auto-pilot. This is a great strategy, and we’ll cover it more in-depth further down.

There are several variations on the CPL model.

You could charge based on:

Cost per meeting/appointment

Cost per form fill

Exclusivity of leads (i.e., can you sell them to other clients too?)

You’ll be able to charge more for a successful meeting than a form filled, but the upfront cost and sales funnel you use will need to be more advanced.

What Industries Pay The Most For Leads?

As mentioned above, the market you choose will dictate how much you can charge per lead.

There are also other factors affecting how much people will pay for leads. Some of those factors include:

Lead age

Lead engagement level

The information available on the lead (e.g., did the lead provide you with details on budget, purchase intent, etc.)


As a rule of thumb, industries that will pay the most for leads are generally those that will cost you the most to bid on in Google Ads.

The most expensive keywords to bid on, according to Google Ads data, are:

Insurance ($54.91/click)

Loans ($44.28/click)

Mortgage ($47.12/click)

Attorney ($47.07/click)

Credit ($36.06/click)

That said, don’t ignore industries that aren’t on these common lists.

Look for industries with high Customer Lifetime Value (CLV), as a high CLV means companies are more willing to pay higher costs upfront to acquire customers.

Not all industries are big on PPC. For example, enterprise software companies won’t rely purely on ads, as they’ll have a dedicated in-house team of SDRs.

If you can deliver leads worth potentially hundreds of thousands (or more) to companies with high CLV, you’ll be able to charge a high price but still deliver big value to your customers.

Acquisition Channels for Lead Gen Businesses

So, you have an idea about the market you’re in, and how much you can charge for leads. 

But, how will you acquire leads for your customers in the first place?

Let’s take a look at some of the most effective ways to generate leads for your lead gen agency clients.

Cold Email Outreach

If your clients want B2B leads, then cold email is an effective, highly targeted, and powerful way to get in touch with potential leads.

It’s easy to get started with. 

You’ll need a domain for your cold emailing efforts (I’d recommend having a dedicated domain for your cold email – for example, sending emails from when your website is hosted on 

This means if your email address ever gets blacklisted, it won’t affect how your emails to existing clients and contacts are delivered.

To start, create a list of prospects using tools like Sales Navigator. Verify those emails to ensure they’re not going to bounce. You can do this inside QuickMail.

Then, write personalized emails to each one.

You can use an email template for your emails, but you should always add unique personalization to each one

One way to verify if your email is personalized is by asking: “Could I send this email to anyone else?”.

If the answer is yes, it’s not personal enough.

One way to easily personalize emails at scale is by using merge tags. This lets you import a CSV of prospects with a personalization field and automatically add them to your email.

For example, you could have a field called {{first_line}} where you write out a personal first line for each prospect, or include a customized {{PS}} at the end of your email.

A key reason to use cold email software over manually doing everything is that you can automatically follow up without thinking about it.

In QuickMail, you can add another Step to your campaign, and your follow-up will be sent at a predefined interval (e.g., 4 business days after no reply). 

If prospects reply before your follow-up sends, they’ll be paused in your campaign, so there will be no issues with automatic emails being sent to people you’re already talking to.

One of the best parts of cold emailing is that it can be scaled up or down as you need to. Once you build an effective system for personalizing every email and have found email and follow-up templates that generate positive replies, it can run like clockwork.

Finally, if you’re sending cold emails regularly, you’ll always need to ensure your emails are landing in your prospects’ inboxes.

Check out our guide to cold email deliverability here for actionable tips on that.

Cold Calling

Cold calling is an awesome way to generate leads when done well. In fact, 82% of buyers say they have accepted meetings with salespeople after being contacted through a cold call.

You’ll be able to use cold calling to generate leads for your clients, but you can also use it in your own business to reach out to prospective clients.

If you don’t want to spend all day on the phone, an effective way of using cold calling in your lead gen workflow is to call people who don’t reply to your first email.

A simple way to do this is to add a Task to your QuickMail campaigns with a cold call step.

If prospects don’t reply, you can add a task, with details such as a call script, and quickly pick up the phone and call them.

QuickMail has a native integration with Aircall which is a powerful way to manage your cold calling campaigns.

Once you’ve found a basic cold calling script that works, it’ll be a powerful tool in your lead generation system.

Google Ads

If you have a budget, creating highly targeted landing pages with a lead capture form (in exchange for an asset like an eBook or other useful information) then promoting those through Google Ads is an effective way to capture leads.

Using Keyword Planner you can quickly identify valuable keywords to bid on, and get in front of relevant audiences that your clients want to promote to.

Once you’re capturing leads, make sure to send them on to your clients quickly. After all, the longer you wait, the less interested the leads will be.

Facebook Ads

Facebook Ads are a simple and effective way to generate leads. You’ll need to spend money to get started, but once you find a formula that works you can slowly scale it up and have a predictable way to generate leads.

Facebook Ads work well for local lead generation because it’s simple to define your target audience.

You can direct your leads to a landing page, or, use Facebook Lead Ads. Your call-to-action can say “Add your details to get a callback from us”, and anyone needing the services your clients offer will be happy to do so.

However, before spending hundreds on FB ads, find out if they work for your market.

You can use the Facebook Ad Library to see if companies in the industry your targeting are using ads. 

For example, here are the ads Google is currently running:

You’ll be able to see how much engagement different ads get, and how long companies run them for. If they’ve been running them for several months, you can assume they’re delivering ROI, and you can learn from them when implementing your own ads.

You can add your competitor’s Facebook pages to find out what kind of ads they’re using, and which ones are working for them.

However, Facebook Ads aren’t for every lead generation company.

If you’re just getting started, it doesn’t make sense to jump into ads. 

Validate your services using cold email or cold calling, then, when you know people respond to your value proposition, run tests with ads.

They can get expensive quickly, both financially, and in terms of your management time. You’ll need to check spend, performance, continually optimize them, and it’s going to cut into your week.

In addition to that, if your business relies on Facebook and your ad account gets frozen, you’ll have no backup plan and won’t be able to generate enough leads to send your clients.


If you can create a website that ranks well for terms that leads are searching for you can generate qualified leads for your clients with ease.

This is particularly effective if you’re targeting a local area, as you get the opportunity to rank in Google’s local pack.

If you know what you’re doing with SEO, it’s an amazing way to generate local leads. 

Read Also:

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

      Leave a reply

      Web Traffic Talk
      Enable registration in settings - general
      Shopping cart