Outsourced Lead Generation vs. In‑House: Pros and Cons to Consider

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Luckily for you, the days of cold-calling and manually sending emails to contacts from a spreadsheet are a very distant memory, or perhaps a nonexistent one.

But the constant pressure to generate more and better leads is as present as ever.

Lead generation has long been a challenge for companies, tracing back to the era of door-to-door salesmanship, and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

Today’s early-stage startups must continue to tackle the beast of finding relevant potential customers, making them aware of their solution, and of course, achieving the ultimate goal: getting them to purchase it.

Moreover, they must decide how they’re going to navigate that challenge.

Thus comes the big question: to hire in-house lead generation or to utilize outsourced lead generation services

This blog aims to unpack the pros and cons of both, so you walk away equipped with the information you need to make the best business decision.

How Lead Generation is Different Today

Before we begin unpacking the different options, we must first understand in more detail how lead generation has changed over recent years.

Apart from the obvious digital transformation that the world has undergone over the past decade, there are other vital evolutions that startups must keep in mind when deciding how to handle their lead generation tactics.

1. Overcrowded Markets

Firstly, today’s market is highly saturated, with countless startups fighting to dominate each industry. This makes it increasingly challenging for companies to capture the attention of potential leads.

What does that mean? Businesses must adopt more innovative and compelling approaches to stand out amidst the noise. This means unique value propositions, storytelling, and experiential marketing to create memorable engagements.

2. Personalization & Targeting

Advancements in technology and data analytics have empowered businesses to gather detailed insights about their audience, enabling hyper-personalized campaigns and content. Companies that wish to succeed must utilize this data to deliver tailored messages, customized offers, and individualized experiences at each point of the buyer’s journey.

In this same vein, companies have also been adopting niche targeting, which improves lead quality and enhances customer engagement and conversation rates. Ultimately, this drives more meaningful interactions and long-term relationships.

3. Economic Uncertainty

Of course, another very relevant circumstance that must also be taken into account when it comes to lead generation tactics is today’s economic state. Recent years have been marked by economic uncertainties, forcing companies to navigate a landscape of fluctuating markets and tighter budgets.

In response, businesses have had to become more resourceful in their lead generation strategies, focusing on cost-effective approaches that deliver maximum impact. Leveraging technology to automate processes, optimize marketing spend through data-driven decisions, and emphasizing high-ROI initiatives has become imperative. 

4. Focus on Customer Experience

Lastly, the shift to a consumer-centric paradigm bears no exception when it comes to lead generation. Companies that succeed at maximizing lead generation efforts are those who prioritize exceptional customer experiences.

Acquiring leads isn’t just about closing a sale anymore, but rather fostering genuine connections. By putting the customer at the forefront, companies not only attract and retain leads but also benefit from increased advocacy and referrals, ultimately bolstering the impact of their lead-generation efforts.

Modern Lead Generation Tactics

Knowing these impactful factors, let’s discuss what companies need to be doing to capitalize on them.

Of course, like most things in life, there is no one-trick pony that trumps them all, and certainly not when it comes to lead generation for startups.

This is why a fantastic lead generation machine, whether in-house or outsourced, will blend a variety of traditional and digital strategies to fill a company’s pipeline with new leads:

  • Content marketing
    • We’ve all heard the saying: “Content is king.” Churning out organic and paid content is a must for any startup that wants to generate leads. This includes social media content, blog posts, whitepapers, videos…the list goes on.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
    • Optimizing your website and website content can seriously impact your Google search rankings. By targeting specific keywords that are relevant to your product or service, you are feeding that lead generation churn.
  • Email Marketing
    • Part of lead generation is nurturing your existing leads. Email marketing is a fantastic way to bolster your demand generation channels, enticing your contacts with new content and announcements and offering them free trials or demos.
  • Webinars & Events
    • Attending conferences and hosting or collaborating on webinars are great ways to both engage with existing customers and create new leads among your target audience.
  • Creativity
    • This may seem obvious or silly, but a lot of companies forget this one. Instead of using cookie-cutter methods that customers have seen a million times, great lead generation strategies incorporate creativity in order to multiply their impact.

Now that we’ve covered some of today’s most effective lead generation tactics, the question becomes – who do you hire to get the job done?

Outsourcing Lead Generation

Outsourced lead generation involves hiring an external entity or agency to manage and execute demand generation. 

Instead of handling lead generation tasks internally, a company delegates these responsibilities to third-party organizations that specialize in demand generation for startups.

Let’s delve into the benefits and disadvantages of demand generation outsourcing as opposed to hiring an in-house lead generation team.

Benefits of outsourcing lead generation

According to Saleslion, outsourcing lead generation generates 43% better results than in-house lead generation.

Why is that? Let’s discuss the key benefits you receive if you choose to outsource lead generation.

1. Expertise

Agencies specializing in lead generation are composed of lead generation experts who are well-versed in the latest trends and most effective techniques across a variety of industries. This knowledge means higher ROI for your lead gen efforts and spending.

2. Scalability

Agencies can scale and adjust their efforts quickly to meet the changing needs of your business. This flexibility is particularly useful for startups or companies that do business in rapidly evolving industries.

3. More Focus Left for In-House

Demand generation outsourcing allows you to focus on the projects that must be completed in-house rather than spending time on lead generation. This can enhance overall productivity and efficiency.

Disadvantages of outsourcing lead generation

Less Control

Outsourcing demand generation for startups means relinquishing some control over the lead generation process. However, partnering with the right agency will ensure robust and transparent communication, fostering a relationship built on trust.

Industry-Specific Knowledge

A lead generation agency might not have enough expertise in your specific industry. Therefore, when searching for outsourced lead generation services, you must ensure that the agency you choose has experience in your field. 

In-House Lead Generation

The other option is to hire in-house lead generation. Let’s dig into the pros and cons.

Benefits of in-house lead generation


Internal teams already possess an understanding of their company’s unique value proposition, industry nuances, and customer pain points. This familiarity enables a nuanced approach to lead generation.


Being in the same physical location or time zone can facilitate quick and direct communication, fostering great collaboration and coordination. However, some agencies can establish a physical presence in their clients’ offices, which also provides this benefit.

Disadvantages of in-house lead generation

Lack of Expertise

In-house teams may not always have the same level of expertise as specialized agencies when it comes to effective lead generation for startups. Staying updated with the latest lead generation trends can be challenging if it’s not your specialization.

Resource Constraints

In-house teams may face resource constraints, especially during peak periods or unexpected demand spikes. They have more responsibilities than just focusing on lead generation, which can hinder scalability and focus.

Should You Use In-House or Outsourced Lead Generation?

Questions to ask yourself

What is my budget? 

First, consider your budget constraints. To outsource lead generation may have upfront costs, but it could be more cost-effective in the long run compared to the investment required to build an in-house team with the right qualifications.

What is the volume and consistency of leads required?

How much growth do you need? If you’re looking for continuous and high-volume lead generation, outsourcing may offer scalability and flexibility.

How critical is ongoing monitoring and optimization?

Assess the need for continuous monitoring and optimization of demand generation channels and strategies. In-house teams may allow for real-time adjustments if they aren’t too busy with other responsibilities, while an outsourced team has the time to stay focused on growth.

Does my in-house team have the bandwidth to effectively manage lead generation? Do they have the expertise?

Evaluate whether your team possesses the necessary skills and knowledge for effective lead generation. Do they know how to analyze results and adjust accordingly? Do they have proven experience with lead gen in your industry? 

Moreover, will giving them the responsibility to focus on lead gen detract from their other responsibilities? If not, outsourcing to an agency that specializes in lead gen gives you a far greater chance of positive results.

Am I happy with my company’s current lead generation strategy?

If you are searching for new lead gen strategies, that probably means you’re not satisfied with the current state of things. What’s going wrong? What do you think needs to change?

Taking all of these questions and information into account, you’re well-equipped to make the best decision for your startup.

Why CMO-as-a-Service is the Best Fit for Startups

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You have an unwavering vision, you’re resourceful, and you’re not afraid to take risks.

That’s right – you’re a startup.

This also means you have encountered a very common hurdle: deciding how to tackle the complex landscape of marketing strategies.

There is an age-old debate that all startups face when it comes to marketing – the choice between hiring in-house marketing or bringing on a CMO as a service agency. The decision can seem daunting, but you’ve come to the right place for help.

In this blog, we’ll walk you through the pros and cons of both options so that, by the end, you will be equipped to make the best decision for your business.

What is CMO as a Service?

Let’s start with the basics.

If it’s unfamiliar to you, CMO as a service for startups is a model where companies outsource their marketing needs to a team or agency of experienced professionals.

This route is a very different approach from the traditional marketing model, wherein companies hire a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) who is expected to manage all the moving marketing pieces by themselves.

Taking on a CMO agency provides you with strategic marketing leadership and guidance without the long-term commitment associated with a permanent CMO role.

When bringing in an outsourced CMO marketing agency, startups gain access to an entire team of marketing professionals with expertise across a variety of industries, target audiences, and geographies – sometimes at a lower price.

And, even if your marketing needs don’t call for an agency’s vast network of marketing professionals, the good news is that a marketing-as-a-service agency can also just provide you with a fractional CMO.

Fractional CMOs: Tailored Marketing Leadership

A fractional CMO is exactly what it sounds like: a senior marketing executive who specializes in SaaS and works part-time or on a project basis.

The fractional CMO offers a powerful blend of C-level expertise and hands-on day-to-day operations management, all available on a part-time basis.

And the benefits only multiply when that person has a marketing agency backing them.


Because as opposed to finding an independent contractor who may be limited in resources or knowledge, a marketing agency can provide you with a B2B fractional CMO who specializes in marketing for the SaaS industry. In this way, you receive a full array of benefits: 

  • Backed by expertise: They have an entire team of skilled coworkers they can consult with on strategy, all of whom specialize in different marketing niches.
  • Proven success rates: A successful marketing agency will have a slew of case studies with companies in your same industry, proof that they can help you achieve your marketing KPIs.
  • Cost-effective: A cost-effective solution that minimizes overhead expenses while still providing access to specialized skills and scalability.
  • Provide fresh perspective: In-house CMOs can be affected by company politics and run out of new ideas. With a fractional marketing specialist, you get a fresh set of eyes.

As you can see, a major benefit of taking on marketing as a service is the ability to bring on either a team of marketing experts or a SaaS fractional CMO who is backed by a team of SaaS marketing specialists.

The Numerous Advantages of CMO as a Service

We’ve touched on some of the reasons why choosing marketing as a service is ideal for startups, but let’s delve into it a bit deeper.


One fantastic benefit of bringing in a CMO as a service is the various aspects of flexibility.

Firstly, working with an agency keeps your marketing efforts scalable.

As an evolving startup, your needs are constantly fluctuating. An outsourced marketing agency has the ability to ramp up or down based on your immediate needs. This is far more difficult for an in-house marketer.

Furthermore, as previously mentioned, an agency is backed by a full team of marketers with vast experience and different areas of specialization. This means that any marketing situation or unique challenge can be handled with ease.

Lastly, with a marketing agency that specializes in marketing for SaaS companies or a SaaS fractional CMO provided to you by an agency, you can be sure that marketing efforts and projects will be implemented quickly due to readily available expertise.

Wide Array of Experience & Offerings

In addition to the flexibility they offer, an agency’s accumulated experience from their diverse portfolio of companies equips them with an understanding of various industries, target audiences, and markets. Conversely, an in-house marketer may only have experience from 2-3 companies.

Moreover, outsourced marketing agencies are deeply familiar with the full range of marketing strategies and tactics, and can therefore offer you any marketing services and products you need.

And what’s better – if you don’t know what you need, they know how to tell you that, too.

What they can offer:

  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Brand strategy and messaging
  • Social media content and management
  • Email marketing & newsletters
  • Website design, development, and upkeep
  • Market research & data-driven business insights
  • Public relations management
  • Event planning and management
  • Growth strategies, including customer acquisition and retention

Cost Effectiveness

Now, we’ve also mentioned cost. 

So – how is it that an outsourced CMO agency can be more cost-effective than bringing on an in-house marketer?

Well, there are several factors at play.

1. Less overhead

a. When you hire an in-house CMO, you have to pay various expenses apart from just salary, including benefits, office space, equipment, etc. With an outsourced CMO, you only have to pay for the work itself.

2. Agile payment structure

a. With an outsourced CMO, you can hire on a project basis or part-time. This flexibility in payment structure allows startups to allocate their budget more efficiently and scale up or down as required.

3.No recruitment costs

a. Hiring an in-house CMO involves recruitment expenses such as advertising, interviewing, and onboarding. Outsourcing eliminates these costs, streamlining the process of acquiring expert marketing talent.

Long story short: startups have a lot to gain from bringing on an agency or a fractional CMO from an agency.

Making the Best Choice for Your Startup

So, we’ve laid out the numerous benefits of implementing CMO as a service for startups, but hiring in-house marketing is also an option. 

Some startups choose to transition to in-house marketing teams, but it’s usually once they have matured into later business stages.


As companies grow, their marketing needs become more predictable, as does their target audience. Furthermore, their marketing workload tends to stabilize. 

All of these factors may be more appropriate for in-house marketing teams, since it’s less vital they be prepared for quickly evolving situations.

However, if your startup needs projects executed quickly, flexible employees, and the ability to pivot with short notice, this can be a big burden to be carried by in-house teams.

If that’s the case, a B2B fractional CMO from an agency is the way to go.