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Concept Celebrates #20YearsofLeadGen

This February marks our 20th anniversary.

Twenty years ago, a {concept} emerged from our founder and owner, Dan Harsh.

Dan's thought? Outsourced services that separately manage the front-end portion of the sales process (lead generation & prospecting) from that of closing and account management activities.

Concept’s 20th Anniversary seems like a great time to reflect on how the B2B lead generation landscape has evolved since the company began in 2002. I am amazed by how much has changed in the last 20 years, yet how the foundational principles remain the same.  

To us, this milestone is so much bigger than a company anniversary. It represents twenty years of building meaningful relationships with customers, peers, and community members. It's a chance to reflect on where we've been as an organization and an opportunity to set intentions for where we want to be. These past twenty years would not have been possible without the customers who took a leap of faith in our early years or the resilient staff who have helped us grow. 

With the help of our dedicated employees, Concept Services' early years set the foundation for high-quality lead generation. Their daily grind and commitment ensured our process was customer-driven, repeatable, effective, and most of all...affordable! 

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Concept Services Past, Present, and Future 

Just a young outside sales rep at the time, my dad, Dan needed a break from the endless prospecting and sales responsibilities loop. He had a hunch that he wasn't the only one feeling this way. So, in 2002, when he officially launched Concept Services Ltd., he started with a goal of isolating lead generation efforts from the rest of the day-to-day sales operations for companies. 

As the company grew, database management became essential to our clients’ daily operations, and they were looking to us to support new customer relationship management (CRM) technologies. We knew we needed to adapt with them, so when the time was right, Concept expanded the team and sought out experts in CRM software. Our CRM agency propelled Concept and its clients into the future. Today we are proud to be recognized as Salesforce and HubSpot partners, capable of design, implementation, training, and more. Keep reading about our CRM team here! Our unique ability to leverage CRM as a tool helped uncover rich insights for our clients, their industries, and our communities -- which brings us to our next area of growth, digital marketing. 

Do you remember your first flip phone? We do! What about your first smartphone? The advancements in digital technology have changed the way all of us interact -- forever. And researching or buying online dates back to some of the earliest days of the internet. After listening to our client's needs and observing the clear shift in B2B communication, Concept Services developed a full-scale digital marketing agency. We had a humble beginning and learned new marketing tactics alongside our clients. Today, clients request our support in everything from SEO and content marketing to paid digital ads and email marketing.  

You can learn more Concept Service's history and why the front of the Concept 'C' is missing here: About Us! 

B2B Lead Generation Seems Straightforward 

At a basic level, business-to-business lead gen is like saying, “our business has a product that (we think, or we know) your business can use. Are you interested?” It seems simple, right? Actually, over the years, we have found that what started as cold calling, hard sales tactics, and formal conversations have turned into market research opportunities, a softer selling approach, and casual conversation.  
Two decades ago, lead generation was in its infancy and lead research was something most sales teams didn't do (and surprisingly, most still don't do today). In many ways, this is how Concept sort of became a diamond in the rough.  

By rough, I mean, oftentimes lead gen agencies face the stigma of underproducing and reporting only on vanity metrics. We found our place in the market by pairing tried and true lead generation efforts with CRM and marketing services. By supplementing daily sales activities and filling the pipeline with quality leads, we were able to serve a need that most sales teams didn’t know they had. According to SurveyMonkey, 40.59% of B2B marketers agreed that effective one-to-one outreach is the most impactful way to qualify leads. Time would reveal the importance of the fact that behind every business, there are people. When I look at the capacity our Sales Development Representatives (SDRs) served two decades ago to the capacity they serve now, I see both the tremendous growth and the lessons learned. On the other end of every conversation is a person, and as we know, people can be quite complex. The same can be said about the B2B lead generation process.  

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Complexities in the Sales Process Require a Strategic Approach 

What we didn’t know back in the early 2000s is that the way people make purchases has completely changed and continues to change. The go-to approach used to be quantity over quality. If I talk to the same person 5 times, they will ultimately make a pressured sales decision and convert. While quantity certainly plays a role in the way businesses consider a particular product or service, the ball is in the other court now more than ever. As the present climate would show, when your business takes a quality over quantity approach, targeted sales and marketing tactics pay dividends above outdated mass marketing efforts.  
Instead of being everywhere all the time, today, nurturing your leads in meaningful ways can get them from cold to convert using strategic marketing materials that solve specific pain points in the market. Nurturing can mean having someone on the other end of the phone following up with prospects who have shown interest. Nurturing can mean having a 3-5 email sequence that offers educational resources throughout.
In 2022, relationships are key. The closer you can get to meeting your prospects and customers where they are, the better chance you have at solving their unique challenges. 


The Landscape of B2B Companies is Changing 
Over the decades, one thing is abundantly clear. As technologies increase, overall manpower across organizations has decreased, heavily affecting sales departments. Where broad sales teams once existed, a mix of new and seasoned sales professionals are now wearing multiple hats. This is largely due to streamlined efficiencies, automated processes, the addition of remote work, and a shifting sales dynamic.  

When I think about that last part, the shifting sales dynamic, I think about how lulls in the hiring process are more prominent now versus 10 years ago. Using outsourced lead generation agencies
can help organizations temporarily fill open sales roles with professionals who proactively identify business opportunities, quickly get up to speed on your processes, and leverage your systems. Permanently outsourcing your lead gen efforts allows you to have a strategic partner with multiple brains on your business while minimizing overhead costs for your company. Okay, shameless plug, I know. But really, if you’re looking to amplify your sales efforts, we would love to have a casual conversation

Your Business Strategy Matters 

Understanding your sales process is critical in today's world. While technologies have certainly afforded new business opportunities, it takes more time to build a solid, well-thought-out strategy. As I mentioned earlier, relationships are key today. Relationships and communication take time. Getting the right message, to the right person, at exactly the right time takes strategy. Your business is worth taking the time.  

Not only do you have to figure out how to keep current customers coming back for more, but you need to find new ways to reach prospects. And you must remain top-of-mind, so when the prospects are ready to buy – they think of you.  

Our clients have found they truly appreciate partnering with Concept. That we’re not just there to make hundreds of calls a day but we help you think and strategize outside the box. 

To learn 20 mistakes that many B2B companies make in their lead gen process, download our B2B Lead Generation Pitfalls Guide.

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