CIENCE for lead generation? How theyโ€™ve changed and alternatives to consider

Brian Hicks
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Brian Hicks
Published:2023-11-22
Reading time:14 m
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CIENCE has undergone a transformation. One that relies heavily on automation and AI for functions like outbound lead generation.

Before we go into how they’re reshaping their service offerings, and if they’re the right choice for your business, ask yourself this question: Do I want my brand to engage prospective clients through human-to-human connection, or automated AI-generated scripts?

CIENCE’s transformation has repositioned them as an all-in-one platform focused on scalability more than anything else. They are no longer, first and foremost, solely an outsourced marketing services provider.

Why the change? Was it to improve what was already working? Are they leaning into what their highest-value clients want more of? Or are they attempting to leverage AI and automation technology for a more cost-effective model?

If you’re a little confused at this point, let’s start by discussing exactly what CIENCE is.

Why CIENCE might not be the best fit for your company

We’d like to make clear that we don’t consider CIENCE to be a direct competitor. Putting CIENCE up against Belkins or another outbound marketing agency would be an apples-to-oranges comparison.

While CIENCE and Belkins may operate within the broader field of marketing, our approach to providing services as well as our fundamental principles belong in different categories.

Therefore, it’s crucial to fully understand CIENCE’s recent transformation to determine if they align with your expectations and the company’s objectives.

CIENCE isn’t an outbound marketing agency

Whatever your approach to marketing, the ultimate goal is always to boost sales and revenue. That can mean fully outsourcing your outbound efforts, or outsourcing specific tasks like CRM integration.

CIENCE now operates more as a SaaS company, specializing in automated marketing solutions. In contrast, companies like Belkins function as conventional marketing agencies that leverage expertise from skilled professionals.

The key differentiator is that CIENCE prioritizes automation, whereas Belkins emphasizes a human-centric approach.

All-in-one automated solutions lack a personal touch. Without skilled professionals in place, you’ll produce generic messaging that fails to resonate and, ultimately, fails to hit sales and revenue goals.

For that reason, we recommend viewing CIENCE as a platform that helps you scale (by automating) your current performing marketing efforts.

AI-personalization isn’t a silver bullet for sales emails

The primary aim of personalized outreach is to initiate conversations that lay the foundation for long-term relationships.

AI-personalization ensures your outreach is as personalized as your competitors, and not more. As a result, messaging becomes generic in appearance and fails to stand out. Additionally, the increased adoption of AI and automation has caused “personalized” emails to flood inboxes.

We encourage you to ask yourself how well AI-driven personalization aligns with your relationship-building goals. How effectively can it really differentiate your brand?

If you don’t have your own SDRs, deliverability specialists, and copywriters in place, and you’re not confident that automated AI scripts alone will cut it, you might consider a specialized marketing service provider instead.

Replacing your tech stack with an all-in-one solution is risky

The purpose of your tech stack is to streamline business operations and enhance marketing’s ability to drive sales and revenue. Typically, it’s recommended to choose your stack wisely and to stick with it.

Whether you decide to rely on individual components or opt for an all-in-one solution, know that your choice has far-reaching implications.

We’re admittedly the opposite of CIENCE on this point. Here are several reasons why replacing your tech stack with an all-in-one solution can be problematic:

  • Loss of customization: All-in-one solutions tend to offer a lower level of customization than that of individual components. This limits your company’s ability to tailor its processes to specific needs and objectives.
  • Vendor dependency: Becoming dependent on a single vendor creates vulnerabilities and reduces flexibility.
  • Limited integration: All-in-one solutions face a greater challenge when it comes to incorporating new technologies as well as adapting to changing business demands.
  • Scalability challenges: The ability to scale up or down as needed in terms of complexity, business requirements, and costs is more restricted.
  • Innovation lag: All-in-one solutions are always behind individual software in terms of innovation. This potentially hinders your company’s competitiveness in unforeseeable ways.

Switching to an all-in-one solution can seem, at first, like you’re simplifying things. In some cases, it might be true.

However, the decision to migrate to an all-in-one solution should be made with a clear understanding of the trade-offs. These include the potential loss of customization, limited integration, innovation, scalability, and security constraints.

๐Ÿ“š Related post: Lead generation tools and software for B2B in 2023

Outsourcing multiple tasks to one agency can spell disaster

All-in-one marketing platforms often appear as convenient solutions. However, effective marketing is rooted in solving specific problems, and this often requires specialized expertise.

Outsourcing multiple tasks to a single outbound marketing services provider (or platform) has a few drawbacks:

  • Lack of specialization: If you need outbound lead generation, we advise you to seek the expertise of professionals in that field. Similarly, tasks like market research are best entrusted to agencies that specialize in these areas.
  • Ambiguity in needs: A stated desire for “full-service marketing,” more often than not, indicates a lack of clarity about specific needs. This often leads to inefficiencies and even the total neglect of core business requirements.
  • Quality vs. quantity: A common occurrence that we see with organizations outsourcing multiple tasks to a single agency is a deluge of low-quality leads. This typically results in sales team calendars filling with calls that won’t convert.

While multichannel marketing and full-service providers are viable options for certain situations, one-size-fits-all approaches rarely deliver at the expected level.

By better understanding your unique business challenges and requirements, you’ll better identify the organizations that can help drive growth.

๐Ÿ“š Related post: How to outsource B2B lead generation

Channel-focused expertise is better than multi-channel presence

Marketing on platforms like LinkedIn or Twitter isn’t about establishing a presence or mastering the platform. It’s about driving the engagement necessary for meaningful connections with customers.

The truth is that achieving consistent and meaningful engagement is difficult on the internet, no matter which channel you choose. That means achieving zero expertise across ten channels results in a lot of work, frustration, and lackluster results.

Effectively targeting multiple channels simultaneously is costly and rarely necessary. If you want to mine tangible value from any given channel, you need the expertise required to go deep.

A long onboarding process can hinder growth trajectory

The process of onboarding marketing services should remain focused on accelerating sales and revenue growth.

Lengthy onboarding procedures, characterized by numerous meetings and learning curves, impede this objective.

Here are several issues we commonly see arising with protracted onboarding:

  • Delayed ROI and missed sales opportunities: The longer it takes to onboard and execute marketing strategies, the more potential revenue goes by untapped.
  • Resource allocation and competitive disadvantage: Onboarding processes tie up resources and shift the company’s focus away from core business activities. They also allow competitors to gain a foothold in the market and seize otherwise available opportunities.
  • Impact on testing and optimization: Effective marketing relies on continuous testing and optimization. Lengthy onboarding timelines postpone these essential phases, hindering the ability to fine-tune and optimize strategies for maximum impact.

CIENCE’s all-in-one platform requires considerable onboarding efforts, including migrating away from your current tech stack and learning a new robust automation platform.

The overall risk of any partnership not delivering desired results is exacerbated by delays. Streamlining the onboarding process capitalizes on growth opportunities and minimizes delays on ROI.

Cold calling isn’t worth it anymore

Cold calling has been a staple in the realm of customer outreach and engagement for quite a while. However, this is another area where we have to admit our bias.

The purpose of cold calling, like any other marketing channel, is to elicit engagement from potential clients. While it may have served this purpose in the past, we’ve come to know several factors that contribute to its decreased effectiveness.

To start, cold calling is notoriously intrusive in nature. This outlook doesn’t seem to be diminishing. Quite the opposite, we found that the number of individuals who view unsolicited phone calls as invasive and disruptive seems to be growing.

Not only does this lead to unfavorable reception and low conversion rates, but also lends to a negative impact on brand image.

Like many other businesses, we’ve reevaluated the merits of cold calling. We found that it simply doesn’t stand up to the less intrusive methods available for connecting with a target audience.

If you currently, or have in the past experienced success with cold calling, we’d encourage you to consider the evolving landscape of customer engagement. What kind of change in client preferences are you seeing in how they like to engage with brands?

CIENCE alternatives

Conventional outbound marketing agencies

We’ve put together a short list of marketing services providers based on the business requirements we see clients expecting CIENCE to satisfy.

Additional factors we took into account include target audience size, annual revenue, industry focus, and the competitors that CIENCE identifies as its top rivals.

By organizing the alternatives based on their areas of specialization, we hope to aid in the process of seeking services that align with your specific business needs.

Belkins — B2B lead generation & appointment setting

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We can describe ourselves simply, in contrast to CIENCE, as an outbound marketing agency specializing in the lead generation process. We have a thorough understanding of every phase of lead generation and offer services that execute, enhance, or supplement all of your lead gen efforts.

Here are the primary reasons clients choose (and continue) to work with us:

  • Trusted B2B lead generation agency with ROI-focused acquisition: We’re proud of the reputation we’ve earned as a trusted B2B lead gen agency with a relentless focus on delivering results. Our primary objective has been to build strong partnerships with both our clients and ourselves, as a team, internally.
  • Service offerings: We offer a comprehensive suite of services that encompass various aspects of lead generation. These include appointment setting, demand generation, cold email outreach, sales development, sales enablement, CRM consulting, and LinkedIn marketing. This wide range of services allows us to tailor our engagement with you to highly specific challenges.
  • Proven track record: Our credibility is underscored by a proven track record. To see for yourself, review our case studies and social proof.

The magic process behind our results

We attribute our success to a well-defined and proven process that sets us apart from the competition.

Here’s the “magic” behind our approach.

  • Extensive research, channel-focused expertise, and a results-first mentality: These factors ensure that every campaign is grounded in data-driven insights, maximizing its chances of success.
  • Dedication to transparency and clear communication: We start the conversation with clients from a place of transparency and a dedication to maintaining clear communication throughout all of our campaigns. We find that this commitment to openness allows clients to stay informed and engaged throughout the process.
  • Simple and effective sales process: We simplify the sales process, making it easy for prospective clients to engage and benefit from your service. Our approach includes goal discussions, in-depth customer research, lead qualification, personalized outreach messages, appointment scheduling, and regular reporting to track progress.

Why we’ve ditched cold calling for other channels

As discussed above, we’ve made a strategic decision to specialize in outbound lead generation without the use of traditional cold calling. Here’s a little more about why it makes sense to invest in other channels:

  • Specialization in outbound lead gen: We offer outbound lead generation focused on appointment setting, sales lead research, and LinkedIn marketing. Staying exclusive to this set of tactics and channels has allowed us to increase our consistency in delivering exceptional results.
  • Focus on high-performing channels: Choosing to leverage channels we excel in requires recognizing that not all channels are equally effective. Simply put, cold calling doesn’t pull its weight when it comes to resources that could be allocated elsewhere.

We don’t replace your tech stack, we optimize it

  • Tech stack optimization: Instead of asking you to ditch or alter your tech stack, we focus on optimizing it for your marketing goals.
  • Team collaboration and adaptation: By collaborating with clients to enhance their tech stack, we’re able to continuously adapt your stack to ongoing lead gen efforts.

What we specialize in

It’s our total dedication to the lead generation process, and no other, that’s ultimately responsible for all the success we help clients achieve. Here’s a simplified picture of the key stages of lead gen we carry out:

  1. Lead research
  2. Demand generation
  3. Cold email outreach
  4. Appointment setting

While we excel at each of these aspects or phases, our service model is built on the knowledge and expertise of the people we employ behind the scenes.

It’s these skilled professionals who encompass the industry-specific knowledge, channel expertise, and proven strategies gleaned from past clients.

Our channel-focused expertise

Our in-depth knowledge of email, supplemented by Linkedin marketing campaigns and CRM integration, enables us to craft user messaging experiences that are more personal and unique than those of our competitors.

How we expedite the onboarding process

We streamline the onboarding process through open and highly responsive communication. Additionally, we provide pre-built frameworks customized for various industries.

This combination of open and continuous communication with structured frameworks ensure that clients start benefiting from their services sooner rather than later. Not only does this help build some initial trust by alleviating stress, but it also helps maximize future campaign success.

๐ŸŽฅ Related video: Client onboarding with Belkins

Martal — lead generation & cold calling

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Martal Group, a company specializing in lead generation and cold calling services, adopts a multifaceted approach to connecting with potential leads and prospects.

The core objective that Martal Group appears to center its efforts around is aiding in growth endeavors through precise and targeted lead gen strategies.

Although we have some limited knowledge about Martal’s reputation within the industry, it’s important to note that our experience with them is severely limited.

However, the public data available suggests that Martal has earned recognition for providing reliable and effective lead generation services.

Despite the positive reputation, we encourage interested parties to invest in a more comprehensive evaluation of their performance and capabilities.

Lead generation & sales intelligence software

Leedfeeder — lead generation & website visitor analytics

Leadfeeder

Leedfeeder is a prominent player in the field of lead generation. The company is known for its innovative lead generation platform.

It’s specifically designed to assist businesses in the identification and conversion of website visitors into potential leads. Additionally, their stated focus is to empower businesses with the necessary tools to elevate their lead generation strategies and drive growth.

While reviews and feedback from users are generally positive regarding the potential effectiveness of their approach, at present, we do not have empirical data or more insightful information to share.

Nonetheless, Leedfeeder’s commitment to providing tools and solutions for enhancing lead generation are noteworthy. They serve as a more direct (an appropriate) competitor to CIENCE’s current offerings.

Cognism — B2B data & sales intelligence

Cognism

Cognism has carved a distinct reputation in the realm of B2B data solutions and sales intelligence services. Their specialization lies in delivering B2B data, a critical resource that empowers businesses to efficiently reach their target audiences and drive enhanced sales performance.

Additionally, Cognism is known for their comprehensive sales intelligence solutions, which are meant to equip sales teams with essential information and tools.

While Cognism’s prominence in the industry is evident, it’s important to acknowledge that our current understanding is limited in terms of the detailed performance of their data solutions and the overall effectiveness of their sales intelligence offerings.

In-depth insights into the performance and results of their services are strongly advised for a comprehensive evaluation.

Other alternatives

  • SalesRoads — lead generation and outsourced sales services
  • LeadGenius — marketing automation and demad generation solution
  • Callbox — outbound appointment setting

One more thing… most of our clients have tried alternatives

It would be remiss of us not to mention that a significant portion of our client base has explored some of the aforementioned alternatives.

Clients come to us after having embarked on their marketing journeys with other agencies and tell a story of unmet expectations and subpar results.

One of the core principles that defines our approach at Belkins is our commitment to setting realistic expectations.

We don’t engage in over-promising but rather focus on establishing achievable goals and objectives. That’s because our primary aim is to deliver the results that your company requires for sustainable growth.

This dedication to transparency and goal-driven performance may not always draw the most attention from the clients we seek to help but it’s at the heart of our service philosophy.

Ultimately, we’re proud to be set apart as a reliable and trustworthy partner in the world of marketing.

Ready to get started?

Here are several options and free resources that will help you get started on your outbound sales journey:

  • Hire Belkins: If you want to discuss your current business goals and how we can potentially help you achieve them, contact us.
  • Belkins case studies: Gain insights on how we’ve generated 4,760,850 leads and millions of dollars for businesses of all sizes. Read their stories.
  • Belkins Growth Podcast: Get to know our VP of sales, Brian Hicks and Belkins co-founder Michael Maximoff as they interview professionals on market challenges, effective sales practices, and business perspectives in various industries. Listen to the Belkins Growth Podcast.
  • Belkins webinars: Become a member of our community. Subscribe to unlock access to exclusive insights.

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Brian Hicks
Author
Brian Hicks
VP of Sales at Belkins
Brian is a professional with 15 years of experience in relationship-based sales and management. He built teams and implemented sales processes in startups and Fortune 500 companies across numerous industries.