It’s hard to have a conversation about lead generation and not have CIENCE and Belkins.io’s names pop up.
Fun fact, in almost all of our sales calls, we’d hear prospects — mostly before coming back to sign up with us or go missing — say they’ll talk to Belkins or CIENCE and get back to us.
So, how do you choose between these two companies?
Well, we know for a fact that looking at their expertise and experience won’t help. Both agencies are well-established and have strong portfolios, and it makes little sense to look at those when comparing them.
We firmly believe when it comes to lead generation and appointment-setting services, there are only a couple of features or key elements you should care about in a company, and we will start by discussing them and then compare CIENCE and Belkins.io in light of those.
So, before we get into the article and discuss the two agencies and the different ways in which they are special, here are the specific features of lead generation services you should care about.
A proactive, outbound approach: The agency should actively reach out to potential leads rather than wait for them to come. That’s because you don’t have months to wait or millions to invest in long-term, inbound strategies. You want an approach that’s time-bound and can provide predictable results.
Fast results: If you are looking to hire a lead generation agency, it means that you are not growing at the rate you wish, so you want to fill your sales pipeline and grow fast. Because of that, you want an agency that can deliver quality leads promptly. You don’t have months to wait and can’t afford it.
A reliable strategy to continuously attract and acquire leads: That’s basically the expertise you’re lacking and part of why you’re here. So, the agency needs to demonstrate a proven, systematic method for generating leads that will work consistently for your business.
A team that can understand your ICP and their challenges inside out: The agency should deeply understand your target audience and their specific needs or pain points. They should demonstrate the ability to produce cold emails or outreach messages that speak to your ICP and their pain points. They should be able to produce content that engages, convinces, and makes them want to buy.
Effective and personalized outreach: The agency should tailor their outreach methods and messages to each potential lead for the best results. You don’t want an agency that sends generic emails to random people they acquired from ZoomInfo. Your reputation and your brand image matter, so you need an agency that does quality work that people will respect even if they don’t buy from you.
Completely done-for-you: You want to generate leads without the lead generation. So, the agency should handle all aspects of lead generation and outreach for you (completely done for you), allowing you to focus on other areas of your business, like having one-on-one meetings with the leads and closing deals.
Affordability and scalability: Last but not least, the agency’s services should be cost-effective and able to grow with your business. More importantly, they should have a clear pricing structure or model with offers that detail what you can get or expect from the service.
That said, each of the companies takes a unique approach to lead generation and sales development, providing clients with a range of services to choose from based on their specific needs.
So, we’ll discuss the different services each lead generation company offers, the different strategies and methodologies, tools, and all the different features they offer their customers, and how these contribute to their client's overall success.
We’ll also introduce you to our own lead generation agency, Nerdy Joe. We’ll discuss why we might be better suited for your lead generation and appointment-setting needs. We’ll also discuss our services and our strategies for generating high-quality leads.
So, let’s get started.
Note: Struggling to get replies or book meetings with prospects that fit in your ICP? We’ll help you get 6 SQLs or book 6 meetings with prospects that are ready to buy for only $999/month. Book a 15-minute consultation now.
CIENCE v. Belkins: which company should you hire for lead generation and appointment setting?
Let’s start by comparing their scope of service and what they promise you.
Scope of service: Comparing what they do and how your business can benefit from it.
Here is an overview of the different lead generation and appointment-setting services you can get from each company and how these can help your business.
CIENCE’s service overview
CIENCE is a top-rated B2B lead generation outsourcing company, operational since 2015. They provide a mix of managed services and software for comprehensive lead generation. Here is a quick detail of their main services.
Research services: CIENCE offers to help you understand your ideal customer profiles (ICP) so that you can generate high-quality, sales-ready leads. It typically involves demographic research, industry trend analysis, and exploring customer pain points.
Sales engagement: This typically involves creating personalized email sequences, cold calls, social touches, and targeted follow-ups. Their strategies here aim to engage potential leads, build strong relationships, and ultimately convert these leads into customers.
Data enrichment: They offer to enrich your existing customer data with additional, valuable information. This could involve updating missing fields, verifying data accuracy, or appending new data that could help your sales team close deals faster.
People-as-a-Service (Outbound and Inbound SDR): If need be, CIENCE can provide highly trained sales reps who can integrate into your existing sales team. These professionals handle the task of lead generation, outreach, appointment setting, and initial qualification stages, allowing your sales team to focus on closing deals.
That’s pretty much it for the services CIENCE offers. Of course, they also offer tools you can leverage for your lead generation (more on the tools later).
Belkins.io’s service overview
Belkins.io, founded in 2015, is a leading global B2B lead generation and appointment-setting company. They serve a diverse clientele, offering services that pretty much align with what you get from CIENCE.
Here is a breakdown of their main services.
Lead research: Pretty much like the Sales research from CIENCE, Belkins’ lead research service involves identifying prospective customers who are the most likely to convert. That’s basically all about finding your ICP and building lists. This involves demographic analysis, competitor analysis, industry trends, and the business needs of potential leads.
Lead outreach: Belkins.io helps in reaching out to potential leads through personalized email marketing campaigns. (More on that in their strategies and methodologies).
LinkedIn marketing: First, they can help boost a company’s LinkedIn presence by increasing connections and posting relevant content. They can also help you run outreach campaigns, generate leads, or set appointments from LinkedIn.
Appointment setting: Belkins will connect with your potential leads and set up appointments on your behalf. This could involve cold calling, email outreach, or social media engagement. In general, this service is the same as lead generation.
Email marketing/deliverability services: Email marketing is a key part of Belkins.io’s strategy. They’ll help you improve your email deliverability rates by crafting compelling email content, optimizing email sending times, and ensuring that the emails adhere to all spam regulations to prevent them from landing in the recipient's spam folder, and more.
The immediate conclusion is that both companies offer comprehensive lead generation services.
That’s because it takes the lead/sales research, data enrichment (Belkins does this through research), outreach (or sales enablement, as per CIENCE’s words), and people-as-a-service to generate leads.
The services (as seen on their website) are separated in case businesses have internal teams and only need some services. Otherwise, when you hire them for lead generation, all these services will be in the package they offer you.
Remember that services like LinkedIn marketing, appointment setting, and email marketing are different lead generation service models you should choose based on your product, its intended target audience, and other factors.
Approach to lead generation: Comparing strategies for finding your ICP, building lists, reaching out to prospects, etc.
Your lead generation company will work on your behalf. The outcomes of their service will directly impact your business. You need to understand their strategies, techniques and make sure the way they do things aligns with your standards and how you want to be perceived.
That said, when it comes to lead generation or appointment-setting service strategies, we’ve found there are only three (03) things you should care about. These are mainly about their process of finding your ICP, how they build lists or where they find the people they reach out to, and how they reach out to them — the compellingness and the effectiveness of those.
Now let’s look at how each of the companies approaches lead generation.
ICP identification and lead research
You might wonder why their process of finding your ideal customer profile is important.
That’s because this process’ effectiveness is indicative of the quality of the leads you get. In other words, it takes a lead generation company with a precise and encompassing understanding of your ICP to get you the highest quality leads.
So, how does Belkins do it?
In a nutshell, the team starts by working with your sales team, and together they get to what constitutes an ideal client profile from your sales department. The image below details it a little more.
In a nutshell, the team starts by working with your sales team and together they get to what constitutes an ideal client profile from your sales department. The image below details it a little more.
This is a good approach. And the sample test they run allows them to get even more precise on who they should reach out to. We can say that their technique for finding and nailing your ICP before running the campaign is top-notch.
CIENCE, on the other hand, uses human-powered plus machine learning and AI sales lead research. They offer bespoke sales research that helps businesses nail hard-to-find target audiences with pinpoint precision.
To be honest, the few details they leave about their process for finding your ICP are unclear and make it hard to even understand how they know who to target. But we can say for a fact that they primarily rely on their AI- and ML-powered tools.
The issue here is that it’s always a guessing game for a lead generation company to know who they should target until they sit down and discuss your ICP with you or your sales team. Even the preliminary data or filters they’ll feed their tools have to be aligned with your IC, and they can’t guess it.
Using AI and ML for lead research means very little if you can’t paint an accurate picture of your ideal customer profile before even using those tools. I mean, how else would you know if the outputs from these tools are right or wrong?
Also (without casting aspersions on the CIENCE’s AI and ML tools), in most cases, AI and ML tools only provide surface-level data like technographic, firmographic, and demographic. They tell you very little about the customers' needs, their pain points, and why your product can help.
By asking your sales team questions and testing, Belkins gain direct insight into psychographic data pertaining to your ICP. Subsequently, your product will make more sense to them; they can relate to its unique use cases or the problems it solves and sell it better.
Lead pickup and list building
The next step after finding your ICP is to research, identify potential customers matching that ICP, and build a list for the outreach campaign.
As stated on their website, Belkins.io leverages openly available data from platforms such as Google, LinkedIn, Crunchbase, Glassodor, and Xing, among others, to find potential leads for your business.
Another way of saying this is that the company scrapes a list of potential buyers from these platforms, and then their research team sits down to ensure that the potential buyers they identified are accurate and match your ICP. This seems excellent on the surface.
The issue that arises here pertains to the accuracy of the leads generated — or the individuals targeted and how well they align with your ICP. With such data sources, applying filters and rapidly compiling lists of thousands of businesses is quite straightforward.
Yet, whether these leads truly reflect your desired customer profile remains. These sources usually only include basic information. I mean, using these sources, it’s easy to find companies to target by applying non-specific, generalized filters.
You can easily find the following:
Companies that raised series A funding
Companies that had an IPO
Companies that use HubSpot
Companies that have a headcount between 50 and 500
See? The information they provide about every company is basic. Plus, while this data can form a strong foundation for sending cold emails, it offers no insight into the company's specific needs and why you should even target them.
The reality is that even if you’re marketing a product like Nextiva, the mere fact that a company uses RingCentral doesn’t automatically make them a suitable prospect.
Remember how you built your ICP based on their needs and pain points that your product solves? Now, you’re targeting random people off the internet based on technographic and firmographic data — it’ll be hard to see substantial results and get leads that’ll actually buy.
You can’t possibly know whether or not a company you see on these platforms has the pain point your product or service solves, so it becomes a guessing game of sending cold emails to random people and seeing who responds. That’s not good.
Plus, even when you do achieve success and get a couple of interested people, leads generated in this way are the most challenging to convert. It’ll take considerable informational content and time to educate them and get them to be sales-ready.
This is not an ideal scenario for your business, especially when you’re investing in lead generation services with the intent to promptly fill your sales pipeline with sales-qualified leads and expedite growth. (You’ll see how we do it better at Nerdy Joe later)
CIENCE, here, leverages its proprietary Go Platform. They do the same thing as Belkins, except they only rely on their platform. Still, the same accuracy, efficacy issues, and consequences remain for your business.
And compared to Belkins.io, they cover even less ground (while this is not really what it should be about) to find potential customers.
Lead targeting and outreach approach
For the sake of being thorough, we’ll separate this section into two, campaign-level and copy-level approaches. This’ll help you understand how they run campaigns, how they create the content or copy they send to the prospects, and how these impact the outcomes you get.
Let’s start with Belkins.
Belkins offers varied targeting strategies based on the plan you select. Essentially, you'll have three options.
For each, they will build a custom-made list of leads based on the plan you opt for, establish sending domains and mailboxes to ensure email deliverability and send out emails to book a specified number of meetings by month-end — all of which sounds promising.
This approach is similar to what most lead gen agencies employ. The problem here is the scale of targeting, specifically, the number of people. Take the "Growth Plus" plan, for instance. It offers a lead list of up to 30,000 personally curated leads and guarantees over 220 meetings.
This implies that they'll engage with as many as 30,000 individuals within the agreed timeframe. That's an incredibly large number of people to reach out to, even over a six-month period. It raises the question of whether this approach ensures a high quality of meetings or a good conversion rate of leads.
Granted, they’ll create new sending domains and mailboxes, warm up the domains, and try on a sample to find the go-to-market approach, etc., before unfolding the campaign. But here is what it could mean if you are targeting huge lists:
Mass emailing: When you’re reaching out to such a vast number of people, it indicates a lack of good prospect research and strong personalization, leading to a 'one-size-fits-all' outreach strategy. Such blanket cold emails come across as self-serving and lackadaisical.
Substandard lead quality: The lack of hyper-personalization means that the leads, and consequently, the meetings you secure, are likely to be of lower quality. This means that conversions, especially quick ones, are less likely.
Disgruntled prospects: Some prospects may respond negatively, with remarks such as “Remove me from your list”, “Don't ever email me again”, or even harsher, “Your cold email sucks”.
Brand reputation at stake: Sending generic emails to a broad audience will affect your reputation. This can be particularly detrimental in a highly competitive industry or if your business relies significantly on word-of-mouth referrals. It's unlikely this is the image you’d want for your business.
Hopefully, our viewpoint is clear. We’re not implying that this critique reflects the service you'll get from Belkins. Our point is simply that quality outreach requires substantial effort and time, and targeting enormous lists does not facilitate that.
CIENCE does not leave any detail about the way they conduct their outreach campaigns. They only mention some of their features but don’t actually mention the scale of their campaign or anything about their way of doing it.
But as we look at the outcomes, they promise. We can tell for a fact that they operate pretty much in the same way as Belkins — running a campaign of scale, reaching out to a large number of people — and so the same quality and conversion concerns apply.
Both companies demonstrate a strong commitment to thorough customer research before the campaign launch. The insights gleaned from this research are vital as they guide your actions and your approach to crafting content that resonates with your target demographic.
These companies recognize this importance, which is why they strive to create personalized content at every opportunity. However, we have some reservations regarding their interpretation of personalization. Let’s consider CIENCE as an example.
CIENCE uses AI to generate personalized content. They use AI and Machine Learning (ML) tools to collect, enrich their lead data, and incorporate personalization into their emails, LinkedIn InMails, or web content before dispatching them to their clients' potential customers.
We acknowledge that AI and ML can facilitate data collection and analysis by examining prospects' social media (LinkedIn) posts, customer support interactions, etc. Consequently, AI can learn which content resonates with each customer and deliver it autonomously.
We also recognize that AI-fueled personalization can indeed be effective. However, here's why we believe human research and manual creation of content is superior.
One of the primary reasons we advocate for human-conducted research and personalization lies in the human element.
A proficient researcher or salesperson can empathize with a potential client, comprehend their needs and motivations, relate to them and deliver a personalized experience that AI simply can't replicate.
Moreover, this human connection we are talking about is more than simply understanding your target audience and gathering data to tailor personalized messages.
It’s about telling stories that elicit emotions, content that inspires actions, and more. AI tools can mimic it, but they can’t do it the way humans do.
Another significant reason we resist the notion of AI-driven personalization is the repetitiveness inherent in AI tools. For instance, once they discover a successful framework for personalizing messages, you'll likely notice the same framework across all their generated emails.
Meanwhile, innovative thinking is essential in prospect research and personalization. Uncovering unique and personalized solutions for each client makes a substantial difference, and it’s something AI is limited in due to its training data and its incapacity to generate truly innovative solutions — a feat humans take for granted.
Contextual understanding and adaptability
We have the ability to adapt to market shifts or specific changes in your situation more effortlessly than AI. In essence, skilled researchers can adjust their tactics or strategy based on new information or feedback, a capability AI might struggle with.
More on the AI and ML front, the tools and their many software platforms provide the data and that’s cool. But when it becomes a campaign of scale —as they do— the information becomes generic for lack of specificity or individualism.
As for Belkins, as we’ve found before, the company engages in mass outreach, targeting huge lists of customers. Again, as we said before, this leaves little room for excellent research and create individually-personalized messages that align with each prospect.
Confirming our theory, it reads on their website that the company develops and delivers outreach messages using templates.
Because they are targeting a huge list of prospects, they can’t create individually-personalized emails for each recipient. It has to be mass, general personalization, which, when you think about it, should no longer be called personalization because it isn’t.
Basically, this means that they’ll create a single email they’ll send to the entire (huge) list they built while changing some generic variables (like company name, job title, first name, etc) within the email.
That’s poor personalization, and even when they generate leads with such strategies, you’ll have difficulty converting them.
Lead outreach channels included
There is not much to say here. Both companies use multichannel outreach.
“We use AI-enabled research, multi-channel outreach, and our proprietary software platform to start sales conversations with your next, best customers.”..“Our comprehensive AI powered lead generation approach includes the GO software platform — sales and intent data, targeted ads, chat, scheduling, web ID, CDP, and multi-channel prospecting to help you build your enterprise!”
CIENCE uses multi-channel approaches (Email, Phone, Social Media, Web) for outbound sales and offers a mix of human intelligence and machine learning to drive its operations.
Note that CIENCE also offers inbound marketing services, and so does Belkins. Belkins also offers multi-channel outreach, including email, LinkedIn, phone, and more. They have some data intelligence tools, proprietary outreach tools, and expertise that they use to drive their operations.
But we at Nerdy Joe are not a fan of reaching out to prospects on this many channels. We will tell you more about that later.
Lead generation and sales enablement tech stack included
We believe this is one of the unique reasons you can consider working with CIENCE and its unfair advantage to most lead generation companies.
CIENCE offers all types of lead generation tools. You won’t have to pay for any third-party tools to generate leads. They have all the tools for lead research platforms, data mining, and analysis platforms, a CRM, an email automation platform, reporting and analytics, and much more.
Belkins also has its fair share of lead-generation enablement tools. We are seeing an email delivery tool named Folderly, a proprietary platform to write emails and get ready-made templates named Wordstir, an appointment scheduling platform, and more.
Keep in mind unlike CIENCE, Belkins.io has to rely on a couple of third-party tools. For example, they don't have a tool that provides a B2B database of companies (like Apollo.io and ZoomInfo, but CIENCE does), they don’t have a data enrichment platform like CIENCE GO, and more.
Investments: Pricing model, refund policy, average deal size, minimum commitment period, and contracts.
Here, we’ll help you understand everything that comes inside the deal as you sign up with either and what it means for your pocket — or your company’s bank account.
None of the two companies leaves a clear pricing detail on its website. In most cases, you’ll have to reach out to them to get custom pricing. That said, we’ve looked on Clutch to see the average deal size of the two companies.
Pricing/average deal size
We found that the most common project size for both companies typically costs anywhere from $10,000 to $49,000. That means that hiring these companies will certainly cost you a minimum of $10,000. You'll have to invest AT LEAST 10K in lead generation.
While we were there, we also took a glance at their ratings and reviews, and we noted that Belkins (4.9) is well ahead of CIENCE (4.5). This might have to do with the fact that CIENCE is primarily a technology as a service company.
Minimum commitment period and contracts
When working with Belkins, the typical subscription period is 12 months. You have to commit to working with them for 12 months.
CIENCE also has something similar for their managed outbound lead generation service. Except their minimum commitment period is 6 months.
That means that you will have to pay or agree to pay them for a year or 6 months before you can start working together. This might not be ideal for you, especially if you are a small business or a startup, and here is why.
This system obliges you to pay them for months while they simply try stuff, and you MIGHT have no results to show for your investments. Think about it, that’s a $60,000 minimum for CIENCE, and for Belkins, it can go up to $120,000. How do you explain that to your manager?
Even more importantly, committing to a long-term contract or subscription can limit your flexibility to adjust your lead generation strategy or switch to a different provider. This can be problematic if your business needs change or you are unsatisfied with the results.
Whether or not you’re satisfied with the service is irrelevant; you’ll still have to pay them and honor the contract.
Belkins offers no refund, and they are not shy about it.
CIENCE, on the other hand, wouldn’t simply answer the question and has to get their lawyer to write their Terms of Services. So, no. They don’t offer any refund.
What this implies is that if you invest in their services and they fail to deliver the desired results, you'll be left with no option but to accept the situation and move forward.
Nerdy Joe vs. CIENCE and Belkins.io: Why we are a better option for lead generation than Belkins and CIENCE
We help you build a sales pipeline that guarantees a consistent flow of leads. For your business and your sales team, it allows you to get leads without worrying about lead generation. And your sales team gets to focus on what they do best — having meetings and selling to the leads.
So, why Nerdy Joe?
At Nerdy Joe, we present an attractive or possibly superior alternative to both CIENCE and Belkins.io. We believe this because both of these companies overlook the most crucial aspects of lead generation, elements we consider fundamental.
Let’s recap the comparison and clarify the important lead generation boxes that both companies fail to check and, above all, why recruiting them might not be such a great idea as you think. Here we go:
Belkins’ outreach messages aren’t truly personalized to the core level. They offer basic personalization, which is largely template-driven and only specific to the industry level — that’s basically a single message for everyone in the industry, no personalization.
CIENCE’s ICP identification isn’t clear and leaves a lot of questions unanswered.
Both companies scrape leads lists from sales and data intelligence tools. This cuts the seriousness of the targeting, and the outreach basically becomes a game of sending emails to random people and seeing who responds. It is so because they’re not targeting people based on their needs and pain points.
Both companies’ outreach campaigns aren’t rock solid or designed to bring you the best leads. That owes to their approach targeting huge lists, the campaign performance will be subpar, and converting leads will take ages.
CIENCE AI-powered personalization sounds sexy but comes with many concerns about accuracy, quality, and effectiveness. You are better off with human-researched lead data and human-crafted content.
Both companies are jack-of-trades offering every kind of service and using way too many channels. It’s best when you work with a team that has expertise in only one or two channels and masters them excellently.
You won't get any refund from the two companies. What’s interesting is that they don’t guarantee results.
You’ll have to commit to a 6-month or 12-month period. That basically means that you have to have the budget for these periods before getting started, and they don’t guarantee any results.
Both companies charge a lot, and the prices are basically based on the tools they use (as for CIENCE) and the work they do, not the results they bring (which isn’t specific BTW), and this is not ideal.
In conclusion, you are seeing that these companies mostly don’t check most of the key features you want in your lead generation company — remember the key elements we mentioned in the introduction?
Now here is why you really should work with us at Nerdy Joe.
Outreach services: Belkins and CIENCE are jacks of all trades; we are deeply focused on email marketing, cold email outreach, and LinkedIn outreach.
This is an issue we see with most lead generation companies. Entities like CIENCE and Belkins showcase an extensive menu, ranging from LinkedIn marketing, sales enablement, cold calling, inbound marketing, demand generation, and social media ads to technology as a service.
They market themselves as all-encompassing solutions, jacks of all trades in the lead generation landscape. The thing is that being a master of everything often means being a master of none. That's where Nerdy Joe breaks the mold.
We don't claim to be jacks of all trades; rather, we pride ourselves on being masters of two very specific ones — cold email and LinkedIn outreach. Our philosophy is grounded in honing and perfecting these two channels to deliver unparalleled results.
For our clients, this means a laser-focused approach that carries significant benefits all the time. Our strategy is simple yet highly effective: we concentrate on developing sophisticated cold email and LinkedIn outreach techniques that entice and engage potential customers.
Our dedicated team works intimately with each client. We take into account your unique needs and objectives and then tailor our methodologies to align with them.
For us, lead generation is just a fragment of the bigger picture. The ultimate success marker? Converting leads into faithful, long-term customers. Our focus, therefore, is not just to generate leads but to generate high-quality leads — leads with strong conversion potential.
Whether you're a budding startup or an established enterprise, you’ll get the tailored, high-quality lead generation solution you need. Our strength lies in our commitment to not just understand your business but to invest our expertise and resources to help it grow.
We are not the jacks of all trades, but we certainly are masters of the ones that count.
Service value: Belkins and CIENCE charge you for the work they do and their vast (not-so-useful) tech stack; We charge only for the results we bring you.
We firmly believe that when you engage a company for lead generation, the only result that truly matters is the number of sales leads that you receive at the end of the month. That's the only promise they should make and the only result you should be paying for.
As you’ve observed, both CIENCE and Belkins levy substantial charges for their services, with pricing structured around the number of emails they send or the number of contacts they add to your list, as well as their tech stack.
This doesn’t factor in the actual results they deliver to your sales team, which is arguably unfair to you.
At Nerdy Joe, we ensure that our clients understand from the onset that they need not concern themselves with the prospect list we build or the number of emails we send.
This is primarily because we recognize that the main challenge for a company seeking lead generation assistance is their inability to grow at the desired pace and their need for LEADS. It's as straightforward as that.
Therefore, our lead generation experts only focus on the metrics that truly matter to your business and ROI, not vanity metrics such as the open rate or the number of emails sent. The metrics we focus on include:
Number of positive replies
Number of meetings booked
Number of new sign-ups
Number of demo requests
Lead to close rate
For example, if you engage us to increase the number of guest posts your team produces each month, we'll report on:
The number of affirmative responses we receive from editors
The number of positive replies we get
Our services are tailored based on your company’s product or service and your overarching goals. That’s how we figure out the outcomes that matter most to you, and that’s what we set out to achieve.
Outreach approach: Belkins and CIENCE approach lead generation as a number game; We take a meticulous approach to lead generation, build our lists manually, and only engage in effective targeting.
We don’t blame Belkins or CIENCE for the way they run their campaigns. In fact, that approach is industry-standard. That’s how most lead generation companies and the gurus on Twitter and LinkedIn do it.
They see lead generation as a number game. So they build huge lists off of data intelligence tools and send them cold emails in the hopes of closing a small percentage of that number. And we do believe that it could work; they can get some leads that way.
The real issue is that in the quest for that small percentage, most agencies leave behind the quality work that makes lead generation successful. There are a lot of issues that stem from targeting huge lead lists:
Poor research and mediocre lead data enrichment
No room or time for personalizations
Poor generic emails or messages
Subpar lead quality, no conversion to show for your investment
Company reputation at stake
Deliverability and spam issues
Again, we are not saying that this is the quality of service provided by CIENCE and Belkins. Instead, we want you to understand the significant amount of work and time required to create effective outreach campaigns.
Also, as proud marketers, we don’t believe reaching out to 30000 people only to win 50 of them as leads (who might not convert) is something to write home about. We prefer to send personalized messages to a select few prospects after thorough research and analysis.
Our ideal scenario is to send 20 carefully crafted cold emails or LinkedIn emails to well-researched prospects, resulting in 15 replies, 10 positive responses, and ultimately 6 sales-qualified leads or appointments.
Now, don’t get this wrong. By personalization, we mean we make each email individually relatable and timely for each recipient on our list. We don’t just add [[first name]] and other variables to the email subject lines and call it quits.
This is because we want each recipient to feel like you know them and wonder why you didn’t cross their paths months ago. Our goal is to create emails that make each recipient feel personally connected to you and take your offer seriously, even if they don't ultimately sign up.
We achieve this by investing significant time in learning and researching your ideal customer profile (ICP) before sending any emails.
We work closely with you to develop the ICP, research each prospect individually, and collect data points to create cold emails that stand out and make a lasting impression. And unlike CIENCE, we don’t rely on any tool to build your ICP or research them.
One of the first things we like to do when we sign a new client is to ask our clients questions about their ICP.
We ask questions like:
Which type of clients have the highest lifetime value?
Which type of clients is easiest to close?
Which type of clients churns the fastest?
What are the top 3 objections you hear from prospective clients during sales calls?
Why did you start your company?
What pain points were you trying to solve?
Your answers to these questions help us know precisely who to target and why. And this type of information makes the difference between:
“We’re targeting series A tech companies OR we are targeting companies that ClickUp”
“Our ICP is a VP of Sales at a b2b software company selling to HR professionals, and his main pain points are lack of organization, time management, and team collaboration. He often refers to XYZ podcasts to get insights as to how to manage his team efficiently.”
Once we have a clear understanding of who the ICP is, we proceed to build our list manually, and that’s what we use to run our lead generation campaigns.
Research and copywriting: CIENCE and Belkins provide basic, generically personalized emails; we research each prospect individually and create truly personalized cold emails and LinkedIn messages.
We don’t rely on templates to create emails like Belkins. That’s because we believe that if it’s created from a template, then it’s no longer personalized, at least not to the unique traits of each of the recipients. It’s mass, ineffective personalization.
We also don’t rely on AI or ML tools like CIENCE. We are still at the dawn of AI tools. Their output is repetitive and robotic. We are confident we can create better emails and messages. We can take our sweet time anyway, as we are not running a campaign of scale.
So, we start by researching each of our prospects individually to collect data about them we use to create cold emails that align with them. That’s how we do data enrichment.
And no, we don’t rely on a tool to simply tell us job titles, where they are based, their tech stack, or how many people work at their company.
What we need is psychographic data. And we put all of our resources forward to go out and collect that data because it makes all the difference. Just for some context, here are a few things we do.
We listen to podcasts your potential customers have been on.
We read the blog posts they wrote.
We read their LinkedIn, Twitter, and Mastodon posts.
We read discussions on forums they’re in.
We call their mom if it makes sense for the outreach.
Using this aggregated data, we find unique angles that we use to craft personalized first lines or icebreakers.
Here’s what it looks like in real life. We pitched CoSchedule’s Head of Content, Ben Sailer, and asked him if we could write for them.
Here’s what he replied 1 hour later.
Here is another successful example from a similar strategy.
As you can see from both screenshots, the cold emails sent to the prospects were so compelling that they couldn’t help but acknowledge it before offering to hire us.
Contracts: CIENCE and Belkins both require you to sign longer-term contracts; We don’t — you’re free to renew or stop your subscription based on satisfaction.
Contrary to CIENCE and Belkins, who require you to commit to a 6 to 12-month contract where you pay them a lot of money even when they bring no results to prove your investments, we at Nerdy Joe operate on a subscription basis.
Collaborating with us guarantees results starting from the first month. Moreover, your subscription renewal depends on your satisfaction with our services and your budget considerations.
Our pricing is transparent, which likely contributes to our standing as one of the top lead-generation agencies. You choose a plan based on your budget and requirements, and you're assured of what you'll receive at the end of the month.
No vague assertions like “it depends on many factors.”
No excuses, such as “Your account manager couldn't work because he accidentally swallowed the office key.”
If your product has a good market fit and addresses a common problem, that’s essentially all we need to produce results for you. However, if you’re still determining the ideal audience for your solution, we may not be able to assist effectively.
Nerdy Joe Pricing: Belkins and CIENCE are downright expensive; With us, you get the best bang for your buck, the affordability, and the option to scale without burning a hole in your bank account.
CIENCE and Belkins are expensive, way too much, to be fair.
They do not provide any refund.
They have an unclear pricing model and charge for things you don’t need.
We believe that pricing is way too expensive and not sustainable for the average business on a budget.
So unlike Belkins and CIENCE, we offer a flat fee for a specific number of leads or appointments booked for you and keep it all transparent on our site.
DeLorean: It costs $1799/month and gives you 10 leads or meetings with high-quality leads.
Batmobile: This is the plan we recommend, as it gives you the biggest bang for your buck. It costs $2199/month and gives you 15 hot and sales-qualified appointments or LEADS.
Millennium Falcon: It costs $3099. This plan is good for mid-level to enterprise companies willing to fuel their sales team with up to 25 sales-ready leads on a monthly basis.
Starship Enterprise: This is the enterprise-level plan, and it comes at $5099. We added it for large organizations and enterprise-level businesses willing to fuel their sales team with a huge flow (50+) of meetings with sales-ready leads on a monthly basis.
What’s interesting with us is that you know what you’re getting upfront and know exactly how much you’ll have to pay for it. We don’t play hide and seek or get you on long sales calls to discuss pricing with you.
Partner with Nerdy Joe and start generating sales-ready leads today
Both Belkins and CIENCE are excellent lead-generation companies. They have a strong portfolio to back this up and are very popular in the industry. Chances are, this post can help you find the lead generation company you need for your business.
We believe Belkins is most celebrated for its expertise and lead generation work, while CIENCE is firstly known for its lead generation tools. But if you want an even better company to take care of your lead generation, you should talk to us. We are an agency that does quality work.
An agency that doesn’t blast huge lists and runs custom, effective outreach campaigns.
An agency that takes the time to do the research and ensure efficiency manually.
An agency that charges you for results, not tasks.
An agency that won’t make you pay for tools you don’t need.
An agency that doesn’t require you to commit to a contract.
An agency that does not waste your time and that’s affordable.
A group of experts that care about your company's reputation and relationship with prospects.
Nerdy Joe is the lead generation agency you’re looking for. We do the market research, identify leads, do the lead research, lead management, and bring you qualified leads; we are part of your team.
Note: Struggling to get replies or book meetings with prospects that fit in your ICP? We’ll help you get 6 SQLs or book 6 meetings with prospects that are ready to buy for only $999/month. Book a 15-minute consultation now.