Lead generation is a tremendous, time-consuming job. So much so that many companies forego most of the process altogether or leave their lead generation efforts to an outsourced partner.

While a lead generation agency isn’t for every business, there’s certainly something to be said for many companies off-loading this cumbersome task to an organization that specializes in it.

If you find a business relationship that works, your sales team and bottom line will appreciate not only the quality customers it can bring but the free time to follow-up on these potential clients as well.

Choosing a lead generation agency can be a bit of a daunting task. Even a well-reviewed, reputable company may not be a good fit for your organization. You’ll want to consider their reputation, experience, and of course pricing before sealing the deal.

So, what are some signs that a lead generation agency is a good fit to do business with?

1. Your niches align.

If your company is in the business of, say, selling office supplies to other organizations, a lead generation agency that specializes in business-to-consumer transactions probably won’t have the skills you need. Also, if you sell large ticket items in a retail store, a company that specializes in leads for e-commerce operations isn’t the best fit.

The lead generation agency doesn’t necessarily have to have experience in your exact same industry (though it’s helpful). What they do need, though, is experience in the same type of selling model.

2. They provide high-quality, exclusive leads.

You’re spending hard-earned money on this service. There are a lot of companies out there that will simply try to sell you a list of names and numbers. These names and numbers have been sold countless times to other companies (and rarely do they want to hear from you!). A list of random names pulled from some demographics from an internet database isn’t a good use of your funds or time.

A high-quality lead is one that has been picked just for your company. Often, these are leads that have willingly signed up on the web or at events. These leads will not only be tailored to your company but will be qualified for the type of sale you’re looking to make. If they’re a great lead generating company, they will have contacted the lead over the phone and confirmed that the potential customer fits the needs and financial commitments of your services before they’re ever handed over to you.

Finally, these high-quality leads will be exclusive to your company. After all, if you spent the money to have this agency find and qualify these people, you certainly don’t want them shared with your competitors.

3. Their policies are fair.

It’s important to talk to any potential lead generation agency about their business policies—for example, refunds. If they send you a lead that hasn’t been qualified, has a disconnected phone number, or is otherwise not worth your time, will they refund you? What will they do to compensate you?

It’s critical to discuss these matters with a lead agency before signing a contract. If they seem shifty or defensive about this line of questioning, they’re probably a bad egg.

4. Their expertise is clear from the get-go.

Most lead agencies that are worth their salt will spend time talking about their knowledge on the internet. Take a really deep look at their website. Do they share any great articles, eBooks, or white papers that show just how enthusiastic they are about the industry?

Once you have an idea of the knowledge they should have, prepare a list of questions related to the industry. You don’t have to grill the poor people aggressively, but pepper in specific thoughts and queries about their areas of expertise in person or over the phone. You’re checking for casual, off-the-cuff answers with solid, confident explanations.

If they can’t back up what they’re saying online, you may want to pass on the agency.

5. You’re connected through company cultures.

Company culture is vital to many businesses, especially in this day and age. Your corporate structure, beliefs, and goals are often intertwined with your office’s day-to-day workings. To find not only leads that align with your business goals but working agency partners that reflect your core beliefs, it’s essential to consider the company culture of the organization you want to partner up with.

Many companies express their culture on their website through passionate “about” pages and belief statements. Take time to read up on the company and feel free to ask to meet at their office to see their culture for yourself. If distance makes that impossible, video meetings can help bridge the gap.

6. Their technology is up-to-date.

Lead generation in the modern day often makes use of robust digital tools that agencies utilize to find, track, and manage the different areas of their service. Whatever means they use should be recent and easy to integrate with the CRM of your choosing.

Be sure to ask about the technology toolkits the agency uses and spend time researching them. Feel free to ask detailed questions about how they work and how their data will integrate with your systems.

Not every company needs a lead generation agency, but a working partnership can be a significant step toward substantial earnings and a happy sales force. Just remember to do your research and take your time when selecting the right agency for your company.