What is Pay for Performance Based Lead Generation?

March 18, 2024

ViB Editorial Team


Topics we'll cover

Picture this: Instead of crossing your fingers and hoping those expensive ads turn into leads, you only pay when you get actual, qualified results. That’s the power of the pay for performance lead generation model. 💪

But what exactly is pay for performance lead generation? It’s simply about partnering with a specialized lead generation company. The agency handles all the heavy lifting – finding potential customers, nurturing them, the whole shebang. 

Here’s the best part is pay per performance marketing: You only pay them when they deliver a lead that fits your ideal customer profile. That’s how we minimize risk! 😁

What is pay for performance lead generation?

Pay for performance is the umbrella term referring to a compensation model where a company gets paid by a client based on how well they performed their services.

A pay-for-performance model — and all its subsets — is aimed at providing qualified leads to their clients because their main goal is to provide as much value as possible (aka perform the best). 

Why does the pay for performance lead generation model work so well?

Here’s why I love the pay for performance lead generation model: 

  • Predictable ROI: I know exactly what each lead costs me.
  • Risk management: I minimize wasted marketing spend and focus my budget where it truly counts.
  • Quality over quantity: I’m not just buying a list – I’m getting leads tailored to my target businesses.
  • Scalability: Need more leads? It’s as easy as ramping up my budget.

If you’re looking for a way to supercharge your lead generation efforts and get a guaranteed return on your marketing spend, pay for performance will be your new best friend.

Is pay for performance the same as pay per lead?

Now, is pay for performance the same as pay per lead

There’s a little bit of semantics at play, but here’s the gist:

You can think of the pay for performance model as a broad category of compensation strategies where businesses pay vendors based on the effectiveness and outcomes of the services provided.

“Pay for performance” itself is pretty vague. So, when you’re actually ready to define what “performance” is on your contract, you can refer to these specific models under the pay for performance umbrella:

  • Pay per lead model: Businesses pay a predetermined fee for each lead that meets established criteria, focusing on the volume of potential customer engagements.
  • Pay per appointment model: This model ties payments to the successful scheduling of appointments or consultations, prioritizing quality interactions over mere lead quantity.
  • Pay per sale model: Compensation is based on successful sales transactions resulting from leads, aligning vendor payments with actual revenue generated. This is rare though, since the actions leading up to the sale are usually conducted in-house, so vendors have limited control over whether the sale goes through.


And so, defining what type of performance you need is key. 

Here’s another tip. If you’re in B2B, chances are you won’t be able to outsource to a vendor with a pay per sale model, since most of your sales will be done in house.

Instead, the closest you can get to (aka the highest performing model) is the pay per appointment option.

With this model, I get pre-qualified appointments with interested decision-makers. It’s a win-win they get value from their lead generation efforts, and I fill my pipeline with qualified prospects

Image template for blogs (1)

How to implement performance based lead generation

Are you now ready to turn performance based lead generation from concept to reality? Here’s my winning strategy for the implementation of the performance based lead generation model.

1 – Define “qualified lead”:

Don’t leave this to chance! Work with your sales team to pinpoint the exact characteristics of your dream customer (company size, job title, industry, etc.).


2 – Set clear KPIs:

Here, consider your lead qualification criteria to define “performance”. So, go beyond just lead volume. Think about a clear targeting criteria based on your ICP, conversion rates, lead-to-opportunity ratios, and ultimately, closed deals tied back to those leads.


3 – Choose the right partner:

Research lead generation companies specializing in your niche. Specifically, look for those who can offer performance based pricing, whether it’s a custom contract, or various pay per lead models like these:

  • Pay per qualified appointment held
  • Pay per qualified download
  • Pay per qualified attendee

Plus, always look for a proven track record and the approach the vendor takes to source leads. That usually helps you predict the quality of the leads you’ll get.

4 – Communication is key:

Even with a low-risk pricing model like with pay per performance, lead generation isn’t always predictable. Stay in sync with your partner. Give them feedback on lead quality and keep them updated on any changes to your ideal target audience.

Feeling overwhelmed? Yes, this industry is hard! So we created these 26 career and wellness tips to help you destress.
Take this wishlist as a reminder for you to focus on yourself, and work will feel easier, promise.

Pay for performance lead generation example in B2B context

Say, I’m a SaaS company selling project management software. My ideal lead is a mid-sized tech company with a dedicated project manager. I partner with a performance-based provider specializing in B2B SaaS leads. We agree that a qualified lead must meet our criteria and have expressed interest in a demo.

This approach ensures:

  • No wasted budget: I only pay for leads worthy of my sales team’s time.
  • Better ROI tracking: I clearly see how these leads impact my bottom line.
  • Constant refinement: My vendor and I can optimize campaigns together.

It’s all about aligning lead generation efforts directly with my business goals!

Data privacy regulations are taking over marketing, fiercely. Is compliant and effective lead generation still possible? This survival guide can help.
Get a bird’s-eye view of all the major privacy laws to know, and 5 strategies to combat data privacy regulations, the right way.

Pay for performance lead generation in ViB

Reality check: lead generation is tough.

As a marketer, I’ve seen my fair share of these common pain points:

  • Sluggish sales cycles: Leads fizzle out because they weren’t the right fit from the start.
  • Unpredictable ROI: Did those ads really bring in the big deals?

A pay for performance marketing agency can help online marketers cut through the noise with targeted lead generation. 

This is why I recommend ViB’s pay-for-appointment lead generation solution that focuses on delivering leads based on specific criteria, and you only pay when those are met. Their pay per appointment setting case studies showcase how their service consistently helps in addressing lead generation problems for content marketers. 

Learn more about ViB B2B appointment setting case study here:

Why does ViB pay per appointment stand out from the rest

Here’s what ViB offers:

  • Pre-qualified appointments: No more tire-kickers, just genuine interest.
  • B2B expertise: They get the landscape and target the right decision-makers.
  • Flexibility: You ramp up or down based on your needs.
  • Human touch: Real conversations to understand prospects’ needs.
Image template for blogs

Instead of just paying for a lead, you’re investing in a sales opportunity. 

So think of ViB as your super-efficient matchmaking service for B2B lead generation. It’s a partnership with a focus on long-term wins, and not just quick fixes. Find out more about how ViB works

Ready to get started with B2B lead generation?

More Content For You

Featured image - ViB Community case study 92ny

Director of IT and Security Streamlines Process for Meeting and Assessing New Vendors

150+ B2B Lead Generation Statistics 2024 [New Data]

Thumbnail - The Pressured Marketer's Guide To Last Minute Leads

The Pressured Marketer’s Guide To Last Minute Leads