Anyone that has ever worked in the sales world is all to familiar with the world of sales leads. Leads are the lifeblood of any sales organization and are also usually the most elusive element of any successful strategy. I have been on all sides of the sales lead world… generating… brokering and buying and I can comfortably say there is no such thing as a perfect lead.
All layers of the lead generation business are constantly working to establish financial equilibrium thus minimizing the profit potential at each layer. When I first entered the world of online marketing and lead generation almost 10 years ago, I was amazed at the chaotic underground world of lead sales made up of generators, aggregators, brokers and sellers. If you are browsing the internet looking to buy sales leads, chances are there are three or four layers of people all making money off the leads by the time it gets to you. The other issue is that there is potential for each layer to make a little extra $$ by selling the lead a few times thus by the time you get it the lead you are calling could have already been called by 30 people. The person selling you the actual lead may have no idea how many times it has been sold by the time you get it. Huge lead companies such as Lending Tree and Lower my Bills buy leads from brokers thus having no real control over the overall lead quality.
If you happen to be a small lead buyer your chances of locking in on solid supply of quality leads will be exponentially more difficult based on the simple fact that each layer of the lead supply chain tries to take care of their biggest customers and the little guys are left eating the scraps. There is no simple solution to finding the right lead source other than being persistent while maintaining a diversified strategy.
Lead Types and What to Consider
Live Transfer Leads
Real time live transfer leads are the best way to ensure that the lead is truly exclusive and that you are able to speak with the actual customer. The best type of live transfer lead is one that was generated based on the customer to actually make the call based on a specific need they have. This help minimize the issue of outbound telemarketing campaigns where reps convince the consumer that they have a need for what you are selling based on the transfer rep trying to meet benchmarks.
Radio and TV Call Leads
Radio and TV call leads have become a major sector in the lead industry and can also prove to deliver quality prospects to your sales floor. These leads are generated by marketing companies that usually purchase remnant marketing inventory with radio and TV networks to run white label marketing spots focused on different markets. The calls are usually routed to a central 800 number system which is then able to parse them out to lead buyers based on their orders. Some problems that you can be confronted with when buying this type of lead is some commercials can be misleading giving the client the idea they are calling in for free or government help. Depending on the type of deal you are entering into it may be difficult to control the lead volume as it spikes throughout the day.
Internet leads have become one of the fundamental elements of any major sales organization but they can also be one of the most complex to understand in terms of quality. A good web lead can be one of the best leads your sales team could ever call upon, but the finding a source that can deliver consistent quality can be as difficult as finding a virgin in Hugh Hefner’s grotto.
The 4 to 5 layers involved in producing and delivering web leads create an environment that is ripe for manipulation by leads being sold more than once at each layer. If you want to test this theory, take a look in your spam mail folder and respond to an email that has been sent to generate web leads and fill out the form with your phone number. You will likely receive more than 30 calls within the first 5 days. If someone is attempting to sell you web leads ask to see the form they use to capture the lead. This will accomplish two things
- You will know what the prospect is seeing and reading prior to expressing interest; and
- You can input your information into the web form and wait to see how many times you receive calls thus telling you how many times the leads are actually being sold.
To eliminate the uncertainty of buying leads you can take control and produce them for yourself but this is not always as good as it sounds. To do this effectively you need to be able scale to handle a significant volume of leads although you can always attempt to sell the overflow supply. You will find detailed explanations of how to begin developing your own online lead generation strategy throughout the site. The best place to begin are the training videos which will get you through the initial learning curve quickly.
Voice Broadcast Leads
Voice broadcast leads were very popular for a number of years but heightened regulations have made it much more difficult and expensive to utilize this strategy. There are several things to take into consideration if you are debating using voice broadcasting as part of your strategy. Because of the national DNC list the potential market you will be hitting is limited and usually comprised of people who have very low income and poor credit thus limited buying power. Compliance is very difficult to achieve based on new FTC regulation imposed on Sept 1, 2009. If you are buying live transfer leads from a company that is using voice broadcasting to initial the call with the prospect then you are liable for any laws that are broken by the marketing company supplying the leads.
Sales managers have a predefined idea as to what the perfect lead is for their business but the reality is it may be impossible to generate at a cost that allows for the business to be profitable. Make sure your business strategy is aligned to realistic marketing expectations. Some sales organizations are optimized to prospect off month old leads being purchased for .25 a lead while other strategies require live transfer filter leads that cost $75 each.
Recommended Books on Getting Sales Leads:
- Lead Generation for the Complex Sale: Boost the Quality and Quantity of Leads to Increase Your ROI
- Great Leads: The Six Easiest Ways to Start Any Sales Message
- Managing Sales Leads: Turning Cold Prospects into Hot Customers
- The New Rules of Lead Generation: Proven Strategies to Maximize Marketing ROISelling Against the Goal: How Corporate Sales Professionals Generate the Leads They Need
- Maximizing Lead Generation: The Complete Guide for B2B Marketers (Que Biz-Tech)