The Lead Program You Wanted May Be Starving You!

“When leads leave your Sales Team spinning their wheels, it’s time to think Quality, not Quantity!”

There can be no success, or pride when hunters cannot find the prey that’s hiding right in front of them!  The prey is so numerous and so well camouflaged.  The confused hunters keep failing and waste many calories in their effort.  Eventually, they can’t bear the hunger and either move on, or starve.” 

Many in sales have experienced this.  Have you?  I know I have!  Indeed, from both the sales and management perspective, and it’s not pleasant.  As a digital direct marketing and data professional working with businesses small to large around the country, I sometimes come up against competitors who offer our Customers a larger pool of leads than we can, even when drawing from similar sources.  Sometimes, although rarely, they have better coverage, but more often this is NOT the case.  When we’re able to analyze competitive data, we find that more leads can be less, and could have a negative impact on campaign performance.  If the purpose of the data is not clearly delineated by the Customer and not clearly understood by the vendor, it is a recipe for disaster.  It becomes a disposable program, and a waste of resources cause your sales team won’t use it.    

Recently, while comparing our New Business lead program to other competitive offerings, a Customer asked us why the other vendors were providing more than 13 times the data we were offering in the same area.  I explained it could be due to how the leads are filtered by the different vendors prior to delivery to the Customer.  I further added my understanding of how the leads were being utilized by their outside sales team.  Providing fewer high quality leads through additional filters would optimize their performance in the field by removing the “camouflage”, and making it easier to find their prey, thus reducing the calories.  Everyone is happy!

While no database is perfect, a successful marketer must properly plan how the data will be used, cleansed, and optimized for the campaign.  In this instance the end-users were really the Customer’s outside Sales team. 

Some data providers do not listen, or are not vested in the Customers’ results.  “Do I give them 1M records to bill them, make my numbers, and know I will never see the Customer again, or do I provide them the 100K records they need for the campaign to perform optimally hoping to win a long-term customer?”  A no brainer, me thinks. 😊

In the above scenario, If the sales force is in the field, what benefit will the other 900K records be, except to waste gas, add stress and “spin their wheels”.  If a large portion of the leads do not have a phone number, won’t it make it more difficult to verify addresses, or set appointments?  Your sales team should not be wasting time, resources and investment on data that’s NOT optimized for their needs!

I offered the Customer to have our service bureau do a complete analysis of the competitive file, and explain the differences using the same custom filters we apply to our Daily New Business Lead program.  To my surprise, the Customer took me up on the offer, and while the results were not surprising to me, let’s just say the Customer seemed surprised. 

From Apple to Oranges to Apples to Apples:

For the area in question, the competitive file provided 38,000 records and we provided 2,800 (approximately 13:1).  Our filtered records provided: new business, first time connects, new to the area, not home based and with 100% phones.     

After applying our filters, the analysis showed we removed the following from the 38,000:

3,000 duplicates, 1,100 government locations, 13,000 records without phones, 531 duplicate phones, 735 suppressed leads provided previous six months, 12,800 suppressed against our national business database, 1,300 non-zip plus 4 records removed, and lastly 2,700 records with source codes we do not import (not new movers).  The final adjusted totals for both were around 2,800 records.

The cost for the competitive file using .10 per lead for 2,800 good records = $3,800.00 (38,000 x .10)

The cost for our file using .10 per record for 2800.00 good records =               $   280.00 (2,800 x .10)

What would your reaction be to these results? 

Always remember that what you get is not always what you want, or need.  In this case the Customer was being offered the full unfiltered file.  This is not what a field sales force needs!  Track campaign performance and talk to your sales people in real time, so you can make changes when needed.   The success of any field sales program always depends on the human element, so stay engaged.  The data provider’s purpose is to make the prey fall more easily to the hunters by removing the camouflage.  A successful Sales effort begins with good planning, organization, great people and a lot of listening.  And let’s not forget the foundation of the hunt starts with good data, and that fills the tummy

Blog Posted by: Michael November, CEO

First In Home LLC

1-855-476-9826 ext 101

 

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