By Sean Fenlon on April 5, 2008
LeadsCon Blog Coverage Table of Contents:
Must Know Advances in Lead Quality
Alex Baydin, CEO, PerformLine, Inc.
Dave Behn, Partner and Director of the Performance Marketing Group, Cole & Weber United
Matt Coffin, CEO, Coffin Capital and Board Member at eBureau and Mahalo.com (founder and former-CEO of LowerMyBills.com)
This panel was almost exclusively focused on lead scoring and lead segmenting, which was probably the single biggest buzz concept of the conference. I’m torn on this one. Let me start by saying that I’m a huge fan of lead scoring using regression analysis. At DoublePositive, we have been using lead scoring for over three years to determine which leads to send to which call center and when, and it has yielded significant value for us. I know there are top-tier lead buyers that do the same and make for great case studies for companies like eBureau and TARGUSinfo.
On the other hand, however, I believe it is probably the most over-hyped concept as of April 2008 give the reality of the lead buying universe. The VAST majority of lead buyers are just not there yet. They’re not even close – they’re still working on 101-level practices such as using a Lead Management System and considering Hot Transfers instead of raw Internet data leads for their sale professionals. Lead Scoring and segmenting is not rocket science, but it is high science. But this reminds me of my recent post regarding the Art vs. Science of Leads and Lead Generation.
Here’s where I am bullish, however. Many lead buyers will ask companies that provide lead scoring services, “OK, if I start scoring leads today, what do I with the information tomorrow.” Business process re-engineering can be extremely valuable, but it’s typically slow and risky as well. However, a company can glean IMMEDIATE value by putting leads into three scoring bands. The top-tier scores should go directly to the sales professionals immediately – they will convert the best and allow sales professional to remain extremely productive. The bottom-tier scores should go right into the trash can. Their probability of converting into a sale is so low, that there’s no sense in anybody even touching them. Perhaps the lead buyer would ask the lead seller for credit on those leads, but my instincts is that the credit policies of most lead sellers today is definitely not ready for those conversations yet.
The middle-tier scores (those that aren’t quite good enough to go directly to a sales professional, but better than a trip straight to the trash can) should go to DoublePositive in real time. In real time, we will attempt to make contact with the consumer, ask them up to three qualifying questions, and then transfer the live, genuinely-interested, and qualified consumer to a sales professional. We would charge the lead buyer on a per-transfer basis. DoublePositive is able to “squeeze more juice” from these middle-tier leads through the use of technology, process, and much lower-cost labor than the valuable sales persons’ time.
DoublePositive has some terrific case studies of our customers using this exact approach to lead scoring and segmenting, including a unique relationship we have with Cole & Weber.
Dave Wengel provided a brief presentation on TARGUSinfo, mainly to announce their new lead scoring and lead segment platform offering, LeadAdvisor.
In the Spotlight – Company Showcase
This was a great idea by Jay to have fresh-idea startup companies submit their short pitches to judges. I was in an out a bit and did not catch every company’s full presentation but the one that had me scratching my head the most was Glam Interactive. Sorry ladies, maybe I’m missing something, but it looks to me like you setup a social network of females working in the interactive space using the Ning platform and it’s now up to 600 members. I’m not sure that’s a business. At least I’m not sure I heard what the business model is.
AdReady, on the other hand, blew me away (and many others as well). They gave a fantastic live demo of how to setup a display advertising campaign with the same ease and elegance of setting up a Google Adwords campaign, with the ability to name your price (CPM) and your network (currently limited to RightMedia, Yahoo, and Google (presumably the Adsense publishers that have enabled display ads)). I’m going to watch these guys very close. What they’re doing is really slick and is an excellent complement to the slew of display ad exchanges and meta exchanges that are cropping up everywhere.
I tried not to pay much attention to technologies that connected two parties who are un-known to each other at the moment using just software. While tempting for our DoublePositive business from a cost-containment standpoint, we’ve never quite figured out how to make 100% of consumers or hot transfer-buyers warm up to computers talking to them. I hope that we do some day, but it’s probably not this decade. Companies such as eStara, Voicestar, Who’s Calling, etc. would probably agree with me when compared to performance of live human contact.