Benefiting From Sophisticated Lead Exchanges
BtoB Magazine recently revealed that in 2013, most U.S. B-to-B marketers (60 percent) identified generating more leads as their top challenge. In fact, the challenges of generating more leads or high-quality leads have been widely discussed in recent months. However, one of the underlying reasons for marketers not being able to generate a larger amount of high-quality leads isn't talked about as frequently: The inefficiencies of the lead generation industry that are hindering marketers from increasing sales.
Many publishers, buyers and lead generation companies are frequently "reinventing the wheel" by finding new ways to do the same things — connect buyers, build out campaigns and lead generation forms, set up ping trees, etc. After all, 80 percent of lead generation comes down to technology. Currently, the lead gen industry is very inefficient. Too many marketers are too busy fine-tuning labor- and time-intensive technical processes rather than focusing on marketing strategies. A great solution to solving these inefficiencies is to transfer all technical integration and administration to a lead exchange.
Many people are skeptical of lead exchanges because there are few successful examples, and many companies have failed at providing a well functioning, sustainable lead exchange. Nevertheless, an aggregated business model as offered by a lead exchange is much more efficient and beneficial to the lead gen industry because it can take care of tiring technical and administrative hassles.
What exactly are the benefits of Lead Exchanges? Consider the following:
- Technical integration offers ready-to-go lead exchange. As mentioned above, 80 percent of lead generation comes down to technology and technical issues, such as lead gen forms being user-friendly, using the right channel to attract leads, expediting the process of leads being pinged to buyers, using sophisticated APIs, and having the metrics of different buyers and verticals implemented correctly. These technical aspects are labor and time-intensive, which in turn hinder many small publishers from entering new verticals. A good lead exchange can lift this burden by not only taking care of all technical integration, but also offering ready-to-go lead generation in multiple verticals.
- Added value. Considering the recent shift from quantity towards quality, lead exchange platforms can offer added value. Many of the successful examples of lead exchange systems (LeadPile, LeadPoint, Lead Cube or ReviMedia) offer internal and external verification systems that guarantee lead buyers high quality and give publishers an insight into their traffic. Moreover, this means that fraudulent or substandard data can be eliminated. This also increases transparency in the industry because it offers insight into lead origins and provides quality seals. Lastly, lead exchanges are based on a volume model that allows affiliates to take advantage of a complete outsourceable back end.
- Lead value maximization. There are two reasons why lead exchanges can avoid fluctuating prices: One, most lead exchanges are based on a volume model. This means that prices work according to the universal laws of supply and demand. Two, sophisticated lead exchanges will have set bottom and ceiling prices, which mean that prices can only fluctuate within a limited time frame. There are also lead exchanges that have come up with internal tools and algorithms that prevent low-bidding buyers from obtaining large shares of leads and decreasing overall lead values.
- Service and assistance. Although there will always be direct contact between buyers and publishers, lead exchanges have a place in the industry by functioning almost as department stores. They offer large volumes and types of "products" that come with guarantees, assistance and customer support. Lead exchanges can also offer content, reviews and profiles that allow lead exchange participants to get a better idea of who they're trading leads with.
Frans Van Hulle is the CEO of ReviMedia, an online lead generation company.