Close The Loop With Online Lead Generation -- Or Else!
By its very nature, lead generation involves at least a two-step process before the true value of the lead can be realized. First, advertisers must generate a qualified lead and secondly, and perhaps more important, they must convert that lead to a sale. Without the sale, there is virtually no value to the lead.
So it only stands to reason that advertisers are remiss if they do not meticulously track a lead's quality by its source. Though it may sound intuitive, I am continually surprised by how many advertisers miss this critical component of a lead generation campaign.
If you are conducting online lead generation without closing the loop, it is highly likely that you are pouring money into the pit. Closing the loop entails evaluating the results of step two (conversion to sales) in order to optimize your efforts in step one (lead generation). It is not only imperative that processes are set up in order to gather lead quality by source, but it is also essential that this data is fed back to the source of your leads to achieve optimal results. This is what I refer to as "closing the loop."
My agency has reached the point that if an advertiser is not willing to close the loop, we will almost never manage their campaign. We have adopted this posture because we simply don't want to set ourselves up for failure.
It is also critical to compact the time that lapses before the loop is closed on every lead. Receiving a monthly report that details which leads were good and which leads were poor is simply not enough. Utilizing technology is critical to the online lead generation process, as it can help close the loop faster and in an automated fashion, therefore reducing costs.
Here's an example: an advertiser receives leads from online placements, and within six seconds of receiving the lead, its telemarketing facility connects with the consumer who submitted the lead. During those six seconds, its agency has not only documented the source, but also automatically bounced it against two third-party databases to ensure the lead's accuracy, legitimacy, and uniqueness. If the data is invalid or not unique, the "loop" is closed in 6 seconds. If the lead is valid and unique, the agency knows within a maximum of three days if the lead was contacted and if so, the status of the sale. If the consumer is reached, the agency knows the lead disposition as soon as the call is terminated. Theoretically, this could all occur within one minute of receiving the lead. Now that is a small closed loop!
Acting on the lead feedback is an advertiser's final step to close the loop. The optimization can and should be enabled by technology, resulting in generation of the highest quality leads, at the lowest allowable costs, while maximizing the volume within the advertiser's budget.