Strengthening Customer Relationships Through Lead Generation
More and more, large companies with extensive customer databases are beginning to examine the merit of lead generation as a way to build customer loyalty and to better monetize existing customer relationships. Let me explain.
Some might be skeptical of using lead generation as a relationship builder, as lead generation has sometimes had a less than stellar reputation for quality. Up until recently, there was a lack of innovation in this space, and buyers were required to purchase leads in batches at fixed prices, regardless of quality or the specific details in the lead. A lead exchange, however makes quality control, increased segmentation and variable pricing possible. By incorporating a feedback mechanism and bid based pricing, buyers can spend more for higher quality leads, and less for lower quality leads, or not buy lower quality ones at all.
It is now possible for a large company with a large group of customers to better leverage those customers by offering its own branded leads exchange. Thereby, in addition to selling that customer base its core product, it also helps its customers generate sales. Also, by leveraging its brand name it would be able to offer its customers a reputable marketplace to source its leads from. In many cases, such companies have large Web sites where information-seeking consumers visit on a regular basis, and a branded lead generation exchange would allow the company to monetize this traffic.
For example, a large home improvement company might have an extensive database of contractors. These contractors are customers, but the company keeps these professional customers in a database separate from the consumers who buy products for personal use rather than business. However, the home improvement company realizes that they have an opportunity to offer their business and consumer customers a service that makes life easier for both.
By providing a self-branded lead generation exchange, the company can offer its contractors easy access to new consumers who need their services. A lead exchange would allow contractors to bid for the projects they want, as opposed to sorting through the clutter of batch leads. The contractors can strengthen their reputations by receiving customer feedback, which can be posted on the exchange. Meanwhile, the home improvement company helps consumers who may come to its stores or scour its Web site in need of a contractor. Consumers can set their specifications exactly and only be exposed to contractors with the expertise they require.
Such an exchange is beneficial for the company hosting it, as it could make money from each lead, while at the same time build customer loyalty. Building such a relationship allows the company to partner with its contractor customers and help them make money, offering a stronger bond than another company simply pushing products. At the same time, the company provides an added value to its general home use customers. In this way, the company builds loyalty with both parties, which is essential to success.
This model could be applied to essentially any company with a large database of customers that could potentially be buyers and sellers of each others' services. A credit reporting company, for example, could create an exchange for borrowers and lenders, both of which are already purchasing the credit reporting company's services. A solutions provider for the automotive industry could incorporate a leads exchange to further monetize its current relationships with auto dealers, lenders, credit reporters, etc. The list goes on.
Lead generation isn't just for marketers and salespeople. It provides a great way to make money off relationships already in place, while building trust and loyalty with current and future customers.