What is lead distribution? What are the benefits of lead distribution software? How do I use lead distribution software?
Whether you are new to the world of lead distribution or you simply want to ensure your current process is fully optimised, you need to be able to answer these questions confidently. This article will provide a comprehensive yet straightforward overview to all aspects of lead distribution, breaking down why you need it, how it works, and what the best practices are in terms of managing this process.
What Is Lead Distribution?
In the simplest terms possible, lead distribution refers to the movement of data (or “Leads”) from Point A to Point B.
Sometimes, you will see lead distribution more narrowly referred to as the assignment of individual leads to individual sales team members, but this is an over-simplification and refers to one small subset of lead distribution as a whole.
In reality, Point A and Point B represent a large number of interchangeable options. Similarly, the ‘movement’ of leads can also refer to a multitude of operations.
Lead distribution software is a way to ensure the most efficient, secure, and successful transfer of leads possible.
What Ways Can You Distribute Leads?
There are a number of ways in which you can distribute leads, each with its own set of pros and cons.
The following are the most commonly used types of lead distribution, colour coded in a simple traffic light system to quickly illustrate where the pros and cons of each option lie:
This is obviously a really relatively quick and easy option but it is not secure and it faces a large risk not being compliant. Moreover, the apparent speed is something of a false economy given the eventual extra work required when with dealing the handling of leads / extra work required to audit etc.
Password Protected Email
This offers a very thin layer of protection. It clearly affords a greater level of security than a regular email, but it still not particularly secure and you again face the risk of non-compliance.
An FTP or File Transfer Protocol is a more standard practice for lead distribution, offering a greater chance of accuracy and reliability, but it again lacks security when handling precious data.
SSH File Transfer Protocol. As above, but benefiting from the SSH protocol. It supports the full security and authentication functionality of SSH. In simple terms, more secure than above, but it still doesn’t offer the same level of sophistication in terms of advanced distribution options that you get from an API.
An Application Programming Interface. Using an API is fast becoming the standard in lead distribution. Once created, they can be used to automate the movement of data out to any other point (or in from any external point) in real time. This means more security, a faster journey and the ability to optimise the monetisation of your lead distribution through advanced distribution rules. The only area in which an API doesn’t achieve the top rating is “ease of set up,” which can be relatively complicated to a novice and require the help of a developer. However, once this set up is complete it affords a greater ease of use moving forwards.
If you would like to learn more about lead distribution through the use of an API you can do so in this article: Why You Should Use An API To Transfer Data
Where Can You Distribute Leads?
The answer to this depends largely on where you need to distribute your leads. In theory, you could distribute your leads to any location / system that supports them. Indeed, there are multiple endpoints to choose from, but the following places, people or systems are the most common recipients of leads:
- Email Service Providers
- SMS Senders
- Diallers(Call Centres)
- Any Database
- Telesales Agents
- Field Sales Agents
- CRM Systems
Ultimately, where you can distribute your leads comes down to what you do and who you are working with. If you’re a lead generator who is selling leads on then the destination may well be dependent upon your clients’ needs. If you are a brand or business looking to get more sales it may feel like a more internal process, but getting leads out to a sales rep is still a key form of lead distribution you must perfect.
Regardless of where your endpoint is, the same set of principles and values should apply: you must ensure your lead distribution is absolutely on point in terms of speed and security to optimise your ROI.
Ways to Maximise Revenue Through Lead Distribution Software
Using lead distribution software enables you to maximise revenue in a number of ways:
A ‘Ping Tree’ is a specific type of lead distribution software that facilitates the buying and selling of leads between lead generators and buyers, in real time.
Simply put, Ping Trees can be used to send leads out to various buyers based on predetermined rules, allowing you to sell the same lead multiple times or prioritise the buyer spending the most. By automating this process lead generators are able to obtain maximum value from any leads they are selling.
A ‘Ping Post’ uses a similar technique, but rather than automatically distributing leads out based upon predetermined weighting or order, it will allow the potential buyers to see minimal elements of the lead and they then enter into an auction to determine who the lead is distributed to. The highest bidder gets the full details of the lead.
Weighted delivery in lead distribution refers to the manipulation of pre-determined values which dictates a percentage or weighting of leads to each client. This can be decided based upon a range of factors of your choosing. For example, you have 3 buyers and distribute the leads in a ratio of 60% / 20% / 20%.
Delayed delivery in lead distribution refers to delaying a delivery of a lead until the point a certain set of predetermined conditions are satisfied.
It may go against intuition to think about delaying the delivery of a lead - indeed, we will soon press the importance of speed! - but there are rare occasions where the use of delayed delivery can be beneficial. For example, you may wish to avoid a clash of contact strategies and so a delayed delivery can be used to achieve this. Or you may wish to delay delivery until office hours open again, or you may want to day delivery for a far longer period of time (for example the renewal of an insurance policy).
Additionally, you may wish to delay distribution until a lead has taken a certain additional action after the point of generation, such as filling in an additional form or survey giving the sales rep more knowledge and increasing their chance to convert.
This is not a feature that is often used, but it can be a useful tool in certain campaigns.
Conditional delivery within lead distribution refers to the delivery of leads based on predetermined rules or conditions. For example: deliver to Destination X if the lead meets Condition A… and deliver to Destination Y if they meet Condition B.
In a way, this is the key to Lead Distribution in a more narrow sense as discussed in the introduction: the optimal distribution of leads amongst a sales team.
Lead Scoring within lead distribution takes this idea even further by assigning a score to a lead based on the chance of conversion. Some software does this by using condition sets to segment data based on certain criteria. There is also a more in-depth version of lead scoring which uses machine learning to identify patterns in data and assign each lead a score based on “intelligent” insights.
To learn more about this read the article: Lead Scoring: The Easiest Way To Optimise Performance
Lead Distribution and Reporting
When you are distributing leads you need to be able to accurately see the results through effective reporting. This is vitally important for assessing the entire picture and making improvements to your process.
Lead distribution software can be used to track the following:
- Work out your effective CPL
- Convert your click to lead costs
- See instantly accepted/rejected leads
- Track leads to conversions in real time
- Use webhooks to track real time status of leads
- Track performance by source
- Track performance by campaign
Ways To Orchestrate Effective Lead Distribution
In the introduction we discussed the idea of lead distribution as a movement or journey in a very singular sense (from A to B), but in reality, you may well be distributing hundreds of thousands of leads every single day. And what is more, you need to ensure you are generating the highest revenue from each and every lead meaning the ultimate endpoint may vary for each one. This can be complicated to manage without effective lead distribution software.
You can use lead distribution software to ensure your lead distribution is controlled and orchestrated to the maximise revenue on every single lead. There are a number of key software features that enable you to do this, including:
Adding Caps to Campaigns
Adding Caps to a campaign is a brilliant way to retain control of everything you’re doing, scaling up as and when suits, or ensuring limits and costs are kept in check on a campaign by campaign basis.
Adding Caps to Suppliers
As above, but this feature enables an even more granular approach to allowing you to apply caps to suppliers.
Creating delivery rules based on fields
This allows you to predetermine the very best route for any given lead. For example, based on the answers submitted on a form you may want to establish new routes of distribution, forking off to maximise ROI by sending certain leads to endpoints.
This is a great way to segment high volumes of leads into groups based around key traits. It will enable to create bespoke funnels, distribute out to the best endpoints and ultimately achieve higher conversion rates.
Sometimes a CPL may vary depending on the information submitted within the lead. Dynamic pricing allows you to retrospectively amend a lead cost based upon the predetermined conditions applied to the campaign. Simply put, it’s a way to maximise total ROI by making marginal gains on a more granular level.
Improve the Quality of Your Leads via Effective Lead Distribution
When thinking about lead distribution it is important to not think of the lead’s endpoint as the end of the entire journey. Ultimately, the final destination we should really be aiming for is conversion.
We will discuss the next stages of how to optimise conversion after the point of distribution shortly, but for now, let’s look at ensuring the leads themselves are arriving as qualified and as full of potential as possible.
There are a few things you can do, as part of your lead distribution, that maximise the quality of the lead before it arrives. These include:
Validating your leads in real time
We estimate approximately 35% of all leads currently generated can be eradicated - saving you huge money - before they even arrive at the post of distribution onwards. This means eradicating, in real time, all fraudulent data.
To learn more about validation, please read: How Much Is Lead Fraud Costing You?
Deduplicating your leads
Sometimes duplicate leads exist. It’s inevitable. But you or you clients should not be paying twice for the same lead. Run deduplication and stop this from happening.
Send to endpoint most likely to convert
As discussed above in both Conditional Delivery and Lead Scoring, knowing the endpoint where conversion will most likely take place is a newly emerging aspect of lead distribution that is fast becoming the essential way to maximise revenue and boost ROI.
Use Machine Learning to adjust contact strategy
Do you know if a lead is more likely to convert if you text rather than call? Do you know that a lead will convert if you call them in the morning, but not if you call them in the evening? Do you know a lead will convert if a female sales rep calls, but not a male?
No, you don’t. Machine learning does.
Remove leads unlikely to convert
Sometimes, it’s just as important to identify the leads that won’t convert so you can consequently only contact the leads that may. By using techniques such as lead scoring, the ability to identify leads that have very little chance of converting can be just as beneficial as identifying those that may. On a very simplified and basic level, this allows you to prioritise which leads to pursue and saves you time and money ringing them.
For more about the problems lead distribution can help solve, please read: We Need To Talk About Lead Distribution
How to Improve Your Conversion Chances After a Lead Has Been Distributed
Hopefully, after this, you can begin to ensure your lead distribution is on point. But, it will not matter if the rest of the funnel is not fully optimised to achieve conversion.
If the follow up is not equal to the distribution then everything collapses as one. Here are some extra tips to ensure the end of your funnel is on point and your chance of conversion is as high as possible:
Get in contact with the lead ASAP
There is likely nothing more important than this one truth in lead distribution. The sooner you can contact the lead, the more engaged they will be, the more likely they will convert. Indeed, just look at the numbers:
What were you looking at an hour ago? 30 minutes ago? 10? Can you remember? Our data would suggest the average person can’t either…
Your chance of simply being able to contact a lead is approximately 9 times greater if you call them within the first 5 minutes. Utilise this!
What is more, the chance of actual conversion is 5 times less if you wait just 5 minutes before calling! It is not dramatic to say that every second counts. This again reflects why real-time lead distribution is absolutely essential to performance.
Send out an immediate follow up email
You may want to consider sending out an auto email /SMS to the consumer as soon as they become a lead. This can help solidify the next actions, allow you to put a link to a purchase page, and give any agents something to refer back to before a call.
Sending an immediate follow up email after a call can also be really important for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it allows you to set out the key points of your discussion. They may even go and re-read this multiple times without feeling the pressure of a phone call. Secondly, they are more likely to engage with an email directly after a call, something which you will benefit from should the lead be placed into a nurturing funnel.
Always be open and transparent
This should seem obvious, but it’s worth putting down. People respond well to honesty and transparency. Ensure your need to Sell doesn’t stop you or your team from being open about your intentions… it will always be a false economy.
Separate your leads into types and build bespoke funnels
People are all different. Remember this. Get as granular as you can with your marketing funnels to optimise results through bespoke messaging.
Be sure to understand a lead’s entire journey
If you are calling someone - or distributing a lead on for someone else to call - you need to understand every single action that person has taken to arrive as a lead. What did they see and what do they want? Can you help them?
Do not give up after one attempt
Sometimes you need to play the long game. There is huge opportunity and rewards available for those with patience and persistence.
You have a sale… now cross sell
Finally, although conversion may seem like the ultimate goal, there are opportunities to be taken even after this through the chance of cross selling other products. Utilise this opportunity!
Lead distribution can be used to massively increase your performance by optimising the methods of sending leads out, increasing conversion rates and ensuring each lead generates its maximum possible revenue. To comply with the best practices of lead distribution, lead distribution software can be efficiently used to help you maximise results and automate as much of the process as possible.
Refer back to this article if there is any doubt about any aspect of your lead distribution, and once you have optimised your process be sure your follow-up is on point too!