38 Episodes into the B2C Lead Generation Podcast, we welcome back our first ever guest - Joe Williams from Version Two - to have a look at an interesting idea within the world of lead generation and lead buying: the impact of agents on conversions. We try and examine just how big of an impact individual sales agents can make on conversion rates with a case study based on Joe’s recent experiences.
Below are some of the key ideas discussed during the call but be sure to check out the full podcast with links at the bottom of the page.
You’ve recently collected some data on how sales agents massively impacted the leads you were sending to people. Can you tell us about that?
Joe Williams: Yes that’s right. It was pretty eye-opening for us. We run loads of lead generation campaigns in the UK for clients who want insurance quotes, or mortgages, whatever. So somebody will go online, read one of our articles, clicks through because they want the solution, fills in the the form to get a quote because they want a call to receive that quote.
So we’re always measured on a CPL we can achieve, but the ROI and the contact rate / conversion rate of those leads. And we always do quite a lot of analysis and feedback loops on what’s driving conversions, what’s driving quality, based on the media, based on the ad spend, the ads, the sites people are seeing the ads on, based on the content we’re producing. But we got some data and the client had included their rep data on a new column as well - just an ID number on all the reps in their business - and we just did a pivot table by that and were like “Shit, okay, 80% of all their sales came from 50% of the reps.”
It was a six week test, and we were being benchmarked on a 7% conversion rate, when actually the 50% of the reps who could sell were delivering a 10% conversion rate. It’s just the overall conversion rate on the leads we sent was being diminished by the 50% of reps who couldn’t sell, where their conversion rate was 2.5%. So the delta of conversion rate between reps wax 4X, in terms of 50% had a 10% conversion rate and 50% had a 2.5% conversion rate. It was just like “Wow.”
I mean this if fine if you’re an established lead provider delivering loads of volume to that business because it averages out, right? But what happens for new marketing channels is the marketing manager just sets a CAP and says “Hey, we can test 50 leads,” at which point it’s completely pot-luck if those 50 leads will go into the 50% of reps who are good or bad, and what those percentages are.
And they’ll come back to us as a business, or to any lead provider, and say something like “Your conversion rate is 6%. Can you improve upon that?” So yeah, we can do, but really the improvement should be getting a bigger data set and working across a larger percentage of reps because that is the biggest driver of whether these leads convert or not.
No one really talks about this, but within the lead gen space, the biggest driver of whether or not the leads will convert is often the person who picks up the phone and talks to the customer.
So what did you do next? And what did the company do when this was pointed out? Was it acted upon in any way?
No, actually. So the sales manager knows that is an issue, right? It’s not brand new information that some reps perform better than others. I don’t think they know the true extent of the numbers. They’re always looking to improve performance, whether that’s by cutting the bottom 10% or whatever, but when you tell them that the top 50% is 4 times better than the other 50%, that’s pretty hard hitting.
And this may be a state of the market. I know, from speaking to a lot of lead buyers out there, hiring good people is really tough, and attrition is almost the worst it has ever been, so I think this goes into training and incentives. We’ve even started offering prizes to some of our lead buyers, which shouldn’t really be on my money but it is, to work our leads.
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