The Pros and Cons of Third Party Sales Leads

Are Third Party Sales Leads Killing Your Brand?
In an effort to grow their businesses faster, and simplify the marketing process, Sales and Marketing Managers have succumbed to the simplicity of acquiring third party sales leads. But what are you giving up when you no longer generate your own leads? The consequences may be more severe than you know.

Being in the Spotlight – Generating an Online Brand
Whenever a web-based sales lead is generated, somebody, somewhere, had to visit a website and fill out a form. The question is, whose website is it? Which website is being branded? When a company relies too heavily on third party leads, they forego their own branding in favor of the third party website. Today, there are countless companies that have no web identity, because their websites are not actively marketed to generate sales.

Your Own Lead Will Out-Perform a Third Party Sales Lead
While third party sales leads provide a simple and quick solution for generating sales, you should not abandon hope of generating leads yourself. When you generate your own lead, your money goes much further than you may think. By marketing your company, you brand your company. People remember your links, bookmark your website, pass on your email, and recommend your company. When you are fully vested in third party leads, you loose the enormous benefit of establishing an online identity.

So what is the big deal about generating your own sales lead?

  • What is really happening with your third party sales lead? When a lead is generated you get your copy, but does someone else also get your copy? Is your lead resold after it has aged? Will some email house in China start sending spam to your leads? Odds are, your sales leads are not as unique as you think.
  • When was the last time a third party sales lead made your phone ring?
  • Imagine, for example, that 10% of your leads convert to a genuine sale. What happens to the other 90%? Many of these people simply are not quite ready to buy, or they are shopping around. When they are ready to buy, do you want them to come back to you, or go back to the third party website where they originally submitted their request?
  • When friends or family members recommend websites and pass on links to each other, is it your link, or a 3rd party website link? Who gets the bookmark? Through branding effects and peer recommendations, a moderate volume of sales leads can be generated for free with a higher closing-ratio than non-referred leads.
  • What value does your website have? Does it do anything more than show your office hours and a contact phone number? If you tried to sell your company, would your website be an asset?
  • Do your sales leads accommodate you, or do you accommodate the leads? If you generate your own lead, from your own website, you can collect any information that you need, in any fashion that you need it. Give your sales team information that they can really use to size up a prospect, rather than giving them the information that someone else thinks that they need.

All things in moderation…
The answer is that you probably do need third party sales leads, but you also need to generate your own leads. Depending on the size of your company, it may be a daunting task to acquire all of your leads by yourself. Third party leads should only supplement your self-generate leads, and not vice versa. Easier said than done? Not really… turn to search.

  • (1) The nature of web search yields a high-interest sales lead. This is not a casual click, the potential customer is actively seeking your services.
  • (2) When friends recommend websites and pass on links, it is your link and not the 3rd party web link. Through branding effects and peer recommendations, a moderate volume of leads will be generated at no cost.
  • (3) The website that customers look at should have the same message and company name that is used by the sales rep., reducing customer confusion, and increasing closing rates.
  • (4) Search-based PPC campaigns are completely flexible and can be turned on or off, or scaled up or down, almost instantly. You can turn PPC campaigns off over the weekend or holidays, when your sales floor is unavailable. There are no minimum budget requirements, campaign durations, or prepay.

So your website is not a conversion funnel?
If your website is efficient, and can readily generate leads from search traffic, then your set. However this is not always the case, in-fact, very few websites are designed as a lead conversion hot-spot. That’s okay; here is a simple, low-cost solution.How it works:
Have your web design team build a custom website for your company, mimicking the basic colors, layout, logos, etc. of your primary corporate website. This can be a near-duplicate of your primary corporate website, but suited to convert search engine traffic, and it can be just a few pages in size. This micro-site can be a canonical domain or sub directory of your primary website, or a new domain all-together, whichever works best for you and your designers. Next, you can begin to build PPC campaigns with your favorite search engines, such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Start off conservatively, so that lead costs do not get out of control.

Before long, the inquiries coming off of your own website will become the most coveted by your sales team. Your phone will start ringing, as visitors to your lead generation website make inbound phone calls as well as generate web-based leads. People will start to bookmark your website, and sales based on referrals will pick up. As long as you’re going to be spending money generating sales leads, why not also brand your company and let your money go further? Put yourself in the spotlight, and wedge out your own place on the web.

About the Author:
Chris W. Sharp is the founder and President of SharpNET Solutions, and industry leading Internet markering company since 1999. You can visit SharpNET’s corporate website for additional articles and Internet marketing services at

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