• Michael Hudson

Leads vs. Contacts


Knowing the difference could stop you getting ripped off big time

We were approached this week by a "Lead Generation" vendor who claimed to have "Leads" on a certain type of installed base software client. Let's leave aside for a minute, the irony that a "Lead Generation" vendor was marketing a list of a type of installed base that we have no interest in because they did not understand our needs.

"OK" we thought, "we will play along" and proceeded to trade emails with the vendor until they realized we understood the business after which they stopped responding. What they were in fact selling were contacts not leads. Knowing how to distinguish the two could save you a boatload of money. Let's start with some basic definitions:

Lead Definition (our version)

A prospect that has shown at least some level of interest in your product or service as indicated by behaviors or actions. Those actions could include any of the following:

  • Responding to a marketing email

  • Responding to a web ad

  • Response to a social media ad or posting

  • Responding to a telemarketing call

  • Filling out a web contact form

  • Responding to a content syndication article

  • Derived intent drawn from web browsing behavior.

The main point is that the prospect has done something to indicate at least some level of interest to warrant pursuit and follow up.

Contact Definition (our version)

The Name and company details of a contact that fits the profile of the type of people you are trying to reach. A good contact record will typically have the following attributes as a minimum:

  • Name

  • Title

  • Company

  • Seniority

  • Department

  • Email

  • Phone numbers

  • Company industry

  • Company size

  • Location

  • Website

The contact may fit the profile of the people you are targeting but at this point has done nothing to indicate any kind of qualified interest in your product.

The reality is that a contact is a precursor to a lead. If you have the correctly defined contacts and a good message that appeals to them, you are more likely to get actual leads as a result.

The financial differences between a Lead and a Contact can be dramatic. A lead in various levels of qualification can (sometimes referred to as Cost-per-lead or CPL) can range from $15-$75 on average. A high quality, accurate contact record can be sourced for as little as $1. That is why it's important to know the difference.

The Bottom Line

If you are approached by a lead generation vendor claiming to have leads or qualified leads, insist on seeing the behavior/action criteria the the vendor is using to define the lead as such. These could be call records, open and click reports, download reports. If they can't produce it then you know you are being offered contacts and maybe not very good contacts. Given that the vendors first action was to try and mislead you, we would think twice about doing business with them. However, if you do decide to do business with them remember the huge difference in pricing between leads and contacts.....

About Contact Persona LLC

Contact Persona is a specialist data quality service vendor with multiple offerings covering CRM data quality, inbound lead processing, custom curated database building and field event solutions. Our approach is consultative in nature and we provide input and our professional advice with all our offerings. Check out our solutions at: https://www.contactpersona.io/solutions

#LeadManagement #ABM #BusinessDevelopment #DataQuality

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