A consumer’s view of list purchasing (telemarketing)

“Hello, this is Samantha with Acme Insurance, may I please speak with Ms. Downing?”

This is the 4th call in as many weeks that I’ve received from a random insurance company, regarding a request that I allegedly submitted for information on insurance that very morning. The previous month, I received a total of 6 calls from online education companies who insisted that I had requested to be contacted via a web form – which I definitely had not.

So I do what any Revenue Marketer™ would do: I begin asking questions. Initially the callers, (sometimes rather defiantly,) insist that I did submit a request to be contacted – perhaps I simply forgot about it. But when my politely confused questions begin to corner them down lines of inquiry regarding specific URLs and IP addresses from which these alleged form submissions had come, or how it is the information they have on me is either out-and-out wrong (I’ve never had an AOL email address) or more than a decade obsolete, they relent, explaining that my information had been purchased from a third party vendor.

Ever the concerned consultant, I advise the now mortified callers to inform their management of the mediocrity of the lists they’ve spent hard-earned budget on, and suggest they demand a refund from their vendor, or sever ties entirely. In one particularly gratifying occasion, I pleasantly explained to the very embarrassed caller that I am already a customer and using the very product about which they were calling.

In this anecdote, we learn a few things:

  1. When it comes to leads, you get what you pay for. Purchase a list from a lesser quality vendor and you may end up with quite a few of your prospective customers thinking ill of your brand and verbally abusing your representatives. Procure a list from a reputable, industry-specific list distributor and you may be quite successful. Spend a couple months actively nurturing your database with carefully targeted messaging and offers, while being responsive to their digital body language, and you may have even more revenue-generating relationships.
  2. Once you get a customer, treat them like gold – know who they are in your database and treat them accordingly. All purchased lists should be scoured for existing customer information and de-duplicated against the rest of your database. This is important, not only to avoid pestering existing customers and embarrassing your brand, but also so that you can be sure you’re getting your money’s worth from your vendor, who will often refund or replace duplicate leads. These steps may vary in difficulty, depending on the quality of your data management processes, but it’s worth it to keep the people who are engaging in your services happy and thinking well of you.
  3. Don’t have your call script state that the caller is directly responding to a form submission from earlier that day when this is not the case. You never know when you’ll have a data nerd like me on the other end of the line who will grill your representatives for the IP address of the form submission. And, although I imagine it goes without saying, do not advise your representatives to suggest that the lead has forgotten that they submitted the request earlier that day. Consumers are not dumb.

I am by no means saying that purchasing lists is necessarily a poor business decision. Rather, I wish to highlight the fact that not all vendors are created equal. Marketing is about creating relationships between your brand and the people who might find it interesting or useful – not blasting leads. Purchasing a low-quality list means that you a) have no certainty that the people you’re spending money, time, and resources contacting will have any interest in your offer and b) that the information you’re using to contact them is accurate. Your objective as a marketer is to generate quality leads for your sales organization and to foster positive relationships with your brand. Shoddy lists will accomplish neither of these objectives.

PS: To list vendors out there – please stop selling inaccurate information about me.

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About Elizabeth Downing
Elizabeth is an Associate Revenue Engineer for the Pedowitz Group working on the Revenue Engineering team. She is a Marketo Certified Consultant, working with Marketing Automation, content development, Inbound and Outbound.

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  • Posted by Elizabeth Downing
  • On 06/22/2015
Tags: marketing automation, revenue marketing, nurturing leads

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