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The way forward for sales leads in the moving industry

Feb 17, 2015
Ian Thomas, Operations Director of Ship-Stuff.com, looks at the development of the sales leads industry for movers and considers what the future might hold.



When considering where we are going, I often find it a good idea to look at where we have been, as I believe it gives plenty of clues as to which direction we may well be taking as we move forwards.

It started with …

10 years ago, the first wave of Internet penetration was reaching its high-water mark. Every desk, if not quite every home, had for the first time ready access to the Internet. But with connection speeds somewhat ‘narrower’ than today people were struggling to find practical uses for this new gadget. Enter the Internet search engine, ”Goodbye” dusty Yellow Pages, and “Hello” to company websites.

Consumers were able to search for products and services not just by name or address but by whatever information the company was prepared to share via its website. An opportunity not fully grasped by many moving companies, more familiar with their own operational issues. A basic, company information website was built with the help of the computer savvy guy from accounts, but it hardly seemed to represent any more of a strategic advantage than the fax machine, leaving consumers no better served than with the telephone directory.

From then until now …

As with any unfulfilled business opportunity there will always be someone who tries to fill the gap, the ‘Sales Leads Generators’.

Internet companies searching for a way to demonstrate the potential and strategic value of the Internet started to create their own comparison websites. Sites that aggregated one Internet search based on service & location into several useable results for the website visitor. And once they saw that by supplying visitors’ details to the companies in the results they very quickly realised that had hit on a very special ‘win-win-win’ formula.

  • Win – consumers got several useful results from one Internet search
  • Win – moving companies got very warm ‘point of sale’ sales leads
  • Win - for themselves - profitable work for their specialist Internet teams.

Happy Ever after?

“No.” The world moves on and with more competition, ever changing and sophisticated public and search engine logic, costs have risen and margin for both the movers as well as the lead generators has fallen.

Consumers spoilt by smart devices, faster Internet speeds and mature web services, have become more critical of the information they find online. Pushing the requirements for the company website well beyond the capabilities of the savvy lad from accounts and stretching the capacity of the sales lead generators.

And as more Internet companies recognised lead generation as a profitable business more comparison sites were launched. I suspect your sales departments spend more time fielding calls from sales leads suppliers than acting on the sales leads themselves, leaving moving companies, initially excited by the stream of warms sales leads provided, frustrated by the low quality of the leads delivered.

So is it all over?

I don’t think so. There is a new generation sales lead generators emerging eager to return to the core values which saw sales lead generation initiate and drive double digit growth for over ten years.

These companies are looking to reinforce the value proposition;

  • For the consumer
    • Peer to peer review and customer ratings in a single web search.
    • For the moving company
      • Professional profiles that constantly rank highly in search results.
      • Validated leads checked for accurate information.
      • Variable pricing based on estimate move value.
      • Custom source & destination locations tailored to support each organisation.
      • Integration into multiple supply and planning systems.
      • For the sale leads generation companies
        • In strategic partnerships, constantly reducing the cost of new business acquisition.

So how do you maximise your ‘Win’?

Before you invest heavily in your own site and internet strategy be aware that consumers will always compare. When they find your site they will always find sites belonging to some of your competitors. Comparison has been facilitated and encouraged by the Internet. So a ‘unique’ lead provided by your own site will always come with an element of competition.

The design of your website will need to be optimised to turn each visit into a request for information. Your site needs to provide a secure environment as these sites are favoured in search results and you’ll need to run acquisition campaigns for each search engine in your target markets. Add to that the complexity of maintaining your site for each browser or device type and you will see that ‘going it alone’ isn’t going to provide you a stream of cheap, high quality competition free leads at all.

Use your lead generators wisely?

Leads generators are able to provide cheap leads by aggregating their expertise and marketing budget over several companies. Providing the most cost effective leads possible.

But some have got complacent. Do you use a single sales lead provider today? And have you used them for many years? Well maybe it’s time to consider multiple providers so that you can continually compare their actual sales performance. Can they offer you more in terms of a better fit to your existing or planned operation? Are they able to integrate their leads into your sales or planning applications?

Are you paying a single price for each lead regardless of the source or destination location? Or are you paying a single price per lead regardless of the move size or type? A modern sales lead generator will support flexible pricing based on world region, move size and type meaning you can tailor you leads supply to match your operational requirements.

‘Word of mouth’?

Companies say that they find this sort of referral generates more actual sales. They are probably right. But don’t forget that these value chains of referrals start with a genuine ‘new’ customer recommends your company. The best source of these ‘new’ customers are the fresh sales leads harvested for you from the Internet.

More information from Ian Thomas or Sebastiaan op’t Hof at www.ship-stuff.com


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