Jeff Solomon, CEO of our competitor Leads360, has an interesting post on push v. pull methodology of lead management. Since our system is a “pull” system I thought I would share why we elected for this methodology and have shown through client successes that it directly affects conversion rate.
I debate with Jeff that a push system more quickly gets a lead to the right person. In fact, if the organization is managing their lead to sales capacity the timeliness in getting to a lead should be equal on both systems. I have always maintained, even when I was running high performance mortgage sales teams, that throttling the lead distribution based on productive performance (taking action on leads) and ensuring that leads don’t drop into “dead” queues was the key to my success. So, in selecting a push v. pull lead management system is typically a commitment to a certain sales tempo. A push methodology will lend to sales people expecting leads to be “given to them” and in my experience a lower regard for aggressively responding to customer inquiries. While, in contrast a pull methodology creates an expectation that every lead is “earned” by meeting the last customer’s needs or at least responding quickly to their request. So, I think in the category of tempo and creating high velocity sales teams–the pull methodology is superior.
Time to Initial Contact
Although I conceded that in sales organizations where the sales velocity is high there should be no difference in push v. pull in time to contact. There is still, in the push system, the opportunity or the dreaded “dead” queue. Inherently, the push system allocates each lead to a user on the system. However, is that user logged-in, is he or she on that well deserved two week vacation, or do they even still work at the company? In a push system you had better be very active in user management or you may allocate valuable leads into “dead” queues and once allocated they can be very difficult to see–this can be a very expensive mistake. The last mortgage sales shop I ran we had thousands of sales people and a push system. Managing users in any mortgage shop can be daunting with the generally high turn over, but as the organization gets to that size it can be nearly impossible. We were routinely finding hundreds of leads in “dead” queues–that equals thousands of lost dollars and hundreds of disappointed potential customers.
This is a critical component to the conversion equation and one where push v. pull dramatically differ. In the push system leads are put into queues and it is entirely up to the sales person to effectively manage their pipeline. What happens in the average case is you hope the sales person calls the lead even once much less the 5-7 contacts it generally takes to close a lead. In contrast, the pull system continually forces pipeline leads back to the sales person until a final disposition is reached; compelling the 5-7 contacts. Add to this the power of a conversion engine like icoSales that is continually allocating the next highest probability to close and you have guaranteed conversion rate lift.
One final critical factor in increasing sales velocity and conversion is the consistent and disciplined sales process. The difference between the methodologies is once again one of enforcing tempo. The push approach puts a lead in a sales queue and hopes the sales person does something that acquires that customer (note the lack of accountability in the sales process). The pull system compels the sales person to annotate and disposition every lead in order to “earn” the next lead. This creates the consistency in the sales process and feedback for team leaders and marketing.
So fundamentally, the push v. pull debate is one of sales velocity. The pull method will always produce more sales and higher conversion if you maintain an accelerated sales tempo. The method inherently enforces this behavior in organizations committed to high performance sales teams.
My recommendation: If you want a push system use your email inbox. That is a push lead management system and has the advantages that your sales force already checks it routinely, you probably already have one, and it is probably more cost effective than buying and implementing a push lead management system, but I guarantee you will lose at least 3-5% off your conversion rate. Can you afford that trade-off?