Source Connect refund policy and lead strategy

Please be aware that our general refund policy for the Source Connect Marketplace is ‘zero refunds for any leads’, except for exceptional circumstances.

Exceptional circumstances refer to rare and unlikely instances of an error on the part of Outsource Accelerator (ie an auction listing was messed up), or preventable fraudulent activity by a client (lead).

Please consider this pricing and refund policy when bidding for your leads.  You will find that these are still exceptionally good-value leads.

We have recently tightened our refund policy.  It was done with great consideration.  Please read this full explanation of our refund policy, our bidding strategy, and lead management suggestions.

 

Executive summary

  • Leads are not conversions.  It is likely only a small proportion of leads will convert into a sale.
  • We recommend that Outsource Accelerator leads are purchased in bulk so that there is no overemphasis on individual lead performance.  Lead swill convert, but it is a ‘numbers game’.
  • The pricing of leads is established by the market, not Outsource Accelerator.
  • The nature of leads is that they might not always respond.
  • Any sales funnel shows that there is a huge attrition between initial lead generation and final sale.  A 1%-5% conversion is considered a success.
  • Outsource Accelerator manages the top-of-funnel activities such as awareness generation, lead generation, and verification.  There are still many steps below this and a conversion.
  • Source Connect leads will convert, but it requires a comprehensive sales funnel, and nurturing.  Including nurturing, the sales cycle might be 3-9months or longer.
  • Outsource Accelerator specialises in the generation of verified leads.  It is able to do this at a greater scale and cost-efficiency than independent BPOs.
  • Outsource Accelerator incorporates a lot of hurdles and filters into the lead generation to ensure high quality, verified leads.
  • Outsource Accelerators leads are a fantastic way to complement your own lead generation activity with optimal time- and cost-efficiency.

 

Call to discuss

We are very happy to spend time on the phone, or email, with any of our partner BPOs to discuss anything about Source Connect marketplace.  Feel free to arrange a call via info@outsourceaccelerator.com.

 

Our error for focusing on individual leads

Originally we were very accommodating of refunds if a lead did not positively or efficiently respond.  However, we have reconsidered this, and feel that it is, on the whole, more fair and efficient to change this policy.

After considering this at length, we realised that Outsource Accelerator made a slight marketing and positioning error by having our BPO partners focus too strongly on individual leads, instead of ‘batches’ of leads.  focusing on the lead pricing structure and the bidding process around individual leads.

When we place too much emphasis on bidding and winning individual leads, then this naturally increases the attention and emotional investment in each lead. This thus increases the expectation from our BPO partners that each and every lead ‘works out’, or converts.

The reality is, that the majority of the leads will not convert.  Possibly as many as 90% of leads won’t convert.

If the focus shifts onto ‘batches of leads’, then it emphasises overall conversion numbers and processes.

 

Leads are not conversions

It is important to realise that ‘leads are not conversions’.  In fact, the majority of the time, leads will not become conversions.  And even if they do have a very high chance of converting, they will still have to be proactively and expertly progressed through the BPOs sales funnel.

We want to warn our BPO partners in advance that the leads we offer might be difficult to contact or properly connect with.  This is not because the details are wrong, or they are disingenuous leads, but because they are simply busy, distracted or indifferent.

 

The sales funnel fundamentals still apply

For any number leads to convert at any reasonable volume, they need to be managed within a well-constructed sales funnel.  Even with the most efficient and expertly managed marketing and sales funnels, there is immense funnel ‘leakage’.

I have pulled these images off the internet from reputable sources.  These images illustrate the significant attrition through each funnel stage.  The supplied figures suggest that net conversion rates are somewhere around 0.1% and 5% from the top of the funnel to the bottom (varies massively according to the type and extent of the funnel).

The main principle of a sales funnel is that you have to start with a vast volume of traffic at the top, and gradually these numbers will condense (through huge attrition), but become more certain, and eventually result into singular sales.

Note: Sales and marketing funnel dynamics vary considerably depending on the sector and product.  An outsourcing client sales-cycle is typically long and relatively complex – compared to other less involved B2B services.  A sales funnel also needs to consider repeated approaches, and nurturing of leads.

Outsource Accelerator manages the upper part of the sales and marketing funnel in order to produce the leads.  This is a big (and expensive) job in itself, however, producing verified leads, is really only the beginning of any sales cycle.  It is then the job of our BPO partners to continue with the sales funnel and convert the lead.

It is important to acknowledge, that even with 100% best practice – due to the nature of leads – a lead conversion of 5%-10% would still be considered a success.  Further, leads might convert immediately, in 6 weeks, or in 9 months… which requires an effective sales funnel to manage that.

 

The marketing and quotation funnels

Aside from the sales funnel, there’s also the marketing, or awareness, funnel, and our quotation funnel.  All of these funnels have their own considerations, friction, and leakage.

Outsource Accelerator, is in charge of the top-of-funnel early-stage lead generation and lead verification, and is incredibly valuable in this respect, but it does not really extend beyond this.

For the marketing funnel, it is possible for the clients (leads) to be in any of the awareness stages (awareness, interest, consideration, intent, decision, purchase), at the point of submitting a quotation request.  This doesn’t invalidate a lead if they are only at an early stage of the awareness cycle, but it makes them less likely to be a quick conversion.

We do attempt to establish buyer intent within our quotation process.  In the quotation form, we ask them if they: (1) want outsourcing information, or (2) want to outsource.  The readiness assessment spends considerable focus on assessing their ‘readiness’. This information is all presented within the quotation listing report.

 

The cost of a conversion CAC

The complete cost of a conversion is generally referred to as the CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost).  To calculate this, you need to allow for all of your marketing and sales costs (including advertising spend, and the staffing that manages the activities), divided by the number of sales (or conversions).

Hubspot provides a famous – or infamous – example of how CACs can get very expensive, quickly.  Hubspot is a software product (SaaS), ironically within the CRM and sales and marketing sector – so it is fair to assume that this company knows how to run and manage effective marketing and sales funnel.

The software services that this company offers cost anywhere from free, to $200-$400 per month – and above (for enterprise).  In 2016, Hubspot hit the headlines when it was revealed how much they spent on customer acquisition.

Each new customer acquisition was costing Hubspot USD16,000 each!  This meant that customers had to be retained for a minimum average of three years before Hubspot even broke even on their initial CAC ‘investment.

You can find a case study here about it, and many more on the web.

I use this example to illustrate that true, and complete acquisition costs really can be very high.  They are often a lot higher than people allow for. And it’s ironic that this example comes from a company which specialises in sales and marketing!

 

The cost of  a lead versus a conversion

Considering all of the above, it becomes clear that there would be a huge price/cost differential between a lead and conversion.

Outsource Accelerator is not a broker.  We are not selling clients. We are a marketplace specialising in connecting our partner BPO suppliers with our clients (business owners in the West)

As such, we ask that when bidding for a lead, you consider that it is indeed a lead, and not a converted client.

 

We cannot control the leads

Leads can be very fickle….  

I certainly don’t mean this in a derogatory way (the leads are our clients, after all), it is just the reality.  People are busy, especially business people. People usually have a million things on their plate at once. People’s inboxes are bombarded these days – there is so much noise.

It is because of this, that we might have a client (lead) spend 10-15 minutes completing our quotations form(s) and then and verifying their email, but then once outsourcing suppliers are connected to this person, they have completely moved on…

It is also possible that they are submitting inquiries with other outsourcing service providers at the same time as they do with us.  And they might have already spoken to other outsourcers. This is also natural, and something that we cannot control.

As a result, when our BPO partners are connected with the leads, they are sometimes slow to react, unresponsive, or have already moved on.  Again, this is the nature of leads, and i is something we cannot control. We cannot change this, it is simply important to be aware of it.

 

Lead bidding and pricing structure

We have spent a lot of time creating an auction interface for our lead marketplace.  The reason for this is that we want the marketplace to be as fair and transparent as possible – for all parties.

Outsource Accelerator does not set a price for the leads – despite these leads costing Outsource Accelerator considerable time and money to generate.  We pass them on to the market and let the market decide how much they are willing to pay for them.

Thus we suggest that you carefully read the listing reports, and decide for yourself how much you think this lead is worth for you.  We also suggest that you consider this article when setting your lead pricing.

We recommend that you make an allowance to bid and win 50-200 leads per month – depending on your growth aspirations (see below).

It is not us determining the price of a lead, it is the market.  It is you and the other BPO suppliers in the market. We believe that this is the fairest way for everyone (including – importantly – the client/lead).

We ask that the market realistically assesses the value of the lead – including the appreciation that not all leads will convert and maybe not even return messages.

 

What we do promise and what we can control

As mentioned above, Outsource Accelerator attends to the top-of-funnel aspects of the sales and marketing funnels.

We do invest a lot of time and money into the top of that funnel.  We verify all of the leads that come in to make sure that they have completed the form and confirm their email.  Even once they have done all this, we still reject maybe 25% of the leads through quality control filters.

As with any funnel, the more ‘hurdles’ in place, the more filtering, or leakage will occur.

 

Our funnel and filters

We might have 30,000 visitors to the website each month, of those, 10,000 might go to the quote page, of those, only 500 might complete the quote, of those only 400 might verify their email, and then of those, only 200 might be internally approved by Outsource Accelerator.

This leakage is expensive for us.  But this is a necessary evil and is a means of ensuring that we only pass along quality leads.

We could easily streamline the funnel, and 3X the number of leads we produce, however, if all hurdles and quality control is removed, then you will get too many apathetic, indifferent, uninterested, or hoax, people come out the other end of the funnel.

 

Lead hurdles and quality control

As a result, we need to carefully balance the hurdles, and friction and quality control measures.  Too little is not good. Equally, too much is not good either.  The implement hurdles and filters are listed below.  We are continually tweaking and refining them. Some of the hurdles we implement are listed below:

Hurdles

  • Quotation form 1:
    • This form contains 15 questions, takes 3-5 min minimum, and they are required to submit their email and other personal data
  • The requirement to verify their email
    • Before proceeding further, the client is required to confirm and verify their email address (responding to inbox email link)
  • Quotation form 2
    • Clients are encouraged to complete an optional second form (Feasibility Study).  This takes a further 3 minutes minimum and consists of another 15+ questions
  • Quotation form 3
    • Clients are then encouraged to complete an optional third form (readiness Assessment).  This takes a further 2 minutes minimum and consists of another 15+ questions
  • Premium listing option ($10)
    • Clients are then given an option to create a premium listing for $10.  This shows an increased commitment and buyer intent.

 

Filters and verification

  • Email:
    • We have received confirmation that their email is legitimate
  • Manual check up on client
    • We review their website, their email address and domain etc.
  • Review and report:
    • We review and write a report for every approved lead. We provide numerous quality identifiers within each report
  • Rating:
    • We provide an indicative quality score rating of each client based on their submission

 

As a consequence of the above stages, we can guarantee that the leads that make it into our marketplace are all genuine verified leads.  We can guarantee that the lead has demonstrated significant intent and commitment by spending the necessary time to follow the link visit our website, go to the quote page, complete the form(s), and verify their email.  

However, we cannot control the lead past this point, we cannot control their responsiveness, and we have no guarantee that they will convert.

 

We do not fake any leads

It goes without saying that we do not, and never will, falsify any leads.  Our reputation is invaluable to us, and we would not risk that for any short-term gain.  

 

Suggested lead strategy and funnel management

We suggest that you see Outsource Accelerator as your outgoing partner for the cost-effective early stage lead generation for your company.

We urge you not to look to specifically at the short-term success or failure of individual leads, but that you look at batches of leads, and treat it as a numbers game.

For best results, you should seek to connect with 50-200 leads per month – depending on your growth aspirations.

Once you are connected with a lead, then they should be integrated into your sales funnel process.  It is possible that the lead might not revert back to you immediately. It is possible that the lead might change their mind  It is also possible that the lead converts immediately, or maybe it converts after 9 months of nurturing. These are all very realistic outcomes for a lead.

Regardless, for best results, is critical that leads are placed into a sales funnel, diligently followed up and nurtured.  Leads need to be nurtured, offered value, and coaxed through the entire sales funnel.

 

Research your prospects

We suggest that you do some research on each lead.  Ensure that you completely read the entire information within the listing report, and especially any specific comments that they leave.  Ensure that you research their company any news about them and the company, and their Linkedin profile etc.

If you don’t get an immediate response, try contacting them by phone, and any other means of contact.

Source Connect leads should not replace your entire sales and marketing strategy.  They can, however, significantly complement and supplement it – at a very cost-effective price.  

 

Reality check:  some profound sales statistics

Sales are hard.  And expensive.

Below are some statistics that I have extracted from established sales authorities, studies and surveys.

Sales funnels are essential to growth

A Salesforce study shows that 68% of companies have not created, nor attempted to measure their sales funnel.  The same study shows that 79% of marketing leads are not converted into sales.

Lead conversion should be prioritised

A Hubspot study (2018) showed that only 69% of marketers felt that converting leads into customers was their top priority.  Without strict follow up and nurturing processes in place, leads are unlikely to convert

Lead nurturing is essential

It’s critical that leads are nurtured. Send numerous emails, answer any questions, add value, and make yourself available, and do whatever it takes to get in front of, and stay in front of that lead.  This study shows that nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads.

Multiple touch points required

This Marketo report shows that 96% of first-time ‘contacts’ aren’t ready to buy anything (yet). It doesn’t mean that they aren’t going to buy, but it means that they are unlikely to on the first connection.  Thus it’s important to create a way to keep track of them for continued communication.

Important to be persistent

This study shows that 44% of salespeople give up after the first rejection. This is well below, and contrary to the average requirement of five attempts needed to make a sale.  It’s important to use your sale funnel to keep track of your leads, and contact attempts – and don’t give up until you have thoroughly exhausted each opportunity.

Important to be consistent

This study shows that 63% of consumers need to hear a company’s claims 3–5 times before they actually believe them.

Even more important to be persistent

Studies show it can take up to 18 or more calls before you actually connect with a lead.

Many touch points

A study by Rain Sales Training showed that it takes 8 touches on average to get an initial meeting (or other conversions) with a new lead. And the initial meeting is typically just the beginning of a longer sales process.

Emails are ignored

On average, only 23.9% of emails are opened – even when you have an existing relationship with the person. This is why it’s important to persist, but also to try other means of contact.

Be different – somehow

The average person gets 147 emails per day.  And they delete 71 of them immediately.

Disciplined lead management

A Harvard Business Review study showed that over 24% of companies take over 24 hours to respond to a lead – and 23% never respond at all.

A game of large numbers

A HubSpot Research study found 72% of companies with less than 50 new leads per month didn’t achieve their revenue goals, compared to 15% with 51 to 100 new leads and just 4% for companies with 101 to 200 new leads.

Prompt action

Alternatively, Drift tested the lead response time of 433 companies. Only 7% responded in the first five minutes, and more than half didn’t respond within five working days.

 

Call to discuss

We are very happy to spend time on the phone, or email, with any of our partner BPOs to discuss anything about Source Connect marketplace.  Feel free to arrange a call via info@outsourceaccelerator.com.

 

We look forward to being your business partner for lead-generation.  See you in the marketplace.

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