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Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category

2012 Forecasts for Insurance, Mortgage, Higher Ed

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

January 19, 2021 — Ah, the New Year.  January always offers a chance to move forward with a clean slate and an eye for the future.  In that spirit, here are some blog posts that offer a look forward to 2012 and some predictions and previews for what the year has to offer in private-sector higher education, mortgage and insurance.

#1 - Five reasons why for-profit schools are here to stay via @washingtonpost – In this column, Jay Mathew’s begins his look at the future of for-profit education with a clear and definite bias against the institutions, and initial reluctance to review the book titled “Change.edu: Rebooting for the New Talent Economy” written by Kaplan’s Chairman, Andrew S. Rosen. While the book didn’t shake Mathew’s feeling completely, he noted “Rosen convinced me that for-profit educational ventures are here to stay.” He went on to detail five reasons why. http://wapo.st/sSAwCQ

#2 - The Mortgage Battlefield of 2012 via @NatlMortgagePro – John Walsh offers up his predictions for the embattled mortgage industry from the frontlines of the struggle, including continued low rates and the reemergence of innovative products. http://dlvr.it/12P29W

#3 - Experts 2012 Rate Outlook via @MortgageNewsMND – Rob Chrisman gives an overview of mortgage rates and industry predictions based on outlooks from industry experts Freddie, Fannie and others. Predictions anticipate a similar year to 2011, with HARP 2.0 and expected low interest rates throughout the year likely to have a positive impact. http://tinyurl.com/cwl8zfe

#4 - Three Ways Insurers Will Compete on Data in 2012 via @insurancetech –  highlights how analytics is likely to change insurers approach to underwriting, claims, and risk management in 2012 http://ow.ly/87ZXG

#5 – Health care reform you can expect in 2012 via @Bankrate – The piece looks at what patients, doctors, and insurers should expect from the pieces of the affordable care act going into law in 2012. http://bit.ly/zuUE7U

#6 – Insurance Veterans’ Forecasts for 2012 via @ijournal – The piece discusses the future of the industry in the coming year with nine different industry leaders to get a better grasp on what to expect. http://bit.ly/yjGcS0

#7 – 3 Key Challenges Facing Agents in 2012 via @ijournal - In this podcast with Bob Rusbuldt, CEO of Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America, Bob articulates what he believes are the three biggest challenges facing independent agents and brokers in 2012. http://bit.ly/z6gNSb

Inspiration from our sales team to yours

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

December 29, 2020 — Motivation and inspiration for selling can come from many places. To give you some fresh material for the “inspirational” section of your sales portal or even better, your Leads360 homepage message (hint, hint :-)), we conducted a poll of our sales team asking them for motivational sayings, quotes, movie lines, or whatever else they could think of that might inspire them. So from our sales team to yours – happy New Year and happy selling in 2012!!!

  • “We’re adding a little something to this month’s sales contest. As you all know, first prize is a Cadillac Eldorado. Second prize is a set of steak knives. Third prize is you’re fired.” -Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross
  • “Chance favors the prepared mind.” – Louis Pasteur
  • “Whether You Think You Can or Can’t, You’re Right”-Henry Ford
  • “What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight - it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower
  • “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” - Wayne Gretzky
  • “Big team little me.” – author unknown
  • “Forecheck, Backcheck, Paycheck!” - Gil Perreault
  • “Patience; this is the greatest business asset. Wait for the right time to make your moves.” – J. Paul Getty
  • “Only one thing counts in this world: get them to sign on the line which is dotted.” -Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross
  • “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” - Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  • “Show me the money” - Jerry Maguire
  • “Sell, sell, sell, my kids need money for college.” - David Villarama
  • “The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.” - Steven Wright
  • “Those who say it can’t be done are usually interrupted by others doing it.” - James Baldwin
  • “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” – Albert Einstein
  • “If it don’t make dollars, it don’t make sense” – Matt Wolcott @Leads360!
  • “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning how to dance in the rain.” — Author Unknown
  • “Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.”- William Jennings Bryan
  • “The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward.” – Amelia Earhart

3 Tips for Effective Text Messaging in Higher Ed Enrollment

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

December 7, 2020 — Recent Noel Levitz research found a growing number of students are beginning their school search via their mobile device and express a desire to be reached about enrollment and admissions via text messaging. The willingness to engage via text message only increases once the student has applied and deposited, according to a 2011 Bob Johnson Consulting study which found the following among high interest students (1) inquiries opting for text updates grew 35.8% between 2010 and 2011 and (2) deposits opting for text updates grew 43.1% between 2010 and 2011

These findings point to the importance of effective text messaging in the recruitment and enrollment process. To learn more about how early adaptors are using text messaging, we posted this question to a few higher education message boards: “Do you use text messaging in the enrollment process, if so how, and are prospective students receptive?” The post generated a lively discussion, below are a few of the key takeaways.

  • Establish relationship first: A student said “A less intrusive way to make this campaign effective is to only send warm texts and not cold texts. What do I mean? Establishing a relationship with a student first and let them choose the method of communication they are comfortable with.” Another LinkedIn group member noted “students are very receptive [to text messages], however, I only use this option when I have already talked to a student on the phone”
  • Let prospects opt in: One LinkedIn group member commented: “If you do like to text your prospects, ensure they like communicating that way and are using mobile devices. I have used text messaging in the enrollment process, retention efforts, to provide encouragement, and even job leads. The students are delighted…plus is saves their minutes.” Another commenter mirrored this sentiment: “I use text messaging and Facebook to communicate with our students. It seems the Y generation is more receptive to communicating via text and/or social media… My goal is to tear down barriers, raise their comfort level, and have them physically meet with me.”
  • Thoughtfully integrate: One student stressed “My android phone already receives ads that come straight to my phone … As a student, my preference would be to NOT get a barrage of text messages to my phone, but every once in a while a good reminder ‘in my opinion’ wouldn’t hurt.” Leads360’s SMS feature does just that – sending reminders at key points in the enrollment process. Example text messages might include: “looking forward to seeing you at 3 PM for the campus tour”, “I see it’s been a week since you got the application, reply if you have any questions.” We know prospects only want to get texts at the right times.
  • It is clear SMS has potential to change the way post-secondary schools approach prospects. Leads360 automated text messaging is designed to send automated texts during the enrollment phase, nurturing prospects without any specific effort from the admission counselor or enrollment manager. To learn more click here.

    Text Messaging for Sales Success

    Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

    Are your sales tactics dated? A barrage of repeated call attempts and e-mails may feel like the way to go in sales, but if they annoy or overwhelm the consumer they’re ultimately counterproductive. To maximize ROI, it is important to mold sales efforts to today’s savvy on-the-go consumers.

    And if you need convincing on consumer behavior, take a look at these statistics:
    The United States has more than 300 million wireless subscribers and a recent study by Pew Internet showed that at least half of Americans ages 18 to 29 send at least 40 text messages a day and half of those ages 30 to 49 send at least 10 per day. That exceeds the number of calls they’re making by factors of eight and two respectively.

    This doesn’t mean throw out all the tried and true best practices. What it does mean, is looking for a good mix of old and new sales tactics that will ensure a positive initial brand experience, and give you a leg up on the competition.

    By adding automated text messaging into the sales funnel, a savvy sales manager can open up a range of options for reaching the consumer. Here are a few tips for using text messaging for sales success:

  • Let prospective customers guide your practices: give your customers the option to receive text messages with appointment and deadline reminders.
  • Send friendly reminders: text messaging can be a nice alternative to phone or e-mail to provide a quick reminder of an application deadline, appointment, etc. Triocci University of Beauty Culture found that using texts in their recruitment was an effective way to remind prospective students of important deadlines and appointments.
  • Stay in touch with a busy customer that wants to respond on their time: a mortgage broker, for example, could use text messaging to communicate with a client who is often in meetings but wants updates and red flag notifications to keep the process moving forward and ensure he can lock in the quoted interest rate.
  • Appeal to the younger consumer: texting could allow younger potential consumers to absorb and respond to marketing information in a fashion they’re most comfortable with. You might consider running a promotion or contest via text messaging.
  • The new automated text messaging service offered by Leads360 are tailored to send texts with a timing and frequency balanced towards giving potential customers important, actionable information in a convenient, immediate package that ensures regulatory compliance. More importantly, the prospect’s replies go directly to the email box sales rep, eliminating the need to hand out cell phones to the sales force.

    We’d like to hear from you. How do you plan to use text messaging to improve the consumer experience?

    New Research: Mortgage Lenders Hurt Themselves With Unresponsive Customer Service

    Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

    Today is one of those days that we really take pride in at Leads360 because we were able to release new research into the wild.  Putting our latest study together took a lot of effort from many team members and required developing new proprietary processes just to collect highly accurate data.   After that comes all of the analysis, writing, design, and other associated hard work.  Today it’s available for you to read, use and enjoy. Download our new mortgage industry research.

    Mortgage Lenders Fail to Respond to Customer Inquiries

    New Leads360 Research Study Highlights Surprising Gaps in Responsiveness; 74% of Lenders Fail to Respond to Prospective Customers Promptly

    LOS ANGELES, CA-(Marketwire - Aug 10, 2021) - Leads360, the industry leader in sales lead management software which serves over 2500 banks, brokers, and lending institutions, today announced the findings of new research into sales effectiveness in the competitive residential loan origination market. This new study, entitled “Leading Mortgage Lenders Keep Prospects Waiting,” outlines how major mortgage lenders are failing to promptly and persistently respond to valuable new loan inquiries.

    Leads360 studied the inquiry response patterns of large lenders and compared their ability to promptly respond to new prospects by phone and email as well as the companies’ ability to thoroughly follow-up with leads over time. “Mortgage leads are valuable and extremely time-sensitive with hundreds of companies potentially competing to offer a very similar loan,” said Nick Hedges, President and CEO of Leads360. “We were shocked to find most lenders so cavalier about responding to loan inquiries. This research shows that there is a very clear opportunity for lenders to improve their customer responsiveness, originate more loans and better serve their customers, their communities and their shareholders.”

    According to the study, 74% of lenders, including leading mortgage originators JPMorgan Chase, CitiMortgage, and GMAC Mortgage, failed to call prospective customers within 24 hours of their initial inquiry. In general, lenders averaged more than 6 days to call a new loan inquiry and more than 50% of lenders failed to make more than a single attempt to call the leads they received. “Lenders should measure response times in minutes or seconds, not hours or even days,” said Mr. Hedges. “Lenders that continue to ignore the basic tenets of sales and customer service in the internet era will be destined to underperform compared to peers and competitors that have implemented the appropriate technologies and processes to compete at the speed that consumers expect.”

    The new study, “Leading Mortgage Lenders Keep Prospects Waiting,” is available for download at Leads360.com. See how each of the following companies performed across four key metrics and benchmarks:

    • Ameriprise Financial, Inc.
    • Branch Banking and Trust Company, a subsidiary of BB&T Corporation
    • JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. a subsidiary of JP Morgan Chase & Co.
    • CitiMortgage, a subsidiary of CitiGroup, Inc.
    • Flagstar Bank, a subsidiary of Flagstar Bancorp, Inc.
    • GMAC Mortgage, a subsidiary of Ally Financial Inc.
    • HSBC Mortgage Services, a subsidiary of HSBC Holdings plc (ADR)
    • Huntington National Bank, a subsidiary of Huntington Bancshares Inc.
    • Key Bank, a subsidiary of KeyCorp
    • MetLife Bank, N.A. a subsidiary of MetLife, Inc.
    • OneWest Bank, FSB
    • PNC Mortgage, a subsidiary of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc.
    • Provident Funding Associates, L.P.
    • Quicken Loans Inc.
    • Regions Mortgage, a subsidiary of Regions Financial Corp
    • SunTrust Mortgage, Inc. a subsidiary of SunTrust Banks, Inc.
    • U.S. Bank, a subsidiary of U.S. Bancorp
    • Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, a subsidiary of Wells Fargo & Company

    About Leads360
    Founded in 2004 and headquartered in Los Angeles, Calif., Leads360 develops software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions for managing sales leads. Distinguished by its focus on solutions that address the unique needs of businesses who sell to consumers, Leads360 is recognized as a market and technology leader, managing more than 40 million leads for over 5,000 clients. With a suite of solutions scaled for enterprise sales organizations as well as small businesses, the company offers the industry’s most comprehensive and configurable lead management platform.

    Leads360 enables companies to distribute, track, analyze and convert sales leads using a customizable lead management workflow. Professional services, including training and sales process consulting, are also offered to deliver a highly effective solution for converting sales leads. Businesses look to Leads360 for solutions that allow them to maximize their investment in leads generated both online and from traditional sources, and ultimately increase sales closure rates for greater revenue. To learn more about Leads360, please visit www.leads360.com.

    Follow Leads360 on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Leads360.

    Hey AdTech, how important is lead conversion?

    Sunday, April 25th, 2010

    The 2010 AdTech show in San Francisco was a hotbed of on and offline marketers primarily for B2C companies. Quite simply, there is no shortage of companies that will take your money and drive clicks and maybe even leads, but do they really care what happens after that? I’m not sure that they do. In speaking with nearly a dozen marketing service providers, that incidentally offered only a slightly varied product, I found a sharp lack of concern about conversion. Well, I shouldn’t be that harsh, they care, but not that much.

    Obviously if you ask about how well traffic converts, of course you can’t beat it. But in my experience the real test of quality comes in how much effort the marketer is willing to put into conversion after the lead has been generated. That means they need to care about what their clients actually do with the clicks or leads. That means they need to care about a part of the process they don’t make money from. Of course, any shrewd lead generator knows that when clients get better at this part of the process, they buy more leads; just ask Matt Coffin from LMB. But everyone I spoke to at AdTech didn’t give a “#%!!@$&” about it. Some were even quite vocal about it.

    It’s sad. For us it’s sad because we aren’t likely to get referrals for their clients to use our lead management software. I can pretty much guarantee they will convert more leads and subsequently spend more money, but why would they want that. Somehow the success of the lead generation industry, and it’s embracement of lead management software hasn’t quite permeated to online marketers at large. Maybe it’s no surprise that all the lead generators decided to stop participating in AdTech; maybe AdTech is still stuck in the 90’s.

    Four Stages of The Sale

    Sunday, January 3rd, 2010

    Traditionally there are four stages of the buying process that prospects must go through before they become customers; they are: Awareness, Consideration, Research and Purchase. As B2B, and to some extent B2C, marketers, we must do our part to help prospects navigate the chaos they are likely to find in each of these stages. The more effective we become at guiding prospects through this process, the more likely they are to become our clients and not our competitors’ clients.

    The first stage, awareness, may at first seem like a piece to the puzzle that we have no control over. We think the prospect themselves must come to the realization that they have a need. This of course does happen sometimes, but we do ourselves a disservice to not try and get involved early on. Think of it, if your company is the one that helped the prospect have the “ah-ha” moment, when they realize, wow, here’s my problem and I need to find a solution to it. That’s powerful. To be effective at this stage you have to throw a wide net because prospects need to find you that aren’t really looking for you.  You need to show up in places they are already at. You need to create and distribute content that is useful to them. You must become a voice; one that they just happen upon.

    Once a prospect is aware of their need they start to think about solving it. They may consider a whole suite of solutions, from doing nothing or building something internally, to finding a partner or buying a competitor. The possibilities are endless and it’s your job to stay top of mind and help prospects understand the pros and cons of each path. You’ll need to decide how pushy you want to be at this stage. If you already have a communication channel opened, you can push hard and try to convince them they want to look at solutions like yours. Or you can be more passive and let them figure it out for themselves. Our experience is that the latter works better. Ultimately you may lose a few more deals, but those you get tend to stick longer. If you’re in the business of retaining customers like us, that becomes pretty important. If you just sell widgets one time, well, maybe not as crucial.

    At the third stage the prospect probably has narrowed down the types of solutions that they want to look into. They begin searching for solution providers like you to help them. Hopefully you nailed it in stage one and two and they’ve already reached out to you. Don’t worry if they contact your competitors too, in the long run this help because your competitors reinforce the need for a solution like yours. As long as you have good competitive intelligence and a smart sales process, you should be able to win those deals (that may be a topic for another post). Now, as prospects consider you and your competitors you must help them realize value. We do this with a business case to help them see if working with us is going to be a fit; in other words, will it be a win-win relationship, because if it’s not, then someone is going to lose and that doesn’t work.

    The final stage is purchase, woohoo! Yes, here is where you make the money, but don’t forget this is also the stage the client gets a problem solved. If you are solving their problem from stage one, then you shouldn’t have to give your product away. You’re providing value and that’s worth something. Part of your value may be your price. Maybe you offer a cheaper solution than your competitors. Or you might have a better product with more comprehensive service and you charge more for that. Whatever your strategy is, stick to it. Finally, remember to deliver. Too often deals are closed then companies forget to give the client what they sold them. Sounds sill, but it’s all too true. They are on to the next sale. Incidentally, if you’re on a “buyer” reading this post, don’t forget to ask about that. Ask the sales person, how do you ensure you give me what I’m buying from you? They better have a good answer for you.

    As a buyer going through all this, it’s a useful exercise to assess where you are at in the process. This post is written for the sales and marketing professionals, but the insight is as useful to buyers as much as it is to sellers.


    Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

    Please join us on December 9th at 11AM Pacific / 2PM Eastern for a brand new webinar about how to understand and leverage the unique characteristics of your sales process.  You can register here, for free, in about 5 seconds.


    What Planet Are You On? Leverage the Differences between B2C and B2B Sales and Marketing

    Applying the 7 universal ground rules of sales and marketing and the 3 keys to lead conversion

    Knowing what factors are critical to success in your business is not as obvious as you may think. The most successful sales and marketing organizations understand which planet they are on, and they know which sales and marketing approaches align with their needs.

    Understanding the characteristics of your sales and marketing efforts are essential to achieving higher lead conversion and sales success.

    Sign up for this free webinar to learn how the 7 universal ground rules of sales and marketing apply differently to B2C and B2B sales. Find out what the unique characteristics of your sales efforts are, and see how to leverage the 3 keys to lead conversion using powerful lead management software from Leads360.

    From this webinar, you will learn:
    •    Questions for better understanding the rules of your target marketplace and sales process
    •    The 7 universal ground rules of sales and marketing
    •    The 3 key drivers of sales lead conversion
    •    How lead management software can boost your sales and increase ROI
    •    Why implementing the wrong technology solution can cripple your business

    We’ll see you there.

    How Many Times Should You Call Each Sales Lead? Read Our New Call Attempts Study

    Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

    Here’s what our own Nisheeth Singh had to say about the study:

    As you may have read on Lead Critic today, we released our newest research regarding the impact of call frequency on sales lead conversion.

    To misquote a famous author: “Elementary, my dear Watson”. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s written works never actually saw this phrase although the first and second parts of the phrase were seen in close association during conversations. But I digress.

    As many of you opined above and is the central premise of the paper (found here), sometimes the most obvious and logical actions are never taken by lead buyers. I don’t necessarily understand why they don’t but I do revel in the fact that it means significant upside for those that choose to engage with their leads smartly.

    We conducted the study based on several million leads that our clients tried contacting over a period of many months to have as diverse a data set as possible. We studied the effects of multiple call attempts all the way to 20 and I’ve published the entire results of our study below just to whet your intellectual curiosity. Some explanation is in order:

    * Column 1 denotes the call attempt

    * Column 2 denotes the percentage of ‘Contactable leads’ contacted – this is key to understanding the study and is NOT the same as Contact Rate. This means that the data set excludes any leads that were never contacted. This metric is a percent of the remaining leads in our study which we define as ‘contactable leads’

    * Column 3 denotes the percent improvement in the ‘% of Contactable leads contacted’ metric for each successive attempt over the very 1st call attempt

    * Column 4 denotes the percent improvement in the ‘% of Contactable leads contacted’ metric for each successive attempt over the preceding call attempt

    Contact    % of Contactable   Improvement       Improvement over

    Attempt   leads contacted    over 1st attempt    preceding attempt


    1                              39%

    2                              72%                        87%                        87%

    3                              83%                        114%                     15%

    4                              88%                        128%                     6.5%

    5                              91%                        136%                     3.4%

    6                              93%                        141%                     2.1%

    7                              95%                        145%                     1.5%

    8                              96%                        148%                     1.1%

    9                              96%                        150%                     0.8%

    10                           97%                        151%                     0.6%

    11                           97%                        152%                     0.5%

    12                           98%                        153%                     0.3%

    13                           98%                        154%                     0.3%

    14                           98%                        154%                     0.3%

    15                           98%                        155%                     0.2%

    16                           99%                        155%                     0.2%

    17                           99%                        156%                     0.2%

    18                           99%                        156%                     0.1%

    19                           99%                        156%                     0.1%

    20                           99%                        157%                     0.1%

    As you can see, the benefits of calling start trailing off pretty steeply after the 5th or 6th attempt, we chose to prescribe 6 attempts as the cut-off. I beg to defer with LeadCritic in that this is a very statistically relevant study with a data set this size and of this heterogeneity, at least at a high level. I do agree though that to get maximum benefit from a study like this, one should conduct the same study but specifically for their own sales team to understand the effect of call attempts on their contact rate.


    Nisheeth Singh

    Director of Strategic Intelligence, Leads360