The Leader: November edition

The Leader is a monthly newsletter by Contact State that summarises the stories, trends and opinions for businesses that generate or buy leads. You can sign up to receive The Leader in your inbox here.

What's in this edition? 

  • Your lead guide to November
  • Did the ‘Christmas slow down’ arrive in October?
  • How will lockdown 2 affect lead campaigns and sales?
  • Speaking the same lead language
  • Stories, podcasts and people you need to know about 

What do you need to know about lead generation in November?

November is a month traditionally set aside for fireworks and secret santa scheming, but this year will be different. The UK Government's decision to impose the second national lockdown of 2020 is challenging many of the assumptions that marketeers make about consumer behaviour in the run up to the christmas period.

We’ve been talking extensively to lead generators and lead buyers and we believe that there are a number of things ‘going on’. We strongly believe that there are lots of reasons to be optimistic and even more reason to have a standard, ‘agreed lead language’ with clients to review campaign performance during this period.

Did the ‘Christmas slow down’ arrive in October?

If you are looking through your sales and commercials stats for October and thinking "what the hell happened", don’t be alarmed, you are not alone.

For both lead generators and lead buyers in many different sectors, October was an unusually competitive and challenging month. Cost per clicks were some of the highest they’ve been in 2020 and consumers that did make it through lead generation funnels were distracted and afraid to commit, ahead of the end of the furlough scheme or rising levels of covid.

In addition to lockdown fears (that we now know have been realised) the online christmas retailers shifted their usual media campaigns forward, and dominated the social media space. Adverts for hampers, christmas home delivery slots and toys collectively outbid many of the big financial services lead generation players. This in turn started a war on search; there were a number of new entrants to the market in multiple sectors, bidding aggressively that were responding to a lack of leads from Facebook and other platforms.

Takeaway: If you are seeing unusual patterns in your media buying patterns and the sales results that October leads produced, you are not alone. October was a very strange month and don’t make rash judgements on trials that were going on in this period.

How will the lockdown affect your lead campaigns and sales?

The effect of the first down lockdown in April, May and June on lead generation was unequal, unpredictable and unusual and there's nothing to suggest lockdown 2 will be any different. Across a number of different verticals and products, the first few days of November have mapped a similar performance to October. Speaking to a number of different lead buyers about consumer intent, distraction is the word of the moment. Particularly in products like Mortgage and Insurance, consumers have identified a need for financial advice but are prioritising things like haircuts and home gym equipment. This will shift. We know that consumers will respond to the national news agenda and its likely that enthusiasm for products like protection will return as and when some of the fears around the spread of the virus are understood and broadcast.

Takeaway: We believe that there won’t in effect be a christmas slow down this year for products that involve financial advice, especially not in November as is traditionally seen. With lockdown very likely to be extended to the new year, consumers sat at home pondering their financial and physical health will ‘sort out’ household administration in an even more meaningful way than they did last time. Products like Health Insurance will be seen as a ‘must have’ as the impact of a Covid spike is felt by the NHS.

Why a shared understanding of sales success is vital for good client relationships

One of the most unusual aspects of sales trends from October was the notable falling away of a ‘consistent’ consumer. Most lead buyers know, understand and target their ‘type’ of consumer that they build their product and provider portfolio around and ask lead generators to target. In October, even the most stable google ‘head terms’ or landing page produced dramatically different clients.

For many lead buyers we’ve spoken to, their average sales rate stayed stable or dipped but the average value of the client sale they were making dramatically dropped. This leads to a rather confusing picture for lead generators reading client data who often wrongly assume that the sales rate of leads is the most important thing.

We encourage and advocate that all lead buyers should use an ‘income per lead’ sales metric, rather than sales rate. This is a calculator that we’ve designed specifically for this purpose.

Takeaway: Especially during this period, if sales rate is the metric used to define success for lead generation partners, buyers encourage short termism. On the flipside, lead buyers focused on sales rate alone will make poor partners for lead generators as they will often not have the required depth of understanding of their own sales process.

Stories, podcasts and people you need to know about

New Model Adviser - Laura Purkess       
FCA contacts 55 firms over misleading financial promotions

This is a great scoop by Laura Purkess, using a freedom of information request to check up on what the FCA is actually doing to tackle firms who approve and run misleading adverts. You can follow Laura on Twitter, here.

Lead Generation world - Michael Ferree       
The podcast

Lead Generation world is a US based lead generation event (with its first UK show scheduled for 2021) and the podcast has begun to feature UK based lead generators. You can connect with Michael on Linkedin, here.

Decision Marketing - Charlie McKelvey
Lockdown 2.0: Marketers urged to embrace data insight

Decision Marketing is a fantastic ‘go to’ for data and digital marketers and carries insightful commentary on this sector. Run by Charlie McKelvey, the publication have recently run a number of in depth features into the use of data for marketing.

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