I can remember fondly multiple occasions when one of my favorite sales managers has come into my office to complain about “those lead aggravators.” He’s always called them that so plainly. I could never tell if he really thought that was what they were called.

They’re actually lead aggregators, of course, and they are likely the most prevalent digital lead source in our industry (for now). They are utilized by companies with five employees on up to companies with 1,000 employees.

As you probably know, lead aggregators like Modernize, Home Advisor and Porch, to name a few, are digital companies that typically market under their own brand, offering consumers educational home improvement content and the opportunity to be connected with multiple vetted home improvement companies who can provide a quote for their project.

And over the past decade, many of the sales professionals I’ve worked with have complained about lead aggregators because they perceive the leads they provide to be somehow “crappy” or low-quality.

This is obviously a result of how good they’ve had it. Marketers like me have spoiled our sales teams rotten with high intent, bottom-of-the-funnel leads that are about as close to making a purchase decision as a prospect gets. (I am kidding, of course. Salespeople, you know we love you.)

The reality is that leads from lead aggregators are not low-quality. They are leads— opportunities for our sales teams to get out there and close deals. And to cast the widest net and continuously drive leads at an effective cost, we can’t rely on bottom-funnel lead sources alone.

Here are things I’ve observed about leads from lead ‘aggs’ over the years:

  1. These prospects tend to be earlier in their path to purchase. Or, to put another way, higher in the customer journey funnel. The need or want for a home improvement project has come into their awareness, and they expect they’ll do it “someday,” enough so that they’ve started to look online.
  2. This is going to be a competitive setting and selling situation. The prospect has been or will be contacted by two to four other companies who are also vying for their business.
  3. Homeowners who convert into a prospect via lead aggregators tend to be research-oriented, deal hunters. They want to be sure they are getting the right product from the right company.

Leads from lead aggregators might behave differently and present their own unique set of challenges, but they are all opportunities for our sales teams. And as Larry Chavez, Dreamstyle’s founder, would say, “We run every lead cheerfully and without prejudice.”

So, how do we maximize our results with lead aggregators to keep a healthy source mix and healthy cost of marketing? Here are some tips:

Speed to lead is key: Once that lead form is submitted by a prospect, the first company who contacts the prospect has the best chance of setting an appointment, so the best plan is to set up API integration, which is a technology that allows the lead aggregator to communicate directly with your CRM database. You want those leads popping up to be dialed moments after those forms are submitted.

Or, if your company is small, that doesn’t mean you can’t compete with big companies running call centers. Ask if the lead aggregator can send the leads via text to your or an employee’s cellphone, so you can reach out to the lead right away.

Sharpen your competitive close: Your sales team should develop a unique pitch for dealing with any competitive situation they may run into on a lead, regardless of the source. Lead aggregators aren’t the only source that will wind up being competitive; there are others like home shows.

Make sure your online reputation is stellar: We know these prospects are going to be comparing your company against others and that they are shoppers who pride themselves on getting a good deal and choosing the right company. If you have less than 4.7 stars across third-party review sites, that is a problem.

Develop an action plan to generate positive reviews. Ask your happy customers if they will take the time to share their experience and share a link to your Google page with them.

Here’s the good news: We’ve all got leads to run today, thanks to our lead aggregator vendor partners. QR

Dawn Dewey is senior vice president of marketing and business development at Dreamstyle Remodeling, a full-service remodeling firm in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Dreamstyle is a Renovo Home Solutions Company.

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