How APIs Provide the Missing Middle for Lead Generation in Financial Services

It has been widely reported that digital transformation has accelerated rapidly over the past two years. However, this has typically involved digitizing back-office and front-office processes as varied as manufacturing and payroll. But are sales and marketing departments lagging behind the digital maturity curve with their legacy systems disconnected?

A recent industry study shows that 43% of sales and marketing leaders cite “lack of accurate/shared data on target accounts and prospects” as the biggest challenge when it comes to aligning sales departments. sales and marketing.

In fact, 90% of sales and marketing professionals report multiple disconnects between strategy, process, content, and culture.

Buying and selling leads in financial services are ripe for digital change

Buying leads is central to sales and marketing strategies, especially in financial services, and would certainly benefit from its own digital transformation, especially in light of this departmental disconnect.

It’s also important to note that lead buying is an industry that needs better transparency and monitoring of seller credentials. This is where digital lead generation platforms, using API integration, can leverage multiple streams of information to provide a two-way bridge between sellers and buyers.

Greater integration will underpin three key benefits for lead generation operations: lead certainty, marketing agility, and compliance:

1. Certainty: Legit sellers can clean up their act with real-time lead certification

First, the adoption of API-based integration of legacy systems provides a wealth of opportunities for marketers to take advantage of features like real-time lead certification to protect brand integrity.

By integrating with a digital lead generation and compliance platform, each seller must certify all of their landing pages and forms, and work with the lead buying platform to generate data certificates .

These are then forwarded to the buyer along with the prospect’s data. Each certificate can be tagged with a unique URL, which can be stored in a CRM system or database.

As certificates are generated, the lead generation and compliance platform analyzes the journey and triggers real-time alerts that notify buyers when data rules are violated, bot activity is discovery or when suspicious duplicate or fraudulent behavior is detected.

An always-on platform also benefits legitimate sellers: when errors are flagged, they can quickly remove fake leads or track genuine leads that may contain inaccurate information.

2. Agility: buyers can act on prospects in real time

This integrated approach also has speed and efficiency benefits for potential buyers, including faster outreach to the sales team at the earliest possible stage of the customer journey.

The greater transparency offered by an end-to-end digital lead generation platform enables organizations to intelligently monitor, analyze and act on the flow of leads. Real-time notifications can immediately alert sales staff of an active and legitimate request, which will result in more conversions.

Consider one of the most influential research on online sales leads of the past decade, from the Harvard Business Review. The study found that the average response time for online leads was 42 hours.

However, companies that tried to contact potential customers within an hour of receiving a query were nearly seven times more likely to qualify the lead than those who tried to contact the customer even an hour later – and over 60 times more likely than businesses that waited 24 hours or more. There is significant value to be gained with instant alerts and quick sales tracking.

3. Compliance: a transparent and secure marketplace for lead generation

Buying and selling leads is a market increasingly scrutinized by a combination of internet search providers and regulators, especially in highly regulated industries such as financial services. Previously, the industry’s lack of compliance and coordination tools meant it was historically difficult to tackle problematic primary vendors.

But as of August 30, 2021, all Google financial advertisers must prove they are authorized by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Advertisers will need an FCA number and will either be directly authorized by the FCA or become an appointed representative of another directly authorized company.

A key part of a third-party lead generation and compliance platform is that any lead generation company that wants to sell leads to a financial services provider must integrate with the third-party platform and meet its compliance criteria.

When consumer information has been sent by the lead generation company, the platform can provide “data receipts” to the buyer that conclusively prove how a consumer was advertised and whether they gave their consent to be contacted. Any financial service or intermediary company using the platform will know whether the ad the consumer has seen is legitimate or not.

APIs create a new lead generation ecosystem

Many financial services sales and marketing processes are ripe for digitization, and buying and selling leads is an area that can benefit significantly from further digitization and integration.

Only by leveraging APIs to connect buying and selling processes into a single lead generation and compliance platform can financial services firms reap the benefits of a more greater lead certainty, agility, and compliance, while better aligning sales and marketing teams.

Alain Desmier is Managing Director of contact status.

Stephen V. Lee