Datalot’s sales technology marries old-school and new-era tactics

By John EganAugust 14, 2014

Remember the Yellow Pages? You know, those phone books that would show up every few months on your doorstep? Businesses of all types, from flower shops to accounting firms, relied heavily on the Yellow Pages as a relatively simple way to cultivate customers.

“You bought an ad, and your phone would ring with new business. That’s it,” said Josh Reznick, founder and CEO of New York City-based startup Datalot, lead sponsor for the upcoming LeadsCon New York.

As we all know, the sales process has turned a page in the Internet era, and the Yellow Pages have fallen out of favor. Now, instead of fretting over the wording of a Yellow Pages ad, people seeking to sell products and services are agonizing over pay-per-click strategies and SEO keywords.

But while the Yellow Pages have gone out of style, the phone remains a powerful tool for salespeople. Automation technology from Datalot, founded in 2009, marries that tool with Web and mobile leads to help advertisers pick up more customers.

Datalot’s pay-per-call setup connects advertisers with customers through real-time phone calls. “The same way that an advertiser would bid for clicks to their website on Google AdWords, we provide the ability to do that for actual phone calls,” Reznick said.

The insurance sector is Datalot’s biggest category of clients, according to Reznick.

“You may start your search for insurance rates online, but for the most part you aren’t putting a policy into a shopping cart and checking out,” Reznick said. “At some point, you are having a phone conversation with an insurance agent. So if a local insurance agency is buying clicks online, what they are really buying is a proxy for a phone call, in the hope that enough of these clicks will turn into customers they can speak with.”

But for advertisers, especially small businesses, the click-to-call conversion can be tricky, Reznick said.

“This is a complex problem to solve, and until now, even businesses that were doing it well were using multiple different solutions and vendors, all kind of duct-taped together in some sort of Frankenstein sales funnel and Rube Goldberg machine,” Reznick said.

Datalot aims to do away with this cobbled-together sales approach. Reznick said a case study of one of his company’s customers, Allstate insurance agent Robert Prescott, illustrates the benefit of that approach. Datalot regularly delivers web- and mobile-generated, on-demand phone leads to Prescott, resulting in his agency writing about 150 percent more auto and home insurance policies each month.

“One of the most exciting things about this business is that even though we have already made some really remarkable progress in removing a lot of the friction in these customer experiences, we’ve really only started to scratch the surface on what’s possible,” Reznick said.

This article is brought to you by LeadsCon New York.

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