Innovation That Matters

Crowdsourcing the sales force

Advertising & Marketing

If crowdsourcing can be used to improve product design, music promotion and sports team management–to name just a few of the examples we’ve written about–why not the process of finding sales leads? That question is about to be tested through a new site that aims to put the crowds to work as a sort of community sales force. LeadVine lets users post the types of sales leads they seek along with the referral fee they’re willing to pay; the community is then invited to earn that fee by making the desired connections. Fees listed on the site must be at least USD 50, but the range is considerable. One listing, for example, offers a USD 100 referral fee for help in finding companies in need of online chat support. Another offers USD 50,000 for investors to contribute USD 2 million toward an Oregon real-estate development project. Requests are listed by category, and buttons for each allow others to bookmark them, share them via e-mail or make a referral. The resulting transactions are conducted outside the site, but LeadVine facilitates the payment of referral fees via PayPal. Community members can also rate each other on the site to reflect the quality of each transaction. The company explains: “Every day, people come across information that is useless to them but useful to someone else. Ever know of any friends looking for a new job, looking to add a new room to the house, looking to build a new website, etc.? What did you do with that information? Probably nothing. There are companies willing to pay for that type of information, from recruiters, construction contractors, web developers, etc. LeadVine gives you the ability to make money with information that is at your finger tips.” Now in beta, Kentucky-based LeadVine is currently free for users around the globe. One to watch–and experiment with! (Related: Tapping into the referral economy.) Spotted by: Roberta Steinberg



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