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Tonya Turrell finds herself at a watershed moment for the IT lead generation industry.
The sector hasn’t seen much innovation in generations.
Members of Gen Z and millennials are dictating a new direction for the way in which IT technology is bought and sold.
And Tonya has responded to it all by remaining ahead of the curve and charting a new direction three years in the making at her company, The Launchpad.
She has abandoned the lead generation agency model as far as connecting IT vendors and buyers is concerned. And she is repositioning herself, her team and the industry with The Launchpad’s marketplace, TechnologyMatch.com. This platform serves as a “matchmaker,” forging connections and rewiring the lead generation game.
The most important thing to know about The Launchpad is that it shifts the focus of the lead generation dynamic—typically driven by the vendor—to the IT buyer.
As far as background, 2020 and 2021 were strong years for Tonya’s agency approach to lead generation. In 2022, the team was doubled in size and all of this success was recently recognized with a high honor and distinction propelled by three-year revenue growth of 3,900%. The Launchpad ranked number 123 on the 2023 Inc. 5000 List of America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies.
But, she said, “in 2023, we’ve just hit a wall. We started feeling it in 2022, and thankfully were already in development with our platform. Now it’s so clear that the whole traditional lead gen model doesn’t work.”
A big reason the model no longer works is because of the Gen Z-millennial effect.
“Welcome to the era of the self-serve B2B tech buyer,” reads an article on Forbes.com. “According to recent data, B2C trends like convenience and access to easy-to-find product information like pricing and peer-to-peer reviews have infiltrated business buyers’ behavior. B2B tech buyers want all basic information at their fingertips and to validate with peers–without the gatekeepers.
“65% of the workforce are millennials and Gen-Zers who’ve grown up with social media, search engines, and review sites. They’re digital-first buyers who conduct the majority of their journey anonymously and defer or avoid talking to sales…To succeed in this new reality, technology providers must influence buyers where they do research; provide them the content and resources they seek, including features and pricing information; back up their claims with trusted customer proof; and let them test-drive the product.”
All of this played into Tonya’s decision to close her lead generation agency, the third one she has operated. The fact that the agency model no longer works—industry-wide—proves that the world is ready for TechnologyMatch.com.
“This space,” she said, “needs a new model.”
The Launchpad applies the mechanics of a dating website to an online marketplace connecting IT buyers to technology partners. The platform empowers IT buyers to conduct a precise search for the technology, services, partners, or brands they need. They can easily refine their search based on budget, geography, preferred payment structures, and other requirements.
The platform’s precise search and matchmaking algorithm provides a carefully curated selection of technology partners that align with the IT buyers’ needs. IT buyers don’t have to waste time with irrelevant results. Technology partners get connected with IT buyers in buying mode who need precisely what they offer.
“Our platform is getting tremendous feedback from our audience,” Tonya said. “They love it, because that’s the way they want to engage.”
The proof, as they say, is in the pudding, with IT Customers that include Disney, Verizon and Lockheed Martin; and technology providers that include IBM, Apple, HP and Dell. All told, The Launchpad is home to 1,200 vendors and 7,000 buyers maintaining 17,000 unique connections to date.
“Long-term, sustained business success is about adapting to market trends and changes in buying behavior,” said Mark Mahovlich, VP of Strategy & Execution at ICM Cyber. “Tech matching has allowed our firm to connect to qualified buyers in the way qualified buyers want to interact and conduct their due diligence. Sell the way your buyers want to buy. Two leads in the first 24 hours and more every day!”
The Launchpad Matchmaking Marketplace Portal offers many features that are soon to become the point of reference for the industry. These include:
- Allowing vendors to offer multiple services to buyers, rather than restricting either to one topic on a single call.
- Reducing the number of prospective vendors a buyer must sort through to find the right seller.
- Online interaction, as with a dating site, that includes scheduling time on another’s calendar and chatting.
- Transparent pricing, with customer reviews encouraged.
Tonya, as she charts her path forward remains optimistic, empowered and emboldened.
She is driven by The Launchpad’s outlook, which anticipates the $5.5 million agency model shifting into overdrive with $22 million in recurring revenue business by the end of 2024.
“This is a leap,” she said. “But I really think the IT buyer market is more than ready to make that leap, and the vendors are just going to have to go where the revenue is. If this is the way that IT buyers want to engage, this is the way they’re going to have to engage. I think some are picking up on it easier than others. But this is where it’s heading—the writing’s on the wall.”