The Differences Between Shared and Exclusive Lead Models

If you are a buyer and interested in buying leads from external parties, there is a chance that distribution models in the lead gen industry may be difficult to understand. In order to empower your lead generation, it is important that you understand the different lead models, and their advantages and disadvantages.

The Differences Between Shared and Exclusive Lead Models

Shared Lead Model

Depending on the vertical or industry, these buyers are most of the times a mix between national and local buyers. Shared leads can increase competition between buyers since lead contact data is sold to multiple buyers, but they are usually also sold at a cheaper price than exclusive leads. This allows buyers to buy more volume. If buyers have a strong brand an an optimized sales process, this lead model may work much better for them, since brand awareness is high and they have structures in place to manage lead follow-up and nurturing. These are important aspects when it comes to converting shared leads into sales.

The Pros:

  • Shared leads tend to be cheaper than exclusive leads
  • Consumers can get a variety of quotes and decide which one is the most suitable for them
  • Higher Volume of Leads
  • The Cons:

    If buyers do not have high brand awareness, it may be more difficult for them to convert leads. Moreover, since data is sold to several buyers, there is a certain lack of transparency since buyers can’t control who else leads are sold to. Lastly, this lead model may be more likely to let “bad” leads slip through the cracks.

    Exclusive Lead Model

    Although shared lead models are most common in the lead generation industry, most lead generation companies also offer exclusive leads, which means that lead data is only sold to a single buyer. In theory, there is no competition (although nothing is stopping consumers to submit multiple quotes through different lead gen channels). The most common example of an exclusive lead is a live transfer, e.g. through Click-to-Call. Although there is less competition when it comes to exclusive leads, buyers are also less likely to be selective about leads they buy.


  • Lead Quality may be higher
  • If you’re a small buyer with low brand awareness, exclusive leads offer a better chance to obtain data.
  • Gives you a better chance to target certain demographic groups
  • Cons:

  • Exclusive leads are more expensive
  • Lead volume may be lower

    When you start wotking with a lead generation company, make sure they inform you about the different lead models, and explain what kind of result you expect. Advertisers with a healthy lead generation model, are able to analyze which type of distribution produces the highest ROI for them; another reason why it is advisable to align your sales and your lead generation process.

    Most lead generation companies support both lead models and can advise you on which model may be most suitable for your needs. A good lead generation company will also use your feedback to optimize lead gen processes in order to prioritize sources and channels that produce higher quality.

    Or, you may want to choose to become part of a lead exchange that can offer to connect you to multiple traffic sources. Many lead exchanges, such as ReviMedia’s LXP, also give buyers more control over the lead generation process by giving them insights into traffic sources, and letting them prioritize or block sources.