Most companies in the world sell something – products, solutions, services etc. But before a sale become sale it passes a long and often complicated route: finding a lead, nurturing a lead, qualifying a lead, and converting a lead into a sale. The more leads are generated, the more leads are qualified and, consequently, converted into successful sales. But lead generation is a complex process, requiring a lot of efforts and resources. However, a rise of software technologies has enabled drastic reduction of costs and efforts required to create high quality leads and, respectively, substantial improvement of business performance of those business using such software solutions. In the below article we will try to shed some light on how software may help get advantages in the market.
What is Lead Generation?
In marketing, generate a lead means to attract the interest of a customer and to make this customer dig deeper to find details about a product, a solution, or a service. Leads can be created for various purposes initially, but the final goal is always to qualify them to become consumers or customers.
How Are Leads Generated?
Leads may be received from multiple sources or efforts, e.g. from the Internet, from referrals, from cold phone calls, from advertisements, and from various events, such as conferences, summits, etc. At different times different methods are more effective. Latest studies show that mostly used trunks to create leads are email, search engines, Internet referrals, and specialized events, giving over 90% of the total leads.
Simple description of the process is as follows:
- A stranger discovers your company via any of your marketing channels, e.g. your webpage, blog, social network profile, email message, or cold phone call.
- A visitor (since this stranger visits your website, he or she becomes a visitor) then clicks on what is called CTA (Call-To-Action), i.e. any banner, graphic, notification etc. inspiring the visitor to action.
- The visitor then is taken to a specialized web page called landing page (it may also be a dedicated page on your corporate website) where lead information is collected in exchange for a certain offer. In this context, offer is something valuable for the visitor offered on such page. It may be any content such as electronic book, presentation, training course etc.
- The visitor finds the offer valuable and share his/her personal details using the form that consists of a number of fields.
- After the form is completed, you get your new lead you may further work with, i.e. nurtur, qualify, and pass to sales.
What Is Needed to Generate Leads?
First of all, you need a clear marketing strategy to be able to start getting new leads. There might be a great deal of marketing actions planning and research. You will need to define main channels to use for getting your leads. Most popular today are social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn.
But in addition to that, you need quite a lot of human resources to take actions on lead generation. Nobody is able to equally perfectly deal with all channels, so there will be at least one person per channel. It means financial costs to pay this person a salary, pay taxes etc. Then there shall be a supervisor over all such lead generation specialists, in order to manage their activities and get things together between different company’s departments.
As we can see, it requires a lot of time, efforts, and resources. But there’s a solution now that reduce those significantly, and this solution is lead generation automation.
What Is Lead Generation Automation?
Basically, lead generation automation has appeared as a result of the human laziness and desire to get more for less money. As usual, laziness is the mother of progress.
The rise of software technologies give way to appearance of multiple software tools helping automate the lead generation process. Various schedulers, planners, to-do lists, even Microsoft Excel or Google Spreadsheets have significantly reduced the burden. The more the technologies advanced, the more targeted the software became. Now there are many dedicated solutions, both all-in-one, i.e. covering the whole chain of lead generation and qualification, and phase-specific, i.e. designed to apply to a certain stage of the process. Customers may choose which exactly they need depending on their business goals, available resources and funds, and level of automation needed.
How May Automated Lead Generation Look Like?
As mentioned above, you may use either an all-in-one lead generation automation solution or a bunch of standalone applications, depending on what you need. In any case, you may build a comprehensive approach or system to engage, analyze and create better leads.
An exemplary flow may look as follows:
- You launch a number of advertising campaigns using Google Adwords, Facebook Marketing or alike to promote some downloadable marketing presentation etc.
- You create user friendly and extremely interactive landing page (it may be a separate page on your company website, no need to set up new website) with built-in tools to count, sort and analyze visitors and their actions
- When a prospect (i.e. visitor that may become a lead) requests a copy of the promoted marketing presentation, a CRM plugin creates respective record and mails it to another software for future needs
- This another software performs analysis of social networks activity related with the prospect’s email and replenish the record with appropriate data
- The same software then sorts the prospects and create respective influencer alerts.
- Then such sorting information is sent to some contact and campaign management tool for including the respective prospects into some email campaigns identified based on the prospect’s activity in social networks
- Emails distributed through specialized application or module within such campaigns invite the prospects to visit some other product-specific pages, and create a follow-up task with the personalized data on the prospect and the campaign,
- When the prospect visits such pages, the application (module, plugin, script) records it and create a task for a responsible salesperson to schedule a follow-up call to the prospect.
- The prospect now becomes a lead.
Examples of Lead Generation Automation Software
- AeroLeads by AeroLeads Company: web-based prospect and lead generation tool allowing to find qualified contact details (email addresses and phone numbers) of companies and individuals, sort, filter and edit this data in a single lead management page; the solution supports integration with SalesForce, MailChimp, Hubspot etc.
- Buffer by Buffer Company: a tool to share and schedule posts on social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc; business version of the tool supports analytics functionality.
- Lead Boxer: helps getting advanced real-time data about who is visiting and interacting with your website.
- Marketo: an all-in-one software solution for marketing automation.
- Isaac by Do IT Programming Solutions: an AI and ML enabled chatbot that emulates a human lead generation person and enables live chats, meeting scheduling, questions addressing etc.; can be easily built into any website to help you speed up lead generation and their conversion to customers; ML and AI functionalities make it a self-studying creature and become more human-like.
To sum up:
Lead generation is not an easy task but high quality leads sooner or later become customers thus making your business develop and your profits grow. And automated lead generation is even more efficient as it helps achieve the same goals while spending less money and wasting less efforts.
The problem is to find that approach and tool that suits your needs and resources best, and to use the whole potential of such approach and/or tool. The recommendation is simple: make a thorough analysis of your tasks and needs, assess your resources, and then go make your choice of lead generation automation solution.