by Jayne Burch
Lead generation is the “raison d’etre” for the marketing function. Generating a flow of highly qualified leads is what the sales team and your boss are expecting. But how can that happen if you’re a one person marketing department?
At some point you have or will come to the conclusion that you need to automate at least some of your marketing tasks with lead generation software. Choosing the right lead generation software for your business can be a challenge, and downright confusing. There are so many systems to choose from. Not all are right for your business type, industry, size or structure.
The purpose of this article is help you think through some of the considerations in choosing a marketing automation or lead generation software program that will meet your needs now, and even grow with you into the future.
Why do you need lead generation software?
The most compelling reason for automated lead generation is keeping up with how people are buying today. The internet has changed everything we used to know about how we get new business.
More and more of your potential customers are searching for what you’re selling online using their computers and their mobile devices. In fact, over 80% of consumers (including B2B) will do research online before they ever call or come to your store. Lead and sales conversions from a website with out a lead generation system is on average a dismal 0.5%. Sites with lead capture software, that conversion rate can increase 10-fold or more.
Not every software that claims to be for lead generation covers every aspect of generating leads and sales. Many are excellent at one part of the process, such as nurturing existing leads with email campaigns. Others are great at converting and capturing leads, but don’t have the capacity to track, rate or manage sales opportunities (CRM.) As a result, you can end up in the position of having to cobble together software and systems to achieve automation you need from end to end.
Look for software that helps you automate and collect metrics on all phases of your marketing and sales process.
What are the different steps in lead generation that can be automated?
Take into consideration the steps in the lead generation process. Before someone becomes a lead they must find you somehow. Inbound marketing or inbound lead generation is a really great fit for marketing automation. Attracting a prospect’s attention with interesting and relevant content is the first step to becoming a lead.
You may not be automating the content creation, but the opportunity to publish a blog or social media from within your lead generation software gives you a huge advantage. Lead generation software that can track the ROI of your blogging and all of your marketing activities helps you lower your costs and increase your success.
Lead conversion occurs when a website visitor opts in or leaves their contact information in exchange for receiving an offer for more valuable content. Make sure your software is capable of creating a landing page with an optin form, or at least a popover with an optin form. The fields in the form should be directly connected to a database of leads. Lead capture is the heart of lead generation. The form you use is key to how well your visitors convert to leads.
Some more advanced software have “smart forms” that can change the fields presented with information the visitor has not yet given. This works well when a visitor has been to your website more than once to download content (this is a good thing!) Smart forms allow you to better understand and qualify your leads. No matter what software you’re using to capture leads there are best practices to follow to get higher conversion.
Marketing automation allows you to better know when your lead is ready for the sales conversation, both saving your sales team and your leads time and frustration.
Lead Nurturing or Keep-in-Touch:
Following up once a prospect has shown interest is critical to closing more sales. Not every lead is ready for a sales conversation when they first come in contact or convert. Companies that use marketing automation to nurture their leads find they close almost 30% more business than those that don’t follow up.
Lead nurturing software typically has the means to send bulk email campaigns to large lists. Many also a have “autoresponders” that will send programmed email messages based on when someone subscribes to the list, allowing for a “drip” campaign.
Some lead generation software have a strong email marketing function but are weak on segmentation, or creating automated workflows based on subscriber behavior, or industry type, for example. Know what your company processes are for following up and determine where the software is capable of replicating your process.
Closing the Deal:
Sales is a human-to-human process. Unless you are selling widgets or information products online, chances are the actual sale happens through a series of interactions with someone in your company. Using a lead generation system that includes a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) program will set up your sales team for success.
A CRM that is integrated with a lead capture and lead nurturing system will collect extremely valuable intelligence about your leads so you will know when your lead is ready for a sales conversation and have their information handy to close the deal.
Now that you know how software can automate the different phases of the lead generation process, choosing the software that’s right for your company includes a few other considerations. Choose an automation system that is integrated or at least has the option to integrate all phases of the lead generation process. Other considerations are:
- The size of your company and whether the software is scalable
- Your company budget
- Ease of use and onboarding requirements
- Integration with your current systems and practices
- Availability of metrics for ROI and effectiveness
Your lead generation software should automate as much of your marketing process as possible and provide you with the means to assess what’s working and what isn’t. As a marketing agency, we’ve used many lead generation solutions. It wasn’t until we found HubSpot, that we found a solution that covers all phases of the lead generation process while providing the metrics we craved. HubSpot is a scalable solution that works for small to large companies.
Contact us for a lead generation software consultation or HubSpot demo.
Entrepreneur | CEO | Lead Generation Systems Expert | Inbound Marketing Expert Through Marketing Monsoon she has helped hundreds of business owners to develop automated marketing systems with their website. Ms. Burch has a background in organizational development and leadership development in large healthcare organizations. She is a Graduate Master Business Coach.