Start with the lead
Here’s a basic business premise: No matter how well designed and produced, no product ever really sells itself. Rather, any business, no matter what it is trying to sell, must devote resources to marketing the product to a target audience.
One such aspect of marketing is known as lead generation. This is the process of creating a lead, which is making a person or business aware of a product, and to generate some interest in it. These leads are often quite early in the purchasing cycle, at the very top of the ‘Sales funnel,’ and the eventual goal is to transition a lead into a customer.
Lead generation is hardly anything new, with many time honored techniques to get folks interested in products. These include direct mailings, cold calls, along with traditional advertising in a variety of media including billboards, print, radio and television.
Add the software
Along with just about everything else in the modern world, lead generation has transitioned to a digital process via lead generation software. This is an automated approach to finding potential new customers for a product.
An immediate advantage of lead generation software is that it blurs the line from a marketing tool to a sales one. It fulfills the pure marketing duty as it provides appropriate information to the customer to garner the initial interest. However, beyond that, these softwares also provide guidance to shepherd along the lead to get a deal closed, which is the sales mission.
Lead generation software in some cases is a stand alone product, designed with a single mission in point. However, it also can be integrated into a larger software package that covers more purposes, such as CRM software.
Cold calls to folks not really interested in a product is a laborious, and low yield activity. Thankfully, it does not need to be done these days, and this explains why a majority of organizations with products to sell are using lead generating software.
It starts with targeting the right customer, which is a constant challenge with a mobile workforce, and with contact information that is not staying constant. Realize that employees change companies, and companies can go out of business, and new ones are started not infrequently. Good lead generating software will keep the contact info current. Also, rather than a cold call, you want to focus the efforts to someone that has already expressed some interest in the product or service, so there is a much higher chance of making a conversion to a customer.
Nuts and bolts
While we can easily make a case for it, let’s take a closer look at what this lead generation software is actually doing. It actually brings a number of tools to the table to accomplish this more efficiently than what most sales teams would ever have been able to accomplish pre-digital.
Virtually every company has a website these days, and obviously it needs to provide information about the product. However, it needs to go further, and lead generation software can assist by attracting more visitors to your website. This gets done with a combination of search engine optimization (SEO), and also employing paid search advertising opportunities. This is an important first step to finding prospective leads by getting more eyeballs to view the product.
The next step that lead generation software can help with is to generate higher quality leads, as increasing website traffic is good, but it needs to be with an audience that is likely to need the product, rather than just random visitors. Examples of this would be to target mothers of newborns to sell infant diapers, or owners of sports cars to sell high end automotive accessories to. While this is an ideal approach, it is also the greatest challenge. Lead generation software can help a business with a multi-prong approach to generating higher quality leads, such as email marketing to the right potential customers, social media, online advertising, and virtual events such as webinars.
Leads can be put through a numerical scoring system, including variables such as their industry, their position, the number of website visits, and the size of the company. This then allows the team to prioritize follow up to the most likely buyers first.
Lead generation software is also designed to manage leads better. When the above tactics work, a significant number of leads can get generated, which can easily overwhelm even a veteran marketing team. However, realize that each and every one of them is truly precious in the end, and needs to be valued, and appropriately engaged with. Here is where lead generation software truly shines, with the ability to send automated emails back to retain engagement, with appropriate follow up intervals. It can also nudge the staff when it is time to contact the lead, and provide alerts as new leads are generated so they can be correctly tracked.
The right software can also provide handholding when it comes time to create marketing materials. This means content creation tools that can support the product or service’s website. Templates get provided so additional content is provided to further engage with the customer, for example a company blog, whitepapers, informative videos and e-books. This then gets shared through the company’s social media channels, to directly interact with these leads- and keep them coming back to you, and not a competing product or service. It can also generate leads by having site visitors to provide some contact info before the download of the content. Furthermore, an additional benefit is to make the company more visible, and as a leader in the segment that provided this content.
With the many benefits, it is easy to see why so many companies have made the investment into lead generation software. Even the best intentioned team cannot truly do everything that a good software package can do in this area.
Are you a pro? Subscribe to our newsletter
Sign up to the TechRadar Pro newsletter to get all the top news, opinion, features and guidance your business needs to succeed!
With several years’ experience freelancing in tech and automotive circles, Craig’s specific interests lie in technology that is designed to better our lives, including AI and ML, productivity aids, and smart fitness. He is also passionate about cars and the decarbonisation of personal transportation. As an avid bargain-hunter, you can be sure that any deal Craig finds is top value!