The increased focus on ‘Lead Generation’ has resulted in companies plugging tools and software which claim to automate the Lead Gen process. Firstly, we should begin by explaining some misconceptions surrounding Lead Generation software, as the term has been hijacked somewhat. Marketing Automation and CRM Platforms are NOT Lead Generation Tools. These are in fact activities used to manage or nurture the leads – once they have been identified.
Lead Generation tools and software actually identify and pinpoint where sales teams should focus their new customer acquisition efforts.
In a recent survey focused on “Lead Generation Challenges”, 35% of sales managers stated that they lacked access to quality leads while 49% stated they wanted the volume of leads to increase. Lead Gen software should solve salespeople’s challenges in sourcing fresh leads, these results should be tangible and results driven.
So how does this software work? Lead Generation or Social Prospecting, as it is increasingly being known as involves defining who the target audience is; their job title, industry, location, keywords. Today, most lead generation is done through social media platforms.
These prospecting criteria are then inputted into the Lead Generation Software, which crunches data from the social networks to provide sales professionals with a list of leads they could pursue. Salespeople can then Social Sell by creating relevant and helpful content in order to engage with and nurture their lead (become a trusted advisor/problem solver).
Below are some benefits of using Lead Generation Software:
Gone are the days where salespeople would Google prospect companies, search and search to find the decision makers name only for them to reject the call as they are unfamiliar with your brand or service. Lead Generation software saves time, in that salespeople are not searching the web for hours, sometimes procrastinating to delay the inevitable cold-call. Salespeople know exactly who requires their service; they will not waste time being interruptive or invasive toward a prospect who is not interested. This time can be better spent engaging with a qualified lead, and solving their problems, rather than exhibiting products that are not required.
Eliminating the pressures of Lead Generation will give salespeople the time to concentrate on their primary role – which is selling. This would in-turn increase morale, as it can be deflating to spend hours sourcing leads only to fall at the first hurdle.
Reduced cost per lead
Lead Generation software can reduce the cost per lead plus it makes sense that, if your sales reps are not selling; they are costing you money. Many companies will calculate how much it costs to generate a lead or prospect plus the cost of the sales professional on top of this. There are also costs incurred when training sales teams to generate leads, not to mention the costs of monitoring their efforts internally.
It is more cost effective to automate or outsource Lead Gen efforts, as a business can have peace of mind that the volume and quality of leads is ongoing. Automated lead generation is a 24/7 solution, allowing sales people to focus on selling – not sourcing.
Continuous lead flow
By using a Lead Generation tool, you will receive a continuous steady flow of prospects every day resulting in a more efficient sales process. Realistically, sales teams will suspend their prospecting efforts once they have secured a qualified lead. When this deal is finally complete, salespeople have to begin the lead generation process all over again, starting from scratch.
The impact on revenue can result in peaks and dips, in turn making it harder to forecast and budget. This see-saw effect can see a company experience a spike in revenue once sales are made, but when the sales professionals are busy prospecting; revenue can drop as they are not selling. Using Lead Generation software will eliminate these inconsistencies and provide a business with a regular flow of sales leads.
As a knowledgeable sales professional, you will know the type of people who would have a need for your product or service, but you have difficulty in actually finding them. Lead Gen software provides you with a list of your exact target audience based on their online behaviors. Your suspects can be easily narrowed down to prospects/leads with criteria such as keywords, location, job title, sector – meaning you receive a list of the exact people you should target, engage with and nurture.
Lead Gen software should have a scoring process, so the sales team only receives qualified and relevant leads. These leads are automatically generated based on their online activities and conversations. As I mentioned previously, the data is filtered based on specific search criteria such as; prospects job title, location, keywords, and online conversations they are involved in. These leads will be of high relevancy as they are data backed and selected through specific search terms that are currently related to them. They are pre-qualified so there is no uncertainty or guess work involved for the salesperson.
An automated Lead Gen Solution also means that salespeople are only chasing leads that the data suggests are open to being engaged with, regarding your product or service.
The Lead Generation data is also being generated in real-time, this makes the leads even more relevant and qualified as they are based on current social data – what is trending and being discussed now, profile updates, social discussions, news articles, plans for expansion or new jobs announcements.
Build your brand
The sales professionals should make a positive impact on their prospects, ensuring they create their own online presence as a thought leader and industry expert. This will let the prospect know that you can solve their problems and demonstrate why they should choose you over a competitor.
Lead Generation activity also contributes to a company’s brand building process; using data to create prospect lists provide Sales People with relevant leads so they will not interrupt executives who have no need for their product or service. These results are based on the prospects online activity, this will in turn avoid the constant phone calls and follow up emails – as the prospect will not come up in the Lead Gen results if they are not behaving or talking about certain keywords/topics online.
Whether they are referred to as suspects, prospects or leads – an increasing amount of companies are using tools to filter down the huge volumes of online social data.
Lead Gen software should not be confused with CRM or Marketing Automation. Automatically ‘favoring’ a Tweet is a Marketing Automation tool, and a CRM platform is used for storing contact details and emails.
These processes can help to nurture the lead once identified. Whereas, Automated Lead Gen Software identifies the decision makers that should be targeted, in order to kick start the sales cycle. This Software provides Sales Teams with an actual list of Executives that would benefit from their product or service – this is a results driven and tangible solution.
The Sales Professionals primary role is to sell, so it is clear that their selling techniques and close rates will improve with the more selling they do. Automated Lead Generation software will also help increase their morale, by reducing the pressures of sourcing leads – resulting in a more focused and driven sales team.