If you are feeling the pressure to generate a greater volume of relevant sales leads and achieve more valuable, in-depth knowledge about your prospects with less time and money, don’t worry because so are most sales leaders and marketers. Luckily, new technology has been developed to combat this issue – automated lead generation software. This tool has the capacity to produce a greater number of quality sales leads and convert them into customers without sales people having to do the tedious research and work themselves. 78% of successful marketers claim that this automation technology is the number one reason for their increase in revenue (Source: The Lenskold Group, 2013). So if you are looking to maximise your results from lead generation and lead nurturing programs, an automated system is one of the most advanced and efficient tools you can choose.
You would be surprised how under-utilized this software is among B2B companies right now. This is most likely because sales/marketing strategies and tools are constantly changing and upgrading in the current digital world. Businesses will slowly realise that automated lead generation is where we are headed. The fact is – companies that are outgrowing their competitors are using lead automation software. The question you should be asking yourself is ‘why is are my sales teams doing all this tedious, time-consuming manual work when there are automated tools to do this for them?’
Here, you will learn what automated lead generation is, how it works, and what benefits you will see when implemented into your business.
What is Automated Lead Generation?
Automated lead generation refers to the software that has been developed to automate sales and marketing actions like prospect identification to save marketers and sellers a lot of time and energy, which allows them to focus their efforts on other selling tasks. Just as in marketing where they need to automate repetitive tasks such as social media engagement, sending emails and other website actions, automated lead generation does the same for sales related activities. This technology time consuming tasks a lot simpler. Ideally, customer automation is software that allows companies to identify, score and nurture prospects while also providing assets like email addresses, telephone numbers and social media profiles. This has the effect of speeding up customer engagement and generates new revenue for businesses, and creates a significant return on investment.
The 21st century saw the emergence of the information age. This new economy has replaced the old outdated lead generation techniques which continues to be widely used today.
Those generating sales leads without an automation system will have to manually:
- Find relevant new leads with contact information
- Segment these sales leads according to interest and needs
- Prioritise and nurture these leads
- Qualify leads
- Make a report to measure success and sales conversion rate
A sales automation tool eliminates much of the manual hassle of these tasks and will help you achieve results in an easy and efficient manner. Known automation tools and services can be provided by Connectors Marketplace, Socedo, and Unomy, to name only a few. Businesses that do not adapt to the changes and capabilities of the information age will be left behind.
How does it work?
Finding and Engaging with Social Prospects
A sales person can spend the bulk of their time (over 67%) and energy simply trying to find relevant sales leads and interact with them. Manually sifting through social networking sites is a rough job and requires patient and consistent monitoring over a long period of time. Lead automation software allows you to adjust custom criteria for qualifying social prospects and begins engaging them with follow-up actions.
As an example, you might be looking to find your target Twitter prospects based on some business information and start conversing with them. Twitter prospects are analysed according to their profile summary and daily activities. It then conjures up a list of relevant leads based on your custom profile type, such as construction workers, IT professionals, etc. If you want to be more specific, you can choose to further narrow your search by adding certain things to your search. This can include trigger words in personal profiles or in tweets.
Thus, what you get is a pool of relevant and qualified Twitter prospects in your sales pipeline based on your own search criteria, that too at almost no effort. Such tool acts as a completely automated and intelligent lead generation machine saving a considerable amount of man hours.
Perhaps you are a company who wants to make a good first impression with prospective clients. An automated B2B prospecting service allows you to research professionals and companies and learn more in-depth information about them easily and effectively. Such platforms give marketers and sellers a greater volume of information about the company overall, such as revenue rates, competitors, investments and employees. This gives you a slight upper-hand when it comes to meeting with prospects and making a good impression.
Unlike other lead generation services, Connectors marketplace combines automation technology with human data scientists to produce even richer data research for each business they work with. Data collection professionals complement and enhance the data that was efficiently automated by finding more in-depth information like recent news about a company or a prospect’s business email.
Nurturing your Prospects
As soon as you know exactly who your social prospects are, you must now prioritise and nurture these people. Except that you don’t have to do this entirely manually either, you can customise a highly developed auto-response mechanism. A tool can create a customizable workflow of standard operations that you want to run for an approved prospect. The process is simple. Simple, but essential. I would even claim that lead nurturing is the pin that holds your entire integrated lead generation strategy in place. You help the tool know your selected list of Twitter prospects on an incremental basis and the tool will do the routine jobs on behalf of you. Growing competition and tighter budgets means that today’s marketers and sellers are expected to make the most out of every single lead they achieve.
Look at this stage as continually ‘warming up’ your potential buyers/customers over a time period of months, even years. You don’t need them to be ready to purchase straight away, but it’s advantageous to have them in your pipeline until they feel ready. This strategy is designed to warm up sales prospects who:
- Have bought from you before, but are not necessarily ‘active’ customers now
- Have showed some level of interest or curiosity – but are not yet ready to purchase
- You spoke to previously during your list building calls
- Left their personal details through your site, but again, are not yet ready to purchase
Lead nurturing makes such a difference to sales outcomes that it can make the difference between having a bad sales year and an amazing one. During this time, you simply want to collect useful information that you can use within your lead nurturing system. Did you know that a business can roughly lose between 40% and 80% of prospects as they progress through the pipeline because companies did optimise each stage of the selling process? (Yankee Group Study). That is why consistent engagement and social selling over a lengthy period of time is an extremely important step in the selling process.
For example, many of these systems automate certain small social selling activities like favouring tweets, following them up soon after or messaging them personally for the follow back. Have an end goal in sight for these types of operations. Perhaps your aim is to bring people back to your website. Maybe you want to engage with your sales executives.
Keeping Track of Prospect Activity and Conversions
You not only need to find new prospects but also view prospect engagement report real-time. These social networking tools for analysis help you to track, benchmark and optimize social media performance with time. With the advanced functionalities of an automation tool, you can add critical business insights to custom prospect generation criteria and your engagement with social leads.
For example, automation systems allow you to track the number of Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook prospects that have been followed up on and how many have been missed because of lack of action.
With this useful tool you can create a lifetime prospect criteria report which records:
- The different trigger words you selected for filtering sales leads. This includes location keywords, conversational keywords and personal profile keywords
- The number of leads that match your keyword criteria
- The amount of prospects that have been qualified and followed up on
- How many leads made you a LinkedIn connection and followed you back on Twitter.
This report aids you in pin-pointing what selling strategies work and don’t work for your company. Thus, allowing you to make improvements.
Summary of Automation Lead Generation Benefits
Companies that upgraded their lead generation strategy by investing in automated lead generation software claim that the biggest benefits are:
- Allowing marketers to focus on other tasks while the automated system carries out repetitive tasks for them
- Generating more valuable and qualified leads
- Creates a better buying experience for your customers
- Better management and nurturing of prospects
- Improved email marketing
- Reduces the chance of mistakes
- Multichannel marketing
Have you changed your mind about automated lead generation? Studies are proving that marketing automation will be the future of the sales process. The better targeted your approach with your clients, the better your results will be. And while it might not be widespread in companies now, automation software for sales prospecting and social selling will certainly catch on as more and more businesses prosper with it in the ever growing information era.