It’s no secret that companies need to generate sales leads to grow their business, but it’s a much more convoluted task than it sounds. Lead generation and management encompass an array of marketing, content, and analytics tools working in sync to supplement the workflow of employees in a company.
The suite of tools and strategies required for effective lead management is the focus of massive customer relationship management (CRM) software systems offered by firms like Salesforce, SAP, and Creatio. They comprise the head of what is expected to be a CRM industry hauling in $80 billion in revenue by 2025, and which serves as a progressively critical pillar of modern business success.
In a digital era where content channels are diversifying, and consumer preferences are tenuous, acquiring new customers is the holy grail of sustainable growth.
Fusing Marketing, Sales, And Content Management
Modern businesses require agile and automated task management, especially mid-size and larger companies with data-intensive tasks. CRM systems are a vital tool for these businesses to reduce overhead costs and operate on margins that would otherwise be unsustainable without software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions.
In Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for CRM Lead Managementreport, CRM lead management is defined as the process of capturing leads, tracking their activities and behavior, qualifying them, giving them constant attention to make them sales-ready, and then passing them on to the sales team.
A snapshot of what Gartner defines as CRM lead management would include strategic market campaigns for capturing the “micro-moments” attention of potential customers, user-friendly interfaces for sales teams to engage with customers, and analytics that curate and furnish actionable data to business development teams.
And all of this is in the scope of lead management integrating itself further with the broader marketing and business operations of companies.
The Gartner reports also states that there is a significant shift toward lead management functionality being part of a larger CRM or marketing solution.
A central focus of incorporating lead management functionality into business operations, like marketing, relies on aggregating multiple content and gateway channels – like e-commerce, progressive web apps (PWA), and content mediums. However, the path towards a synergy of business intelligence, sales tracking, and data insights can be complicated. For CRM systems, the purpose is to abstract away the underlying complexity, creating a user-friendly interface in the process – where the back-end tasks are automated and not necessary for users to understand.
“Businesses want a CRM platform that is both easy to use and easy to customize to specific business needs,” details Katherine Kostereva, CEO of Creatio. “The goal is to leverage agile products with low-code capabilities, meaning that businesses can automate their ideas and operations in minutes with minimal friction.”
This way companies can minimize costs with multiple aspects of lead generation and management combined with user-friendly interfaces, but the real power behind CRM systems is derived from the evolution of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) in the industry.
Data Mining & Advanced Analytics
The data footprints produced by consumers and businesses across the Internet’s B2C and B2B landscape are highly actionable but require discerning the signal from mountains of noise. That’s where AI and ML have made an outsized impact on lead generation.
“Traditionally, AI and ML have been used to automate tasks that have already been discovered or are already integrated with the business,” says Kostereva. “However, these days companies of various sizes and industries leverage the power of AI for sales forecasting, augmented analytics, and curating big data into actionable information for sales teams.”
AI and ML tools can even be deployed for developing proprietary score models on the quality and accuracy of lead generations, and also estimate the likelihood of purchasing products or services from a company. Rather than shooting in the dark with cold leads, AI tools of CRM systems can filter out calls and leads that don’t have high chances of conversion – increasing employee productivity significantly.
Mirroring this sentiment, a different Gartner report projects how augmented analytics of AI and ML will eventually drive business intelligence software – especially lead management and generation. Ultimately, the software’s capability in the lead generation and workflow category is why SaaS is so popular among corporate and mid to large-sized businesses.
“Companies want to accelerate, and for this, the right strategy, and well-designed processes are not enough,” says Kostereva. “Companies need systems that help align data, processes, and teams enabling them to better connect with digital native customers and rapidly adapt.”
As the digital world develops, businesses will need to adapt to remain relevant. CRM’s have provided the support that corporate enterprises need to excel amongst increasing market competition, and the parallel evolution of advanced lead generation tools in CRM systems is poised to remain the holy grail of growth acceleration.
In the coming months, businesses are going to become more reliant than ever on their digital strategy. Without wanting to sound too alarmist, in many cases it will be the deciding factor in whether they make it through the tough times ahead.
The unprecedented, almost-total disappearance of all channels related to live events and conferences, and the increasing barriers on face-to-face business, pose an enormous challenge. Key to resilience is the development of ongoing contingencies to mitigate against this loss.
B2B companies in particular rely on the annual circuit of trade shows and exhibitions to network and build customer relations. In industries that are not digital-native, they may also be less sophisticated in their digital growth and customer relations strategies. For smaller businesses especially, used to getting new customers through word-of-mouth referrals or on the strength of a hard-won reputation, their loss is coming as a shock.
Larger companies are also now finding themselves in the position of having potentially lost millions through cancelled events. They won’t claw back the hours of time and expense spent on preparations for this year, but insurance and flexible cancellation policies will leave them with marketing budget to reassign. Digital is likely to be the clear winner here, and companies – including ones that may not so much as had a Facebook page before – will need to move into social marketing, content marketing, SEO and influencer-led campaigns.
Of course, this means there’s opportunities out there for the taking, if you are a B2B supplier in an industry that has been slow to adapt to digital marketing. A key factor in resilience is adaptability. If it’s standard in your industry to go out and meet new customers face-to-face before you do business, adapting may mean opening new channels over web or social media platforms where introductions can be made and relationships fostered. In the coming months, your prospective clients are going to be less open to the idea of letting you walk through the door and shake their hand – and no-one really has any idea how long this will last and whether this will lead to longer-term change.
As Scott Jones, CEO of 123 Internet Group, told me “We are in uncertain times, but with the increase of remote working and a collaborative approach, companies are turning to digital channels and embracing the transformation. We have seen a real spike during the last few weeks from companies wishing to create or update websites, launch new e-commerce channels and create social media campaigns focused on home-workers and a real focus on using influencers and SEO to reach new audiences.”
Being confined to the office – or even the home – rather than on the road on sales visits or at events, means marketers have more time to develop digital strategies. This means researching where your customers can be found online, and how different approaches and tactics might impact your success. If your organization previously put token efforts into digital channels – because like a lot of other businesses, you had built your networks offline and that had always seemed to work – now is the time to revisit them. That could be as simple as giving your website and social pages a refresh, or a more innovative approach.
Ratnesh Singh, head of global business at events technology agency Buzznation told me that he found out quickly that clients did not want to lose the networking opportunities provided by the conference circuit. On top of this, they are looking for new ways to spend their remaining marketing budgets. He said, “With our corporate clients, events often consume 50 to 60 per cent of their marketing budgets. They still want to spend that money and they are open to trying something new.
“There’s a window of opportunity here – when things are back to normal budgets will be going back into live events and that’s what they will be spending their time on.
“But if they see the benefits and opportunities that digital channels can offer, this will become part of their long-term marketing contingency plans.”
As well as offering immersive 3D virtual events, Buzznation has also found that businesses wanting to become more sophisticated in their use of live social platforms. Singh said “Clients are turning to Facebook or LinkedIn Live. Often these are platforms they have dabbled with in the past but never fully integrated into their marketing strategy. Now they see value in partnering with companies like us that know how to help them make the most of these channels, to achieve better production values and more targeted campaigns.”
It’s certainly true that the coming weeks, or months – or however long this situation lasts – will be a challenging time for any company that isn’t ready to think about how they will replace the opportunities that have been lost.
As long as businesses approach the shift to digital marketing strategically, there’s no reason why it should just serve as an emergency fill-in, but could carry on providing long-term value when the world eventually gets back to normal. And of course, it would make companies more resilient to deal with any future pandemics.
you considered hiring a lead generation expert for your company? Whether it’s a
newly founded startup or an up-and-running company, every business can benefit
from the right lead generation expert.
getting new clients has proven to be a wild goose chase, hiring a lead
generation consultant can undoubtedly do wonders for your company.
generation stands right after other marketing techniques in the conversion funnel.
Depending on the type of your business and your preferences, you could be using
direct calls, emails, landing pages, or chatbots for direct marketing. First of
all, your lead generation consultant will help you ensure all the marketing
techniques you use that lead up to the conversion process are productive.
being omnipresent for outreach, marketing experts consider it best practice to
be wherever your customers are for lead generation. So, you must take into
account the processes taking place before turning potential customers into
leads. Consumer research always comes first because it will help your company
make the most out of future campaigns.
it comes to your campaigns, research insights will also shed some light on the
need to segregate them to optimize conversions even further. For example,
potentials leads across different age groups sometimes call for campaign
diversification. This way, you can segregate the conversion process and won’t
have to worry about not making the most out of your campaign efforts. To
further optimize the campaign effects, your lead generation consultant may use
split testing, also called A/B testing.
Bombora’s second annual Intent Event in September, I began noticing a
developing trend among several successful B2B sales and marketing teams. No
fewer than six presentations shared a common way of gathering, organizing, and
perhaps most importantly, valuing all their sources and types of data.
intrigued me. However, it wasn’t until I put this trend into the larger context
of the industry’s move from automation to orchestration that the importance of
this new data framework became clear.
following outlines the data framework from a high level. Of course, a framework
is one thing. How you use that framework is another. Due to length (and
attention-span) constraints, I’ll address using the framework at a later time.
Marketing’s Shift From Automation to Orchestration Is Affecting Data in a Big
influential B2B marketers have recently written about this shift. As Marc
Johnson, CMO at Bombora, put it in his recent byline, “Marketing Automation
Must Give Way To Marketing Orchestration”: “Orchestration means moving
away from automating single tools and components, toward having all of the
different marketing and sales elements running off of the same data and talking
to each other …. It’s about actually aligning around what the consumer needs
and what the prospect is interested in — while resisting the extraneous.”
Alec Baldwin’s character, Blake, stood in front of the failing sales department
of Premiere Properties in David Mamet’s 1992 Glengarry Glen Ross and told them
that all but the top two salespeople would be fired in a week, Jack Lemmon’s
character, Shelley, said, “The leads are weak.” While I cannot
condone how Blake reacts to that statement (or really anything at all about
that infamous and abusive monologue), one message I think Blake touches on is
vital to extrapolate: “The leads are weak? You’re weak!” And while
this was a line designed to chastise poor Shelley and shame him into
performing, the message that lead generation is an internal problem, not an
external one, is worth our attention.
undoubtedly essential to have a database of opt-in leads (as opposed to
unwilling ones), and it is equally important to work that database of leads to
convert them into customers or clients. However, the best leads in the world
will do you no good if you haven’t first done work on yourself.
have the sum total of human knowledge at their fingertips. No matter what your
product or service, they have countless competitors to compare you with. So
your ability to reach them and deliver your message or sales pitch is
completely inconsequential when compared to who you are and how you present yourself.
With so many options available to them, your leads are looking to see if you
are relevant to them and if you are the right fit.
beginning of this year, I predicted several business-to-business (B2B)
marketing trends for 2019; as we wrap up the year, I wanted to share where I
see the biggest opportunities for B2B marketers in 2020. Clairvoyance aside,
the following covers seven trends to guide and inform your 2020 demand
Demystifying Intent Data
believe the hype around intent data will reach an all-time high in 2020. I
called intent data out in my 2019 B2B marketing trends article, but I believe
marketers are just starting to scratch the surface on how to best
operationalize these insights. For years, B2B marketers have obsessed about
leveraging technology to deliver the right message to the right person at the
right time, but delivering a truly personalized message, in terms of content,
timing and concern, is exceptionally difficult without intent insights.
data refers to signals about a person or an account’s intention to do
something. These intent insights are gleaned from digital footprints and can help
you make your marketing experiences more relevant and personalized. From
account prioritization to guiding your content marketing efforts, I predict the
use cases and wins for B2B marketers leveraging intent will skyrocket next
LinkedIn is the best platform for B2B targeting in the PPC space, bar none.
In recent years, LinkedIn has become a more popular destination for users to consume content. Rather than seeing what your great aunt ate for lunch on Facebook or hearing someone yell about politics on Twitter, you can check LinkedIn to see what your contacts are up to and what topics are trending in your industry. For advertisers, the targeting options allow you to zone in on just about any part of your audience’s profile, and since the platform also has many benefits for their users, it’s in their best interest to keep their profiles up to date.
That’s why LinkedIn is the place to be if you want to generate higher quality B2B leads. But, if that’s your goal, you need to know that not all strategies are created equal.
Here, I want to talk about LinkedIn Lead Generation Ads and some best practices for you to leverage in your account. Let’s dive in!
Have something valuable to offer
This is the biggest issue I see with advertisers on LinkedIn. Every business thinks what they have to offer is amazing—and I’m sure your product or service absolutely is. But that doesn’t mean it’s appealing for someone to start hard selling you on their offerings without generating any type of connection with you.
B2B organizations form a part of the industry where the marketing and sales cycle is a complex one. There are many decision-makers who come into play while making the final decision. So, as a B2B technology marketer, you should aim to fulfill the requirements of various sections of people. This can be highly challenging as aligning your content with the needs of different stakeholders in a B2B organization is similar to walking on a tight rope.
In a survey, almost 68 percent of the respondents stated that creating content for different roles is a challenging one.
As a B2B marketer, you have to meet the needs of all these individuals who make the purchase on behalf of their organization. There are many takeaways from 2019, which you, as a technology marketer should consider to increase the outreach, find out the essential ones:
Increase in content marketing budget:
From the above image, one can see that almost half of the B2B marketers expect their content marketing budget to increase in 2019. As quoted by a millennial keynote speaker, Brian Fanzo:
“Content is not king, great content is king.”
So, if one starts investing in developing better content, then they are likely to gain much better business results.
Perla is the Co-founder and CEO of Edifius, an AI software company which has a product called Simba. Simba is a machine learning AI conversational voice spot. The purpose of this machine is to pick up businesses phones and has a human-like conversation with the caller in order to answer leads’ frequently asked questions and schedule appointments.
Edifius is a B2B startup. The most efficient marketing channel that they’ve started to generate leads is expos and conferences; out of 10 leads they talk to, 3 or 4 of them signup to their platform.
How Kudo generates leads with Fardad Zabetian
Fardad is the founder and CEO of Kudo, a language as a service platform for enabling video calls, web conferences and in-person meetings, with live language translation. Businesses can speak with their partners, teams and remote employees in their own language. The purpose is to remove language barriers among businesses, save them time and create opportunities.
Kudo has a magical feature called a language elector inside the platform, which allows them to select the language to join the meeting.
When marketing to larger companies, entrepreneurs know they need to stand out. While many of them execute engaging, belly-busting B2C campaigns, however, they rarely break the mold with their B2B marketing. Why not? Often, it’s because they take “professional” to mean “boring.” But the fact is that B2B buyers are people, too. The same tactics that resonate with everyday consumers — humor, color and playfulness — catch the eye of procurement professionals. Serious, trustworthy, compelling and fun can co-exist in B2B campaigns. Here’s how to do it.
Let your corny side shine.
Paper isn’t a product that requires a lot of explaining. Yet until recently, Case Paper’s marketing strategy focused on its product rather than what made the company special. Beyond its strong customer service, which many companies can claim, what distinguishes the family owned paper company is its quirky sense of humor. Seeing those things in your own company can be tough. It wasn’t until Case brought in B2B marketing agency Renegade that it embraced wordplay like “gives a sheet.” “On the case,” a play on its name, forms the basis of its new story statement. From Case Paper’s “About” page to the decals on its delivery trucks, Case Paper uses surprising visuals, fun asides and likable language.
Bad puns. Dad jokes. Wacky photos. Quirky, authentic content cuts through because it reminds us to laugh at the small things. Forget your filter, and embrace that low-lying comedic fruit.
With over 20 years of business, sales, and consulting experience SMS is capable of serving many market sectors. We provide the field level support needed to generate results and grow your business. Other companies may provide appointment setting services; whereas SMS will partner with you to grow revenue.
Have you considered hiring a lead generation expert for your company? Whether it’s a newly founded startup or an up-and-running company, every business can benefit from the right lead generation exp...
At Bombora’s second annual Intent Event in September, I began noticing a developing trend among several successful B2B sales and marketing teams. No fewer than six presentations shared a common way ...
At the beginning of this year, I predicted several business-to-business (B2B) marketing trends for 2019; as we wrap up the year, I wanted to share where I see the biggest opportunities for B2B markete...