According to a study conducted by Salesforce (disclaimer: we’re Salesforce), 21 percent of a B2B Sales Rep’s time is consumed with doing lead research. In a 40-hour week, that’s 8.4 hours per week spent researching and qualifying leads.
Ouch. That’s more than one full work day each week and nearly one workweek per month. All this adds up to approximately 2.5 months per year.
So, how do you cut down the time you spend researching leads? One way is by automating as much of the lead qualification process as possible. Lead generation tools provide sales lead automation by incorporating only the most useful and insightful information for salespeople.
What should you expect from a lead generation software? As you do a review of the available applications and software, consider these important features:
Referrals, word-of-mouth recommendations, tradeshows, and networking are all excellent sources of lead generation. Purchased lists can also be valuable lead generation strategies. If you’re marketing to a specific niche on a national or international level, purchased marketing lists prove to be an invaluable lead generation tool.
Unfortunately, a common problem in marketing and sales is outdated data. Data from marketing lists, social media, trade shows, and search engine marketing may become inaccurate as time goes on. Therefore, managing data is important. Research has shown in the course of 30 minutes:
These realities increase the importance of lead generation software that can be integrated easily with your CRM program. One of the best lead generation strategies is to obtain marketing lists from a paid database that is regularly updated and integrated with your CRM. These marketing lists can facilitate finding new accounts and prospects and integrate the customer information within sales intelligence software, helping you to spend less time researching and more time connecting with decision makers.
While referrals, recommendations, networking, and purchased lists are good lead generation strategies, the optimal lead generation strategy is to organically grow your marketing list through the web.
The beauty of lead generation software is that it can help you capture information at a point of contact with your organization such as a landing page visit, white paper download, or email open. Based on the action, leads are scored and the next action defined. Having information about when and how you customers are interacting with your brand online allows you to create a 1:1 customer journey and help your salespeople personally focus on well-qualified leads while other leads can be automatically nurtured.
Good lead generation software should facilitate easy tracking of sources of leads. It’s essential to identify which marketing campaigns are working and which strategies need to be changed. Therefore, lead source tracking is an essential feature in lead generation software.
Keeping your leads up-to-date in your CRM software necessitates that your lead generation software integrates well with your CRM. When information about lead source is readily available, your sales and marketing teams can better tailor the message to meet the customer’s needs.
The best lead generation programs allow you to create a flowchart of customer interactions and “next steps.” While personal contact is critical in most sales processes, so many tasks can and should be automated to increase efficiency. Your lead generation program should integrate with CRM to notify you of tasks like follow-up calls and new leads that have entered the system.
At many stages of the CRM pipeline, a personal phone call will help speed up the sales process. But sometimes leads aren’t fully qualified to be entered into the sales pipeline. Lead nurturing tasks for these leads can and should be automated. According to a report in PR Newswire, a full 70 percent of leads are never contacted. True, less than a third of these leads may be well-qualified, but many marketing departments spend more than 65 percent of their budgets to gather leads. It’s a tremendous waste not to follow up. Scheduled reminders can go a long way to nurturing leads and capturing sales potential.
Nearly 73 percent of leads are not sales ready. The most effective salespeople qualify their leads and spend their efforts on the leads that are most likely to translate into sales; but long term success is dependant on nurturing leads that are not yet qualified.
Don’t clog up your pipeline with leads that aren’t ready to buy. If the lead is a casual browser or doesn’t expect to purchase in the foreseeable future, that lead should be nurtured. In the end, lead nurturing speeds up the pipeline sales because it allows reps to focus on well-qualified leads rather than casual browsers.
Studies have found that 61 percent of B2B marketers send all leads directly to sales. This practice slows down the sales process because sales pipeline tracking is difficult when unqualified leads are entered. The same study explained that only 27 percent of those B2B leads will actually be qualified
But don’t despair, not every lead is going to be a quality lead. Great lead generation software facilitates lead nurturing and allows a distinction between casual leads and qualified leads. Lead nurturing which can produce 20 percent more in sales opportunities.
Lead scoring is an invaluable feature of lead generation software. The effective salesperson will distinguish qualified leads and prospects from casual leads that are less likely to generate a sale. Programs like Pardot have the ability to manage leads, score leads, keep track of campaigns, and nurture leads.
Automating sales activities help to both score leads and to automate the sales process, ensuring that leads are not ignored or forgotten. When automating lead nurturing activities such as email campaigns and follow-ups, Pardot users have shown a 25 percent increase in sales cycle speed. Now sales reps are able to concentrate on well-qualified leads. Marketing automation can build integrated marketing campaigns, generate and nurture high-quality sales leads, and report on campaigns, allowing companies to track their progress and adjust their sales strategies.
Having the right data at the right time is key to running any business, and is the key to successful sales and client relationship management. No matter what software lead generation strategy you employ, be certain to keep your CRM data up-to-date. Ensure that your company has a lead generation software review process so that you are not ignoring leads. Ensure that leads are not lost by using a cloud-based CRM system. This also allows you to automatically update the system when leads are incoming from email or web forms.
Accurate CRM integration allows the entire company to have a pulse on sales activities, allowing both marketing and sales goals to align. As well as saving salespeople over 8 hours a week to work on other, income-producing tasks. In today’s modern, connected world, anything less is simply not good business.
Instead of spending time researching leads, spend your time closing sales. The best lead generation software provides accurate customer information, so that you have the most up-to-date data to approach new prospects and new accounts. The best lead generation software programs will help you identify new prospects and evaluate the success of marketing campaigns. Intuitive lead source tracking and scoring should ensure you are spending the most time with the most important leads. Of course, the best lead generation programs will have straightforward CRM integration.
It’s important to remember that not all leads are ready to buy. Therefore, lead scoring is essential in adding only qualified leads into the sales pipeline. Remember that leads that don’t purchase right away shouldn’t be ignored as nearly 20 percent of sales can come from lead nurturing. A lead source tracking program with automatic lead nurturing can help generate scheduled reminders to follow up with potential customers. Ultimately, a successful lead generation program will allow you to become smarter and more predictive about each customer.
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