Everyone wants to make more money—from the top-level leaders of your organization, right down to those working in the basement.
Given that the equivalent of a business winning the lottery is unlikely—finding the unicorn product that sells itself, promotes itself, and floods the market in every corner of the universe—by itself—you’re going to need the right tools to get the job done yourself.
In sales and marketing, making more money means selling more products.
Selling more products means finding more customers.
Finding more customers means, well, it means you’ve got to nail down your strategies and campaigns, tracking down plenty of new leads to feed to your sales team.
What is lead generation?
Lead generation is the act of acquiring the contact information of—hopefully—new customers. There are varying lead types; just ask your sales and marketing department; they’ll happily deliver an hour or so on the topic.
Lead generation brings in new contacts at the beginning of your sales funnel.
You can do this by various means:
- Be so irresistible that customers fall out of the woodwork to send you emails of praise, glorification, and 5-star testimonials.
- Have a product that brings immense benefits to its users.
- Have a much-loved celebrity endorse and use your product so that their fans MUST have the same (influencer and social media marketing).
- Saturate the Internet with incredible advertising (outbound marketing)
- Draw potential leads to your website and get them to commit their details using the ultimate delivery and call to action (SEO).
- Let your potentials test your product over a limited time (free trials).
- Buy them! (Actually, we’re not a huge advocate of buying leads—they generally don’t come at the high quality you’d get from your personalized efforts.)
- Trade them their email for dazzling special content, data, and more (gated content).
You get the point. Whatever you decide to do to garner those leads, in today’s digital world, ‘there’s an app for that’ (or at least an API, platform, or package).
What lead generation technology should you use?
Here’s the thing. There are thousands of lead gen tech packages and programs out there. Literally thousands.
As much as marketing departments aren’t scared of spending hefty chunks of their budgets on the tech that will make their lives easier and more efficient, there are far too many to splash out on all of them.
Nor is it possible for us to make a one-size-fits-all list. You’re going to have to do your own research and pick the most likely options for the jobs you need them to do.
However, it’s essential that before you start sifting through the mass of tech, you have a strategy that suits your business.
Your first step should always be to build a b2b marketing strategy and then build your technology around it. That way, you’ll have the tools to do a specific job that you’ve decided, on the strength of all the analytics and data you’ve gathered, is the best way to pull in those much-wanted new leads.
Your leads can come from content, awareness, promotions, advertising, webinars, and every other aspect of you pushing your business and product out into the world.
Your lead generation technology stack includes items every business should utilize or at least consider, are:
- Content management system (CMS) websites
- Marketing automation platforms (MAP)
- Customer data platforms (CDP)
- Customer relationship management (CRM) software
- Chatbot and conversational marketing
- Email marketing
- Social media management
- Outbound marketing and Ad Tech
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Webinar and video promotions
- Analytics and testing tech
Once you’ve decided who your ideal customer is and got a good idea of where they’re hiding, it’s time to work out which big lead-gen net is the best one with which to catch them.
Sadly, that’s a list far too extensive for one article, so let’s narrow it down to a few of the essentials.
Landing pages and forms
Okay, so you’ve got an all singing, all dancing website, casting a sea of calm and mindful desire over its visitors. Of course, it’s a CMS system, so you’re constantly adding new and exciting things for your fans to read, but what does it take to get them to engage and give up their email address?
Popular (CMS) content management systems:
A big red button with your call to action won’t necessarily cut it, nor will the pop-up form that materializes as they scroll. Not without something great to trade, at least.
Winning that trade requires something they want, something of value, something they need.
Providing something valuable in exchange for their data
If your ideal client persona were Bugs Bunny, there’d be a carrot inside a lasso suspended from a tree; if it were Jerry (of Tom and Jerry fame), there’d be some cheese in an old wooden trap, but for your leads, what have you got that they want? That’s the real trick.
Retail sites offer discount codes, special offers, free shipping, and buy-one-get-one-free deals, but what can you offer to get them on the hook?
Understanding your audience and what they want
To know what they want, you have to know who they are. You should be using your analytics to paint the perfect customer profile; with it, you can decide your best lures.
B2B sales are typically built on sharing valuable information, so:
- Generate leads with white papers, interactive ebooks, and reports
- Generate leads with webinars
- Generate leads with free trials
However, any old eBook or white paper won’t cut it; it has to be information they want, and it has to be attractive. Did we mention that here at Foleon, we deliver the most sensational, interactive, and engaging content you’ll find online? Just sayin’.
Creating and gating that golden content opens up a host of tech possibilities to help get the job done.
Landing page software includes professionally designed templates, dynamic content, email, and CRM integration, testing, and reporting. As well as capturing the lead itself, your web forms will help drive analytics and understanding into your conversions, rates, and lead sources, so pick carefully and make sure that each tech in your stack has the features to do what you need.
Popular landing page and web-form tech:
Using chatbots to collect leads
Over the past few years, chatbots have been an essential player in lead gen. We’d love to tell you just how much they’ve grown in popularity, but you’ll already have seen it for yourself. You can’t visit a website these days without a virtual tour guide offering to answer all of your questions and take you right to where you want to be.
They really are an excellent tool for engagement and lead generation. Whenever your chatbot hits a brick wall, it can connect a human operator to the visitor or collect an email for any specific inquiry, delivering answers by more personal means.
Email acquired; job done.
Using marketing automation to engage your leads
Whether you choose an off-the-shelf all-in-one marketing automation platform (MAP) or build a selection of tools that integrate seamlessly, automating drip feed campaigns for your leads is a time-saving and efficient must. They’re built to nurture leads, score, segment, and analyze them, but most importantly, nudge them down your sales funnel and turn them into customers.
They’re also excellent at identifying prospects by logging behavior across your sites and socials. If you ‘must’ buy leads (and as we said, we’re not the biggest fans, and if you must, make sure they meet quality standards), then a MAP can weed out the waste during its automated onboarding process.
Popular marketing automation platforms:
Using a CRM to manage the leads you collect
Customer relationship management software orders all your leads and prospects neatly into one database. They monitor every step along the buyer journey, alerting you to or automating replies, responses, campaigns, and emails. They also integrate APIs that plump out the system, providing specialist avenues, horizontals, and verticals for which the original software doesn’t cater.
They also offer another excellent opportunity to monitor your funnels and pipelines, tracking leads, generating timescales, and best-bet lead types for revenue, ROI, and additional sales opportunities.
Popular CRM platforms:
The magic of mid-gating content instead of gating it upfront
We chatted earlier about gating your most valued content and trading it for your leads’ email addresses. Well, how would you feel if you could draw your visitors in to sample some of that juicy data you’ve got on offer, giving them just enough to be clicking for more, and—hang on a minute—that’s when they hit a request mid-content to access the rest.
Mid-gating content puts a little more pressure on your users to sign over their email because they can already taste how valuable the information behind the wall is.
It’s crafty, but that’s marketing for you. We’re all foxes and chickens in the business world.
When it comes to narrowing down your personal lead-gen tech stack, it’s going to take far more than reading a quick 15-minute page post. Instead, you'll have to use the research from your team strategy meeting to pick out your top players.
That said, we’re excited for you. It’s going to be a valuable and enlightening journey. Shame on you if you aren’t already taking full advantage of your lead generation tech stack. You’ve been missing out on many new avenues, much hi-tech digital polish for your content, and some beautifully crafty ways to build your leads lists.