4 reliable ways to generate qualified leads with a CRM system | YouDigital Blog
Why lead generation is important for business
Metaphorically speaking, lead generation is the process of converting strangers into potential customers. It’s the art of matching the need with the supply.
Leads are like fuel to your business’ engine – the more of them you generate, the longer and further you will go. And in order to have a viable sales pipeline, you need to have enough leads to work with.
Is lead generation worth it?
Unfortunately, it’s not just any leads that help you sell more. In order to successfully push sales forward, you need high-quality leads, aka qualified leads. So, yes, lead generation is definitely worth it when done right.
In fact, 61% of B2B marketers admit that generating high-quality leads is one of their biggest challenges. And 53% of them allocate more than half of their entire marketing budget on lead generation.
Is lead generation sales or marketing?
Even though lead generation is typically considered to be the job of the marketing team, lead generation is what unites sales and marketing.
The marketing team works on finding and attracting the people who express interest in the company. And sales are working on identifying potential customers and nurturing them towards a purchase.
- Marketing Qualified Leads – showed interest by performing a certain marketing-initiated activity, such as filling in an online form, clicking on a CTA, downloading a piece of content, or attending a marketing event. These leads are then passed on to sales for further nurturing.
- Sales Qualified Leads – showed an intention to buy by performing such actions as signing up for a free trial or booking a demonstration. These leads are close to making a purchase.
How is lead generation done?
There are many ways to generate leads.
They often depend on the type of lead generation channels and tools you’re using: outbound (print media, cold calling, direct mails, billboards, conferences, or trade shows), or inbound (online content, such as blogs, articles, email marketing campaigns, videos, webinars).
In the not so recent past, the main way to generate leads was cold calling or any other activity that actively interrupted potential customers with an explicit intention to sell to a more or less generic audience.
How lead generation works in the digital world
Today, the situation is different, as lead generation mostly happens online, is personalized to attract specific audiences, and is powered by digital solutions.
According to a report by HubSpot, 46% of businesses use Google Docs, 41% use marketing automation software, and 37% use CRM software to store information on their leads.
When it comes to a CRM system, it’s a great tool to collect and organize lead-related information and automate your lead generation activities. Studies show that 80% of companies who use automation software generate more leads and 77% convert more leads than those that don’t.
CRM also helps businesses to better analyze leads’ data and purchasing preferences, and, as a result, better target, personalize sales initiatives, and – no less important – be economical and save costs.
4 ways to use a CRM system for lead generation
Lead generation techniques vary.
Yet, the underlying goal of any technique is to collect information on a potential customer, so that you can take them down the sales pipeline leading to a purchase.
But it is what you do with the information you’ve obtained that determines the success of converting a stranger into a customer.
A good CRM solution can help you use lead information in a systematic and meaningful way to create mutually beneficial experiences, during which you offer relevant products to the people who really need them.
Let’s take a look at the key ways a CRM system can help you generate leads.
Lead generation with social media
Using social media to find and engage with leads is a relatively new, but no longer an optional activity in sales.
Social selling is one of the most beneficial sources of leads. In fact, companies that engage in social selling get 199% better ROI, and 73% of businesses name "increased acquisition of new customers" as their top outcome for social media.
LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. – all are great sources of leads, helping you identify the audiences that are interested in your products or services. By engaging in social conversations, like replying to comments, answering questions, listening to views, or collecting likes – you can:
- get a realistic view of how your brand is perceived
- get closer to your target audiences
- understand what they actually need
- tailor your messages to echo their voices
With the help of a CRM system, you can monitor, track, engage, and later analyze your potential customers’ actions, such as likes or dislikes, conversations, tastes, preferences, etc.
CRM can collect all the information into a centralized database that will show live updates on leads’ social activities, helping you reach out to those that match your ideal customer profile, or react positively to your content, or show an active interest in what you do, or even need help.
Lead generation with marketing automation
As a part of a robust CRM solution, marketing automation technology is a godsend for both marketers and sales.
Why? Because it takes away the manual and tedious work of collecting, analyzing, segmenting, scheduling, and sending out marketing campaigns (performing lead generation activities) across several communication channels.
A study by Invespcro shows that 80% of companies saw an increase in leads thanks to marketing automation. Meanwhile, Business2Community reports that businesses that use marketing automation experience an average of a 451% increase in qualified leads.
So, how does it work?
If you’re using tracked links in your email campaigns, social media posts, landing pages, etc., a CRM system powered by marketing automation can help you track which links were clicked, emails opened, posts engaged with. This “link analysis” can help you track your leads’ behavior and score them as less or more prone to buy.
Marketing automation also helps you schedule and dispatch content to relevant prospect groups, based on their responses and interactions. CRM will set up a series of rules to trigger action items, such as sending a relevant piece of content to a relevant recipient. The consequences of such actions are then saved in the system for further analysis – this way you’ll know what worked and what failed.
Lead generation with web forms
Another digital way to gather leads is through web forms. It’s one of the easiest ways to cast your lead-capturing net online.
All you need to do is create a lead magnet in the form of great content (whitepaper, blog, presentation, benchmark report, webinar, etc.) and ask people to give their details in exchange for this valuable piece of content or activity. A great CTA and easy-to-understand landing page design and content would help too.
Web forms can help you do a ton of things:
- ask customers for their opinion on your products or services through surveys;
- invite them to register for an event you’re organizing;
- download a piece of content;
- invite to sign up for a newsletter;
- adjust their content preferences;
- offer to get a discount on a purchase;
- offer to get a personalized consultation;
- invite to sign up for a free trial or to book a demonstration.
If what you offer promises to bring real, tangible value, then people (leads) are more likely to share their contact details. And, as a bonus, web forms can be used on a variety of channels.
The information that leads share via web forms goes to the CRM solution which not only saves, but also groups information, records the time and the source of this information, and automatically routes the qualified lead to a salesperson.
Analysis of profile data and visitors’ behavior for lead generation
Not everybody can be your customer. To be successful in business you need to filter out irrelevant leads.
The best way to do it is to collect and analyze your leads’ demographic and behavioral data. And a CRM system is simply an indispensable tool here!
CRM can gather insights on your prospects’ key characteristics, such as age, profession, income, demographics, spending behavior, purchase habits, social conversations, browsing history, etc.
Do they match your ideal customer profile? No? Then just get rid of them! Trying to sell what people don’t need is a waste of time – plain and simple.
You can also analyze your website visitors’ behaviors – what links they clicked, what places they skipped, where they lingered the longest, what pages they returned to, and even whether they are still online – maybe you can just hop on a chat with them while the iron is hot?
All this information gives you a comprehensive picture of who your ideal customer is, as well as an ability to measure the lead’s level of “readiness” to be contacted by a real salesperson. Perhaps some leads need more nurturing, perhaps some need to reveal more about their pains and needs.
In other words, CRM does the dirty surveillance work for you – so that you can confidently enter the stage at the right time, with the right offer, to address a genuinely interested person.
CRM as a lead generation tool
A versatile CRM solution can be used as a powerful lead generation engine.
It can help you generate leads and qualify whether they are sales-ready and intelligently route them to relevant sales professionals for further nurturing.
In this way, CRM supports the sales process by automating routine tasks, registering sales progression, and ensuring better conversion rates.
Finally, the system can generate reports to measure the efficiency and ROI of your marketing communication across various channels – so that you allocate your budget and efforts in a smarter way.