What is Lead Gen Technology?

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Lead Gen tech is tech for lead gen. Okay, article done. We can all go on with our day. I might go see that film everyone's talking about. Have a stroll in the park. Wait, you want more?

Yelling Homer Simpson GIF

Fine, fine. Let's go into a little bit more detail. 

A recent survey found that improving lead quality and adding new customers were the top two goals for most B2B marketers. So, it's essential this is made easier through technology.

A good lead generation tool provides an efficient and effective solution to increase your customer base and maximise sales. These tools will preferably integrate with existing marketing or CRM software. 

Lead gen tools are essential for capturing interest, and identifying the contact information of your audience. So, having a piece of tech which works well for your business will allow you to scale faster, build a contact base, and gain opportunities. 

So, when done well, these tools aim to increase sales by turning visitors into customers. All of this can be done through a number of methods, such as customer tracking, sourcing customer feedback, and exploring connections. This can be done by targeting sales, marketing, or CRM, or all three. 

But before we go into any more, we need to ask: What is lead gen? Well:

What is Lead Gen?

Lead generation falls within the second stage of the inbound marketing methodology. It happens after you developed an audience, and need to convert those potential customers into sales-qualified leads. 

What are the steps of the lead generation process? Glad you asked:

  1. A visitor discovers your business through one of your marketing channels. This might be through content, such as your blog, social media pages, or through your website. 
  2. Then, the visitor clicks the call-to-action. This might be a button, image, or link which prompts the visitor to act. 
  3. Then, the CTA sends them to a relevant landing page, which can be used to capture lead information in exchange for an offer. This 'offer' will be something the customer values, such as an eBook, a course, or a template. 
  4. In exchange for the content, the visitor will fill out a form. And there we go, you've got yourself a lead.

So, a lead is any person who indicates interest in your company. They typically hear from a business after opening communication, through submitting their personal information, as mentioned above. 

Leads are part of the broader lifecycle that consumers follow when they transition from visitor to customer. There are different types of leads based on where they are in the lifecycle, and how they're qualified. So, let's have a delve into the different types:

  • Marketing Qualified Lead. These are contacts who have engaged, but aren't ready for a sales call. They may have filled out a form to receive an offer.
  • Sales Qualified Lead. At this stage, a customer has taken some action that indicates their interest in becoming a paying customer. For example, they may have filled out a form to ask a question about your business.
  • Product Qualified Lead. These individuals have used your product or service, and taken actions to suggest they're interested in becoming a paying customer. This is most likely to happen after they've used a free or freemium version of the product, with options to upgrade. 
  • Service Qualified Lead. Contacts in this category have indicated to your service team that they're interested in becoming a paying customer. This might be a customer who tells their customer service representative that they'd like to upgrade their product subscription, then the rep would up-level them to the sales team or representative. 

Now, for the main event.

What is Lead Gen Tech?

Lead generation tools and tech do what they say on the tin.

They're tools and software that helps you capture the information and contact details of potential customers, who have shown an interest in your company's product or service. 

This can be done manually, of course. But the thing about introducing tech is that it takes away this manual element, meaning that the process can be automated. Then, you can focus your time on other parts of the business. 

Lead generation tools will collect the email address sourced from the 'offer', which allows your sales team to follow up these leads and begin the process to convert them into paying customers. 

Right-o. Let's look at some examples.

Need to Manage Your Leads? Try: A Marketing Automation Platform

A marketing automation platform, or MAP, is one of the most important tools in the lead generation stack. 

This is due to its broad range of features and options. These can include its ability to help you to orchestrate multichannel campaigns and track ROI. On top of this, a MAP offers lead management capabilities, including leader nurturing, scoring, segmentation, and analysis. 

One of the big issues for companies is the number of anonymous visitors to their site, i.e. people who turn up, read things, and leave. Between 57% and 90% of B2B site visitors fall into this category. MAPs are able to identify prospects, and log their behaviour across your digital channels. 

Without a marketing automation platform, you won't be able to fully capitalise on generated leads. This is especially true in cases where a marketing team buys from a third party provider. These leads should meet an agreed-upon standard for quality and engagement, but will still need to be nurtured through the first couple of stages of the purchase process before speaking directly with sales.

Need a Jack of All Trades? Try: A CRM

Using a CRM is less about generating leads, but streamlining your sales process. 

A good example of a tool in this space is HubSpot. The platform offers the ability to manage and maintain new leads through a variety of CRM, marketing, sales, and customer service tools. These include dashboard reporting, deal tracking, and pipeline management. 

More features offered by a CRM can include advanced automation tools, strong lead management features, integrated email marketing, and customisable dashboards. 

Just considering HubSpot alone, a CRM gives you the ability to:

  • Design and publish landing pages and webforms 
  • Create content on social media
  • Publish SEO-friendly websites
  • Use targeted drip email campaigns 
  • Track the performance of your email campaigns
  • Automate workflow to streamline the sales process
  • Assign tasks to teams 
  • Provide customer service options
  • Integrate with other workspace tools

Need to Effectively Communicate with Customers? Try: Communication Tools

Just by talking to people on your site, you can convert them to customers. And this also applies to sales leads. 

So, it's important to utilise tech like live chat tools and chatbots in order to take your communication to the next level.

For example, a tool like Drift helps you to deliver helpful and personal service to customers by conversing with them. Drift allows its users to talk with their website visitors, instead of just asking them to fill out forms and wait for follow-ups.

Another example of a communication tool is a messenger app. This connects you with your customers, in order to encourage loyalty, and provide higher satisfaction rates. 

Other features of communication tools can include:

  • Chatbots to qualify and guide leads
  • Features to eliminate back and forth communications with leads and connect with them in real-time on your site
  • Self-service chat and help features
  • Information collection from customers, so they can be followed up later

37% of marketers state that budget constraints can hinder them from conducting an efficient marketing automation strategy. This can be detrimental, as automation can be extremely useful in creating effective marketing messaging.

So, as a piece of tech, you might consider using AI in order to analyse a potential lead's personal information to create the best tone and wording to yield positive results. 

Need to Identify and Contact Vital Leads? Try: Email Address Finders

This is all about identifying potential leads who are visiting your website in real-time and recognising, and acting on, their navigation habits. 

If you're targeting  a specific demographic, you need to be able to see if anyone visiting your site, channels, or other pages, is fitting this description. Then, by seeing this information, you can use a tool in order to help you tailor your messaging to better attract these leads. 

Email address finders can also help you find email address and contact details for potential clients. As a result you need a tool with the following features:

  • Email verifier, which checks the validity of any professional email address in bulk
  • Browser and Google Sheets extensions
  • Gmail integration to send cold email campaigns
  • Providing the job titles, company, website, location, and LinkedIn URL of any verified business email
  • Removes duplicate email addresses, invalid formats, and bad domains

AI can also help in this regard. 61% of B2B marketers find that generating high-quality leads is their biggest challenge. AI can be built into sales platforms, and filter through leads based on data patterns. It can then come up with a list of leads that are more likely to purchase from your company.

Need to Turn Pop-Ups into Something Useful? Try: On-Page Lead Generation

Website pop-ups have not really had the best reputation for a while. The thing is research shows they're super useful for lead generation. 

Using a tool like Wisepops can help you build better pop-ups. The tool comes with a feature which allows you to set different actions for when visitors first visit, and then leave, your pages. You can also decide how the pop-up reacts to behaviour, like clicking on links, or hovering over specific elements. 

Wisepops also offers the ability to activate multiple campaigns at the same time, target visitors according to their location and browser, and personalise dedicated messaging for new customers vs returning ones. 

Remember: nothing beats on-page lead generation (apart from maybe email marketing). 

If visitors are already looking at your site, they are already interested in your product. So, in order to strike while the iron is hot, and collect the lead, you've got to get them to act. An effective pop-up can do just that. 

An on-page lead generation tool like OptinMonster can be highly effective for the same reason. This tool gives the user creative control over on-page lead gen campaigns such as pop-ups, slide-in windows, and gamified spin-to-win wheels. 

Plus, it has a personalisation, and target display rules, in order to put your campaigns in front of the right people, at the right time. This tool has been shown to increase sales qualified leads by 141% in one case, and 1200 segmented leads each week in another. 

A on-page lead gen tool can also provide features such as:

  • Offering abandoning visitors a custom-tailored offer before they leave the site
  • Creating upsell, down sell, and cross-sell offers to boost your customers' average order value
  • Showing free shipping bars, share discount codes, promote flash sales based on referral source, geo-location, previous on-site behaviour, user device, and more
  • Using previously collected information to run retargeting campaigns and improve conversions 
  • Integrating with email marketing, content management, and CRM platforms, in order to increase automation. 

Need to Make the Most of Your Social Media? Try: Social Media Lead Gen Tools

Social media lead gen tools are essential for modern lead generation. 

Take Discover.ly for example. This tool helps users generate leads by automatically searching the social profiles of potential prospects.

It also has a feature which allows businesses to enter the contact details on leads, and automatically show the public information available on other sites to build a prospect list. Discover.ly also instantly finds information about exciting leads, so they can be contacted. 

Other tools in this category can help drive traffic to your website by increasing your social media presence, in order to generate new leads and conversions. They can also track social media trends, analyse hot topics, and contact influencers.

Some tools, such as BuzzSumo, give you in-depth insights into popular keywords, trending topics, rising post. and search volume data. You can also perform competitive analysis to generate new ideas, create content, engage followers, and collect new information. 

A good feature to look out for is a social media calendar, or a system which ensures only the best lead-generating content sees the light of day. 

Hootsuite is a tool which can do something similar; it acts as a central hub for your social platforms and allows you to manage all social activities efficiently. Plus, you can reply to comments, collect info, and open up your business for new leads via this tool. 

So, social media lead gen tools make your social media as impactful as possible, allowing you to collate and analyse all the data from your channels in one place. Plus, in order to keep your posts in check, you can set an automatic posting schedule in advance, and utilise a cross-channel dashboard to manage mass posts. 

Need to Save Time Prospecting? Try: Outbound Lead Generation Tools

Outbound marketing has a bad rap. Maybe even worse than pop-ups. But it's a close race. 

Strategies like cold emails are generally frowned upon, but can be highly effective when done correctly. 

Tools like Datanyze can help save you time prospecting new leads. This is an outbound sales tool designed to help software and tech companies do just that. The main benefit of this tool is that it shows you the technology used by your prospects, and even helps you find new prospects based on what technology they use. 

Other tools might also let you type in a web domain, and find the email addresses associated with it. They can therefore give you the manual control to pick and choose your ideal email targets, and access the email addresses you need without scouring every website.

But as a result, you'll need a tool which comes with an email validation tool, in order to ensure that more of your emails are going to the right places.