Lead Engagement

How Customer Connections Drive Relationship Based Sales

How Making a Customer Connection Drives Relationship Based Sales

Successful businesses thrive on strong customer relationships. These connections help increase the number of sales conversions. Most importantly, the resources used to create a strong customer connection will see a strong return on investment (ROI).

Professional relationships go beyond initial contact points as good sales teams work hard to personalize the customer journey based on individual needs. By cultivating a strong relationship with clients, the likelihood of their repeated patronage increases.

As technology continues to evolve, businesses are constantly competing for attention from prospects in the digital realm. Focusing on relationship-based sales can help boost engagement with your social media, as well as direct your messaging to the correct target audience.

Keep reading, or use the following links, to learn more about how these connections drive customer relationships to a sale:

The goal of every sales team is to increase their numbers. There are many tactics out there to see higher conversions, but it is crucial to start at the beginning of the pipeline. Customer connections can happen during the first introduction to a prospect.

Making the most of interactions, even while a prospect is still in the ‘Lead’ stage, can have a huge impact on finalized sales. Before starting the process of making these connections, it is important to understand the driving idea behind this strategy.

Relationship based sales happen when a salesperson prioritizes the interactions and connections with a client to complete a sale. While price and types of services will always be a factor for customers, relationship based sales primarily focus on building customer loyalty.

Actions Needed to Move Towards Relationship-Based Selling

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Utilizing this strategy to foster relationships will help each customer feel more valued by your business. Clients will lean towards loyalty to brands when they are appreciated by the company.

B2B businesses can see a huge benefit from adopting this mindset. Since purchases of these services typically require a higher-level of commitment due to the size, customer loyalty goes a long way.

Personalized outreach is a great starting point for creating strong customer engagement strategies. Customers start their buying journey when they have a problem, so it’s important to segment your marketing for tailored audiences. Once a lead enters your pipeline, allow your salespeople to take time to nurture the prospect and gather insight into their needs.

These customer relationships have many aspects that will require personalization. The more effort your team puts into creating these lasting bonds, the higher your conversions will rise. Starting off with personal interests, encourage your salespeople to get to know their customer contacts.

By knowing their geographical location, personal hobbies, and basic profiles, it will be easier for your sales staff to find similarities to create connections. For example, an easy connecting point between sales and clients could be a similar interest in sports teams or graduation from the same alma mater. 

On the other side of things, ensure that your sales team is working hard to listen to the needs of each customer. Find out if your services or products can be tailored to provide the best solution possible. Take time to listen to customer insight before pitching specific packages.

Another crucial aspect to forming lasting customer connections is having continued contact once a sale is finalized. If your product requires training or onboarding, make sure the correct resources and enough support staff are available during this time. Be proactive in your outreach to gather feedback, and listen to any suggestions these customers may have.

Ensuring Loyalty Through Customer Experience

Once you’ve started focusing on the ways to foster strong connections, it is important to make sure these interactions are increasing customer loyalty. The key to this strategy is good customer experience throughout the buying journey.

Before implementing a customer connection strategy, you need to have an understanding of what your current clients think about your services and their experiences. According to Forbes, 80% of businesses believe they excel in customer service, but a mere 8% of customers agree with that statement.

Conducting research and opening the conversation for genuine client feedback can help your team see where improvements can happen. This information is valuable for sales strategies, and these interactions will help your customers feel valued and appreciated. Be sure to incorporate as much of their feedback as possible into your future relationship.

Looking ahead to future customer experiences, it’s important to understand how much each interaction matters in the cultivation of customer loyalty. Forbes asserts that within a day of a poor customer experience, 47% of consumers are willing to take their business to a competitor. Due to the ease of finding other options through a quick web search, there is little room for mistakes during the buying journey.

Speed and efficiency are key elements of a positive customer experience. While B2B sales cycles tend to be longer than B2C due to the nature of service, clients still value quickness. Instead of looking at ways to shorten the sales cycle itself, focus on the ways your communication can be streamlined.

Many people are conditioned to expect answers within seconds due to the availability of instant online search. While having salespeople within reach as soon as every problem occurs may not be possible, there should be resources  in place to help customers. Make sure your web forms work, check emails regularly, and don’t be afraid to hop on a call to quickly offer solutions.

Offer loyalty programs or rewards for repeat customers. 73% of customers enrolled in loyalty programs recommend that business to other buyers. By incentivizing current customers, your business will be able to attract new clients as well. 

How To Avoid a Bad Customer Journey

Conversion rates will increase when your clients feel they are on a good buying journey. There are a few ways to help avoid negative experiences during the purchasing process.

Start by focusing on the entirety of the process rather than singular pieces. Analyzing the customer journey from beginning to end will help your team pinpoint problem areas. From there, begin tracking customer behavior to identify patterns throughout your target audience.

Personalized messaging, optimized payment options, and convenient sales processes are all ways to engage modern consumers. Clients are online more than ever before, so use the data detailing their actions to your advantage.

Make sure your team is setting realistic conversion rates. Despite all of the great customer service your business provides, not every lead will result in a sale. To have an understanding of the genuine ROI from marketing and sales efforts, reasonable conversion goals are necessary.

Focus on communication while making customer connections. At the end of the day, most clients will appreciate when a business goes above and beyond to listen to their needs. Fostering strong relationships and ensuring quality customer journeys requires time, commitment, and consistent communication.

Social Media & Customer Connections

The Social Consumer Analytics

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While it is one of the newer resources in the long line of sales strategies, social media has begun to dominate the playing field. Utilizing these platforms can help accelerate your numbers, and provide valuable insights into consumer behavior.

The top platforms, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Youtube, will be enough to help provide your business with the tools for successful social selling. Starting off, social media will generate leads and track data for better understanding of customer behavior.

Leadboxer’s platform integrates with your team’s tech stack to access data, generate leads, and provide tools for higher conversion rates. Throughout your email and social media campaigns, Leadboxer is able to uncover data to provide contact information and behavior patterns for potential buyers.

One of the key benefits of social selling is gaining insight and learning about customers to create meaningful connections. By integrating your workflow with technology like the Leadboxer platform, your team will be able to gain a broad understanding of this data.

Generating leads through social platforms helps your salestaff find new prospects for outreach. From the very first interaction, customer connections can begin to take shape. Social media offers vital personal information to help your salespeople find similarities with their contacts.

Using social media as a way to teach about the industry and your products is another great use of the tool. By reaching your target audience with educational information, your business will be able to establish itself as a reliable leader in the industry. This allows prospects to find your product before your team even has a chance to discover them during a search process.

Engagement through social media helps to continue the professional relationship with clients. According to Hootsuite’s Digital Report 2021, 22.7% of internet users are using social media to network and handle work-related research. Continued social media outreach and marketing is crucial for maintaining strong customer connections, with many consumers using the internet to develop business relationships.

To see how social media integrations can help with customer connections, check out LeadBoxer with a free trial.

sales enablement in 2022

Sales Enablement in 2022

A major priority for all sales managers should be to put their team on the path to the highest earning potential. While the art of closing a deal is natural for some, businesses must provide all their sales reps with the most up-to-date resources for success. With remote working environments and a reliance on technology for company communications, sales enablement plays a major role in developing your sales team. Even though your employees may be working from different locations, it is still the duty of managers to successfully guide teams toward one unified goal.

As industries continue to navigate a post-pandemic economy, earnings from virtual selling tactics are at an all-time high. Coupled with increased work from home arrangements, sales enablement continues to be crucial for any sales department’s success. 

Despite the challenges derived from remote work in 2021, the potential to increase revenue remains extremely promising. Providing your team with support and focusing on sales enablement in 2022 will help companies thrive in the coming months.

What is Sales Enablement?

At its core, sales enablement is the process of providing sales training, coaching, enablement technology, and lead enrichment data to sales and marketing teams to improve performance across the board.

It doesn’t matter how great your top-earning sales reps are, there’s almost always room for improvement. Sales enablement helps everyone on the team excel by teaching, motivating, and most importantly, enabling them to exceed office quotas and expectations.

The Impacts of Virtual Working Environments

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The COVID-19 pandemic has forced employees to remain flexible as working from home has become the new normal for many. Despite a rushed transition period into remote accommodations during early 2020, workers have successfully settled into their new environments.

In fact, 77% of employees report higher productivity while working from the comfort of their home office. With increased engagement and focus comes the uncapped revenue potential from these eager salespeople.

In order to reach these exciting earning levels, sales managers must be able to provide their teams with the proper resources. On the flip side, due to an ever-increasing digital world, it is important to focus on quality versus quantity when utilizing sales engagement tools.

According to Forbes, globally, companies are averaging the use of 23 learning and engagement platforms. This number has doubled since 2011, and it is very likely it will continue to increase as long as remote work continues. While sales engagement tools can play a huge role in successful conversions, overload and employee burnout need to be taken into consideration.

The Importance of Sales Enablement

Consumers today have more information and power at their fingertips than ever before. A study by Salesforce & Publicis Sapient found that 87% of consumers begin their buying journey with online research. The study also found that 64% of shoppers say they feel that brands don’t truly understand their individual needs and desires.

Brands have to work hard to personalize their approach. Therefore, selling to informed customers has become a nightmare for many in the sales game. Check out this post on how to make a brand persona to learn more.

In order to break through and start a genuine conversation with potential buyers or clients, your sales and marketing teams need to be equipped with the most advanced resources available.

Four Benefits of a Sales Enablement Strategy 

The benefits of a sales enablement strategy are vast. So long as the sales reps within the team are capable and the products or services being sold are valuable.

1. Better Teamwork

Sales enablement enhances the team as a whole, not just the best sellers and not just those that need help. By implementing sales enablement strategies, companies no longer have to rely on top earners to carry the sales team.

2. Better Data

Sales enablement provides a superior framework for the collection and organization of data from engagements between reps and consumers. Data relating to pain points, customer personas, buyer intent, historic behavior, and more, all combine to help salespeople personalize each engagement.

3. More Efficiency

Better data and organization also increase team efficiency. With valuable resources at their disposal, salespeople are able to make faster data-driven decisions, decreasing the time it takes to go from prospect to client.

4. More Collaboration

Sales enablement increases collaboration between sales and marketing teams. Sales reps have to provide valuable, personalized content to prospects in order to persuade them to make the deal. The marketing team is often the source of that content. With that being said, marketing is invaluable and, in many cases, inseparable from the sales process.

Fostering Team Collaboration in Remote Environments

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The sudden switch to remote work during 2020 caused companies to adapt their communication strategies to a digital world. Zoom happy hours and endless slack threads became the roots of establishing a virtual rapport.

Now, continuing to navigate the challenges of working from home, teamwork remains vital for overall success in the sales industry. Cohesion through a single platform encourages collaboration and streamlines communication and project management.

Along with helping build your team’s correspondence, utilizing single platforms with integration capabilities will help with trans-departmental conversations as well. Lead generation and lead nurturing practices can be kept up within the same tools as your sales funnel. These combinations help keep your marketing and sales teams on the same page. 

Integration of Sales Enablement Tools

Just as capturing a customer’s attention amid the endless stream of online content has become a new challenge, so has to maintain the focus of your team during the workday. 26% of employees feel that app overload makes them more inefficient at work. 

74% of employees have more than five apps open at once. While 16% of employees are using 15 or more apps simultaneously.

Along the same line, the average worker switches through 13 apps around 30 times per day. Productivity is key to closing deals, but over inundating employees with too many platforms may have adverse effects.

Automation, artificial intelligence, and digital sales platforms can improve your team’s workflow when implemented correctly. Finding ways to consolidate the digital clutter that your employees are clicking through can drastically save time and preserve attention spans.

Leadboxer helps cut down on the number of individual apps used by your team through seamless integration with some of your most-used platforms. Through this combination, sales reps are able to find all of the necessary resources in one program. 

Whether it’s email automation, marketing campaign tracking, or data analysis, multiple sales engagement tools can be accessed from one place, hassle-free. 

The Importance of Better Content

One of the most important functions of sales enablement is ensuring that your teams have the right content and that they utilize that content at the right time.

There’s a wide variety of sales enablement content, but three of the most common types are:

  • Case studies
  • Blog posts
  • Emails

Case Studies

Case studies document real-life examples of a product or service in action. They’re essentially glorified testimonials, as they help identify the struggles faced by your customers as well as solutions you bring to the table.

They’re versatile, as they can be distributed to customers to highlight the advantages of working with your products and services. They can also be distributed to sales and marketing teams to highlight consumer behavior and customer pain points.

Blog Posts

Although content marketing and sales enablement are two different fields of study, there are some obvious applications that are worth highlighting here. Blog posts provide value to readers without asking anything in return. Not only can you build a wealth of trust and establish your brand as an authority in the industry, but you can also reveal to readers problems they didn’t even know they had.

Emails

For many brands, email is the first contact with potential customers. While this may be true, email marketing is an invaluable tool for the closing stages of a sale. It can be difficult to discern which types of emails to send and the best time to send them, but the combination of a great CRM and a great CMS will make the job much easier. 

There are several types of emails that are perfect for the closing stages of a sale. They include:

  • Order confirmations
  • Thank you emails
  • Abandoned cart emails

Most people check their emails on a daily basis. There are several elements to a great email and demand generation marketing strategy, and we won’t dive into them here, but emails are personal and you can customize them in a number of ways.

Continuing to Move Forward 

Navigating the changing landscape of the sales industry in 2021 has been a challenge for most, as well as an opportunity for uncapped growth and development. Teams who are willing to invest in the proper sales engagement tools will be set up for success as they continue to thrive in remote environments.
Focusing on integration and collaboration will help your team perform at all-time highs. To get started with a cohesive platform and see the ways consolidation can improve your workflow, check out Leadboxer for a free trial.

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Strategies for Reviving Old Sales Leads

Chasing a warm lead is the best way to expand your business and maximize your sales pipeline, but what do you do once the lead runs cold? While there are many reasons prospects may not work out, it is always possible to revive the relationship. If you plan on reviving old sales leads or creating urgency in sales, it is best to have a strategy before jumping back into the sales conversation. Understanding your lead cycle and focusing on trigger events can help determine when is the best time to reach back out to a prospective customer.

To learn more, read on or jump ahead to these sections:

What is the Sales Lead Life Cycle?

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Each prospect goes through the sales lead life cycle before your team is able to determine the customer’s status within your pipeline. Some leads may go through the cycle quicker than others. Understanding the process will help your marketing and sales team properly nurture these relationships.

Web Traffic and Subscribers

To create a lead, your business must come into contact with prospects. This can happen in many ways including cold outreach, website traffic, or email subscribers. Think of this as the first introduction to your brand.

During this stage, most customers are doing their research to determine if there is a product that will help solve the problems they are facing. To get these prospects to the next stage, your goal should be to provide light content that will create interest in interacting with your product.

Prospective Lead

In the next part of the cycle, your web traffic becomes prospective leads. This means the customer status has not been determined yet, but they have interacted with your brand. A customer can typically be moved to this stage once they have provided your team with additional contact information or filled out a website interest form.

Marketing Qualified Lead

Commonly referred to as MQLs, these are the customers that are readily engaged in your product. They have determined there is a need in their company, and your brand is on their list of solutions.

Your team should have determined trigger points for this stage. For example, if a customer visits your product page a certain amount of times in a week, requests a demo, or downloads a promotional offer.

Sales Qualified Lead

Once a prospect has become an MQL, the next stage will be determining if they are a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL). These are the leads your sales team has decided are ready for direct follow-ups about your product.

When a prospect is in the MQL stage, your marketing team should be directly introducing your product as a viable solution. Once the lead is handed to your sales team, it should be ready for warm contact from a salesperson.

Customer

After an SQL has been identified, the lead becomes a customer once the product has been purchased. The goal of your sales life cycle is to have high conversion rates from traffic to customer. Not every lead will make it to the customer stage, but this will help you determine which old prospects in your pipeline can be recycled and potentially revived.

Determining the Status of a Lead

Accurately deciding where a lead falls in your pipeline is crucial to a successful sales cycle. The status of a lead plays a huge role in your sales and marketing efforts. To ensure time and resources aren’t being wasted, you’ll want a smooth process for qualifying leads.

Known commonly as lead scoring, the beginning of this process will help your team decide which prospects are sales-ready. With this strategy, points are assigned based on a list of factors. These include the buyer profile, company information, and online behavior.

By using these traits to score your leads, your team will have an accurate understanding of each prospect. This helps to gauge interest in your brand, so your sales team knows where their efforts are best directed.

Teleprospecting Old Leads

Before jumping into the importance of this strategy, let’s define the role of teleprospecting in the sales cycle. Typically done by an inside sales rep, teleprospecting engages with leads through cold and warm contact to determine their status in your pipeline.

As discussed earlier, not every lead will complete your sales cycle. This means your company may have a list of old leads with the potential to be revisited. Your team won’t want to waste their resources on leads that cannot benefit from your product, so this is where teleprospecting can help.

If a prospect has gone cold but is already aware of your brand, the relationship may be revived when the time is right. Businesses are constantly changing, and telepropsectors can help determine when a lead is ready for contact again.

Teleprospecting should be done when an old lead goes through major changes as a company, or if they have requested you reach out at a later date. Your teleprospecting efforts should keep track of any leads that mention future interest, so you can circle back at the right time.

When employing this strategy, it is important to avoid overwhelming a potential customer. Your teleprospectors should approach each conversation as a check-in, rather than a sales opportunity. This will help accurately determine where the customer is in dealing with their issue without seeming too pushy.

The Importance of Lead Recycling

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Ideally, your sales team will want to have the highest conversion rate possible, with very little leakage from the pipeline. However, every salesperson knows how much effort goes into the early stages of the cycle just for the leads to drop off throughout the cycle.

Rather than casting aside and giving up on leads gone cold, your business can reuse leads to optimize the pipeline and increase the conversion numbers. Recycling leads can play a huge role in the success of your sales team.

The best way to start the recycling process is to continue to send relevant content to passive leads. Avoid filling their inbox with useless clutter, but make sure to share occasional emails about your product. The lead was originally in your pipeline because they had a problem and your product offered a solution, so continued communication can help nurture the relationship.

Pay attention to engagement from these leads. Are they opening your emails, engaging with your website, or filling out website forms? If so, try to use teleprospecting efforts to determine their interest.

Once your team identifies whether a lead is ready to re-engage, add them back into your pipeline and continue with them through the sales process. By recycling these leads, your sales conversion rate may increase and you will begin to see a higher return on investment (ROI) on your pipeline.

Reviving Old Sales Leads

One way to approach initiating outreach to old leads is following company trigger events. These occur when a potential customer goes through big changes, which means they may be ready to utilize your product now.

Timing is crucial when it comes to completing a sale, so understanding what your leads are experiencing can help your sales team maximize their efforts. A trigger event is an event that provides an opening for a sales opportunity.

The key to reviving old sales leads after a trigger event is knowing when the event occurred and reaching out during the right timeline. Tracking major trigger events in potential customers can help you restart the conversation around your product.

For example, pay attention to when new executives get added to your old leads. Typically, new leadership will want to maximize efficiency without concern for company tradition, so discovering new solutions will be on the table. You can keep tabs on these types of changes through LinkedIn or press releases.

Another trigger event could be company expansion or a merger. If a prospect is growing, problems may become more apparent within their workflow, so you’ll want to reach out with the solution.

Additional Strategies For Re-engaging Leads

In addition to trigger events, there are many other strategies for reconnecting with past leads. As the business world continues to dive deeper into the digital realm, social media has become an invaluable tool for sales teams.

Utilizing LinkedIn and other social media can help your teams reviving old sales leads, as well as provide the opportunity to reignite the conversation. If you see major changes happening within a prospect on LinkedIn, use it to your advantage and reach out. Use the conversation as an opportunity to provide a solution to problems the business may be facing.

Rekindle warm leads through your content. If you feel like your product may be a good fit for a lead, send them a guide or invite them to a webinar. This helps your team demonstrate the value of your product without seeming overly pushy.

Make sure to keep past conversations in mind. One mistake to avoid is approaching re-engagement as a new lead. These prospects are familiar with your brand, and you should treat the conversation as such. Remind them of your past interactions, and if needed, show the ways your product has improved.

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A Complete Guide to Thought Leadership + 6 Ways to Drive Sales Using It

What ultimately determines whether a customer buys from you or a competitor? Is it the price of your product or service, its features, or your return policy? While all those things factor into a person’s decision, studies show that your brand’s thought leadership is just as important.

In this guide, we’ll discuss what thought leadership is and why it drives sales. We’ll also dig into actionable, data-backed strategies for how you can cultivate thought leadership. As a result, you’ll be able to attract and qualify a constant stream of leads for your sales team.

Read on or jump ahead to these topics:

What is Thought Leadership?

A person or brand is said to possess thought leadership when they are seen as an expert in their field. However, a thought leader isn’t just knowledgeable about their industry—they are also the figures who blaze new trails. Research that determines more effective industry techniques and solutions often comes from such experts.

Consider these thought leadership examples:

  • If you are looking for the latest search engine optimization tactics, your first impulse might be to check the blog of Neil Patel, an online marketing guru.
  • Top-tier copywriters looking to brush up their skills would likely read the Copyhackers blog or buy a course from them.
  • Hikers and campers looking to purchase a new mattress pad might consult a comparison guide on REI’s blog before hitting the “add to cart” button.

By disseminating high-quality advice free of charge, these thought leaders engender a feeling of trust in their audience. That confidence increases the likelihood that a potential customer will purchase a product or service from them instead of a competitor.

There’s plenty of data to back this up. The 2019 Edelman-LinkedIn B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study found that 55% of decision-makers use thought leadership as a way to vet potential vendors before agreeing to work with them.

The same study found that interest in thought leadership is growing. Between 2018 and 2019, the percent of decision-makers who spend an hour or more a week reading thought leadership content grew by eight points.

It is clear that thought leadership is a crucial element of any marketing and sales strategy. Fortunately, cultivating it is relatively low-tech and relies on knowledge and skills you likely already have.

6 Ways to Increase Sales with Thought Leadership

For best results, employ all of these strategies to become a thought leader and leverage your status.

  • Create Educational Content for Ideal Customers

Thought leadership is often synonymous with content creation. For example, the three experts highlighted in the previous section—Neil Patel, Copyhackers, and REI—all have a robust blog where much of their advice lives.

However, these leaders don’t just publish what they think is most important to talk about in their field. They anticipate potential customers’ questions and answer them. This shows that you are in tune with prospects’ needs and are capable of supplying the solution on demand.

Creating content not only fosters thought leadership but also doubles as a way to qualify leads for your sales team. Once you have a repository of content, you can then track the behavior of people visiting your site. This data will help you zero in on the most promising prospects.

LeadBoxer is a tool that identifies visitors to your site and analyzes the actions they take while there. You can see what content they’re engaging with, the duration of their engagement, and the frequency of actions.

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In addition to showing your sales team who they should get in touch with, this information reveals what problems a potential customer needs to solve. This allows sales reps to prepare answers to possible questions that might arise during outreach.

Creating thought leadership content that anticipates and answers questions for ideal customers both drives sales and makes your sales reps’ jobs easier. Prospects will be more informed about your industry and product or service, while reps will know who to reach out to and what talking points to use.

  • Conduct Research or Publish Case Studies

When it comes to creating content, thought leaders don’t just rehash what others have already said. They put out studies and research that create new viewpoints for their industry.

You don’t need to have a huge budget or poll thousands of people to accomplish this. In fact, case studies about your existing clients are a solid way to build thought leadership.

Consider Copyhackers, a brand that provides education about copywriting. The company’s blog features case studies that use data to back up claims about the effectiveness of certain techniques. For instance, take a look at the opening of this article:

case studies from Copyhackers

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By claiming a 108% lift in revenue, Copyhackers-founder Joanna Wiebe instills confidence in the three featured copywriting principles. Results like that sell your brand without you having to make a more obvious pitch.

  • Contribute Content to Media Outlets

In addition to putting out your own blog posts, try to create content for other sites. This helps build awareness for your brand and shows potential customers that other industry leaders value your insight.

There are two different types of media outlets you can write for. The first is a mainstream outlet, such as Forbes, Business Insider, or Fast Company. Prospects will immediately know and trust these high-profile sites and magazines.

The second type you can contribute to is a niche outlet. Research which brands are the leading publishers of content in your field. For example, companies looking to increase their clout in the field of digital marketing might try to write for the HubSpot Marketing Blog or the Moz Blog.

  • Give Talks About Your Field

Like writing for media outlets, being involved in digital or in-person events can raise your brand’s profile. This could be something as simple as leading a free webinar or participating in a conference.

  • Turn Your Sales Reps Into Experts

Thought leadership content is often written or delivered by your company’s C-level executives. This helps potential customers connect to the human side of your brand. However, it’s vital that all of your employees are just as knowledgeable about your product and industry as your C-level executives. After all, customers will spend most if not all of their time working with your sales and customer service teams.

Picture these two different scenarios:

  • A prospective customer asks a sales rep a question about your product, and the rep refers them to a piece of content in your knowledge base.
  • A prospect asks a question, and the rep is able to easily answer it in real-time (though perhaps sending them content for future reference).

Which would you rather experience as a potential customer? Chances are, you would be more likely to buy from a company where the reps can answer your questions right off the bat. This knowledgeability demonstrates a company-wide passion for quality.

  • Be Strategic in Your Self-Plugs

While thought leadership content is a sales tool, it should be able to stand on its own as a free service. Cluttering articles with plugs for your brand is a quick way to turn off potential customers. People instinctively know when they are being sold to, and might tune out anything that comes after.

However, that doesn’t mean you should never pitch your product or service. The key is to be intentional about how you do it.

For example, readers of a long-form piece of content likely won’t mind one or two natural segues into a description of how you can help. Those who are actively searching for a product to solve a problem will be even more appreciative of the information.

Case studies are great because they organically tout your brand without you ever having to make a pitch. Readers should reach the end of the piece impressed with your results, so much so that reaching out to you with their problems is a no-brainer.

Get More Sales with Thought Leadership

Thought leadership is simply the process of putting your expertise on display. This is critical for building trust with your prospective customers and ensuring they choose you over your competitors. The majority of decision-makers consult thought leadership content when determining who to give their business to.

Publishing guides or case studies and participating in public conversations are all ways of demonstrating your knowledge. Combining this content with a tool like LeadBoxer lets you qualify leads on autopilot.

Perhaps most important to remember is that the best thought leaders are passionate about education. They find joy and value in creating informative content that, on its own, can make peoples’ lives better. Potential customers can sense that dedication and will feel endeared by it.

Already have plenty of thought leadership content and looking for a way to make it work harder for you? Take LeadBoxer for a spin and see how it can transform your blog into a lead generation tool. Get a free two-week trial and try out LeadBoxer today.

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Using Lead Nurturing Email Content to Boost the Buyer’s Journey

This article will discuss how the buying cycle and content mapping can guide your lead nurturing strategies to ensure that the customer journey is effortless. This article also includes a few examples of email nurturing content that can help boost the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns, convert leads into sales, and help your company understand the impact of content on the buying journey.

Read on or “jump” ahead to these sections to learn more:

Content Mapping and the Buyer’s Journey Guide Lead Nurturing Strategy

Creating lead nurturing campaigns has become one of the most successful ways to transform leads into sales. Both B2B and B2C companies are familiar with the strategy. And 35% of marketers have some sort of strategy currently in place. More than that 50% of companies who have one or more successful lead nurturing campaigns have created more sales-ready leads at a 33% lower cost than those without lead nurturing strategies.

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Over 55% of marketers have said that email campaigns drive the highest ROI of any of their other lead nurturing platforms. As such, email marketing remains one of the most powerful tools for converting leads to sales, advertising, and leveraging insights to boost the customer journey experience. Using lead nurturing email content can help your brand convert leads into sales, ensuring that customers have the most personalized and helpful customer journey content.

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  • The Buyer’s Journey

The Buying Cycle makes up the broad stages of a customer journey. Personalizing your lead nurturing content to a given customer means ensuring that they are targeted with the most useful product or service options. The Buyer’s Journey represents each step in the process of a potential customer becoming a repeat buyer. The buyer’s journey, also known as the customer journey, is comprised of three core steps that a potential buyer may follow:

  1.  Awareness
  2.  Evaluation or Consideration
  3.  Purchase

As the buyer moves through these three steps, your brand must also supplement the buyer’s journey with email nurturing content. This kind of content is crucial for the success and follow-through of a sale from a particular buyer. And therefore, requires careful consideration and planning. Leadboxer’s platform offers a variety of tools that can aid in lead generation, and gather insights so that your company can create the most effective content for each lead.

  • Content Mapping

Content Mapping is one strategy that ensures that your brand is creating the most relevant, effective content for your target audience. The kind of content that is created for a particular content map relies on the sales cycle of your own company, as well as that of your industry. It is also crucial to create buyer personas so that your strategy is well-informed of what your clients needs.

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Defining and redefining your target audience, and aligning this audience with the correct buyer persona is crucial to ensure a successful email nurturing campaign. Creating a variety of content assets that differs from competitive brands is one sure-fire way to stand out among current and potential customers. Fostering a customer-driven mentality throughout the brand exhibits consistency and trust with customers who feel they have derived value from your brand’s content and relationship.

Aligning an Email Nurturing Campaign with the Buyer’s Journey

Targeted, customizable, and valuable email campaigns provide a high return on investment (ROI) for inbound marketing tactics. The ultimate goal of email nurturing or lead nurturing through email campaigns is to build trust with customers.

The benefits of email lead nurturing campaigns from a logistical standpoint are that while they do require planning and prepared execution, these kinds of campaigns are ultra-targeted, automated, and timely. Creating unique content for each stage of the buyer’s journey is an email campaign strategy to carry out lead nurturing that converts prospective buyers into customers.

  • Stage One: Customer Awareness of Your Brand

During the awareness stage, the focus of your lead nurturing content should be on providing information about the customer’s problems, not on your brand’s solution to those problems. Providing information that educates a potential buyer about their problem begins to foster trust in the customer and sends the message that your brand is not just simply looking for another source of business.

Certain kinds of informational content are most appropriate for this stage in the buyer’s journey, and once a client has expressed awareness and interest in learning more, your brand can begin its lead nurturing email campaign. Below is a list of some potential types of content that are appropriate for the awareness stage:

  • Informational emails: These emails serve to give customers more information about the brand. They should provide information about certain potential problems that a customer might have, based on buyer personas, and other demographics.
  • Demo Videos, social media, and tip sheets or checklists: Visual cues are crucial for any kind of marketing campaign, and can be especially useful for giving information to customers who are previewing many different products or services. Quick informational facts and product information can be compiled into a comprehensive video, infographic, or social media post.
  • Stage Two: Evaluation, Deeper Exploration, and Consideration

At this stage, a customer has identified their interest in your brand. And has possibly reached out to the sales team, marketing team, or has otherwise expressed a deeper interest in exploring your product offerings. This is the time to begin advertising your brand’s products and services. But most importantly, specifying how your products can address that customer’s pain points.

Creating lead nurturing content at this stage of the buying cycle is crucial. Because it can determine whether a customer will follow through and convert into a sale, or take their business elsewhere. The goal of this kind of content is to highlight the usefulness of your brand’s products and offerings. The more that a customer values their relationship with their brand, the better the customer journey, encouraging sales conversions from prospective leads.

Having compiled various types of content now is the time to offer more in-depth content that provides a comprehensive look at how your products or services would solve the customer’s pain points. Some appropriate content might include:

  • Educational Webinars, e-Books, and blog posts: In-depth and long-form content are effective for providing information about how your brand’s products or services can solve the customer’s pain points. Webinars provide space for customers to take in your products and services at their own pace and reach out with questions. While e-books and blog articles can offer more tailored information about specific topics, customer testimonials, and your brand’s insight into various industry problems.
  • Case studies and Whitepapers: Case studies and whitepapers are effective forms of content for customers who are looking for more data-driven and technical information about your brand’s services and products. Case studies can act as in-depth testimonials and consistently rank as one of the most effective marketing strategies. Using case studies as a unique pillar page to tie in other kinds of content builds customer trust and education.
  • Stage Three: Purchase and Sale Conversion

During the final stage in the buyer’s journey, customers are ready to take the next step and commit to a brand’s offerings and products to aid in solving their pain points. The content that is most effective at this stage requires the lead to take action and your brand should have already provided information about the lead’s problem. And how your company can best solve that issue.

That being said, there is still a variety of content that can solidify a sale in this final stage. Effective content at this stage can include:

  • A free Trial or Live Demo: Providing these kinds of interactive content is crucial to showing the customer that your product or service is going to solve their problem. Showing the lead that your brand is the best fit for them is important. A customer is more likely to invest long term when they know a product works well for them.
  • Consultation or Estimate: Gives the lead an idea of how your services would fit into their budget and company overall and should be used to educate the customer to the fullest about their situation. And help them come to a decision.
  • Coupon or Product Reviews: Past product reviews can act as “recommendations” from past customers who have experienced similar issues and may provide the lead with the needed proof that your company is the solution to their problems. Coupons or a discount on a certain product or service are another way to demonstrate to the customer that your brand cares about helping them with their problem, rather than just treating them as another sale.

All of these different types of content can and should be used in your lead nurturing email campaigns. By providing potential clients with a variety of content at each stage of the buying cycle, a qualified lead is nurtured from beginning to end and is more likely to lead to a sale.

Making sure that the right kind of content is reaching customers at the right time is important to ensure that customers don’t feel overwhelmed or spammed with content that is not useful. LeadBoxer’s platform can help you create the most effective content for boosting the buyer’s journey. For additional information, contact LeadBoxer for a free demo.

Customer Engagement Strategies for Millennials

Most organizations strive to engage with their customers at a high level. However, engagement with the right audience at the right time can be difficult to achieve. When assessing who to target in your lead generation efforts, it’s important to find the right demographic best suited for your offerings. While an organization may target a wide variety of people, Millennials are currently a common demographic to approach. In order to effectively develop and cultivate leads, it’s best to understand a few key customer engagement strategies for Millennials.

Keep reading or use the following links to “jump” ahead:

Customer Engagement Strategies for Millennials

When comparing millennials to other generations like Generation X, Generation Y, and Generation Z, there are many differences to consider.

Millennials operate very differently when making purchase decisions. For example, a Baby Boomer may call a retailer while a Millennial would rather surf the web before calling. Due to the constant changes in how this demographic operates, it’s vital to stay updated on the following customer engagement strategies to boost engagement and generate leads.

Complete a Marketplace Analysis

To effectively target Millennials, it’s important to understand how this audience behaves. The first step in learning more about this demographic involves completing a marketplace analysis.

  • What is Marketplace Analysis?

A marketplace analysis dives deeper into the behaviors and patterns of a target audience. Additionally, it involves an assessment of the industry, competitors, and other market variables. The process involves the following three elements:

  • Customer Analysis: Understanding more about the needs and wants of the customer in order to provide relevant offerings.
  • Competitors Analysis: Reviewing competitors to see how your organization can improve.
  • Partner Analysis: Understanding how partners or suppliers help to achieve goals.

As the visual below demonstrates, there are several factors used to complete an effective marketplace analysis. The process involves both internal and external elements.

effective marketplace analysis

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By completing a marketplace analysis, organizations can better understand the buyer landscape for Millennials. However, effectual customer engagement strategies for Millennials rely on the ability to appeal to this generation by understanding the typical buyer journey of this audience.

Understand the Modern B2B Buyer Journey

It turns out that more and more Millennials are making key B2B buying decisions. In fact, a 2018 survey showed that 13% of Millennials are decision-makers in B2B purchasing. The same survey showed that 28% of them help to influence purchasing decisions within their organizations.

As these numbers are relatively low, we expect those percentages to continue to grow. We learned in 2015 that Millennials are now considered the largest generation in the workforce, passing Boomers.

So, what’s the best forward-thinking approach to increase engagement with Millennials and create more leads? It involves understanding more about the modern B2B buyer journey.

The Millennial buyer journey looks different compared to other generations. According to HIPB2B, 86% of millennials prefer to not engage with sales until the middle of the buying process. Additionally, 67% of the buyer’s journey is now completed in a digital format.

Those statistics show that Millennials will review your website and content before making a purchase decision. Other generations may make a decision much sooner in the process.

  • Privacy

As Millennials enjoy browsing through a website until they decide to make a purchase decision, they don’t like to be pressured. If they open your emails or download something on your site, experts suggest not calling them right away.

While calling them may sound like the most practical decision for your lead generation efforts, it can make them feel pressured. Millennials prefer to stay behind a screen. It’s best to be patient and focus on a lead-nurturing approach.

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As the graphic demonstrates, Millennials are far more inclined to text rather than call. As you’re looking to increase customer engagement with this demographic, these findings are important to consider.

  • Sending Nurture Messages

Instead of pressing this generation into a phone call, sending lead nurturing messages is encouraged. Some common types of nurture messages include:

  • An introduction or greeting
  • Information about a product or service
  • Directions
  • Call-to-action
  • Availability hours

While GenXers and Boomers may prefer to speak with a sales agent about a product or service, Millennials prefer doing research on their own before making a call.

Know Where Millennials Go for Information

Another customer engagement strategy for millennials involves finding where they get their information. It’s vital to understand how they operate online and what information they use to make purchase decisions.

Millennials use some of the less traditional B2B sources to find their info. According to MarketingSherpa, 38% of Millennials rely on industry analysis when making decisions about what B2B products/services to purchase or recommend to others. 36% rely on in-person meetings with vendors, while 33% of Millennials gather information from a vendor’s website.

  • Building Trust

Why do you think Millennials rely on an industry analysis when making B2B purchase decisions? For the most part, it involves trust.

Industry-analysis content gives your brand third-party validation that creates trust in the eyes of the buyer. If a Millennial is able to see that you’re a reputable brand in the industry, they are more likely to become a high-quality lead.

Provide a Bargain

As every adult today has lived through some type of great recession or depression, we all understand the value of a dollar. In fact, the majority of generations are still experiencing the impact of the 2008 recession.

That could point to the fact that Millennials are constantly looking for a good deal. According to MediaPost, 48% of Millennials used online coupons in 2016. That was more than both Gen Xers and Baby Boomers.

While Millennials may not be using their own budget when buying something, these B2B buyers are still bargain shoppers.

To cultivate as many leads as possible, it’s encouraged to send out coupons to your entire audience. As everyone enjoys saving money, providing coupons can be a driving force for increasing conversion for your Millennial shoppers.

Properly Segment Content

Another smart tactic is to ensure your content is segmented effectively. Content segmentation involves positioning your website to effectively convert visitors into buyers. Due to how differently Millennials operate online, it’s important to know which content segmentation strategies work best for this demographic.

The process starts by first assessing what you see working for each age group. Through A/B testing and optimization, organizations can determine what types of content these audiences enjoy. Following that step, you’ll then want to target those generational demographics based on your findings.

As the graphic below indicates, four key areas must be understood to properly segment content. Given how different age groups are more responsive to specific types of content, understanding the proper segmentation process can allow you to make smarter, more relevant decisions with your messaging.

market segmentation graphic

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Develop Personalized Mobile Messaging

According to The Future of Customer Engagement and Experience, personalized mobile messaging is what drives conversions. These messages are more relevant when received via text, and these messages receive higher open rates compared to other mobile marketing tactics. Furthermore, mobile messaging boosts customer loyalty.

While mobile messaging is a driving force for millennials, it also provides these benefits for retailers:

  • SMS works on any device and any network
  • Requires no apps to download
  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Easy to implement
  • Safe and secure
  • A simple source of communication
  • Cost-effective

With the abundance of digital services available today, it’s easy for retailers to start mobile engagement strategies to boost lead generation. Areas such as shipping and account alerts are easy places to start. From there, an organization may choose to promote personalized marketing offers or even a loyalty program.

Another part of your personalized mobile engagement strategy could include two-way communications with customer service, personalized shopping assistance, and surveys and polls that operate in real-time.

  • Intelligent Notification Platforms

Organizations may choose to utilize intelligent notification platforms in their mobile messaging strategy. These are used to improve service quality for the customer. Without it, users may receive the wrong messages on the wrong devices.

These platforms help to ensure the following:

  • Messages reach the right user on the right device
  • Messages align with objectives
  • Interactions are private, safe, and secure
  • Messaging is reliable
  • Interactions build customer loyalty
  • Messaging increases engagement

Utilize Data Resources

Understanding more about Millennials involves understanding more about the data at your disposal. Luckily, there are many avenues to find valuable data insights regarding how the Millennial audience behaves online.

Today, it’s even possible to get near-real-time anonymized mobile data aggregated from millions of mobile users from across the world.

To provide the most relevant and timely messaging, you should leverage internal and external data sources and intelligent notification platforms as well as account based selling if it fits. This can ensure your organization has the most relevant, valuable data to drive your lead cultivation efforts. It can also ensure the right content is delivered to the right audience at the right time.

Boosting customer engagement with Millennials involves utilizing high-quality lead management software. Contact LeadBoxer today to learn more about its sophisticated lead and customer data platform.

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How to Implement a Customer Engagement Strategy With Customer Engagement Trends

When comparing interest in customer engagement over the last 15 years we see a steady increase in search volume. It’s no wonder, with software companies constantly looking for new ways to view and use data to improve customer engagement strategies and customer experience.

We want to help guide professionals through this ever-changing journey. That is why we put together these trends and strategy tips to help improve your company’s customer engagement strategy through the use of emerging technologies.

Read on or jump ahead to a section:

What Is Customer Engagement?

Customer engagement is the process of interacting with your customers through the use of different channels and mediums. By connecting with your clients this way you’re strengthening and improving your relationship with them.

Most companies consider the starting point for the customer engagement process as the first interaction a potential customer has had with your business. The process continues even after you have made a sale.

Social media tends to be one of the most popular ways for brands to directly interact with their customers. When done right, it has great benefits. In fact, 71% of people who have a good experience with a brand on social media are likely to refer others to that business.

One way companies continue to create personalized engagement is through conversation in the comments section of social media ads and posts. Companies that do this offer a unique and engaging experience for their customer base, making them more likely to buy from them in the future.

The 4 Types of Customer Engagement Levels

There are four distinct types of customer engagement levels every company should be aware of before crafting their customer engagement strategy.

1. Contextual Engagement

When you do not have any context in your advertising efforts, any engagement you try ends up turning into noise customers tune out.

Contextual engagement means interacting with your customers at the optimal time in the way they want to be communicated with. We can do this through the use of analytic technology that assists your teams in understanding your customers’ behaviors.

A lead generation and management software can help you identify demographic information such as IP addresses, filled out forms, and other website engagements, giving you the context you need to interact with them effectively.

customer engagement
customer engagement

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For example, in this photo, we can see the engagement potential clients had with the site. From this, we can engage them with the content they are already interested in.

If LeadBoxer were a potential lead of ours, we would see Eddie engage with us on Twitter, but Wart likes to read our emails. To reach each of them effectively, we would send Eddie a direct message on Twitter and Wart an email.

These are examples of how we use contextual engagement to interact with our customers based on the information we have about them. By focusing on the individual client’s behaviors we can achieve a more personalized customer journey and offer an unmatched experience.

2. Engagement of Convenience

Engagement of convenience is any type of interaction that increases convenience for your customers and allows the company’s software to better understand each customer’s needs. Put simply, it’s when a customer can easily engage with your business through simple channels. Consumers engage with you because it’s easy for them to do so.

An example of this is Amazon’s  “one-click” purchase option where purchasing preferences such as payment and shipping address are pre-saved and speed up the purchasing process. Because of the convenience, more people shop with Amazon even if it ends up costing them more.

If you sell products online, implementing this level of customer engagement in your strategy could help you convert leads quicker and make it more likely for them to come back to you.

3. Emotional Engagement

With 95% of buyer decisions happening unconsciously, it is important to consider the emotional reaction of customers. Emotional connections have traditionally been marketed through brand color schemes or imaging. However, consumer awareness has evolved, making it necessary for companies to engage with consumers in a more personalized way.

Utilizing software that tracks an increasing number of data points means increased awareness of each customer’s ideal environment for making buying decisions such as when to buy and how often they should purchase.

By using an emotional engagement data manager, you can create more accurate buyer personas. You can even identify the point where leads are most likely to convert and become long-term customers.

Some of the more advanced software will send you emails when a lead is likely to convert so you can jump on it right away.

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customer activities

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4. Social Engagement

Social engagement is the real-time advocacy of your company.

And social media is where people go to get information, real-time reviews, and customer testimonials for your business. It is easy for your customers to leave reviews online for others to see.

You must make sure your customers have a good experience with your brand to avoid negative reviews. Being vigilant about your customer experience also helps you avoid losing customers due to a negative experience. It is also important to respond to customers in a  polite, helpful manner.

Having positive social engagement is essential for a business to be successful. When you have positive endorsements online, say from influencers, you’re more likely to have a positive online identity.

Understanding how the different types of customer engagement levels help your business will guide you to create an effective customer relationship marketing strategy.

The first must-use customer engagement marketing trend you need to be a part of is using a customer relations management platform (CRM) that profiles your customers. CRM software enables the profiling of your customers and provides an enhanced understanding of your customer engagement levels.

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A good CRM can even tell you how often a customer would like to be engaged and when they would like to be engaged, helping you do better with contextual engagement.

The second must-have in your marketing strategy is a strong mobile-first strategy. Almost half of all online shopping is done using a mobile device. You can’t get away with having a site that looks great on the desktop but does not work on mobile devices. It is imperative for you to have a well-functioning, mobile-friendly website.

The third customer engagement strategy you need to implement is becoming extremely personalized in your marketing messages. Use the potential customer’s name in the subject line or intro in your email campaigns. 82% of marketers have seen an increase in open rates when they use personalization in their campaigns.

It’s simple to set up personalization, especially with email campaigns, and there’s no reason not to include it. You can even extend personalization into any type of advertisement, such as tracking which products people look at on your site, and then serving ads to them later featuring those products.

The last customer engagement strategy you must include is SMS/text messaging. Text messaging open rates are at a whopping 98% compared to just 20% of email marketing. If you are not including an SMS strategy in your plan, you are missing out.

Now that you understand what the emerging trends for 2021 and beyond are, let’s get into how to use these to build an effective customer engagement strategy.

How to Develop & Implement a Customer Engagement Strategy

With up to two-thirds of a company’s profits relying on customer engagement, it’s imperative to create a customer engagement strategy and implement it early. Follow these steps to create your customer engagement strategy:

  1. Define your customer journey map. You have to understand who your ideal customer is and where they are likely to shop.
  2. Identify interaction points—where and how are your customers are engaging with you.
  3. Setup engagement where people want to be engaged. If you post on social media all the time but no one ever comments, you are wasting your efforts. You need to find new channels for customer engagement.
  4. View behavior in real-time. See what your customers are doing as they’re interacting with you, and give them the content that’s most important to them.
  5. Offer personal service. Give each customer a unique and personalized experience.
  6. Watch conversions and non-conversions to see where people are converting and where they drop off to improve the experience.
  7. Take feedback. Ask people how they felt while interacting with your brand and make changes when needed.

Implement Your Customer Engagement Strategy Today

Now that you understand the current customer engagement marketing trends and the steps you need to take to get started, it is time to create and implement your customer engagement strategy. Be sure to check out this helpful guide to help you build a top lead generation strategy.

Are you serious about getting your strategy launched today? Check out LeadBoxer’s website to schedule a free demo.

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Lead Capture Pages 101: Importance, Strategies, and Software

If you spend more of your time scouring the internet for leads than actually closing deals, consider adding lead capture pages to your marketing strategy. With lead capture pages, you can automatically populate your CRM with fresh, highly qualified prospects, letting you spend more time connecting with people and less time combing through lead databases.

Best of all, lead capture pages can be implemented quickly. With the right software and strategies, you can get a lead capture page up, running, and working for your business in no time. Before you know it, you’ll find new leads for your business without lifting a finger.

What is a Lead Capture Page?

A lead capture page is an essential component of an inbound marketing strategy. Visitors usually land on the page after searching for business solutions or learning about your company through social media, blog posts, or search engines.

nutshell inbound marketing strategy

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A lead capture page attracts potential customers by offering a free resource, such as a white paper, report, or trial of a product. In exchange, the prospect fills out a short form with their contact information. This supplies your sales team with a continual source of leads.

The info collected from a lead capture page is then uploaded to your CRM, becoming the foundation of any contact record in your sales pipeline. Once you’ve identified a lead, lead intelligence software can uncover additional details about a prospect, analyze how engaged they are, and offer insights into how to best communicate with that person.

How Lead Capture Pages Help Sales Teams

Between calling clients and closing deals, your salespeople are busy enough. Lead capture pages give them the freedom to focus on these high-touch tasks and understand their prospects better.

Find qualified leads on autopilot

An efficient lead capture page reduces the time your salespeople would otherwise spend trawling LinkedIn or contact databases for leads. It also automatically begins the qualification process, as leads who express interest in your offerings are likely to be more receptive than cold leads to communications from your sales team.

Gain insight into prospects

Manual lead generation can’t compare to the level of contact enrichment that lead capture pages help provide. Many programs that build and run lead capture pages can take the data submitted and use it as a launchpad to uncover tons of other details about leads. This gives your sales reps a greater understanding of who they’re selling to.

Score and prioritize leads

If members of your sales team often wonder which leads they should prioritize over others, a lead capture page can help. When used in tandem with lead scoring software, you can analyze the online behavior of leads captured from a web form and more accurately predict which ones are likely to buy. That way, sales reps know exactly who to focus their energy on and who they can pass on.

15 Lead Capture Page Software Options

Many tools and sales artificial intelligence tools too with lead capture page functions come packed with additional features that help you get more from your leads. These software options usually fall under one of three categories:

  • Lead capture page software with lead intelligence and nurturing
  • CRMs with lead capture page builders
  • Landing page builders

Lead Capture Page Software with Lead Intelligence and Nurturing

1. LeadBoxer

lead capture pages software

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Out of the box, LeadBoxer can start identifying leads from forms, as well as IP addresses, email, and other touchpoints.

Pros:

  • Tracks leads’ online activity, including what web pages they visit on your website, how long they spend there, and what emails they click through
  • Creates a lead score to help your sales team prioritize prospects
  • Can identify website visitors who don’t complete a form

Cons:

  • Doesn’t include a CRM

Cost: LeadBoxer starts at $195 per month.

2. Leady

marketing strategies from leady

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Leady identifies and scores new leads based on their level of engagement. It includes features that help flesh out contact records, giving sales reps greater insight into who they’re selling to.

Pros:

  • Creates detailed profiles about people visiting your site so you can better segment leads for your sales team
  • Reveals where leads came from so you can zero in on the marketing strategies that work best
  • Tracks a lead’s activity with your website and email marketing, as well as all communications with your sales team

Cons:

  • Only downloads data once per day, so you can’t start nurturing new leads immediately
  • Basic plan only identifies 300 unique site visitors per month

Cost: Leady starts at $39 per month.

3. Autopilot

marketing automation software autopilot

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Autopilot is marketing automation software that can help you build lead capture pages, then nurture new leads on, well, autopilot.

Pros:

  • The interface allows you to visualize exactly how the customer journey will unfold
  • Can automate repetitive tasks like educating new subscribers, assigning leads to members of your sales team, and following up on new leads
  • Easy to build multiple drip campaigns tailored to lead segments

Cons:

  • Doesn’t come equipped with a CRM, so you’ll need to integrate it with a separate program
  • Integrates with a limited number of tools

Cost: Autopilot starts at $49 per month.

4. Act-On

web form builder act-on

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Act-On integrates with your CRM to help you attract, convert, nurture, and score leads with ease. Its web form builder tracks conversion rates and the source of form visits so you know which of your marketing efforts are working best.

Pros:

  • Automatically starts sending drip campaigns to leads
  • Comes with features that help score leads based on their website activity, so sales reps know their level of engagement
  • Easier to use than direct competitors like Marketo

Cons:

  • Incredibly feature-rich and on the pricier side, so it’s not feasible for many small and medium-sized businesses

Cost: Act-On starts at $900 per month.

5. Karta

marketing and sales solution from karta

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Karta was designed as the most complete marketing and sales solution on the market. It touches almost every aspect of the customer journey, from letting you build lead capture pages to scoring and prioritizing leads for your sales team.

Pros:

  • Includes lead tagging and scoring features
  • Doesn’t require integrations to manage all aspects of your business
  • Can create segmented campaigns that respond to specific behaviors, so you can start nurturing new leads automatically

Cons:

  • With so many features, Karta can sometimes feel clunky or unwieldy
  • Karta is newer to the market, so some kinks are still being ironed out

Cost: Karta starts at $99 per month.

CRMs with Lead Capture Page Builders

6. HubSpot

hubspot marketing platform

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HubSpot offers an all-in-one CRM and marketing platform that can build lead capture pages, organize leads, and prioritize them based on engagement.

Pros:

  • Comes with tools to build lead capture pages or embeddable forms with 1,000 form fields and a dozen different form types
  • Automatically uploads leads into the CRM and begins nurturing them with email campaigns
  • Gauges lead engagement, then prioritizes them in the CRM so salespeople know who to focus on

Cons:

  • While HubSpot CRM is free, you’ll likely need to invest in the sales and marketing bundle to get all the lead capture features you want

Cost: HubSpot Marketing Hub and Sales Hub start at $50 per month, while a bundle starts at $112.50 per month.

7. Pipedrive

marketing automations from pipedrive

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Pipedrive is a popular CRM known for working well right out of the box. With its web form builder, you can start capturing leads within minutes.

Pros:

  • New contacts in your CRM are automatically created from form submissions
  • Tracks all calls, emails, and contact activity for each lead
  • Pipedrive is so easy to use, you can train new users on it in just one day

Cons:

  • Doesn’t come equipped with predictive lead scoring, so you’ll need to integrate an additional tool if you want this feature
  • Limited marketing automation features compared to a CRM like HubSpot

Cost: Pipedrive starts at $12.50 per user per month.

8. Zoho CRM

lead generation from zoho

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Zoho CRM, one of the top-rated CRMs available, comes packed with features like web forms for lead generation. The tool can meet your customers at every stage of their lifecycle, from marketing to customer support.

Pros:

  • Drag and drop web form builder makes it easy to launch lead capture pages in minutes
  • Multiple levels of billing is great for businesses that plan to scale up
  • The interface is so user-friendly, many customers claim not to need training before getting started

Cons:

  • Customers report that importing and exporting leads sometimes leads to corrupted files
  • Emails generated by Zoho CRM can sometimes get sent to leads’ spam or blocked entirely

Cost: Zoho CRM starts at $12 per user per month.

9. Agile CRM

lead capture form tool agile

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Like Zoho CRM, Agile CRM lets you manage marketing, sales, and customer service all in one platform, but with a slightly cheaper price tag.

Pros:

  • Lead capture forms automatically sync data with the CRM, which can then segment leads based on behavior and characteristics
  • Can help you find unknown email addresses for leads using only a lead’s name and their company’s website address
  • Allows you to purchase additional features without upgrading to the next subscription level

Cons:

  • Users find some of the marketing automation features buggy
  • Customer support can be inconsistent

Cost: Agile CRM starts at $8.99 per user per month.

10. Keap

marketing and sales processes from keap

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Keap is the solution for teams who want all of the marketing and sales processes within the same platform. From the moment you capture leads to the time they make a payment, Keap does it all.

Pros:

  • Automatically segments leads based on form answers, then nurtures them with emails and content based on certain behaviors and triggers
  • A great e-commerce business solution
  • Full range of marketing automation capabilities is notably strong

Cons:

  • Doesn’t work well at blocking spam form submissions
  • New users need significant training before they can expect to use the program efficiently

Cost: Keap starts at $79 per month.

Landing Page Builders

11. Instapage

landing page builder from instapage

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Instapage started as a dynamic landing page builder but has since transformed into an advertising conversion cloud. With Instapage, you have all the tools you need to optimize your advertising funnel and turn more leads into customers.

Pros:

  • Create an entire advertising funnel to attract visitors to your web forms, then convert them into leads
  • Automates the process of creating multiple landing pages that match the messaging of your social media or search engine ads
  • Drag and drop landing page builder creates stunning lead capture pages with no coding required

Cons:

  • Doesn’t integrate with email marketing platforms like ConvertKit, so you’ll need to find a workaround if you want to start automatically nurturing new leads from form submissions

Cost: Instapage starts at $149 per month.

12. Unbounce

lead capturing opportunities from unbounce

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Unbounce offers many of the same features as Instapage but at almost half the price. Small businesses that want to build unique lead capture pages to match all their ads will love Unbounce’s functionality and affordability.

Pros:

  • Drag and drop builder lets you collaborate with team members and make edits in real-time
  • Lets you create pop-ups and sticky bars for even more lead capturing opportunities
  • Uses A/B testing to automatically optimize pages for the best conversions

Cons:

  • The builder isn’t as intuitive as some of its competitors, so new users should expect a slight learning curve
  • Certain landing page features require additional coding

Cost: Unbounce starts at $79 per month.

13. Leadpages

lead generation tool leadpage

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Leadpages is a landing page builder and lead generation tool geared toward small business. It’s extremely easy to use and has almost no learning curve.

Pros:

  • Comes packed with templates so you can start capturing leads even faster
  • Has a feature that tells you exactly what you need to tweak on your landing page in order to increase your conversions
  • If you only want to build a few basic lead capture pages, Leadpages is the most affordable option

Cons:

  • Doesn’t integrate smoothly with software like Stripe, so if you want to add fields like coupon codes to your pages, you’ll have to find a workaround
  • The price of the fully functional version can be prohibitive for small businesses

Cost: Leadpages starts at $25 per month.

14. Landingi

landingi landing page creator

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Landingi is an affordable alternative to some of the bigger landing page builders in the industry but is just as easy to use.

Pros:

  • Customer service is receptive to user feedback and often implements suggestions into future upgrades
  • Includes a feature that tells you where site visitors came from, so you know which marketing efforts are leading to the most conversions.

Cons:

  • Not good for making several similar landing pages with tweaks only to certain blocks or modules
  • Less feature-rich than some of its competitors

Cost: Landingi starts at $29 per month.

15. Mailchimp

mailchimp all-in-one marketing platform

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Mailchimp has long since upgraded from an email marketing tool to an all-in-one marketing platform, offering features like a landing page builder, conversion rate tracking, and even free domains.

Pros:

  • Easy to integrate with almost any tool
  • Start building and hosting landing pages for freet
  • Its paid version is the most affordable of its competitors, making it ideal for small or new businesses

Cons:

  • A landing page builder isn’t nearly as dynamic as others on this list
  • Limited segmentation ability
  • No plugin with Spotify

Cost: Mailchimp’s paid plans start at $9.99 per month.

Tips for Creating an Optimized Lead Capture Page

Not all lead capture pages are created equal. To maximize your conversions, there are certain best practices you should keep in mind when designing a form.

Limit the fields in the lead form

Having too many fields, especially ones that feel irrelevant or invasive, can lead many visitors to navigate away before they finish completing the form. The quicker a visitor can enter their info, the more likely they are to convert.

For example, visitors who want to sign up for a free trial of LeadBoxer only have to enter their email address to get started.

lead form from leadboxer

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Even if they need to enter additional info before they can start using the program if feels less forced than a form that demands several lines of data upfront.

Compare that to this form, which requires visitors to fill out seven fields before they can access a report.

how to loose valuable conversions

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Chances are, this company is losing out on valuable conversions because visitors aren’t ready to divulge that level of information.

Match the fields in the lead form to the offer

It doesn’t matter if it’s helpful for you to know a lead’s company or job title. If that info doesn’t relate to the gated resource you’re offering, it might reduce your conversion rate.

Check out this registration for a free webinar from Kinsta, a managed WordPress hosting provider, which only requires that attendees submit their name and email.

registration form from kinsta

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This is presumably so attendees can receive the link and a calendar reminder for the webinar. If Kinsta were to ask for less relevant information, such as company name or job title, visitors might be put off and leave the page before completing their registration.

Choose the right positioning for the lead form

There are three places you can position the lead capture form: above the fold, at the bottom of a page, or in a pop-up. Each has different benefits.

If the form is above the fold, that means you can see the form at the top of the page without having to scroll. This type of form is quick to grab a visitor’s attention and works best when used as a post-click landing page for a search engine or social media ad.

right positioning for the lead form

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Sometimes the form is positioned next to an image of the product. This serves as a visual reminder of what the visitor will receive in exchange for their info.

Another option is to position the form at the bottom of the page.

lead capture form from hubspot

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Visitors who read through all the info about your product or resource before submitting their info demonstrate a high level of engagement, which helps your sales team prioritize them.

Finally, you can put your lead capture form in a pop-up, as Instapage does for visitors who want to download a free guide.

pop-up capture form from instapage

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This method keeps visitors focused on the form, so they’re less likely to be distracted by other links or elements on the page before submitting their info.

Include your privacy policy

The info collected through lead capture pages is sensitive enough to qualify as personal data under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The GDPR, which regulates the personal data of all European Union residents, requires that you disclose how and why the data is collected, as well as how you handle the data and dispose of it.

In addition to including this disclosure in your existing privacy policy, you should also link to your privacy policy on the lead capture page. HubSpot, like many B2B companies, positions this link at the bottom of the form so that visitors are sure to see it before they submit their info.

privacy policy on display ob hubspot

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Aside from being a legal necessity, having your privacy policy on display shows your brand’s professionalism and commitment to the customer’s best interests.

Generate Leads on Autopilot for Your Sales Team

Your B2B marketing strategy is incomplete without a lead capture page. A lead capture page is the simplest way to find and qualify prospects for your sales team, who can then redirect their energy on nurturing leads and closing deals. In the long run, this relatively inexpensive strategy can end up generating significant revenue for your company.

However, even if you follow all the tips and best practices for creating an optimized lead capture page, the page only works as well as the software you pair it with. With the right software, you’ll never have another high-quality lead slip through the cracks because of pipeline mismanagement. Your best bet is to use a lead intelligence tool that can take the info you collect from lead capture pages and turn into actionable data that helps you prioritize leads and convert them into customers with ease.

sales enablement guide scaled 1

Sales Enablement 101: A Guide For Empowering Your Sales Team

There’s a new buzzword on the minds of sales managers across the country: sales enablement.

It’s not a new concept, just a new name. The idea is to provide your sales teams with the resources they need to excel. Doesn’t sound too revolutionary, right?

Unfortunately, many offices are structured in such a way that a few top earners carry the entire office and the rest of the reps don’t get much attention.

In reality, some people are just naturally great at selling things. That doesn’t mean the other guys can’t perform at the same level, or even that they don’t perform at a high level themselves. They just need a little help to develop their skills, and that’s where sales enablement comes into play.

Read on or use these links to jump to a particular section:

What is Sales Enablement?

At its core, sales enablement is the process of providing sales training, coaching, enablement technology, and content to your sales and marketing teams to improve performance across the board.

sales enablement definition

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It doesn’t matter how great your top-earning sales reps are, there’s almost always room for improvement. Sales enablement helps everyone on the team excel by teaching, motivating. And most importantly, enabling them to exceed office quotas and expectations.

Sales enablement is sales empowerment, and it’s more important now than it’s ever been. Of course, we could repeat that statement every week. Because the competition is always on the rise, and buyers continue to become more informed than ever before.

Sales enablement provides the clearest avenue for sales and marketing teams to take their game to the next level. Regardless of where they are now.

The Importance of Sales Enablement

Consumers have more information and power at their fingertips than ever before. A study by Salesforce & Publicis.Sapient found that 87% of consumers begin their buying journey with online research. The study also found that 64% of shoppers say they feel that brands don’t truly understand their individual needs and desires.

Brands have to work hard to personalize their approach. Therefore selling to informed customers has become a nightmare for many in the sales game. You can check our post about how to make a brand persona to learn more.

There was a time when interruption ads stood a chance. Many buyers were naive, and if something popped up and caught their attention, they clicked. They didn’t know any better, but these days, they do. In order to break through and start a genuine conversation with potential buyers or clients, your sales and marketing teams need to be equipped with the most advanced resources available.

Four Benefits of Sales Enablement

The benefits of a sales enablement strategy are vast. So long as the sales reps within the team are capable and the products or services being sold are valuable.

1. Better Teamwork

Sales enablement enhances the team as a whole, not just the best sellers and not just those that need help. By implementing sales enablement strategies, as a result, companies no longer have to rely on top earners to carry the sales team.

2. Better Data

Sales enablement provides a superior framework for the collection and organization of data from engagements between reps and consumers. Data relating to pain points, customer personas, buyer intent, historic behavior, and more, all combine to help salespeople personalize each engagement.

3. More Efficiency

Better data and organization also increase team efficiency. With valuable resources at their disposal, therefore salespeople are able to make faster data-driven decisions, decreasing the time it takes to go from prospect to client.

4. More Collaboration

Sales enablement increases collaboration between sales and marketing teams. Sales reps have to provide valuable, personalized content to prospects in order to persuade them to make the deal. The marketing team is often the source of that content. With that being said, marketing is invaluable and, in many cases, inseparable from the sales process.

Sales Enablement Resources

Sales enablement empowers sales and marketing teams to enhance their performance near the end of the cycle, where the actual sale takes place when it counts most.

sales enablement resources

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Sales enablement is proven to increase sales efficiency. Booking.com for Business is the B2B division of the popular travel website. They used LeadBoxer to improve the quality of the leads being presented to the enterprise sales team.

After implementing a variety of sales enablement solutions, LeadBoxer helped Booking.com disqualify false-positives, qualify false-negatives, and even provide the enterprise sales team with invaluable behavioral data, allowing them to focus their efforts on consumer interests and buyer intent.

It seems like a no-brainer to want to give your sales and marketing teams better resources, but it’s not always the case for many companies. In most cases, when a sales rep fails to meet a quota, the blame falls squarely on their shoulders. They didn’t listen. They didn’t work hard enough.

While there are reps out there who simply don’t belong on a sales team, more often than not, better training, coaching, enablement technology, and content can improve the performance of almost anyone. These elements make up the foundation of sales enablement, but what do they truly entail?

What is “Better Training?”

A lot of companies are using the same onboarding process they’ve had for 25+ years. There’s no way the company is in the same position it was in two decades ago, but the onboarding and training materials still reflect that version of the company. The goals have likely evolved, the products and services have likely evolved, and the average customer has most certainly evolved.

In this context, “better training” means more relevant training. You could hire the most capable sales rep in your state, but if they’re not accustomed to your products, your services, and your culture, they won’t perform at the level you anticipate.

What is “Better Coaching?”

Sales coaching is essentially the process of putting proven leaders in front of your sales and marketing teams and allowing those leaders to guide your reps to better performance. For companies that offer no coaching at all, any type of coaching is an improvement.

When we talk about coaching, a lot of sales managers probably think of professional speakers who travel around the world giving live presentations. Of course, it’s valuable to have one of these sales and marketing gurus speak to your teams in-person, but this isn’t always an option – and it’s not always necessary.

You likely have one or two employees among your staff right now that are ready to step up and lead the pack. You likely have a manager that could take the initiative and coach your teams to more success.

What is “Enablement Technology?”

Most sales managers and marketing directors are familiar with the various types of sales enablement technology available today, even if they don’t make the connection right away.

The most common of these include Content management systems (CMS), customer relationship management (CRM) platforms, lead nurturing software, and learning management systems.

Content Management Systems

cms connections

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Buyers today want personalized content. They need education and entertainment. If you educate consumers about various problems they face, not only can you reveal problems they may not have known about, but they’ll trust you as an authoritative source of value.

The problem is that there’s a growing sea of content readily available and anyone with a keyboard, a monitor, and an internet connection can create and distribute with the click of a button. Consumers have come to ignore the majority of what they see online, so your content has to catch and hold their attention.

In order to stand out, companies need a lot of content. Sales and marketing teams must work together to create and curate personalized content that speaks directly to consumers. Without a good CMS and lead capture page strategy, this process is nearly impossible.

You need to be able to provide relevant content at different steps in the buyer journey. If the buyer is just looking for information on a particular product, hitting them with sales copy is not the answer.

Customer Relationship Management

crm importance

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While a good CMS helps you identify the right types of content to use, a good CRM helps you identify the right time to use it.

The path a customer takes from learning about your brand to purchasing your products is called the customer journey.

As previously stated, a buyer who’s just looking for information about a product or who’s researching possible solutions to a problem is not ready to be hit with sales copy. They need informational copy that educates them about their problem and about your solutions, but they need content that does this in a way that’s not pushy or “salesy.”

The right CRM helps your team achieve this and much more.

A CRM helps your team organize customer or client relationships. Every interaction is a touchpoint, and every touchpoint must be documented. When an initial email goes out to a potential client, the team marks that interaction in the CRM. This keeps your sales and marketing teams from going overboard and pushing prospects and current customers away.

CRMs help with lead management, as well. When a new lead is entered into the CRM, the entire team has access to this data. This type of teamwork is key to the success of your company, and the right CRM allows and encourages this collaboration.

The sales process racks up a ton of data. Without a great CRM, the data alone will overwhelm your team and crush productivity and morale.

Learning Management Systems

lms value

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All of the enablement tools in the world won’t make a bit of difference if your sales reps aren’t capable and well-informed. At the end of the day, the success of your company depends upon the expertise of your sales and marketing teams and their ability to persuade prospects to invest.

There are several roles played by the LMS. The role it plays for you will depend on your goals and objectives. Most LMS solutions allow you to create and deploy training initiatives for your teams and track the progress of individual employees.

You can also utilize training and coaching content from other professionals in your industry. These high-profile coaches bring a lot of energy and expertise. Names that come to mind include Brian Tracy, Grant Cardone, and others.

SalesHacker.com released a list of the best sales training programs and coaches of 2019. The top five included:

Importance of Better Content

One of the most important functions of sales enablement is ensuring that your teams have the right content and that they utilize that content at the right time.

There’s a wide variety of sales enablement content, but three of the most common types are:

  • Case studies
  • Blog posts
  • Emails

Case Studies

Case studies document real-life examples of a product or service in action. They’re essentially glorified testimonials, as they help identify the struggles faced by your customers as well as solutions you bring to the table.

They’re versatile as they can be distributed to customers to highlight the advantages of working with your products and services, but they can also be distributed to sales and marketing teams to highlight consumer behavior and customer pain points.

Blog Posts

Although content marketing and sales enablement are two different fields of study, there are some obvious applications that are worth highlighting here. Blog posts provide value to readers without asking for anything in return. Not only can you build a wealth of trust and establish your brand as a source of authority in the industry, but you can also reveal to readers problems they didn’t even know they had.

Emails

For many brands, email is the first touch with potential customers. While this may be true, email marketing is an invaluable tool for the closing stages of a sale. It can be difficult to discern which types of emails to send and the best time to send them, but the combination of a great CRM and a great CMS will make the job much easier. There are several types of emails that are perfect for the closing stages of a sale. They include:

  • Order confirmations
  • Thank you emails
  • Abandoned cart emails

Most people check their emails on a daily basis. There are several elements to a great email and demand generation marketing strategy, and we won’t dive into them here, but emails are personal and you can personalize them in a number of ways.

Bringing it all together

Using a Lead & Customer Data Platform like LeadBoxer helps you to bring all this data together. Build rich customer profiles and track all behavioral events to get a complete picture of your audience.

Key Takeaways

Sales enablement is still a buzzword. But as the B2B and B2C landscape shifts in the coming years, it will become an indispensable element of the sales process.

Sales managers must deal with growing competition, a growing sea of content, and a new generation of sales reps.

LeadBoxer offers proven sales enablement solutions that can help your sales and marketing teams excel. By embracing smart sales enablement techniques, they can help their teams excel and perform at a higher level than ever before.

What is Cost Per Lead Why You Should Be Using It

What is Cost Per Lead & Why You Should Be Using It

Advertising and marketing campaigns are key to finding new customers for your business, but how do you know if those campaigns are working effectively? If you’re getting new customers but paying more than they’re worth in ad spend, it could mean an unsustainable future for your business.

Luckily, there’s an easy way to measure how cost-effective your campaigns are. Cost per lead (CPL) is a metric that tells you whether or not your efforts and ad spend are paying off.

In this guide, we’ll take a deep dive into CPL, from what it is to how to lower it. Once you start tracking CPL, you can create more effective marketing campaigns and attract more leads for less money. Keep reading, or jump ahead to these sections:

What is Cost per Lead?

The cost per lead (CPL) is the amount of money it takes to generate a new prospective customer for your sales team from a current marketing campaign. These prospective customers — or leads — have seen an ad, clicked on it, then given some of their contact details in exchange for a white paper or more information about your product, thus keeping your sales pipeline full.

CPL lets marketing teams know if they’re spending an appropriate amount on different avenues of acquiring new leads, such as Google Ads or Facebook Ads. The higher the CPL compared to other businesses in your industry, the less effective the marketing campaign is. Naturally, a lower CPL is considered ideal.

CPL is only one of many metrics that digital marketers often look at. Try not to confuse it with these other abbreviations:

  • Cost per Thousand (CPM) – The cost of 1000 users viewing the ad
  • The Cost per Click (CPC) – The cost of one person clicking on the ad
  • Cost per Action (CPA) – The cost of one person buying a product
cpm vs cpc vs cpa vs cpl

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CPM is a more useful metric for companies who are trying to build awareness around their brand, like McDonald’s or Coca-Cola

Users who view the ad don’t necessarily take any action, but they might remember the brand later on. CPA comes into play for eCommerce companies that sell low-ticket items at high volume. If you’re a B2B company or a brand with a high-ticket item like a luxury car, it’s not as likely that visitors are going to buy a product the first time they click on an ad.

CPC measures how much it costs when a person clicks on an ad in a pay per click (PPC) marketing campaign, which is important for determining how much you should spend. If your average CPC is $1, your conversion rate is 10%, and you want 100 new leads this month, you would need to spend $1000 on that campaign.

How to Calculate Cost per Lead

Calculating CPL is relatively straightforward. Simply divide the amount of money you spent on a campaign during a set period by the number of leads acquired through that campaign in the same period.

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For example, if you acquired 100 leads through a Google Ads campaign that cost $1000, the CPL for that campaign would be $10.

Don’t forget to calculate separate CPL metrics for different campaign platforms. On its own, calculating the CPL for all of your marketing efforts across email, social media, and search engines would have limited usefulness. If the CPL was higher than the standard for your industry, you wouldn’t know which platform’s campaign needed adjustments.

This is why it’s so vital to know where your leads are coming from. You wouldn’t want to attribute John Smith to your Facebook Ad CPL calculation if he actually learned about your product through Google Ads.

How to track leads?

A common way to track where leads came from is through a UTM code. A UTM code attaches to the URL of a landing page so that Google Analytics can see which ad campaign referred visitors to the page. You can then count up the number of leads acquired through unique campaigns.

Lead generation software like LeadBoxer automates this process. The Segments feature can add a tag to each lead acquired specifying their industry, location, and referrer, to name a few.

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Finding your total attributed leads is then as easy as selecting the right filters to see who was acquired in a certain period from a certain campaign.

Cost per Lead Industry Benchmarks

Knowing your cost per lead is only the beginning. By comparing the CPL you calculated in the previous step to the industry average, you can know whether you’re paying too much or just the right amount for your leads.

To help out, GoConvert aggregated data from over one hundred sites and reports to come up with cost per lead averages by industry.

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As can be expected, higher-ticket items like marketing agencies and financial services have higher CPLs, with the highest average CPL at $100. Media and publishing, meanwhile, have the lowest average CPL at $11.

6 Ways to Reduce Cost per Lead

If your CPL is a little higher than it should be, don’t worry. There are several ways you can tweak campaigns and acquire more customers for less.

1. Personalize your campaigns

One possible reason why you’re not getting more leads for your money is that your ads and landing page don’t match. Message matching is when the expectation set by the ad is met by the experience on the landing page.

For an example of an ad that gets this right, take a look at what happens when you search for “best CRM” in Google. Zoho CRM claims the top spot with this ad:

best crm

Notice how the phrase “best CRM” is repeated in the title of Zoho’s ad. With a title like that, potential customers know exactly what kind of promise Zoho is throwing out there.

After clicking through, visitors land on this page:

zoho crm

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Notice anything familiar?

“Best CRM” is repeated in the page’s header. Not only that, but a call to action and place to submit info is displayed clearly above the fold of the page. From start to finish, potential customers know exactly what to expect from Zoho.

This degree of campaign personalization might seem like overkill, but according to a 2018 survey by Evergage, 88% of today’s customers expect to have personalized shopping experiences.

Resultiks, on the other hand, misses the mark. Search for “marketing automation software”, and you might run across this ad:

marketing automation software

There are some indications within the ad’s title that Resulticks is the right match for marketing automation software, but clicking through to the landing page only confuses matters:

Resulticks

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There’s no sign above the fold that Resulticks helps with marketing automation. Customers might be left wondering if they landed on the wrong page and won’t be as inclined to submit their info for a demo.

2. A/B test ads

Between your keywords, copy, and images, there are several variables influencing how well your ads are performing. It can be tempting to go with your creative instincts when crafting an ad, but instincts don’t guarantee results. Only by running two versions of the same ad can you figure out which elements resonate most with your ideal customers.

Here’s how that might play out in an example ad created by AdEspresso for their eBook:

adespresso ebook ad

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The first ad clearly outperforms the second ad with a higher click-through rate (CTR) and conversion rate. The lower cost per sale shows the marketing team that they’re on the right track with the first ad.

Remember: When you’re A/B testing, it’s best only to change one variable with each test. Tweak the title of an ad during one test, then the image during another. By reducing the number of variables at play, you can be sure about what your audience likes.

3. Rethink your keywords

Every once in a while, go into your ads manager—whether it’s for Google, Bing, or another platform—and analyze how well your chosen keywords are performing. Clean out the ones that aren’t driving leads and spend time optimizing the ones that are. Don’t worry if the keywords you deleted are highly searched. If they aren’t bringing prospects to your business, they’re a drain on your ad spend.

Another way to improve your keyword performance is to target more long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords are more specific and less searched than broad keywords, but the audience also tends to be more motivated and willing to convert.

4. Lower keyword bids

Those keywords that are converting but with a high CPL? Consider bringing the bid down. Lower bids might drop your search engine campaign’s average position, but it would also give you longer exposure on results pages and more clicks.

It might also be that the manual bid you set months ago no longer reflects the average cost of landing on the first page, as was the case with this client at White Shark Media:

whitesharkmedia bid

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If you don’t want to manually adjust your bids all the time, Google offers Automated Bidding so you can hit your goals without a ton of extra labor. There are several types of automated bidding strategies, including one to maximize conversions. With Maximize Conversions, Google’s AI tries to get the most conversions for your campaign within your budget.

5. Retarget site visitors based on behavior

It’s one thing to retarget people who have visited your site with another round of ads. It’s another to retarget them based on the specific action they took on your site.

Start by analyzing the behavior of leads who have already converted. Keep your eye out for certain trends, like visiting a particular page or taking a specific action before finally making the sale. It may be that customers exhibit the same behavior before buying from you.

A lead generation tool like LeadBoxer tracks all lead website and email activity for you, so all you have to do is go into a lead’s profile and check out where they’ve been and what they’ve done.

leadboxer tracker

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Once you’ve identified certain behaviors, you can create a retargeting campaign based around those behaviors. For instance, if a high percentage of prospects turned into customers after viewing the pricing page for more than a minute, you may want to retarget future prospects who take the same action.

This strategy can be applied to almost any behavior, whether they only visited your homepage for a few seconds or watched an entire demo video.

6. Check performance by time, device, or location

There are several variables about your audience that may be influencing your CPLs. Take a look at your ads manager and compare how campaigns are performing by:

  • Time of day – When are most leads acquired?
  • Device – Are leads more likely to be on desktop or mobile?
  • Location – Where are the most leads located?

These aren’t the only factors that might be driving up your CPLs. Analyze trends across your audience and try adjusting campaigns to focus on times, devices, and demographics that are performing well.

Use Cost per Lead to Make Your Marketing Campaigns More Effective

If there’s one marketing metric to keep your eye on, it might by CPL. Knowing where your marketing efforts stand next to your competitors’ lets you know if you’re on the right track or if you need to tweak some campaigns.

LeadBoxer simplifies CPL monitoring so you can focus on optimizing your marketing campaigns. The Segments feature quickly filters leads based on which ad campaign first brought them to your site so you can quickly calculate the CPL for each campaign. When it’s time to optimize, use the website and email tracking feature to identify which lead behaviors warrant retargeting. Get started today and try out LeadBoxer for free.

intent data

What is Intent Data & How Can You Use It?

According to research, the average B2B buyer is already 67% of the way through the buying journey before having extended contact with a salesperson. By that time, they’ve likely formulated some ideas about possible solutions to their pain point. And might even be leaning toward buying from your competitor.

Intent data is the key to identifying those leads sooner, nurturing them earlier in their buying journey, and making more sales. This comprehensive guide will outline the fundamentals of intent data, including:

By the end, you should know exactly how intent data fits into your marketing and sales processes. You’ll also learn how to pick the right intent data supplier for your needs. So you don’t end up with the wrong strategy for your business.

What is Intent Data?

Intent data shows the likelihood that a person or company is in the market to purchase a solution for a pain point. It’s derived from information about the online research contact or account is conducting about a particular topic. As well as context clues that might signal their purchasing intention. Topic and context data are the two main types of intent data. Both rely on tracking cookies, cross-domain tracking and IP addresses to form a complete picture.

Topic Data

If a hiker needs to buy new hiking boots, she may scout online reviews of top brands. Before she ever goes to the store and tries on a pair. Anyone looking at her search history might assume she’s interested in the topic of “hiking boots”. The same is true of B2B leads and target accounts. Forrester claims that 68% of B2B buyers research by themselves, a significant increase from 53% in 2015.

In addition, 47% of buyers viewed 3-5 pieces of content before connecting with someone in sales. Even before signing up for a free trial of the software that might solve their problem, your lead is probably researching their pain point and weighing multiple options. Topic data tells you what they’re researching. There are four types of topic data available.

Anonymous First-Party Behavioral

These are unknown visitors to your company’s site and the actions they take while there. They haven’t yet filled out a form or explicitly revealed information about themselves. However, it’s possible to identify their company by tracking their IP address. unknown visitors A lead generation tool like LeadBoxer can help fill in the gaps and show more contact information about these otherwise anonymous visitors. Consequently giving a more complete picture of who they are and what they’re researching on your site.

Known First-Party Behavioral

These visitors to your company’s site have provided their contact information by filling out a form, therefore they are “known” individuals. Lead generation or marketing automation software can track what pages they visit and other ways they engage with the site.

Anonymous Third-Party Behavioral

These are unknown visitors to sites you don’t own but that might still be relevant to your business. You can track different topics over a network of sites and see what’s most popular.

aberdeen intent data

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If you’re a supplier of project management solutions, and someone from a company that fits your ideal customer profile is reading articles about “project management” on Business Insider, you can access that information through intent data suppliers. A few of which we’ll review in a future section.

Known Third-Party Behavioral

These are visitors to sites you don’t own that have shared some of their contact information. Like with anonymous third-party behavioral, you can access their information and the topics they’re researching through the right supplier.

Context Data

Context data tells you whose intent data is valuable and who only has a passing interest in a topic. There are a few details that are especially useful for establishing context.

Job Title

If a sales professional is researching “sales pipeline management”, it’s possible they’re looking for a CRM tool that can help manage leads. If a marketing professional or content creator is researching the same topic, it may be more likely that they’re putting together a blog, video, or another piece of content on the subject.

Job Postings or Leadership Changes

Job postings and leadership changes can tell you whether or not to reach out to a lead. If you sell advertising services but the target account is in the process of looking for a new marketing director, now might not be the best time to approach them. And if the account has announced the recent hire of a marketing director, it’s a better opportunity to pounce and offer a better option than what the predecessor left behind.

New Funding

A new round of funding is another indicator that a company could be open to new solutions, both because they have a bigger budget and because they may be growing their operation and need more sophisticated tools to manage their company.

New Legislation

Did new legislation just pass that requires an account to operate their company in a certain way, or opens them up to new business? If you have the solution they need in response to these changes, this context lets you know if you should act.

Press

Keep a close eye on accounts that make the news. Press about an expansion of operations or increase in earnings might indicate that they need new solutions, while bad press may mean that they need some space to do damage control before focusing on other things. However, not all bad press is a sign to stay away. If an account makes the news for poor customer service, maybe now is the time to reach out and offer information about your CRM software.

What to Use Intent Data For

There are several uses for intent data, but before diving into the specifics, know that if your competitor isn’t already using intent data, they might soon. Polls show that nearly a quarter of B2B companies are already using intent data, while another 35% plan to use it within the next 12 months. Using intent data in some capacity will become increasingly necessary to stay competitive. These are the main ways that it can benefit your business.

Reaching Leads Early

The most obvious use of intent data is to establish contact with leads earlier in the buying journey. Getting in touch with leads before other salespeople do is one of the biggest ways to get a leg up on the competition; research shows that in 70% of cases, the first salesperson to connect with a lead is ultimately who they give their business to.

Lead Prioritization

Context data can help make a distinction between who is actively researching a pain point and who is just reading about a certain topic without any intention of making a purchase. This information illuminates whether or not a lead fits your ideal customer profile. prioritize leads A tool like LeadBoxer quickly shows you the highest priority leads by allowing you to search by filters such as location, industry, and company size.

Automated Outreach

First-party leads that give off certain signals can trigger automatic marketing or sales processes, such as an email series, that can instantly start nurturing them when it matters most.

Account-Based Marketing

Hone in on what content works best at engaging first-party leads, and what needs more refining.

Personalization of Outreach

By knowing what topics and articles leads are researching, sales agents can personalize how they make contact and develop a relationship with them. They can mention specific topics and establish relevance quickly to capture and hold a lead’s attention.

Targeted Advertising

Get even more granular with your advertising strategy by honing in on leads who give off certain signals. That way, you’re not wasting any of your advertising dollars on people who only have a passing interest but have no intention of buying your product.

Targeted Account List

Develop a list of accounts who are engaging with third-party sites about relevant topics but aren’t yet engaging with your company. You’ll be able to connect with leads who your sales team might have otherwise never considered.

Analyze and Retain Customers

Intent data works with existing customers, too. Monitoring what current clients are researching so you know if they’re thinking about switching to a competitor or if there’s something you can upsell them on. With intent data in your toolbox, you can continue to anticipate and solve problems long after the initial purchase has been made.

How to Obtain Intent Data

There are several intent data vendors out there who can help you access intent data on your site or data available on third-party sites.

First-Party Intent Data Vendors

First-party intent data is nothing new. You may already have access to some thanks to free tools such as Google Analytics. Other vendors can provide you more details about who is visiting your site and turn anonymous visitors into known visitors.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a free tool that monitors the activity on a site, such as page views and how visitors arrived at the site. While it can’t identify individuals, it can hone in on IP addresses and show you what accounts are active on the site.

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In the example above, several businesses use branded aliases, making it possible to identify which accounts are visiting a site. However, Google Analytics can’t provide any further context than that. It also can’t go into detail about what the visitors’ unique actions were on the site.

LeadBoxer

LeadBoxer catalogs all known visitors to your website. If a visitor fills out a form, the information they provide automatically populates their profile within the software. LeadBoxer can then calculate a lead score for that person using other data points such as what pages they visited, what topics they seem most interested in, and how engaged they are with the site.

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With this information, you’ll know exactly when to act on a lead. LeadBoxer takes it one step further and can help identify previously unknown visitors. For example, if the visitor didn’t fill out a form but arrived at the site via LinkedIn, LeadBoxer can trace back to that person’s LinkedIn profile and use the information to populate the visitor’s information within the software.

BounceX

Like LeadBoxer, BounceX can identify many website visitors (40-70%) who would otherwise remain anonymous. It then creates personalized marketing experiences – similar to account-based marketing – for these visitors based on their engagement.

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BounceX can automatically engage with visitors who have not yet filled out a form or appear that they’re about to leave the site. In a way, it identifies users who are displaying intent and then begins to nurture them before a sales agent ever steps in.

While sophisticated, BounceX is said to have nearly a $4,000/month price tag, making it a serious investment for most businesses. It also doesn’t prioritize showing you accounts who express high intent but instead tries to let the AI nurture users through website personalization.

Third-Party Intent Data Vendors

If an account is researching topics around the web that are relevant to your product or service, these solutions will help you find them.

Bombora

Bombora can tell you what companies are expressing active intent to purchase your products or services long before someone from that company ever lands on your site. This tool does this by monitoring 6,000 intent topics across 3,800+ publisher websites.

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Bombora only tracks IP addresses, cookie IDs, and company domains provided by the publishers’ registration data. They can tell you what companies are expressing intent, but they can’t tell you exactly which employee is doing the research or who your sales team should engage with. In short, there’s no context data with this vendor.

Aberdeen

Aberdeen bought The Big Willow, and intent data supplier, back in 2018. They offer a lot of the same value that Bombora does but take it a step further by integrating their solutions into Salesforce.

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Companies expressing active intent pop up in the Salesforce dashboard so sales teams know exactly which accounts to jump on. You can also see how those accounts will impact the pipeline. You can also choose to integrate Aberdeen Marketscape, a product that shows all the topic keywords researched by each account showing intent.

This helps establish more context. If you’re not already using Salesforce, getting started with Aberdeen’s intent data (and then Marketscape) might be a little too complicated and cost-prohibitive.

How to Select an Intent Data Vendor

There are several different suppliers of intent data out there. It’s important to work with the one that best fits the needs and size of your company, or else you risk losing time and money. Here are a few considerations to keep at the top of mind when screening vendors.

How many sites are in the vendor’s network?

Ask this question if you’re considering third-party data vendors. The network refers to the websites they monitor, which tend to be publisher sites like Forbes. The larger the network, the better, as this gives them a bigger pool of data to draw from.

How many topics does the vendor monitor?

Third-party data vendors monitor a finite amount of topics. At the time of this writing, Bombora claims to have nearly 6,000 topics in their system, while Aberdeen claims to have hundreds of thousands of keywords at their disposal.

Can the vendor give context?

On its own, a list of names and topics they’re researching isn’t very useful. You need context to know if their company fits your ideal customer profile, as well as what their job title is and if they have any purchasing authority. Third-party data vendors can’t give much context at this time, but some solutions for first-party intent data can.

How to Use Intent Data

Trying to make use of intent data in its raw form is inefficient. Intent data works best when used to calculate a lead score. A lead score is a concise, visual way to describe how promising the lead is and therefore how much it’s worth pursuing them.

Some solutions, like LeadBoxer, will not only capture intent data but will automatically input it into a lead score. You can adjust what data points to use for calculating a lead score based on the needs of your company. set lead score 900

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Here are three of the most important factors to keep in mind when adjusting what data points to use for a lead score.

Fit

This is as simple as asking the question: does this lead fit our ideal customer profile? Are they the right size company, in a certain location, etc.? If an account showing active intent doesn’t fit the mold of your ideal customer, then their lead score will go down.

Intent

Take into consideration not only the topics researched by that account but the frequency and recency of the research.

Engagement

Has this account not only engaged with relevant third-party pages, but with your site or social media profiles? A solid first-party data vendor will be able to track and show you individual actions. Use that information to increase their lead score. track actions The more specific the data points used to calculate a lead score, the more accurate and useful the lead score will be. This will help weed out accounts that aren’t the right fit or are researching topics without having any intent to buy a product or service.

When Intent Data Isn’t Enough

Intent data isn’t a magic bullet for identifying leads earlier. There are limitations to this technology that will hopefully improve as time goes on. Be aware of the following when incorporating intent data into your marketing and sales processes.

When a Visitor is Registered Under the Wrong IP Address

If an unknown visitor to your site or a third-party site is registered under the wrong IP address, you won’t be able to tell what company they work for. This often happens by accident but nevertheless makes it impossible to identify the correct account.

When a Buyer is Conducting Research Out-of-Network

Third-party intent data vendors like Bombora and Aberdeen don’t aggregate data from every corner of the internet. They only draw information from sites within their networks. If a buyer is researching on sites not covered by that network, then you’ll never know.

Decay Rate of Third-Party Data

Given the amount of content people consume regularly, you shouldn’t expect sales agents to always be able to reach out to a lead and reference content they read a week or two earlier.

Third-Party Data Lists Account But No Contacts

Bombora and Aberdeen only list the account, not the contact information of the individual who was searching.

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While it’s certainly useful to know which accounts have an interest, you’re still limited by not knowing who to reach out to.

When Used At the Expense of a Sustainable Sales Pipeline

Relying on intent data is no reason not to have robust marketing strategies that help draw new leads into your sales pipeline. Like most sales tactics, it’s best used in tandem with other processes.

Get an Edge Over the Competition With Intent Data

Intent data is a hot technology that more and more businesses are using to gain an edge over their competitors. By seeing what topics leads are researching, you can reach out to them sooner and have a better chance at closing the deal. While it’s not the end-all, be-all way to keep your sales pipeline full, it is a valuable tool to have at hand.

Third-party intent data still isn’t as precise as some would hope it to be. Vendors can only provide accounts, not individual contacts, and don’t offer much in the way of context data. Third-party data also decays more quickly than first-party data.

Some first-party data is free and already at your fingertips via Google Analytics. A tool like LeadBoxer can keep you apprised of who exactly is visiting your site whether or not they’ve filled out a form. It’s also easy to get context data and use each data point to calculate a lead score, showing you exactly which leads to act upon at that moment.

If you haven’t already started taking advantage of the intent data laying untapped on your site, now is a great time to start. Try a free trial of LeadBoxer today.

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10 Buying Signals You Should Look For

Imagine if some magic words or signs indicated how likely a prospective customer is to buy. Your sales and marketing teams would know exactly who to focus their efforts on. As it happens, there are such signs. They’re called buying signals, and taking note of them is key to giving prospects a better buying experience and increasing the efficiency of your sales process.

This guide will review ten of the most common buying signals to look for and how to look for them. It will also go over how to capture, analyze, and act upon those signals. With this information in hand, your team will be well on its way to gaining and retaining plenty of satisfied customers.

What are buying signals?

Buying signals are the actions prospective buyers take that may indicate they’re close to making a purchasing decision. For B2B sales and marketing teams, buying signals are especially important because they can help you hone in on the most promising leads, saving time and closing more deals.

Buying signals can occur at several different steps of the buyer’s journey. Some signals occur when a prospect visits a company’s website. Lead generation software such as LeadBoxer can capture this data and consolidate it into a lead score. A lead score is a way to easily visualize buying signals.

Lead Score

Other buying signals occur during conversations between the prospect and a sales agent. These are usually phrases or behavioral cues that show how interested the prospect is. Recognizing these signals requires training and keen attention to detail.

The following ten signals occur during both digital and physical encounters between a company and prospective clients.

1. The prospect signed up for a free trial

Signing up for a free trial or other complementary offerings through a lead capture page is a clear indication that a prospect has some interest in the product.

buying signals signup

Lead generation software can capture this action and use it as part of the data that generates a lead score.

Even if the prospect doesn’t immediately take advantage of the trial, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re no longer interested. It may show that they’re simply unsure how to use it. To mitigate that risk, consider enrolling anyone who signs up for a trial into an automatic email series that provides tutorials or tips.

You can also offer free one-on-one meetings or phone calls with a customer service representative who can walk them through the trial. A more personalized experience can help move some prospects further along on the buyer’s journey.

2. They filled out a form

If someone filled out any form, whether it was to sign up for an e-newsletter or a request for more information, it’s a sign that they want to know more about the company.

LeadBoxer captures that data and uses it to populate a prospect’s profile. The software will then log future actions the prospect takes on the site and use it to adjust their lead score.

Even if a prospect doesn’t fill out a form, LeadBoxer can track and identify previously unknown website visitors.

3. They’re engaging with your brand on social media

Following your company’s social media profile and engaging with the content you publish strongly suggests that the prospect is interested in your product.

To identify who is engaging with the brand most often, encourage marketing team members to monitor mentions of the brand or associated hashtags.

buying signals twitter

Regular check-ins between the marketing and sales team are important for identifying the prospects who are active on social media. With that information, sales agents can know who might be most worth reaching out to or nurturing.

Another option is to integrate your lead generation software with social media sites like LinkedIn so you can capture a prospect’s actions on the platform. LinkedIn is an especially fruitful platform for identifying and cultivating B2B leads.

4. They’re interested in one product

Interest in a single product or solution shows that prospective clients are clear about what they want. They’ve done their research and are taking steps toward making a purchasing decision.

This signal might appear during a consultation between a sales agent and a prospect, but it could also occur on your brand’s website. Multiple visits to a product page, especially over a short timespan, indicate growing interest.

Calibrate your lead nurturing software to look for these actions and use the data when calculating a lead score.

5. They’re interested in the price

If a prospect asks about pricing during a sales call, it’s generally a sign that they’re at least thinking about buying.

Some sales agents might misconstrue questions about money as a pricing objection, or that the prospect finds the cost prohibitive. Instead, think of it as they’re trying to understand how this solution fits into their budget. Use their question as an opportunity to talk about why your company is the right fit for them with respect to the price.

buying signals pricing

Another way to know if a prospect is interested in the price is to check if or how often they’ve visited the pricing page. This information should be available within the lead generation software in the log of actions they’ve taken on the site.

6. They’re interested in case studies

Pay attention to prospects who are looking at case studies on your site or are asking about other customers’ success stories. These potential clients are trying to imagine how they fit into your business and if you have a track record of solving problems that are similar to theirs.

buying signals use cases

To keep the conversation moving, sales follow-up process should start with rep talking about other case studies that are similar to the prospect’s experience or ask if they have any questions or concerns about the company’s previous work.

7. They ask for advice from their peers

Sometimes you’ll notice that more than one person from a company is visiting the site. This might be an indication that someone with purchasing authority has asked his or her peers for their input about the product.

This might also be true when someone copies their colleagues during email correspondences with a sales agent. If they’re cluing other people into the conversation, it’s a good sign that they’re discussing amongst themselves how the product fits with their needs.

In any case, if the main contact is seeking the opinions of people they work with, it’s likely that they’re weighing the pros and cons and are close to making a final decision.

8. They ask about terms and conditions

When a prospect starts asking about warranty details or money-back guarantee policies, they’re likely feeling out whether or not they can trust you to deliver excellent customer service.

Look for this signal during meetings or calls with sales agents. If there is a warranty page on your company’s website, check to see if the prospect has visited it. If they have, it’s a prime opportunity for an agent to reach out to them and see if they have any questions about moving forward.

9. They ask about contract specifics

This buying signal will likely happen during an in-person meeting or phone call. Prospects who are asking sales agents about what needs to happen to move on to the next step are almost ready to pull the trigger on the purchase.

For example, they might want to know when the service or use of the product can begin. Show that your company can adjust to their expectations by asking how soon they need it by.

This is also a great time to ask if they have any other questions or considerations about moving forward. Any opportunity you can take to demonstrate outstanding customer service is another reason why the prospect should go with your company.

10. They ask about methods of payment

Sales agents should be attuned to questions about when or how payment can be made. Prospects who ask about this topic are close to making a purchasing decision but need to make sure that payment options align with their company’s needs.

In this case, the more convenient options you can provide, the better. Automatic payments, payment plans, and accepting credit cards are just a few of the possibilities to make customers’ lives a little easier. The more convenience you can provide, the more likely that they’ll keep buying from you.

Pay attention to buying signals and close more deals

Knowing when a prospect is ready to buy doesn’t take a crystal ball or a sixth sense. The clues are all there in the buying signals they give off. Good old fashioned attention to detail as well as a mix of data gathered and interpreted by lead generation software makes it possible to take note of and act upon these signals.

LeadBoxer is a lead generation software that makes much of this process easy and automated. It can also deliver alerts that let you know when it’s time to take action and make a pitch to a prospect. Get started with a free trial today.

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customer journey map

How to Create a Customer Journey Map: Everything You Should Know

The key to giving your customers a great experience is to walk in their shoes. And by empathizing with your clientele and understanding their motivations, your company will be able to drive product design and service based on what customers need most. As Kevin Stirtz says, “Know what your customers want most and what your company does best. Focus on where those two meet.” And a customer journey map is one tool that can help you look into customer behavior, motivations, and needs. Most importantly, this knowledge will help improve your relationship with customers, boost sales, and help you accomplish your business’s goals. So in this article, we’ll cover the following questions you may have about customer journey maps:

What is a Customer Journey Map?

A customer journey map is a visual representation of the stages a customer takes before accomplishing a certain goal a company has for them. To clarify, it takes into consideration a customer’s pain points, emotional needs, and actions. So this type of map illustrates the customer narrative as they engage with a brand.

Most customer journey maps look at the entire customer lifecycle. Starting with the introduction to the brand and continuing to post-sale support services – with all the steps in between.

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Often, these stages are displayed in a linear fashion. However, a customer’s engagement with a business is not always so simple. And graphs can display cyclical customer journeys or journeys through multiple channels.

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Companies can take this opportunity to creatively communicate analogies about how different leads interact with the brand, such as through a tornado analogy:

Common Elements

Though customer journey maps can vary, they have shared essential components. Here are the following elements that the diagrams will have in common:

  • Persona: A profile of the brand’s clients, offering demographic and psychographic information. Companies usually have diverse client groups. So each customer journey map should be catered to each unique persona that the company wants to learn more about.
  • Designated Touchpoints: Important moments when clients interact with the brand. (Paid advertisement, sign up form, social media engagement, a purchase, etc.).
  • Moments of Truth: Touchpoints that can make or break it for a customer.
  • Performance Indicators: Evaluative factors that measure how customers are responding at certain touchpoints. To clarify, these often measure the customer’s emotional state or satisfaction levels along their path.
  • Visuals: The visual element of the journey map displays the path the customer takes on their journey. In many cases, this can be a linear illustration. In other cases, it makes more sense to show the cyclical nature of the customer cycle.

These diagrams are not internal pipelines, sales processes, or any other funnel your business might create from a developer point of view. These are purely focused on the customer experience. And visual demonstration needs to make sense for your company, product, and most importantly, your customers’ perspective.

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Why Should you use a Customer Journey Map?

As Sam Walton wisely said, “There is only one boss. The customer.”

And with that in mind, companies know the importance of understanding their customers. There is no use in designing a product without understanding those who will potentially use the product. In other words, what their needs are, what their communication style is, and how they feel about the product in their life.

Companies that take time to study and analyze real data on those they serve yield better results. And brands that strategically map the customer’s journey showed a 24% increase in return on marketing investments and reduced service costs by 21%.

On the other hand, assumptions about a customer base can be the downfall of a company. Take Shyp for example.

Shyp had a great idea for easy and cheap package delivery services for individuals. But neglected the fact that people don’t actually ship personal products very often. Building a financial model around what could’ve been, rather than the customer’s reality, led to the ruin of a startup with high potential.

What can we gather from this information?

So assumptions lead to failure, or at the very least, large loss of opportunity. Data and real customer insight can lead to significant returns.

Certainly, journey maps are critical in knowing customer realities. And this is the most important information to have when running a business. Other benefits of journey maps include:

  • Improved customer engagement.
  • Improve customer-centric practices.
  • Departments working together better and reduced gaps between silos.
  • Assessing effectiveness of touchpoints and teams responsible for them.
  • Improve your inbound marketing and lead qualification approach.
  • Provide framework for assessing customer experience ROI.

Types of Customer Journey Maps

There are several different types of customer journey maps. Here are four main frameworks to consider when organizing a potential diagram.

Current State

Current state maps are an honest assessment of the present experience users have when interacting with your brand. And this is not a graph showing the ideal way a customer would move through the pipeline. But rather the current reality. In other words, the journey map shows how certain touchpoints are succeeding or failing.

Are clients falling through the cracks on social media? Are they dissatisfied with customer service? How are email campaigns performing? Current state diagrams can give you the answers you need to improve the customer experience.

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Future State

Future State maps are what you would like the customer process to be. This type of mapping is helpful for communicating to different departments the ideal process for achieving customer goals.

Future state maps are not primarily based on current data. Instead, designers use their imagination and customer empathy to anticipate what users will experience after certain decisions are put into practice or marketing material is produced.

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Day in the Life

The goal of this type of map is to show what the daily life is of specific personas. These maps dig into the pain points of customers, their motivations, their emotions, and what they need from a product throughout their normal daily routine.

They are also helpful in understanding specific demographics and their behavior at certain points during the day.

Marketers can learn when personas are distractedly browsing on social media and likely to make a purchase or when they are stressed trying to get kids to school. Knowing the timing of a particular email or message can make all the difference.

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Blueprint

Blueprint graphs are based on another current or future state map. They also include systems, processes, and tools that are used to bring all elements of the customer experience together.

They give a more detailed picture of how the customer is actually engaging with the company, allowing for deeper insights into pain points and the necessary support needed.

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Case Studies of Journey Maps That Work

Businesses have different strategies, different demographics, and different products. Each company will have to determine which touchpoints and associated factors they want to understand. Different factors can include:

  • B2B vs B2C business models
  • Subscription-based vs transactional services
  • Size of scale
  • Types of personas

Because journey maps are tailored to the specific needs of each individual company or department within that company, we are going to take a look at three case studies that provide insight into how these maps can allow business people to walk with their clients.

The YMCA

The large YMCA branch in the Greater Twin Cities undertook the process of customer journey mapping in order to improve member wellbeing and loyalty. This business model is based on subscription services. Customer journey mapping was a valuable tool to grow customer retention rates.

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After leaders met and agreed that putting the customer first was a top priority in their organization, they put their heads together to make hypotheses about their customers and to determine which personas they were going to study and within which parameters.

Research led to the development of different personas and richer understanding of their motivations, pain points, and moments of truth.

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After gathering and organizing customer insights, the Y was able to put their new knowledge into action. This has lead members to greater trust in the Y and a greater user experience.

A Health Insurance Provider

An anonymous health insurance provider needed to conduct customer mapping with the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This company was interested to see how certain personas were choosing health coverage and their behaviors before deciding.

This image is not the exact customer journey map used but is a close hypothetical example:

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The insurance company found that different personas could not be treated equally.

Some groups wanted to do most of their research online, whereas others wanted human interaction with a support specialist before committing to this insurance company.

The company was better able to field questions that each persona asked and understand what channels to use when communicating with potential clients.

Amadeus ePower

Amadeus ePower is an online travel booking engine. When this company prioritized understanding their customers’ journeys, they saw great change in their organization.

When starting the mapping process, Amadeus aimed to learn more about their website usage across the customer journey, unmet customer needs, and to generate ideas based on these findings.

Their customer mapping project took place over five weeks. The process started with determining personas, which included travelers and travel agents, and doing interviews with real customers. They also used previous research they had already collected.

Secondly, they conducted a workshop with stakeholders where they identified key elements of their map and created potential illustrations. After this, consultants and their creative team used these ideas to create the final customer journey maps.

In this case, the company had two specific personas so they made two separate customer journey maps.

This is what their mapping process looked like:

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According to Tran Dzien Nguyen, Head of Amadeus’s Online Solutions, “Customer journey mapping has changed the way we perceive unmet needs and approach the development process…it’s a game changer for us.”

These three businesses serve different customers with varying needs. Going through the process of customer mapping allowed these companies to organize their customer data into an easy-to-understand, big-picture diagram.

These clear illustrations enabled the businesses to know the different types of clients they serve and how to cater to their needs.

Steps to Create a Customer Journey Map

Designing an easy-to-read and informative map can be a daunting process. The key to yielding a successful result is to develop the map one step at a time. Here are seven necessary steps to build your map:

  1. Prepwork
  2. Setting Objectives
  3. Discovering and Defining your Personas
  4. Determining Touchpoints
  5. Identifying Performance Indicators
  6. Do the Research
  7. Put your Map to Use

1. Prepwork

First things first. Executives have to come together and show buy in. Stakeholders need to believe that customer journey mapping is important enough to warrant company time and resources.

Once all key players have agreed that understanding their customers through this process is necessary, they will need to have specific conversations to direct the rest of the project.

Some key topics stakeholders need to discuss include:

  • Why is this project important?
  • How many resources will be allocated to the journey map?
  • Does our company need advice from professional consultants?
  • What time frame will be given to this development?
  • What conflicts or challenges might arise with this project?
  • Which type of map will be most useful for our company?

2. Setting Objectives

Once your team is committed to understanding the customer journey, leaders will need to determine what the goals are for the map.

The objectives chosen will be influenced by where the business is struggling or experiencing change, what research and pre-existing assumptions they have and the vision they have for the future of their company.

3. Discovering and Defining Your Personas

Companies often think they have a good idea of their customer base, but when they take a closer look, they find surprises.

A critical part in the mapping process is doing research on the types of customers a company has. Once they have determined the different segments of their client base, they can determine which personas they want to narrow their journey map on.

Not all personas will experience one company in the same way. To yield the most benefit of a customer journey map, each map needs to be tailored to a specific customer profile.

4. Determining Touchpoints

Working in groups to brainstorm all the different touchpoints a customer experiences can be helpful. In this day and age, customers are being funneled to companies through multiple channels and each channel needs to be noted and later measured.

Sign up forms, social media engagement, emails, call centers, and organic traffic online, all need to be considered and evaluated. During your research, it will be clear which of these touchpoints are often moments of truths.

Understanding how touchpoints are working or where inefficiencies lie is key to understanding why retention rates are down, why customers abandon their carts at the last moment, or any other common experience that is trending within your company.

5. Identifying Performance Indicators

As a team, leaders need to put their heads together and determine what they want to measure when a customer engages with the brand. Usually, these factors include:

  • Customer Actions
  • Thoughts
  • Customer Emotions
  • Motivations
  • Points of Frictions

6. Do the Research

Once you have decided which touchpoints and customer factors you want to chart, it is time for the legwork of the project: research.

For compiling an effective map, there is a place for both quantitative and qualitative research.

Quantitative customer research can be pulled in from customer data platforms.  A platform like LeadBoxer can help you identify your website visitors and track all your website behavior and online activity.

This solution has the ability to capture visitors’ contact information before they make contact. This allows sales teams to track their journey whether or not the visitor has signed a form.

Qualitative research consists of interviews with smaller groups of people (or “Focus Groups”). This research can be useful for getting a deeper look into the emotional state, needs, and thoughts of clients that quantitative data has a hard time capturing.

7. Put Your Map to Use

Journey maps should be actionable and relevant to different stakeholders. Find a simple way to illustrate multiple factors that will compel leaders with different perspectives to action.

This journey map focuses on one persona, has quantitative and qualitative feedback displayed, includes various performance indicators, and has a section with opportunities listed:

Source

With all the research and data organized in a clear way, it will be easier to convince stakeholders why certain actions need to be taken and what opportunities the organization needs to take advantage of.

Another good idea to convince fellow stakeholders to make change is to take the customer journey yourself when possible.

Teams that go through all of the customer journey themselves will have an enhanced understanding and empathy towards the customer every step of the way. After all, we are all human and have some shared expectations of modern technology, customer service, and other business practices.

Once actions are put into place, your team will need to decide when and how to evaluate the changes. Customer journey maps will need to be updated periodically to show how changes have impacted the customer.

Customer Journey Map Templates

As we saw in the case studies, every company has a different path when building their customer journey maps. There is no one size fits all approach with this process. Though different companies will have to shape their diagrams uniquely, looking at different templates can be helpful when designing your own map.

When deciding on a template, be sure to keep these considerations in the back of your mind:

  • The template must be persona based
  • The type of journey map must make sense for the goals of your organization
  • Design can incorporate the customer phases specific to your brand
  • There is space for the touchpoints and evaluative indicators your team determined
  • Both qualitative and quantitative data is incorporated
  • Actionable items are displayed

With these factors in mind, continue reading to get a sence of the templates that could be modified for your business.

Current State and Future Map Templates

Current and Future Map templates will appear similar. The only difference is that the information your business puts in will represent the present reality or what your business expects to see in the future.

This template can be downloaded for free from Interaction Design Foundation:

Here is another from MightyBytes:

Day in the Life Map Template

A Day in the Life Template will include customer insights from their daily life. Here is a simple template to get started:

Service Blueprint Template

A service blueprint can be a good graph to have alongside a current or future state map. These diagrams show what physical evidence is used to give the customer their experience.

For example, this would include staff, product, physical tools, or any other tangible tool that is along the customer path. Service blueprints usually include front-stage interactions, back-stage interactions, support processes, physical evidence, and customer actions.

Source

Remember: The Customer Knows What They Want

At the end of the day, it is the customer who determines if your product is worth spending money on or not.

Some products, like B2B services, take an entire team of people and extensive research to agree on a subscription. Other business models rely heavily on impulsive buyers. No matter what type of business you are in, what matters most is happy customers.

Knowing what customers want, need, and feel is the most essential part in ensuring their happiness. A customer journey map will help you get a lot further down that road

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LeadBoxer Email Tracking

Email Tracking: The Complete Guide for B2B Sales Teams

Have leads and customers opened your email? If so, when, and what links they click? This is valuable information for Sales teams. With this information, you can find out if your emails are actually being read, and pinpoint the optimal for a follow-up.

Tracking emails is nothing new. Popular email marketing platforms like MailChimp and Constant Contact have been providing statistics on open and click rates for years. What these platforms lack however, is the crucial ability to track a lead’s email interaction history over the entire course of their customer journey.

This is where email tracking software can provide Sales teams a much-needed edge in closing deals

With the right email tracking software, you’ll be able to identify when, exactly, a lead has opened your email, who opened it, and what pages they viewed since opening that email.

To help introduce you to email tracking software, we’ve put together this in-depth guide to cover what information you can learn from email tracking, how you can use that information, email tracking software options, how to setup email tracking, and a few tips for success.

Use the links below to navigate to each section:

What Can You Find Out Using Email Tracking & How You Can Use This Information?

With email tracking, you can find out the following information:

If Someone Has Opened Your Email

The first thing you can learn is if someone has opened your email.

This tells you if you’re sending to the correct email address and if the email subject your using is capturing the recipient’s attention. If they don’t open your email, try to follow up and/or use a different subject line in the future.

You can also identify how many times a person has opened an email and which people have opened the most emails. This allows you to identify the warmest leads and pinpoint which people you should follow up with first/spend the most time contacting or calling. Best kept secret: do not waste time on people who aren’t interested.

Who Opened Your Email

As a salesperson, you often have to navigate through a few different positions at a company before finding the person who can actually make a purchasing decision (DMU or decision-making-unit). With email tracking, you can identify other people that may be opening the email and reach out to them directly.

What Time They Opened Your Email

If you find that a specific person opens your email in the morning, sending to them again at that time will increase your chance of capturing their attention.

If you find most of your list opens your emails at a specific time, send future emails at the time to increase engagement.

Additionally, you can pinpoint exactly when your emails are being opened and decide if now is the right time to follow up. In many cases, it’s best to reach out right away when the person is already thinking about you versus interrupting them when they’re focused on something else. Extensive statistics tell us that “pizza is best eaten hot”. In other words, people at work are making decisions, and their interest is the most valuable during that decision-making process.

Where They Opened Your Email

If someone opens your email in say Hawaii or some other tropical resort, you can probably guarantee they’re on vacation. It might be best to follow up a week or two in advance when they return from vacation and will have the time to respond to your email.

Additionally, some email tracking platforms will track the following:

What Pages the Person Has Visited on Your Website After Clicking via Your Email

Software such as LeadBoxer and SharpSpring (which we’ll discuss in further detail below) take tracking a step further and identify which pages the person visits after clicking a link in your email.

For example, in the email, the person may click on any link to your latest blog post. But from there, they then navigate to your features page and pricing page. This is all tracked and it can allow you to identify when to follow up, and on what subject.

Email Tracking Software Options

Now, let’s cover a few email tracking platforms that will enable you to track emails at a deeper level than most email marketing services.

This article doesn’t cover every single option out there. But, it does list some of the major players and a few different options based on how in-depth you’d like to go with your tracking.

A few of these options will integrate with Gmail or Outlook only, while a few others can be used with any email client or service you are using.

LeadBoxer

We’ll start this list of software with an introduction to ourselves and our email tracking tool so you know who we are and what LeadBoxer does. LeadBoxer is a lead analytics platform that allows you to see who visits your website, what company they work for, lists that person’s contact information and more.

All of this information is then organized into your “LeadBoard” and each of your different leads are given a score to gauge how engaged they are with your company:

Additionally, email opens and click-throughs can also be tracked. From there, any visits to other pages on your website can be tracked and each action is shown in the history for that lead:

This allows you to see every action that the person has taken since first opening your email.

You can use this information to identify when will be the best time to follow up (for example, if that person has visited your pricing page). You can also identify what emails work, which ones don’t, and where your visitors tend to go after clicking through via your email.

LeadBoxer tracks all of this activity via a tracking pixel (which we’ll discuss how to implement further below)

Therefore, LeadBoxer can be used with any email client or email marketing platform you are using. All you have to is add the tracking pixel link to any links inside your email that you like to track.

This allows you to track activity and identify leads at scale. Pricing starts at $250/month for SMEs. Custom packages are available for larger organizations.

You can learn more on our email tracking features here: Email Lead Generation

Or jump straight to our solutions for Gmail, Outlook, MailChimp, or Others

Note: For all our email tracking features a (free) trial account is available: Start your free-trial here.

SharpSpring

SharpSpring is a full CRM and email marketing platform. With the tool, you can manage contacts, customer relationships, create a content calendar, and send out emails all from the same tool.

In addition to tracking email opens and link clicks, SharpSpring will also track website activity. Therefore, you can see which leads have opened your email and which pages they may have visited directly after viewing your email (or at a later time).

This is all organized into what’s called the “Life of the Lead”. This page shows the entire history of the lead’s interaction with your company. It lists what emails the person has opened, what pages they’ve visited, and so on.

All of this information is then used to create a Lead Score that can be used to identify how engaged that person is and whether or not you should reach out to them.

SharpSpring will be great for teams that want to scale their sales follow up efforts and would like a tool that combines CRM and email automation. However, that amount of power won’t come cheap.

SharpSpring’s plans start at $450/month (for up to 1,500 contacts). Pricing goes up from there based on the number of contacts you have.

Hubspot Sales

Hubspot Sales’ email tracking allows you to track email opens straight from your Gmail or Outlook account. Setup with Gmail will require you to allow Hubspot to integrate with your inbox. This is done by installing an extension to Google Chrome.

This extension can be clicked to see who has opened your emails and who hasn’t. A notification will also popup when the recipient has opened the email:

You can also check the history of a lead in the Hubspot dashboard:

Hubspot’s email tracking feature is free to use to track up to 200 email opens. From there, paid plans for Hubspot Sales start at $50/month.

Hubspot is great for sales people who need a simple approach and want to track opens in Gmail or Outlook. However, it lacks the in-depth details of a platform such as LeadBoxer or SharpSpring.

Additionally, it can only be used with Gmail or Outlook. It can not be used with an email service such as MailChimp.

Yet Another Mail Merge

If you send a lot of emails from Gmail and want to track opens, Yet Another Mail Merge can help speed up your process.

Yet Another Mail Merge (YAMM for short) integrates with Google Sheets. To use the add-on, you would create a Google Sheet with information for each person you want to reach out to (separated by row). You would include their email, but you can also include any custom information (such as their name, company, role, etc.).

Then, you can send out an email and use YAMM’s tags to insert that information. For example, you might say “Hey <>” in your email. YAMM will insert the name that you set for that email. This works similar to MailChimp’s “Merge Tags”.

Additionally, the tool will track who has opened your email, who hasn’t, and who has responded. This is all documented right in the Google Sheet you’re working in. You can then create a follow up directly in that Google Sheet and send from a template you create in Gmail.

The tool is great for speeding up your process if you currently use Gmail to reach out to leads. However, it will only work with Gmail and it won’t track information on the life of the lead. Thus, it will be difficult for teams to use to scale.

Yesware

Yesware is a tool that will work with Gmail and Outlook only. It is a paid application that starts at $12/month and is installed via a Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox extension.

The tool is similar to Hubspot’s email tracker. Email tracking can be turned on for a specific email by checking the Track box when using the email composer. However, Yesware does take over your inbox and change the look and layout:

From your email inbox, you can check tracking, templates, and create follow up drip campaigns. Additionally, you can also set reminders for email (much like the way Boomerang works).

The tool is powerful but is a bit intrusive. Some people may not like the fact that it will change their inbox interface. Additionally, the tool can’t be used with email marketing platforms such as MailChimp to track emails at scale.

Mixmax

Mixmax is another email tracker that installs via a Chrome Extension. It is not available via Mozilla Firefox or Safari, however.

One of the unique features of Mixmax is the “Enhance” feature inside the email composer of Gmail. Clicking this button will bring up a list of options that will allow you to share calendar availability, create a calendar invite, add a poll, add a custom CTA button, and more directly from the email composer.

Again, just like Hubspot and Yesware, email tracking can be enabled on a per-email basis. With Mixmax, you can do this by clicking the “Track” icon when composing an email. By default, this will stay enabled until you disable it for a particular email.

Mixmax can be used for free. However, a link will be placed at the end of each email that says “Sent by Mixmax”:

You can remove this link, but you will have to do so everytime you create a new email. Paid plans start at $12/month.

Mixmax will be good for anyone that uses Gmail and likes the features of a tool like Yesware but doesn’t want the intrusive interface that Yesware adds to Gmail. Again, Mixmax will only work with Gmail and can’t be used with email marketing platforms such as MailChimp to track leads at scale.

How to Setup Email Tracking (with an Email Tracking Pixel)

Setting up email tracking is different with each email tracking software. Some companies, such as Hubspot, have a Chrome Extension that will set this up for you if you track emails via Gmail. But as we mentioned above, tools like Hubspot can be a bit limited.

So we want to briefly cover how to setup email tracking with LeadBoxer so that you can track leads over the course of a person’s entire customer journey.

In order to track email opens, LeadBoxer uses a tracking pixel

This tracking pixel is a transparent image with the size of 1×1 pixels that can be embedded in an email. Then, once someone opens that email, the image is downloaded. This is how email tracking can identify when an email has been opened.

From this download, it’s also possible to tell the time and date the email was opened, how many times the email has been opened, and from what type of device the email was opened on.

From with LeadBoxer, this pixel can be generated and needs to be added to the source code of your emails (example below):

There are 3 parameters within this snippet of code that can to be set: the dataset ID, Campaign Name, and the email of the recipient. The recipient’s email can be added using a Merge tag. This tag will dynamically add a person’s email from your list to this link so that their activity can be tracked. Our generator can be used to easily create your tracking pixel.

For more information on these parameters, Merge tags and using the generator, please visit this article.

Tracking email clicks

The tracking pixel will take care of tracking email opens and reads. From there, to track link clicks and identify customers with it, parameters with merge needs to be added to any link in your email that you’d like to track.

Here’s how the URL will look once the code has been added and a person clicks on that link:

Once the code is added, LeadBoxer will be able to begin collecting data. For example, when a person opens that specific email, this action will be added to the person’s existing customer journey.

This way, you will know exactly when a person has clicked your email and you’ll be able to see their entire history. Also, once this person clicks through via email, they are then identified for all past, present, and future behavior.

Email Tracking Limitations

Of course, there are limitations when it comes to email tracking. The main ones include:

Images Need to be Enabled

With any email tracking software that relies on a tracking pixel to identify opens, in order for email tracking to work, image loading must be enabled by the person’s email client.

Some email clients block external images by default or can be set by the user to not load when opening an email. If this is the case, the pixel will not be loaded and there will be no way to identify whether or not that email was opened (or any other information that can be gather using email tracking).

Your Pixel Could Be Blocked

Just as there is email tracking software, there is also software to prevent email tracking. Pixel Block and Ugly Email will both prevent the email tracking pixel from being loaded. Ugly Email will also let the recipient know if you are using email tracking software and can even identify which software the sender is using.

While it may be rare that your recipients will use an application like this, it’s something to be aware of.

Email Tracking Tips & Best Practices

Lastly, we want to cover a few tips to make email tracking easier for you and hopefully, more successful:

Use Email Templates

Using email templates can help save time when adding tracking links to your email and help you follow up to leads quicker.

For one, having a few email templates that you can edit will save you time having to insert the tracking pixel code to links within the email that never change (for example, a CTA at the bottom of your email).

Additionally, having a few emails ready to go when you need to follow up with a lead will allow you to touch base quicker versus having to waste time trying to think of what to say.

Test Thoroughly

Before sending any tracked emails, make sure to test that everything is working correctly. First, send a tracked email to yourself or other members on your team to ensure that email opens and other track information is being identified.

Encourage Recipient’s to Whitelist Your Email

Whitelisting is an action that can be completed in a person’s inbox to ensure that emails from a specific email address are received and that images are downloaded.

By encouraging your recipient’s to whitelist your email address, you can ensure your emails are being delivered and that images are being download. Therefore, the tracking pixel will also be download, allowing you to track the recipient’s email and web activity.

Develop a Follow Up Strategy

Decide on a follow up strategy before you even send an email to any of your “hot” leads. That way, when someone opens your email or completes another specific action, you’ll already know what to do next.

Decide when will be the best time to follow up. For example, how many times do you want the recipient to open the email before following up? Or, how much time do you want to wait after they’ve opened the email?

Additionally, have some follow up emails already created and ready to go. This will help to save time and allow you to follow up quickly.

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trackin lead engagement

Tracking Lead Engagement Over Time

Lead Generation and Analytics

In a previous article we talked about how to stay ahead of the game with Lead Generation strategies in 2017. Although Best Practice recommends to focus on Content Marketing, SEO, and Social Media, the bottom line is that effective lead generation requires planning to ensure the desired results, unless you are selling water in the desert. In this article we focus on another important aspect of lead intelligence – tracking lead engagement.

Having a well-thought-out plan of action is only half the battle. You also need to follow potential customers through prospecting and sales cycles, nurturing them until they become paying customers. In this day and age, when information reaches people immediately, companies need to be flexible and adapt almost as fast. Your customers’ attention is not guaranteed – interests change, trends come and go, and people are always looking for the next big thing. So, why is tracking lead engagement so important?

Tracking lead engagement is important for multiple reasons:

  • Help the sales and marketing teams to focus their time and energy on the leads that matter.
  • Ensures you analyse current data to better predict future trends (and better prepare for future trends!).
  • Maps the users’ path so that you know exactly where they lose engagement in the product; which in turn will allow you to improve those “hurdles” and increase your customer retention rate.
  • Reduce your churn rate by better understanding what drives people away.
  • Confirms which lead generation strategies are most effective.
  • Improves your social proofing and SEO efforts because of the “positive feedback loop” that you have initiated.

The Turning Point

With those thoughts in mind we were researching the topic and stumbled upon a very insightful report by GetApp, which you can find here, about top Lead Generation channels that drive quality and quantity leads.

They surveyed 300 companies in North America to find their lead generation strategies and challenges. What grabbed our attention was the fact that close to 18.4% of salespeople stated that their model to measure ROI is inaccurate and that 69% are likely to invest in predictive analytics to better score leads. Those numbers are quite significant as it shows that companies realise the fact they have to focus on lead generation but they don’t understand their leads and they don’t know exactly when they are losing people’s engagement in the sales cycle.

After reading the report we just had to know more so we contacted GetApp. They were very kind to provide us with a commentary from Karen McCandless, the researcher that wrote the report. Here is what she had to say:

In May 2017, we conducted a survey of 300 businesses based in North America to find out their main lead generation challenges, the best channels for generating high quantity and quality leads, new lead gen trends, and the effect of software.

Generating high quality leads was cited by 28% of our respondents’ biggest challenge, followed by generating a high volume of leads at 22%. Reasons behind this include lack of budget assigned to lead generation, as well as not knowing or understanding the audience you are targeting. This means that any lead generation efforts will be more generic and less targeted to your target buyers.

The survey also revealed that many sales and marketers are still not tracking their lead generation campaigns. This can be attributed to the complexity of tracking different metrics across different channels, as well as a confusion over whose responsibility it is to do this. The lead generation experts who contributed to this report suggested that the marketing department should be tracking campaigns, rather than salespeople. However, businesses are often held back by the manual processes they have in place, or the wrong piece of technology for the job.

The take-home is that businesses need the right information in the right time in order to improve the ROI of their lead generation efforts. Following the engagement levels of leads from prospects to including them in your sales cycle to converting them into paying customers is not an easy task for every company.

What the GetApp report and the commentary show is that the most common reasons for not tracking a lead’s engagement successfully boils down to the complexity of tracking different metrics across multitude of channels, confusion over who is responsible for that, and using the wrong technology.

The Road Ahead

Given all the information that we have, it becomes obvious that the only way going forward is investing into a CRM that tracks a lead’s engagement over time. This will not only allow you to guide potential buyers across all of your lead generation channels but it will also pinpoint the weakest touchpoints along the way. The latter is probably even more vital as it can ultimately lead to improving customer retention and churn rates of your product/service. If you are still not convinced, here are some of the most eye-opening, CRM statistics for 2017:

  • The ROI on CRM is approximately $5 to every $1 invested (Baseline)
  • CRM gives businesses a 65% boost in sales quotas (Innopple Technologies)
  • A 41% revenue increase is realized with CRM (Trackvia)
  • CRM is used for email marketing 60% of the time for small businesses (MarketingCharts.com)
  • Leads that are nurtured in the CRM system convert 47% of the time (Annuitas Group)
  • Conversion rates can improve by 300% with CRM in place (Cloudswave)
  • Customer service can improve by 47% with CRM (Capterra)
  • Overall, 74% of businesses using CRM report better customer relationships (Software Advice)