Lead generation (lead gen or LG) software is vital for any business providing services to other businesses—at least in the 21st century.
This is especially true thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, which rendered in-person lead generation methods obsolete overnight.
And it seems that these more digitised, data-driven approaches to B2B lead generation are also preferred by buyers.
According to a recent article in the Harvard Business Review, Over 70% of B2B decision makers prefer remote human interactions or digital self-service.
That’s probably why the lead generation software market is set to grow by nearly a fifth over the next seven years.
In such a burgeoning industry, choosing the right lead generation tools for your business can be a dizzying task as there are so many on the market.
In this article, we walk you through how to choose the right lead generation tools for your business by drawing up a lead gen strategy, planning how you will execute it and identifying the key features you’re looking for in a lead generation tool. Before we begin, we’ll go over what LG software is and why it’s so important.
What Is Lead Generation Software?
Ultimately, the purpose of a lead generation tool is to help you find and capture more and better sales leads.
However, effective marketing doesn’t end at finding the right leads. Once you find a lead, you need to effectively direct it through your sales funnel.
A savvy business will consistently analyse and refine their entire sales process, from lead capture to conversion through to customer engagement.
This is why many LG solutions also provide their users with marketing analytics and tools for automating their marketingㅡfor example, email marketing tools.
However, add-ons like email marketing don’t count for much without the ability to continuously generate the ideal lead. This capability relies on a steady stream of reliable data and strong analytics capabilities.
A good example of this is KulaHub, a CRM that also combines data-driven lead generation capabilities and a powerful email marketing function.
The screenshot below shows an email campaign being set up to target a specific group of potential customers.
How Is B2B Lead Generation Different?
Many LG solutionsㅡincluding oursㅡare specifically designed for B2B LG. These solutions rely on different data and analytics methods to that of business-to-consumer (B2C) LG.
For example, Red Flag Alert provides data on things like the number of County Court Judgements (CCJs) a company has, which sector it operates in, which other businesses its directors have a controlling interest in, and more.
This wealth of data allows our AI algorithm to give each business a predictive financial health rating. This is useful in lead generation, as it allows you to avoid prospects that aren’t financially sound.
Alternatively, you may provide services that are aimed at businesses that are strugglingㅡfor example, commercial loans or restructuring consultancy. In these cases, you would pursue poorly rated businesses.
Why Is Lead Generation Software so Important?
Generating enough effective leads is the most important part of the sales funnel.
That’s because the more leads that enter the top of your funnel, the more revenue you are going to earn at the end.
For this reason alone, lead generation software is vital. However, there are some other benefits that could revolutionise your sales team. For example, you can:
Avoid Poor-Quality Leads
Not finding enough leads is an issue, but poor-quality leads can often be more damaging, as your sales team will have to work twice as hard and will suffer high failure rates.
LG software helps overcome this by using big data and analytics to find potential buyers that will be interested in your products or services.
This will dramatically increase your conversion rates and overall sales by helping you target the right potential clients for your business in the first place.
Reveal Countless Opportunities
If you’re unconvinced about the value of LG software, just think of all the things it can do that the human mind could never achieve independently—at least not in a matter of seconds.
For example, Red Flag Alert’s LG software can instantly find the most beneficial business contacts by filtering millions of companies using dozens of different factors. How long would it take a marketer, or even a whole marketing team, to do this?
Spend More Time Selling
Lead generation software helps businesses find potential buyers with more speed and efficacy.
By saving time finding these leads, LG software allows your sales representatives to focus on what they do best—selling your products and services.
This gives you a more efficient pipeline, as well as a happier sales team that is more likely to hit its targets.
Choosing Lead Generation Software: What’s Your LG Strategy?
Drawing up an LG plan is the first step to choosing the right LG software for your business.
Different approaches to LG work better for different industries, products and customers, so there is a wide variety of services available.
An LG strategy will help you understand which software will work best for you.
Your LG plan also specifies how you will create a steady stream of promising prospective clients, based on the needs of your business and the characteristics of its customers.
For example, the ideal LG solution for a B2B insurance company could focus on risk and financial data.
On the other hand, the best LG software for a business providing security systems might focus on industry, location, amount of stock and type of premises.
The insurance company may also have the most success with email marketing, whereas the security company might make more sales via phone calls.
The example below from CoSchedule explains the basics of how you may want to plan your lead generation strategy:
Below is our approach. We’re less prescriptive about which channels to use; instead we focus on who the customer is and build a lead generation strategy around this.
To create an LG strategy, you need to:
- Define your ideal customer
- Find out how best to reach them (via which channels, at what times)
- Decide how to position your product as an ideal solution for your target customers
- Work out how to make a measurable impact on your target audience
From here, you need to draw up an LG plan to:
- Establish sales and marketing goals
- Find your ideal customer
- Choose your marketing channels (for example, email marketing as opposed to web ads) and messages, and decide when they will be presented to your target audience
- Create collateral (for example, white papers and blog posts) to present to your potential buyers
- Decide how your business will communicate with potential customers
Once you begin executing your LG plan, you’ll need to monitor and analyse its outcomes so that you can identify your biggest LG challenges and further develop your strategy to meet them.
What to Look for in a Lead Generation Tool: Key Features
Once you’ve outlined your LG strategy and drawn up an LG plan, you’ll have a much clearer picture of what you’ll need from your LG software.
Three useful questions to ask when considering a lead generation tool are:
- How will this tool improve our lead generation?
- How will it help us address our most critical lead generation challenges?
- How will it help us move the prospects it finds through the sales funnel?
In addition to considering the role an LG tool could play in executing your LG plan, here are some key features to look for:
The goal of LG software is to improve your sales, which in turn will grow your company. It’s important to know if your LG software will scale with you or if you’ll need to change provider at some stage.
Many LG tools charge per user, so it’s important to understand how much your monthly invoice could increase as your sales team expands.
For example, FindThatLead.com is a lead generation tool that specialises in email marketing. Its price plans limit you by number of users, number of campaign accounts and number of emails and the price increases substantially at each level.
It’s therefore important to carefully consider your exact requirements at each stage of your company’s growth.
Ease of Use
This ensures that people don’t need high-level technical knowledge or skills to use the LG software in some way.
The solution must be accessible to anyone at your company whose work would benefit from it, avoiding the need for expensive training sessions.
For example, users should be able to quickly filter their database using an intuitive drop down menu rather than having to set complex rules.
The most flexible LG software is accessible to your entire team and can be accessed from mobile devices while on the go. You should prioritise finding software that offers your sales representatives as much flexibility as they need.
An LG solution should integrate smoothly with the other pieces of your marketing tech stack. This is essential to the efficiency of your marketing and sales operations.
Red Flag Alert, for example, is compatible with most CRMs and third-party software through our API.
We also offer two tools on the Zoho marketplace, one for lead generation and one for credit checks.
Your LG software should either be able to integrate with your existing CRM solution, or offer its own CRM system.
Some of these systems will major on the lead generation capabilities, while others will be better at the CRM aspects. It’s important to consider which aspects you value most.
In some cases it may be better to use separate, dedicated systems than buying an expensive all-in-one system that doesn’t meet your requirements in one area.
Social Media Leads
The ability to reach prospective purchasers via social media platforms is increasingly important for all businesses, even in the B2B sector.
Phantom Buster is a good example of a tool that can find leads through social media. It can be used to automate lead generation, audience building and social outreach on all popular social media sites.
Reporting and Analytics
The importance of data access and analytics in LG is twofold.
Firstly, your LG system must allow you to see which data it gathers and analyse it so that you can gauge your business’s marketing and sales performance, identify challenges, and develop future strategies using this information.
Secondly, data reporting and analytics from your LG process is key to helping you understand your target market and what drives them to choose your product.
Your LG software should have the capability to not only capture information from a variety of different sources, but to visualise it using field maps to generate insights.
Red Flag Alert for example, uses geospatial and sectoral data to plot business data on a map. This allows you to see the type of companies operating in an area or even the number of financially healthy businesses in a particular city.
Your LG solution needs to either integrate seamlessly with your existing marketing automation tools, for example your email marketing solution, or offer its own toolkit for automating marketing.
Landing Page Tools
Some LG solutions offer tools to help businesses to improve how visitors respond to their landing pages. For example, a landing page builder can help you to build pages that drive conversions using a simple drag and drop interface and the right analytics can help you continuously refine your website.
Your LG solution needs to be able to effectively calculate your ROI and demonstrate a positive return on investment for your business.
How Red Flag Alert Can Help
Red Flag Alert is the perfect data source for any B2B company that wants a constant stream of quality leads to feed to its sales team.
Our database boasts:
- Data on over 6.5 million UK businesses
- Around 50,000 new businesses added to the database every month
- Over 100 data points on every business in the database
- Data that’s updated over 100,000 times per day
- A financial health scorecard for every business in the database
- An AI algorithm that accurately predicts each business’s financial health
Our software allows users to:
- Segment the market: Our data gives you enough information to segment your market into different customer profiles so that you can tailor your sales efforts to specific market segments.
- Build customer avatars: You can do this by identifying themes in your successful leads using data like industry, size, location, and financial performance.
- Find your perfect customers: Using over 100 search filters, you can pinpoint the exact customers for whom your solution is a perfect fit.
- Use geographic and sectoral data to find new clients: Our software lets you view data on a physical map to get area-specific sector overviews.
- Set up triggers to alert you to new sales opportunities: Our software allows you to monitor prospects so you can act immediately when new information emerges to indicate that they are ready to buy.
- Pre-qualify customer credit at the prospecting stage: This helps you cut out wasted time chasing ineligible leads. Our software also allows you to consider business factors like liquidity, growth, expansion, new directorships, new charges on the business, and overall financial health.
- Get real-time updates using our API: New data is integrated directly into your CRM in real time, so your sales representatives don’t have to update this data manually.
- Go straight to LinkedIn: Our software displays directors’ details, including live LinkedIn integration and integration with LinkedIn Sales Navigator to help your sales reps quickly and easily reach the right people.
- Contact over 20 million key decision-makers: Our business intelligence database also includes contact details for over 20 million key decision-makers.
Red Flag Alert is the perfect data source for B2B companies looking to generate leads by building more accurate customer profiles and more effective prospect lists.
For more information about how Red Flag Alert data can help with your lead generation efforts, contact Richard West at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0344 412 5599.