How the Latest Innovations Are Changing Sales
The Secret To Good Leads
Lead generation is an essential aspect of any successful business. The more leads you’re able to bring through the door, the more customers you will end up with at the end of the day. Broadly speaking, there are two different kinds of ways to generate leads: outbound and inbound.
Outbound marketing refers to traditional ads, trying to capture people's attention to bring them to your company. Inbound marketing refers to the new method of getting leads to come to you. This is accomplished by giving away free content and earning trust.
There is no right or wrong way, but outbound is often considered “old marketing.” (Source). This approach of casting a wide net has some inherent problems. If you’re paying per click for your advertising, you will likely be paying to bring people through your door who aren’t actually interested in your offering.
This problem compounds when sales reps are assigned to work these unqualified leads resulting in frustration and wasted time for everyone involved. There are, however, new innovations and technologies to help target specifically qualified leads and increase your overall conversion rate.
Think about that for a second. You can generate more, better quality leads, which will result in more sales. You can do so in less intrusive ways as well, while not bombarding people who aren’t interested in your ads. At its core, these new technologies are able to use big data to craft profiles for ideal customers, and then target only them with laser precision.
Data encompasses numerous different things - from a website someone has visited, a previous purchase they’ve made, or what keywords they’ve used in email correspondence. By taking advantage of all these subtle digital hints, you can learn more about your customers and have a steady stream of highly qualified leads flowing in like water. (Source)
Here are three of the latest innovations and technologies for lead generation.
Artificial Intelligence (Source)
At its core, lead generation is about understanding your customers wants and needs better than anyone else. The problem is, you only have limited contact with each customer. From a few emails to a couple of phone calls, the amount of information you can learn about someone is limited and depends on how open the customer is and how good your rep is.
We all know that customers aren’t spilling their hearts and telling all their secrets through correspondence. There is, however, another way to learn more information about your customers - through an AI system. AI, as a whole, encompasses a range of things, but for this, we’ll discuss how it pertains to lead generation.
Basic AI, similar to simple autoresponder sequences, have been around for a while and have seen some amazing results. By having a simple 10 email autoresponder series, John of IncomeDiary was able to generate of $50,000 in sales for a client (Source). These kind of results aren’t uncommon either.
By being able to deliver a consistent stream of messages and constantly being in touch, you’re bound to convert more people than if you just sent one message. The more opportunities your leads have to buy, the more overall sales you’ll receive.
Advanced enterprise level AI like Cognism takes things to a whole other level. Cognism uses Sales Triggers to give you relevant information about your leads at crucial times. This information can help you personalize emails to your leads.
Also, instead of simply sending a series of emails which may or may not monitor clicks, advanced marketing AI is able to monitor all sorts of behavior as well.
Advanced AI is able to modify the sequence of messages to deliver what the system thinks is the appropriate next step. The AI can also look for patterns throughout your entire campaign and adjust accordingly to convert more leads.
Often with bigger ticket products, a sales rep will become involved in the process, but may be inundated with poor quality leads who don’t intend to buy or aren’t the right fit. AI can help with this issue by only alerting reps to leads who meet certain criteria and are deemed highly likely to convert.
These predictive assumptions alone can have a huge positive impact on a company. Reps can spend less time prospecting for new, likely cold, leads and more time selling and increasing the bottom line.
But what about this AI enhanced process actually makes leads more likely to convert? The answer is next level personalization. If you’ve been tracking what actions a lead has taken, you can show them messaging appropriate to their situation. This results in a better customer experience, because the customer is having their needs met, and feels that you understand them.
Companies that fail to personalize the customer experience can run into problems that lead to dissatisfied customers. I’m confident we can all think of certain cell phone companies that fail to record what actions you’ve taken and waste your time by asking the same questions. By striving for omni-channel personalization, you can ensure every customer has a positive experience.
Part of what makes a positive experience is the messaging prospects receive. In the past, a rep would have to draft a response or select a template to edit.
With an AI integrated system, messages can be automatically written for the unique situation. Reps simply have to proofread the message before sending it to a prospect.
This benefits everyone involved in the process. Leads are receiving relevant messages, and reps are spending less time writing messages and tracking what each lead has done.
On its own, AI is a powerful new lead generation tool, but now we’re going to examine an equally as powerful new technology called Natural Language Processing (NLP).
Natural Language Processing (Source)
NLP is a complex technology that is sure to change the game of sales. It works by analyzing and understanding text at a human level and is able to find trends and infer meaning and tone.
Most data is uncategorized (~80%), which means it is text based and has not been tapped. If you wanted to find common trends in this data, you would need to hire someone or a team of people to pour through everything page by page to find it.
Everyone knows how powerful Excel can be to find trends in numbers, and NLP can be equally as powerful to find hidden patterns in all sources of text. From search results, emails, review pages, transcribed phone calls, or even your CRM, where there is text, NLP can be used to find hidden patterns.
Hidden patterns are great, but you’re probably wondering how it pertains to lead generation. Using search results as an example, NLP can be used to learn what people are searching for. This can help your marketing team adapt their keywords, and maybe find some long tail strings that haven’t been tapped. This means you can have rather inexpensive clicks and leads coming through to your site.
Using another example, you could search through your products app store page to aggregate the overall sentiment of the reviews, and find triggers in the positive reviews you can publish as testimonials on your site.
Lastly, NLP can, as a whole, lead to an elevated experience for the customer. By better understanding the language they are using to talk about your product or brand, you can curate messages using familiar words.
The last example of new technology for lead generation is called machine learning.
Machine Learning (Source)
Machine learning combines AI and NLP to get the best of both worlds, and results in an automatic personal assistant for each sales rep. This means that all leads can be nurtured from the very beginning by an AI which tracks all actions, and engages in real conversations with the prospect.
That’s right, each of your sales reps can now have a digital personal assistant which can engage with leads, and crafts automated personal responses. This AI can pass off the lead to a live rep when they’re ready to convert. In other words, this AI automatically nurtures leads on a sales rep’s behalf.
The messages created by certain AI systems are nearly indistinguishable from a real person since they use NLP to evaluate language and extract key terms. They’re also able to express sentiment in responses, so it never actually feels like prospects are talking to a robot.
The more the system works, and the more data points it has, the better the system becomes. It learns how best to respond and can improve sales conversion by 80-90% (Source).
Though this kind of system can have amazing results finding hot leads, they are best paired with the ideal tool: a skilled sales team. An AI system like this on your side means less time prospecting, and more time closing hot leads.
This AI also filters all the “tire kickers” and people who clearly don’t have a real interest in buying.
By applying any of the three new technologies outlined above, you’re sure to see an improvement in your conversions. That said, these technologies still can’t replace what an experienced rep brings to the table, so they are best paired with a rep.
These technologies will ultimately result in a better customer experience leading to a more valued client relationship by always providing personalized messages at the best time.
If you’re interested in using AI as a personal digital assistant for your sales efforts, sign up for a free trial of Cognism today - there is no credit card required and no risk involved.