We’ve come a long way since cold calling to gauge potential clients’ interest, thanks to new software and technology.
People consume media differently from year to year and the smart marketers among us have begun to tap into that niche. We’ve seen the rise of AI to help analyze data coming in, but is that a personal enough approach?
This month, the experts weigh in on what they believe is the future of lead generation.
The future of [quality] lead generation is going to be a personal touch. As we head further and further into a digital economy with robust artificial intelligence and automation at every turn, consumers are going to get thirstier and thirstier for a personal touch (and in many ways, they already are).
It’s become clear over the past few years that obtaining qualified leads is becoming more difficult. Users are getting savvier and won’t simply give up their email address just because you ask for it. Users won’t share just because you tell them to. Companies need to provide something of real value as an incentive if they expect to be successful in their lead generation.
I can only see this trend continuing. Users have become tired of receiving an inbox full of spam, and are increasingly looking to protect their email address from it. I expect that to see real success in your lead generation campaigns you’ll need to meet the following criteria:
- Come across as a credible organization that the user is willing to trust with their contact details.
- Provide an incentive of genuine value in return. Don’t trick users into divulging their contact information.
- Be able to predict what the user’s next question or requirement is – and fulfill it.
Businesses need to become hyper-focused not just on innovation and the quality of their product, but on the satisfaction of their customers. This involves consistent and genuine conversations with consumers about their experiences and encouraging them to provide testimonials and leave reviews.
It is also important to listen to the bad feedback to identify issues and nip them in the bud. Word-of-mouth is so effective because people love getting recommendations before they purchase something, and these leads are more likely to convert than other types.
I think the future of lead generation will be based on relationships. As we see platforms dying out and changing, the one constant is who you know in real life, or who you trust as an influencer. You will continue to reconnect and follow those you know, even when Instagram or Facebook become obsolete or discontinued.
Relationships are also free, and as ad costs continue to rise, we can still get messages at no cost to those we have a solid connection with. Relationships are one of the strongest lead generation methods we have today, and I think will only continue to grow in importance as the future approaches with more technology changes.
Influencers and Evangelists will make up for a big chunk of a brands’ reputation online and will drive disproportionate amounts of leads to the website. The amount of time spent online is only going up and Social Media makes up for the bulk of that time online, hence Social media is the next big avenue to scale Lead generation efforts.
Bigger brands have dedicated budgets set to spend on influencers – it’s an entire industry and is worth close to $2.5 billion(source) in 2019. Evidence of this can also be seen in how celebrities now own small parts of growing companies and actively endorse them – take companies like Airbnb, Casper, and Robinhood as examples.
Binu Francis, Shoppr.ai
Personalization and data-driven decision making is the future of lead generation. Whether it’s hyper-focused ads that target specific customer segments or account-based marketing, tailoring messaging that speaks specifically to potential customers is pivotal in creating engagement and interest n. A lot of work goes into being able to market effectively this way, including building audience personas based on research and competitor analysis.
Personalizing your content also means speaking to your potential customers in a voice and tone that resonates. Developing a voice that carries across all of your content–from blogs and social media to longer-form content like eBooks and case studies–helps your prospects understand who you are as a brand.
If you haven’t begun exploring customer experience management (competing acronyms are currently CXM and CEM), you need to get in gear. Omnichannel marketing is an established concept, but marketing and sales teams aren’t yet prepared to handle such a large responsibility.
To do so, lead generation needs to move beyond a simple CRM tracking single-source leads. Inbound calls to the customer service and sales teams need to funnel into the same CXM as Google Ads impressions and email subscription click-throughs.
Initial lead prospecting typically involves a simple script focused on achieving a basic goal, such as scheduling an appointment. These aspects make the process of initiating an AI system and teaching it your prospecting model fairly straightforward.
Additionally, AI has the capacity of analyzing significantly larger data sets than any one person could. After a few weeks of processing data, mining information, and analyzing relationships, AI becomes over 10x more efficient at generating qualified leads and at a lower cost when compared to blind lead generation tactics, such as cold calling or blind emails. As the automation improves its prospecting, leads who move to the second stage in your sales funnel also improve.
Consumers start almost every purchase journey with online research, so earning leads by answering the questions that pop up in their research will present your company as an industry expert and put your brand top of mind when it comes time to buy.
Our company does a lot of work in the automotive industry and we’re finding that connecting with online car-shoppers early on in the buying journey is key. Generating leads by helping consumers find out what their trade is worth, how much credit they’d qualify for or where to get the best insurance rates can really set a dealership up as a subject matter expert, and build a foundation of trust with potential customers before they ever meet in person.
Relatively new and popular mediums such as podcasting and video have long been difficult to generate leads from, but those who use those platforms to create deep connections with their viewers will be able to convert them into valuable leads.
The days of putting together a detailed PDF of ebook in exchange for a large volume of leads are coming to an end, albeit at a slow pace. Instead, applying the same principles to audio, video, and even imagery can engage the developing and changing marketplace, and thus result in a new type of lead generation.