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Automating Your Lead Capture: The Pros and Cons

These days, coming up with a viable lead generation strategy is not easy. There are numerous factors that influence the performance of your strategy and whether it is effective. When it comes to capturing leads, marketing professionals are increasingly turning to new opportunities to meet their lead capture goals.

One of the most common options is to go from manual lead capture to automated lead capture. While manual lead generation certainly does give you a strong insight into the lead generation process, a manual process only goes so far. If you are looking to take your lead capture to the next level, you may just want to automate your process.

The best way to finalize whether an option is best for you is to review the advantages and disadvantages of the given approach. In this case, we are going to cover the benefits and the drawbacks of automating lead capture.

What is Automated Lead Capture?

To determine whether an approach is right for you, it is best to fully understand what the given approach is. As Technology Advice points out, there are many facets to marketing and as the marketing profession becomes more complex, so does every specific area. One way that marketing professionals have responded to the advent of a world where marketing has become more intricate is to develop software that can handle the complexities.

For example, in the exceedingly murky realm of lead generation, marketing professionals have increasingly turned to lead capture automation software, also known as lead generation automation software. Unlike the traditional lead generation approach that utilizes market analysis tools and regular advertisements, lead automation goes a step further and applies the use of technology to gather data, market, and analyze the effect. While many marketing professionals are still hesitant as to whether lead generation software is right for them, there are many advantages that cannot be ignored.

It is also useful to keep in mind that admittedly, the results that you notice from your lead capture efforts are correlated with the type of software you use. Not all lead generation software works the same. Therefore, if you have a specific set of capabilities in mind, it is best to find software that meets those needs.

Now that we have covered what lead capture software is, let’s take a look at some of the main reasons why you would want to incorporate this software into your marketing campaign.

Top Performing Companies Use Lead Automation

As a marketing professional, one of your main goals is to remain level of improve your standing vis a vis your competition. In terms of lead automation, the fact of the matter is that these days, most top performing companies are using lead automation software in their marketing campaign. Specifically, according to Act On, a whopping 79% of top performing companies adopted lead automation in the last two years. To put things into perspective, “top performing” refers to companies where marketing contributes to half of the sales pipeline.

With such a high percentage of top companies using lead capture software, you may want to think about your current marketing strategy and its performance. If you are faltering behind the competition, it may just be because you have yet to adopt similar marketing strategies.

To further support the argument that lead automation boosts a company’s performance, the Lead Generation Effectiveness Study analyzed the effect of marketing automation on company performance. The findings indicated that 63% of competitors that outperform their competition were using lead automation software.

While there certainly may be other factors contributing to a competitor’s success aside from lead generation, the fact of the matter is that it is highly likely that lead generation software has a significant role in that success. Therefore, to outperform your competition in the coming years, it is best to start implementing marketing automation to generate leads.

Lower Staffing Cost

For any brand, especially one that is just starting out, staffing costs can absorb a big chunk of change. Having a large staff is beneficial when you are seeing results, but if there are alternative ways to attain the same results with lower overhead, then you should keep those options in mind.

When it comes to lead automation software, you can reduce your business overhead by lowering the staffing costs. As Venture Harbor smartly points out, a small team of marketing professionals can set up an entire lead generation and capture campaign using lead automation software. The campaign will trigger based on the set criteria and the program will also issue daily reports regarding performance, depending upon the type of software that you use.

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Since lead generation software is also highly effective at generating leads, you may not even need a large sales department to help maneuver the leads through the sales funnel. Ultimately, the lead automations software will perform a majority of the work for the same or even better results than a large scale department.

Staff Performance

Lead generation software not only provides insight into the performance of your marketing efforts and helps you carry out a lead capture plan, but it also can give you a view of your own team’s performance, thereby improving your team’s accountability standards.

Many forms of lead generation software can track every stage of your sales funnel and where your employees most contributed and how. More significantly, the software will also alert you and your marketing and sales teams when a lead needs more nurturing. With these types of active alerts, you as a brand manager can ensure that action is being taken at the most critical stages of the lead generation process. The more hands-on you are throughout the entire process, the better your results will be.

To ensure that accountability standards are being met, C-Squad recommends setting out the following goals before your team uses the marketing automation software:

  • What goals are you expecting the software to achieve?
  • How will the software and the team ensure that the goals are being realized?
  • What is being done to reach a set of goals?
  • Is every team member working with the marketing software at each critical stage to realize results?

By taking the time to address these issues, you and your marketing team can ensure that a stronger lead generation campaign will be realized with the use of the automation software.

Better Behavioral Targeting and Higher Revenue

Another significant advantage of lead automation software is that it results in better behavioral targeting. As CRM Search mentions, lead capture software excels at customer segmentation, targeting, and messaging. As professionals use marketing automation software, they can more appropriately segment prospects beyond points like demographic and firmographic by leveraging more pertinent behavioral attributes. This highly detailed market segmentation can result in the output of better content marketing, web analytics, and digital campaigns.

As you can gather, lead automation software goes beyond getting the basic details about your prospect for you to use in segmentation and creating a campaign. Instead, the lead automation software provides you with the finest and most pertinent details and even segments them for you in a manner that is going to lead to more effective results. With such detailed reports, you can create content marketing campaigns and digital campaigns that truly rely upon your prospect’s personalized information.

Ultimately, your brand will be able to create campaigns that your prospects are actually interested in and according to CRM search, this entire approach can cause your leads to grow by double.

Improve Your User’s Journey

The success of your marketing funnel largely depends upon how well you devise your user’s journey. The more you focus on every stage of the process and nurture your lead through, the higher the chance you will see positive results from your overall marketing campaign.

According to SazBean, with lead automation software, you can track which pages have the highest exits, as in where your users are dropping out of the buying cycle most frequently. Once you determine which pages have the most drop offs, you can view the pages and figure out what problems led to those drop offs. Upon figuring out the problem, you can take the necessary steps to remedy the issue so that you are able to retain your leads at every stage of the process. With this capability, you are able to improve your user’s journey, thereby increasing your lead rate and conversions.

Marketing Efforts are Data Driven

The lead generation process can be tricky at times, especially when you do not have the data that you need to make sound and stable decisions. Automating your lead capture gives you a key tool in improving your lead generation and entire marketing process – solid data.

According to a post written by Angela Nadeau, the CEO of CompuData, lead automation software gives marketing professionals data driven lead intelligence. With data driven intelligence, you can improve your sales process and marketing productivity.

Testing in Real Time

Getting information after the fact can be useful at times, but if you can get it in real time – all the better. With lead capture software, you do not need to wait until after the fact to gather data, you can do it in real time. Information in real time enables you to optimize, create, and manage your emails, landing pages, and web forms, all with one application.

Creating a cohesive and improved brand has never been easier, since you have all of the tools at your disposal to make it happen.

Improved Quality Leads

A final advantage of lead capture software is that it enhances the quality of your leads. According to Intelligent Demand, the software is highly effective at identifying leads that are ready to buy. Once the software sifts through potential prospects and finds which option is far enough into the sales process to signal a buy, the software will signal to the marketing and sales team to work on nurturing the lead in order to bring the sale to fruition.

An improvement in the quality of your leads not only makes things easier for the brand and marketing team as a whole, but it also saves your sales team time, effort, and resources. Instead of calling hundreds of prospects, the sales team will only reach out to the leads that are in the position to buy the product or service at hand.

Now that we have covered some of the main advantages of lead capture software, let’s take a look at some of the disadvantages of the software. By recognizing the disadvantages, you can make an informed decision regarding your marketing process.

Expecting Lead Generation Software to Solve All of Your Problems

There are a number of drawbacks to lead capture software. First and foremost, most marketing professionals expect lead generation software to solve all of their lead generation problems.

As Mike Gospe eloquently put it on his blog, “But when it comes to marketing automation, I recommend caution. I’ve seen too many marketers crash and burn because they believed that by “automating” all of their lead gen problems would be over. They forgot to first set a strategy that carefully targets prospects with relevant messaging. Automating the “garbage in, garbage out” marketing approach benefits no one.”

Essentially, before you start using lead automation software, you should ensure that you have a viable and workable strategy to use. To ensure that you are not relying on automation software to your detriment, you should first start with a defined target audience, develop a story for the course of your campaign, and have an effective positioning statement that helps you reach your target.

Some Companies Do Fail with Marketing Automation Software

While there certainly are companies that succeed with marketing automation software, you should also recognize that there are companies that fail too. Companies that have been known to fail not only were unable to succeed with marketing automation software, but the software they failed with was some of the best in the industry.

According to Joby Blume, who experienced failure with lead generation software, there are a number of pitfalls that led to the failure. As Blume explains, the companies that failed did not identify marketing automation objectives, they forgot to work on their marketing process, and there were too few leads to nurture.

The lesson learned here is similar to the one above – you cannot overly rely on lead automation software to turn your marketing process into a success. At the end of the day, you still have to make judgments regarding your marketing process and you still need to be an active member of the process.

The Software Does Not Identify What You Should Do

Most lead automation software identifies what you could do, but it does not provide you with pointers on what you should do to generate leads. One marketing blog, Bright Carbon, explains that their team’s marketing professionals never thought of using the software to communicate with existing customers to generate leads. By identifying with existing customers, you can identify, create, cross-sell, and up-sell your product or service. This not only improves your lead generation efforts, but it also enhances relationships and sales to current customers.

You Do Not Need to Use Marketing Automation Software Solely On Its Own

Finally, another disadvantage of marketing automation software is that most users believe that it needs to be used on its own. In actuality, lead automation software can be used with manual lead generation. For example, you can use the automation software to gather the data and automate certain processes, but when it comes to running a nurturing campaign and getting in touch with your leads, you can do that on manual basis.

In identifying the areas where you do not need to automate your lead generation, you can determine which processes you will focus on manually. By determining which areas can be handled manually, you can give more attention to those specific marketing points, thereby cultivating better results in the long term.

Summary

Overall, lead generation automation software makes marketing easier, it is cost effective, and it is used by most well-performing companies in numerous industries across the board. On the off-hand, there are a number of pitfalls to lead automation software, which mainly lie with the users themselves.

The lesson to learn is what while lead automation software is a beneficial option to generating specific and quality leads, it does not mean that you should leave the entire marketing process to the software itself. For the best results, you should continue to oversee and work on specific areas within the lead generation campaign. This way, you will be able to avoid the pitfalls of lead generation software. In addition, it does not hurt to think creatively while using the software. Just because the box does not mention a capability, it does not necessarily mean that the option is off limits – such as using the software on your current customers as well as new leads.

Lastly, let me know your thoughts and any other tips for automating your lead capture that have worked for you. Leave a comment below and I look forward to hearing from you.

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About Sean Donahoe

Sean is one of the most recognized industry leaders in business and marketing. As a popular speaker, author, consultant he has helped over 50,000 students world wide find success in their businesses and has consulted with Fortune 500 companies and businesses of every size grow and thrive...

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