Lead generation is the lifeforce of any B2B operation, albeit one of the most complicated steps in running a business. Buyers go through a complex journey consisting of multiple touchpoints, during which you must constantly keep them engaged until they finally convert into leads and then—hopefully—into paying customers. The process is not only challenging but also time-consuming, which can take a toll on your productivity and overall effectiveness.
Fortunately, the rise of marketing automation solutions has made it easier to automate significant portions of your lead generation process. This goes beyond your marketing strategy but also extends to your lead qualification and outreach processes as well. In this post, we take a deep dive into the different ways you can automate your lead generation funnel. Let’s get started.
What Stages of the Funnel Can You Automate?
With the right approach and tools, you can use automation at almost every stage of the lead generation funnel. At the top of the funnel where you’re growing awareness, you can incorporate automation through strategic demand generation. Content syndication and B2B advertising campaigns will help you generate high-quality opt-in leads that are showing an interest in your product after just discovering your brand.
In the middle of the funnel, you can use intent signals, chatbots, and surveys to automatically qualify, score, and segment leads. These tools and solutions can assist you with your lead nurturing efforts as you now have the insights necessary to focus on leads that are most likely to convert.
At the bottom of the funnel, you can further automate the process of nurturing and converting leads with the help of chatbots and SDR-as-a-Service solutions. Prospects can use chatbot software to schedule callbacks based on your sales team’s availability. Additionally, you can outsource your outbound sales tasks with the help of third-party sales development representatives (SDRs) who will conduct follow-ups and finalize purchases on your behalf.
5 Ways to Automate Your Lead Generation Funnel
Technology and service solutions have made it easier for organizations to generate more B2B leads. Moreover, they can also automate significant portions of their lead generation process. Here are a few ways you can incorporate automation into your lead generation funnel.
1. Opt-in Campaigns to Grow Your List
To generate leads, you need contacts that will potentially turn into valuable leads. As such, you need to grow your mailing list to increase the number of prospects available to nurture and reach out to. Luckily, you can automate the process with the help of opt-in campaigns to target the right audience with personalized offers and forms.
You can design opt-in campaigns to automatically target your website visitors and capture their email addresses. This lets you create customized campaigns based on a variety of triggers—whether it’s by matching your offer with the page they’re viewing, re-engaging visitors before they leave, or displaying your offer if they spend a certain amount of time on your site. This will automatically display opt-in forms to your visitors and capture their emails to add to your list.
Additionally, you can amplify your opt-in campaigns through content syndication. This involves distributing your content via various websites to get it in front of the right audience at scale. As such, you can generate in-market opt-in leads through a variety of channels even if those prospects have never heard of your brand before.
Another option is to develop a content strategy that delivers value to prospects and turns them into high-value leads. This may involve offering content upgrades whereby you provide gated content in exchange for a visitor’s contact information. The content could be something valuable such as a research report, case study, eBook, whitepaper, or webinar.
Closely related to lead magnets, these content upgrades serve as add-ons to your existing piece of content rather than acting as standalone content. For example, you may offer an eBook containing a more comprehensive guide to visitors who are currently reading a blog post about a similar topic. Alternatively, you may outline a few findings of your recent study in a blog post and encourage readers to provide their contact details so they can access the full study.
2. Chatbots to Streamline Lead Qualification and Nurturing
Chatbots are another useful addition to your lead generation automation efforts. You can use them to build conversation templates to help you pre-qualify leads, schedule follow-up calls, and segment your prospects accurately.
You can build branches in the conversation using different pre-determined questions and then guide prospects on the right path based on the answers they’ve selected. This helps you assess whether a lead is qualified, after which you can collect their information to add to your list.
Additionally, you can automatically segment your new prospects into relevant lists based on the answers they’ve selected or the interest they’ve shown in specific products. For example, if you offer a chatbot automation tool for both websites and social media and the prospect has shown an interest in building a website chatbot, then you can add them to the relevant list accordingly. Alternatively, you can also segment new prospects based on what stage they are in the funnel.
All of this will save you the trouble of segmenting your lists later. Instead, the chatbot software helps you create pre-segmented lists that you can easily start using for your outreach campaigns.
In some cases, you can even get prospects to schedule a callback from your sales department. You can automate the whole process by getting them to select their preferred time from your available time slots, and the chatbot will automatically add those dates to the relevant sales agent’s calendar.
3. Retargeting Campaigns to Re-Engage Prospects
Automated retargeting campaigns are an effective way to re-engage your lost prospects and turn them into high-value leads. You can create retargeting ad campaigns aimed at re-engaging people who have previously shown an interest in your product but dropped out of the funnel at some point.
It’s important to be strategic about your retargeting efforts by focusing on prospects that are more likely to convert rather than targeting every previous visitor. Consider displaying your retargeting ads to visitors who have checked out certain pages on your site such as a product page, pricing page, or contact page. Additionally, you can also retarget people who have taken some sort of action on your site such as interacting with your chatbot or downloading a piece of gated content.
That way, you can optimize your ad spend and attract more qualified leads to entice them back into the funnel.
4. Automated Audience Segmentation to Build Robust Lists
Segmentation is an effective way to streamline your lead management as it allows you to deliver personalized offers and messaging based on a variety of factors. For instance, you could group similar contacts together based on where they are in the funnel, what technology they use, where they work, and what content they’ve interacted with.
While this segmentation process is highly effective, it can also be time-consuming to do it manually. Using a marketing automation solution will help you automate the process. This allows you to filter millions of contacts and create targeted lists based on criteria such as intent signals, firmographics, and technology installs. As such, you can improve your list quality and customize your offers to improve your lead generation efforts.
5. Data Enrichment for a More Qualified Pipeline
One of the biggest challenges in the lead generation funnel is qualifying prospects for your sales pipeline. Changes in prospect information over time further complicate the process because you may no longer have up-to-date information on job titles and contact details. This results in a loss of time as your sales team attempts to reach out to prospects that no longer work at a certain firm or to contacts that are no longer valid.
Fortunately, you can use a data enrichment solution to automate this process. This ensures that you always have the most up-to-date information as it continually and automatically refreshes accounts with the latest contact-level data. It provides you with confirmed connection information and up-to-date technographic installs so you can successfully reach out to prospects and update your offer accordingly.
Moreover, it provides you with intent data to further optimize your B2B lead generation efforts. You can leverage intent signals to understand whether a prospect or their organization is in-market, which will then help you identify the best leads to prioritize.
Streamlining Lead Generation with Automation
There’s a wealth of options to help you automate your lead generation efforts and streamline them for better efficiency and impact. This could be anything from using chatbots to pre-qualify and segment your prospects to using data enrichment solutions to build a more qualified pipeline.
At DemandScience, you can find plenty of data and marketing automation solutions to optimize your lead generation strategy. Contact us to find out how we can help.
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