7 Ways To Generate Sales Leads Online

Want a few tips to generate more leads and boost sales? Here are a few suggestions, old and new, to get you started or help you rethink your strategy.

Want a few tips to generate more leads and boost sales?  Here are a few suggestions, old and new, to get you started or help you rethink your strategy.

7 Ways To Generate Sales Leads Online

  1. Stay in Touch with a Newsletter- Though newsletters typically don’t bring in new customers, they increase the odds that your current customers will become repeat customers. Don’t ignore what’s already in front of you. Newsletters are one of the easiest ways to keep in touch with your customer base on a regular interval.
  2. Give Referral Incentives- According to a recent survey by Jupiter Media Metrix, 70% of all Internet users are compelled to visit new web sites through referrals. How do you make this statistic work for your company? First, provide customer service worthy of a referral. Give your customers a reason to want to tell a friend or colleague. Second, implement a referral program into your business model. Only 18% of businesses in the United States have referral programs in place despite the fact that two-thirds of all economic activity is influenced by shared opinions about a product, brand, or service (according to the Word of Mouth Marketing Association).
  3. Reach a New Audience with Ad Swapping- Though ad swapping may be more appropriate for smaller businesses, it’s a good way to double or triple your regular audience for free. In an ad swap, you trade space on your business’ web site or newsletter in exchange for space on another business’ web site or newsletter. For best results, find a company that is similar in size to your own (to ensure a deal that is fair and beneficial to both parties).
  4. Get Interactive with Live Chat- We may be a bit biased, but the numbers are certainly in favor of live chat. According to Allurent, 83% of shoppers would make purchases if sites offered additional interactive elements. One of the easiest ways to incorporate interactive elements onto your websites is by adding live chat software.

 

  1. Host a Thought Leadership Webinar- Rather than endlessly cold calling potential customers, webinars bring potential customers to you en masse. A webinar should be a presentation about a topic in general, not an hour-long advertisement for your company. Inform your audience on a topic THEN suggest your product or service.
  2. Blogging- Are blogs really all they’re cracked up to be? If done right, yes. A good blog will create a sense of community. When there’s a sense of community, it’s much easier to target worthwhile customers. In addition, blogs attract web site visitors outside your normal range of customers. The more traffic, the better. For best results, fill your blogs with keyword-friendly phrases to optimize your presence on search engine web sites.
  3. Social Media- A blog, by definition, qualifies as a form of social media. However, in the world of network-based social media sites, there’s nothing hotter than Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. To use these platforms in a business sense, it’s important to consider the type of business you are. For a B2C operation, Facebook and Twitter offer great mediums for customer interaction. On the other hand, a B2B operation may find their time better spent on LinkedIn where they can target potential buyers in a much more systematic way.
We hope this helped get the juices flowing on how to generate sales leads online to boost sales in the upcoming quarters.

 

The Top 6 Reasons CRM Software Engineers Never Get Used

It was going to change your life. The salesperson promised you would see a huge difference. Although it was expensive, he explained that in the long run it would save you lots of time and money. And yet, it just sits there. Your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. As a software provider ourselves, I figured it would be useful to leverage our insights on customer success with some tips for buying another critical piece of your software mix.

It was going to change your life.  The salesperson promised you would see a huge difference.  Although it was expensive, he explained that in the long run it would save you lots of time and money.  And yet, it just sits there.  Your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. As a software provider ourselves, I figured it would be useful to leverage our insights on customer success with some tips for buying another critical piece of your software mix.

42% of all CRM Software Licenses Go Unused.

If you’re not using yours, you are not alone.  In fact, 42% of all CRM software licenses go unused.*   And even when they are used, people often don’t use its full potential. What’s worse, sometimes companies are paying a reoccurring maintenance or service fee for that unused software.

Why Do Companies Waste So Much On Shelfware?

There’s plenty of blame to go around but here are the key reasons:

1. Vendors oversell.   Hey, shouldn’t every employee in the company be nurturing customer relationships?  And with all the new customers you’ll be getting, doesn’t it make sense to have some extra licenses?  Especially with this volume discount?

While it’s true that all your employees should be customer focused, that doesn’t mean they will all be dealing with your customers and need CRM software.   Start off with only the key people that absolutely, positively will be using it.  Don’t worry, if you find out later that you need more, the vendor will be happier to sell you more licenses. CRM providers should make sure their sales people take the time to truly understand how many licenses the client needs, not how many they want to sell them. Ideally, goals for sales people are set based upon the number of active client licenses acquired, not the number they sold.

2. Vendors don’t make it clear how much work it takes to fully implement the software.  To be fair, the client is also hoping it’s as easy to use as it was in the nice demo they saw.  Like the exercise bike, however, just purchasing it doesn’t create results. A successful set-up takes a lot of work from both sides. CRM providers can do a better job of making sure clients understand the level of effort that will be required at the outset to ensure they have a successful implementation. If you are talking to a CRM provider and they aren’t outlining a road map for implementation it may be best to move on.

3.  No well-established training process.  Perhaps there’s no process in place because you bought the no frills software to save money.  Or maybe the software comes with some support but it’s merely to answer questions.  Yet that assumes you will know enough to even figure out what questions to ask.  To have a shot that your staff will use the software, find out exactly what training is involved. CRM providers that have strong training programs should make sure their customers understand how critical training is to their success. The training program should be highlighted as a differentiator and be easy to find information on. If it isn’t they may not be the right provider for you.

 

4.  The training process was not tailored for your industry and company.  One size does not fit all.  When the vendor has experience with the specific challenges and opportunities for your industry, you benefit from their business intelligence. And the vendor should also do a Vulcan Mind Meld with you when it comes to your goals. The clearer the goals, the easier to tailor the training to help you staff achieve them and set up the CRM to track them.

5. The vendor did not assign you a guardian angel.  Someone on the vendor’s side main purpose in life should be getting you successfully set-up. They should answer all your questions, pro-actively reach out to you, and help monitor your metrics and progress.  Then, they should make adjustments to help you improve. At Velaro we use the more business-like title of Success Manager.

6. Your staff is resistant to change.  Oh sure, everyone says they’re open to change but when there is a big change underway the complainers come out of the digital wood work.  Especially when it means learning a whole new process.  It also means the possibility of looking like an idiot if they can’t learn it as fast as their peers. Once again, a good training process is key to making staff feel comfortable using it. Plus, it highlights what’s in it for them.

So when choosing which CRM software, look for a vendor who has a good track record of successfully partnering with their clients. Because no matter how low the price is on CRM software, if it just sits on the shelf, it ends up costing you the most.

Jeff Mason is the VP of Marketing at Velaro, a company that offers live chat software that includes customized training and support.   Jeff is an advocate for ensuring that companies and organizations are making full use of their Live Chat and CRM software.   He also that  believes if you’re selling CRM software, your first priority is to have great customer relationships.

*42% is based on a Gartner Study