So your company has a great product to offer other businesses, and you know that a lot of potential repeat customers are out there. All you’ve got to do is find them.
Easier said than done: lead generation can be one of the trickiest steps of developing your business, and the question of how to connect with those leads so as to best facilitate a real business relationship is a delicate but important one.
Tools that have been around.
Some tools have been around a while that can help your sales team through the process. They could buy lists of customer data from third party companies, but these massive data files are based on crude, broad filters such as industry code or geographic location, capturing tons of irrelevant (or inaccurate) results.
The result is talented sales teams spending a lot of their time sifting through dead ends. Tehchnology Advice recently reported that about 75 percent of typical B2B pipeline leads generate any immediate transaction.
Search leads for yourself.
Nothing can replicate your sales staff’s ability to search for leads themselves, but that search process is also inherently flawed because the customer profile your company develops will almost always be incomplete, simply because you can’t “see” viable customers you don’t realize exist in the first place.
Marketing can be an expensive, though essential, undertaking for B2B businesses, so you want to make sure that your sales team can work at their most efficient rather than doing their best with outmoded lead generation strategies.
Break-throughs in sales tools.
But don’t despair! Break-throughs in artificial intelligence mean that your sales team can now wield sophisticated, smart tools that combine the best of employees’ product knowledge and emotional intelligence with the massive analytical capabilities of artificial intelligence.
We’ve already covered some entrepreneurs who are leading the way in AI-driven change here at StartupGrind, and we’ve speculated on the possibilities of this powerful tool for lead generation.
LeadCrunch is a frontrunner in this field, providing businesses of all sizes with artificial intelligence-aided lead lists that generate results at far higher rates than traditional lead generation strategies. Your sales team has a new secret weapon!
Intelligent lead generation.
Most B2B businesses have access to some form of existing data, such as a list of their best customers. This data is a useful starting point for exploring future customers. Artificial intelligence-based firms such as LeadCrunch can do something truly amazing: they can feed business-provided data into their propriety machine-learning search platform to generate new leads.
This search platform is not simply another database with crude filters attached. Rather, it’s an engine that can analyze millions of attributes of existing business and customer data, and condense them into sophisticated consumer profiles that then are matched with potential leads.
AI lead-generating systems.
Artificial intelligence lead-generating systems such as LeadCrunch only become better the more they are used. Customers can provide feedback on the initially generated leads to further fine-tune the list, effectively “teaching” the program.
The search platform itself becomes more and more comprehensive and sophisticated the more searches are run through it. Human and artificial intelligence can thus cooperate to generate the best leads possible for any given company.
You don’t want to waste your sales team’s talents on casting about for leads one-by-one (we’ve already said as much while discussing why startups should embrace automated marketing), so a team-up with AI might be in your company’s future.
Effective contact for repeat business.
But of course, a business cannot survive on leads alone. Obtaining them is just the first step. Afterwards, your sales team must reach out to leads and make the case for your product. And this first contact is as delicate a social maneuver as any other overture - remember how stressed out you felt the first time you asked someone out on a date!
Contact gone wrong can have serious long term effects on your business. In a worst case scenario, you might alienate or annoy the business you were hoping to woo. Your email sender score is kind of like your credit score as an email sender, and according to Return Path, the company that generates it, your sender score can go down if your emails are marked as spam. The score also goes down if you constantly receiving unsubscribe requests.
Low email score.
A low sender score means you’re more likely to wind up blocked or put in spam. And of course, most companies will screen calls if they’re feeling harassed by an enthusiastic but misguided marketer.
Leadcrunch solves this problem by applying artificial intelligence again. Much as artificial intelligence can use data to predict ideal leads, it can use existing information about those leads. These leads will grow as the database does. Then, as the database grows you can predict the best medium for approaching your lead and the most appropriate message to deliver.
Does your lead prefer a phone call?
If your lead prefers a phone call to email, you’ll know, and you’ll be more likely to make a sale as a result. Because LeadCrunch customers are encouraged to provide feedback on the efficacy of their lead searches, LeadCrunch’s database -- and the accuracy of it’s AI’s findings --becomes more and and more astute.
Lead generation is essential for any B2B business, and especially for startups who can’t complacently rest on their laurels of repeat customers. But it’s an expensive one too, and here at StartupGrind, we’re always trying help new businesses work with the budgets they have.
Using artificial intelligence to direct your budgets efficiently, will increase your return on your investment in lead generation and improve your company’s bottom line.