According to Entrepreneur magazine, 78% of marketers say automation increases revenue. That’s not surprising, as investments in automation have granted consistent returns—many netting a profit in just one year. That’s true no matter what segment of the business gets automated.
When it comes to sales, automation routinely reduces errors, increases scalability, and saves time. In fact, one case study in Harvard Business Review used automation to cut down the time to launch a marketing campaign from four weeks to five days.
One time-heavy process? Lead generation.
Automated lead generation offers extraordinary potential returns.
In many companies, lead generation accounts for the bulk of the sales team’s time. Automating lead generation tasks frees up that time! Then, sales teams can apply their skills to more human-centered work.
How to Generate Leads Automatically (Overview)
Sales tech automation improves your efficiency. With optimal tech efficiency, marketing teams can generate more leads in less time.
Lead generation is a six-stage process. Each stage incorporates multiple processes. All processes coordinate to turn strangers into customers. This guide organizes automated lead generation strategies around each of these stages.
Automated Lead Generation: Tools and Strategies
Automation can streamline every lead generation phase. In this guide, you’ll discover strategies to automate:
- Market research
- SEO research
- Content creation and iteration (including ad campaigns)
- Lead qualification
- CRM services
Not everything can be automated. Some aspects of sales—sales calls in particular—require a human touch. Fortunately, automation can offload rote, repetitive tasks in each lead-generation stage.
Comparing Software Tools
Many competing software applications aim to automate these tasks. We can’t tell you which tool is exactly right for your team.
What we can do is point you to legitimate comparison resources. Directories like Capterra, G2, Gartner, and TrustRadius are respected throughout the tech industry. When you want to compare tools that automate your least-favorite lead generation tasks, explore these sites.
Market Research Automation
Market research consolidates and verifies critical data. It can include information on claims testing, pricing, and competitors in the marketplace. Automated streamlines collection, analysis, and reporting with AI.
Automated Data Collection
For market researchers, the primary methods of data collection include:
- Focus groups
- Customer observation
- Claims testing
Artificial intelligence programs can develop surveys and interview questions. Each element is optimized to hone in on the information you need. They can also facilitate recruitment for focus groups.
Some AI software tools automatically capture data from paper documents. Then, they digitize and analyze the data to serve the ends of market researchers.
Many automated data analytics tools utilize Python. These programs can instantly parse reams of data to identify patterns and trends. They can also single out anomalies.
Some Python-based analytics tools are machine learning programs. These programs can continuously learn from new inputs to improve their pattern-recognition skills. This grants researchers insights that wouldn’t occur to humans.
AI-driven analysis also mitigates the risk of apophenia—the human tendency to see “patterns” in unrelated data points. As your team begins generating leads faster and more accurately, you won’t waste time following these red herrings.
Visualization, Reporting Automation
Once researchers have accumulated and analyzed data, they need to report it. Automated data visualization tools empower designers to present information in an accurate, easy-to-read format.
These programs automatically select the best presentation for each dataset. They also put together multiple visualization options (maps, scatter-plots, or charts) instantaneously.
Automated reporting reduces the risk of human error at the stage of input. This ensures that sales professionals are using accurate information when they plan their next steps.
Automated Lead Generation: SEO Research
Search engine optimization research must be conducted before you develop content. Information gleaned from SEO research will make your content and ads appealing to search engines. Ideally, optimized content appears on the first page of results when potential leads type key terms into a search bar.
Automated Baseline Keyword Generation
Baseline keyword generation is the first stage of SEO research. Automated tools can help you generate relevant key search terms by topic. They can also tell you how competitive those keywords are, and how much it would cost to bid on each term for a PPC campaign.
Automated Expansion, Filtering, Selection
Expansion, filtering, and selection processes generate all potential search terms. Then, they whittle down the list to the best search terms for your brand.
Automated lead generation tools focused on SEO research examine search trends they glean from big data sources. They also consider traits in the profile of your ideal customer. Then, they winnow down the list of terms to the best keywords for your sales team’s pursuits.
Automated Keyword Clustering, Mapping
Keyword clustering and mapping overlap with filtering and selection. To generate keyword clusters, an AI will:
- Compile existing keyword research
- Analyze the behavior of website visitors and existing users
- Discover the keywords your competitors’ target
- Integrate information from online assessment tools (like Google Analytics)
Then, the AI generates the key terms and topics to build content around. Many of these software programs specify which keywords are relevant to different potential leads.
Automating Content Creation, Iteration
Developing and iterating content may be the most labor-intensive part of lead generation. Yet, it’s critical to both inbound marketing and digital marketing strategies. If you’re wondering how to get more leads, the answer is, “automate content creation.”
Automating content creation makes it easier to create a large volume of high-quality content—upping your odds of reaching your ideal audience. In practice, content automation strategies vary by medium and platform.
Digital Advertising (Paid Media, PPC)
It’s hard to avoid integrating paid advertising into your lead generation strategy. Digital marketing draws in leads with paid search results, banner and mobile ads, and video advertising. Agencies can automate many digital marketing tasks, including:
- Ad buying
- Targeting and re-targeting
- Creative design (templatization)
Some ad design software automatically resizes creative files to fit multiple formats. Templates reduce the tedious elements of ad design, letting marketers focus on creativity. Automated bidding and targeting ensure ads reach a certain number of individuals in your desired demographic, without the risk of going over-budget.
Blog Posts and Website Content
Blog posts and website content often comprise both the first and second stages in the customer journey. Leads discover blog content through organic search or social media (where the post has been shared by people they follow).
Blog content can drive leads to a landing page—or a CTA. An effective call to action might encourage visitors to input data in exchange for something valuable. That something—a free ebook, a newsletter—pushes the visitor along the lead path, while their data is useful for qualification.
To stand out, blog posts need elements only humans can deliver: accurate and useful information, an engaging voice, a surprising point of view, or a relatable story. Yet, it’s possible to automate many aspects of blog creation. Contemporary tools let content creators:
- Automatically adapt a social media post into a blog post (and vice-versa)
- Automatically generate well-targeted, timely topic ideas
- Generate compelling aesthetics in minutes with templates
- Use natural language generation to write a rough draft—fast
- Automatically audit content for SEO and style-guide adherence
- Amplify new posts on social media by automatically
- Choosing the most sharable excerpts
- Tailoring those excerpts to suit different platforms
- Selecting hashtags and tagging users appropriately when sharing
Some automated blog and web content tools use sophisticated AI’s. But, most use elaborate if/then trees.
If/then trees are adaptable parameters. They let the software make the choice you would make if you encountered the same information. Thus, automated content-creation programs are frequently useful without being prohibitively expensive.
Marketing Email Automation
Marketing emails should be tailored to the recipient. Leads ought to receive different emails depending on where they are in their customer journey, what problem they’re seeking to solve, and relevant demographic information.
Fortunately, you can use automation to created targeted email messages that feel personal. Many automated email marketing programs let you input CRM data to differentiate messages.
Welcome emails, e-newsletters, lead nurturing emails, and re-engagement messages are appropriate for different stages of lead generation. Marketing email automation can streamline:
- CTA optimization
Applications that automate email marketing are similar to those that automate content creation. Tools like templates, natural language generators, auditing programs, and topic-brainstorming tools make sending marketing emails easier than ever.
Automated Lead Generation Messaging
Message-sending is an outreach-oriented lead generation task. Without automation, an agent must contact every single potential lead personally with a direct message. The ideal message varies quite a bit depending on the platform, the lead’s profile, and your specific sales goals.
Fortunately, agents can automate many tedious aspects of sending leads direct messages. Popular applications automate:
- Message branding
- A/B testing
- Lead targeting, filtering
- Scheduling (i.e. sending the message at the right time)
- Personalization (with CRM data)
Many of these programs use templates specific to each social media platform.
For instance, SalesFlow is ideal for agencies that target businesses as leads. This automated program empowers agents to send hundreds of targeted messages to leads on LinkedIn. Then, it automatically gathers data you can use to iterate your messages and improve your response rate.
Social Media Content Creation, Iteration
Content volume is more critical on social media than it is anywhere else. Automating social media content creation lets marketers create more content altogether.
Yet, by saving time by automating rote tasks, they can spend more time on creativity. Thus, marketers maintain constant, high-quality content output by automating:
Here’s what that looks like on the four biggest social media platforms.
LinkedIn content is key for B2B marketing. It’s a business-centered space and it’s driven by connections. That makes it an ideal place to discover potential business clients.
The best LinkedIn content establishes a brand’s thought leadership. It also cultivates a friendly, relatable voice.
Twitter is a highly social platform. Twitter users value concise posts, memes people can iterate on, and authentic conversation. The best Twitter posts from brands are highly voice-driven. And, brands do better when they engage with other users’ posts organically instead of solely posting their own content.
Visual posts do well on Facebook. Brands often succeed when they create videos or infographic content for Facebook. One winning strategy involves adapting blog content into Facebook-friendly formats.
Instagram accounts should be cohesive. Some brands have found the “hashtag ladder” method an effective tactic to help content to go viral. Popular Instagram content often uses an optimistic tone and an informal or intimate voice.
Lead qualification is the penultimate stage of lead generation. The process answers two critical questions:
- Which prospects are likely to buy soon?
- Which leads need more nurturing?
Almost every element of lead qualification can be automated. This gets agents closer to closing the deal with more leads, faster.
Automated Lead Capture (Data Capture)
Automated data capture programs fill in CRM data for leads automatically. They pull relevant information from first-party sources.
Then, they organize the information so it’s easy for marketers to use in targeting or in calls. The automation both saves time and reduces errors from manual data input.
Automated Lead Scoring
Automated lead scoring programs rate and rank the likelihood each lead will convert. Then, the programs report ratings succinctly. Teams can choose to weigh different variables to align the program’s ranking closely with their own marketing goals.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Services
CRM services can be automated without frustrating customers. But, it requires choosing what to automate wisely. CRM automation should strengthen the genuine relationship between a customer and a sales team member.
Strong relationships create enthusiastic customers. Enthusiastic customers are the foundation of a resilient referral program. As former leads refer new leads, the flow keeps going.
CRM automation best strengthens customer relationships when it:
- Automatically updates and maintains the CRM database
- Streamlines customer service
- Resolves support tickets instantly
- Automatically sends well-targeted offers and promotions
- Cultivates membership identity among customers
Automating rote CRM tasks frees your specialists to build authentic connections. They can solve complex use problems for customers, which elevates customer satisfaction. And satisfied customers invite other people to the party.
Close Deals Faster With SalesFlow
Effective sales and marketing strategies are like solving a complex puzzle. Automated lead generation is just one piece.
With SalesFlow, discover the tools to put together all the pieces—with LinkedIn at the center. Develop and iterate a lead flow that works. Schedule a call today, and discover how to scale your outreach like a pro.