Even though they're separate departments, sales and marketing work toward a common goal: Converting prospective buyers into satisfied customers.
This conversion depends on successfully attracting, or capturing, "leads," i.e., people or businesses with a potential interest in what you're selling.
It's crucial to track where your leads come from for two reasons:
That's where lead capture software comes in. These tools help marketing teams aggregate and review the leads they pull in from various marketing campaigns, and help sales teams identify which ones get put on the "nurture" track.
In this guide, we'll discuss the key features of lead capture software, outline which tools you should look at based on your business size and highlight some considerations you should review with vendors before making a purchase.
Here's what we'll cover:
Lead capture software gathers data about the people or businesses with a potential interest in your product or service and aggregates it into a searchable database. These tools then help teams analyze that data so that either the sales or marketing department can take the immediate next best action.
The information contained in these leads may include:
The sources of these leads include, but are not limited to:
Lead capture is the first step in the sales pipeline. The next steps include nurturing, lead scoring, analytics and a variety of other procedures that sales teams follow to turn leads into closed sales.
Thus, although lead capture software can be purchased as a best-of-breed, or stand-alone solution, you will frequently find it as just one component of a larger lead management suite or marketing software suite.
See the "What Type of Buyer are You?" section below for a breakdown of which tools you should consider based on the size of your business.
Lead capture software will contain some, if not all, of the following features:
|Leads database||Create and store leads data from numerous marketing efforts in a centrally accessible database. Organize leads using tags or classification criteria that you can set. Import or export data to or from other sales and marketing software platforms as needed based on the buyer journey.|
|Lead forms||Place forms in key places on your website prompting visitors to enter contact details, often in exchange for access to gated information.|
|Multiplatform support||Gather leads from multiple platforms and marketing efforts, including your website, email, social media and other sources.|
|Lead analytics and reporting||Create and analyze lead reports to see how marketing and sales efforts are performing, i.e., which marketing campaigns are most successful and which types of leads are converting at the highest rates.|
|Integrations||Integrate lead capture with other lead management tools to make effective use of your database and nurture leads through to closing a sale.|
A lead dashboard in Infusionsoft
You can purchase lead capture software as a stand-alone tool, as part of a larger lead management suite, or as one application within a robust CRM or marketing platform. Your company's size and industry needs will influence how you should invest.
Other factors to consider when picking lead capture software include:
Integration with other systems. This will likely be the key consideration when it comes to choosing lead capture software. A database of leads that doesn't integrate with other sales or marketing tools won't prove very useful. To make lead capture a valuable resource to your company, you'll need those other functions to nurture leads along the sales pipeline and turn prospective buyers into satisfied customers.
Cloud-based vs. on-premise software. These days, most lead capture software is distributed over the cloud. This means that your business doesn't need to host the platform on its own hardware, and you won't require ongoing IT resources to maintain that hardware, as with on-premise solutions. Due to lower upfront and maintenance costs, cloud-based tools are often the smarter choice for small businesses. Ask vendors about their deployment options, training and customer support services when you're evaluating software to ensure you choose a system that best meets your needs.
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