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What is the Difference Between a CRM and Marketing Automation?

When you step into the world of marketing and sales, two phrases you will hear a lot are CRM and marketing automation. They can often be used within the same sentence, but they are not synonymous with one another.

A CRM, which stands for customer relationship management/manager, does exactly that – it manages your customer relationships by organizing your contacts (by company name, job title, potential deal size, etc.) and the interactions your company has with those contacts.

A marketing automation solution specializes in communicating with those contacts based off of many different factors that may are may not be tracked within the CRM. The goal is to educate or nurture those contacts until they are ready to buy. Or, if the contact has already made a purchase, marketing automation can help continue that relationship to encourage renewals or repeat business.

What is the difference between a CRM and marketing automation?

CRMs manage your company’s interactions with current and prospective customers, while marketing automation helps create, automate, and distribute those interactions. Marketing automation can also measure the effectiveness of those efforts, so that companies can minimize “wheel-spinning” and really focus on what works for their specific business.

If you are familiar with marketing and sales terms, you may have heard some (or many) references to “the sales funnel.” At the top of the funnel, you’ve got a large group of people who may or may not be interested in the products or services your company has to offer. As the funnel narrows, uninterested leads are filtered out, leaving Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs) at the bottom – those that are ready to buy.

Marketing automation helps track prospect activity closer to the top of the funnel (but not the very top, as is commonly misconceived!), while CRMs are used to track interactions closer to the bottom of that funnel.

It’s important to note that marketing automation is not for the tip top of the funnel. It should not be used to “spray and pray” or “batch and blast” marketing material. Doing this will result in being flagged a spammer. Marketing automation should focus on prospects that are interested enough in your product or solution to be on your website, reading your educational content, and actively reaching out to learn more. They provide their email address to you.

Another common misconception is that sales teams and marketing teams are communicating to different audiences. This can be a dangerous and divisive way to think. In reality, marketing and sales teams should be working side-by-side to generate revenue. Marketing teams build brand awareness, educate and nurture prospects until they are ready to buy. Then, those prospects are handed of to the sales team as Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs), however the communication and nurturing should NOT stop here (and neither does the involvement of marketing automation!). It only needs to shift gears. Once a prospect has become a customer, the education and nurturing should shift gears again – but never cease.

If you are interested in learning more about how a CRM and marketing automation interact, request a free demonstration with an expert today!

Connecting the Dots – Lead Nurturing After Event Lead Capture Is Important

Did you know that 73 percent of B2B leads aren’t ready to make a purchase? They’re still gathering information, and while they will eventually pull the trigger, it probably won’t happen at the exact time of event lead capture. That is why it is so important that you have a lead collection system that integrates with your lead-nurturing platform. GoCapture!™ pairs with Lead Liaison’s marketing automation platform, allowing people to track leads through the entire lifecycle. If you use this system, you can collect the leads when you are at an event and then push them through the lead-nurturing process via marketing automation instantly!

Nursing Leads with Marketing Automation

When you gather leads with GoCapture!™, you can choose how to nurture them. The system begins the process by qualifying the lead based on your predefined qualification standards. It then begins nurturing them in the way that you determine. You can have the system send emails, postcards, handwritten letters, or SMS messages. Don’t feel as if you must pick just one, either. Omni-channel marketing is a proven method for success. 

Breaking Down Lead Statistics

When you use a fully-integrated system such as GoCapture!™, you have the advantage of tracking the lead through its entire lifecycle, starting with where it came from. This is vital if you want to put the right amount of marketing dollars into various events. You will be able to tell how much it costs to turn leads into customers at your various events. You can then use that information to determine future budgets.

For instance, you might find out that you convert lots of leads from trade shows, so it would make sense to put more money into that type of marketing campaign. However, you might find out that your lead conversions for conferences are weak, so you either need to spend less on conferences or change your marketing strategy for those specific events.

Lead generation is only powerful if you nurture those leads and turn them into customers. GoCapture!™ makes that as easy as installing the app. Then, it gets to work for you, capturing and nurturing leads to improve your bottom line.

Want to learn more about GoCapture!™? Click here to speak with an expert today!

Challenges With Event Lead Capture

New technology means there are more lead capture options out there than ever before, but they come with some challenges. It’s important to identify the challenges and come up with solutions to those challenges. Let’s look at some common challenges and solutions.

Transcription Problems

Scanning business cards is growing in popularity, but what happens when you collect all of those cards? They have to be transcribed and entered into your lead generation system, but unfortunately, most services either don’t offer transcription or they charge a high price. GoCapture!™ is unique in the sense that it doesn’t just offer transcription. It does it for less than half the price of the leading competitor. This makes it easy to overcome this challenge.

Lost Leads

According to trade show insiders, as much as 80 percent of the leads collected at trade shows are never followed up. That isn’t because the exhibitors don’t want to follow up. It’s because the leads get lost in the shuffle. GoCapture!™ solves this problem by adding all of the leads into a centralized database, meaning that you can have hundreds of people collecting them, and they all go to the a singular, safe place.

No Internet Signal

Have you ever tried to make a phone call at a trade show? It isn’t easy due to the location. Most trade shows are buried deep inside of buildings, and the signals are weak. Unfortunately, lots of exhibitors need Internet signals to collect leads. That isn’t the case with GoCapture!™ though. The application works offline without any problems. By having a solution that works both digitally and offline, you can work in any situation.

 

GoCapture!™ makes it easy to overcome the various lead capture problems that sales and marketing teams face at events. If you want to get quality leads without running into trouble, this is the way to go.

Want to learn more about GoCapture!™? Click here to speak with an expert today!

Marketing Events & Event Lead Capture

If you’re waiting for leads to come to you, you are making a huge mistake. There are tons of events out there that are ripe with leads. Check out the events, and then learn how to prepare for them. With the right amount of preparation, and a good event lead capture plan, you can become a lead generation machine.

Types of Marketing Events

It’s impossible to list all the marketing events out there, but they really fall into two categories. First, there are in-person events, and second, there are web-based events.

As it relates to in-person events, you really can’t beat a trade show when it comes to collecting hot leads. These theme-based shows are filled with exhibitors who try to attract potential buyers, as well as buyers who are actively looking for a solution. Decision makers often attend these shows, so you will be able to collect information about people who have the authority to make a purchase. That makes it all the more exciting and rewarding.

As far as web-based events go, webinars get the most attention. While decision makers often attend these, it also isn’t unusual to see some lower-level employees at these online events. Because of that, you will get a variety of leads when you host webinars.

Regardless of which type of event you host, you have to prepare for it. That means you have to decide how you are going to collect leads.

Preparing for Events

Lead generation has changed a lot over the years. You used to post a sign-up form at events, and that was how you collected leads. Maybe your leads would hear from you, and maybe they wouldn’t. It wasn’t that you didn’t want to contact them. The process was just so scattered that leads would get lost.

These days, you’ve got the tools you need to do a little more preparation. It doesn’t matter if you are going to an in-person event or hosting a webinar. The preparation process is KEY.

It starts with configuring an effective and efficient lead capture form. Forget about a piece of paper and a pen. Create a form using your marketing automation platform to make it easier. Then, you must deploy the form to the device that you want to use and choose your lead capture method or methods. This is where it gets exciting. New technology allows you to load leads from event attendee lists, scan QR codes, scan bar codes, or have the lead manually fill the information into your form.

Most people prepare up to this point, but that’s where they stop. However, that’s a mistake. Your leads then need to go into your business process automation system. They should be distributed and then be moved through the process with follow-ups and lead qualification techniques. You need to plan for all of that before you even collect the leads!

If you can properly prepare for events, you will be a step ahead of many of your competitors. Then, you can collect leads and communicate with them with ease. Using a tool like Lead Liaison’s mobile event lead capture app, GoCapture!™, can help you simplify your event lead capture process, so you can get busy selling!

Want to learn more about GoCapture!™? Click here to speak with an expert today!

Tools of the Trade: Trello

In the busy world we live in, we all have our secrets to being more productive and more organized. Technology lends itself to creating more solutions. Lead Liaison is one of those solutions, and we have clients all over the globe that agree! But we didn’t get here by using outdated resources. Here at Lead Liaison, we’ve got several “tools of the trade” that help us be the best that we can be. In this series, we will talk about some of the tools that we use to be more effective in our day. In today’s post, we’ll talk about Trello.

Trello

What is Trello?

Trello is a web-based project management application that is accessible from your desktop, tablet, or smartphone. The way Trello organizes tasks and projects is based off of the Kanban System, which was developed by an industrial engineer at Toyota as a system to keep production levels high and maintain flexibility.

It’s incredibly easy to use, and best of all – it’s FREE. It’s fantastic for managing everything from large projects to small tasks, work projects to family chores. Trello cards are similar to sticky notes, in that you can arrange them (and rearrange them) however you wish. It’s a great way to see the big picture, while still being able to dive into the details with a single click.

Features

Projects are represented by boards, which contain lists, which contain cards. Users and boards can be grouped into organizations, and cards can be assigned to individual users. Cards also can contain comments, attachments, votes, due dates, and checklists (which I find the most helpful). It updates in real time, so that everyone stays on the same page. It’s available on your mobile device (even offline), so you can keep track of tasks on-the-go.

It’s also super easy to customize your experience with backgrounds and color codes.

How Do We Use It?

Here at Lead Liaison, we use Trello all the time. Most of us have it pinned in our browser and check it many times a day. Our marketing team, for example, uses Trello to manage marketing campaigns. We host a shared Marketing Board, which is shared with everyone on the team. It contains several lists: Urgent, In Progress, Back Burner, Future Campaigns, and Wish List. Our lists contain each marketing campaign on separate cards. Within those cards, we keep track of the checklist needed to complete each campaign, comments from the team, reminders, and more.

Trello can also be used for personal use, helping you organize things like Vacations or Chores. I’ve even heard of people using it to plan their wedding! The options are endless.

Cost

What’s extra-special about Trello is the fact that almost everything you would need is in their free version; unlimited boards, lists, cards, members, checklists, and attachments. Their Business Class gives you access to powerful integrations with Evernote, Salesforce, Google Drive, and more. Their Enterprise level pricing offers added security and support. Learn more about Trello’s pricing here.

An Innovative Marketing Team

TeslaI was thinking today about how amazing Tesla’s marketing team is.  Their budget is dwarfed compared to their competition.  In fact, I have read reports that Tesla spends just $6 per car sold!  Toyota, their next most efficient competitor spends 40 times more for a car that costs 1/5 the price! A very small percentage of the population has owned (or even sat in) their car, yet a very high percentage would say that they would like to own one.  Tesla launched in 2003, and has slowly built up a fan base of customers… who don’t drive Tesla’s (yet).

How have they done this? After doing some research, I found these things:

  1. They had a vision before others.  The oldest millennials were only 12 years old, and had not developed a consumer personality, when Tesla was founded in 2003.  They realized that their immediate buyers would pay a premium to work out the technical kinks of developing an electric vehicle; while also buying time to build a long term brand focused on a new generation.
  2. They told a story.  Elon Musk, cofounder, CEO and Chairman of Tesla Motors, has promoted his vision, much like Bill Gates (a computer in every home) or Henry Ford (a car for every family) did before him.  This story was told over and over to people whom Tesla would not even target as potential buyers… for DECADES!
  3. Low cost communications.  The days of large media spends are dwindling in a new, hyper targeted communication’s economy.  No longer do effective marketers dominate market share through spray and pray communications such as TV and radio.  Instead, innovative companies are looking for ways to win the hearts of customers through personalized messaging.
  4. They have harnessed the halo effect and emotion.  Buyers of a Tesla see something sleek, innovative, and different.  As Americans, we are drawn to elegant design and prestige. Tesla has tapped into those emotions.  By playing to the heart of your consumer, they do not need to “sit” in a product to know that they will like it when they do.

Often times, in the world of marketing, we forget about relationships and emotions.  We can focus too heavily on strict budget and ROI analysis.  Our communications tend to be centered around “Fact Sheets”, price, and comparative analysis…  and we ignore the negative consequences that such approaches have on building the brand.

Likewise, most marketers tend to focus heavily on top and middle of the funnel prospect acquisition; instead of leveraging their core competency as chief communicator to touch on the hearts of the people that are going to buy from you.

Would your owners/investors/executive suite support you in taking a long term branding approach to achieve exponential success?  What creative means might you employ in your organization to build loyalty and a “cool” factor for your offering?  How would you change your core messaging and approach if your goal was to be the most successful company in your industry over the next 14 years; instead of being focused on next quarter?

Lead Liaison’s marketing automation encourages marketers to focus on long-term results and long-term relationships. Let one of Lead Liaison’s experts show you around our software. You’ll be surprised what all we support, and how easy it can be to shift gears.

Should You Build Your Website on the HubSpot CMS?

Are you thinking you should build your website on the HubSpot CMS? In this post we’ll cover five key points to consider.

COS vs. CMS

HubSpot refers to it’s platform to host and build your website as a COS, a Content Optimization System. On the other hand, other popular systems such as WordPress refer to their platform as a CMS, a Content Management System. HubSpot creatively uses the word “optimization” as they have mechanisms to help with SEO and personalization of content. These are not differentiating factors though – and you have to pay for the ability to personalize your content. For example, with SEO, there are readily available, and free, SEO plugins such as Yoast SEO or All in One SEO Pack, that you could easily add to your WordPress instance to start optimizing content. Regarding personalization, you can only do it if you’re using everything HubSpot. It might be wise to choose a solution to personalize content that is independent of the underlying platform. For example, Lead Liaison provides SiteEngage™, to create dynamic website content, which can be deployed on any CMS. If you talked to HubSpot, they’d pitch you on their COS having everything in it to handle marketing activities, like email marketing, social media, CTAs, and more. If you didn’t use the HubSpot CMS, and opted for something like WordPress instead, HubSpot would tell you that you’ll end up needing a bunch of other plug-ins to make your website work with marketing activities. Well, that’s not true. What you really need is a good marketing platform that can do all of that for you. Case in point, with something like Lead Liaison’s Lead Management Automation™ platform, it includes all the facilities to successfully track inbound marketing and deliver omni-channel outbound marketing, without the need to install plug-ins. Regardless of your CMS, you’ll have the flexibility to launch marketing campaigns and embed forms and CTAs into your CMS.

CMS Market Share

hubspot cms market shareAs of this post, WordPress had 59.2% market share, followed by Joomla! with 6.9% and Drupal with 4.7% according to w3techs.com. HubSpot CMS had .2%. That’s not a lot of market share that’s been gained in 11+ years (HubSpot CMS available since 2006). I’m not a betting man, but I wouldn’t put my money into a system that is not widely used, supported by a single company (not a community), has limited choices for plug-ins/integrations, and costs a lot of money.

Proprietary vs. Open Source

Proprietary systems such as HubSpot’s CMS are going to be expensive, and restrictive. You’ll easily end up spending 10s of thousands of dollars on a proprietary platform. The advantage of a proprietary system is that the provider, HubSpot in this case, controls the entire experience. They can make sure everything works well together. On the other hand, a system like WordPress is open source, meaning there’s no charge to use it. You might spend $40 to $60 on a theme, but you’ll have millions of plug-ins. WordPress is the CMS that runs more than 25% of all websites across the world! According to ManageWP, you’d be in good company with sites like The New York Times, National Geographic, Forbes, etc. using WordPress. The number of available choices to offered by an open source system vs. a proprietary system are overwhelming.

Choices, Locked Down or Freedom to Move

With over 50,800 plug-ins and growing daily, 72 translations of WordPress, average of $50 per hour for developers, and thousands of themes, you’ve got choices with open source systems like WordPress. With a proprietary system, choices are limited only to what the vendor provides or the vendors community provides. With .2% market share, don’t hope for much.

This statement from The Sales Lion does a good job of summarizing migration challenges if you’re on the HubSpot CMS and want to get off of it:

Both platforms are completely independent, and therefore there is no easy way to migrate from one to another. There is no simple export process to easily move your Hubspot site to WordPress or vice versa.

If you are moving from Hubspot to WordPress, you’ll have to build each page again, through a copy and paste process. CSS styling will have to be duplicated to match the styling from the previous site. This can be done more easily by building a theme for WordPress that matches that of your HubSpot site.

On the other hand, migrating between WordPress themes is easy! All of your data is stored in the same database. Changing the themes is as easy as making a few button clicks in the UI. The ability to choose between 1,000s of different themes is great. There’s no doubt your website will need a facelift every 5 to 10 years. Are you ready to easily make the change?

The Bottom Line

You definitely have a choice. If you want to have a sense of ownership of your website, go with an open source system. To quote Snyxius.com about WordPress vs. HubSpot:

The interface of the WordPress is so simple that you don’t have to rely on other to make changes or fix a tiny error for you. You can do it on your own this way. You are in full control of your site and your wallet.

I’m sure you’d be devastated if you went down the path of using the HubSpot CMS and didn’t like it. What would you do then? Probably not much, because HubSpot would own your entire site. It’s kind of like owning your own storefront, or leasing from someone else. If you had the chance to own your store front, you could do whatever you want. If you don’t, the landlord has complete control. Let’s just hope they don’t kick you out. In summary, make sure you set yourself up for maximum flexibility. Have a little diversity with your marketing, don’t put all of your eggs in a single basket, and make a good decision for the long run.

5 Ways to Keep Your Marketing Organized

I was working with one of our new clients the other day and they asked how successful companies get started with marketing automation. Without hesitation, I answered “they get organized.”

It sounds simple, sure, but when you’re dealing with a database of thousands of prospects and hundreds of pieces of content, it gets a bit more intimidating. Sure, you could send generic emails and event invites to your whole database, but are you going to get great engagement? Probably not. Unless you’ve got a way to personalize content and track ROI, you’re just throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks.

Luckily with Lead Liaison you don’t have to do it on your own. Let’s look at five awesome ways you can keep your marketing team on top of everything.

  1. Segmentations – The way you segment your database is key to how successful any campaign will be. We can automatically build segmentations based on your prospects’ individual profiles. All you do is tell our system what to look for. Do you want to market to all CMOs in the state of Georgia in the entertainment industry? Great, we’ll search your database, find all of them, and make a custom marketing list. Best of all, we’ll add new prospects as they come in and remove them if they no longer fit your criteria. Learn more about segmentations here.
  2. Tagging – Tags are one of the best ways to keep track of who is interested in what. When a prospect engages with your content, attends a show, views a webinar, or any other engagement you can think of, we can automatically tag them. Say they attended your 2017 We’re Awesome Webinar. We can tag them with the event name automatically when they attend. Later, if you want to build a nurture drip campaign around attendees, just search for prospects with that tag. Easy! Oh, and it’ll be even easier at live events with some cool things coming down the line.
  3. Campaigns – When we say campaign, we’re talking about your marketing efforts around a specific topic or event. Say you have a new product coming out. Your marketing for that product would go into a Lead Liaison campaign. And, because we’re not just an email marketing platform, we would also track your multi-channel marketing pieces. Since you can add a cost to the campaign, you’d have a super easy time finding your ROI. And because you’ve segmented and tagged your prospects for targeted content, that ROI will look pretty nice.
  4. Programs – Think of a program as a campaign of campaigns. While you would have a campaign for a specific trade show, you would have a program for all trade shows that year. And yes, this includes the costs of the individual campaigns. This could help you answer that age-old question, did you actually make money from the trade shows you attended this year? In my book, that’s a must-know for any B2B organization.
  5. Folders – Folders are great. You can put any list, segmentation, automation, campaign, or program into a folder. Want to see all of your marketing content that’s geared toward CMOs? Look in your CMO folder. Want to see all of your drip campaigns? Look in the drip campaign folder. Forget searching through pages of content if you want to make a tweak. Yes, it will take some initial setup, but you’ll be paid back the time spent tenfold.

The big takeaway is that organization will streamline your marketing pushes. Imagine being able to send truly relevant content to the right people, and then having the time to figure out who really is a qualified lead. I can tell you this, the sales team will love you for it, and the execs will love the detailed ROI.

Want to learn more about who Lead Liaison can help you organize? Give us a shout!

 

Lead Liaison Leaks a Glimpse of First-Ever, Fully Integrated Lead Capture App

Lead Liaison LogoAllen, TX – Lead Liaison, an innovative marketing and sales solution provider, is elevating the scope of B2B mobile software with a first ever, fully integrated lead capture app, conveniently named GoCapture!™. Although it is not available for public consumption yet, the Lead Liaison has released a few specifics that have the technology world buzzing.

The app is intended to be used at events such as trade shows, seminars and conferences, and even in door-to-door sales, to capture hot leads or take surveys onsite. This new technology allows Lead Liaison to span the full life cycle of an event, from onsite lead capture and data collection to nurturing with marketing automation, and beyond. This application pairs with Lead Liaison’s Marketing Automation platform, Lead Management Automation (LMA)™ and their CRM, OneFocus™, allowing exhibitors to instantly capture, qualify, distribute, and nurture leads with a single system. It will be initially available for iOS and Android operating systems with support for Windows in a subsequent release.

Information is limited, but according to Lead Liaison’s engineers, GoCapture!™ will provide the ability to quickly capture leads using several methods. The first method is through a mobile form submission. Trade show attendees will be able to walk up to a company’s booth and manually fill in the form on a smartphone or tablet. Exhibitors can also directly fill in the form.

The second method for onsite lead capture is through a business card transcription portal. Employees working an event can simply take a photo of the lead’s business card. From there, OneCapture!™ offers the option to transcribe the business card using a self-service portal at a later time. Alternatively, Lead Liaison also offers a paid transcription service.

The third method for lead capture is by optical character recognition (OCR). OCR provides the ability to scan the business card, capturing the information automatically.

“The methods and flexibility in which we allow someone to capture a lead has grown. It is tailored around an event or a show,” explains Lead Liaison Solutions Specialist, Chris Kipgen. “What sets us apart is the fact that we own all of these pieces, from the CRM to the automation, which can deliver different kinds of touch points, digital and offline. The fact that we are not integrating with systems we do not own really makes this experience stand out from our competitors. It’s seamless.”

GoCapture!™ is scheduled for release in the fall, according to Lead Liaison. However, they are starting testing with early adopters over the next few weeks. To sign up for alerts about this mobile technology, visit this webpage.

About Lead Liaison
Lead Liaison provides cloud-based sales and marketing automation solutions that helps businesses accelerate revenue by attracting, converting, closing and retaining more prospects. Filling a void in the small pool of marketing automation providers that focus on marketing-centric functionality, Lead Liaison gives equal focus to sales providing sophisticated visitor tracking and additional website engagement tools to boost sales effectiveness. Lead Liaison blends ease-of-use, a flexible business model, deep external integration, marketing across social, web, mobile, email and offline channels and powerful functionality, all specifically tailored for mid-sized businesses, into a single platform, called Revenue Generation Software®. Lead Liaison is headquartered in Allen, Texas, near Dallas. For more information, visit http://www.leadliaison.com or call 1-800-89-LEADS (895-3237).

Reviews Matter

During the last couple of years, traditional advertisement methods, such as television ads, and even Internet-based ads have decreased in terms of their influence on the market, and for obvious reasons. People are now free to state their very own, unbiased opinions, on practically all products and services sold over the Internet, almost everywhere in the world.

For those who do not know, online reviews are basically the opinions of consumers on certain products and services, posted either on the company’s website, on social media networks, on e-commerce sites, but also on review platforms, such as Yelp, TripAdvisor, G2 Crowd, Capterra, TechCrunch, Wired, IMDb, CNET, RateMDs, Foursquare and many more.  

With time, online reviews have managed to become a big trend on the internet, thus determining how consumers and business owners throughout the world act. Nowadays, online reviews can influence a multitude of our decisions, including what phone we have, what we eat on a daily basis, where we dine, where we travel, which hotels we book, and what other products we purchase. Reviews have become a way of assessing the overall quality of a product or service, prior to the first-hand experience, through the help of others that have used the product/service before.

Regardless of their importance, it is surprising that not many business owners can fully grasp the importance of online reviews yet. With this in mind, in a recent study by WebsiteBuilder.org, it was determined that with every star a business gets in terms of their rating, their profits will increase by around 5-9%. On the other side of the spectrum, 22% of customers are bound to give up purchasing a product after reading just one negative review, so the impact is huge. Business owners should be aware of the fact that there are numerous ethical practices that can be established, to reduce the number of negative reviews, and increase the number of positive ones.

If a little work is put into effective review management and customer satisfaction, then businesses throughout the world will be able to yield larger profits, and experience more popularity, both online, but also offline.

Here’s a cool infographic that WebsiteBuilder.org put together. 

onlinereview-infographic-by-websitebuilder.org_-1