January 27, 2015
The Essential Lead Nurturing Toolkit
Chief Marketing Technology Blog just released their Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic. With a near 2,000 vendors, a number that has almost doubled from last year, how does the everyday marketer expect to navigate through the ever-growing sea of tools? Cue the marketing toolkit.
What are marketing toolkits?
Marketers use a lot of apps. In fact, 53% of mid-sized companies use five or more marketing technology solutions. and 15% of companies use 10 or more. To make your hunting a little easier, we’ve compiled and reviewed best-of-breed tools - only the essentials - that work well together and categorized them into ”toolkits”. Marketing toolkits can make work and reporting easier because instead of having completely silo’d apps and data, integrated apps create a focal point, generally in the CRM or marketing automation system, that offer a unified view of customer data, improved ease of use, and application interoperability. In the coming months, we will publish a series of posts featuring toolkits curated for each of the marketing functions below. Our goal is to provide a master collection of best of breed technologies that make demand, customer, and automated marketing easier, faster, and more affordable. Here are the toolkits we plan to share:
Lead nurturing (this post)
The lead nurturing toolkit
We are starting out with our favorite toolkit: lead nurturing. Why? Three reasons:
Businesses that use marketing automation to nurture prospects experience a 451% increase in qualified leads.
Companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales ready leads at 33% lower cost.
Most buyers are 50-60% of the way into the buying cycle before they’ll talk to you
An effective lead nurturing toolkit enables you to mold and witness prospects becoming leads and leads becoming customers. Since leads and customers are constantly providing signals about where they are in the sales cycle, it is important to know where the data is, how to find it, and how to use it– and a lead nurturing toolkit can help.
How did we develop our lead nurturing toolkit?
We reviewed many of the tools available on the web, and present here our opinion of the ”best of breed”. The list below is the outcome of a few, simple–but important–questions.
What do you need to be successful in lead nurturing?
How does the application enhance lead nurturing?
Does it actually work?
Does it integrate with other apps in the toolkit?
**Marketing Automation Software: **Autopilot
Marketing automation helps companies nurture their relationships with customers. It is like the soul of lead nurturing. In order for everything to work seamlessly including reporting, it is important to select a marketing automation system that integrates with your best-of-breed tools, and does so easily. Autopilot’s integrations are as effortlessly simple as dragging and dropping using Autopilot’s simple drag-and-drop canvas. There is also a streamlined onboarding experience, powerful API integration framework, and GoodData-powered insights. Bonus points for already integrating or planning to integrate with all of the apps listed in our lead nurturing toolkit!
G2Crowd Rating: 4.7 (53 reviews)
**Customer Relationship Management: **Salesforce
Customer relationship management (CRM) systems are often the ”source of truth” for your customer data. CRM systems store demographic information, including addresses, contact details, and industry profiles, and engagement data including historical sales and marketing interactions. CRMs and marketing automation systems typically go hand-in-hand. Companies use marketing automation software to nurture relationships with leads and provide helpful buyer’s content. Marketing automation software also assigns leads to the sales team once they indicate that they are ready to engage a live person. But while there is some overlap in where and how customer data is captured and used, the purposes of CRM and marketing automation are quite different– even as we continue to see sales and marketing align. The winner in this category is Salesforce. The CRM giant is used by 35% to 40% of small to midsized CRM-using businesses – which is one reason why we chose to integrate with them. Salesforce also integrates with every other application listed in this post.
G2Crowd Rating: 4.2 (1330 reviews)
**Lead Scoring: **Infer
Lead scoring helps sales reps focus on the leads with the highest probability of turning into closing opportunities. Predictive lead scoring solutions like Infer are more advanced than traditional lead scoring functionality that is built-in to most marketing automation systems. While traditional lead scoring is basically a rules engine that marketing and sales teams can tweak to score their leads, Infer incorporates big data signals to systematically rank leads based on their historical likelihood to convert. Why do we like Infer? Infer is elegantly solving the difficult problem of helping companies automatically qualify and rank their leads’ quality. Most of the successful SaaS and tech companies, including New Relic, Optimizely, SurveyMonkey, Zendesk, and even Hubspot (which has its own lead scoring utility), are using Infer, so clearly they are on to something. Plus, Infer keeps their app incredibly simple, has ever-evolving algorithms, and integrates natively with Salesforce.
G2Crowd Rating: 4.7 (33 reviews)
**Event Data: **Segment
One way to turn heads with your lead nurturing efforts is to personalize your communications based the customer’s past behaviors. Event data applications allow an app to capture customer usage data from any device or platform, and share that with other apps in a language they can understand. Who is doing this the best right now? Segment. And guess what? Segment also integrates with Salesforce and Autopilot.
G2Crowd Rating: 4.5 (15 reviews)
Landing Page Builder: Instapage
You need prospects before you can start lead nurturing. Without being able to first capture user data, all other lead nurturing apps are useless. The goal of a landing page is to capture the end-user’s interest of a specific offer and use the information to nurture them. After reviewing the leading landing page builders, we recommend Instapage as a powerful option available for marketing teams and agencies. Not only is Instapage intuitive and easy-to-use, their advanced suite of capabilities includes A/B testing, analytics, and collaboration tools to help you maximize ROI on advertising programs like AdWords and Facebook Ads. Plus, the platform seamlessly integrates with Autopilot and 25+ other integrations.
G2Crowd Rating: 4.8 (101 reviews)
**Lead Intelligence: **InsideView
Lead intelligence services like InsideView enhance the customer record by adding info from public and proprietary databases. For instance, when you ask for a name and email address on a form, a lead intelligence service could search for the street address of the company that corresponds with the domain name in the email address. You could use this address to send a postcard or “thank you” gift basket. Our top pick for a lead intelligence service is InsideView for Marketing. InsideView for Marketing provides contact info for your leads and contacts by searching its proprietary database of millions of people working in small to mid-size businesses and Enterprises. This results in better response rates, more leads, and higher win rates, plus they integrate with Autopilot and Salesforce.
G2Crowd Rating: 4.2 (153 reviews)
**Direct Mail: **Lob
With more and more people paying less and less attention to their email inboxes, one way for companies to cut through the noise is to engage their leads and customers through non email-based channels. Direct mail services like Lob can be managed programmatically using Physical APIs, and allow marketers to print and mail documents, postcards, and photos easily via an API. There aren’t too many companies who are in the Physical API space but of the ones who are, we are most impressed with Lob. For examples of how Lob integrates within Autopilot, check out this video.
G2Crowd Rating: N/A
Marketers are constantly looking for creative new ways to nurture customers and interact beyond email. One example is to automatically engage customers through personalized text messages (SMS). Our choice here is Twilio. Twilio allows software developers to programmatically make and receive phone calls and send and receive text messages using its web service APIs. Twilio also integrates with Salesforce and Autopilot.
G2Crowd Rating: 5.0 (2 reviews)
** Are there any apps that we missed? Let us know in the comments or let us know in this short survey.**