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Powerful Online Lead Generation with CRM

by Corie Kaftalovich

January 26, 2011

Originally, a website was like a company’s front desk receptionist. It served as the face of the company, welcoming new visitors and creating an instant first impression. With the introduction of Web 2.0, websites have evolved to become a company’s sales, marketing and customer support departments all wrapped into one. In fact, a company’s website now serves as their most powerful lead generation and conversion tool accessible.

How do websites generate leads? Online lead generation consists of three crucial steps: 1. Visit the website, 2. like what they see and 3. feel intrigued enough to fill out a form with their contact information. But this process isn’t as easy as it seems and companies constantly struggle to generate quality leads and convert them into customers. For this blog, I’m going to explore how a great customer relationship management (CRM) solution offers the tools a company needs to become a lead generation machine.

Introducing the Web-to-Lead Form

A variety of robust CRM solutions geared towards sales-driven organizations, offer a powerful tool called the web-to-lead form. Essentially, web forms are landing pages that offer the potential customer information on a specific offering and contain fields that capture their personal contact information.  Once the forms are submitted, the contact information is automatically uploaded into the CRM solution for quick and easy retrieval. The form can be customized in any which way to appear like a questionnaire, survey, or simple request form, and can be made to look identical to the rest of the company’s website.

What are the benefits?

Speeding Up the Lead Generation Process

For one, web forms help to make the lead generation process an easier and faster task. The forms essentially replace the qualification step. By requiring the potential customer to answer specific questions before submitting the form, companies can assess if the individual is a good fit for their product or service offering even before they pick up the phone to speak with them. If the forms include as much information about a company’s product or service offering to justify the individual’s purchase, the form could even replace all steps of the sales cycle and result in a rapid, online sale.

Ease of Use

The advanced customizability of web-to-lead forms makes them extremely easy to design and create without the need for extensive IT resources.  Once the forms are created, information is then automatically uploaded into the CRM solution, which also serves to reduce time spent doing manual data entry and to avoid duplication. Both of these factors also directly translate into saving companies money. Companies can spend less money on hiring cold callers and administrators because forms can be used instead to collect, input and use information about prospective customers.

Personalized and Targeted Marketing

Using web forms also helps with creating more targeted and personalized marketing efforts. When the information inputted in the forms is automatically uploaded into the CRM system, this information can then be broken down and used to create targeted views of your leads. For example, if you make one of the form’s fields “City”, you can then create a specific marketing campaign for each specific city that your leads reside in. In doing so, your communication with yo ur leads becomes more relevant, specific and value-added, which will hopefully result in speeding up the conversion process and landing more customers.

Now that websites have evolved to become the new-age lead generation tool, companies need to obtain the tools needed to take full advantage. With the help of a CRM solution and its web-to-lead form functionality, companies can make online lead generation a much simpler and less daunting task. Not only can they optimize on the time and money spent attracting and converting leads, but they can re-focus their marketing efforts to nurture customers throughout the entire sales cycle.

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