Leads Generation – The Heartfelt Challenge

Lead Generation or (leads generation) and CRM

  • The Client: A leading enterprise advocacy marketing platform

  • Empowering referral marketing for over 100 leading brands and retailers in 27 countries and 21 languages.

  • Their clients are active in telecommunications, banking, insurance, utilities, fashion, beauty, retail travel, grocery, and gaming/gambling and include big brands of each industry.

The challenge with Leads Generation is viewed by the company’s processes between marketing and sales. We can also gather all these functions under one umbrella: marketing – as marketing is about the whole activities performed by an organization to analyze, to know, and to understand markets, then to act on them to perform business development. Sales is one of the marketing activities that any company needs to perform to stay in the market.


What do they do to create new business? We asked them to explain what actions they perform to develop their presence, with leads generation, in the markets they operate.

“Hi Peter, thank you for answering our questions here. We are keen to learn what you do to find new business opportunities as you operate globally. Let’s start with a few critical questions:”


Which campaigns do you run?

“Thank you, Antonio, to nurture markets and generate new leads we mainly run marketing campaigns on social media, mailing, SEM, and listing but also organized events before COVID. Leads generation is still paramount to us.”


How do you engage leads?

“In the leads generation funnel, they mostly reply to outbound emails or come as inbound by requesting a demo or information on our website. We also have some email-gated content on our website and social media.”


How does the system manage the names/emails in Active Campaign?

“Lately, we have been using the data import function between Pipedrive and Active Campaign to add leads directly to the appropriate List in Active Campaign. This import does not automatically match all fields between the two databases, so it needs a little sense-checking before the contacts are allowed into a live list. Hopefully, this feature will improve in the future.”


Which function in Active Campaign allows you to understand leads’ intentions: interested in the product or just browsing. Do you create lists for it?

“We create Lists for using custom fields, like country, industry, persona, etc., and different combinations thereof. Contacts that respond asking for information or a demo are passed directly to an SDR for human contact. But we do not, unlike some businesses, create endless automation that move a contact from one automation to another if they click or respond, etc. This is because we target enterprise clients and not SMBs.

Where the contact is at a business that is not relevant or is too small, we aim not to add them to the database in Active Campaign, as otherwise, they will just be recycled and appear as inbound again.

We do use Lead Scoring in Active Campaign to identify potentially interested leads, but we believe that many of the reported clicks and opens are software-based and not human interactions. So we use this as a guide for SDRs and Sales and don’t set off more automation on the back of it.”


Once the data is ready, how do you transfer them into Pipedrive?

“If Sales add data to Pipedrive, they can indicate the List to which the contact should be added, and it will be imported into Active Campaign using the integration. Sales can mark a contact as ‘do not email’ or ‘unsubscribed,’ which should prevent it from being imported.

Where a contract was directly added to an Active Campaign and does not yet exist in Pipedrive and requests information or a demo, the details are passed to an SDR or Sales, who qualify the lead and decide whether or not to add this to Pipedrive.”


Once the data is in Pipedrive, what happens? How do you treat those data, and who is in charge of doing that?

“Sales accountants and SDRs have their own Pipelines in Pipedrive and manage the contact, moving it back and forth through different stages.”


What are the main parameters that affect leads generation: the quantity of campaigns, frequency, target audiences, content, etc.?

“Referring to leads that respond to emails sent by Active Campaign, rather than leads coming via other sources. The main factors are:

  • The Quality of the Data: Is the contact the right person at the right company and someone who would be interested in what we have to say? We can target different elements of the decision-making circle with different messaging, but if the contact is the wrong person, then we are wasting our time. Likewise, is this the right company in terms of industry and size.
  • Deliverability: Sender reputation, both for your domain and the IP address used by the ESP. It is important to keep your data clean – removing bounces, unsubscribes, and irrelevant emails.
  • Email subject line and sender: These are the first things a recipient will see and so are important in influencing the decision to read, delete, unsubscribe, or mark as spam.
  • Relevance: How can you quickly establish that you are relevant to a busy executive? Do you work with key brands? Are you referring to a hot topic?
  • Credibility of you as a business: How can you get this across fast to a busy executive: look and feel of the email, address, client references, awards, etc.
  • Language: An obvious one, but you will get a higher interaction rate if you send an email to an Italian in Italian.
  • Time of send: This is important for an international database as an email arriving in the middle of the night is less likely to be read. We see that 95% of emails seem to be interacted with within the first hour of sending or not at all.
  • Day of sending: Watch international holidays like Thanksgiving and Muslim countries not working on Fridays.
  • Age of the database: Due to the way inboxes work, emails that are not engaged will be moved to the spam filter. So you will typically see diminishing returns over time.
  • Mixing it up: Be prepared to mix in occasional tactical emails from different senders if response rates are dropping.”


How does this channel contribute to the growth rate of the company?

“The growth of the company is driven by new client wins, retention of existing clients, and upsells to existing clients. Sales to new clients are a large part of our growth, but our ability to grow within existing clients is equally important.”


What are you thinking to change/alter/improve in the Leads generation process now? And why?

“We have experimented with different approaches over the years and will continue to experiment, particularly in new industries and territories. However, our preference is to do things in-house, wherever possible.

We would like to increase the automation between Active Campaign and Pipedrive and eliminate manual tasks. The lack of this automation is perhaps the biggest drawback of this marketing stack at present.”

Are you planning to invest in developing this missing point of the integration between Pipedrive and Active Campaign?

“We are certainly open to finding a way to enhance the efficiency of the whole process, for this we may test some other solutions, then we will decide the best way to go. Nothing is decided, but leads generation is too important to be run with little efficiency.”

This testimonial opens a door to the topic of marketing automation and leads generation in general integrated with CRM. Also, the debate between one single tool or the integration between more different tools is relevant: they will search for what solution may improve efficiency. Let’s see what they will find out.

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