Is generating and prospecting new leads a drain on your sales team's time and energy?

With increasing saturation of markets through prevailing globalisation, businesses need to operate with larger leads volumes to generate good sales results.

With an average conversion rate of around 7% per month (even lower in some industries), every SDR will have to go through contacting hundreds of leads daily to start closing deals. The amount of their input needed is extraordinary.

Previously, businesses spent a lot of time on manually securing their databases.

In the modern world that’s simply not a viable option. A manager like yourself should start looking at modern solutions for lead generation that will help to streamline this process.

Keep reading to find out how implementing a CRM system can help your business generate a volume of leads needed to thrive in the 21st century markets. Furthermore, we’ll explain why it's a wise choice to implement one as soon as possible.

What is lead generation and prospecting?

A lead is a person or a business entity that has expressed interest in your product or service.

You would decide whether someone is interested by checking whether or not they have taken one or more of the actions predefined by you. Those actions could be…

  • Visiting your website
  • Signing up for a trial version of your product
  • Downloading content from your website
  • Registering for your events
  • Signing up to your newsletter

But in reality, it could be almost any action you define as showing interest.

In turn, prospects are the leads who salespeople define as highly relevant. This is based on their potential to become customers; they match the company's buyer persona profile.

Lead generation is the process of sourcing leads for your business. Sales prospecting involves mechanisms for nurturing relationships with leads, as well as sourcing new ones.

Sales prospecting requires a large amount of dedication and manual effort from a salesperson. Your salesperson will have to search for a new business opportunity themselves, nurturing the relationship with that prospect through lengthy contact.

However, thanks to many existing tools, lots of the lead generation processes can be automated, making the process seem less scary.

Why do you need a CRM to generate and prospect leads?

Data should be organised, securely stored and easily-accessible when needed. It also helps when you’re able to jump between related data entries quickly. Maybe you want to see which leads from “Company X” you already stored in your database and whether anyone contacted them already.

Sure, all of this is doable with archaic methods such as storing everything on spreadsheets.

But why strain your already hard-working sales team with laborious processes? CRM system comes fully-equipped with all the functionality you need to generate leads, nurture your relationships with them, and more!

With a CRM system, all of your data on leads is securely stored in a format that is easy to look up and interpret for your sales team.

It also allows managers to cross-reference leads in the future. When someone from Company X pops up in your database, you can quickly check whether someone else from that company is already in your database and whether managers have already contacted them.

Some CRM systems, like NetHunt CRM, have integration with platforms such as LinkedIn, which is a powerful tool for B2B lead generation. Adding a lead to your database becomes as simple as pressing a button on their LinkedIn profile.

LinkedIn one-click lead capture with NetHunt CRM's integration with LinkedIn
LinkedIn one-click lead capture with NetHunt CRM's integration with LinkedIn

NetHunt CRM also allows you to automate reaching out to leads.

For example, you could set up a process that automatically sends an email to new leads, notifying you when they respond. This way sales managers don’t focus on emailing every new lead individually or checking to see who has replied.

Having a CRM also comes with other benefits to your lead generation processes, such as…

  • Not having to add hundreds of leads by hand
  • No need to copy and paste information about leads manually
  • Your data becomes cleaner and more reliable due to automatic entry
  • You can process more leads per day due to automatisation
  • You can prioritise leads better, focusing on higher priority deals

As a result of constant contact with leads, conversion rates increase.

… And isn’t that the goal of sales?

A complete guide: What is a CRM?
Find out what a CRM is and exactly what it can do for your business!

How is CRM used for lead generation and prospecting?

Now you understand the importance of a CRM system for lead generation, it's time to know how to utilise it, maximising your output when generation and prospecting.

Below are the different ways you can use a CRM system for lead generation and prospecting…

Lead generation from multiple channels

A CRM system not only helps you build a comfortable database, it simplifies the process of generating leads altogether.

A very important part of lead generation is deciding what channels to use when sourcing new contacts. Some common channels used by salespeople are…

  • Email
  • Calls
  • Online chats
  • Messengers
  • LinkedIn
  • Webforms for various events, gated content or contact forms

➡️ Read this article to find out the 11 steps to increase online form conversion rates.

A good CRM system can work in tandem with these channels to significantly improve the efficiency of lead generation processes.

For example, NetHunt CRM’s native integration to LinkedIn can automatically add the information from a lead LinkedIn profile to your database. It can also automatically add information filled in on a webform to that same database.

This means your sales team can save the time otherwise spent manually entering information into the CRM. Instead, they can spend it on prospecting those leads and building rapport.

Audience and customer segmentation

Lead segmentation is the process of dividing pools of leads into smaller sub-sections based on common characteristics.

This is important for the sales process because individuals inside the same segment most likely share similar market attributes, needs, and objections.

Lead segmentation is also important in the development of a buyer persona.

With a CRM, you can cross-reference different lead data to segment them better. You can also sort leads to see leads with similar parameters. For example, easily find everyone in your database who works as a CTO, or everyone that’s based in Country X.

Segmenting leads also allows for a personalised approach to outreach strategies. After all, a more personal and relatable approach is more likely to help you close deals. By making detailed tags in your CRM, you can also send personalised emails at scale.

A contact record in NetHunt CRM with tags
A contact record in NetHunt CRM with tags

Some different parameters you can segment your leads by are…

  • Demographic
  • Psychographic
  • Engagement
  • Buyer journey

Here's an example of a custom view in NetHunt CRM, where we segment the customer base by job title (only CEOs):

Database segmentation in NetHunt CRM (A custom view with CEOs with card view by Country)
Database segmentation in NetHunt CRM (A custom view with CEOs with card view by Country)

Lead prioritisation

Lead prioritisation is the process of separating high quality leads from low-quality leads. This is done so your sales team can focus on the ones that are the most likely to purchase your product.

Identifying whether someone is likely to purchase your product is easily done based on factors such as…

  • How close they are to your Ideal Customer Persona (ICP)
  • Their reaction to your outreach campaigns
  • The number of your emails they opened or responded to
  • The amount of your content they consume

A CRM aids the sales team in lead prioritisation. It allows them to easily see information about the lead in the system to match it to the ICP, see how many emails the lead has opened or replied to, and automate their outreach strategy.

Your sales team will spend less time deciding who to prioritise, and more time reaching out to high-priority leads.

While your lead isn’t showing a clear interest, you can nurture them via an automated process. When you see they start opening more emails, click on links, and visit your website, you can move them to another pipeline and let a manager contact them personally.

Integration of multiple communication channels

With CRM, all your communication channels are accessible from one tab.

Whether messaging a prospect on LinkedIn or calling them with a VoIP calling software, a good CRM has integrations available with your tools of choice.  

You can also have multiple communication channels on one client card in your CRM, meaning you can manage all your communications with a lead from the comfort of one tab.

Communication via different channels in NetHunt CRM
Communication via different channels in NetHunt CRM

Task reminders

When prospecting, remember to contact them regularly and at the right times, as well as to follow up on your commitments.

Making potential customers feel valued is quintessential to building rapport between a salesperson and their leads. Built-in task reminder functionality makes your CRM a potent tool for prospecting.

Your database has hundreds of leads, each one with its requirements and commitments.

It’s common for a lead to ask you to call them back later or contact them at a specific time.

One lead asks you to call them in a month, one more in three weeks, and five next autumn;  with hundreds of calls left to make in a day — how will you remember?

Tasks. With a CRM, you and your colleagues will be reminded on time about any tasks you have scheduled.

You might get a pop-up on your computer saying “John Smith asked you to call him at 18:00 on Monday” or “Reminder: Follow up with Martha Smith by Friday 13:00”. This helps strengthen relationships with leads, playing a crucial part in prospecting.

You can also comfortably view your entire schedule in CRM to see all of the tasks you have created for yourself, ensuring there are no clashes in your crowded schedule.

Automation

The best results always come to sales teams that take care of small details.

But, small details tend to morph into mountains when you have hundreds of leads to deal with daily.

Writing follow-up emails, creating outreach campaigns, checking for clients responses, and checking to see if a new leads email address is active is heavy work. No human could happily do these tasks hundreds, if not thousands, of times a week. A machine can.

NetHunt CRM automates manual tasks like writing emails with the help of email templates, adding tasks to their schedules, and reaching out to clients.

For example, you could create a process to automatically send an outreach email to a lead until they reply to it. After you receive a reply, CRM will automatically inform you that the process is complete. It’s time to take over and do the personal work.

You can even create pre-set email templates, so that you wouldn't have to take the time to write out or copy-paste every general email to your leads.

This saves you time. Sending information to a client about your business would be as easy as clicking on your templates and selecting which one you would like to use.

An example of an automated lead nurturing email sequence in NetHunt CRM
An example of an automated lead nurturing email sequence in NetHunt CRM

Duplication of processes

Okay, you’ve figured out and tested a working process for prospecting that gets you results.

Now, you just need to do it hundreds of times a day. That doesn’t sound fun, doesn’t it?

No. A CRM system solves that problem.

With a CRM system, you can duplicate your sales pipeline, together with the stages you already defined, and your automated workflows. You don’t need to set them up for every new lead.

Once you get to a system that works for you, using it next time becomes automatic. All you have to focus on is sourcing leads and prospecting the ones your system defines as active.

If you work in agency mode and source leads for different clients, you might find duplication of processes to be a very useful feature. This is because you don’t need to set up new processes for every individual client. For example, you could duplicate an outreach strategy you use for leads in the IT industry and apply it to all customers of a similar profile.

Reporting

To know your system works, you need to have accurate and detailed reports on your sales.

Normally, compiling a comprehensive report would take hours, if not days, out of a manager's time. However, with a CRM, you can quickly and automatically generate reports based on the data in your system.

NetHunt CRM allows you to compile many different types of reports that can tell you, not only how good your sales team is working, but what results the workflow and sales pipelines that you have defined are yielding.

If you don’t want to use built-in reports, you can make use of the integration with Data Studio to provide data to clients who don’t have access to your CRM.

It’s as simple as providing them with a Data Studio link and the system does the rest.

This is necessary because seeing what works and what doesn’t lets you tweak your processes. It ensures that every interaction you have with leads while prospecting is meaningful to the results you as a company want to achieve.


We hope this article has helped you understand how to generate leads at an appropriate pace for the modern world, and how a CRM is an invaluable tool for lead generation and prospecting.

Prospect, generate, segment — do whatever you want. Just do it with CRM.

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