Wednesday, November 29, 2017

6 Keys to Building a Great Lead-Generation Tool

Mark Tomlinson, Mainstay

What’s the secret to creating an online tool that looks fantastic and generates real leads? After years of helping clients build their sales pipelines, we’ve learned a few things about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to lead-generation tools. (Specifically, we’re talking about tools that can be freely accessed by the public – and your potential customers – on the internet.)
So here are a few tips on how to make your next lead-generation tool more successful.

1 – Keep It Simple
Too often we see clients trying to do too much with their lead-generation tool. They want it to gather too much data, or fill too many roles -- such as both lead-generation and sales. Unfortunately, that means the tool’s interface often ends up looking crowded and cluttered. This can irritate or bore prospects, causing them to drop-off early. Focus on gathering only high-level data to avoid being intrusive. Our rule of thumb for the tools we build is “slim, sleek and concise.” 
Remember that a lead-generation tool should only be your first touchpoint with the customer. The goal is simply to draw in prospects and set them up for follow-up interactions with sales teams, who may use a sales tool to orchestrate deep dives with the potential customer. This approach will allow for a well-defined sales cycle from start to finish. 
2 – Design an Effective Gate
The primary purpose of any lead-generation tool is to generate leads! So, every lead-generation tool needs a “gate” – that’s the point where you ask the user to pony up their contact information before continuing. We’ve found that it’s best not to put the gate at the front-end of the tool or you’ll risk drop-offs. Instead, pull prospects along with simple high-level questions and then entice them to register with the promise of additional, useful details. A good place to do this is just before the tool generates “results” from the user’s inputs. The results are the candy you can dangle in front of the prospect to capture the info you need to connect with them later.
3 – Streamline the Registration Form
Now that you’ve successfully coaxed prospects into sharing their information, don’t turn them off with a long, hard-to-fill-out registration form. The user will walk away if they are presented with too many questions. Keep it to the basics and keep it short. Your goal is just to be able to get back to them on a personal level. Lengthy registration forms invariably generate a plethora of junk data – not to mention drop offs.
4 – Deliver Sleek Results
Once the user has successfully registered, it’s time to deliver the goods. It’s worth making the extra effort to design a really sleek presentation of the results, complete with a high-level summary and clear, colorful charts. Not too busy, not too bland -- just right. Offer to email them an attractive report or presentation, or allow them to download it.
5 – Market It!
A great lead-generation tool should be marketed far and wide. To boost conversion rates, we encourage clients to post links to the tool across multiple outlets, including social media. Consider creating marketing campaigns to spread awareness of the tool, and pay attention to which outlets generate the most leads so you can fine-tune your next campaign. 
6 - Track Usage

One last piece of advice: Track how prospects consume your tool to identify touchpoints that trigger engagement as well as where they’re dropping off. Use this knowledge to modify your tool to generate more leads.

When designed and deployed correctly, online lead-generation tools can be one of the most powerful weapons you have in your sales and marketing program arsenal. To learn more about how Mainstay can help you cost-effectively build and market great lead-generation tools, contact sales@mainstaycompany.com or go to www.mainstaycompany.com.

Mark Tomlinson heads Mainstay’s Software Development team with over 10 years in the high-tech industry. He has designed award-winning sales and marketing tools for companies ranging from fast-growing startups to Fortune 500 companies. 

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