How to 8x increase your sales with automated lead qualification

12 min
Updated:

Lead generation and qualification are fundamental aspects of any successful business.

Lead qualification is the process of discerning the potential value and suitability of a sales lead or prospect for your product or service. It involves evaluating and assessing leads based on various criteria to determine their level of interest, readiness to purchase, and alignment with your target market.

However, manually managing and qualifying leads can quickly become an overwhelming time sink. At JustReachOut, we faced this challenge with our lead qualification efforts. We discovered that only 5% of the leads who contacted us became paying customers using our traditional approach. We realized the need for a change and implemented an automated system for our lead qualification process.

We achieved remarkable results by integrating a demo page with our CRM and automating follow-up communications. To say it revolutionized our sales pipeline might be an understatement: We soon had 70% of leads showing up for demo calls and a 40% overall conversion rate (an eightfold increase in sales).

This success story showcases the transformative impact of automating lead generation. Modern automation tools and strategies let you save time, improve efficiency, and focus your energies on nurturing high-quality leads. This article will explore the power of automating lead generation and provide a step-by-step guide to help you streamline your processes.

Let’s dive in:

Step 1. Set up the infrastructure

Building a strong online presence is the first part of automating your lead generation because the majority of your potential customers will most likely find you online. So, step one in automating lead qualification is to create an awesome demo page that shows off your product or service. You’ll also want to include a form where people can leave their details.

When it comes to that lead capture page, put in the extra effort to show off your product. Highlight all the features and benefits of what you’re offering. You want to get your prospects excited and eager to give you their contact info and request a demo.

And speaking of contact info, make sure your form has all the relevant fields. Name, email, phone number, company name, and other important details you need to know. This info will help you qualify the leads and automate all the follow-up messaging using a CRM system. You can see an example of this on our demo page for JustReachOut:

JustReachOut's demo page
JustReachOut’s demo page

Step 2. Integrate a CRM to gather contact info and manage leads

You can also leverage automation tools to get your lead management game on point. The best way to do that? Integrate your lead capture form with a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system that automatically sorts and ranks your prospects for follow-up. It’s like having your own lead-nurturing personal assistant.

First, pick a CRM software that suits your business needs. Salesforce, HubSpot, and Zoho are a few popular CRM suites. Sign up for an account and get familiar with all the features they offer. Take your time to explore and see which one seamlessly connects with your lead capture form.

Next, it’s time to configure that lead capture form on your demo page, like the example above. Ensure it’s set up to automatically sync all your leads’ contact information with your CRM. This integration ensures that every lead you capture smoothly flows into your CRM system. This will make your life much easier in the next steps.

At JustReachOut, we integrated Zapier to automate lead capture. After a prospect fills out a request on our demo page (we use WordPress for this), Zapier sends this info into HubSpot. There, a contact page is automatically populated, a deal is created for that lead, and a sales team member is assigned to the prospect. Afterward, we reach out to schedule the demo call, but you can automate this part, too – more on that later.

Step 3. Automate email marketing for effective lead nurturing

Now it’s time to work some marketing magic to guide your leads through the sales funnel. Email marketing automation is how you’ll do it. Find yourself a good email marketing service.

You need to choose one that can work well with your chosen CRM software. Look for integration options and make sure they can talk to each other. This is crucial for synchronizing lead data and getting your email automation up and running smoothly.

The good news is that most CRMs have you covered. They offer native integrations or support third-party integrations with popular email marketing software like GetResponse. Once you’ve made that connection, leads should flow seamlessly from your CRM system to your email marketing platform, and you can start creating targeted email campaigns.

We did this using Zapier. Here is what our Zap looks like. All we do is anytime we get a new customer trialing our platform we use Zapier to add them to our GetResponse drip campaign:

Connecting Stripe and GetResponse via Zapier
Connecting Stripe and GetResponse via Zapier

Here is one of these emails just to give you an idea of how we nurture leads:

Subject Lines:

  • [VIDEO 1] The pitch I sent to Ashton Kutcher (it worked!)
  • Suck at PR? This hack is for you…
  • Got butter?
  • [VIDEO 1] The only PR hacks you need to become buds with influencers 

Body:

Dayum, it was bloody cold growing up in the Soviet Union… 

I’m talking about temperatures dropping down to -25 F some days. 

My walk to school was 20 looooong minutes—plenty of time for my skin to crack!

And back then, we didn’t have any fancy shmancy creams or Aveeno to protect our skin from cracking. 

So my good ol’ grandmother lathered salted butter on my face every morning like she was greasing a friggin’ pie pan. 

…And it worked like a charm.

(Test it for yourself, if you don’t believe me.)

Picture it: a pudgy little Russian kid marching his way through the howling tundra, coated in butter like I’d plunged my face straight into a bag of movie popcorn.

Then, I’d either wash the butter off at school, or, being the…er…”hungry” (read: massively overweight) kid I was, I’d wipe my face with bread and enjoy a late snack. 

Totally normal, right??? 

So how did a butter-masque wearing immigrant like me end up getting the company I worked at acquired by effin’ Google?

And how in the hell did I end up as a contributor to influential sites like NYTimes, Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, FastCompany, Inc, WSJ, Mashable and HuffingtonPost?

This NOBODY did it by building authentic relationships with top influencers and becoming a SOMEBODY.

And I did it without the help of PR firms. (You don’t need them!

You can do this too, with 4 of my best PR hacks. 

(I’m talking about the exact PR outreach tactics one of my students used to land 850K+ views on Quora and score 200+ new customers in 24 freakin’ hours!)

UNLOCK VIDEO ONE: HOW TO STRIKE UP A CONVERSATION WITH ANY INFLUENCER RIGHT NOW >>>

This first video in our 3-part unconventional PR video series will show you how to: 

  • Build authentic relationships with folks like Gary Vaynerchuk, Guy Kawasaki, Tim Ferriss, and Fred Wilson (grab the exact emails I sent to them!)
  • Win a response every time you pitch an influencer, blogger, journalist, or investor with 4 of my unconventional PR hacks (I’ve used these to help companies like Wistia and Appsumo skyrocket growth)
  • Start a real conversation with any journalist by engineering “conversation starters” (and employing them at the perfect time)

Plus, I’ll show you exactly how I pitched Ashton Kutcher to speak at one of my events (spoiler alert: I got a REAL response, and we’ve been talking ever since…) 

The best part?

TEST ONE OR ALL OF THESE 4 PR HACKS FOR YOURSELF RIGHT NOW. >>> 

Listen, if this nobody from the Soviet Union did it, I know you can too. 

If you want results, complete your first micro-assignment (it will take ten minutes or less). 

Then, post your comments below the video, and I’ll personally respond. Cool?

Grab a nut butter sandwich and get started.

Dmitry “Meatsauce” Dragilev
(Get it? Daaa Meat, Daaaaaamitry… Meat… Meatsauce. Gotta love college!)

Step 4. Sync contact info and automate lead qualification in your CRM

Setting up your CRM to automatically sync contact info from your lead capture page is a game-changer because it helps you spot top-notch prospects in no time. Here’s how it works:

First things first, define your lead qualification criteria. What makes a lead a perfect fit for your business? Think about the industry, company size, budget, location, and pain points – things you should have leads fill in themselves on your capture page. This way, they’re giving you everything you need to identify the high-potential prospects and focus your sales efforts where it’s most likely to result in a conversion.

The qualification criteria at JustReachOut is the following, a good prospective customer must:

  • Have gotten published in press before
  • Have a team of 2+ dedicated PR consultants or content marketers tasked with PR outreach
  • Have had some experience reaching out to press and publications without PR firms
  • Have at least 4+ people working on a marketing team
  • Have at least one copywriter working on the marketing team
  • Have a budget of 1K+ per year for PR software

Your visitors provide all that juicy info on the capture page, and you want to sync it with your CRM for qualification. We use Zapier for this. When a prospect requests a demo on our page, this sends a Zap to our CRM which records their contact information. Our CRM then automatically sorts and prioritizes the leads based on their suitability. Only the cream of the crop will make it through these filters.

Here is what our Zap looks like:

Connecting the lead capture form with a CRM
Connecting the lead capture form with a CRM via Zapier
Automatically qualifying leads in Hubspot via Zapier
Automatically qualifying leads in Hubspot via Zapier

But don’t forget to test it out. Send some test leads through your demo page and ensure their contact info is synced to your CRM system. This ensures everything runs smoothly and there’s a seamless transfer of lead data from your capture page to your CRM for further qualification.

Step 5. Automate email follow-up and demo booking

Timely and personalized follow-up is crucial for lead conversion. Once you’ve identified qualified leads, it’s time to streamline the booking process for automating demo calls. You’ll do this by automating your email follow-up and making it easy for prospective customers to schedule a demo.

To do this, set up an email automation tool within your CRM to create a sequence of emails to be sent to qualified leads. These automated emails should be designed to offer additional value, address your leads’ pain points, and nurture their interest.

Craft compelling emails that educate, build trust, and include a strong call to action. You can use a general template to fill in the lead’s information and any additional info that addresses their specific needs. The call to action is very important. Provide a clear CTA within the emails that encourage leads to schedule a demo call. Finally, integrate a scheduling tool like Calendly to simplify the booking process. This allows prospects to schedule a demo themselves at a time that’s convenient for them.

Here is what our drip campaign looks like:

Setting up a drip campaign

Step 6. Use automated SMS follow-up for more engagement

Don’t limit your follow-up to email. Integrating SMS automation with your lead generation process can also significantly enhance engagement and response rates. You can connect an SMS automation tool with your CRM to engage leads through personalized and timely text messages. Twilio and TextMagic are popular options to consider.

With this in place, you can use contact center software with VOIP and SMS capabilities to craft and send personalized SMS messages that follow up with leads after they’ve shown interest. These should be sent at strategic points in the lead nurturing pipeline, offering more information and important updates. It’s especially important to use SMS to remind prospects about an upcoming demo call or to address any queries.

At JustReachOut, we found that these text reminders significantly increased attendance and minimized no-shows. For example, we set up an automated SMS reminder to be sent 30 minutes before a demo call. This increased our show-up rate by 3x and ensured that leads remembered the demo date and had the information they needed to be prepared for the call.

Here is the exact SMS message we sent:

Hi Kyle, are we still on for our call in 30 minutes? – Dmitry @ JustreachOut

Here is how we did it by using Zapier and SalesMsg. Here is what our Zap looks like. 30 min before the demo call we trigger this Zap to text the customer:

This zap is triggered when a Google Calendar event takes place in 30 minutes and sends an SMS reminder to the lead – part 1
This zap is triggered when a Google Calendar event takes place in 30 minutes and sends an SMS reminder to the lead – part 2

Step 7. Continually monitor and fine-tune your system

The online business world is fiercely competitive and ever-changing, and automation tools and technologies continue to evolve. Continuous monitoring and optimization are essential to ensure your automated lead generation system remains effective and aligned with your business goals. Regularly analyze key performance indicators, such as open, click-through, and conversion rates, to identify areas of improvement within your automated lead generation system.

Also, continuously refine your website, email, and SMS content based on engagement data and customer feedback to maximize their impact and relevance. A good CRM system such as Hubspot or Close can provide these analytics for you, making it easier to fine-tune your lead qualification and sales pipeline so you can stay ahead of the competition.

Conclusion

Automating lead qualification is a game-changer for businesses looking to streamline their sales process and boost conversion rates. With the steps outlined in this article, you can create an efficient system that automatically captures, qualifies, and nurtures leads, drastically increasing efficiency and your conversion rate.

Today’s automation tools allow you to focus your team’s time and energy on nurturing high-quality leads and turning prospects into paying customers. Embrace the power of automation, monitor its performance, and continually optimize your strategies with the best tools available to stay ahead in the competitive market. Automating your lead qualification process will elevate your sales game and pave the way for long-term success.


Dmitry Dragilev
Dmitry Dragilev
Dmitry is the founder of TopicRanker.com, an SEO tool which finds keywords your website can easily rank for on Google due to specific problems and weaknesses in search results and offers generative AI tools to publish content faster without sacrificing editorial quality. Over the last 10 years, Dmitry has helped 300+ brands rank #1 on Google through PR and SEO. Dmitry used PR & SEO to grow a startup from 0 to 40 million views per month, and got acquired by Google in 2014. After the acquisition by Google he translated his know-how into JustReachOut.io, an SEO tool to get covered in press and build authority backlinks without PR firms; it has been used by 5000+ content marketers to date and was acquired in 2021. More about all his projects on his personal blog CriminallyProlific.com.