As we say goodbye to 2015, here’s our final webinar blog post for this year. The last session, “How to Get Better at Lead Generation in 2016” was taken by LeadSquared’s Marketing Manager, Meenu Joshi. A number of questions were asked and answered d the session. In case you missed it, here’s a list of all the questions that were asked and answers to them. To make it easier, we have put them under their respective categories.

View the Webinar Recording

I. Website & Landing Page Conversion Optimization

Q1. What is top bar?

A top bar is a website widget that usually promotes an offer or includes a CTA to direct visitors to another page or document. It is usually placed at the top of the page (blog or website) and helps in lead capture and engagement, depending on how you use it. Here’s an example (notice the top bar in purple) :

Lead Generation in 2016

Q2. Should you have a single ‘call to action’ or lots of options, like webinars, whitepapers, chat, download offer, etc on a landing page?

It depends on where the person is landing but generally if you are directing a person from a paid ad campaign, always have just one offer. If the page is your resource library then of course it’s going to have a lot of options. That is the case sometimes but in most of the cases, one offer which is relevant to the context of the person landing on that particular landing page, will work the best. For more inputs check out these posts on landing page best practices:

Q3. What would be a decent landing page conversion rate?

It would depend on the source and the offer.

  • If it’s through a direct PPC campaign, then over over 12% is decent.
  • If it’s an offer or freebie like an ebook, then it can go up to 40%-50%

Q4. Should you use your website as the landing page, or is the stand alone landing page better for the education industry?

You need both. You need to have a website of course. If you are directing traffic to your AdWords campaigns or Facebook campaigns, then of course you need a standalone landing page because your offer is going to be there.

You can find more ideas for education lead generation, here. 

Q5. How to better convert website traffic to conversation?

Everything mentioned under website conversion optimization, in the webinar presentation, applies here. You need to have forms, relevant CTAs, top bar, ebooks, and so on. These resources will help you out:

Lead Generation in 2016

 (New Year Freebie: If you are interested in learning more about high converting landing pages, you can download this free ebook)

II. Online Marketing Tools & Tips

Q6. How frequently should we invest in video marketing?

It would depend on what you are trying to do with your video campaigns. The very first point in the presentation was about analyzing the campaigns that you have run before and see whether they got you the revenue that you desired. If you have done it in the past and it hasn’t worked, then you can maybe slow down the frequency.

Creating a video is always not necessarily a very easy job even if you are trying to create a video using a simple unpaid tool like PowToon. What you need to look at is what are you trying to do with these videos. It will depend on the industry that you’re in.    

Q7. Inbound marketing needs some investment. How far will it be a wise choice for a start up to generate leads using inbound marketing?

If you want to get started right away with your lead generation, of course the quickest way is to spend on search ads and Facebook ads. But if you are a B2B business or even B2C, you can start some inbound marketing efforts on the site and when you have the bandwidth for it, then go full-fledged with it.

For more inputs on how to get started, check out this webinar on inbound marketing.

Q8. Can you recommend a holistic measuring tool for digital marketing?

If you want to start with something free, then you should always look at your Google Analytics first. If you have your goal conversions set up in Analytics, then you’ll be able to check conversions as well. But for your revenue analysis, you probably have to do it manually or you can do it in LeadSquared as well.

Lead Generation in 2016

Q9. How to generate instant unpaid leads?

It’s really hard to get success from any lead generation activity both instantly, and without paying.

  1. One thing you can do it, list yourself of relevant lead generation website for your business type (JustDial, Sulekha etc.) You can find a list of those here. If you are in the real estate business, this list is exclusively for you.
  2. Another thing is leverage your connections if you are a B2B company, and get referrals
  3. Have a well-optimized website (not instant)
  4. Run ads (not unpaid)

Q10. Can you tell me the difference between inbound and outbound marketing?

When you are reaching out to people on your own, trying to connect with them through phone, email or any other medium, that’s outbound marketing. Inbound marketing is the opposite. Inbound marketing is when the leads come to you through your organic efforts or through PPC (that would be paid inbound).

Q11. What is the best tool for online reputation Management ?

Understanding what people are saying about you is essential in this case. Generally finding out what your audience thinks about you and your brand is what you should be aiming for. Social listening tool is the first step forward. The tools that can help you do that are Hootsuite, Mention, etc. Though these tools help you in the social media front, the digital world is bigger than that. So a tool that helps you monitor digital news trends would also be helpful. Remember to be on the look out for constant alerts and reports. Also, take a look at this interesting post I came across recently about online reputation management.

Q12. When you say ‘Think Mobile First’, what do you mean? 

Lead Generation in 2016

You can get more insights on the same, here:

Lead Generation in 2016

Q13. We have videos on YouTube. What else can be more beneficial to attract more target customers?

You can direct your traffic from YouTube videos to your website as well by using annotations at the right place on your video. By doing so, you can give a link there to redirect them to a more detailed description of what you are talking about. It will help drive traffic to your website and that will help in conversations.

Q14. Do Click2Call and other free call facilities help in keeping and engaging visitors?

It will help in inbound call lead generation. Whether you get more junk leads or quality queries, you’ll get to know only after trying. It’ll differ for different businesses.

(New Year Freebie: This webinar on ’16 Simple Ways Marketers Can Get Better at Digital Marketing in 2016′ will surely give you some ideas for lead generation in 2016)

III. Lead Generation in 2016

Q15. We have an insurance portal ( What is the best way to get more quality leads? (The website is similar to PolicyBazaar)

Since this is a portal, I don’t know if you have a discussion forum there. I have seen a lot of financial websites doing a lot of blogging these days. However, I don’t know how practical it is for you at this point from the bandwidth and investment perspective. But that is something you can look at.

The quickest way would be to spend some money and get leads from Adwords and Facebook. Another thing that I did not mention in this discussion today is answering queries on Quora and other forums. For any business, if you think blogging or full-fledged inbound marketing is something you cannot concentrate on right now, at least try to find out relevant questions on Quora and try to answer them. Try to provide as much value as you can, to get traffic back to your website. That will get your name out there, will build credibility and get you some traffic.

Q16. How to generate quality leads via our visa consultant website?

There are several options for you:

  1. Have a live chat (people might want their queries answered there and then) – it will give you engagement as well as lead capture.
  2. Give high-value content (gate this content behind a landing page to generate leads), and post it as a blog post to generate traffic – topics that are searched and relevant to visa, immigration etc, policy changes, news surrounding the topic can form good traffic generating content.
  3. Have an easy-to-navigate website.
  4. Run ads with a clear offer.

Q17. My website is a job portal. How can I  generate quality leads from there?

  1. creates reports for different kinds of jobs that are in demand etc. You can analyze your own traffic trends, plus trends across the world and give that as a downloadable.
  2. If possible, enable a discussion to happen on your website (discussion forum) – but you’ll have to be really careful/vigilant in moderating this content, otherwise your website would have a lot of duplicate/junk content.

The best way is to have high-quality topics that would attract candidates both in the form of downloadable and blog content. Use keyword planner/Google Trends to get ideas about what’s trending and what can you write about.

Q18. We have seen it in IndiaMART, we are receiving very less serious leads. The lead volume is good but the quality is as low as near to zero. Our response is quick but the client isn’t serious. How should we do it better as far as IndiaMART is concerned?

We cannot suggest much for the quality of leads that come from IndiaMART. However, one major thing here is that your product is high-value, high-cost, so a potential buyer is not going to decide quickly. So, you have to stay in their minds. I would suggest that you set up a 5-10 part email autoresponder that’s distributed over a month or 2 for these leads. That way, you’ll stay top of the mind with these people when they are finally taking a decision. This will not overcome the quality issue, but it might overcome the conversion issue eventually, and will tell you if the leads are really low quality or they are just taking

Q19. We are a solar EPC contractor and credibility is a major factor in this business. As of now, our credibility is less. How can we get the client to our website over the big players in the market?

  1. If you don’t have enough credibility yet, you need to highlight whatever little there is, now. For instance, ask your customers to give you reviews and testimonials. Maybe give them something in exchange. It can be really hard to get high-quality reviews/testimonials, but it’ll be worth it when you do get them. If a customer says something nice about you in an email, respond to them right away asking for their permission to use that as a quote (more often than not, they’ll agree).
  2. Play your strengths – your competitors have credibility; what is it that you have extra. It can be a very small thing as well.

Q20. Would quizzes on education websites be a good option (because we don’t have them)?

It worked really well for one of our clients, for generating leads. But you have to make sure that you are placing them in the right places. For instance, if anyone is interested to sign up for a course and you distract them with a quiz, then that might be a problem. If you have a blog, you can have really engaging quizzes there. It will act as a lead capture mechanism as well. Some of the tools I have used and recommend are

If you have a blog, you can have really engaging quizzes there. It will act as a lead capture mechanism as well. Some of the tools I have used and recommend are mTouch and TypeForm .

Q21. What is the best way to generate leads? Social media is one of the best ways but are there any other options?

There are several options available to you. It’s just not limited to social media. It will generally depend on the type of business you are in. Inbound marketing can be very effective but it will take some time to actually start giving you some return. Adwords can directly give you some results. You put money into it and it will start giving you at least leads if not revenue straight away. That is something you can start with.

Lead Generation in 2016

(New Year Freebie: This post on lead generation in 2016 will get you off to a flying start :) )

IV. PPC Campaigns

Q22. In case of Twitter ads, are advertisers directing traffic to a landing page on their site just like a typical Google PPC campaign?

Yes, landing page campaigns worked the best for me. There are other options as well. For example, there are lead ads sort of campaigns on Twitter already. Others include Lead Generation Card and Website Card.

Q23. What about outbound lead generation especially through LinkedIn?

In the context of B2B lead generation, I think outbound is still as important as inbound. For instance, when you are collecting those leads through LinkedIn, the first email that you send out to them must be really really relevant to them. Outbound definitely works but you need to concentrate on both, outbound and inbound lead generation.

Q24. What is the ideal CTR for Google Ads?

It depends on the business and the campaign. Ideally, for software and SAAS businesses, 1%-2% is good for search campaigns.

Q25. What is the ideal bounce rate in Google Display Ads? 

Bounce rate would be a measure of your landing pages. Generally, conversion rate of 11%-12% is decent on Google campaigns.

Q26. Are Google ads which are run on other browsers, tracked in Google Analytics?

Yes, they are tracked. However, whenever cookies are disabled, there it will not be tracked irrespective of which browser it is.

Q27. Which tools are the best for getting more audience for electronic gadgets? Do we need to look at more than one marketing tool like AdWords and Facebook?

I think remarketing will work really well for this product. For instance, if someone has purchased a particular type of gadget in the past, you can entice them and bring them back using custom audience (on Adwords, Twitter and Facebook). You can make use of Lookalike audience too. If done properly, it can work really well.

Q28. I have one website ( We are providing business visa for Canada. I am using three keywords as there is a lot of competition. What should I do to get a faster ranking?

You would need to find more keywords than just three keywords. Try to bid on long tailed keywords as well. Even if you rank only 10 times, you will rank on top of your ad copy if everything else is relevant for that particular keyword. Also, you need more keywords in your ad groups, different ad groups.

(New Year Freebie: In addition to that, for getting better position, better ad rank and for getting more clicks, take a look at this webinar session on Google Adwords)

Visit our blog for more webinar recordings and marketing blog posts. See you next year!

4 years ago, when I started my career in marketing, the first client I handled was an online education business. Since then, I’ve worked with dozens of them, and I’ve seen the tough realities of education marketing up close.

In particular, I have seen and analyzed my fair share of education website designs, trying to find the conversion elements that work, and the factors that make an education website click.

One pattern that I saw was that most institutions follow an antiquated website template – confusing navigation, unclear messaging and scattered information that’s not easy to access. Picture something like this.

Education website designs - avoid such clutter

The trend has since changed (to some extent); now you would find plenty of education and training institutes (of all kinds, traditional or new-age online ones, higher education, career schools or K12) that are doing a good job getting their point across. In this yearly round off, I have listed the best education websites in terms of clarity, user experience, design and conversion optimization. Any education or training business planning a redesign in 2016 should definitely look at these websites for inspiration. (the list follows no particular order).

#1. Savannah College of Art and Design

It’s a design institute, so you’d expect their website to be designed well too. And, they don’t disappoint at all.

Savannah College of Design - Best education website designs

Why is Savannah College of Design on this list

Direct headline with proof of credibility

Generally, superlatives, like best, greatest are not a good idea. However, that’s not the case here. Headline reads ‘Interior design ranked No. 1 — by DesignIntelligence for the fifth consecutive year.’ It’s very clear, highlighting simultaneously the main program offered by the institute while quoting the source of the recognition.

Clear calls to action 

The headline is followed by three main actions that the institute wants its most important visitor (the potential student) to take  – ‘Apply Now,’ ‘Browse our Programs’ or ‘Take a Virtual Tour.’ Not many college websites do that – they leave the primary calls to action for the visitors to find, other than a generic “Apply now” throughout.

Subtle yet intuitive navigation

The navigation has been downplayed unlike many other university websites, where the main focus is the navigation before you can actually take the action. The navigation drop-down is pretty intuitive too, giving answers to the most common queries students might have.

Best education website design tips - intuitive navigation bar

Virtual tour

SCAD has a great option of virtual tours. You can choose the campus you wish to take the tour of, and your preferred method. You can virtually tour the campus using virtual reality, videos, photos or panoramas. It’s a great way of engaging the prospective students and wowing them even before they actually step a foot inside the campus.

Best education website designs - Offer Virtual tour options (SCAD)

Consistent directional ease 

The directional ease is consistent throughout the website; for instance, if you hit “Browse our Programs,” you would be led to the following page, listing all the programs neatly, along with Location and Degree filters if the searcher wishes to get specific.

Best Education Website designs - Ease of information access

Live chat 

“Live Chat” option throughout the website further adds to good user experience, in addition to acting as a tool for first level lead generation (find more ways to generate education leads online, here.)

#2. Kendall College, Chicago

Kendall College is a traditional education institute providing specialized fields of study, like Culinary Arts, Hospitality Management, and many others, and they have done a very good job of creating a very well structured website.

Best education website designs 2016 - Kendall College

Why is Kendall College on this list

Wonderful contrast of colors

Kendall uses a beautiful red-pink-white color scheme which is contrasting, and very refreshing, thereby encouraging the prospective students to stay and read further.

Credibility element as headline

Like The Savannah College of Arts, a credibility seal from a 3rd party (this time, potential employers) forms the headline for Kendall, thus serving the dual “headline – testimonial” function again.

Clear form on the homepage

A direct, yet non-intrusive call to action (and a form) allows prospective students to request information easily. This is great because it’s unusual to see a lead capture form on an education homepage that isn’t an assault on the eyes.

Clear navigation menu

The main menu is once again comprehensive while being very easily navigable. This is a very important point, because navigation is one of the worst sufferers when it comes to education website design – so, most of the examples you’d see on this list have nailed this element perfectly.

Best education website designs - Kendall College - intuitive navigation

#3. Pennsylvania Institute of Technology

There’s a lot that Pennsylvania Institute of Technology has done well with their website – great copy, a good video and all the important information in the right place.

Best education website designs 2015 - Headlines that work

Why is Pennsylvania Institute of Technology on this list

Great use of video

You want prospective students to know how life would be like at your college – videos are an obvious way to show that! I know videos have been overdone to the point of a cliche now. However, it’s done really well here – they have used dramatic drone shots which are very dynamic. It subtly plays in the background, showing life at the college, students and professors at work and a glimpse of the campus. It’s a great way of saying things as are, leaving an impression of no-nonsense trust and credibility.

On mobile, the video doesn’t play, which is again a great decision given that it would be intrusive on a smaller screen and would increase the page-load time.

Best education website designs 2015 - Responsive design

Very user-oriented CTA

A simple yet powerful “Degrees that work,” followed by the next most logical action for any prospective student “Find yours” makes a very user-oriented CTA.

There are multiple secondary CTAs as well that are downplayed yet prominent for anyone who wants to do more before browsing the courses.

Identifying & answering student queries

Many university websites fail to answer the most obvious questions running through the prospective student’s mind. Pennsylvania Institute of Technology has done a great job of identifying these questions and answering them at the right place. Instead of being buried in the navigation, important questions like “what are the scholarship options,” “when can I visit the campus,” and “what are the housing options available” are addressed very prominently below the primary CTA.

Best education website designs - Placement of secondary CTAs

#4. Treehouse

Treehouse is a subscription-based online learning platform where people can learn coding, web designing etc. using video tutorials, assignments, community discussions among other features.

Best education website designs - Minimalistic design

Why is TreeHouse on this list

Minimalistic design

The design is simple and completely free from all distractions, driving the visitors’ focus on two things alone – the headline that clearly states what the visitor will achieve “Learn Web Design, Coding and Much More,” and the first step to get there – the “Free Trial” form.

Strong offer

Unlike their physical counterparts (universities), online education businesses cannot afford to put off capturing leads till later, and a strong offer is very important for good traffic to lead conversions. “Free trial” is a great offer for capturing the prospect’s attention and details.

Short and specific form

The form is simple, and they ask for just 2 details – name and email ID; nothing unnecessary, that would discourage people from filling the form.

The best part is they experiment consistently – I have seen them change their website every 6 months or so.

#5. Udemy

Udemy is an online learning marketplace, where you can learn (almost) absolutely anything.

Best education website designs - Udemy

Why is Udemy on this list

User involvement

Involving the user whenever possible is key to a great browsing experience, and that’s the best thing about Udemy. They start by allowing potential learners to feed in their query/course, thus getting undivided user attention right at the starting point.

Trust elements

You can see the number of users, cost of courses etc. right on the homepage, thus adding credibility.

In the second fold, Udemy lists the cost + the number of people who have enrolled against each course. This adds another level of credibility (the herd effect – many people have already enrolled) and transparency (the costs are already listed).

Best education website designs - transparency and trust

#6. Duolingo

Duolingo is a wonderful little app that helps people learn a language with the help of simple daily tasks and tools. You can select your skill level, take assignments, and it’s a whole lot of fun to use. I stumbled upon it last year while trying to brush up my French; while that isn’t going too well, Duolingo is doing pretty good themselves – grabbing last year’s Crunchie (Tech Crunch’s awards) for Best Education Startup, and Google’s Best of the Best for 2 consecutive years, 2013 and 2014.

Duolingo - Best education website designs

Why is Duolingo on this list:


Just look at how beautifully simple everything on the home page is – simple headline, simple CTA and a simple overall layout. The app is as simple to use as the website too, so that’s a plus for student stickiness.

No unnecessary navigation

Now, what does a learner need to really get started here – choose the language for the site, and the language that they wish to learn. Apart from that, they have chucked out every navigation element – a very wise decision.


Not only have they used Gamification inside their tool, but they have pretty dynamic user engagement elements on the website as well to keep the user hooked.

You can set goals for yourself, and choose how you wish to learn.

Gamification - Best training and education website designs

Within the app itself, students are awarded “points” as they go along, and “lives” are lost in case of mistakes. You make too many, and you’ll have to start over.

Engagement-first approach

Duolingo is not jumping straight to sign ups. Everything you saw – taking a simple test, setting goals for oneself etc. are all without the user sharing any details.

They aim to engage first, and that seems to work great. People need to create a profile only while saving their progress.

Duolingo gamification

 #7. Code Academy

Code Academy is similar to Treehouse in what it offers – coding and web design courses.

Best education website designs for inspiration - CodeAcademy

Let’s see why Code Academy is in the list

Clear message

Again, like so many other websites on the list, Code Academy has one simple, straightforward message, and no clever shenanigans, which I believe is its strongest point.

Great offer

The headline says, “Learn to code interactively, for free.” What can be a better offer than learning something for free?

Social sign up option

Depending on the business you are in, it’s a great idea to allow people to signup through their social accounts, especially when you are making them sign up for a free offer. It’s quicker and easier.

#8. Udacity

Udacity is an education marketplace for people aspiring to acquire technical skills. It has courses related to web development, data analysis, machine learning, Android and iOS development and the likes.

Best education and training website designs - Udacity

Why is Udacity in this list

Dynamic headline

When you are trying to reach out to a diverse, versatile set of audience, one way to nail it is by using dynamic titles that speak out to your different audience. We have used it during LeadSquared’s last website design too and have seen success with it.

Great offers

Having caught the attention of its target audience (future full stack developers, mobile developers etc.), the website offers another reason to the potential learner to enroll. An offer that says 25% off on the first month’s tuition fee.

Best education website designs 2015 - Great offers

Psychological triggers in offers

This is further complemented by another offer as the visitor scrolls down the page, in the form of 50% tuition fee returned if the learner graduates within 12 months of enrolling in the program.

Great education website designs - Use of emotional triggers

Now this is a very powerful offer for 2 reasons:

  • It will entice the learners very keen on actually completing the course (half the money back is a very big deal)
  • It challenges people – anything that is perceived as a challenge is a very powerful psychological trigger. Why do you think gamification works so well?

Video testimonials

Instead of using bland text testimonials, Udacity uses video testimonials as well. When a face and an actual story replaces plain words, the testimonial becomes much more relatable for prospective students. And, Udacity has used this well.

Best education website designs - Video testimonials

#9. Vedantu

Vedantu is an online tutoring service with offerings like doubt clearing sessions, exam courses, and monthly tuitions.

Best education websites designs - Vedantu

Why is Vedantu on this list

Clear flow of actions

All the calls to action on the website are very neatly tied together. For instance, if you click on “How it works,” you are quickly led to make another choice “Choose your requirements,” “Choose a teacher” or “Learn one on one.” The transition from one action to the next is quick and logical.

They are prompting students to make a choice and take the subsequent action.

Clearly laid out offerings

In the first screen itself, people can also choose whether they wish to clear their doubts or choose exam courses or take monthly tuitions. There are 3 clear options, thus making it easy for students to make up their minds.

Establishing credibility

There are multiple elements of credibility on the homepage.

  • Faculty: A carousel showcasing the teachers, along with the universities they hail from. Seeing names from IIT Bombay, IISc Bangalore among the faculty members increases trust.
  • Achievement: The number of “happy” students learning, and the number of hours taught is another good credibility proof.
  • Testimonials: There are several parent and student testimonials that do not read like a template at all, along with pictures of the person sharing the testimonial. Detailed testimonials instead of short and generic ones work better because they seem real.
Best education website designs - credibility proof

#10. Khan Academy

I have kept this brilliant initiative, with a website to match towards the end, because even though it’s an education website, it’s a non-profit. But, they have several things on the website that education businesses of all kind can take inspiration from.

Khan-Academy-- Best education website designs

Why is Khan Academy on this list

Brilliant headline

Inspirational yet direct – “…You can learn anything” is a great way to get students excited about learning on the site, which is the main aim of the initiative.

User Segmentation on the Homepage

They segment students, teachers and parents right on the homepage with 3 clear calls to action. This makes the flow of actions very straightforward. Only a few other education websites do this well.

Great use of video

I love their #YouCanLearnAnything video (it’s on the next page when you hit “Learn more about #YouCanLearnAnything”). It’s inspirational and acts as an action trigger at the perfect place – just above another “Join” button. Here’s the video if you need your daily dose of inspiration:

So, that’s it. This was my list of extremely well-designed education and training websites, along with the reasons that make them great. Have you spotted any other education website designs that get the point across, and are optimized for conversions as well? Let me know in comments.

Want us to review your website, and suggest improvements? Email me at meenu[at]

Attention local businesses – Facebook is testing out a great new update that can make a great deal of difference to you!

Know what that is?

It is a great new local search option that allows people to search for business near their area! That means, if you are listed, then leads can come find you!

When I say “Find you”, I mean the do it on Facebook’s Services page. Like so:

Facebook for local business

That’s right. Facebook jumped into the hyper-local bandwagon last year, when they introduced some features specific to local businesses – reviews, business hours, ratings etc. Now, it’s set to go a step further and roll-out a local search engine.

That means, a lead can search for a plumber or any other kind of service at and can decide on one based on user reviews.The best part? He doesn’t have to be logged in and it is extremely location friendly.

For a marketer or a business owner like you, it has huge implications – it means you just got a bigger chance of landing a deal! You see, if you are one among those listed on that page, and if you happen to have great reviews, then I am sure a lead would be willing to try you out.

Here is the various genre of services that can be listed:

Facebook for local business

(Quick update: Now the image looks something like this:

Facebook for business

sightly different from the previous version.)

Clicking on any of them would lead you to that specific “Search results page” of sorts, that lists all the business related to your “search term” on Facebook, based on the number of reviews.

It looks something like this:

Facebook for local business

So what should you do to get on the first page here?

Why, spruce up your page! If you notice, the ones who are ranked on top are then ones with the top ratings, most reviews and great engagement. Wanna try that?

Happy ranking to you!

Latest Update:

You can now add a video, instead of just a cover image. It will help in engagement and increasing interest with the buyer.

Also, multiple UI enhancements and slight changes have been introduced – it makes it a lot simpler and easier to navigate.

In our last session, Prashant Kumar, Sales Manager at LeadSquared talked about the 4 Pillars of a High-Performing Sales Process and how to overcome sales challenges. Sales folks, I hope you enjoyed the session and found value in it. Those of you who couldn’t make it, here’s the Q/A from the session:

Question 1

How to increase the efficiency of your sales warrior?

Essentially there are a lot of things but more importantly, recruitment and product training is the place to start.

Although, training is a costly setup, it is worth it. The sales person should be equipped to present the product – this cannot happen without good product knowledge. Remember to train them on recent updates as well. He should have a good grasp as to how every detail can help the customer or business.

Along with this, you should always monitor and document questions repeatedly asked by prospective customers during demos, interactions, meetings and so on. You could create a book or even make a sales bible, including those questions asked by prospective customers and write suitable answers.  This would make it easier for newcomers / salespersons to tackle common customer queries better.

The other things you could do to improve efficiency are:

  1. Have a pre-sales qualification team to ease the burden off the sales warriors.
  2. Automate your sales process so that the sales warriors can prioritize efforts and focus on the most important leads.

Question 2

How do we keep engaging with existing clients and improve the relationship?

Newsletters and regular value-adding content like (industry-specific) ebooks and whitepapers sent to them would help. I would also suggest you give them a call occasionally, just to find out if they are getting value out of the product or service and whether they are experiencing any difficulties in terms of the product or service.

(For more insights on building engagement, take a look at this webinar on lead engagement methods)

Question 3

How to find out quickly what the leads’ budget is? 

Generally, the lead’s budget has to be found out before you get in touch with him. The good old background research is the fool-proof method. That does not mean however, that your lead will convert for the same amount you pitch. He/she will definitely try to negotiate.

Question 4

How to handle negotiation when a lead cites a competition’s cost and asks you for a lesser price?

Negotiation is something the customer discusses with you on the product. Comparing that with a competitor’s cost is very different. If a prospect sees more features in a rival product over yours, at the point, it’s best to understand the exact needs of the prospective customer.

Let me give you an example. Let’s say I have an expensive car and it has a lot of features. However, I am not able to use all the features. Similarly, at that point, a sales guy should be asking whether the customer or sales team actually needs all the features offered by the product.

Negotiation also tells you that if a guy is negotiating, then he/she may be a sticky customer, making him/her an important prospect for the business.

Question 5

As a startup, what are the best ways to change the customer’s mind to buy new and better solution over an existing branded solution?

When we create a particular product or a particular brand, we know what it would be focusing on and what problems it would be solving in the market. In sales, a problem-solving approach is always better. What you can do is, when you are launching a new product, have unique selling points and address the customer problems you will be solving when they get onboard.

I understand there will be competitors. Maybe, it’s not a niche market but you have to be different. Try to have a problem-solving approach or strategy. When you are actually creating a new product, see the pain-points and design it according to that. When it comes to brand value, branding team should know how different their product is, when compared to those of the competitors.

(For more inputs on branding and adding brand value, take a look at this webinar on Online Branding Strategies, by branding expert Radhakrishnan KG from WebNamaste)

High Performing Sales

Question 6

How would you evaluate your salesperson’s performance if they lose a deal?

There can be multiple reasons to lose a deal. Some of the reasons could be:

  • The requirements were not matching or was different from the service offering
  • The sales rep was unable to project the product value
  • They were not ready to invest in the product

So it really goes back to lead qualification again. If you don’t qualify your leads and it still goes to the last stage (meeting with customer), it’s unlikely that the deal will close.

To solve this problem, you can ask your sales team to qualify those leads where there is a potential. Use systems, like LeadSquared that help you understand the behaviour and interests of the lead and thereby, prioritize them.  A system will not guarantee closures, but it will cause a considerable change.

High Performing Sales

Question 7

What is the best way to qualify a lead, a BANT or CHAMP?

Ideally, you should always start with addressing challenges and therefore, I would pick CHAMP (Challenges, Authority, Money, and Prioritization) over BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, and Timing).

Question 8

What is an ideal sales process at an advertising agency?

A sales process is applicable for all types of companies. Work on those customers where you find stickiness. Since you are into services, while setting up the sales process, it is very important to clearly understand whom to target and who not to target. Once you identify that, the rest will fall into place.

Question 9

How to generate leads from the newly launched Facebook LeadSquared App?

We have launched a connector for Lead Ads and you’ll be able to capture leads in LeadSquared right now with lead ads. Here’s a help document.

High Performing Sales

Question 10

How to script cold emails

There are a few things that I have seen.

Keep it direct – talk about them, identify a pain point they might have and offer a solution. Don’t talk about you or something they already know.

See if you can do some research (are you connected on LinkedIn?) and start off the email with what you have found. Otherwise, segment your leads according to what works best for you and then send a customized email.

Question 11

How to train my team in selling a product with a high price? I have noticed that my employees are finding it difficult to sales high-priced products. Can you suggest an easier way? 

I know that sales people get worried sometimes if they have to sell high ticket-sized items. However, there are two benefits of doing this.

The first benefit is for the sales person. In high ticket-sized items, targets or benchmarks are very easy. When it comes to the fear of presenting a high net worth item, rather than talking about the product’s features while giving the demo, they should talk about the kind of value the product is going to add.

Secondly, one should know the business and understand the business problem areas and accordingly make the presentation. Your sales presentation should not be a generalized one. It should be very specific. When they are starting a demo, tell them to ask questions like, how is the business process aligned, what all systems are there in place, what problems are they solving, and so on.

They should not fear high ticket sized items. It’s a big world and there’s a lot of money out there. Value addition is what they should consider.

[Also readThe MEDDIC sales process]

Question 12

How can we increase the conversion percentage of our team if product price has increased?

In today’s economy, costs of everything is increasing. I’m sure, if you are increasing the price of the product, you must be adding certain other benefits and features that could be value-adding. That’s what your sales team needs to highlight during their meetings and demos.

Have you tried out the Facebook Lead Ads yet? If yes, then wait up for my next post, we can compare notes. If no, this post is for you – a complete step by step guide to creating the much talked of Facebook Lead Ads your competition is already running.

Just so you know – Lead Ads is all the shizz now because of the way it has simplified lead capture (at least on mobile, for now). Now, a prospect can directly click on the CTA, be directed to a prefilled form (courtesy the info he has provided on Facebook) and then submit it. To sum up – two taps to capture. A win-win all around as its easy for the lead, its more leads for the business and for facebook, the user does not leave the page! Take a look :

Facebook lead ads

(Thank you Facebook for this great picture!)

Super cool isn’t it? Am sure you are extremely enthusiastic about trying it out. Well, hold your horses… read up on this guide before you try your hands at it. You wouldn’t want to lose leads due to a botched ad would you?

Step #1 – Log- in to Power Editor

I am realllyyy tempted to say log in to Facebook and open power editor, but I am sure you know that. (Did I mention it? – the Lead Ads are available only on Power Editor). Those of you who are using Ads manager, buck up and adapt. Well, then I shall then give a quick overview of how to get started with Power Editor. If you already know this, skip to step two. If not, read on – for it has been included specifically for you guys.

After you log in, remember the tiny (almost hidden) arrow next to your notifications tab? Hover on it. A drop down will appear. Ignore all options except the one that says “Manage Ads”.

Facebook Lead Ads

Clicking on it will directly take you to your Ads Homepage. The Power Editor option will be present right on top.

Facebook Lead Ads

See? Click on it, and you will be directed to the Ad list/summary page of all your campaigns. It will look something like this

Facebook Lead Ads

Remember to check if you are indeed using the right account (first red arrow). Also note that if you click on “Upload Changes” (second red arrow), your ads go live, along with any changes you make. So, don’t go all “oooh what does this button do?!” on it.

Step #2- Creating  A New Campaign

Alright, now you are all set to create your first lead ad. Go to the “Create Campaign” button and click on the drop down indicator next to it. From the options that appear, choose “Create Ad Set”.

Facebook Lead Ads

Step #3- Creating the Ad Set For Lead Ads

Once you do that, select “Create New”  and name your campaign.

Then choose a buying option from the drop down. For Lead Ads, always pick”Auction” . Otherwise, the objective specific for Lead Ads would not show up in the next drop down.

Now comes a very important part. Choosing the right objective. This is where “Lead Ads” tend to differ, as what we have seen so far is pretty much common for all ad sets. If you want to know more about picking the right objective for your facebook ad, follow the link. For now, select “Lead Generation” as your objective for the whole campaign.

Facebook Lead Ads

Then, create a new Ad Set, and a new Ad and hit “Create”. This is what you shall get:

Facebook Lead Ads

As you might know, this is pretty much business as usual. You will have to create an Ad set and move on to the next level – Ads. The red arrows indicate where to go for creating the Ad sets.

Just an important change that is noteworthy. The placement of your Ads will be only on the mobile feed – well, because Lead Ads aren’t rolled out for desktop yet. So this is what you will see when you scroll down and come to the placement section of the Ad Set.

Facebook Lead Ads

#Step 4- The Lead Form

Now comes the actual Lead Form part of the whole Ad campaign – at the individual Ad level.

This is how Facebook asks you about creating your Lead Form:

Facebook Lead Ads

Since you already have this awesome post, trust me, you wont need to visit the help center. The “Choose One” option can be used once you have a good library of forms to choose from. Since this is your first among that, click on “Create New Form”. You will be directed to the Lead form page that will tell you rather concisely the three steps (framed in red in the image below) on how to proceed.

Facebook Lead Ads

Since I am taking care of that for you, all you have to do is name your form and carry on.

Once you click “Next”you will get down to the heart of the matter – the lead details that you actually want to capture. Based on its database, Facebook provides you a list of details that it can auto-fill for your leads. By default, it would have auto-checked “Email” and “Full name”.

You are welcome to of course choose whichever field makes most sense to you. Just remember to keep it to a minimum.. even now, we don’t want too many fields.

Facebook Lead Ads

Now comes a rather interesting section. The lead form also allows you to ask upto 3 additional questions to your prospects. It has categorised its list of questions into these sub heads: Automotive, Education, E-commerce, B2B, Professional services, Health Insurance, Auto Insurance, Need help and Purchase intent. It also lets you frame a custom question.

Facebook Lead Ads

If you choose to include a question to your lead, this is the form you will face:

Facebook Lead Ads

As you can read from the foot-note, if you enter an answer to this question- the prospect will be required to choose from a drop down of the answers you enter. If you leave it blank, the prospect would have to manually type out the reply.

Depending upon the response you require, you can choose to opt for either of the options.

Step#5- Privacy Policy and Review

You are almost done. I promise!

Now the crucial part is done with. All that is left are some teensy-weensy details to take care of. Once you create a lead form, you come to a page that asks for your privacy policy and legal disclaimers. No, seriously. Take a look –

Facebook Lead Ads

Thankfully, the disclaimer bit is optional. But there is no getting out of the privacy policy.

Well, moving on, we come to an important section. After your lead fills up the form, he is shown a website link he can choose to click. You get to fill that up:

Facebook Lead Ads

Do give a thought to this before you fill it in. The safest bet is generally the home page. If it doesn’t make sense for you, or if you have powerfully persuasive content on any other page, feel free to put that in.

And well, your form is created!!

Just preview your form like so:

Facebook Lead Ads

Confirm the details and you can hit “Create”.

I know what you are thinking. You are wondering about all the other content – the headlines, description etc that makes your form attractive.

Well, that bit, I am happy to tell you, has not changed.

Facebook Lead Ads

As you can see, the “Creative” section that lets you fill in the ad details are pretty regular and what you are used to. Since its pretty self-explanatory, I wont bore you with the details here.

Well – there you go. You are done! Just click the “Upload Changes” button – the one we decided not to mess with at the beginning of the post, and your Ads go live!

Now comes – Lead Gathering

Unfortunately, our job doesn’t end with just creating the Ad. The whole point of the Lead Ads is to capture leads. How do we get the list of  people who filled out your form?

This one is simple too. Just go to your Facebook page and click on “Publishing Tools”.

Facebook Lead Ads

It will take you to a page that gives you a summary of all the posts you have published till date. On the left corner of a page, Click on “Form Library” and then download the list!

Facebook Lead Ads

Also, if you have a CRM integration, the Leads will get directly exported there. Your very own LeadSquared has rolled out the Facebook Lead Ads integration. Now, that is a huge advantage that you cant pass up!

So go ahead and create your own Lead Ad! It’s easy – even your cat can do it!

Bonus: Here are top 5 Facebook marketing hacks for businesses to generate quality leads

snapchat marketing

According to a Harvard University survey released on December 10, Snapchat has beaten Instagram to emerge as the fastest growing social network for American millennials.

Conducted on 2011 Americans in the age-group 18-29, the research revealed that the number of people on Snapchat increased by 8% over the previous year. While participation in Instagram grew by a close 7%, the figures remained nearly stagnant for Twitter and Facebook.

snapchat marketing - harvard results

Source : Harvard University Institute of Politics 

Clearly, Snapchat is poised to become the next big thing in the world of social media. In fact, with a current strength of almost 200 million active users who share more than 700 million snaps daily, Snapchat is already a force to reckon with, especially for marketers.

Here’s what Snapchat’s newly acquired top spot means for your brand!

Deliver crisp, fun and casual brand messages 

Like Dubsmash, Snapchat is a platform specifically suitable for light conversations. The people on Snapchat use pictures and stories to share casual moments from their daily lives with their friends and families. And its amplifying user base is a testimony to the fact that young people today are increasingly inclined towards short, media-rich content that is lively and relatable.

To make content that aligns with the tastes of their target audience, companies targeting millennials need to make sure their brands are fun, personal, and humanized in their interactions across all platforms. Serious, plain or professional-sounding brand conversations are now a thing of the past.

Strategize for low-cost, temporary, engagement-driven marketing

Marketers have by and large steered clear of Snapchat, because the images and stories shared on it are self-destructible. However, it is important to note that while the shelf life of any marketing materials you produce for Snapchat is very limited, the costs of building a brand presence on Snapchat are also appropriately low.

Snapchat is therefore a low-cost branding platform, particularly as you can easily re-purpose your existing videos and graphics for it. Besides, it is more conducive to creative storytelling, as you only have 10 seconds to make your point and make it last.

Brands can use Snapchat Marketing for :-

1) Contests

For example, H&M, a fashion retail brand, organized a contest in Poland, where it hid tickets to a secret party in its stores, and released clues through Snapchat.

snapchat marketing - H&M

A ‘clue’ snap sent out by H&M Poland

2) Teasers 

For example, Lynx, a deodorant brand from Unilever, used Snapchat to share exclusive behind-the-scenes content from their launch party with their core fans.

snapchat marketing - lynx

Lynx UK on Snapchat 

3) Celebrity Branding 

For example, McDonald’s collaborated with celebrity athletes such as LeBron to drive more views. Similarly, General Electric used Snapchat to introduce astronaut Buzz Aldrin to engage with curious, young fans.

snapchat marketing - general electric

General Electric introducing Buzz Aldrin via Snapchat

Brands can also use Snapchat marketing to showcase their work culture, product stories (for example, how a particular drink is made), and for collaborations with video-based influencers from YouTube, Vine or Snapchat itself.

So get your funny side up, don your creative caps, and give your budget some breathing space – it’s time to snap up your marketing with Snapchat!