Marketing Automation is indispensable for marketers. But, despite the name, automation can impact sales! How you ask? It aids the entire process by plugging the leaks in the system, aligning sales and marketing in creating a streamlined revenue model. The whole idea of automation is to let it take care of mundane and routine tasks, while people continue to work on making strategical decisions.

So, how can businesses create new sales scenarios using automations? This is something Nilesh, our speaker, enlightened us on the topic in our last webinar.

Nilesh Patel is the Founder and CEO of LeadSquared, a fast growing sales execution and marketing automation platform. He is on a mission to simplify marketing & lead generation for businesses, through the power of simplicity using LeadSquared. He brings his decade long experience in sales & marketing.

Who better to talk about the benefits and advantages of using a marketing automation tool than a man who has helped build one himself?

Here are some of the ideas that Nilesh has covered in the webinar:

  • Introduced the concept of Business Signal Processing
  • Monitoring signals for an upsell opportunity
  • Monitoring signals for a cross-sell opportunity
  • Automation hacks for upselling, cross-selling and customer retention.

If you are also someone looking to implement marketing automation in your business and plan on using it to leverage the bandwidth of your team and increase their productivity, then this webinar is for you.

In case you missed out on it, you can view the recording here.

You can also catch all the previous marketing webinars that you may have missed out on here.

In the world so wide, we are all intertwined by various networks. To take advantage of these networks you may not need a good tool but a clever hack. Rishabh a serial entrepreneur talks about growth hacking strategies used by top growth hackers at Mapplinks to leverage digital channels for rapid growth. If you are interested in smart tactics to gain advantage for your business, do listen to this webinar. Click here to listen.

And here’s the Q&A from the session:

Twitter Hack

Q1. What is the Script? How to run it?

A1. There are two types of script that run, the back-end script and the java script. The java script runs on the search results page and it’s going to pull out the twitter user names, dates, first names and the tweet text and organizes them in a google sheet. That’s simple because it’s all on your browser. You can import this into a tool to schedule automated tweets to these people or you can import this into your own job and run it in the back-end and then tweet to these people. If you are a back-end developer, you can use a tool like Hootsuite to run this bit.

Q2. Is this a paid feature on twitter?

A2. No, you can extract all the data for free. When you are running a script or if you are making your own script (you might have to pay a developer) but this is not a paid feature. The bulletin search is public, I don’t know why many people don’t use it but that is the advantage, that is the growth hack, that is the opportunity for us. The URL that you go to is “search.twitter.com”, however you can put this query anywhere on the twitter search. It is absolutely free.

Q3. Can you please elaborate on advance search or opportunity on twitter?

A3. Typically, what you do is, you put a keyword and search for it. Advance search lets you use “and/or” operator and other bulletin operators. Just to give you a brief there are different features in advanced search; you have bulletin, you have dates, so you can have a duration, you can select that I want to see tweets from this month to this month because if you are promoting a campaign which is time bound you might not want to get results that’s 3 years old. It also has multiple options for emotions (Positive/Negative etc.) I also have a list of bulletins operators you can use. You can just google “Mapplink twitter advance search” and you will get the list or Shibani can forward it to you later or you can tweet me. There is a huge list of “and/or” operators but what essentially you will be using for this growth hack are going to be three things, the first thing is you need to use “and”, for example; you put “Looking for and growth hacker”, growth hacker is the keyword for me because I am selling growth hacking. The other thing you will be using is “Or”, you can say “Looking for or I need (I need is a good keyword to search for)” That should be enough for you to start getting leads. Just to give you an example if I put “looking for and growth hackers” and I limit the search for 2017 and run a script, I get around 400 leads in a day. The good thing is that, this is a never-ending lead generation source because people keep tweeting with their requirements, If I run the script once a week, I do not need to have a traditional lead generation process in place. Also, the other advantage of this is they are very qualified because I am putting keywords as “Looking for” in this case.

Q4. Is extracting or pulling out the data through a java script like email id is somewhat data laundering?

A4. I am not pulling out email id’s here. Let me explain like this, I can have someone from my team to copy paste the usernames from this list or I can have someone go and reply. For example, I have this person Jared, who says what mobile nation is looking for, so I can favorite this, I can follow this, and I can reply to him, but it is going to take me a lot of time to do this for hundred people. I make it easier by running a script. I am not getting any data which is not available on the page itself or not getting any data which, you cannot get manually without having to go hacking into the system. It’s the same job that you would do manually and automating it makes it easier for me. One of the things which is very important in Growth Hacking is you can use Growth Hacking for both ethical and non-ethical reasons, but we are going to stick to the ethical ones which means we are just going to use technology to speed up things or to improve our lines by making less manual efforts and not to hack into the system and get email ids. That’s absolutely not what I am doing here. If they do have their email ids in the tweet I would be happy to have a script pull out those email ids from the tweet because that means they want me to send them an email. I am helping them, I am helping myself and I am not getting any data outside of what’s available publicly. Most of these tweets are public that’s why they are showing in advance search so go ahead and just run these scripts, it doesn’t matter. There are different growth hacks, there are growth hacks which are unethical as well, but we are not talking about those hacks in this webinar.

Local Search Ranking

Q5. Doesn’t google block using same numbers in different listings?

A5. What I have done is I put different addresses, but I put the same number. It becomes easy if you are going for a virtual office. Just a week back I took an address from a virtual office in Singapore because I heard that there is a lot of requirement for growth hacking in Singapore. They gave me their office phone number and I told them if someone calls, I would need an answering service (which is as cheap as 10 dollars a month) and they will redirect the calls for me. The returns from this are much greater than the investment you put in. However, you will notice that most people are going to come on your website, especially if you are in a business-like mine, but if you are in a business where you need people to call you, I suggest you have a mobile number and you put it everywhere. Prepaid sims are cheap in India, you can use that to your advantage. That’s an opportunity for you. You can have different sims in different places. The point is if you rank in a city for the first results, the advantages will outgrow the process that you have to go through. If you need any help in terms of scaling it, feel free to tweet me as well.

Q6 What are LSI search options?

A6. Just go to “lsigraph.com” that’s a good website where you can get started. What it means is that you are looking for semantic keywords as google just doesn’t necessarily look for the word density anymore. They don’t care if you have the same keyword a hundred times (which is not good). Semantic keywords can help you go a long way. You can use synonyms of keywords or keywords which are related to a specific keyword or keywords which people also search for when they search for this keyword. Those are the things which fall into that category. I think that’s more of a SEO thing, so I am not going to go too much in depth, but LSI graph is what I use. It’s a straightforward tool which lets you put in a keyword and it gives you all these LSI keywords, which you can put in your content. The idea is when you create a content you first choose your main keywords and put that into this tool, you get the LSI keywords and you put that back in your content so that you have a good SEO optimized piece of content.

Q7. We are a professional training organization offering different courses. With google search if we have same office with different courses then google doesn’t show the duplicate address then what do we do?

A7. The same office is basically like the same address which is going to be only one listing. Again, the idea of this was to have multiple addresses but if you are optimizing for one specific address then you cannot optimize for all your courses because you have limited fields where you can enter content. When you go inside you see listing names, listing address, listing category and listing keywords. However, I do have a tip for you; we had a similar problem with one of our clients which was doing coworking, accelerating as well as incubating. They were selling a lot of services. What we did is, we spoke to people in the coworking space and asked them to review the business and when they review the business we asked them to include those keywords in the reviews because as a business when you are posting the profile, you don’t have enough place to include all the keywords. Let’s say if you are selling five different courses, you can probably include keywords related to two or three courses but then two or three courses will be missed out. What you do is, for these two courses where you could not optimize the google my business listing, you go to the students who are taking these courses and ask them to review a course. Don’t ask them to review the academy itself or don’t ask them to review the institute because that is already taken care of. You ask them to review that specific course so that the keywords related to that course will at least come in the review section. Google also scans the review section for keywords when they show up your result in the local pack. That is how the SEO for the local pack works. For instance, you will see that I have around 19 reviews and if you look at the reviews, most people are talking about growth hacking because I have a very strong focus on growth hacking. However, Mapplinks Academy which is my education business also sell SEO courses, they have review of courses where people are saying your SEO courses are great. You cannot optimize all the courses and all the keywords in the listing itself, so you should optimize those keywords in the review section. That’s the way to go about it.

Side Project Marketing

Q8. Side project to be on the same domain or it’s a different sub product linking back to the original?

A8. I prefer to keep it a separate domain or a separate product, but yes, always have a link back to the main product. I also keep the branding the same. For instance, if you look at Pablo it still has buffers branding or if you look at the website grader it still has Hubspot’s branding. Unsplash however has a link, which goes back to Crew. There must be a link back. It could be on a separate domain, but it needs to have two things, one is the similar branding even the parent logo can be included, and the other thing is the link back to the parent product website.

Q9. Can you show a form type you use?

A9. Just go on typeform.com, I use the same one or you can go to mapplinks.com and see the side project that we have. The reason I use type-form is because its visually more appealing, it has very high conversion rates. Small side project like “app versus website” and “how much does an app cost” works well for me if I am selling my services as Mapplinks (a service company that sells websites). We just ask how much “does a website cost” and people fill in their information and that is a very qualified lead for us because this person is looking for how much to pay for a service that we offer. All these basic cost calculators and forms can be built by using type forms.

Q10. When you are talking about writing articles and blogs, are you talking about infographics?

A10. No, I am talking about creating side projects instead of blogs. The whole point of the hack was to make a side project which is like a form or has a specific function so that you can be perceived highly valuable compared to your competitors who are just writing blogs. You can obviously imbed the side project in different blogs that’s a different thing, but we are not creating articles, we are creating side projects. The method that you are talking about, infographics is a completely different aspect of things. That is more of a digital marketing process and not exactly a growth hack. Side project is a growth hack because it can be created very fast using something like a type-form and it pushes your conversion ratio up to a 100% as people have to fill in their email ids in order to use this tool. This is not possible with infographics. The reason why I am not talking about infographics is because it functions almost like a blog in terms of lead generation (people might or might not fill the lead form), but with the side project they have to fill the lead form.

Q11. How can the wastage be avoided in the side project marketing? (In reference to people who are just going to use the free service and exit)

A11. That job is usually done by your email marketing tool. What I make sure is that I don’t have a side project with just three fields in a form because then I get a lot of enquiries which do not make sense. If the side-project is “how much does it costs to make a website” and you ask them “How many pages they need in the website” and “Do they need a technology/bootstrap website”. You will see that all these random leads are coming into this form because you have only these three questions. It is better to have more descriptive tool for people who are rarely serious. Usually I have 7 to 8 fields in my tool like; How many pages do you need or if you need a certain function like a card service, checkout, ecommerce integration, social media integration, google maps etc. The more in-depth it is, the more serious people you will get. That would be my number one advice. Just don’t keep the tool very short. I have seen people rush through creating side project, they just put 2 or 3 questions and they get a lot of leads they can’t use. However, this will obviously be taken care of once you do the email marketing campaign to these people. I usually put everyone who has used my side project into a specific drip campaign based on which side project they have used and which option they have selected. For instance, if I am doing “How much does an app cost?”, I have an option to select between an app developer, a business owner and an entrepreneur. If he is an app developer I would put him in to a completely different drip campaign which essentially doesn’t sell directly, but if it’s a business owner I am just going to say, “this is the cost you calculated, and this is how much we are going to charge you, are you interested in our service? (Which is going to be more straightforward)”. It is going to go on a different drip campaign based on what persona the person fits into. That is another thing which you can plug in your side project to reduce waste.

Google SEO Rank

Q12 .The listing links are no follow. Does it still help?

A12. Yes, because essentially you are getting 80 per cent of the traffic for this keyword to see your placement. Let’s say that most of the clicks are going to happen on the top three or four results and then get 20% to 30% clicks on the rest. The first thing that they see inside the page is the content and then they see your add or your listing. You can drive majority of the traffic from there. You can also see the algorithm considers things like the click through rate. If they are exiting the page of this directory to your app, you get all the traffic to your app. You must obviously do a check on these directories/listings. For example, I don’t know if “knowyourmobile.com” is a no follow. I don’t know if the view is XP or not. That’s something you can quickly put in the list through a script and see how it works. I also recommend expanding this hack outside of the first page. Don’t worry that you are going to get less traffic from there. If you have listings on the second and the third page where you think you can put your app, go ahead and do that. With growth hacking the ultimate objective is not to just have ranking but to mainly have traffic and conversions which is why this hack really works well with us.

Q13. What if any company’s rankings are on top instead of directories?

A13.  Usually that happens if you are searching for long keywords. For instance, there is a company which sells logistics and you search for “Logistics companies in Bangalore”, you will probably get three companies and seven directories. Imagine, I search for “dating apps” I might get a lot of businesses and very few directories, but when I search for “apps like Tinder”, I have chosen a keyword that will give me a lot of directories. That is what you need to keep in mind. If you are getting too many businesses, you are searching for the wrong keywords.

Q14. How long can this work? Does it need to be monitored to find if these links are still available?

A14. I would recommend running this once in three months. You put the same keyword and make sure you outreach the same way you would do. If the link is still present, ignore that website. Most of the times you will find that the link is active. Once you start ranking yourself, you just must make sure that you have a good CTR and people stay on your website so that google keeps you on the first page of the result.

Product Hunt Marketing

Q17. “Twitter hack to gain prospects will help acquire influencers for product hunt marketing”. Is that correct?

A17. It’s slightly different, Twitter is just a channel that we are finding product hunt influencers. You are not finding prospects on twitter. You are going to find prospects in the followers of the twitter handles who are hard end influencers. Let’s go through this again; You find influencers on twitter who have the same target audience as you, but these people should also be on product hunt. Now, to make this process easier for you, I will give you a pre-step. Pre-step 1: You go to “producthunt.com” and you find apps which are like yours or are in the same category and you see people who have hunted those apps. The people who have hunted those apps are going to be hunters or product influencers. By using step 2, you can map how twitter handles product usernames and see which one of those have the higher influence. Now you have a person who is a hunter on product hunt but also an influencer on twitter. His followers are going to be your prospects, but that is going to happen when he hunts your product on product hunt. That is how the process works. You have to find people who are both influencers on twitter and hunters on product hunt. The best way to do that is to go on product hunt, look for apps in your category and see who the hunter for those apps are.

Q18. If I use product hunt, is it possible to maintain my brand name?

A18. Yes, Product hunt is just going to list your business/app. You can put your branding (brand name) or a cover image. Imagine, it is something like facebook for launching products, you have your cover photo, you have different photos which you can upload. Ultimately it is going to send people back to your product/link. Your branding is completely safe with product hunt.

Image Attribution

Q1. For image hacks should the “logo image” have more content?

A1. It is typically a free image. However, you may not need to put your company’s logo on it, all you need is a credit stating that you have submitted this image with a link-back to your business. It is the fastest way of getting a link-back. It’s fine if you are editing the image but I would avoid putting the logo because it would lower the chances of getting the image into a very high-level blog. For example, when I submit my image to entrepreneur.com and put my logo on the image, they probably might not include my image in their blog. It also depends on the size of the blog that you are approaching. What you can do is, you can reach out to smaller blogs that accept your image, make a list and then take the list to a bigger blog and say these are the blogs where I have contributed my images and received attributions and ask them if they would you like me to do the same for their blog because I think your blog is not visually appealing or misses a visual aspect. If you have a designer or if you can use canva, the process is going to be even better for you and you can do all sorts of things with this growth hack.

Getting Lead Databases

Q16. Any other example of websites like BuiltWith?

A16. Just google “BuiltWith alternatives” and you will get an entire list of tools. However, start with BuillWith because you will get a lot of leads. Once you run out of those leads you go for something else. Typecandy is another one which you can use but that is mostly for retail and ecommerce which is why I didn’t mention it earlier.

Competitors Hack

Q19. How can we know the growth hacking of our competitors?

A19. One of the things I do is, I analyze where their traffic is coming from. Whenever a digital website is running a growth hack successfully, you will see a spike in their traffic from a specific source which is the source they are using for their growth hack. Similarly, web and other tools let you find where the traffic to a website is coming from. The other thing that you can do is read the blogs of these companies because a lot of times I found that they just publish their successful growth hacks on their blogs. The third thing that you do is you search for the brand mentions. For instance, if a company is doing micro influencer marketing, the influencer is going to mention them on Facebook, Instagram or Linkedin (whatever source they are using). There was a fashion company that we were working with that was doing a micro influencer marketing campaign on Instagram and their idea was to give free clothes to these influencers and get a shout out from them. All we did was, we reached out to the same influencers because we knew the hashtag of the campaign, we reverse engineered it and reached out to all these influencers and did a similar campaign. We also expanded the reach to multiple other influencers and we got a lot of leads from there. I think it would also be dependent on the channel, that’s why I mentioned that you need to think like a growth hacker to spy on these hacks and figure out what they are doing. For instance, on twitter you can see what campaigns people are running just by using Tweepy. Tweepy also lets you see private twitter lists of anyone on twitter. Those are the kinds of things that you do. Again, it depends on the channel, similar web is a good one to see the traffic that they are getting and where they are getting it from. Those are some ways to identify what they are doing and of course a lot of research is the best thing you can use.

 

Bill Gates once said, “Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on internet”. Clearly content is the king but not just any content. Olga, a product marketing manager at SEMrush talks about how content can help you generate leads and what the essentials of a content should be.

If you missed it, you can view the webinar here.

Here is a brief of the questions asked during the webinar:

Content Queries

Q1. How often should the content be uploaded?

A1. It depends on your goal and the statement of your product and service. Let’s say, you have some major updates in your product or company and there is a drastic change in your existing content. You will have to update it immediately. From my experience it takes around three to six months before you need to update your content because it’s rare that something changes much in such a small amount of time or usually its some minor changes that doesn’t require an immediate update. But in three to six months’ time, you will have enough of new content or updates (something can change in the market or you can gain some new experience). Another suggestion is, when you think about the content update, it’s when you actually do content audit. You can check if your content has stopped performing as good as it did before, or if your content position has gone down in google search so that we can try to find why it started to fall.

Q2. How important is it to target the audience first and then create the content vs creating the content then publishing it to reach the masses?

A2. I would say that you must create content to establish the audience. It will go in parallel. You can’t wait till you have millions of people to follow you without creating sample or engaging gullible content. In the same time, you can create and publish 10,000 pieces of content every week and gain people. It is important to do it in parallel. You shouldn’t wait till the moment when you have a lot of people at your site. At the same time, it’s not right to create content before you have some audience to view it. If you are talking about database for newsletter, then you must write till you have at least 500 to 1000 people to send the newsletter to, but before that you can slowly create/establish your audience by publishing your pieces of your content on the blog and distribute the blog article through different channels or influencers and exchange your content with your blog partners. Step by step you will have a good bunch of content for people who are going to account for you. I hope I explained it clearly.

Q3. How does content fit into the overall business plan to help achieve goals?

A3. Let’s say, a business has a plan to increase retention, sales or brand awareness. The content will help achieve those goals. For example, at the awareness stage when we create educational content we help business increase brand awareness. Even regarding increase in sales or increase in revenue, content can help your business reach those goals such as content on the decision stage (the content we create for our customers) can help the company develop loyalty and retain customers. They can also become a fan of your tool and further advocate it. Generally, content helps to generate leads and convert those leads to your customers and then keep them retained. Content will be a good strategy to reach your business goals.

Q4. How can I increase the ROI of my content?

A4. If you want to increase ROI of your content, you must firstly see how it performs, how much traffic or leads it generates and what distribution channels are there. You will have to change it frequently and try different platforms and resources. You can also try to restructure your content and include more call to actions or lead generating forms. You must make sure that the content has those triggers. Your call to actions may not be visible or might be at a wrong place or stage of the content. For instance, if you have a long greet and your call to action is at the very end, not everyone will reach it and then they wouldn’t convert to the next stage. You will have to place you call to action in the middle of the long greet or provide the link somewhere in the middle to ensure that the person will see your call to action and won’t miss it. You will have to test different steps and types and combine some of them to prove effective.

Q5. Do you use a content calendar to plan a content and if so, do you recommend a format?

A5. Yes, I use a content calendar. Generally, I use our content marketing calendar that we have at SEMrush. They launched it recently. When we organize a new marketing campaign, I create a campaign item in the calendar. All the activity that I mark under this campaign shows in the calendar. Everybody who uses this calendar will know at which stage I am, what the stage of the content is, what time I created the campaign, who is responsible for content creation and all the other information. Before that I was just using some simple excel datasheet. In excel it was just a table where I was planning what are the dates of the activity or a content post and who is responsible for the content post. I was placing links to the drafts of the content to ensure I put the main message or main keywords that I or external writers should use while creating this piece of content.

Q6. If you are aware that you have very diverse audience segments, would you recommend different content for each segment or would you say it is better to try to cater for both in a single post?

A6. No, I would recommend different stages. If you have a lot of segments, you should decide which one you are concentrating on. It shouldn’t just be one segment it should at least be three, but don’t mix up those audience/segments in one content piece. It is better to create two with a clear message. The golden rule is “One piece of content, one clear message and one clear call to action”. Try to follow this rule.

Q7. What messaging should be embedded in the content to get the reader to take the desired actions as it relates to the main phase of the buyer’s journey and smaller call to action steps too.

A7. What we usually do is, we write a paragraph about the problem or an explanation about how to solve the problem. We explain what steps are to be taken to solve a problem or reach a goal and then at the end of the paragraph we place links. For example, if you feel that its right or if you feel that it is a good solution for you go here and see what can be done. Usually these links are the links to a content of a different stage. If I am writing educational content for awareness stage I would place the link to a consideration stage content which highlights the product benefits. If I am writing consideration stage content I can place links to case studies, landing page, free trial or a suggestions page. Just experiment with call to action at different parts of the content.

Sources for Trending News

Q8. What are some sources for what’s trending?

A8. Reddit and Quora are very good sources for trending topics. You can see conversations around everything there. I am brand monitoring all the time. I monitor my own brand, my competitors brand and some industry keywords. Let’s say, if my industry is content marketing, I will search for content marketing and see what stories are appearing around this keyword. There is Feedly, where you can find a lot of stories. They are news aggregators. There are different aggregators like Topsy but I am not using it anymore. I think it’s Reddit, Quora and brand monitoring that helps me find some trending topics.

Q9. What kind of content should you share in Reddit?

A9. Generally, we try different types of content but mostly we use “How to articles”, which explains how to handle a problem. We don’t put our product’s content instead we put educational content where we don’t explain our product features but show the steps involved in solving the problem and gently point to our solution (brand). For instance, you can say, “If you want to implement all those tools, here is some more content to know about” and then you can lead the person to your blog, where he can find how to content. This type of content is more productive.

Q2. Should the content be long or short? Is there any limit that works better on Reddit?

A2. I won’t say that there is a golden standard for this. It depends on your goal. For Instance, if you want to raise interest of a person, it is better to provide some piece of the content (sneak peak of what you can explain) and then provide the link to your blog or any content set at your site. You can then explain all the benefits of your products and get some contacts (emails or phone numbers). I think his would be better. We did try this in our practices.

Other Questions

Q10. What methods would you suggest in determining the key purchase drivers and purchase obstacles?

A10. There are different points. We can suggest a solution to the customer and say, “if you are trying to reach this goal you can try these steps”, or we can explain how to use our service or product. If the person is confused before purchasing, we can provide some comparisons. This seems to work because sometimes the customer is not sure about which solution or brand to choose because he doesn’t have all the information about the brand or he can’t clearly identify what the pluses and the minuses of a solution are. From my point of view the best quantum type would be some comparisons where you can clearly explain the pluses and the minuses. I think that works the best.

Q11. Is this for B2B marketing or B2C?

A11. I made it for B2B marketing, but some of the points/aspects might also work for B2C. It is a bit different but even your B2C buyer persona has the same stages. You must change a bit of your main messaging or the quantum types at the decision-making stage. At that stage you don’t need some huge data sheets. You can give away free trials, promo codes or some discounts to attract them towards your company. If you are talking about B2C content marketing, think in respect to the buyers at the decision-making stage.

Q12. What impacts more, backlinks or social shares?

A12. Definitely back links. If you are talking about SEO factors, social shares are good for brand awareness, but it is not proved that google really counts it as a ranking factor for your content. It does count back links so if you can choose what to work on, choose back links. Concentrate on gaining good trust worthy and relevant back links from relevant websites. It would really help.

Q13. Do you use infographics? Does infographics help with SEO?

A13. Yes, we use infographics and it also helps with SEO, but we don’t publish infographics all by itself. We create some piece of content before or after the infographics to explain points and use the targeted keywords to optimize the text for SEO optimization.

Higher education institutions’ target demographic is changing quickly. Millennials no longer dominate college campuses—Generation Z does. By some estimates, Generation Z—those born between 1995-2010—now numbers over 60 million, surpassing millennials by about one million.

What can higher education institutions do to adjust to this new population? And—perhaps most critically—how can administrators ensure they are effectively recruiting prospective Generation Z students, and doing so in a relevant manner? 

Known as the “instant generation,” Generation Z is the first group in society raised entirely on technology. They’re mobile-based and expect immediate answers to questions—and, according to the National Association for College Admission Counseling, also prioritize one-on-one communication. Higher education institutions that don’t adjust to Generation Z’s communication style may run the risk of being unable to effectively connect with them.

Fortunately, there is technology tailored to reaching Generation Z applicants. Contemporary marketing automation and customer relationship management (CRM) platforms have features such as a mobile app, allowing admission teams to respond to messages quickly. Prospects’ phone numbers are also readily available, encouraging and enabling texting—Generation Z’s preferred method of communication.

CRM software also notifies admissions if an applicant shows interest, like if they visit a program’s webpage, so a staff member can reach out. And each interaction is quantitatively measured, resulting in an applicant’s “lead score.” The lead score helps recruiters comparatively weigh, assess and prioritize a group of applicants, giving recruiters insight into the “best” ones to pursue.

Now, back to our Generation Z applicants and how to best communicate with them. The list shown below provides 10 tactics to help you best connect with Generation Z—many of which directly correlate to marketing automation and CRM software. Whether you utilize CRM or not, these pointers can help you develop and nurture leads more strategically, engaging the “instant generation” in ways that resonate.

1. Use mobile and app-based technology – Generation Z is tech-savvy and on-the-go. App-based communication allows them to receive the instant feedback they crave, while multitasking multiple conversations.

2. Respond quickly – As “digital natives,” they’re used to in-the-moment responses. Promptness of reply to questions helps you compete with the many other messages they receive.

3. Text – This is by far Generation Z’s preferred communication method. It allows for timely responses that can be managed anytime, anyplace.

4. Communicate one-on-one –  Despite their emphasis on mobile technology, according to this survey, 39% of Generation Z say one-on-one communication is the most effective form. Take the time to speak with them individually—whether through text, or face-to-face.

5. Personalize as much as you can –  Attention spans are now shorter than ever, with some estimates at around 6-8 seconds per content piece. Personalization is a way to combat this, giving you the means to connect more deeply with prospects.

6. Evolve based on interests and engagement-  Gen Z expects communication to evolve depending on what they like, and how frequently they contact you. They expect you to be as savvy as they are, making good data collection all the more critical.

7. Be e-mail selective-  Less than 20% of Generation Z reports they’re likely to use e-mail for professional purposes. That doesn’t mean e-mail marketing is obsolete, but it does mean you have to be careful about what you’re communicating via e-mail, and how frequently.

8. Be authentic- As a population constantly bombarded with brands and advertisements, Generation Z prizes authenticity above else. They describe themselves as “loyal, compassionate and genuine” and expect the same in their communications.

9. Emphasize practicality- Gen Z spent their formative years in the great recession, so they tend to be frugal and outcomes-based. Focusing on practicality—like the value of a degree—can help keep prospects engaged.

10. Utilize Instagram- This is where you’ll find Generation Z on social media. They value “compelling micro-moments” that appeal to shorter attention spans and draw them in visually.

Higher Education Trends

The collection and use of data is becoming increasingly more critical in higher education. Marketing and admissions teams don’t just utilize it—they rely on it. And, with the availability of technology that does the tough data analysis work for them, recruiting teams can inform their strategy more effectively than ever before.

 

The proliferation of data in higher education, while generally a positive trend, also holds its challenges—especially for information technology teams. More and more, university IT teams are expected to support recruiting efforts with well-analyzed data, but often without the resources to do so. SevOne’s 2018 whitepaper “5 Top IT Challenges in Higher Education” highlights this as a key issue, claiming that IT teams need “better data management tools.”

 

One of these tools, according to Ann Parambil, Associate Director of CRM Systems at American University, is CRM software. A well-designed CRM helps organize and analyze collected data, she says, allowing her to make well-informed recruiting recommendations.

 

 

“CRM software helps us better understand what the data means,” Parambil says, “so we can adjust the way we do business.”

 

 

Parambil notes the ability to identify and analyze trends is what’s most useful. The software displays data like applicants’ GPAs, personal interests and finances in one clean view, giving her an in-depth understanding of each prospect. It allows her to identify data patterns over time, like a consistent interest or concern, and respond accordingly.

higher education trends

“When you review data, you can’t just look at one piece—you have to look across. CRM software shows us the full picture,” Parambil says.

 

CRM also allows her to identify trends within the sales funnel. Parambil and her team can easily track how much time it takes for an inquiry to become an applicant—and when inquiries disappear altogether. She can then study prospects with longer application timelines, investigating potential barriers to success that recruiting teams can address.

“I can look at the results and analyze where we’re successful and where we’re not,” Parambil says. CRM’s greatest strength, however, is not its ability to generate more leads or applicants. It’s in fostering what Parambil calls a “tech-savvy culture.”

 

“It’s about creating a mindset of using CRM as a way of doing business, rather than just as a tool,” she says. “It’s important people understand the technology behind it.”

 

This is one of Parambil’s highest goals. She wants to educate staff on the many facets of CRM technology—an endeavor that directly addresses her team’s data challenges. If recruiting and admission officers also understand how to use CRM data effectively, the responsibility doesn’t just fall on IT teams, explains Parambil. “It’s more like ‘we’re all in this together.”

 

More than anything, Parambil sees CRM software as a resource for success. It provides the technology needed to effectively collect and analyze data, helping IT teams generate useful insights for admission officers. And, if managed carefully, holds the potential to completely re-define a university’s tech culture.

 

“Put simply: it changes the way we do business,” says Parambil.

field sales application

If you have read our CRM guide, you’d know how important a mobile field sales app along with your inside sales team. But what about those unsung heroes who go out in the sun and rain (and sometimes, snow) to sell. Don’t they deserve the same sort of empowering? Don’t they deserve their job to be made a tad bit easier too? They do, right?

That’s why you should consider getting a field sales app for your agents. Plus, it makes sense from the business perspective as well. An organized team means more work done, fewer confusions, and increased productivity.

Why you need a field sales app?

Most of the time, your field agents would go out to meet only sales qualified leads. They usually plan their sales routes manually and would have to remember where and when their follow-ups are. Their work might also require them to collect and verify documents.

Doing all this manually would only lead to confusion and a lot of missed meetings. That is why having a field sales app designed to handle all their woes is the answer.

field sales mobile app

How to overcome hurdles using field sales mobile app?

Before choosing a field sales app for your team, you should first know your requirements. What is the main goal of your field sales team, what is their typical day like, how big is your team? These questions will help you zero in one tool.

Listed below are some common problems that field agents face, and how you can solve them using a good field sales software.

Problem 1: Unable to plan their route properly

Without an app, field agents might end up planning a really erratic day for themselves. They might start at point A for their first meeting, then travel 10 miles south to point B and then again travel 12 miles north to point C. This is simply a waste of time as he spent most of his day traveling.

Solution: The field sales management app should show the agent what meetings have been scheduled for the day and what their status is. Also, he should be able to figure out what his best route should be.

Problem 2: Miss out on meetings and appointments

When an agent has 50 meetings scheduled for the week, chances are he/she may miss out on some of them. This could be either due to lack of time or simply because he/she forgot. This could lead to a loss of business for the company.

Solution: The field sales management app should send reminders before the meeting so that the chances of them forgetting is low. Also, when a new lead is assigned to them or a new task is created for them, they should receive instant notifications. This way they can follow up with the lead immediately and reduce the callback time.

how to improve field sales

 

Problem 3: Manually searching for leads

There are chances that sometimes the agent may be done with his meetings for the day, or his appointment may have been canceled. So, instead of wasting this time, he might want to reach out to other leads in the vicinity. But manually keeping track of a lead’s location is next to impossible.

Solution: Your app should track where your leads are and let you know the leads you can reach out to. This way you will save time and increase the productivity of your agents.

Problem 4: Unable to add leads directly

While on their sales route, your agent may see a potential lead and choose to do a walk-in. Calling cards may be exchanged and the agent has to remember to input the details into your CRM. If he forgets, the lead may be lost. Additionally, the agent may get calls or texts from a potential client, which may also meet the same fate.

Solution: The agent should be able to add leads into the CRM directly through the field sales mobile app. Chances of error will be drastically reduced. Also, the mobile app should be able to capture incoming calls and texts as leads automatically.

Problem 5: Cannot use the mobile app offline

While on their route, they may run out of battery on their phone. Or they may simply be in an area where cell phone reception is not so great. In such cases, using their internet to log their meetings or to enter new leads might not be possible.

Solution: The field sales app should have offline working capabilities. This way even if the user does not have internet, he can still perform his sales functions without any hurdles.

Problem 6: Unable to track field sales agents

In some rare cases, there are chances where the field agent may exaggerate his day or even lie about the meetings he’s had. It might get difficult for the manager to know precisely how productive the agent has been.

Solution: The field sales mobile application should accurately track the route that the agent has traveled, the number of meetings he has had, his check-in and check- out timings as well as the number of miles he’s covered that day. This makes the process transparent and easier to track

Problem 7: No proper analytics of agents’ performance

Unlike the inside sales team, the field sales team is not linked directly to the CRM. Which means that precise attribution in terms of salespeople, revenue and geography may not be possible.

Solution: By having detailed reports for the app usage, the sales manager can accurately check the productivity and efficiency of their field sales team. Additionally, having a CRM which syncs data between both the desktop and mobile applications would simplify the process more.

Now you know how your field agents can become more efficient with a sales app. Consider getting them an app which comes linked to a CRM to make it easier for them and you. This way you don’t have to switch between multiple tools. LeadSquared field sales software (available on Playstore and App store) fits the bill perfectly and is the perfect tool to empower your field agents.