8 ways automation can help you nurture and manage leads

Zapier Editorial Team
Zapier Editorial Team / Published March 24, 2020

No matter what business you're in, leads—those special contacts that seem most likely to purchase your products or services—are what you most strive for. The more people in your sales funnel, the more potential for new sales and customer retention.

But maintaining the flow of leads can be an extremely tedious job with lots of manual work. There are many moving parts in the lead management puzzle: forms, CRMs, email marketing lists, eCommerce platforms, and so much more. Moving information between these apps can quickly become overwhelming.

A few simple automations can do some of this work, leaving you with plenty of time to help move those leads down the funnel. Here are a few ideas for getting started—and some real-life examples of how businesses automate their lead management with Zapier.

Add leads from multiple sources to your CRM

One of the biggest challenges of lead management is dealing with the many places your leads come from. Most businesses use a combination of web forms, ads, eCommerce transactions, and events to find new prospective customers. At the same time, however, you probably want to track and manage those leads in one central app, like your CRM or marketing automation platform.

Instead of moving those leads into your preferred app by hand—either by copying and pasting or exporting and then uploading a CSV file—you can set up Zaps—Zapier's automated workflows—to do it for you.

Collect leads from form entries

"The Zap eliminates the need for us to re-enter fields the customer already provided us, saving our sales team considerable time and energy."

Most of us have used the most tried-and-true online lead generation method out there: a form embedded on a website. But once someone enters their information into the form, then what? If you find yourself spending a significant amount of time manually copying information from that form and pasting it into your CRM, consider using automation to cut that step out entirely.

"We embed a Wufoo form called 'We'd Like To Carry Fullsteam!' on our website," Sean Wilson of Fullsteam Brewery tells us. "A potential customer fills out the form and, thanks to Zapier, that data goes directly into Batchbook, creating both a Company and Individual record. We still need to add information to make it a Batchbook sales deal, but that requires a customer interaction anyway. The Zap eliminates the need for us to re-enter fields the customer already provided us, saving our sales team considerable time and energy."

Collect leads from surveys

"That whole process is very time consuming—time that we just couldn’t afford any longer!"

Much like forms, surveys are another great way to generate interest and capture leads. A survey allows you to take the lead process just a bit further and ask more detailed questions you may not want to include on a simple form. And when you can automate that data and send it right into another tool, massive amounts of time can be saved.

"Here at Amplify Research Partners, we make great use of using Zapier to connect SurveyMonkey and Google Sheets," explains Kimberly Wakefield, Project and Data Associate.

"We are a market research firm and have many studies happening each month, and we use SurveyMonkey to conduct the first portion of the research. Without Zapier, we had to manually export all the responses from each survey, reformat this exported data, and upload the reformatted data to Google Sheets. That whole process is very time consuming—time that we just couldn’t afford any longer!

"Zapier removes the tedious steps of reformatting and simply puts our data from SurveyMonkey into Google Sheets. Now we have nearly real-time data from our surveys that allows us to continue on to the next portion of the research while the first portion is running automatically."

Treat eCommerce purchases as leads

"As soon as a transaction is processed, our marketing and sales teams have actionable data in Salesforce to fulfill the sale or follow up with other opportunities."

When someone purchases your product or service, they become an entirely different type of lead—a customer, one you want to work as hard as possible to retain. By taking those purchasers and automatically turning them into qualified leads in your sales app, you can easily nurture and maintain that relationship without all of the tedious work.

"While eCommerce is a big part of our business, a lot of our orders take place offline or over the phone," explains Shane Quast, Director of Digital Marketing for PureWRX.

"Maintaining two separate customer databases for online versus offline was becoming very difficult for us, especially from a customer service perspective. A customer would place an order online and call for an update and our phone reps had no record of the order in Salesforce.

"[Now] all BigCommerce online orders are pushed by Zapier and create a Closed/Won opportunity in Salesforce. When our sales team runs reports on close rates and sales, all online orders are included."

Collect leads from business cards

"Every hour is precious. Highly suggest utilizing Zapier to increase your efficiency and reduce your time spent on tedious tasks."

We've all received plenty of business cards over the years, but what to do with them? In the past, you most likely had to input them all by hand into your CRM. Now with business card scanner apps, you can snap a quick photo of those cards and have Zapier add their information to your CRM automatically.

"I have been on a conference and expo spree, promoting my company Adistry, over the past 30 days and have amassed about 200 business cards," says Meghan Larson. "It used to take me about 90 seconds to fill out all the details in Pipedrive. Some quick math puts me at saving over five hours worth of work because of Contacts+!

"As a business in an accelerator, every hour is precious. I highly suggest utilizing Zapier to increase your efficiency and reduce your time spent on tedious tasks."

Nurture mailing list signups

"With Zapier, it all syncs, keeping us all on the same page and eliminating the need for data being entered multiple times throughout several platforms."

When you do acquire a new lead, getting them into the proper email marketing channel is critical. You'll not only want to ensure they receive timely communications from you, but will also want to be sure your message is tailored to the reasons they reached out in the first place.

"We utilize Formstack to handle all of our drop off residential technology repairs with a form we built," says Jason McAnich, CTO of J.Tek.

"We love the Mailchimp integration, as it allows us to automatically add new clients to our mailing list, and ones that contact us via any of the other forms we use. We no longer have duplicate or missing data from one system or another. With Zapier, it all syncs, keeping us all on the same page and eliminating the need for data being entered multiple times throughout several platforms."

Zapier can also create new contacts in your CRM whenever a subscriber is added to a specific list in your email marketing software.

"When I have people who are added to my AWeber newsletter that goes out, it automatically creates a Contactually user for me," says Zapier user Chris Berry. "I can then bucket them appropriately or just keep them on my 'drip' list."

Build relationships with event attendees

"No longer are the days of manually tagging contacts who registered in GoToWebinar. Now I can kick back and let Zapier take care of all the automation!"

Event management is a tough gig. The good news is, you don't need to deal with the added stress of manually adding event attendees to your CRM. Instead, connect your event and contact management tools to each other.

James Wright of Kaleidoscope Global connects GoToWebinar to Infusionsoft for seamless event management. "We use Zapier for automating our recurring GoToWebinar registrations, and to segment those who attended versus those who didn't," he says.

"No longer are the days of manually tagging contacts who registered in GoToWebinar. Now I can to kick back and let Zapier take care of all the automation! This leaves me more time to focus on getting great content to our client base!"

Automate email responses

"This feature is great because visitors expect to be contacted quickly and get the information that was promised."

Sometimes, you might want to follow up with a lead personally. Knowing you took the time to reach out can mean a lot to the lead. You probably don't have the time, though, to write original responses to every single person who contacts you. So—automate it. Then you can invest your time and energy into nurturing those leads as they move down your marketing funnel.

"With Sumo and Zapier, I am able to collect the visitors' email address [from my website] and then can send an automatic reply that sends more information," says Neal Brown from The LIMU Company. "This feature is great because visitors expect to be contacted quickly and get the information that was promised. Sumo and Zapier are helping build my business, easily and effectively without additional costs."

Created with information from previous articles authored for Zapier by Alison Groves and contributions by Hannah Herman.

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