One of the challenges of managing leads in sales for startups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is to follow up with the leads they acquire, and effectively convert them into business opportunities. A lot of enterprises, startups, and SMEs use the available CRM tools and complex products, but it can be a task sometimes to keep track of and effectively manage the leads using those systems. And for many others, they may also not be cost effective.
This is where LeadSquared, a Bangalore-based startup, comes into the picture. LeadSquared offers basic and usable lead and task management features to avoid the challenges of using and implementing the complex CRM systems.
Founded in June 2011 with a focus on driving success for sales and marketing teams of businesses, it aspires to help out startups and SMEs.
"In the first year, we were offering marketing services to drive lead generation success for our customers. In mid-2012, we started working on building LeadSquared marketing software and launched beta in March 2013," said Nilesh Patel, CEO of LeadSquared, in an email.
So, what does LeadSquared do? It drives the core value of helping businesses capture, engage, and convert leads from online marketing. It simplifies lead capture from various online sources, and helps identify leads with buying interest and engage and nurture leads until they convert.
Its product is targeted for SMBs, particularly from businesses that generate leads online from websites, Google AdWords, social ads, or other similar media; essentially, businesses that are spending online to generate leads. Its focus is on attracting customers in the India-US market, and with its USP being simplicity and effectiveness at the price point that it's offering, it seems the logical market to explore both in terms of growth and overall sales.
Considering the aspect of lean startups spread wide across the globe, and growth hacking making its way among almost all startups and SMEs, this startup helps businesses fundamentally see that lead is the "return" on the marketing investment.
"LeadSquared offers an easy way to help businesses and marketers organize their return on marketing ('leads') and help them identify the leads which are most likely to convert into business," added Patel.
Some of the features of its product are listed below.
This feature is a tool to design, publish, and analyze landing pages. It allows for the creation of a ready-to-use, conversion-optimized landing page with various templates and a DIY HTML editor to modify templates or custom design new landing pages. It also helps out with SEO to achieve a high-quality score for ad keywords in Google AdWords and Bing Ads.
This feature provides for sending email campaigns with better delivery and tracking capabilities. It also offers dozens of ready-to-use email templates for newsletters, product promotions, offers, etc.
Lead scoring and lead management
This seems to be an interesting feature that helps to automatically score and profile leads with an automated lead scoring element to track lead engagement. Lead tracking to find the content that is engaging leads can channelize the efforts and drive a more focused approach. Essentially, I feel it helps to know your leads better through segmentation. The dynamic lists let you group leads by using "and/or" logic .The lists grow or shrink automatically as lead values change. Static lists let you carve out a segment of leads from a lead database.
Just like any other great tool, this aspect is important for driving key performance indicators of the efforts that the startups put in. Helping in measuring and improving marketing, this allows startups to find top sources of leads and visitors, landing pages, and email campaigns, and analyze website traffic for keywords and visitor patterns.
Connectors and integration
Lastly, this is an important feature that helps connect with tools and applications that you use in your marketing. Emails sent to leads from Outlook and Gmail can now be tracked with the help of these connectors. It also allows users to get themselves notified if the leads open or links are clicked in your emails.
With the aspect of business development and lead management being key in today's ever-evolving startup world, there certainly are a lot of competitors to LeadSquared. They are compared against the likes of Marketo, Pardot, HubSpot, and Infusionsoft, said Nilesh Gupta. However, according to him, all of these marketing platforms are rather more complex, and that's where it has the edge.
Currently, it has about 80 customers and is trying to add them at a consistent pace. Its marketing is focused on a mix of inbound channels — paid advertisements, content marketing, lead generation webinars, and free marketing tools.
This is quite a strong market, considering that many startups these days look towards better tools to manage the key functions involving converting great leads into greater business opportunities. While it's difficult to say whether the existing competitors in the market will be a big challenge for LeadSquared, its pricing of basic, standard, and professional ($100, $250, and $500, respectively) offers for a typically functional advantage over others. Considering its USP is simplicity, it could prove to be lot easier to gain more customers.