I’ve got a client in the motor trade who gets about 2 000 leads a month from 22 different online sources:
As you can imagine, keeping track is hard. He had a gut feel that their online advertising was producing sales. But he couldn't tell exactly where each sale came from. He didn't know if Facebook leads were profitable. He didn't know if it was worth investing more in Google or if he should reduce the budgets. He couldn't tell if the suppliers were sending as many leads as they promised.
This wasn't from a lack of trying...
His assistant spent the first two weeks of every month prising last month's results from the sales managers. Then she typed all 2 000 leads into a huge spreadsheet. By the end of the month he had a rough idea of how profitable each lead source had been the previous month.
But, trying to optimise your ad budget from stale shaky data is only slightly better than guessing.
A few months ago he hired me to build a custom sales engine to give him the data he needs to make the right decisions about his advertising.
The first problem we faced was getting the leads into the sales engine.
Each lead source delivers the leads by email. Obviously we could have had someone copy and paste from the lead emails into the sales engine. But, with a few thousand leads a month that was going to be a boring job, and there would inevitably be mistakes.
Zapier is a service that lets you connect web applications and automate workflow. It can slurp information like name, email address, phone number etc from lead delivery emails and pass it to your lead management system.
Here's a high-level view of how to use Zapier to put your leads into your lead management system.
Set up an email address for each lead source in Zapier’s email parser. One email address for your website leads, another email address for your Facebook leads etc. You need an address for each source because the emails are different from each source.
Tell the lead source to send your leads to the Zapier email address. If they can't send to Zapier you can set up a rule in your inbox to forward the lead emails to the right Zapier email address.
Tell Zapier what information to extract from the email.
Tell Zapier how to send that to your lead management system.
Once it's set up it'll run automatically and new leads will appear in your lead management system as if by magic.
Here's an example.
The screenshot below shows a MarketingMotor lead email in my regular inbox.
The next screenshot is what Zapier shows me the first time I get an email.
You’ll see I’ve highlighted the name, email and phone number. That’s what I want Zapier to extract.
You only have to do this once. After that Zapier will extract the name, email and phone number from new messages as they arrive. Then it'll send that information to the lead management system without any work on my part.
I found a video on YouTube that illustrates this well.