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List of Top Lead Management Tools

List of Top Lead Management Tools

List of Top Lead Management Tools

Marketing and sales is actually a lot more complicated now given the array of online and offline channels you have to be on. The challenge is to generate leads online from your website, social media, email marketing, PPC, SEM, etc. and then manage and track progress as these potential buyers move forward through your sales funnel.

You need a strong sales process, and a skilled and experienced sales team to make this work. But even that’s not enough because it’s hard, if not impossible, to manually manage it. What you really need is a CRM or other lead management tool.

Desired Features in Lead Management Tools

Everybody knows about CRMs, or has at least heard of CRM platforms such as Salesforce, Hubspot, etc. It’s less likely that you know about any other lead management tool, or even any other sales tool, for that matter.

CRM is not just about lead management – it’s just one of the features in a CRM, along with sales analytics and reports, forecasting, collaboration, team performance, gamification, etc. The point is that there are benefits to getting a tool that is a dedicated lead management platform, as opposed to a CRM that has some features.

To make it simple for you, here’s a list of the features you need:

1. Marketing Automation – This is the part where you generate leads and feed them into the lead management system. If you don’t have marketing automation, 95% of your time will be spent generating leads and adding them manually into the database.

For example, a website visitor fills in a feedback form asking for more information, or downloads a product brochure by giving you an email. Now if your form or mailing list isn’t automated, the data comes to your email and sits there, waiting to be discovered by you.

But if you make good use of MailChimp and an email autoresponder, you can initiate an instant response, and also automatically enter the lead data into your system. Meaning that you have now generated a lead and fed it into your lead management tool with zero effort.

2. Lead Scoring – Lead scoring ensures that the leads that are most likely to convert get fed to your sales team before the other leads.
3. Lead Qualification – Lead qualification ensures that only interested buyers are pushed forward through the funnel.
4. Segmentation – Segmentation makes it possible to respond to each segment in a custom manner that will increase the conversion rate of each segment, and your overall lead conversion rate too.
5. Lead Distribution – This is one of the biggest headaches for sales managers. You need to ensure that each lead is distributed to the right sales team member who is qualified to handle that lead, and is available.

6. Lead Nurturing – Most buyers don’t agree to buy in the first call or meeting. On average, it needs 6-8 followups to close sales leads. Even then, there are leads who will not commit to anything. These leads go into a nurture track, where you keep them informed and stay in touch without trying to close the deal.

7. CRM Integration – Without CRM integration, your leads are stuck in a silo that can’t be a part of the sales cycle. It’s essential that your tool should offer the ability to integrate with Salesforce, Hubspot and other popular CRMs.

8. Lead Response – If not responsed to in time, leads will be lost or taken by the competition. Studies show that responding to a lead within 5 minutes makes you 7 times more likely to qualify the lead than someone who responds in an hour. Did you know that over 50% of buyers choose the business that responds first, before anyone else?

9. Analytics & Reports – The analytics should show you everything from the lead generation rate to conversions and the conversion rate.

Salesforce, Hubspot and Other Lead Management Tools

I know I asked you to exclude CRMs, but you can’t keep Salesforce and Hubspot out of the fray. Salesforce is a powerful CRM, and offers a huge amount of functionality through third-party sales tools integration. Hubspot is free, and also provides a powerful array of features for managing leads and integrating the data with other sales tools.

So here’s the full list, including these two and 8 more tools that will do the job for you:

1. Salesforce
2. Hubspot
3. Pipedrive
4. Zoho
5. Lucep
6. LeadSquared
7. Reply
8. Bitrix24
9. Velocify
10. Marketo

One last tip – Select 3 of these as a shortlist, and then take a free trial for each one. Use them for a couple of weeks and see which one you are more comfortable with. If you’re not happy with it, then you won’t be able to use it. It’s vitally important that you feel it’s easy to use and actually helps you.

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Writing Novel for Amateurs: Tips and Hints


Many people have such goal to write at least one book and publish it, others want to become professional writers and search a universal instruction how to write a novel for dummies. Sure, fame and glory of popular bestseller’s author is very attractive perspective. However, there is no certain recipe for success. Thousands of amateur writers fail after finishing their first book and give up trying. In a great number of cases, work may be not even printed by publishing house. It sounds quiet disappointing. So how can one deal with all difficulties and reach prosperity as a writer? This article describes main steps in writing and then selling the pioneer novel in a plain and clear way. Pay attention to these tips if you don’t want to make first book be the last one.

No Perkiness

Being overconfident in own talent and skills in case of amateur writers doesn’t lead to success. There are thousands of such authors among the world, however very few of pioneer novels become bestsellers. As a rule most of them don’t even get the access for publishing from editor. Sure, that doesn’t mean you have to be erratic and hesitant one. Just avoid showing off and bragging even if you have some attainments.

Be Unique

Shelves in bookshops are full of low-grade literature with banal themes, no vital message, which is suitable only for reading in a bus or train. Don’t be one of these ephemeral writers whose names will be forgotten by public in several days. Stay original and extra-ordinal, generate your own ideas instead of copying something trendy. In that way you will reach your own audience and true interest to your creative works. Avoid adapting the novels and its messages to the contemporary fashion in literature. This is a feature of poor and stock writer.

Creating Workplace

This is a significant step as well, as atmosphere influences the mood of an author and may have a good or bad impact on work process. Furthermore, you will definitely spend a lot of time writing novel so that place has to be comfortable and cozy. Put a great and bright lighting to save your eyesight and choose comfy chair. Care about the noise isolation to avoid digressing and confusing. It is possible to turn on some calm and quiet music which inspires you.

Main Plot

That is time to decide about what the story will go. The only limits are your imagination. Of course, firstly you should make up your mind concerning what kind of novel you write, fictional, fantasy, detective etc. According to some style criteria make a plan for the book. As a rule, a moment where a conflict should be, is the center of story. That may include conflict in main hero’s mind or soul, his fight against injustice, disgusting society canons, evil characters and so on. Besides the main plot there may be plenty side stories, which help to explain the message of the book better. However, be careful: if you overdo with these second plans the most significant things will be left without attention.

Creating Characters

That step demands as much efforts and fantasy as possible. You have to invent everything by yourself, from first and last name to the smallest appearance details. It is better to write down biography and specific features of your characters on the separate paper in order to avoid inaccuracies during the storytelling. Remember that not only several main personages play a role, care about second plan as well in order to make a novel amusing one. Maybe you have a real prototype for character creating. Don’t forget about relationship, it is good idea to connect everybody who is described in a novel. Avoid perfect personages: Mary Sue doesn’t attract readers anymore. Based on research, psychologists claim that people are more attracted to those, who make mistakes or are somehow not ideal in their behavior. People like to see somebody extra-ordinary, with own evil and good sides. Sometimes books about life of ordinary citizens become bestsellers. It depends on how you perform the story.

Choose Time

Establish at least nominal time limits for your story. It really matters, if there are historical details, in architecture or people’s behavior, for example. No doubt, it will be a great failure when in Medieval Age peasant will live in pretty decorated house and have a table full of products. Take into consideration specialties of each epoch, people lifestyle, ideology, clothes, food and so on. Don’t rely only on your thought, better make a simple research and check various information sources. In case you create a fantasy world you may also create your own era with imaginary history.

Main Location

Sure, if you work on fantasy novel there should be completely new world, with its own states, geography and politic. Many famous writers create a map with some denominations to make it easier to orient in imaginative places. In case events in your novel take place in real world you should definitely use map as well. It will help to avoid geographical lapses and make a story more veracious. Search some information about local features as traditions, food, housing and so on, if you write about a foreign place.


Amateurs often don’t understand the importance of this step and neglect it vainly. To make truly commercially successful novel it is not enough just to write down the story and send it to the publishing house. Professionals usually spend days checking text for mistakes and inaccuracies. Moreover, revision is a nice possibility to cut off scenes or dialogs you find unsuitable and add something new to the story. It means improving the book, making it free from boredom and developing main message. Don’t be in a hurry and take some time for relax. You should not follow the advice of Horace and wait for 9 years to see whether the novel is worth publishing, but a few weeks will be right that. After that, read your writing again and try to estimate it. It is a good idea to ask friends or parents for revision of the manuscript.

Send It

That is the final step, when you have to send your creation to publisher. It is time to choose the cover for book and illustrations if there is a need. Don’t disdain it, as envelope is the first thing customer will see in bookshop and it may influence his choice whether to read. You may also perform presentation of your book, communicate with the audience or journalists. If the novel is successful, start writing the next one to reach the fame of a great author.

To sum up, it is not an easy thing to create own novel. Difficulties – as absence of inspiration or ideas – are common troubles of every author. The point is not giving up in stressful situation. Believing in oneself and own power is what makes an average writer a great one. Work and improve personal qualities and skills even if failures occur, they are the compulsory elements of a way to success. Don’t hide or adapt your talent: people appreciate honesty and openness in literature, but not trying to be in trend. Remember that it is impossible to become the best one in several days, it demands efforts and pains. If you are ready for these, just take your laptop and start writing.

Author Bio

Patrick works as a contributor at He is a former editor of a small town newspaper publishing. He is an avid fan of social media, and runs his own page for writing enthusiasts for his college. With the rising clamor for healthy living, Patrick immersed himself with water sports.

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Publish Online and Make Money

If you want to realise a dream by publishing your own book, there are lots of companies willing to extract Publish your book with CreateSpace: get high royalties, low book prices, and expanded distribution. upwards of $500 from you for the privilege. At the other end of the spectrum is Amazon’s digital text platform, which allows you to upload your pre-prepared files to its Kindle reader and then set your own price.

The catch? Amazon takes 65% of the income from sales. Ouch. Fortunately, there are lots of other options – of which more later – for budding authors. What you get out of them is subject only to the limits of your imagination.

It doesn’t have to be an embryonic bestseller because self-publishing is best suited to limited editions. Anything over 1,000 copies and you would be better off going to a traditional printer to take advantage of economies of scale. I know a lot people who are self-publishing a record of their own lives together with memories of their parents and grandparents as a bit of family history. That’s not vanity publishing, just a great way to preserve memories for future generations and add to the archive of local history. Self-publishing is ideal for that.

Others publish their blogs or photo albums. Every year I try to put the best photos of the past 12 months from a photo site ( in my case) so we have the equivalent of the traditional photo album which will last longer than my Flickr subscription and my hard disk. You could equally download an out-of-copyright book from the not-for-profit Gutenberg archive or from the millions of books Google has scanned (maybe for your book club) or extracts from the Wikipedia – and it’s all legal.

For years I have written poems as a relaxing pastime – rather like other people collect stamps. I couldn’t face the prospect of collecting rejection notes from agents and publishers so decided to self publish. The first book I did by paying for 1,000 copies to be printed in the traditional way (because it was only a little bit more expensive than printing 500). Expensive mistake.

By the time a second book was ready new technology came to the rescue. I used, which enables you to upload files and cover designs for nothing, and launched it in the virtual world Second Life (at no extra cost to a member). For marketing, I experimented with “product placement” by attaching poems to photos or paintings on Flickr and other sites thereby generating discussions that you wouldn’t get with traditional publishing where the author is remote from the reader.

Through a chance meeting on Facebook and other social media networking sites. My new book I hope to publish on Lulu and an iPhone app, if I can find a decent one. The point about all this is that new technology offers new and cheap ways both to publish and promote your books and we are only at the start of the learning curve.

Which self-publishing site to choose? There has been a lot of change recently. This is partly because of Amazon entering the market (and now Apple as well) but also because the process is becoming simpler and the operation more vertically integrated. Amazon has bought Createspace and Lulu has purchased We Read, a social book club with a presence on Facebook and other social sites with a claimed 3 million readers. This could help it towards reaching the nirvana of self-publishing: to become the iTunes of books.

I’ve had mixed feelings about Lulu in recent years. In principle, it is a breath of fresh air being an open source site that claims to put the interests of authors above all else (unlike the increasingly proprietary Amazon). In practice, there have been problems – not least ludicrously high postage costs (sometimes more than the cost of the book) delays of weeks before delivery and issues about payments which readers have told me about.

They seem to be through these problems, however, and now print in the UK so delivery takes days rather than weeks and postage is down to more reasonable levels. The proof of my latest book arrived while writing this column, five days after pressing the final button.

If you use their template, publishing is remarkably easy – you upload your manuscript in PDF form, drag photos across for the front and back covers. It could all be over in 20 minutes (if you don’t make silly mistakes as I tend to). It doesn’t cost you anything until the first purchase and Lulu lets you keep 80% of the proceeds (after deduction of the printing cost of each book). Lulu expanded by 20% last year and publishes over 400,000 titles a year which it claims is “almost twice as many as by America’s entire traditional publishing industry”.

Lulu is my favourite for text-driven books, but if you are more interested in picture-driven publications then is the one to choose. It is easy to use – if you stick to the easy templates – and you can easily import photos directly from Flickr other photo sites. The standard of reproduction is impressive (as long as the original resolution is good) and they helpfully flag up photos that they don’t think make the grade in terms of quality. Lulu and Blurb aren’t the only fruit and, if you have time, it is worth trawling through some of the dozens if not hundreds of minnows that keep popping up – while being on guard lest they are trying to take a quick buck from you. There are various lists of top 10s on the web, or just try your luck with something like Fastpencil which looks easy to use though I haven’t followed it through to publication orCompletelyNovel which is based in the UK.

The digital revolution has turned the music industry upside down but it is moving at a more leisurely pace in books where self-publishing hasn’t yet taken off in a really big way.

The question this week is whether, once again, Apple will change the game by providing an easy way to publish and generate a conversation. There is still a vast market out there for the taking.

Self publishing is not for the faint-hearted, for while it appears relatively easy to use these online resources such as Lulu to get something into print, the reality is slightly more involved. For not only do you have to create something you believe is worthwhile to share with whoever decides to buy it, you have to be your own editor, proof-reader, compositor and layout artist and having mastered that you have to become versed in the art of self-promotion and marketing so that your cherished tome does not languish unread on the hard-drive of the publishing house. These skills are not naturally inherent in a budding author, and for all the guidance that is provided in helping you along the way, your first publication will be littered with errors and mistakes that you will review and revise, it will also lack a degree of Quality Control that levitates it beyond being a home-made vanity project into something worth selling.

Of course that is not to say there isn’t a degree of charm, achievement and self-pride of what you produce in this manner. I purchased a single copy for proof reading and revision. The next step is to actually make those revisions and correct those annoying little errors in spelling, grammar, textual flow, formatting, fonts, page layout and the minor hiccoughs in plot, narrative, characterisation and basic story-line.

By Shashikant Nishant Sharma

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Changes in Publishing Industry

It’s a fact that predictions, analyzed in retrospect, help shape our understanding of the present and future.

Predictions stir our imagination of what’s possible.  In this changing game of traditional or trade publishing versus indie or self publishing, authors must know what they do is in the best interest of their own and the interest of the literary world. We we see how the game is going to change.

  1. Big publishers lower prices – Traditional publishers have always fought tooth and nail to hold the line on ebook prices.  This pricing advantage helped many indies out-sell and out-compete the traditional publishers.  It helped indies build fan bases at a rapid clip.  For indies who could write and publish low-priced books that were as good or better than what New York was publishing, placement in the bestseller lists became more achievable than ever before.

  2. When everyone is pricing $2.99, price promotions will become less effective – If readers have an unlimited supply of high-quality books from their favorite authors at lower price then other factors will play more important role.

  3. Competition increases dramatically – With hundreds of thousands of new books published annually, and with retailer catalogs swelling to carry millions of titles, the competition is going to increase further.

    How and Why to Self- Publish Your Book and Ebook
  4. Ebook sales volume will decrease – This will be driven by price declines among major publishers and by the slowing transition from print to screens.  Although readers will continue migrating from print to screens, the early adopters have adopted and the laggards will shift more slowly.  Another driver of the drop is that the overall book market growth has been moribund for several years.  As ebooks as a percentage of the overall book market increase, it means the growth of ebooks will become constrained by the growth and/or contraction of the overall book industry.

  • Ebook unit market share will increase – The industry-wide sales slowdown, caused by the drop in average prices, will mask the fact that more books will be read than ever before.  This is great news for book culture, and good news for indies who despite the loss of their once-powerful price advantage, will still be positioned to profit more from low prices.

  • It’s all about the writing – It’s back to basics time.  In a world where readers face an unlimited quantity of high-quality low-cost works, the writers who achieve the most success will be those who take their readers to the most emotionally satisfying extremes.  Books are pleasure-delivery devices.  It doesn’t matter if you’re publishing a cookbook, romance novel, gardening how-to, memoir or political treatise.  Your job as the indie author is to write that super-fabulous book.  That involves great writing and professional-quality editing.  It also means avoiding all the mistakes that create unnecessary friction that prevent readers from discovering, desiring and enjoying the book.

  • All authors become indie authors – Back in the dark ages of publishing, you were either traditionally published or weren’t published.  Writers who couldn’t get a publishing deal were seen as failures, because without the access to the publisher’s printing press, distribution and professional know-how, it was virtually impossible to reach readers.  Today, failure is not an option.  The next generation of writers can begin writing their book with the full confidence that one way or another, it will get published.  Traditionally published authors now realize they have desirable publishing alternatives they never had before.  Once a writer – any writer – comes to the realization that the power in the publishing industry has transferred from publishers to writers, it opens up a new world of possibilities.  Even if you’re a traditionally published author today, you’re an indie author because you decide what happens with your next project.

  • Subscription ebook services will change the game – If the ebook subscription services – the most notable of which are Scribd and Oyster – can make their business models work, then they’ll drive a game changing shift in how readers value and consume books.  For ebook subscription service users, reading will become an abundant resource that feels free.

  • Traditional publishers will reevaluate their approach to self-publishing – Many indies no longer shop their books to agents and publishers, and instead choose to publish their books directly to readers using self-serve publishing and distribution platforms such as Smashwords, or KDP, Nook Press, and Edupedia Publications.  The traditional publishers must recognize that publishing is a service, and that they serve at the pleasure of authors.  Now that authors have choices, the publishing game can no longer be about, “What can the author do for the publisher?”  Authors no longer need to bow subservient to publishers, so business models based on this old practice and attitude will be rejected.  The new publisher mantra must be, “What can the publisher do for the author that the author cannot or will not do on their own?”  Publishers need to broaden their author services menu by creating an inclusive business model that allows them to take a risk on every author, to be able to say “Yes” to every author when the prior attitude was to say “No.”  Publishers must abandon the culture of “No,” because authors no longer have the patience or tolerance to hear “No.”  Authors have choices, and they’ve gained a taste for the joys of self-publishing.

  • Platform is king – Platform is your ability to reach readers.  Authors who can build, maintain and leverage their platforms will have a significant competitive advantage over those who cannot.  Think of your platform as a multi-layered infrastructure that allows you to reach both new and existing fans.  Elements of this infrastructure include your followings on Twitter, Facebook and the RSS feed of your blog.  It includes the breadth of your distribution (more retailers is better than fewer), your uninterrupted presence at each retailer for every book, and the reviews at those retailers.  It includes the number of authors who have “favorited” you at Smashwords, or who have added your books to their booklists at Goodreads.  It includes subscribers to your private mailing list.  It includes your celebrity, and your ability to leverage social media or traditional media or the love of your fans to get your message out.  There are two primary factors that drive sales of any product or brand.  The first is awareness.  If the consumer is not aware of your product or brand, then they cannot purchase it.  You need to put your product in front of a consumer and gain their attention before they can consider it.  The second is desire.  Once a consumer is aware of your product or brand, they must desire it.  As I talk about in my Secrets book, the author is the brand.  Your job as the author is to build awareness of your brand, and to build, earn and deserve positive desire for your brand.  Awareness plus desire create demand for your product.  Your platform helps you get the message out to existing fans who already know and desire your brand, and helps you reach new fans who will attach their wagons to your horse.  The larger your platform is, the easier it is to grow your platform further, because platforms grow organically.

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Importance of Good Book Cover

As an independent author, you obviously hope each new reader will appreciate your writing. But your fans are also a crucial component in your book-marketing efforts, helping you spread news about your career through word-of-mouth recommendations, social media sharing, and more.

In other words, without turning customers into readers, and readers into fans — your path to success will become impassable. So, it’s important to get as MANY people as possible to become customers. Here’s how that happens, in reverse order…

Before someone buys your book, they’ll probably read your book description, blurbs, bio, and maybe even skim a few pages from chapter one.

Before they can do any of that reading, they’ll have to pick the book off a shelf, or perhaps click to the book’s page on Amazon, B&N, etc.

And before they are compelled to click a link or pick up a book, they’ll have to be attracted to your book’s cover (or thumbnail image).

Then if we rewind far enough, there’s the marketing/promotion work that brought this potential customer to the place where they could even view your book cover (on an end-cap or shelf, or on a website, blog, eBook retail store, etc.)

But let’s go back to step 3: your book cover HAS to be compelling. At this point in the game, when you’re trying to attract as many customers as possible, your book cover is THE most important part of your book. At this point in the game, the book cover is not just the first thing someone sees; it’s the ONLY thing someone sees — and they must decide based on the book cover alone whether they’re going to take some additional action to investigate what’s inside your book.

A book cover is an invitation — a way of seducing the reader. It beckons, inviting them to enter the world of your book and dance with your characters for awhile. It makes a promise about what kind of music they’ll be dancing to.

Your cover should convey the tone and genre of your story, be eye-catching and, most importantly, look like it’s been professionally done.