Generate New Leads from Out-of-Office Messages – Executive Q&A Series

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Each month, we sit down with some of the brightest minds to get their insights on how they are running their business in today’s digital marketing age. This month, we sit down with Matt Benati, CEO of LeadGnome to learn about what it takes to start an early stage hi-tech company.

How to Create New Leads from Existing Leads…And Boost Lead Intelligence

If you have ever sent out marketing email campaigns, you know the pains of receiving all of those out-of-office replies. A company’s out-of-office inbox is like that closet in your house that contains everything from discarded shoes to your grandfather’s watch—there is some good stuff in there but it’s too disorganized to deal with. What if you could push a button to bring order to that closet? That’s what Lead Gnome is building for today’s marketer.

LeadGnome is developing an automated solution that mines those out-of-office emails to increase new leads and provide additional lead intelligence. So if a Sales rep knows John White is vacationing in Jamaica and his boss, Cindy Beets is covering for him, this intelligence enables John to better target the account in the future. Cindy Beets also becomes a new lead.

For another resource on this subject, check out Steve Moody’s awesome How to Turn Every Bounced Lead into Two Warm Leads session from last year’s Marketo Summit.

Let’s start the interview.

Executive Q & A with Matt Benati, CEO of Lead Gnome

ExecutiveSeriesBenati Headshot

Q. Can you tell us a little about LeadGnome?

A. LeadGnome is a cloud service that leverages an untapped data source to optimize campaigns, generate new leads, and penetrate target accounts for sales and marketing teams. It is the only email mining service that automates the collection of sales and marketing intelligence from unstructured emails, like out-of-office emails. Companies that use marketing automation recognize this data exists, but until now it’s been too costly, time consuming, and error prone to mine. LeadGnome solves this problem! 

Q. What inspired you to start LeadGnome?

A. I began my career as a software engineer and architect, which taught me to analyze data to drive decisions. When I began leading marketing departments, demand generation became a top priority. My data-driven engineering background compelled me to see how effective my email lists were. I was reviewing the response emails to my team’s campaigns to determine bounce rates and discovered that each out-of-office email is a goldmine of information.

My team tried to capture this data manually, but the process was tedious, time consuming, and error prone. I figured someone, somewhere, had to have already automated this process. I was ready to pay a service to mine the out-of-office emails for me, but I couldn’t fine a solution anywhere! So I decided to create one. 

Q. What are the big benefits of LeadGnome?

A. Being a marketer, I understand the pressures and capabilities of marketing and sales teams. Neither of these teams is ever satisfied with the number and quality of leads, or the size of the company’s pipeline. My marketing teams worked every angle and pulled every lever to deliver higher volume and higher quality leads. LeadGnome is focused on this result as well and provides the following benefits.

Marketers are up and running in less than fifteen minutes. Time is a precious commodity, so I made it easy to get started. The marketer registers and sets a forwarding rule. That’s it. Now each time you run a campaign, you increase your number of targeted leads.

Leads are complete and accurate. If you were to look at an out-of-office email, you would be hard pressed to complete a usable lead each and every time. For example, many times a new lead is simply mentioned by name – no email address is given. The LeadGnome Intelligent Inference feature digs deep to deliver this type of important, but buried, information.

Turns cold calls into warm calls. In addition to mining new leads from the body of the out-of-office emails, LeadGnome provides intelligence on when and why the original recipient of the email is out of the office. Our beta release will automate the creation of follow up tasks in Salesforce, and include the reason the person is out of the office. Knowing the topic of the original email, when the person is returning, and why they were away, turns a cold call into a warm call. The result is a more productive prospecting call.

Data is automatically delivered to sales and marketing systems. With built-in third party integration, LeadGnome makes it quick and easy to deliver targeted leads and actionable intelligence on existing leads. New leads are loaded into your marketing automation and email service systems, and out-of-office follow up tasks are set in your customer relationship system.

Q. Which CRM, marketing automation, and email service systems do you plan to integrate with?

A. Our first three integration targets are Salesforce, HubSpot, and Constant Contact. These three integrations will be complete for our upcoming beta program. On our roadmap are many other popular systems, including SugarCRM, Infusionsoft, HubSpot CRM, Marketo, Eloqua, Pardot, Act-On, MailChimp, VerticalRespons, and iContact. We are interested in customer feedback, so if you don’t see the system you need, please send us an email (info@leadgnome.com).

Q. Is the solution readily available today?

A. LeadGnome is currently in alpha testing with a handful of customers. Our plan is to move into an expanded beta testing period starting in late March or early April. If you are interested in joining our free beta program, please register at www.leadgnome.com.

Q. What are the biggest challenges of starting your own company?

A. This is the first company I’ve started and committing to the journey has been the single biggest challenge. I asked a lot of questions of experts I know and of myself. Among other criteria, I analyzed the market, the problem the solution solves, and my ability to monetize this service. While there are risks, ultimately my passion and analysis compelled me to move forward.

The next challenge was to figure out the most cost effective way to develop the cloud service. I went against conventional wisdom – finding a technical founder – and instead outsourced the development, while leading the product management myself. To date this has been an outstanding decision. We have hit every milestone and are on track to launch beta in March.

Q. I watched the Gnomeo and Juliet with my kids recently. Do you plan on extending the brand to the big screen? 

A. Ha! No, the big screen is not part of my go to market plan. I will focus on digital marketing – both inbound and outbound techniques. I’ve been fortunate to work for some great high-tech startups, Netezza and LogMeIn, to name a few, with outstanding digital marketing teams. Those experiences and skills will be put to good use soon!

Q. Final question Matt. If you were a gnome, which color beard would you like to have? White beard, grey beard or brown beard?

A. Red – fiery red! LeadGnome is igniting marketing automation by fueling email campaigns with targeted leads.

Q. How can folks reach you to learn more about LeadGnome?

A. Feel free to reach out via my social channels.

Catch up on other great minds featured in the RevEngine Insider Executive Q&A Series.

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