AI Lead Generation Guide for Small Business

AI lead generation has gone mainstream for small business. This guide is a quick primer for small business owners ready…

By Ivana Taylor

Published on January 25, 2022

In This Article

Look out sales teams! You’re about to get some help in filling your sales pipeline. AI lead generation and machine learning is a thing. And in this guide, I’m going to show you how artificial intelligence is going to transform lead generation for your business.

AI Lead Generation is Ready for Prime Time

Artificial intelligence (AI) has grown by leaps and bounds. In fact, lots of companies are using AI technology to improve lead generation.

AI-powered tools are becoming so commonplace that a recent report by DemandBase shows that AI can increase website traffic by 54% and revenue by 58%. 

B2B and B2C companies are starting to see AI lead generation tools like chatbots, and AI-powered sales, as critical automated lead generation tools.

How do you use AI for lead generation?

The main way to use AI for lead generation is by using templates and algorithms with known success rates. Artificial intelligence is ideal for crunching numbers and identifying patterns invisible to the naked eye.

Instead of guessing at what messages will work, AI algorithms can test combinations to see which one does the best job.

I recently launched some Facebook Ads to promote an event using an AI Facebook Advertising tool called AdEspresso.

I was convinced that the ads that had used the emoji image would outperform the plain and simple text image.


screenshot of adespresso best performing ads and poor performing ads.

The AdEspresso platform took 3 images, two versions of copy and about 5 headlines and created a bazillion variations of these ads. After countless iterations, the platform was able to identify the best performing and poorest performing ads.

The AI algorithms are great at doing the same thing over and over, switching out one version for another, finding the best version and going with it. It’s practically a set it and forget it funcion.

When do we need AI-powered tools?

The best time to use AI tools in your marketing and sales is at the beginning of your sales funnel.

Here are five ways AI-powered tools generate qualified leads while helping you to increase your sales conversations.

Chatbots: Artificial Intelligence Streamlines the Buying Process

A chatbot is an AI-powered computer program that can replicate human speech. It acts as a sales agent, operating independently and communicating with potential customers via text messages or voice.

This customer-facing AI technology simulates lead generation software. In fact, used properly, it can quickly become your best AI lead generation source.

How Do Chatbots Work?

When customers are confronted with a chatbot, they are presented with a series of pre-programmed questions.

ai lead generation example using mobile phone with chatbot script

(image via wordstream)

They Collect Customer Contact Information

For example, the first question might ask the customer to provide their contact details. The second might ask about their preferred language. The third would ask what department they want to deal with. Finally, the last question might ask what product or service the customer wants. These answers provide companies with valuable insights into what prospective customers want and need.

Chatbots Engage with Customers and Point Them in the Right Direction

A business with a chatbot can use their pre-programmed questions to segment their potential customers and generate more leads.

You can also use a chatbot when potential customers visit your website. The chatbot guides them on the ins and outs of individual landing pages.

Once the AI-powered chatbot gathers all this critical customer information, it decides which sales agent or department the customer should speak to. All that customer information is retained by the chatbot and can be used by marketing and sales. 

Improves the Overall Quality of Sales Leads

By automating these tasks through the chatbot, companies are able to generate quality leads, save time, and gain more significant customer insights. Chatbots are the ultimate AI lead generation tool because there is no need for a human agent.

This means handling incoming client inquiries is less time-consuming. The process is so successful at generating more leads that businesses using chatbots to generate leads are saving more than $8 billion every year. Some notable benefits include:

  • Excellent for lead generation and lead qualification
  • Segments and qualifies existing leads
  • Improves how companies engage their customers
  • Get paid faster because some chatbots come with payment capabilities
  • Improved customer experience

AI Technology Provides Personalized Service

The best brands know the importance of providing personalized service. This is why today’s mobile customer wants to buy from brands with like-minded values and beliefs. Customers value that relationship because these brands excel at providing personalized experiences.

In fact, a recent survey shows that 47% of customers avoid companies that can’t offer personalized experiences. 

Extract Insights You Can’t Get From Human Agents (This is Super Cool)

AI can help you understand customer behavior and buying patterns, and that makes it easier to take your lead gen to the next level.

That insight will enable companies to generate leads from targeted ads and focused content. Companies with marketing automation software can then schedule their focused content well in advance.

AI algorithms can optimize the lead generation process with facial recognition AI and social media analysis.

Artificial intelligence can also help with local search engine optimization (SEO). In turn, AI geolocation allows companies to create more leads through localized ads. This is another way to improve lead generation.

Accurately Segment Leads

You can use artificial intelligence to improve existing leads and validate lead contact information. AI uses clustering algorithms. This allows companies to create separate clusters of customers while simplifying how they analyze large customer data sets. The AI will then assign a nomenclature to each data set to help with lead scoring.

As the AI gathers more data, the machine learning process further improves the customer data sets. Once the segments have been created, the AI will create an index that can classify new leads. This not only leads to increased lead generation, but it also helps businesses better understand individual customer groups.

The AI uses several factors to classify customers. It can use demographic information, such as income, marital status, gender, and age. Alternatively, the AI relies on transactional information, such as:

  • Time of purchase
  • Number of items purchased
  • Volume purchased
  • Type of products purchased

The AI will only be effective if it uses clear objectives and frameworks. Accurate segment creation is key to successful marketing campaigns. In addition, you’ll be able to create an optimized sales channel mix.

Repeat Past Success

Machine learning algorithms can create market intelligence for accurate lead generation. Once the algorithm analyzes vast amounts of data, it will identify customers who match your existing consumers. Consequently, you can focus on leads likely to turn into loyal customers.

Automated Email Campaigns 

Automatically sending out emails is possible with artificial intelligence and machine learning. Email automation is the process of directing an email service provider to send out emails based on certain criteria. For instance, the AI can send out a particular blog post to customers in the same segment.

Email automation is done in a sequence that guides a customer throughout the lead generation funnel. There are specific triggers that artificial intelligence will use to send customized emails to a customer. For instance, a customer can learn how your product works if they read a specific blog post on your website.

Getting Started with AI for Your Marketing and Sales

Businesses and customers have a lot to gain from AI-driven experiences. Customers will enjoy quick and seamless shopping, while companies see massive savings.