Zodiac Media Leads is our internally developed all-in-one prospecting toolkit. It provides a simple, streamlined experience for discovering, contacting and converting business leads.

Zodiac Media Leads running on a laptop

Zodiac Media Leads Tool is a comprehensive solution for evaluating, prospecting and converting leads. It is primarily built in PHP, using the well-supported Laravel framework.

The Brief

Our old process for discovering and contacting new leads was time consuming and inefficient.

We were in need of a new method that would fit these requirements:

  • Reduce amount of manual work involved in discovering lead information.
  • Extensible for our own needs.

The Result

The initial implementation featured a simple upload form which would parse Excel spreadsheet files and store each lead in a MySQL database.

An affinity scoring system was introduced to allow for the most relevant leads to rise to the top of the list. After a brief configuration period, this allowed us to quickly eliminate unsuitable leads based on various factors, such as the technology stacks employed on their website, credit ratings, employee counts and Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes.

From early on during development, we have made extensive use of the Laravel queuing system to ensure running tasks can be processed in the background. This allows end users to continue working without interruptions.

We then implemented prospecting functionality, allowing users to send Outlook-styled emails to a contact within a few clicks. A suitable pre-defined email template is automatically selected based on existing findings. The final message is displayed on the confirmation page where it is possible to manually personalise in a WYSIWYG editor before submission.

Outgoing email messages are automatically modified to include a unique, invisible tracking image which creates a log entry when it is opened by the recipient.

As we have continued to use the project internally, we have steadily been developing additional functionality based on feedback, including, but not limited to:

  • Activity dashboard featuring a combined feed of all users activity and lists of existing leads awaiting further action.
  • Suitability options which allow for a lead to be marked as 'good' or 'bad' using pre-defined or user specified reasons.
  • Quick links to search for a lead on Google, LinkedIn and Companies House.
  • Utilisation of open-source technologies to analyse websites for contact information or useful references that may assist users in decision making.
  • Integrations with external third-party APIs for gathering additional contact and company information.
  • Map view showing location and distance of each lead on the current page.
  • Creation of an extensive search system with filters that can be saved and re-loaded at a later date.
  • Extensive duplication detection which displays warnings when an email has previously been sent to a lead or when information - such as addresses or company officers - appears elsewhere.
  • Custom affinity scoring rules allows for leads meeting certain user-defined constraints to be ranked more highly.
  • Activity audit log with per user and activity type filtering.
  • Integrated logging of previous lead scores and technology reports.
  • Evolving contact classifier utilising machine learning technology. Automatically determines the most suitable person to contact based on previous data.

More information can be found on the Zodiac Media Leads website.

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