Number of leads/email list growth: As its name suggests, you can use this metric to keep track of how many new leads you capture over time. Like I mentioned before, the most common way to capture leads is by collecting email addresses, so you can track this metric by looking at the growth of your email list. You will be able to get this number directly from any tool that you use to capture leads.
After you have a good idea who your best leads are, the next step to defining your lead generation process is to define your sales funnel — knowing where a prospect is in his buying journey so that you can align it directly to your marketing and sales processes. Mapping your lead generation efforts to your funnel is extremely important as it dictates your campaigns, messaging, and expected metrics.
For example, let’s say your business has a blog and social media accounts it uses to get on a potential customer’s radar. From there, you encourage people to download an eBook in exchange for their email and drop them into an email drip that promotes an upcoming webinar. At the webinar, you sell people on your product or service, which convinces them to submit a lead form, work with your sales team and ultimately make a purchase.
The sales process is not a straight line. This is why converting a lead to a customer often takes its own course, and varies from business to business. Whether B2B or B2C sales, it’s important for sales reps to understand and visualize a lead’s journey; otherwise, they’re shooting in the dark. This is done by a series of steps that develop into what’s called the sales funnel—a concept that finds its way back to the 1890s.
Organic search: By writing relevant articles that rank for keywords to your business, you can attract traffic to your website. SEO is still very relevant and it is one of the cheapest methods in which you can ensure that you get unlimited traffic. But, you need to figure out the right keyword for your business and try to rank in the 1-5 position. It doesn’t end there though. After the visitor enters your page, you need to have a relevant CTA. This could be a related e-book they could download or a webinar they could attend. Look how WordStream uses an exit intent pop-up to capture leads.
As a side note, while getting negative feedback rarely feels good, I want to encourage you to view feedback the way I do: as a priceless opportunity to improve and grow your business. Complaints and criticisms give you important signals that you need to make changes or else risk losing business from frustrated customers. Read this article to learn more: What Should You Do When People Complain About Your Product or Service?
Google shares a similar view, taking the fusion of product and marketing one step further. Arjan Dijk, the company’s Vice President for Global Small Business Marketing, believes products should be designed to market themselves. For Google, the question is not “how can we market this product?” but “which products deserve marketing?” Marketing isn’t about “pushing people’s thoughts and actions. It’s about amplification, helping what’s already happening grow faster.”
However, marketers need to be careful at this stage particularly when requiring first-contact visitors to sign up, fill up a form or register. Doing so too early in the process can turn off or scare away great prospects. On the other hand, you can also end up clogging your funnel with people who are prematurely engaged – and will eventually fall off further down the funnel.
But if you still use separate tools to email and call your leads, then visibility into their different touchpoints at different stages in the funnel can be difficult to figure out. Use a sales funnel software with built-in email and phone instead. You can create email templates in your funnel software to quickly reach out to leads. Even better, you can automate sending out the first welcome email to new leads using workflows.
The sales funnel metaphor is somewhat misleading; in real life, the process never goes as smoothly as liquid down a funnel. In the last decade, digital marketing, artificial intelligence (AI), and CRM have drastically changed the process of converting new leads into customers. Given this, it’s increasingly important that business-to-business (B2B) sales and marketing teams are aligned in their views on a sales funnel strategy and lead generation as a whole.
Getting a clear understanding of the process can help you optimize your campaigns to ensure these leads come out the end of the funnel as customers. However, it would be important to note that each business have its unique processes and sales situations. Their actual lead generation funnel may differ slightly from what is presented here, but for general intents and purposes the following describes the basic and most common stages involved in the sales funnel.
When these would-be buyers become interested enough in her products, they request an online demonstration by filling out the form on her landing pages. These requests are routed directly to her salespeople, who, because they’re dealing with warm leads, close roughly 50% of the customers to whom they demo. Molly’s company closes more sales than Norman’s, with fewer salespeople and no time spent on cold calling.
The truth? People are smart. They're not simply going to buy anything from anyone unless they feel there's an immense amount of value to be had there. Thus, your funnel needs to built that value and bake it in through a variety of means. But most importantly, you have to create a strong bond with your prospect, and that happens by being relatable, honest and transparent in your email warming sequence.
This early model has been modified by marketing consultants and academics to cater to the modern customer and is now referred to in marketing as the "purchase funnel" or "buying funnel". Many different business-to-consumer purchase models exist in marketing today, but it is generally accepted that the modern business-to-business purchase funnel has more stages, considers repurchase intent, and takes into account new technologies and changes in consumer purchase behavior.  As a model, the buying funnel has been validated in a variety of domains, including searching, keyword advertising, and lead generation, but also modified to include previously unconsidered steps and metrics such as outbound sales, Internet impressions, and Sales Funnel Stages.
While everyone evaluates their options at this stage in the buying process, how carefully they evaluate their options depends a lot on their personality and the cost of the solution. Generally speaking, the more financially conservative your target audience is and expensive your solution is, the more comparison shopping your potential buyers will do.
In this scenario, you’re asking people to take little steps, instead of going right from “mailing list sign up” to “spend $1000”. Downloading a free ebook isn’t a big step. Once you’ve done that, sure, why not share? Hey, if the info was valuable in the free book, the info in a $19 book is probably great! Oh, there’s a $197 program? Yes, I would love to join, because I already got more than that much value from your lower-cost items. Spend $1000? Sure!
You’d probably think I’d lost my marbles, and I don’t blame you. Back in the 1980s and 1990s, it was a common marketing strategy to send out mass advertisements via fax machine, similar to today’s mass-email marketing campaigns. They worked. They were a viable marketing strategy because everyone had a fax machine, and used it on a daily basis. Now? Millennials are stumped when it comes time to operate one and the majority of Gen-Z doesn’t even know what a fax machine is.
If you’re a small business owner, you might be a one-man (or one-woman) show, wearing several hats, including both sales and marketing. As your business grows, though, you’ll need to hire people for your team. One of the biggest mistakes I see companies make over and over again is having their sales team and marketing team work completely independently of one another.
As you may already know, we offer a Done-For-You Sales Funnel Service for clients who want AutoGrow to custom-craft a funnel that will automate their sales or client lead generation, get them better quality prospects, and let them own a sales pipeline packed full of clients. You know that when it comes to creating funnels and implementing sales funnel strategies, we are the ones!
^ "The salesman should visualize his whole problem of developing the sales steps as the forcing by compression of a broad and general concept of facts through a funnel which produces the specific and favorable consideration of one fact. The process is continually from the general to the specific, and the visualizing of the funnel has helped many salesmen to lead a customer from Attention to Interest, and beyond" (p. 109).
However, there are even some who see the funnel as being split vertically, with both sales and marketing owning the full funnel. They argue that the sales people are increasingly becoming thought leaders to drive awareness by doing outbound outreach. In this scenario, both marketing and sales would work to nurture leads and prospects from awareness to purchase.