Understanding the process and stages behind a lead generation funnel is critical for marketers to successfully move names and contacts gathered through their marketing efforts and turning them into customers. The following attempts to give you valuable insights in understanding the lead generation process as well as overviews on tips and best practices to make this lead generation funnel work for your brand and your business.
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.
Beyond terms and process, one of the best ways brands can align both sales and marketing is through shared programs such as account-based marketing (ABM) and lead nurturing. In 2018, Salesforce Research found high-performing marketing organizations to be 1.5x more likely to use ABM methods, and 1.9x more likely to use lead nurturing than underperforming marketing organizations. They are “shared programs” since both marketing and sales should work together to create them. Marketing handles the technology and setup while sales pick the targets and help create the content. Sharing in the creation of the programs allows sales to feel ownership of the programs, increasing their use and overall effectiveness.
You can configure the lead scoring rules to match your ideal buyer persona by simply adding or subtracting points for the lead property. For example, if your business is purely local, then for a lead to become your customer the minimum criteria is to be within your service area. Add 20 points. If the lead doesn’t belong to an industry you serve, subtract 10 points. In addition to that, you can also customize scores for email, application and web activity. Bring everything together, and you have a list of hot, warm and cold leads in the sales funnel for your sales reps to focus and close more deals 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.


You’ll have to produce your own list of qualifying questions. You are not going to discuss this questionnaire with anybody; it is merely for your planning advantage. The goal here is to work out your ideal customer’s wants and desires. Some folks purchase flowers for weddings, so you might choose to identify people that are getting married or know someone who’s getting married.
While that might make it sound like key stages of the buyer’s journey are now out of marketer’s hands, just the opposite is true. Modern marketers now have unprecedented access to the customer journey at every stage. They no longer have to obsess over acquisition and can instead focus on a dynamic approach that can reach customers at any and all stages.
Generating revenue is a multi-step process in which you have to progressively nurture people before they are ready to make a purchase. A shoe salesperson is nurturing you when they ask your size, show you lots of options, help you try a few pairs on, and let you know about a deal. It’s giving you the information and support you need to make a decision about buying.  
How to get started: The easiest way to start a community is to leverage tools that are already built for this purpose. Our preferred one for its simplicity is a closed Facebook Group. When you’re just starting your group, it’s important for you to define some basic guidelines for participation and interactions within your group, this will tell you what’s acceptable and what isn’t within your group. You can join Teachable’s Facebook group, The Teachable Tribe, to check out how we did this.
Here’s an example: To create your prospect experience in the Awareness stage, think about and articulate what you will do or say to your prospects when you first meet them. Then think about how your interaction will make them feel. Consider your prospect and their needs as you’re doing this. Then, document your actions and your prospect’s experience for this stage. Repeat this throughout the entire sales funnel.
The final step in the process is to figure out which metrics you’ll track to determine how well your funnel is functioning. It’s crucial to work with the SQL and MQL data here to track patterns between who closes and how they interact with your site, content, channels, ads, etc. Once you have more information, you can continuously optimize your funnel
The Customer Decision Journey is an improvement over the traditional funnel, but some marketers see it as incomplete. The problem is in the name itself. Brands may put the decision at the center of the journey, but customers don’t. Jonathan Becher, CMO at SAP, believes that for customers, “the pivot is the experience, not the purchase.” The Customer Decision Journey might be circular, but if the focus is still on the transaction, it is just a funnel eating its own tail.
For instance, if you’re selling marketing automation software to a startup, showcase a startup that 10X-ed their leads.  If you’re selling the enterprise version of that marketing software, share a case study from another enterprise company.  The enterprise case study is too aspirational for the startup, and the startup case study doesn’t work in front of a huge global marketing team.
Social media: Social media platforms are great marketing channels for the top of the funnel. Social media users spend a lot of time in them and usually spend a good amount of that time consuming content shared by other people. When it comes to getting non-paid traffic from social media channels there are two main ways to do it: you can grow your own social media audience and share your content with your followers, or you can participate and contribute to already existing communities.

How to get started: The easiest way to start a community is to leverage tools that are already built for this purpose. Our preferred one for its simplicity is a closed Facebook Group. When you’re just starting your group, it’s important for you to define some basic guidelines for participation and interactions within your group, this will tell you what’s acceptable and what isn’t within your group. You can join Teachable’s Facebook group, The Teachable Tribe, to check out how we did this.
Content piece engagement rate – If you have calls to action on multiple blog posts or other onsite content pieces, you’ll want to know which are sending the most converted customers through your funnel so that you can replicate your success by upgrading/updating that piece of content, sending paid traffic to that blog post, promoting it via email, and/or creating more content pieces like that. Tracking engagement rates on each CTA will give you this information (you can easily set up Google Analytics goals in order to see which posts drive more conversions).
Depending on your analytics setup, you can track specific user actions and create segmented remarketing lists with messages designed for each audience. For example, if you’re using Event Measurement in Google Analytics (linked with your Google Ads account) then you can place users on remarketing lists based on the page elements they click, as well as the URLs they visit.
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,[3] considers repurchase intent, and takes into account new technologies and changes in consumer purchase behavior.[4] [5] As a model, the buying funnel has been validated in a variety of domains, including searching,[6] keyword advertising,[7] and lead generation,[8] but also modified to include previously unconsidered steps and metrics such as outbound sales, Internet impressions,[9] and Sales Funnel Stages.[10]

Capturing leads is the first step to the sales process. Some sales funnel software have the capability to capture leads who visit your website, submit a form, email your company, etc. So it’s easier for sales reps to start working with leads instead of wasting time on data entry. It can also segment leads based on predefined criteria and assign them to the right sales reps.
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!
While that might make it sound like key stages of the buyer’s journey are now out of marketer’s hands, just the opposite is true. Modern marketers now have unprecedented access to the customer journey at every stage. They no longer have to obsess over acquisition and can instead focus on a dynamic approach that can reach customers at any and all stages.
Unfortunately, the reason why we call it a marketing funnel instead of a marketing journey or marketing waterfall is that not everyone who enters your funnel will end up buying. At each stage in the buying process, you lose some potential customers, but a good marketing funnel will keep those losses to a minimum and produce the maximum number of sales from your marketing.
Now, you don’t need a massive advertising budget or a product that targets a basic human need to use this approach. Whether its a paid search ad that addresses the main reason behind someone’s search or a paid social ad that connects your target audience’s need to what you sell, good Stage 2 marketing helps people connect the dots between their pain and your solution.
When a contact or target fits the profile of your lead and has been identified as having a high lead score, then you can qualify this particular lead for further marketing. First and foremost, this lead should have demonstrated considerable interest in your products and services to be deemed worthy of further marketing efforts and direct contact from your sales team, otherwise your campaign will just be flushed down the drain.
That was an interesting article. I was looking on your page of scheduled webinars, and what about offering a webinar on segmenting your list? It seems that to use the marketing funnel idea you need to segment subscribers, so you’re not sending new subscribers something that should go to your “Advocates”. I’d love to see a webinar that really goes over how to use the funnel & segmenting together. Thanks.
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