When it comes to Lead Generation there needs to be a process. From that first engagement to how they become a fully paying customer. This is where a lead generation funnel comes in. The funnel is the process of how you can identify who is what stage of the buying journey. In this article we will look at how to create a lead generation funnel and the benefit it could have to your business.
Why Do We Need A Funnel?
How to create a lead generation funnel and actually creating one is a great way to assess where potential customers are within your business. By understanding what stage they are at enables your sales or marketing team to know where to focus their attention. Ideally all potential customers before purchasing will go through all the stages we are going to mention below.
Stage 1 – Awareness
Creating awareness is the first stage of the process. How your brand is noticed, and how you create that awareness amongst your customers is going to be key. Key in terms of how you can bring in them customers to be at the first stage of the funnel. This is going to be solely dependent on how well you conduct your inbound marketing e.g. SEO, Paid Advertising and Content Marketing.
Being aware of how your customers operate and their personas is also very important. Making them give details be that emails, contact numbers or addresses could scare them off if done too soon.
Stage 2 – Data
Once your customers are aware of your brand you need to think of ways in which to bring in their data. Data is going to be vital for being able to engage them further in the next few steps. The data in which you gain will be solely down to your business. However, most opt for a contact number or email address.
Popular ways to do this will include call to actions, sign up forms or landing pages. Anything that entices your audience to give away details. Other options will also include giving away free information. This information in exchange for contact details is also effective.
Once you have all this data you need to load it onto a CRM or database.
Stage 3 – Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) & Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)
Once your brand has awareness, and people within your marketplace know who you are you can look to start building leads. The date you have already gathered will help to determine which avenue they have come through be that sales or marketing.
Marketing qualified leads will be a direct product of any social media, content or paid advertising you may do. Usually these tend to be more qualified as they have expressed a direct interest within your business.
A sales qualified lead may have come through a landing page or sign up form. Being able to speak to customers on the phone is a great way to get them engaged in your brand, and help to build your awareness further.
Once you have engaged with your potential customers via either platform you need to decide where they lie within the lead generation process. Next we will speak about targets and prospects. However, if your sales team or marketing team have spoken to them they may not be qualified ready to be passed down further. Understanding what a qualified lead and unqualified lead is is very important. Focusing on your qualified leads is what is most likely to generate you revenue.
Stage 4 – Targets and Prospects
After you have engaged with your potential customers, you need to decide where they rank on a lead generation scale. Not every person you contact will be a prospective new customer. However, you need to go through the previous stage to find this out.
Target customers are those who you want to make customers. This could be those who have downloaded content, or have expressed an interest after being engaged. They could also be those who are paying for services with your competitors who you would like to move across.
Prospective customers are very much the same, however further on down the funnel.
Stage 5 – Recycled
Not all potential customers are going to be ready to purchase with you straight away. They may have just been looking for more information, or be tied into a contract. They are still valuable and need to be engaged. This can be done through marketing in the form of social media or email marketing, or a sales call every few months to check in on them
This is where you will see the benefit of a strong database or CRM. Being able to track conversations, emails and also marketing allows you to be more selective over who you should be contacting.
Stage 6 – Opportunity
Once you have followed all the points above you will be in a position where customers will give you an opportunity to work with them. This is where your sales technique will come. Making sure you fit customers to the right products and services, and even use upsell opportunities. Make them feel valued.
Stage 7 – Customers
At this point the leads you have engaged with and nurtured with further marketing have finally become paying customers. From here the work is not finished however. You need to make sure that the service they receive is first class. Retaining these customers, and also making sure they return in the future helps to build a stable revenue stream.
Having a lead generation strategy is required in order to know how you are going to generate leads. How to create a lead generation funnel is simple, and needs to be done to track where potential customers are in the funnel. Push all your audience through, out of it you will find custom to help generate revenue.
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