How to Improve Your Lead Generation Process and Secure More Leads
There is no sail through an easy-breezy market right now. Every industry, every business, of every size or type, is competing for every inch of market share.
When competition is fierce, it is time to improve your lead generation process.
However, to truly stand out, businesses must stay on top of every step of the lead generation process. Be vigilant and keep constant analysis of what can be improved in order to secure more leads.
From end-to-end, every stage of a lead generation process is an opportunity to conversion or at risk of abandonment.
The turning point of a lead generation process relies on a solid lead capture form.
Here’s how to excel at nurturing leads all the way to a close.
What is the Lead Generation Process?
Back when I started my career, lead generation was a costly and lengthy process. It was what we now call “traditional” lead generation process, almost entirely offline. SEO was just a brand new concept being introduced around.
By definition, a lead generation process is a marketing strategy to drive consumer interest or inquiry into products or services.
But how it was conducted before, compared to nowadays, is a whole different ball game.
Traditional Vs. Current Lead Generation Process
Heavy investments on traditional media advertising (print, tv, and radio), direct mail, customer events, and trade fair participations were all to be planned ahead.
The results took longer to be achieved and measured as well, rendering ROI analysis sometimes useless when it was too late to change the course of action.
Keep in mind that this was only a bit over a decade ago. Now the easy access to technology since then shifted direction for digital or online lead generation processes.
Consumer behavior has also been drastically changed and it is mostly online influenced now, especially for younger audiences (I am winking at you, boomer).
The reason why I reminisce here is to give you a point of reference and an overview perspective.
Yes, a lead generation process is now much easier to be carried out and much cheaper. In fact, it can cost 62% less than traditional marketing. Hey, sometimes it can cost close to nothing.
There are great tools – some free too - available right now.
For instance, for creating and publishing a website, there’s WordPress; for ROI measurement tools, you need Google Analytics; and online form builders like MightyForms that ensure a lead capture medium with automated workflow, to mention a few.
But if the lead generation process is now easier to put in place and faster to perceive results, it also means that more companies are doing it.
If only big companies with big marketing budgets could afford to play the game before, now even garage-based businesses can compete for online presence and SEO rankings.
The arena for the lead generation process is now much, much more competitive.
The Rise of the Online Lead Generation Process
Traditional leading generation strategies like advertising will still be used by some companies, especially to establish brand awareness.
However, online leading generation management now stands as the undisputed winner for conversion.
When done right, of course.
As early as 2014, 93% of all leads would already come from direct online traffic. This means that almost all consumer demand is generated online. That’s how much you should focus your lead generation efforts.
And there are many online approaches you can take to draw potential consumer’s attention.
Preferably, you should tackle them all. But consider that the online channels that generates the most leads in 2020 are content marketing, search engines and social media.
The Goal of the Lead Generation Process
All of the efforts invested on building a successful lead generation process are aimed to reach one goal: conversion.
First, you want to attract those passerby ‘googling stuff’ into your website and convince them to fill out their contact information. Therefore, turning viewers into leads.
Then, ideally, that lead is qualified and to be followed up by the sales force to a close. Now transitioning visitors into customers.
Depending on your objective, you might get different types of leads as an outcome of a lead generation process:
- Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL): the entry-level of leads, these are visitors who have expressed interest in your offer but haven’t been contacted by salesforce yet. This is a potential customer and can be presented by a marketing offer or included in a mailing list for further information about your business.
- Sales Qualified Lead (SQL): this type of lead has been screened by salespeople to move on to a follow-up step. Salespeople are to call back, schedule a visit or offer a trial to make a closing. This type of lead has already expressed the intention of purchasing your product or service.
- Investor Qualified Lead: this concerns a specific business niche, institution, or non-governmental organizations. This lead has been qualified as someone with disposable income to join investment opportunities such as a venture capital funding.
The Lead Generation Process – Stages, Holdups, and Solutions
The model for the lead generation process hasn’t changed much since traditional marketing strategy era. However, it has changed how it is applied online for lead harvesting if you will.
Basically, a lead generation process represents the customer’s journey, from showing interest to purchase.
The Lead Generation Process Flow
The lead generation process is usually divided into stages, where different tactics are applied in each stage in order to convince the potential customer to keep moving on to the next.
Here’s the flowchart of how a basic lead generation process looks like:
The stages of an online lead generation process can be simplified or become more intricate with sub-divisions and tactics deployed. It will depend on your type of business, objective, and structure. But the flow will somewhat always be the same.
Also, it is important to consider your business status. Whether it is just being launched or well-established. This will justify how much effort you’ll invest in each stage.
For instance, a new business will require a lot of introduction during the Attract stage, while seasoned companies may spend more resources on the Delight stage.
It is imperative, however, to always analyze this flowchart, improving and adjusting efforts accordingly, in order to keep it active. Fix any detours as fast as you can.
The online lead generation process flowchart should be your navigation map at all times.
The Lead Generation Process – Holdups and Solutions
Since the main goal is lead conversion, this whole system of lead generation must be a well-oiled machine.
The beauty of the “modern” methodology is that we have great tools available to keep the lead generation process alive and kicking.
In fact, be always on the lookout for new tools and platforms. Be an early adopter if it makes sense for your type of business. The online game is constantly evolving. Lead generation sources may shift overnight.
As in every journey, there will be setbacks. So, it is important to examine results (quantitative and qualitative) and recalculate the route back to lead generation, away from stagnation.
Let’s break down each stage and go over most common holdups encountered and possible solutions:
The Attract Stage
The entryway of this lead generation joyride, the Attract stage is where businesses face the most difficulties to breakthrough. But do not panic, knowledge will be thy key.
The most common mistake entering the lead generation process is not doing enough research. Perhaps you’ve been so absorbed by making your product or service great, that you didn’t pay enough attention to your target audience.
This process should be intuitive since that’s what we do in our personal lives. When we’re interested in someone, we try to learn everything about that person in the hopes of winning them over.
So, get to learn about your audience. Find out their interests, their consuming habits, their demographics. Pinpoint the tone of voice for your messaging. Study your competition too.
Once you’ve defined keywords related to your product and to your audience, then you focus on what will yield more results.
Research should guide you to where and how you allocate efforts and resources.
Content marketing, email marketing, blogs, social media, and most importantly, your homepage should all be tailored and optimized to lure in traffic.
The Convert Stage
If you’ve done your homework right, you’ve attracted visitors to your website. Yay! This is the stage where you want visitors to stick around.
The most common holdup at this stage of the lead generation process is lack of engagement. You’ve managed to attract visitors in but maybe you’re not being clear for what.
When a visitor gets to your website by searching for a specific term, do not disappoint or confuse them by showing a bunch of other stuff instead.
Generating unique landing pages for targeted keywords is a perfect solution to reassure visitors they’ve come to the right place. If your website is published on WordPress, try MPG: Multiple Page Generator plugin to create as many landing pages you can think of.
And remember when I said that a lead capture form is the turning point of the lead generation process? Make that a point of no return from visitors to customers by nailing it with a truly responsive form.
Seriously, this stage lies at the most risk of abandonment. In fact, 81% of visitors have abandoned a form right after starting to fill it out.
Reasons vary from lack of responsiveness, security issues, to form length, so you can’t improvise here.
Trust the entire call to action feature to an online form builder like MightyForms. You can generate your form from scratch or from one out of the six optimized lead generation templates to be easily embedded right onto your landing page.
The Close Stage
At this stage, a visitor has filled out and submitted their contact information on the lead capture form provided by you. We are out of the woods!
Getting a lead is half the battle though, no time to slack off.
This is when the salesforce qualifies each lead and then takes action. Marketers are supposed to analyze leads in order to implement CRM (Customer Relationship Management) efforts.
The rookie mistake during this stage of the lead generation process is bad management of leads.
Whether you are a big team or a one-person department, do not takes chances and automate the lead management process.
When using MightyForms to create your lead capture form, check out the automation options and advanced settings as well.
Set up a notification to be sent to you or anyone in your team, so you’ll be notified every time a new lead comes through. Even abandoned forms can be retrieved by MightyForms Recover Abandoned Forms feature so they can be rekindled by sales.
There is the autoresponder option too, so you can automatically send a success message after each lead submitted. You can edit the message as you want to, like welcoming them in as a new customer and list their benefits, for example
And you can easily integrate all lead generated data to Google Sheets or Google Analytics, for instance, for further measurement. The sales team will be able to better qualify leads and see which ones need more nurturing.
The Delight Stage
This is the desired destination of every lead within the lead generation process. Strangers became visitors, who were successfully converted into customers.
However, complacency is the most common mistake at this stage. Some companies don’t even plan any Delight stage effort, calling it a day at the Close stage.
As you could see from the lead generation process flowchart, real successful businesses turn converted customers into ambassadors.
Delighted customers will most likely be repeat buyers. Even better, they bring new leads in by word-of-mouth, testimonials, and web referrals.
You can optimize Customer Experience by sending them surveys in order to make them feel part of the product/service enhancement. Maybe offer exclusive access to webinars and events.
Again, an online form builder like MightyForms offers the complete package solution here. You can easily create a customer satisfaction survey or poll forms, event registration forms, or even simplify a testimonial request.
An improved, optimized, fail-proof lead generation process is what will make your business stand out from the competition. Different tactics will work for different types of business but the flowchart will stand as the backbone for everybody.
But all efforts will be in vain if your lead capture doesn’t work or if not engaging enough. For further reading and more details, check out the “How to Build Powerful Lead Capture Forms” article on the MightyForms blog. May your lead generation process be bountiful!