Lead Generation Process: The Simplest Flowchart for the Most Effective Results (2022)

Published by Jamie Finch on

For many businesses, leads are an essential part of the sales process. A lead is typically defined as a person or business who might become a customer at some point in the future. It is a different process for customers of retail stores, for example, when people go to a store with the intention of shopping and making purchases.

Instead, a lead will usually need to be sold on a product before they make a decision to buy it. This can take time as the lead will likely have questions and reservations that need to be answered.

In order to convert a lead into a sale, you will first need to have a lead in the first place, and this requires lead generation.

What is Lead Generation?

As the name suggests, lead generation is the process of acquiring leads. Without leads, there’s nothing for marketing and sales to work on – nothing to convert into sales. This makes lead generation just as essential as any other part of the process.

The Transition of Leads through the Buying Journey

The acquiring of a new lead is just the start of the sales process, and marketing will usually need to work with them before the prospect is ready to buy something from you. Each lead will go through a journey from the point of the first contact with the company, to the point where they make a purchase. They can be broken down into four main categories:

  • Leads: The details of an individual who may or may not become a customer at some point in the future.
  • MQL: A Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) has expressed some interest in making a purchase. They are considered to be more likely to buy than other leads.
  • SQL: A Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) is ready to make a purchase. Depending on the structure of a campaign, an SQL will have been qualified by sales after being passed on from marketing.
  • Customer: A customer is somebody who has already made a purchase. This doesn’t mean they drop out of the post-sales nurturing process.

The Importance of a Lead Generation and Processing Mechanism

As outlined above, leads are at different levels of readiness during their journey through the buying process. If you approach a lead before they are ready to buy, you are unlikely to get the response you are looking for and you may end up scaring them away. If you have a lead that is ready to buy and you leave it too late, they might end up changing their mind.

(Video) Lead Generation Made Easy

With this in mind, it’s important to process leads to help extract maximum value from them; to work with them according to where they are in the process personally.

Below is a workflow that helps outline the process of taking a raw lead through the journey to becoming a customer.

The Lead Generation Workflow

The seven stepped workflow would look something like this:

Lead Generation Process: The Simplest Flowchart for the Most Effective Results (1)

But what do each of these steps mean? Let’s take a closer look.

Lead Acquisition

There are various ways of achieving this, perhaps the most common being PPC advertising and SEO. The prospect will typically spot an ad for something they are interested in and click on it. The prospect will then be directed to a landing page or other asset where they are asked to sign up for more information on the product, news on promotions and other deals, and similar. Different methods are used to help encourage the prospect to share their personal details. One such method is known as a lead magnet which is often in the form of free content (like an eBook) – provided the prospect signs up.

(Video) Introduction to Process Flow Charts (Lean Six Sigma)

Another way to acquire leads is by building a sales funnel, the organic or unpaid way. For instance, software as a service (SaaS) companies can build a SaaS sales funnel by relying less on paid ads and creating SEO-optimized and valuable content. Every content should appeal to its target audience, getting the SaaS brand in front of them at every stage of the buyer’s journey. Hence, it’s necessary to develop content that generates organic traffic and converts cold prospects to SaaS users. Once you master this strategy, you’ll attain a scalable sales funnel that converts leads exponentially.

Lead Nurturing

When a lead is first acquired, they will likely have some interest but still be some distance from being ready to buy. This means that marketing will need to nurture them; educate them and answer any questions they might have. This can be done in a variety of ways, one of the most common of which is with drip campaigns that involve sending relevant information to the prospect according to their behaviors and other factors.

Lead nurturing will also often involve remarketing. Remarketing means using ads to reach back out to prospects that have visited your site but not taken any action. It’s a great way of reminding people you’re still there.In addition, remarketing can help in lead generation and conversion. For instance, an online store can reduce shopping cart abandonment by showing the products to the user while navigating the app or sending an in-app notification or email that the products are still available and waiting for checkout.

Marketing Lead Qualification

In addition to nurturing a lead, marketing also has the task of qualifying the lead. This means ensuring the prospect is genuinely interested and almost ready to buy the product. Qualifying also means ensuring the prospect is in a position financially to make a purchase and that the contact is the person making the decision.

The importance of speaking with the decision-maker cannot be understated. If the contact is not the decision-maker then they will need to report back to the person who does make decisions. However, that person has not been through the same nurturing process that the contact has. This makes it a lot less likely a sale will be made and trying to make a sale to the wrong contact can end up with the prospect being lost altogether.

So, how can a marketer or brand connect with the right person? To reach the decision-maker, you can request your contact to arrange a virtual or face-to-face meeting or provide you with the person’s contact details. While your first contact isn’t qualified as a marketing lead, the individual can be your excellent bridge to the decision-maker, who can also serve as a referee or brand endorser.

(Video) How to draw a Simple Process Map

Sales Transfer

Once a lead has been qualified by Marketing, it would be passed on to Sales. This means that Sales does not need to talk to every lead. They only need to talk to leads who are marketing qualified and ready for sales to take over. Marketing can use a tool like Salespanel to qualify leads using segmentation and lead scoring and automatically transfer them to sales when leads are marketing qualified.

Sales Lead Qualification

Although marketing is expected to qualify a lead, sales will also often perform their own qualification check. This might involve somebody from sales giving the prospect a call to ask them more questions and evaluate their readiness to make a purchase. The process also helps to prep the prospect further for a sale to help ensure they are ready when an offer is made.

If the lead is not fully qualified yet then it does not necessarily mean the prospect is lost. Sales can find out the reason why the prospect is not ready and, if needed, pass them back to marketing who can get back to the task of nurturing the prospect until they are ready to buy.

Conversion

Of course, the ultimate task for sales is to convert the lead into a customer. Or, in other words, compel them to buy the product. This will often mean negotiating with the client regarding price and terms and conditions to try and come to an agreement. It’s also often important for the sales department to maintain a good relationship with the customer because there will often be other sales opportunities further along the line, such as other products, and upgrades to products the customer has already purchased.

Customer Retention

Once a customer has been acquired, you will then need to work on keeping them. There are various strategies that you can employ to help ensure their customers stay loyal to them.

  • Customer Services: Things will occasionally go wrong – it’s a part of life. What really matters is how a company deals with problems when they do occur and how they put things right for their customers. A good customer service department will help to overcome any issues that do occur, helping to keep the customer happy. In a sense, having problems arise can even work in the company’s favor as it’s an opportunity for the company to show they do have their customer’s best interests at heart.
  • Loyalty Rewards: Loyalty reward systems are very popular. They help companies let their customers know they are appreciated, encouraging the customer to stick around for longer. Loyalty rewards are also great for driving extra revenue as they encourage people to take up deals and make purchases that they might otherwise not have taken.
  • Request Feedback: Feedback, good or bad, can be instrumental in helping you to keep your customers on board. For one, thing, people appreciate being given the opportunity to voice their opinion. For another, the feedback you receive can help you to maintain high standards and continue delivering what the customers want. Try not to reject negative feedback. If anything you should embrace it. See it as your customers telling you how to deliver quality service and product, helping you to keep them for long into the future.

Conclusion

Generating revenue involves so much more than just telling people you have something and waiting for them to buy. Instead, it involves whole processes within processes, each of which leads up to the next process and is part of an overall sales and marketing campaign. The process is also not over when the customer buys something. Rather, it is simply the beginning of another process that can go on throughout the customer lifecycle.

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Above is a brief outline of a typical flowchart of these processes and how they tie in with each other. It shows how different departments will need to work with each other and how those at the very beginning of the process are essential for those at the end. If you were to follow this outline as a guide then you are well on your way to generating more revenue in the short term and the long term.

Recommended Reading:

B2B Lead Generation Strategies and Tools for 2021

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(Video) Process Flow Chart with Microsoft Excel

FAQs

What is the way to do lead generation answer? ›

Market research is a key tool that can help you target new leads with your lead generation process. You'll need to emphasize the area in which they live in addition to their age, annual income and previous buying habits to have efficient leads and improve the performance of your marketing campaign.

What is the most effective way to generate leads? ›

12 Lead Generation Examples
  1. Direct Engagement. ...
  2. Generate Leads on LinkedIn. ...
  3. Advertise and Retarget. ...
  4. Ask for Referrals from Current Customers. ...
  5. Write Guest Blogs. ...
  6. Rank in search engines to generate leads. ...
  7. Answer Forum Questions. ...
  8. Offer a Free Tool or Lead Generation Magnet.

Which are the 4 steps of the lead generation process? ›

4 Stages of an Effective Lead Generation Process
  1. #1. Lead Awareness. This stage is all about how leads become aware of an organization and its offerings. ...
  2. #2. Lead Education. Once lead awareness is created you must build trust for your products, services, solutions, and expertise. ...
  3. #3. Lead Sampling. ...
  4. #4. Lead Conversion.

What is the process of lead generation? ›

Lead generation is the process of attracting leads (your potential customers) into a contact management or marketing software system with the hope of nurturing them throughout the buying process to help convince them about your offerings and then convert them into a paying customer.

How do you answer lead generation interview questions? ›

You can also focus on how you were able to solve difficult challenges with your lead generation team. A great answer should focus the interviewer's attention on your behavioral and performance skills. How do you motivate your lead generation team? In answering this question, try to be as specific as possible.

What is lead generation in simple words? ›

What is lead generation? Lead generation is the process of generating consumer interest for a product or service with the goal of turning that interest into a sale. In online marketing this typically involves collecting a visitor's contact information (called a “lead”) via a web form.

Which is the most common source for leads generation for any company? ›

Answer: In 2014, a study found that direct traffic, search engines, and web referrals were the three most popular online channels for lead generation, accounting for 93% of leads.

Why is lead generation important? ›

Lead generation is a process that builds visibility, credibility, trust, and interest from a specific group of people (potential leads). So by focusing on lead generation, it can help drive traffic from high-quality prospects. And with high-quality prospects comes high-value customers.

What strategies would you use to generate leads on social media? ›

How to generate leads from social media
  • Launch compelling lead magnet offers. ...
  • Share testimonials as social proof. ...
  • Create targeted ads with special offers. ...
  • Make the most of lead generation ads. ...
  • Set up sequential retargeting ads. ...
  • Leverage social media sponsorships. ...
  • Host a virtual event or social media conference.
Apr 6, 2021

How can you improve sales lead generation? ›

Here is an inspirational list of tactics and tips you could look into to boost your sales leads.
  1. Get in as many conversations as possible.
  2. Generate a targeted list of business contacts.
  3. Send cold emails.
  4. Make warm calls.
  5. Use Marketing Automation to nurture your leads.
  6. Set up a live chat on your website.
Jul 21, 2022

What is lead generation examples? ›

Lead generation is the process of attracting prospects to your business and increasing their interest through nurturing, all with the end goal of converting them into a customer. Some ways to generate leads are through job applications, blog posts, coupons, live events, and online content.

What is lead management process? ›

Definition: Lead Management is the process of acquiring and managing leads (potential customers) until the point where they make a purchase. This is a more involved process than standard advertising, and is most applicable to ecommerce stores that generate individual relationships with customers.

What are the main types of lead sources? ›

Types of Lead Sources
  • Email marketing (email campaigns)
  • Organic search (lead sources from the search engine results page/ SERP)
  • Paid ads (PPC, display ads)
  • Social media.
  • Direct mail.
  • Referrals or word-of-mouth.
  • Gated/ premium content offers.
  • Blog articles.
May 6, 2021

What is a lead generation campaign? ›

Lead Generation Campaign: The process of capturing and generating interest in a service or product for the purpose of developing leads. This includes a strategy using a particular media source and an offer to create inbound leads. Nurturing: Some leads qualify early on, while others may take more time.

What is lead generation in digital marketing? ›

In digital marketing, lead generation is the process of identifying, attracting, and transforming online users into prospects for a business. The method utilizes online channels, tactics, and strategies such as email campaigns, paid social media ads, or even offering downloadable content through a landing page.

How do you generate leads without advertising? ›

Share the Wealth. Another way to reach broader audiences without paid ads is to syndicate your content. This gives credible websites the opportunity to publish your company's content on their own site. Just make sure the websites you choose have established audiences composed of the people you're targeting.

How do you generate leads without digital marketing? ›

How to generate sales leads
  1. Share your own content. ...
  2. Become a blogger. ...
  3. Get to know prospects through webinars and workshops. ...
  4. Create podcasts and videos. ...
  5. Perfect the cold email. ...
  6. Start social selling. ...
  7. Attend networking events. ...
  8. Reconnect with lost opportunities.
Apr 3, 2018

How do you attract leads? ›

The 9 Steps to Attract Qualified Leads
  1. Complete a buyer persona. ...
  2. Map out the steps your team takes when engaging with a prospective buyer. ...
  3. Establish a content strategy. ...
  4. Research the terms your buyers use to find solutions to their problems. ...
  5. Start a business blog. ...
  6. Participate on social media platforms.

What is lead generation and its types? ›

The lead generation typically falls into two main categories: Outbound lead generation which generally include direct mail, advertising, cold calling and email marketing. Outbound lead generation includes blogging,SEO, social media, PPC.

Is lead generation a good business? ›

A lead generation business is a fantastic way for anyone with practical sales and marketing skills to offer a valuable service to other businesses with proven demand. You don't need to build a product, can use tried and tested strategies, and don't need to reinvent the wheel to see results.

What are the 5 major steps of lead management? ›

A successful and efficient lead management process includes the following five steps.
  • Step 1: Lead capturing. ...
  • Step 2: Lead enrichment & tracking. ...
  • Step 3: Lead qualification. ...
  • Step 4: Lead distribution. ...
  • Step 5: Lead nurturing. ...
  • 6 Benefits of using a lead management system.

What is lead management used for? ›

Lead management is in many cases a precursor to sales management, customer relationship management and customer experience management. This critical connectivity facilitates business profitability through the acquisition of new customers, selling to existing customers, and creating a market brand.

What is lead management tool? ›

Lead management software helps organizations qualify incoming leads, analyze and nurture them so that they can be converted into new business opportunities. In a typical sales process, leads from multiple channels enter your lead management system, and the sales-ready leads are converted into deals.

Why do you want work as lead generation? ›

Lead generation is a process that builds visibility, credibility, trust, and interest from a specific group of people (potential leads). So by focusing on lead generation, it can help drive traffic from high-quality prospects. And with high-quality prospects comes high-value customers.

How can you improve sales lead generation answer? ›

Here is an inspirational list of tactics and tips you could look into to boost your sales leads.
  1. Get in as many conversations as possible.
  2. Generate a targeted list of business contacts.
  3. Send cold emails.
  4. Make warm calls.
  5. Use Marketing Automation to nurture your leads.
  6. Set up a live chat on your website.
Jul 21, 2022

What are lead generation questions? ›

7 Questions You Should Ask Lead Generation Companies
  • What type of company are you? ...
  • What is the price of your services? ...
  • What are your techniques/process? ...
  • How are leads qualified? ...
  • What technology do you work with? ...
  • What experience and reputation do you have? ...
  • If any, what are your guarantees/terms of service?
Aug 22, 2017

How do you motivate your lead generation team? ›

Provide your lead generation reps a bonus every quarter based on the number of qualified opportunities that are presented to the sales team. Offer an additional incentive for the opportunities that actually close.

What skills do you have that make you a lead generation expert? ›

Lead generation specialist skills:

For maintaining a conversation and building rapport with a customer. Good writing skills. 88% of marketers make use of email marketing techniques, hence the importance of skills in writing. Analytical skills.

How can I improve my lead generation skills? ›

  1. Maximize what works in your lead generation process. ...
  2. Track the right metrics for lead generation. ...
  3. Set a benchmark and goal. ...
  4. Make your funnel all about your lead. ...
  5. Regularly clean your leads list. ...
  6. Pre-screen your leads. ...
  7. Keep testing your conversion points. ...
  8. Make it easy for your leads to convert.
Mar 14, 2022

How do you increase lead flow? ›

Develop a clearly defined lead flow process.

Develop clear guidelines defining who's in charge of leads at each stage in the process and what steps they should take. Make use of your CRM to properly label and score your leads so everybody on both teams can quickly see where a lead currently is in the process.

How do you collect lead data? ›

Make sure data is stored securely and can only be accessed by the right people. Publish a privacy policy and cookie policy on your website. Publish terms and conditions for every lead collection campaign or promotion. Always get explicit consent before adding someone to your email list.

What do you look for in a lead generation company? ›

Look for these specific tools:
  • Lead verification tools.
  • Analytics and reporting tools.
  • Marketing automation platform.
  • CRM tool.
  • Email automation.
  • Call tracking.
  • Social media management.
  • SEO and CRO tools.

What do lead generation companies do? ›

A lead generation company aggregates consumer and business information that it can then sell on to a business wishing to purchase new leads. It uses different categories to organise the data so it is relevant to the target market, and some may even organise leads depending on levels of 'warmth'.

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