What is the lifecycle of a lead?
Each company will have its own answer to this one but the steps a lead needs to take on the way to making a sale are generally the same:
A lead needs to be identified, qualified, entered into a sales pipeline and then acted upon.
Hubspot coins the different stages of the lead lifecycle as: Subscriber, Lead, Marketing Qualified Lead, Sales Qualified Lead, Opportunity, Customer and Evangelist. With each step, interest and relevancy will grow.
Traditionally, the customer journey was viewed only from a sales perspective but modern sales funnel management is changing and focus is now on the buyer’s perspective.
The first stage in a buyer’s journey is awareness. This is the point at which they realize there is a problem or opportunity. At this stage they are likely to head online for some top-level information, but are making no conscious effort to research or purchase a solution.
By the next stage – consideration – the buyer is now starting to look for solutions. They will be spending much more time digesting content and researching the best course of action, both online and offline, but still aren’t ready to make a purchase.
Once the buyer has done their research and knows everything they need to know, the decision making will begin. They’ll be deciding if they want to buy, and if so, from whom. If one company has stood out up to this point as being consistently helpful, giving them all the information and content they need exactly when they need it, then they’ll be in great position now and at a huge advantage.
Once a decision has been made, then comes the post-purchase stage. Just because the buyer has handed over their cash, doesn’t mean this should be the end of your involvement and lead generation efforts.
If the buyer feels you have gone out of your way to be helpful, to keep them happy and to troubleshoot any problems, then you could earn the most powerful marketing of all – word of mouth referrals. Happy customers want to tell others about their experiences and are likely to stay with you in future. Closing the sale should never be the end.
Each step of this journey will require specific content that is highly tailored and designed to lead them further down the path towards a sale. You can find out more about this on our blog: How to tell where a lead is in the buyer journey and successfully move them towards a sale.
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