Table of contents
- What is a lead generation process?
- Why do you need a lead generation process?
- Lead generation process: our step-by-step tutorial!
- Step 1: Forecast the volume of business that will transit through your process
- Step 2: Design your different stages
- Step 3: Get the right tools
- Step 4: Feedback, iteration, scalability
If you’ve followed our recent posts, you already know how important lead generation is for a B2B business. As client lifetime value and cycles are much higher in B2B than in B2C, you’ll necessarily need to set up a great process to generate more leads.
That’s where it starts getting complicated – and fun, though.
What is a lead generation process in B2B? Why do you need to build it properly? And most of all, how do you do it?
In this post, we’re going to give you a step-by-step tutorial to build your lead generation process and give you free tips from our own experience to optimize it and generate more leads!
What is a lead generation process?
If you know what lead generation is, you’ll probably have a few ideas of what a lead generation process is. But let’s go through it anyway.
Basically, a lead generation process is a system composed of different stages designed to identify, qualify, and convert B2B leads.
Identify your leads
At this first stage, you’ve already designed your buyer’s personas and selected the marketing channel you want to focus on.
The goal is just to find new people that could buy your product or service. As soon as you’ve found people, it is said that you identified them.
Qualify your leads
All the leads you identified might fit with your buyer’s personas. That doesn’t mean they necessarily want to buy your stuff.
Let’s say your company sells some home-office gear. You identified a sales team leader that could need your products, but maybe he’s already equipped? Or maybe he’s already involved in another sales process with one of your competitors?
That’s why qualification is important for your process!
With lead qualification, you’ll get to know precisely how “hot” your sales lead is.
Convert your leads
That’s the final stage of the basic lead generation process: convert your sales lead into customers.
This stage is generally run by your sales team (we’re in the sales funnel) while the two previous ones are run by your marketing team (we’re in the marketing funnel).
Lead generation strategies have become more and more difficult to imply as the number and the features of digital channels have been increasing a lot these last decades.
Historically, you were producing a message for a bunch of people. Now, there are as many paths as leads… which means you’ll need to produce more and more personalized paths!
But we’ll go through it later in this post.
If you’re in a rush, a quick solution would be to use a sales automation tool such as LaGrowthMachine: our solution gives you the opportunity to send thousands of sales messages through different channels, with a very high degree of personalization!
Why do you need a lead generation process?
As said in the introduction of this post, if you’re running a B2B business, you can’t just expect to sell your product or service in 10 minutes.
Even if it could happen sometimes, depending on what you’re selling, keep in mind that some leads will take a long time to convert, as they’re not necessarily ready to buy right now!
And the day they’ll be ready, if you haven’t set up a lead generation process, you may be out of the game.
What is the goal of a lead generation process?
The main objective of a lead generation process is to generate as many leads as possible. The big idea with such a process is to convert later the lead that you can’t convert right now.
This allows you to get leads right away, and others later, which might be a good long-term strategy speaking of business.
What are the other benefits of a lead generation process?
There are some sub-objectives of a lead generation process that may be considered as well:
- You’ll improve your lead identification/lead qualification/lead conversion
- You’ll get much more data about your sales cycles’ durations, which stage is working well or not, and so on
- You’ll have a much better relationship with your lead, which also means longer customer lifetime value and increased turnover per client
In other words, mapping an accurate process will serve you in many ways.
At this stage of the post, you may be convinced of all its benefits, but what about how to set it up?
That’s what we’re going to talk about right now!
Lead generation process: our step-by-step tutorial!
Let’s be honest. You don’t want to waste your time, do you?
Neither do we.
The idea is not to give you another “Top 10 tips” post, but really to go through an advanced process that we’ve tested and gotten approved by our clients.
If you follow each step we’re going to give you right now, you’ll be able to set up something great and scalable.
Step 1: Forecast the volume of business that will transit through your process
You should always correlate your lead gen process with your marketing and sales funnels.
Sales Cycle Duration
The first thing you want to have a look at is the duration of your sales cycles.
How long does it take you to convert a lead?
To answer this, simply have a look at all the conversions you made within the last 6 months, and calculate the medium conversion time lag.
The shorter it takes you to convert a quality lead, the shorter your funnel is: this indicates that you won’t necessarily need to set up a wide process.
But it doesn’t mean you should think about it, though.
On the other hand, if your medium conversion time is long, you’ll have to prepare a lot of steps to educate and nurture your lead properly. This way, you’ll optimize the chance that he will go to you when he’s ready to make his purchase.
Number of leads
Another metric you should have a look at is the global volume of leads that will go through your lead generation process.
You probably won’t design the same lead generation stages if you have 10 or 1000 leads per month.
To forecast the volume of leads that you may generate, have a look at your previous data and if you can, some competitors or market data, to get a better vision of how many leads you could make once your process is done and optimized.
Typology of leads
Finally, you must focus on the lead’s profile that goes through your process. What are their digital habits? What do they expect from a brand like yours? What social media platforms are they involved in?
To understand a bit more about this, we recommend that you outreach some of your current customers and proceed to interviews to know a bit more about them and what brought them here.
Also, you could use some market studies and data to complete the information you’ll get from this interview. This should give you a reliable idea of who they are… and how you could encounter them!
Step 2: Design your different stages
The next step is to create the different stages your lead will go through from the moment he realizes that he needs something to the moment you’ll convert him as a client.
According to the data you’ve collected in the previous stage, you’ll be able to understand the big steps that should get involved in the buying process.
It is impossible to give a straight answer such as “give him an ebook, then convert him with ads”, since the sequences your leads will go through are getting more and more personalized…
However, you can refer to some data models such as AIDA:
- Awareness: The lead is aware of his problem and needs something to solve it. At this stage, you can offer him some generic information about his needs. You can easily do that with inbound strategies such as infographics, SEO (blog posts), ebook, etc…
- Interest: At this step, the lead is getting interested in what you could offer him. You should try to capture his attention with attractive and appealing content: give him a detailed dashboard comparing all the offers on the market (including yours), content about your product or service, etc…
- Desire: As soon as your lead is aware of what could help him and is interested in your offer, you need to make sure he desires it. To do that, you can activate some content such as videos explaining why your product is better than your competitors, some recommendations from people in his network, specific landing pages pushed through ad efforts, etc…
- Action: Finally, you need to push him a bit more in order to do the purchase. To make sure he will take action, you should offer him some kind of special offers or discounts, a free trial for your software, etc…
This is a generic example of a lead generation campaign according to the AIDA template, but you may adapt it regarding your own lead’s behavior.
Also, notice that this process can take from a few days to several months! The longer, the more content you should feed your lead with.
We’re talking about lead nurturing strategies.
Quick Tip 💡
Lead nurturing is about building a relationship before selling him something, by offering them some blog posts to read, some comparisons to make, some videos to watch, etc. As much content as needed to raise his interest slowly and buy your product or service when ready.
Most of the time, you’ll include a lead scoring system with your lead nurturing strategy to optimize your lead generation process. This means that you’ll give a numerical score to each lead who goes through the process.
If you think it’s too complicated, don’t worry, you can invest in a marketing automation tool that will do the job just fine for you!
Step 3: Get the right tools
As written above, lead nurturing and lead scoring are very common features of lead generation tools.
To do this automatically, we recommend that you get a few tools that will help you get the cleanest and most scalable process possible.
Many tools exist, but the best workflow you can get here is this one:
1. Plezi: Plezi is a french marketing tool that is just excellent if you want to go lead nurturing and marketing automation. You just need to design your process inside the tool (with the main stages you designed in step 2), create the content you want to push, and the tool will automatically score your leads and nurture them according to their place in the funnel!
2. LaGrowthMachine: When your leads are mature, you’re getting into the sales funnel part of the lead generation process. It’s time to outreach to them, through their active channels. In B2B, most of your leads will answer your solicitations through Email, LinkedIn, or Twitter.
Guess what? That’s precisely the channels LaGrowthMachine proposes you to send messages through!
You just need to import your marketing qualified leads from Plezi to LaGrowthMachine, set up your sales sequences, and the tool will send messages and follow up on each one of your leads just like if you were writing to them, smooth, easy and natural…. until you close your deal.
3. HubSpot: When your deal is closed, congrats, you got your lead conversion. But as we wrote earlier, the lead generation process is not only about generating new clients but also to get a qualitative relationship with them to upsell them.
And to do so, the best solution for us is to get a CRM such as Hubspot: you can even plug LaGrowthMachine natively with Hubspot to qualify your leads from LaGrowthMachine the way you want them to appear in your HubSpot dashboard.
You may say “Hey, all these tools are pretty expensive” and you’ll be right BUT we assure you that with such a setup, you’ll improve your lead generation by far.
Step 4: Feedback, iteration, scalability
This is the final stage of this tutorial.
If you’ve followed the previous step in the right order, great, you should just wait a few weeks to see the first results and get some data.
According to the data you’ll get, you’ll be able to understand if you’ve designed your process well or if something fails somewhere.
If it’s the case, no worries! It’s pretty normal.
You’ll get a clear vision of your whole process thanks to this bunch of tools and will know exactly what to fix to clean up your lead flow.
You’ve got it: a lead generation process is not easy to build and requires a lot of work, or a budget. However, with the right tools and a fine guide such as the one we gave you above, it can be done efficiently.
In this tutorial, we’ve shown you how to properly build an effective lead generation process with Plezi, LaGrowthMachine, and HubSpot. All these tools will help you get qualitative data about each of your leads, a clean and fast lead nurturing process, and a better understanding of lead generation funnels.
Now, it’s up to you to tweak each one of these steps if needed and adapt them to your own needs. Good luck!