Looking to improve the lead generation process for your company? Start by looking at your buyer and their objective at each stage in the cycle. By addressing their needs and objectives at each point, you will move more from Suspect all the way to Customer.

The 5 stages in a lead generation process

the buying cycle

1 Suspect

Simply put, a Suspect is everyone in your target market who could potentially buy. Lots of Suspects means you could have a big market opportunity.

The buyer’s need at this stage is basic information and awareness about better ways to accomplish what they are trying to do.

Satisfy their objective:
Are there better ways to do this?

Improve your lead generation process by providing knowledgeable, helpful information that is easy to find and share. This is where blogs written around keywords publicized through social media can have a real impact on brining more into the top of your sales funnel.

2 Prospect

A Prospect is defined as a Suspect who has taken action either on their own, or in response to one of your marketing efforts (email, search, tradeshow, etc.) They are beginning to research solutions and need more how-to information on how to solve their need.

Satisfy their objective:
What do I need?

Improve your lead generation process at this stage with landing pages that offer your prospects premium content. Great examples include eBooks, whitepapers, online calculators, etc. that outline best practices and how-to activities that educate and inform the prospect. This will encourage them to look closer at your ability to solve their problem. By putting this content behind a landing page that captures basic contact information you can begin the process of engagement.

3 Lead

A Lead may be defined in many different ways depending on whom you’re talking to. Some will call a list of names leads, some want every BANT categories satisfied before they’ll call it a lead.

I prefer to look at a Lead as a Prospect who has engaged to learn more and has a need or pain that your product or service that can help solve. Their needs at this stage are moving into an evaluation of potential providers.

Satisfy their objective:
Why you?

Improve your lead generation process at this stage by leveraging case studies and testimonials that demonstrate your ability provide value and solve real problems for brands. Simple email marketing executed with a lead nurturing or drip-marketing methodology can have a big impact here.

4 Opportunity

An Opportunity is a Lead that has authority to recommend or make a buying decision and is ready to act if the value is right. Their needs are around reasons to act now as opposed to delaying a decision.

Satisfy their objective:
Why now?

Improve your lead generation process here by giving them clear reasons to act now. There are a number of ways you could go. Time limited discounts 10% off, or maybe bonus contract terms 13 months for the price of 12. Even service business can leverage Free Consultation offers to move your Opportunity to act now.

5 Customer

Great you have a customer, but don’t neglect the impact of welcome & activation messages to combat natural buyer’s remorse. This is time to deliver the value you can provide.

Satisfy their objective:
Did I make the right decision?

Improve your business process by delivering on your promises and ensuring your customer knows what is happening at each stage of the implementation or start-up.