Before getting deeper into understanding the life cycle of a lead, let us quickly learn what is a lead. Lead is a term that is used by many businesses for a prospective contact who can be a paying customer. A person’s Name, along with email ID & phone number are the basic components that makes up a lead. More the information you know about your lead, the easier it is to make them a paying customer.
It is important to know & observe how a lead flow through different stages of marketing before converting into a sale or dropping out of the sales funnel.
Why you need to know & understand life cycle of a lead?
- To reduce the sales lead dropout through cracks in the system
- To understand conversion rate in each stage of lead life cycle & to optimize for higher conversion rate in stage by stage movement
- To gain insights of the lead that helps in better lead nurturing
Stages: Life Cycle of a Lead
- Subscriber: One who has liked your blog or some random article upon landing on your page & he/she wish to know about new updates from you. It can be a new blog post update / product update / offer update.
- Lead: One who have shared more than just an email ID i.e. name and contact number along with email ID. These are potential people who are more interested in our product / service that we are offering. A lead can come from various paid campaigns (like Facebook ads), SEO or from a happy subscriber. A proper lead nurturing should happen here to test the behavior of the lead, based on which a lead is passed to next stage as MQL.
- Marketing Qualified Lead: Leads at this stage are those who have engaged with you through various mode of communications. It can be by email, SMS, or any targeted online ads. Ex.: one who have downloaded your free e-book, who have requested for a demo, who have used your product’s trial service, one who have visited your offer page for more than 10 times in one week etc. These behavior of the lead shows that they are in need of your product / service but are expecting something more from you.
- Sales Qualified Lead: A sales team decide the leads in this stage after a direct communication with leads via a phone call or some other kind of communication. Leads at these stages are one who are keen to buy the product / service from you and just need a push for them to opt for. The push can be a special discount only for a particular SQL / offering money back guarantee / extended service period / festival limited offer etc.
- Opportunities: Leads at this stage knows about your product, brand, its price etc. your sales team should just give an extra push to these leads after understand what is stopping them from opting your product / service.
- Customer: This is every entrepreneur’s favorite stage who wish to see the leads here. Does the leads life cycle ends here? Not actually. A smart sales team is one which keep customers in regular touch by various online channels (monthly newsletters / weekly SMS alerts / or a direct phone call) through which the customer can know about the latest news/offers/products of your company. One can actually get a product / service feedback from customer. A happy customer can actually bring in more customers to you by referrals. However, you can initiate this with the customer by offering a gift / bounty for referrals that a customer makes. A web hosting company can offer one month extended hosting for free upon successfully referring a new client, or a training institute can offer a small paid course for free to existing customer for successful new client referral etc.
There is no guarantee that every subscriber / lead will pass through all the above stages. There will definitely be a conversion drop between each stage that can be now measured easily to understand what is going wrong in each & every stage & can be optimized for higher conversion rates.
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