The lead lifecycle encompasses every stage of the sales funnel, from acquiring leads and qualifying them through to the moment somebody becomes a client.
Being aware of the lead lifecycle, and knowing how to guide leads through all of the stages, is a highly advantageous skill for all professionals. In this article, we will take a look at every stage of the lead lifecycle, as well as the best ways to track your leads’ lifecycles and use them to your advantage to get higher conversions.
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The Lead Lifecycle: Definition and Importance
The lead lifecycle refers to every stage of the sales funnel from start to finish. Essentially, it is the process in which a lead becomes a prospect, the prospect becomes an opportunity, and finally, the opportunity becomes the close. In other words, it covers awareness, interest, consideration, and the decision to become a client.
Tracking this lifecycle is essential because it allows you to understand your clients and optimize your marketing and outreach efforts accordingly. This way, you can gain insights into how potential clients move through the stages and where they may be getting stuck or dropping off. This information can be used to identify areas for improvement in your processes, and to optimize strategies to increase conversions and client retention.
For example, if you find that prospects are rarely reaching the opportunity stage, you may need to revisit your service offerings to ensure that they are meeting the needs of your target audience. Alternatively, you may need to adjust your marketing tactics to better communicate the value of your offerings.
Furthermore, tracking the lead lifecycle can help you to prioritize your resources and efforts. By understanding which stages of the lifecycle are most challenging or time-consuming, you can allocate your resources and efforts to the areas where they are needed most. This can help to maximize your time efficiency and ensure that you are not wasting time or resources on low-value activities.
How to Use Lead Lifecycles
Now that you understand the importance of implementing lead lifecycles into your client acquisition process, we can take a deeper look into how you can do so at every stage.
The Lead/Awareness Stage
At this stage, potential clients have only become aware of your services and are now known as leads. Leads are at the very first stage of the sales funnel and are yet to be qualified.
To convert leads into prospects, you should focus on positioning yourself as an authority and showcasing your reviews, your services, and your skills.
The Prospect/Interest Stage
Once a lead has reached this stage, they become qualified and thus become a prospect. Prospects are not only aware of what you have to offer, but they have also shown interest. They can do this by engaging on your platforms or seeking more information.
Studies have shown that 78% of prospects will purchase from the first company that responds to their inquiries. To turn prospects into opportunities, you can focus on showcasing your reliability, your experience and qualifications, your case studies, and the work that you’ve done for past clients.
The Opportunity/Consideration Stage
As soon as the prospect shows that they are considering your services, they become an opportunity and are only one step away from becoming a client.
To turn opportunities into closes, focus on things that will help them to make their decision. Communicate with them, quell any concerns, and answer any questions they may have.
The Close/Decision Stage
The final stage of the sales funnel is the stage in which the initial lead decides to become a paying client.
To retain your clients for future work, ensure that the quality of your work is exceptional, your communication skills are on par, and that you genuinely care about the project they have given you.
How to Track Lead Lifecycles
To track the awareness stage: Measure the number of website visits, social media engagements, and other metrics that indicate awareness, such as brand searches or ad impressions.
To track the interest stage: Measure the number of inquiries, social media follows, form fills, content downloads, or any other metrics that indicate interest.
To track the consideration stage: Measure the number of proposal requests, quotes, consultations, or other metrics that indicate consideration.
To track the decision stage: Measure the number of purchases, sign-ups, proposal acceptances, or any other metrics that indicate a decision.
Understanding and tracking the lead lifecycle is essential for freelancers and professionals in all industries.
By tracking potential clients’ progress through the sales funnel, you can identify areas for improvement in your processes, optimize your marketing and outreach efforts, and increase conversions and client retention. Furthermore, you can gain valuable insights into potential clients’ behavior and allocate your resources and efforts to the areas where they are most needed.
Overall, understanding and implementing lead lifecycles can help you to grow your business, increase revenue, and achieve long-term success as a freelancer or professional.