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Managing the Inbound Marketing Lead Lifecycle

By John McTigueAug 23, 2011

So we're getting pretty good at this inbound marketing stuff, huh? Traffic and leads are way up compared to last year, but we're still not getting leads converted to customers. Why not? Are we not contacting them with the right message? Are we too early or too late? Do we know what they want? Can we read their minds? No, but we can read their actions, and we can lead them right up to the cash register if we manage their lead lifecycles properly.

What we need are tools that allow us to follow our visitors and leads as they explore our content and landing pages. What buttons do they click and what images or phrases capture their interest? Which landing pages convert and which ones die on the vine? When a potential customer sends us an obvious "buy" signal, like reading our Services page several times, do we even know about it unless they call or send an e-mail? For most of us, the answer is no. We might as well just put a cork in the bottom of the sales funnel.

are you following your leads and track their motions

Here's the thing. There are tools available for managing your lead lifecycles. We're working right now with the HubSpot-Performable suite to fine tune our sales funnel so that qualified, ready-to-buy sales leads flow out of the "business end". Here's what we're working on - stay tuned for results in the near future:

Detailed Lead Analytics

We're setting up a variety of website "events" that we will track with our HubSpot-Performable lead analytics. We're looking for conversion rates or click-throughs on our calls-to-action, links, menu items and blog topics. We want to know where people are going and what interests them the most. We want to be able to segment competitors from potential buyers and focus on the buyers. We will track a lot of different things until we have enough data to understand both the gross trends and the fine details as people interact with our website and blog. We will seek answers about the best sources and the best "bait" to use.

Targeted, Timely Engagements

Once we better understand our leads and their habits, we will set up triggers to engage them when the opportunity presents itself. If, for example, someone reads about our inbound marketing services offering on multiple occasions, we will invite them to a personal consultation, or maybe a limited engagement webinar. If a lead fits our "behavior profile" for a customer in the making, we may reach out directly by phone and start a conversation. We won't assume anything about what works or doesn't work. Instead, we will test different types of content and scheduling to optimize conversion rates.

This is More Than Marketing Automation

The mechanics of analytics and response may be automated, but the rules are not. What we infer from the data and glean from the engagements is strictly human interpretation and thoughtful strategy. The more of this we pour into the process, the more success we are likely to see. I believe that it won't take long at all before we are able to report some pretty astounding results from managing our inbound marketing lead lifecycles. I'll get back to you on that.

Photo courtesy of: UNC - CFC - USFK (U.S. Navy)


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The Author

John McTigue

With over 30 years of business and marketing experience, John loves to blog about ideas and trends that challenge inbound marketers and sales and marketing executives. John has a unique way of blending truth with sarcasm and passion with wit. You can connect with John via LinkedIn, Twitter and Google Plus.
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