After people see your brand for the first time, your primary objective is to get them into your sales funnel. A sales funnel is a depiction of how your leads (people who haven’t become clients yet) move through various stages to become paying customers. The better you can categorize this journey, the better you understand how and why people buy (or don’t buy) from you.

This example shows how a CRM software company traces the journey of a lead from initial contact to becoming a customer. In this case, each phase of the journey can be seen, from landing on the demo request page, to getting a demo, to getting a trail, and becoming a client.

CRM get leads into sales funnel
A funnel tracing the acquisition of a software customer.

When you think about the story arc of bringing your leads toward becoming clients, start with a reason, a purpose. Getting people interested in whatever you’re selling (even if you aren’t selling a physical product or a defined service) requires you to step into their minds and see things from their points of view.

Put yourself in your leads’ shoes. Think about your buyers and imagine them clicking an ad, finding you in search results, hearing about you from someone they know, or reading about you in an informational article. The person ends up on your website, and then … what?

Maybe they land on your homepage, maybe they land on an inner page, or maybe they land on a dedicated landing page (a page you built to address a specific market or a campaign). Think about what that person is there for. Usually the first inquiry is about gathering information, but he wants to know more. Your ability to create the desire for more information is what will convince that potential client to progress on your buyer journey.

Most of the pages where you control content need a call to action (CTA). This call to action is usually in the form of a button that clearly tells the visitor what to do. Common CTAs are “click here to learn more,” “click here to get a free whitepaper,” “email us to get demo,” or other action-related phrases. This image shows a call to action; the contact info leads give goes into the CRM and the lead starts through the funnel.

using CTA to get leads into funnel
This call to action gets leads in a funnel.

Capturing data for your CRM with effective forms

With digital marketing, the use of forms is the key to capturing information and filling your funnel with qualified leads. Use these forms to gather information in exchange for offering the lead some tangible incentive (for example, a discount, a downloadable whitepaper, or access to more information).

As your leads progress through your funnel, your relationship with them changes. New leads are looking for high-level information, so they can make the decision to investigate your products or services further. As they learn more about you and what you offer, the relationship becomes one of building trust and confidence that you can deliver on what you promise. Accordingly, your messaging needs to change.

If you have a complex product, it may make sense to provide long-form educational content to leads. Detailed e-books or blogs may be more relevant, particularly if you sell something technical, where product performance is important to your leads.

When you build forms, be mindful of who your webpage visitor is and what that visitor is looking for. Always ask for the minimum amount of information, to make it as easy as possible for someone to fill out the form.

Make sure that when you have a landing page, the landing page’s content matches the corresponding ad. If someone clicks an ad because you offer a special product, information about that product should be on your landing page. Coordinate the ad and landing page with your website manager and the people who manage your ad campaigns.

Some people like using pop-up ads, pop-under ads, and other intrusive methods of encouraging people to fill out forms. While some data suggests a higher rate of people filling out forms, there is a corresponding increase in the annoyance factor of your webpage visitors. This risk may be acceptable to you, depending on your overall strategy, but be sure to test to see whether lead quality goes up or down, depending on the kind of forms you use.

Automatically appending data to your contacts/companies

When someone fills out a form, one helpful tool is an automatic data appending and validation. You can then fill in extra data that the user didn’t explicitly enter into the form. Your CRM platform should offer lead capture tools that augment form data with data appending, validate the email as a valid email, and do a reputation assessment based on the email and the network that is filling out the form.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book author:

Lars Helgeson is a pioneer in sales and marketing technology. His CRM platform for small to mid-size businesses, GreenRope, was built from scratch and has grown to include over 3,000 clients in more than 40 countries since its inception in 2011. He is a frequent speaker for small membership organizations and conferences.

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