The Lead Generation Funnel

Alternate title for this blog: “So you’ve found a lead. Now what?”

Generating the lead is half the battle. Literally. After you’ve earned your lead, you need to transfer it immediately into the lead generation funnel to start the second half.

The lead generation funnel is the process the sales team uses to convert leads to customers. It has five important stages, each of which are designed to move the lead further down the funnel. Let us explain!

lead generation funnelLead

This is your customer in their “raw” form. They may have expressed interest in your business by calling you, filling out a form on your website (link), or getting in contact another way. Either way the lead is at least vaguely familiar with your company and the products or services you offer.

Qualified lead

In this stage, the sales team examines the lead to make sure it’s someone that meets your criteria of customers that you work with. If you’re a local snow blower company from Seattle and a 65-year-old male from Atlanta fills out a form on your website, they may not be considered a qualified lead.

If they don’t meet your basic customer criteria like age and location, you may want to put their contact information aside and focus on the leads that match your target audience standards. Leads that match the characteristics of customers you work with have a better chance at moving smoothly down the funnel.

Customers that meet these criteria are considered qualified leads. At this point, begin reaching out to them via phone and email to gauge their interest in your product or service. If they are responsive, they move further down the funnel.


At this stage, the qualified leads have expressed interest in what you’re selling and they’re beginning serious thought into making a purchase. They may be choosing between your business and several competitors.

This is when you start creating proposals and giving price estimates. Your proposal should communicate the value of selecting your business and the aspects of your business that set you apart from the competition.


At this stage, the opportunity has committed to making a purchase from your business. Hooray!


You may think the funnel ends with a purchase from a new customer, but there’s more to the process! In inbound marketing, we don’t just stop at pushing people to be a customer – we want them to be a promotor of our business.

A promotor is someone who has been delighted by your brand and extremely satisfied with the value they received from your business. They in turn create valuable word of mouth advertising to their network that strengthens your brand at no cost to you.

When a customer becomes a promotor, it helps to generate even more leads for the top of the funnel. And because the customer’s network is most likely that of business owners and decision makers within their industry, these leads will be better, high quality, and more likely to convert to customers.

Interested in generating better leads to grow your business? After all, you need the leads before you can start the funnel process! Click below to download your free eBook and we’ll show you how!

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