For many companies, lead generation can be the most difficult part of running a business.

Traffic’s easy. Just write some high-quality content, throw money at some ads, and sit back.

But unless you can get the contact information of your visitors, they’ll disappear like smoke in a tornado.

And of course, there is a near-infinite supply of other websites and products competing for your customers’ attention.

As a result, creating an effective process that helps you acquire new leads and convert them into paying customers is essential to keeping your business running.

So how do you do it?

This article will give you a step-by-step guide. We’ll break down exactly what lead gen is, a 5-step walkthrough to creating an optimized process for it, as well as give you an actionable lead management template you can put into place today.

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What is lead generation?

Lead generation involves obtaining contact information from your website or social media traffic in order to drive them towards a later conversion, such as a purchase or subscription enrollment.

Without lead generation, your business has no influence on the buyer’s journey — you’re sitting idly, twiddling your thumbs while potential customers flit around you like swallows (with similar attention spans).

It’s not enough to get those customers to land near you. You need to tag them in some way so you can find them again later.

And, (let’s not beat around the bush here), lead generation equates to profit:

82% of companies that make less than $250,000 per year produce 100 or fewer leads per month. The majority of companies that produce 101–500 leads per month earn $1 million or more each year. And more than a quarter of companies that produce 10,000 leads per month bring in $1 billion each year.

How do you create an effective lead generation process?

Creating a solid, scalable lead generation process can help you effectively turn traffic into sales.

Follow these five steps to get started…

#1: Turn traffic into leads

The first step of the lead generation process is converting traffic into potential leads.

Traffic is anyone who stumbled across your business — someone who’s seen your brand on social media or read your blog post (inbound traffic), or clicked on your Facebook or Google ad (outbound traffic), etc.

And traffic is great. It’s also almost completely worthless.

With 97% (or so) of first-time website visitors failing to convert, traffic is the greatest vanity metric in all of marketing.

Until you convince your website visitor to give you a way to contact them, they’re nothing more than a speck of dust disappearing in the wind.

Without an inbound lead generation strategy that turns social media traffic and blog readers (as well as an outbound lead generation strategy to turn ad clickers) into leads, those visitors quickly become lost amongst the other billion specks floating around the world wide web. There’s no way to reach out and push them down your marketing funnel.

Landing pages, popups, opt-in bars, and forms are all popular ways to convert your site visitors into leads.

Each lead generating strategy has its strengths and weaknesses…

  • Content marketing (oriented around inbound lead generation) can be a long-term strategy to generate top-of-funnel leads who will need significant nurturing to turn them into sales.
  • Facebook lead ads and Google lead form extensions can be a quick way to invest heavily in a lead generation campaign focused around a single offer.

Then when we come to the actual tools you use, there are still differences…

  • Landing pages can convert targeted traffic at almost 25%, depending on how you’ve optimized them.
  • Popups (which tend to have far less targeted viewers) convert just 4.22%, but are a leading way to convert blog readers into leads.

To get started with both popups and landing pages, you can use a lead generation platform like Unbounce or Instapage.

Modify one of their many free templates to suit your business and traffic, craft your copy, and offer something (like a free trial, blog subscription, or ebook) in exchange for contact info. Check out one of our landing pages to help get your creative juices flowing.

Each lead generating strategy has its strengths and weaknesses. Landing pages convert targeted traffic at almost 25%, while popups (which tend to have far less targeted viewers) convert just 4.22%, but are a leading way to convert blog readers into leads.

To get started with both popups and landing pages, you can use a lead generation platform like Unbounce or Instapage.

Modify one of their many free templates to suit your business and traffic, craft your copy, and offer something (like a free trial, blog subscription, or ebook) in exchange for contact info.

Check out one of our landing pages to help get your creative juices flowing:

Screenshot of's homepage

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#2: Qualify new leads

Once you’ve generated a lead, you need to qualify them, which means segmentation.

Each lead is different. One might be all but ready to buy your products while another might be familiar with your product, but unconvinced that they want to pay for it.

You can (and should) use a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool to keep track of your leads and qualify them. Doing it manually (if you’re generating leads as you should be) quickly gets impossible.

Qualifying leads is important because it makes it easier to optimize communication with them and nurture them through your sales funnel at a speed and with the content most likely to result in a conversion.

Qualifying leads so you can properly nurture them can reduce sales-related costs by as much as a third and increase sales opportunities by 20%.

A few common lead qualifications (or stages) that companies use are:

  • Marketing Qualified Lead: A lead who is worth pursuing — someone who matches your business’ target customer persona.
  • Sales Qualified Lead: A lead who has shown interest in buying. What that interest is will be dependent on your business.
  • Product Qualified Lead: A lead who has experienced first-hand value with your product through a freemium business model or trial.
  • Service Qualified Lead: A lead who has told your customer service team that they want a sales call.

#3: Nurture and manage new leads

Once you’ve generated and qualified a lead, you have to nurture them and help them grow. You should have a lead nurturing process that helps to push them through your sales funnel and turn them into paying customers.

Segmentation is important as differently qualified leads should receive different communications from your company. Personalizing market material through segmentation increases their open rate 28.05% from 18.3% for non-personalized marketing.

You can send communications to customers based on how you qualified them and send additional resources or marketing to them as they interact with your product more.’s lead management template can help you keep track of your leads, segment them, and reach out to them to help move them down your sales funnel.

#4: Send leads to sales

Once you’ve turned a lead into someone who is considering buying your product, it’s time to let your B2B sales team take the lead. Send your potential customers to the sales team and let them close the deal.

Your sales team should focus on turning the customer’s desire for your product into the action of buying it. The sales team (in conjunction with support) should also work to retain paying customers and upsell them to higher tiers of service.

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#5: Evaluate your lead generation process and iterate

Lead generation, as much as any other marketing strategy, is a process that needs to be evaluated and iterated on constantly.

And, as you test and tweak, remember to focus on the bottom of your lead generation funnel.

For instance, a landing page that gets email addresses from 20% of your website’s visitors might not be worth as much as a page that gets phone numbers from 5% of visitors. A high quality lead (by definition) has a higher average value than a low quality lead, so you would rather get one high quality lead than four bad ones.

A/B testing (showing one variation of a page or flow to half your traffic and another variation to another to see which converts better) offers different ways of generating leads to see which produces more and better leads can be worth the investment as you’ll learn about your customers and what convinced them to buy from you.

Each target audience will respond to different marketing and lead generation strategies in different ways. A business to business (B2B) marketer that promotes their business to other companies will respond to different value propositions than a B2C marketer looking to sell more shoes.

A/B testing is crucial to widening the bottom of your marketing funnel, but requires constant iteration and comprehensive analytics (of the entire funnel).

Optimizing lead management with templates

Turning traffic into leads, qualifying them, and tracking where they are in your marketing funnel can be difficult, even with a good CRM tool.

And mismanaging a lead can mean a lost customer (and negative marketing ROI), so make sure you treat every lead personally — that means personalized communication (or at least communication that feels personalized) and relevant content delivered to them when they want it.’s lead management templates enable you to make sure your marketing and sales team is on the same page throughout your lead generation process.

Duplication of a template enables you to use the same tested process across multiple offerings, saving you from reinventing your process each time.

A screenshot of the lead management template from

You can also view the performance of individual members of your sales or lead generation team, which can help you target feedback and training for your team.


Lead generation can make or break your business. Finding the right lead generation process (and then refining it ad nauseum) can help your business turn traffic into potential customers and potential customers into loyal ones.’s powerful platform and customizable templates (like its lead management template), can help your team design and execute a successful lead generation process.

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