In this article, we're going to show how to segment your leads into four buckets, so that you can separate the good leads from the bad, and take the appropriate actions to convert the good leads into sales.
In combination with your CRM/automation tool (if you don't have one you can view our top picks here), LeadFormly makes it easy to segment your leads into 'buckets' so that you can send the right message, to the right leads, at the right time.
This not only saves you time following up with leads (as a lot can be automated) but it also increases your lead conversion rate and consistency of sales.
Ready to get stuck in?
Step 1: Segmenting good leads from poor leads
Off the top of your head, what were the three best leads you ever received - what did they have in common that made them great? Did they have a certain budget? Were they in a certain industry? Were they all of a certain role or seniority? Did they have a common problem?
Once you've got some ideas, do the same for the worst three leads you've received. Why were they a poor fit for your business? Why didn't they convert into customers?
answers to these questions will enable you to determine a question (or set of questions) in your LeadForm that will allow you to quickly separate your leads into 'good fit' and 'poor fit'. This will help us start segmenting our leads into the four buckets below (more on this later).
Here's an example of some characteristics that a WordPress web development agency might use to separate good-fit leads from poor-fit leads.
Good-fit lead characteristics
- $1M - $10M turnover
- Founders / Marketing directors
- Has an existing website
- Uses WordPress
Poor-fit lead characteristics
- <$500k turnover
- Managers & junior staff
- Not using WordPress
In this example, the WordPress agency may feel uncomfortable asking new leads for their turnover, but asking whether a lead has an existing website and if so - asking whether it's based on WordPress (which could be done with conditional logic) would be perfectly acceptable. It would also be reasonable to ask for the lead's job title.
Based on these three pieces of information, the agency could accurately separate every lead that comes through their LeadForm into a 'good-fit' and 'poor-fit' bucket based on their answers.
Step 2: Identifying the warmth of your leads ❄ ☀️
We now know whether every lead sits in the top or bottom half of our matrix, but what about whether they fall in the left or right side?
For this, we need to know how ready a lead is to buy from us.
The traditional way of doing this was to ask new leads when they wish to get started and confirming whether there is anything they're aware of that would prevent this from being the case. While effective, this approach is manual and subjective.
A more automated approach would be to ask a question in your LeadForm that determines how ready the lead is to get started, such as:
- Ideally, when would you like this project to start?
- Do you have a deadline? (Y/N - if yes ask 'when?' using conditional logic)
- What is your goal? (Include a date picker to select when it should be achieved by)
- Do you have any questions before getting started?
Whichever question is right for your business, it must clearly separate your leads into two buckets: Leads that are ready to buy (warm), and those that aren't (cold).
Step 3: Connecting it all together
Now that your LeadForm is asking the right questions to segment your leads into the four buckets, you should be able to set up your CRM/marketing automation system up in a way that 'tags' new leads and puts them into one of the four buckets.
If you do not already have a CRM/marketing automation tool in place, here's our recommendations. In the examples below, we'll be using ActiveCampaign, but you should be able to achieve the same result with any popular CRM.
Building your sales pipeline
Your sales pipelines should start with at least three stages:
- Cold leads - these are leads that based on their answers in your LeadForm are a poor fit but ready (and need to be checked), and any other leads that you don't have enough information about to qualify them as an MQL.
- MQLs (marketing qualified leads) - these are the leads that based on their answers in your LeadForm are a good fit but not ready to buy from you.
- SQLs (sales qualified leads) - these are the leads that based on their answers in your LeadForm are a good fit and ready to buy from you.
You may also want to add any additional stages that reflect the sales process in your business. Your CRM's sales funnel should look something like this:
Most CRMs (including ActiveCampaign) allow you to automatically move leads into the correct stage based on the answers in your LeadForm. Alternatively, you can manually drag and drop leads into the correct stage, but we wouldn't recommend this.
Taking action: what to do with leads in each bucket
Now that every lead is falling into a stage of your sales pipeline, we need to decide what is an appropriate next step to move each lead further along your pipeline.
While every business is unique, here are our general recommendations on what to do with leads that fall in each of the four buckets:
While outside of the scope of this article, we should point out that you can automate these actions in your CRM or marketing automation tool using tags. Here is a screenshot showing how this could be done in ActiveCampaign. For more information on building automations, visit your CRM system's documentation.
You're all done!
By this point, you should be segmenting all leads that come through your LeadForm into four buckets. Depending on which bucket the leads land in, a series of actions will take place with an aim to disqualify them or move them further along your sales pipeline.
As you automate more of this, you should find that you (or your sales team) free up more time and have clearer KPIs on the conversion rates of cold leads to MQLs, MQLs to SQLs and more. This then allows you to compare the quality of different marketing campaigns against each other, and build a more predictable and optimised lead generation process.