The Journey of a Lead Through the Marketing Stack

Jamie Shanks
Jamie Shanks
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Your leads come a long way before they turn into customers. During their journey, data is collected by various tools, enriched over time through browsing activity, form fills, email interactions, and more.

Each tool, or layer of the stack, helps you better understand the intent of the leads and ultimately convert them by collecting and making use of the right data at the right time, at every stage of the funnel.

From their perspective, prospects engage with your brand unaware of the underlying complexity of your marketing stack. And that’s something they should never have to worry about.

In this article, I’ll show you how to provide your visitors with a seamless experience throughout their journey, and how to avoid any potential disconnect between the different applications involved in your marketing campaigns.

Handling Anonymous Visitors

Most inbound leads start off as anonymous visitors consuming content on your website or your blog. What do we know about anonymous visitors? Not much.

What we do know from our web analytics is basic information on their session, such as their traffic source, their referring site, and any query parameters that were passed through the URL. That information can then be leveraged to personalize and optimize the content experience for the visitor. For example, the Uberflip and Optimizely integration allows you to tailor call-to-actions, headlines, and design elements of your content hub for different audiences. This is a smart way to increase conversion rates and make the most out of the limited data at hand.

The next step is to turn those anonymous visitors into subscribers. There is no shortage of methods and tools to capture emails: Uberflip Form CTAs, pop-ups, bars, dialog boxes, you name it. But as important as it is to collect emails, it’s equally important to save the data that we have so far on the lead for later use.

This is where most blogging platforms fall short, because they haven’t been built for marketers. There’s no reason why you should rebuild a prospect’s profile from scratch simply because they moved from one layer of the stack (blogging platform) to another (marketing automation software). The data must flow!

Most marketing automation tools will track browsing activity from anonymous visitors and tie it to their profile once they become a known lead. But that data is not necessarily actionable if it isn’t modelled properly.

The best way to collect additional data when an unknown visitor becomes a known lead is by passing information through “hidden fields” on your opt-in form. There you can store whatever you’d like, such as the campaign that brought the visitor. You can then use it later to slice and dice your contact list and serve your subscribers with more targeted content.

Uncovering the Best Marketing Leads

You have a new subscriber, now what?

From the lead’s perspective, they traded their personal contact information for your offer because its perceived value outweighed the risk that you might “spam their inbox”. You now have to live up to their expectations.

The task at hand is to keep them engaged by consistently providing value while compiling even more data to sort the most qualified leads from the rest. The process should be hassle-free for the prospect.

Your best allies will be features like Smart Fields, which auto-fill known values on subsequent forms, and Progressive Profiling, which lets you collect new information over time instead of overwhelming visitors with too many fields.

The nurture program that you set up in your marketing automation software should involve sending your leads helpful, relevant, and engaging resources. Your program should adapt to new information as it becomes available, such as the lead’s interest in a specific topic, a preference for a specific content type, or the pace at which they consume your recommendations.

Some of the common mistakes in a nurture program are recommending resources that the prospect has already consumed or that are not of interest to them, sending them outdated content or, worst of all, not recommending any resources at all.

But once the engagement of the lead has reached a high level throughout the nurture program, and once you have collected enough data to confirm that they’re qualified, the management of the relationship will again move from one system to another.

From Marketing to Sales Qualification

As soon as a lead is deemed qualified by Marketing, a hand-off to Sales occurs. From there, moving forward, most of the magic will happen in the CRM.

There needs to be a good flow of information between your marketing automation software and your CRM so your Sales team acts on the same data as the Marketing team. For the salesperson to do a great job, they need context on how the prospect got into your funnel in the first place, and what are their most recent interactions.

Were you ever transferred from one rep at a contact center to another and had to recount your story once again? Passing from Marketing to Sales shouldn’t feel that way for prospects. It should feel like a continuation of their journey with your brand.

Unfortunately, not every lead will be ready to discuss with one of your Sales reps because of timing or budget constraints. It’s important to map out that outcome between your marketing automation software and your CRM so the lead can return them to the nurture program. You don’t want all of your efforts go to waste simply because of the lack of a feedback loop.

Creating a Seamless Journey

There will always be potential to optimize at any point, but with a solid foundation fewer prospects will fall through the cracks. 

By implementing a tightly integrated marketing stack and leveraging the flow of data at every stage, you are well on your way to providing your soon-to-be customers with an exceptional journey.

Are you interested to learn more about how to capture and nurture high quality leads? Don’t miss our next webinar!

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