By Katie Mientka

You put your heart and soul into your business – and leads are its lifeblood. If we break it down to its simplest components: Leads = customers = profits. But, of course, it’s never that simple! Traditional approaches that silo marketing and sales and traditional techniques that rigidly follow an obsolete, linear “sales funnel” are no longer effective.

Today’s consumers are more educated and savvier than ever. Lead generation strategies must keep pace. The good news: lead automation can seamlessly integrate marketing and sales in a way that aligns with 21st century buyers.

How People Buy Today

The concept of the sales funnel was developed by E. St. Elmo Lewis in 1898, and it followed a linear, predictable path: awareness to interest to desire to action.

Lead Generation and Automation

Many businesses are still using a process conceived more than a century ago! Not only did 19th and early 20th century consumers not have the mind-boggling array of choices we do now, they didn’t have the technology to research, learn, and make informed decisions right in their pockets. They didn’t have the voice they do now or the expectation that businesses would cater to their journeys.

Here’s what the consumer journey might look like today:

Lead Generation and Automation

Add a few loops and drops, and it could be a rollercoaster. Consumers are aware. They may be interested; they conduct some research. They wait and mull. They comparison shop. They read some articles and watch videos. They ask friends and family for recommendations. They make a decision. They buy. They go back and look at other service or product offerings; maybe they purchase again. Maybe they start researching again, based on their experience.

The point is that it is not a straight shot from awareness to action. Prospects and leads interact with multiple touchpoints throughout their journey and keeping them engaged throughout is essential – especially as they will travel most of that way without reaching out to sales. Lead generation and automation can help you keep up with the twists and turns of the 21st century consumer.


  • Collecting Leads Automatically. People enter the consumer journey via various touchpoints, whether a pay-per-click ad, a landing page, a blog, a social media post, or during retargeting (i.e. they’ve left the sales cycle and you want to reengage). Wherever consumers enter – or reenter – the sales journey, lead automation is there to “catch” them.
  • Integrating Sales Organically. When you generate and collect leads, they are automatically diverted to the salesperson who has the best shot at converting them. If you’re marketing, you’re a hero. If you’re sales, you don’t have to wade through cold leads to get to the best prospects. Win-win.
  • Prioritizing Leads. Qualifying and scoring leads ensures that salespeople don’t have to waste time and energy closing. They can get an at-a-glance look at their best opportunities and serve up a better experience. Not-so-good leads can be punted back for nurturing.
  • Retargeting. It happens people show interest, they take steps along the journey… and then they take a detour. With lead automation solutions, you can retarget them and prompt them to come back.

Making Lead Generation and Automation Work for You

Some actionable steps you can take to put lead generation and automation to work for your design/construction business:

  • Optimize Your Content for Search. Because consumers travel most of the sales journey on their own, it is critical to have helpful, educational, and authoritative content. But that’s not enough; you must optimize that content with targeted keywords that capture your company’s identity and offerings – and reflect what people are really searching for when they hit Google for help.
  • Create Lead Magnets. Offer something of value in exchange for contact information. For example, you can create a downloadable eBook or an interactive quiz. To access the insights, they provide their email address.

Lead Generation and Automation

Haven’s interactive Marketing Quiz is an effective lead magnet.

The key to making lead magnets work is to offer value to your prospective buyers. Make it worth their while to give up their email address or other information. They should solve a real problem, be quick and easy to digest, and position you as the solution.

  • Start or Strengthen a Referral Program. In our industry, referrals are worth their weight in gold. They can generate four times higher conversions and net you a 25% higher profit margin. What will motivate your existing customers/clients to recommend you? And how can you ensure that your referral program is easy to use.
  • Raise the Voice of Word-of-Mouth. Share what people are saying about your brand on social media and in reviews and testimonials. Like referrals, word-of-mouth is tremendously effective when leveraged.

Leads = customers = profits. But remember to factor in the marked change that has occurred in consumers and how much power they have to direct the conversation. Lead generation and automation techniques need to catch up to the 21st century, and when they do: sustainability, growth, and a strong pipeline of people who see your company as the answer.