Navigating Your Contacts, Leads, and Future Relationships

William Gislason
Posted by William Gislason on October 10, 2014

understanding-contacts-and-leadsEvery marketer knows they should treat their leads the way the lead wants to be treated. But when you have a diverse group of leads, connecting with each of them the way they want to be connected with can be a difficult and time consuming task. By understanding your various leads' goals and helping them achieve those goals, you'll inevitably create the relationships that both you and your prospects are searching for. But first, you need to recognize the huge variety of people you refer to as leads.

Understanding Contacts

A lead is simply someone thinking about paying you for a product or service, right?

For many marketing automation platforms – that’s actually not the case. To them, a lead is anyone who’s filled out one of your forms. This means "a lead" is a pretty broad term. So before you get too excited about your new lead, make sure their name isn’t “sdfghjkl.” 

Even if your new lead does give their real information, they could be a student, an intern, an applicant, a competitor, or even your content writer’s mother (love you, Mom!). Though these people are welcome to view your content, they probably won’t be giving you money anytime soon.

At Weidert Group, when a visitor converts, we think of them more as a general contact than a lead.

The visitors our site attracts have a variety of goals. When they convert, we ask questions that allow us to better understand what they want from our business. We’re sure to ask their name and their email address, then we ask them a deeper question or two such as what is their position, what is their industry, or how large is their company; these questions help us to better understand what sort of relationship they're looking for (and not looking for).

With every contact you collect, you need to know why that person is connecting with you. Sure you could send everyone all the content you produce, but you risk annoying contacts and being seen as spammy. Nobody likes spam and no one wants to produce spam (except maybe Mark), that’s why we segment our contacts. 

How To Segment Your Contacts?

The first step when organizing your contacts should be segmenting them in two groups: those looking to learn from you, and those looking to learn from you and then work with you. Nearly every contact is looking to learn which means that providing educational content is an essential part of building a relationship that leads to a sale. Questions such as, “What is your position?” and “What is your industry” help you to identify your new contacts’ goals.

With the answers to these questions, we can begin the process of contact segmentation during which we separate our contacts into actual business leads and "evangelists." An evangelist is contact who's interested in your company and wants to learn more even though he or she is not a potential client. A happy evangelist will share your content, talk about your company to their friends in the industry, and promote you as a thought leader. These evangelists simply want to learn about your business, so send them updates on your blog and larger content pieces such as an ebook about a new production process. Be sure you don’t waste their time with emails entitled Is your company ready to make the leap? or Talk to a sales rep today! – these emails will only serve to annoy them.

After segmenting out the evangelists, check your remaining contacts for obvious false names, companies, and email addresses. These contacts don’t want to build a relationship with you and that’s okay. While it can be annoying, there’s nothing you can do about untruthful leads except remove them from your email lists so they don’t waste any more of your time.

With the remaining list, you've identified your actual business leads – congratulations! Within this list of names is the future of your company. But not all leads are created equal. Now you must further sort them into groups that help you organize their goals, their knowledge of your services, and their stage of the buyer’s journey. What sort of products or services are they interested in? Are they just starting to learn or are they looking to buy now? Are they a good fit for your company? A simple but effective way to start segmenting your contacts is by their location in the buyer's journey: such as “Top of the Funnel,” “Marketing Qualifed Leads,” (your target market), and “Sales Opporitunities." Tip: Many contacts can, and should, be put in multiple segments – just remember not to overload them with emails.

The Tools You Need

These groups can help you as a marketer give your lead the right content at the right time but will also help your sales team better understand the lead so they can reach out at the right time. You need to find the balance between annoying leads by contacting them too early and missing a sales because someone else contacted them first. The only way to find the balance and reach out at the right time is to truly understand your clients and empathize with their journey. 


At this point, many of you might be saying, “Hold up just a minute, young man. Who has the time to sort every single contact into multiple groups then curate content for all of them?”

To consistently create a personalized and engaging relationship with your leads, be sure your automated marketing software has these 3 tools.


Your software should have the ability to sort your new contacts into groups based on their responses to your form. This means if someone reports that he or she is a student, that person can be automatically added to your Evangelist group; if someone says he's in the Electric Supplies industry, he can be automatically added to your “send Innovation Updates” group.

Purposeful Automated Emails

This is the best feature for saving you time. Automated emails allow you create a set process for sharing content and offers with a contact based on their answers to your form. This allows us to create a consistent, optimal experience for your contacts by giving them the right content at the right time automatically.

RELATED: 9 Easy Steps to Set Up & Automate Marketing Contacts Management in HubSpot CRM

Adaptive Calls-to-Actions

If your contacts are so enthralled by your company that they're surfing your site repeatably looking for new content, you can use adaptive CTAs to change the content you offer them on the fly. Adaptive CTAs allow you to offer the right content to your contact whenever they are ready for it – whether it’s 12 days after converting or 12 minutes.

Taking the time to set up and manage your contact lists, workflows, and Smart CTAs will not only save you time later but provide your contacts with the optimal buyer’s journey every time.

The life of an inbound marketing lead. Nurture your leads at every stage in the lifecycle. Download your guide.


Topics: Marketing Automation

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