Lead generation is at the forefront of every business owner’s mind. Finding new prospects and then working to turn them into customers is the foundation of business growth and keeps us moving forward. Is every lead worth pursuing, though? We don’t think so. 

It takes precious resources to go after these leads, trying to guide them through a funnel from their first action—opening an email, responding to a contact form, clicking on an ad—to become a source of income for your business. You don’t want to spend your time and money chasing after leads that will not return your investment. However, you want to qualify your leads to identify where your sales team should spend their time. 

This brings us to the most valuable but underutilized criteria for qualifying leads: interest vs. intent.

Identify Interest vs. Intent

Is your client in a state of change? Or are they merely looking around? This distinction is crucial because you want to protect your time for those prospects that may be more difficult to convert but could be assets to your business. 

Consider these two scenarios:

  • Scenario #1: Jake knows he needs to work on his project, but he finds his mind wandering. He saw an email yesterday about your service and, just for future reference, wants to know how much that might cost him one day if he ever decides that he’s interested in that. So, he’s clicked on a few blogs and looked around your website.
  • Scenario #2: Hannah is the decision-maker in her office. She has identified a need for your service, is impressed by your brand and has added you to a list of companies to reach out to for quotes. She plans to begin this project next month and is ready to start discussing options. So, she fills out a contact form with details about her project.

Which lead do you want to go after first? And which one do you want to spend the most time on? There is a correct answer here, and it’s scenario #2. Jake could be a viable lead with the right efforts, but he has only interest, whereas Hannah has intent. 

How do you identify interest vs. intent?

Observe your typical prospects’ actions. Do you get the most leads from your website? Your email marketing? Once you identify your highest lead generator, you can dissect that down to a more granular level: specific campaigns, for example. When reviewing your highest lead-generating tools, you will begin to see a pattern, which will help you determine how your most invested customers are coming to you. 

As you’re observing actions, pay close attention to your prospects’ habits. When potential customers are making an extra effort to reach you—filling out contact forms, messaging you on social media, calling you to ask questions—it’s clear that those prospects are your sales person’s easiest and most valuable targets because they’ve gone past interest. Pay attention to the questions they ask, the content they respond to, and what about your product or service interests them the most. They intend to make a change.

Note that there is a step between interest and intent: consideration. However, once a potential customer has hit even just the consideration stage, they are well on their way to closing the sale and therefore are still a healthy target. 

How do you turn interest into intent? 

Consider that just because a lead is still in the interest stage and not your sales team’s first priority doesn’t mean that it isn’t of value to your business. If you are looking to move a prospect from interest to intent, there are a few steps that you can take to guide them through the funnel. 

1. Engage your customer in small but meaningful ways.

In this stage, you’re planting seeds. You’ve made the connection, they’re aware of your business and what you are about, and they know that you’re there to help if they ever need it. 

2. Build a relationship and slowly identify the specific problem that you can solve.

Maybe you’re a realtor, and this potential customer is looking for a property. There are so many questions left to answer that will help you identify what you can actually help with. What type of property? Commercial or residential? What do they care about the most? Price or location? And the list goes on. This research will help you continue to develop that relationship while also pivoting your pitch to align with their pain points.

3. Begin investing more time.

Send targeted proposals, offer free demos, and lead the prospect to trust and understand your company’s value in a more in-depth way. 

Intent Begins with Awareness

Brand awareness is where your customer begins learning about your business. By boosting awareness, you can begin generating leads and funneling them toward intent and purchase. Aren’t sure where to begin? Green Apple Strategy builds comprehensive marketing strategies that turn awareness into qualified leads while helping you align your sales and marketing

Contact Green Apple Strategy today to schedule a consultation.