Sales Lead Generation Process: An 8-Stage Guide to Attract New Clients


Sales lead generation is a process of attracting, nurturing, and converting leads (potential customers) into existing customers. Essentially, it is an engine that ensures you won’t run out of customers.

Back in the day, the lead generation process was limited to a few tools and rules that were generally known. Then the surge of the Internet changed sales significantly.

New times suggest that there should be no more knocking at the doors that won’t open (i.e., cold outreach). Now, when you type in “lead generation” in a search engine, you will find millions of sources on how to generate leads in sales and turn them into customers.

However, almost half a century later, the key pain point for 63% of marketers is still lead generation. So, should we be knocking on more doors?

To clear any ambiguities you may face, we break down the sales lead gen process into eight stages and create a new version of this guide with every tip and trick we have from a successful work across hundreds of customers’ accounts.

Sales Lead Generation Process: Information Imbalance

The depiction of the lead generation process is heavily imbalanced and is strongly associated with marketing practices, namely inbound. However, inbound is only one side of a lead gen coin. Why can’t we get a full picture?

Because most of Google’s results on “lead generation process” (blogs and articles fully dedicated to content marketing, SEO, social networks, newsletters, etc.) are written by marketers.

On the one hand, it’s no surprise—marketers are prolific at writing content. On the other hand, few of them mention sales development teams’ efforts aimed at attracting customers.

Countless articles and influencers claim that cold calling is dead and all your business needs to succeed is a good content marketing strategy. If it was true, would these statistics exist?

What are your agency's biggest pain points? Statistics: 1) Finding new clients; 2) Not enough free time to focus on administrative tasks; 3) Finding employees with the "right fit"; 4) Profitability; 5) Maintaining cashflow; 6) Moving on from bad clients; 7) Hitting client goals and expectations; 8) Keeping existing clients; 9) Keeping employees; 10) Other
How confident you are with your agency's ability to generate new leads, close new clients and grow revenue? Statistics based on survey

To boost your sales in a highly competitive environment, we need to open our mindset to both inbound and outbound. We need to look for leads in order to be found. 

Table of Contents

Sales Lead Generation Process: Information Imbalance

Lead Generation Stages

Lead Generation Stages

Outbound prospecting remains a highly effective lead generation practice for B2B.

There are so many myths around this statement; nevertheless, it’s true. CIENCE bases its lead generation process on outbound prospecting. Plus, we’ve already successfully orchestrated successful outbound campaigns for more than 1,000 clients across one hundred different industries.

In other words, we’ve used our deep and relevant experience to outline the eight stages of the sales lead generation process.  

Note: We think of every lead generation stage in two dimensions: 1) who contribute to this stage; and 2) what actions they take. 

8 stages of sales lead generation process: 1) Analysis and Planning; 2) Research; 3) Message; 4) Pre-targeting; 5) Landing pages; 6) Email sequences and phone calling; 8) Reporting

Stage 1. Analysis and Planning

Contributors: CEO (Business Owner, President), VP of Sales, COO, VP of Marketing, and HR team


A. Define the needed human resources.

Your team must include a certain number of people for each position—you’ll need at least one full-time researcher, a full-time Sales Development Representative (SDR), and an email copywriter. A VP of marketing will contribute here to align sales and marketing efforts to get the best out of the lead generation process.

Pro Tip: One SDR can work on several accounts. 

B. Analyze and outline the budget.

To decide on the starting budget for your outbound prospecting team, you should analyze the average salary on the market (browse the wages of your competitors and colleagues in the field) and include every possible expense that may appear along the way:  

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