This is the second post in a series called “Lifecycle Management – what’s in it for me?” , which shows how to audit and transform your process at every stage of the sales cycle. You can read the first post here.


In this post, we will discuss the first major stage in your sales process – Prospect or Suspect

This graphic is a straightforward sales process flow – does your process follow similar steps?

Lifecycle Automation - what's in it for me? - Prospect or Suspect stage

Figure 1 – A straightforward sales pipeline process flow


You will likely have additional steps to determine an opportunity’s value, evaluate rates and perhaps engage with a sales engineer to define a custom solution during the opportunity phase. In general, though, your BDR team is likely using a process similar to figure 1.

Your specific evolution will be unique, but figure 2, below, shows what we were able to achieve with one of our customers. Notice the increase in customer interactions but decrease in the administrative demands on the BDR team.  Less time administering the process equates to more time prospecting or in front of customers closing deals.  

Lifecycle Management - what's in it for me? - prospect stage

Figure 2 – Our optimized sales pipeline process flow: the original 10 steps requiring BD input is reduced to just 5, and the addition of automation greatly enhances Lead and Opportunity Follow-up communication coverage, increasing customer interactions, activities, data-gathering, and new Lead development – all automatically


This customer was able to return up to 15 hours per week per rep back to its business development team so they could focus on consultative selling and leverage automation for the administration. What would be the increase in revenue impact for you if automation was able to return 1, 5, or 15 hours back to each of your BDRs each week? 


1st step in the Lifecycle Automation process: Suspects/Prospects

Suspects or Prospects are the total available pool for new business from new customers. It is your target audience. Examples would include:

  • The attendee list at the conference your team is attending; 
  • The business owners in a new industrial park you’re planning to canvas; or 
  • A contact list you’re about to start cold calling


That list may live in many different places – it may be online, in an excel spreadsheet, sitting in a stack of business cards, or some combination of all of these. All of this information needs to be in your CRM. Your BDR team should log the details of each sales interaction if there’s even the slightest chance they could win business from them. You don’t know which company might turn out to be your number-one client, so get them all logged.

Many Business Development teams don’t have the time to log all of the companies. For instance, when face-to-face with a potential customer, you want your team to focus on that interaction. During an event, there’s rarely time to pull out a laptop and capture details from that conversation. Your team has limited time to meet with as many people as possible; time for an exchange of business cards and a brief discussion about the potential customer’s needs and what you might be able to provide.

After the event, BDRs may only capture contact information from the most promising conversations. It’s this handful of companies that are followed-up; the other business cards are left in a pile in a drawer.The solution here is to simplify and automate lead capture.


Opportunity Number 1 for Automation: Increase the Volume of Incoming Leads by Simplifying and Automating Lead Capture

lifecycle automation - what's in it for me - prospect stage

Figure 3 – The Lead Capture process was simplified and customer interactions enhanced with the addition of website chat, communication preference capture, and automatic quoting for some pieces of business.


Some CRM systems have a mobile-friendly lead capture or lead retrieval app that your BDR team can use to quickly enter core information. Alternatively, there are a number of business card scanning apps available that use a cell phone’s camera to snap pictures of the front and back of business cards and transcribe them into a form. These forms can be customized to capture more details to enrich your Prospect’s data and kick-start automation. Some examples would be:

  • All business card information is transferred over to an official lead in your CRM, with the appropriate Marketing Campaign assigned automatically for future ROI measurement. You capture details from all the interactions your BDR team has had.
  • If the lead’s account is already owned by a specific BDR or product team, you can set up your CRM to send a notification requesting expedited follow-up. Follow-up reminders can be planned if no action is taken within a specific timeframe.
  • If it is a net new lead and is showing a high level of interest, they can also be immediately forwarded to your team for additional qualification and appointment setting. If they aren’t ready for a sales conversation, they can automatically be added to a marketing nurture campaign.
  • If the Lead is in an area protected by data privacy laws, a double opt-in process can be triggered to obtain the potential customer’s authorization to communicate with them. The GDPR process in the EU has a huge fine if its regulation is not followed so this is something you should be looking to implement if you conduct international business.
  • The Lead can be sent a ‘thank you’ note and a brief company overview presentation. If you use a content experience platform, send a product presentation and other relevant content to the person. Marketing automation allows for personalized and targeted messaging, which can lead to a 20% increase in sales opportunities, according to a study by Demand Gen Report.


In addition to lead capture tools, here are some other examples of technology that are a good fit for records at the suspect/prospect stage. 

  • Augment your data behind the scenes using data vendors that have backend data integrations. This supports more meaningful progressive profiling and form shortening, both of which make prospect interactions easier.
  • Use scoring campaigns and ensure they include B2B firmographic, demographic, and activity-based parameters. These can be done at an individual level, can be aggregated, and can be applied at the account level as well and can be used by all your RevOps teams.
  • Leverage the data that you have, especially data about the user’s expressed interests, so you can anticipate their needs and deliver highly relevant content.
  • Lead with personalized content to better understand prospect interests. Drive engagement through top of the funnel (TOFU) and evergreen nurture campaigns and extend onto other platforms by using account-based marketing (ABM) on your website and public-facing product pages.
  • Personalize your email and content recommendations through AI-powered dynamic email, website, and content experience platform tools.
  • Give Leads the opportunity to raise their hand through whatever means they are comfortable in doing so. We recommend using on-site chat functionality as a low entry barrier to let your audience contact you.


In the next post, we will cover the Lead stage. 


Let Measured Results Marketing transform your end-to-end sales pipeline process and return 15 hours per BDR back to your team so they can focus on revenue-generating activities instead of administration. Click here to learn more about MRM’s Revenue Operations Ecosystem and see if it is a good fit for your goals. You can also call us at 571-606-3106 or leave a comment on LinkedIn


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