The Lead Generation Process for Professional Services Firms


”Lead generation through digital marketing platforms, especially your firm’s website, is a process that requires careful attention.”

Traditionally, the most effective lead generating tool was face-to-face networking and relationship building, as well as a strong reliance on referrals and positive word-of-mouth. The dawn of the digital age has, however, created new and innovative ways for professional services firms to generate incoming leads. Even though professional services marketing still relies heavily on the building and maintaining of a strong reputation, creating high visibility through digital marketing platforms can elevate and strengthen your brand in a short space of time. Lead generation through digital marketing platforms, especially your firm’s website, is a process that requires careful attention. So what does the lead generation process refer to in the context of your website as a digital marketing platform?

The lead generation process is often compared to a funnel where leads are attracted through multiple platforms and then converted through various steps into paying clients. This marketing funnel is therefore a multi-faceted process consisting of multiple parts – each part creating a number of key engagement points and exciting possibilities. It is therefore important to understand the various levels or stages within this marketing funnel in order to optimise the conversion rate of leads visiting your website.

There are 7 key steps:

Step 1: Exposure
The first step and top part of the sales funnel is Exposure. There are a number of ways firms can get exposure that ultimately directs traffic to the website. The most common methods of exposure are: Organic Google searches, paid searches (Pay-per-click campaigns), social media (e.g. Facebook and LinkedIn), email marketing, digital newsletters, electronic campaigns, blogs, referring links from other websites, even direct face-to-face meetings, presentation and lastly, print advertising. Without decent exposure, a firm is virtually invisible to target markets.

Step 2: Discovery
The first few visits to a firms’ website is often focused around consuming content and learning more about the firm and its services – therefore Discovery. Statistics show that the Team page is often one of the most visited pages. Professional services are all about relationships, trust and credibility. Good content is therefore crucial during the discovery process.

Step 3: Consideration
At some point, a visitor to your website will become a potential client as they consider whether the services you offer is a suitable match for their needs. They consider whether they can expect value for money, something different & unique. Because services are intangible, your website needs to bring tangibility that will influence the visitor during the consideration phase. Images of your building, office, staff and stationary can add a lot of value during the Consideration phase. The more tangibility, the better.

Step 4: Conversion
This is the most difficult part of the lead generation process and requires the visitor to take action – making contact, calling in, reaching out, making an appointment. When a visitor is converted to a contact, the chances are very good that they might become a potential client. The nurturing of this contact is crucial. If the initial experience is good and above expectation, the Conversion rate will be high. The opposite is unfortunately also true!

Step 5: Customer relationships
If you have done the hard work of converting a lead into a client, the real hard work starts with building and managing customer relationships. The client appoints you to offer a core service (legal/financial advice or accounting work), but the supplementary services are often neglected. It is those supplementary services that often exceed or fall short of expectation. Aspects like communication, hospitality, consultation, feedback, invoicing, courtesy, empathy, information, availability and reliability can all make or break the client relation­ship.

Step 6: Retention
If clients have a great experience and feel they get value for money, they often return and/or stay. They also talk about you – therefore becoming strong brand ambassadors. Retention of clients is key to establishing profitable relationships with these clients.

Understanding these seven steps in the lead generation process will give you valuable insight into the required response for turning leads into converted clients.

For more information contact Tobie vd Merwe at

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein.