Believe it or not, the concept of a lead can be surprisingly complex. In our series of sales definitions, it’s necessary to be as thorough as possible—and a “lead” takes on many different forms in the life of the sales funnel.
We’ve already written on several iterations of a lead. While this post is an overview of what a lead is and all of the different titles a lead may hold, the other posts offer more detail.
We’ll link to them throughout for further reading.
So what is a lead anyway? Let’s get started with a definition.:
Sales Lead: A sales lead is a prospective consumer of a product or service, created when an individual or business shows interest and provides contact information. (Source)
Nothing too hard to grasp there. We’ll dig deeper by going over the moment a lead becomes, well, a lead.
Then, we’ll talk about the different stages and labels of a lead while finishing out the post with a look at when a lead ceases to be a lead.
Let’s get to it.
Unaware to Aware to Lead
These four ways boil down into two broader categories that we’ll briefly go over.
Depending on your sales/marketing process, there may be a time when you are trying to reach those who are “unaware” of your brand (or even your industry).
Example: You advertise on any platform (e.g. Facebook, Adwords) hoping to eventually get people/businesses to give you their contact information.
If they were unaware, they become aware through your ad.
2. Cold Outreach
These are a bit different.
If your sales process is less about advertising and more about finding quality prospects to cold pitch (many B2Bs operate this way), your leads can be leads before they are aware of your brand.
This may sound confusing for some, so we’ll do another example to contrast the whole mess.
Example: You hunt for high quality leads and the names of potential decision makers to email and cold call in order to get the conversation started and see if said lead is a fit for your product.
With that out of the way, we’ll get into the different labels that you may place on a lead. Keep the difference between cold outreach and traditional marketing in mind, they’ll come into play throughout.
Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)
Once a lead becomes a lead they are ready for your marketing efforts and become an MQL.
All this means is that the lead is ready to receive materials and content that will move them closer and closer to the point of becoming sales ready.
Depending on how you acquired the lead, your process here will again be different.
Resource: Here’s our post titled, “What is a Marketing Qualified Lead?”
Funnels are set up to feed content and other items to leads in order to provoke a response and gauge readiness to buy. The score rises when the lead makes a move, clicks on a CTA, or otherwise engages with your material.
Once the lead reaches the right level of perceived value, they are ready to move to the next phase of …read more
Read more here:: B2CMarketingInsider