As a telemarketing agency, we have a clear idea on what a lead is. However, with new definitions of a lead coming out every year, it seems that defining a ‘lead’ is not that straight forward. The reason behind this may be because companies themselves define a lead depending on their own experience, process and the tools they use to track them.
Fair enough - what is important is that all departments within the business agree on what a lead is. So let’s see some standard options below:
A lead in the CRM world
According to salesforce, ‘a lead is a prospect or potential opportunity - a person you met at a conference who expressed interest, or someone who filled out a form on your company’s website.’ Marketo gives a more customizable definition with ‘a lead is “a qualified prospect that is starting to exhibit buying behaviour”. You need here to make sure you have specific criteria that define that ‘buying behaviour’.
What these CRM definitions have in common is that a lead is in fact an individual that has somehow interacted with your business/offering. These tend to be handled by the marketing department until the interest is proven to be strong enough to be passed on to sales.
Marketing qualified lead (MQL)
According to Hubspot, a MQL ‘is a lead judged more likely to become a customer compared to other leads based on lead intelligence’. In other words, a Marketing qualified lead is a prospect that has responded to marketing actions in some ways, by filling in a form on your website, showing interest at a trade show, attended a webinar, revisited certain pages on your website, etc. These leads should receive more focus and tend to be included in a lead nurturing process. Once their interest is more qualified, these leads are passed on to sales and brought to the top of the funnel.
To follow on from the above, a sales lead will be an individual that has shown sufficient interest to be passed on to sales. Here, it will depend on each company’s criteria. Typically, a sales lead will be a relevant company/individual that your company would like to engage with. A certain amount of information will have been gathered, by your presales team if you have one, but mostly, it is someone who may potentially be interested in using your product/solution.
Sales qualified lead (SQL)
There are different degrees of sales lead depending on their level of qualification. What is this you may ask? Typically, you will qualify the level of interest of a prospect by asking BANT questions (see what BANT is in our previous blog Sales Qualified Leads, do you BANT?) The further you will engage with the prospect, the more information you will gather about their intentions, needs, challenges… It will help you define when the deal could be made and help your sales team define their sales pipeline
Highly Sales Qualified Leads
These are the golden leads of all! You have built such a good relationship with your prospects that you can not only know when they are likely to make a decision, who will and how but also what other companies they have considered, what solution they are currently using, what benefits they are looking for… These prospects are interested in considering your product/solution and it will be up to your sales team to convert into a sale when the moment is right.
Besides defining the different criteria that will help your organisation define each stage of a lead, it is crucial to also determine how to progress from one type of lead to the next, so that it eventually converts into a customer. It is also important to define the key moments when the lead will move from your marketing team, to your presales team to your sales team or account manager. And if outsourcing your lead generation process, ensure you ask your telemarketing partner what a lead is to them!
So how do you define a lead in your business?
Maven TM is specialised in B2B Telemarketing and Sales Leads Generation. We offer our clients nothing but highly qualified sales leads using BANT & other methods. Why not let us provide you with highly qualified leads and allow your sales team to focus on what they do best, closing sales! For more information, please contact Maven TM at firstname.lastname@example.org.