How Do You Define a Lead?

The term “lead generation” is mentioned continuously by marketing companies around the world. But what exactly is a lead? And are some leads better than others? This post will help you define a lead, so you’ll know exactly what you’re working towards with your lead generation strategy.

Not all leads are high-quality, and not all leads are immediately ready to be contacted. You’ll have leads at different stages of the funnel, and they’ll have engaged with your business in a variety of ways.

Your sales team may define a lead as a person who matches an established criteria, and has the need for (or interest in) your product or services.

But marketing teams tend to have a slightly looser definition of what a lead is. Marketers tend to define a lead as any person who could have these qualities. And they’re also interested in prospects.

Many marketing and sales professionals use a handy acronym called BANT to define their leads. Here’s how it works

Budget
The first thing to determine is whether a potential lead will have the money to purchase your product or service. As much as they might like or need what you’re offering, they can’t buy it unless they have the budget for it.

Authority
If you’re a B2B company, this is important. You’ll need to determine whether this person is a decision maker. If not, you can ask them to direct you to the person who has the authority to make buying decisions for the business.

Need
If a prospect doesn’t actually need your product or service, there’s little point in chasing them. The more someone needs your product, the more motivated they’ll be to purchase it. It’s up to your marketing team to qualify leads and get an understanding of their pain points.

Timeline
Finally, you’ll need to know how long the sales cycle will take. They may need your product, but they may not be planning to purchase until next year. The earlier you learn this information, the better, as you can note down when they’ll be ready to move forward.

This is just one of the popular acronyms used to qualify leads. Whichever handy acronym or method you use, it’s important that everyone across sales, marketing, and customer service are on the same page about what makes a lead qualified.

Here are some of the different types of leads you’ll need to be aware of:

Suspects
These people have made it clear that they’re interested in your product or service. But you’re not yet sure what their intentions are. Often, they’ll have downloaded your lead magnet, but you don’t know what they’re looking for.

Prospects
These people have also often downloaded your free ebook or whitepaper, but they’ve also given you some information about who they are. With those demographics, you can determine if they’re an opportunity for you.

Leads
Leads have connected with your business, they’ve been identified as someone who fits your target market, and they’ve expressed interest in your business and what you’re offering.

Marketing-Qualified Lads
These leads were attracted to your business thanks to the work of your marketing team. They may be a fan on Facebook, subscribed to your blog, or signed up for your newsletter. When your marketing team convinces a lead to do these types of things, they’re then considered a marketing-qualified lead.

Sales-Ready Leads
Once your leads have moved further down the sales funnel and they’re ready to buy, they’re considered sales-ready. They’re hoping to be guided towards your product or service.

YOUR COMPLETE GUIDE TO GENERATING LEADS ON YOUR WEBSITE

Need some help defining your leads? Or confused about how to get started with lead generation? Get in touch with the team at Drum Digital to learn about how we can help.

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