In short, a lead is someone who has indicated some type of interest in your product or service and they have entered your customer relations system.
With more advanced Customer Relationship Management tools than ever, marketers have adopted new terms that define leads so that they can be better segmented into the appropriate sales cycle.
You may have heard of hot and cold leads before, however, further down the pipeline leads can become Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL) and Sales Qualified Leads (SQL).
But before a lead has a chance to become Marketing or Sales qualified, they must first initiate an outreach to your company. They are likely to do this after becoming aware of your products or services from some form of awareness-driven marketing such as SEO, Social Media or Broadcast Media where you may offer them a piece of free content.
Marketing Qualified Leads
Our good friends over at Hubspot define a Marketing Qualified Lead as 'A lead more likely to become a customer compared to other leads, based on lead intelligence.' (I know, there are more leads than at a dog walking park in that definition, but it works!)
The definition of a lead isn't the only thing we agree with them on either, contrary to some popular belief, we work on the basis that fewer, but better-qualified leads can lead to higher revenue...
This is because we believe that having your sales team spend time on every lead that comes through the door is far less effective than dedicating more time to leads who are more likely to become valued customers.
Sales Qualified Leads
Post the Marketing Qualified Lead comes the Sales Qualified Lead. So, before your sales team spends considerable time trying to convert a lead their goal should be to determine whether the customer meets your minimum sales requirements. As an IT Marketing Agency a few we use are:
- The lead has a problem that your product or service will solve.
- The lead has the ability and authority to purchase your product or service.
- The lead has agreed to speak to one of your sales team.
By following those simple criteria and adhering to this whole strategy you will find that you spend less time on generating leads that go nowhere and more time concentrating on the prospects likely to become paying customers.
Marketing and Sales Allignment
When marketing and sales teams are unified around a single revenue cycle, they greatly increase IT marketing ROI, sales productivity and overall growth. When both teams have different goals and varying expectations of eachother, it is imperative that marketing and sales come together with the same revenue-generating goals in mind... and hold eachother accountable.
The bottom line is that when two teams are holding eachother accountable for the same goal, (i.e. revenue) marketing has to deliver quality leads and sales has to follow up on said leads, turning them into new customers and subsequently closing an increasing number of deals.
When sales and marketing are on the same team, everybody wins and with this collective strategy in place, you will be well on your way to success.
I hope this answers your question of what is a lead and if you want any more information then please get in touch with us!
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