So, what is a lead?
Someone fills up a form on your website, calls your company landline requesting info, initiates a chat on your website, or interacts with you on social media.
Is it a lead?
By a marketer’s definition..
This would be a lead. Because, for a marketer, lead is someone they can trail. You have captured their contact information – like a phone number, email or a social media account. If marketing can nurture them, and get them interested in a sales conversation later, it’s a lead.
By a salesperson’s definition..
They have just expressed a vague interest, and it can turn out to be the best deal of the quarter or just flat out junk. These leads are not qualified. So, sales would not consider this inquiry a “lead” yet.
It makes sense, because chasing every lead is a waste of salespersons’ time. Time that they’d rather use doing followups, generating outbound leads and calling opportunities. For them, the definition of lead is limited just to sales-ready leads, or the ideal lead that we discussed above.
So, where’s the middle-ground?
Hence, if someone making an inquiry matches your ideal customer persona, it qualifies as an ideal sales lead. These leads become even more important, when they take a further action after their initial inquiry. For instance, if they specifically ask for a demo of your product, or take a free trial, they are sales-ready.
Should we stop generating leads that aren’t sales-qualified?
No, that’s plain stupid. And unrealistic. You cannot and *should* not stop leads from entering your sales funnel.
Someone interested enough in a freebie related to what you sell, will have a buying intent in future, if not now.
However, you need proper processes in place to assign leads to sales only when they are sales-ready. This qualifying point can be defined by their lead score or any activity that indicates buying intent.
A) Define an ideal lead
According to your historic data, what kind of leads close more often? There must be specific demographics, geographies and behaviors common to your ideal lead persona. In addition, lead generation channels can also be an important part of it. For instance, LinkedIn might get you more leads matching your customer persona.