What is a Lead?

There is a different strategy for each of the three lead types that will optimise your lead generation and close as many deals as possible. To investigate these, you must first understand what these types of leads are.

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It sounds a little… basic, doesn’t it? I mean, we all know what a lead is, it’s something that you plug into the back of your PC! Joking aside, many of us know what a lead is, so why am I writing a blog about it? The fact is that what defines a lead can mean different things to different people. This aside though, if you take a lead back to its bare bones, there are typically three classifications of lead type. This article is the first in a series that we shall be producing over the coming weeks on taking raw data through each stage of the prospecting cycle, and what you can do to help transform raw data into paying customers.

3 Lead Categories You Should Know

Raw Data

When you source raw data, you are profiling the types of businesses and individuals to whom you want to sell. Typically, based on who your current customers are, the personas who typically buy from you, and the verticals that are likely to yield a higher ROI from any sales and marketing activity you're undertaking. After you've finished profiling businesses/likely decision-makers, the raw data in its most basic form is now a lead.

Any outbound, proactive sales and marketing activity relies heavily upon the quality of the data that you start with. These newly sourced leads are going to require work to move them through the sales funnel and are the very first key you need in order to unlock a successful marketing and lead generation programme.

Depending on the accuracy of the data you source, some of the prospective organizations will not be a good fit when you begin reaching out to them. This could be due to your proposal, geography, or simply circumstance. For example, if you distribute widgets, it is likely that your profiling has included businesses that would typically purchase the widgets you distribute. Some of the businesses you target, on the other hand, may not source the widgets you distribute domestically but in a country where you don't operate, making them irrelevant to any prospecting or marketing you do.

Once the small number of irrelevant prospects have been discounted, the remaining data in your marketing programme will fall into one of two categories, and these are the second and third types of lead.

Marketing Qualified Leads

(MQLs) These are likely to be your most valuable leads, as they will be the most numerous and will require nurturing until the time is right for them to engage in a conversation with your sales department. They have now reached the third stage of the standard lead definition.

Sales Qualified Leads

(SQLs) There are several factors that will convert a marketing-qualified lead to a sales-qualified lead. These are generally sentiments toward the incumbent, the relevance of the proposal and timing. Assuming your nurture programme has positioned you as compared with the incumbent solution and shown that your solution is a relevant one and finally the timing is right, the sales process can begin.

In Summary

By understanding what constitutes a lead, and the various classifications of exactly what a lead is, you can then begin to understand how to convert raw data into new customers.

It’s important to remember that the Devil is most certainly in the detail – by ensuring that you have conducted a thorough understanding of who your existing customers are, and who is most likely to buy from you, only then can you begin sourcing raw data to prospect to.

By categorising and qualifying your raw data you can then determine the best way to, or not to, market to them.

If you’d like to discuss how to source, qualify, market to, and convert data into paying customers please get in touch on 03332 400 054 or enquiries@leadgenspecialists.co.uk

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