Are All Leads Created Equal?

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"We need more Leads!"

"The Leads Suck!"

If you've ever thought the above or heard this from your sales team then you aren't alone. 

When I first started with marketing I often would have to work through the process of generating enough "leads" and when I hit the numerical quota I would get complaints about the quality of the leads. 

However, as I learned more, I realized that using the word "leads" was too broad. There are actually layers to the word "lead" that once I understood made a big difference to how sales could receive my "leads".

Let me give some examples. A person that opts-in to an email newsletter (with just their email) would be on the lowest tier of a "lead". This can sometimes be called a subscriber. The next level up could be considered when someone opts-in to an ebook with their name, email, and phone number. Generally, this is called a lead. 

The next level up would be someone that fills out the "Contact Us" form on a site that gives the information of Name, Email, Phone number as well as a qualifying question. For some businesses, this can be asking about the role of the person (are they an executive/owner), the industry that they are in (are they a good market fit), etc. This can be called a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) depending on how they answer. 

The next level up would be considered a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL). This is often determined by someone talking to the prospect to make sure that they are qualified enough to actually close on the product that you are selling. This can depend on whether they have the financial means to potentially buy your product or if they have a team large enough where your product would be a good fit for them. If you're selling sales training and the company only has one salesperson they may not be a good fit for you.

After this, a prospect, if they are actively looking to sign up soon, will turn into an opportunity and then into a customer.

While many businesses in the beginning, only focus on "Leads" in general it's important to understand the above. Once I learned of the above categories I was able to see that when I had low quality leads it's often because they were really a subscriber not an actual lead.

B2B Business Experts helps you to identify the sub-stages that you need in order to have a truly effective marketing and sales process that will allow you to scale and grow.