What is a Sales Lead?

Before we start trying to generate sales leads, it might be a good idea to define what a sales lead is.

According to the Business Dictionary a sales lead is:

Inquiry, referral, or other information, obtained through advertisements or other means, that identifies a potential customer (prospect).

In the real world I guess you’d sale that its any information about or from someone that would lead  you to believe that a business or person has a need for your service. I say “need for your service” rather than an “interest in your service” because that often hasn’t been established yet.

For example – someone with a leaking roof might seem an ideal client for your roofing contractor services, but they’ve decided to solve the problem with a bucket under the leak (hey – they live in sunny California so it doesn’t rain that often). So someone may tell you “Joe has a leaky roof – you should call him.” – Joe certainly had a need – just didn’t have an interest at this time.

And note I said, at this time – when the next storm comes through and the leak appears in the baby’s room and the buckets aren’t enough to catch all the water, Joe’s wife may decide that the time has come to finally fix that roof.

So I tend to keep the concept of a lead pretty wide open. Some folks like to look at MQL’s and SQL’s – and we can broach that topic in more depth another day – but basically here’s what they are…

MQL – Marketing Qualified Lead – there are a variety of definitions for MQL’s – in my experience its just about any lead generated by an active marketing campaign to be handed off to the sales department (and that’s true even if you are the marketing department AND the sales department – there’s still a hand off there).

SQL – Sales Qualified Lead – this a lead that the sales department decides, based on some set of criteria, is worth taking the time to reach out to the prospect personally. It may be someone who has progressed through the marketing funnel to the point where sales determines they are a valid prospect or an inquiry that came through your website today that said “I need to buy your service NOW!!”

We can talk about the conflict between marketing and sales departments some other time – that’s a fun topic.

So what’s a Sales Lead?

Any of these types of things:

  • A contact form completion on your website
  • A friend or colleague who passes you information about someone who needs your services (remember – not necessarily wants your service – though they may – that’s worth asking before you call them)
  • Someone who sees your billboard and calls into the office
  • A download of your companies PDF
  • A referral from another customer

Now that you know what a sales lead is – go make some sales!

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Want to talk Adwords? Let’s schedule a call…

Mark Kelly, That Adwords Guy