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What are leads in sales


The basic meaning of a "lead" is an organization or individual is interested in your offer. This type of interest is expressed by sharing contact information which includes the email ID, a social media handle, and the phone number and sales lead.

It means the change to get a customer who fits in the criteria of the sale in the manner that he is interested in getting your product or service and is authorized to make a decision and has the means to buy it.

There is a difference between marketing and sales leads where marketers may feel good about the number of customers leads generated each day for the initial level of response gained the customers but such response does not see the complaints and hence, the marketing team is unable to see the reason for the loss caused by poor lead quality.

They are unable to see that the response from the buyer or visitors to the site through subscription, may not lead to conversion and there are multiple reasons for the sale to be dismissed as low quality without cross verifying. 

What is sales lead

What is sales lead?

Sales Lead Definition -

  •  Sales leads can be a person or a firm who provides the hope that they will become a customer of the company. 

  • The initial positive intent generated by the marketing teams may end up in delayed follow-ups and lost opportunities, the ones where the team concentrates more on numbers but is unable to see that fewer high quality leads gets better conversion that unwarranted junk. 

  • When the leads are not converted finally the marketers may be blamed for not targeting the customers who are interested in the product or services offered by the firm. 

  • There are multiple strategies adopted by firms in this field and the figures find only 25% of the initial response remain legitimate and can convert into sales (the Gleanster Research).

  • The call center executives take on an average of 1.3 call attempts before giving up. So there exists a continuous conflict between the sale and marketing teams and the company may continue to spend on getting new intent that is junked by the sales team. 

What is lead generation

What is lead generation?

What is a lead for a marketer? It indicates the information related to a person or an organization that can be nurtured to get it converted into sales. This information can be a phone number of a person or other contact information of a party that has shown interest in your services or products. But the same information is not considered qualified in terms of sales. 

There are four stages in a customer's journey. In the initial stage, the potential customer is contacted by the firm when they click on the link about the product offered by the firm online or make a phone call to know more about it, as the customer searches for different types of products through the product site or the eCommerce site or social media, or word of mouth or advertisement.

If they visit the site and enquire about the product or when they search for it on the eCommerce site, they, mainly, aim to compare the product with alternative options available in the market. 

Such information can be just an inquiry where the customer has no prior intention to buy the offered product or services. The vague interest shown by the customer in the deal can either turn out into one of the best deals or it can be junk gathered by the marketing team. 

If the number of junk contacts is more, the sales team will be wasting their time and resources into chasing contacts that are of no use, while, at the same time invested towards follow-ups, calling up new quality or sales-ready options, and it restricts depletion of resources. 

Leads can be generated through methods - 

Information qualified –It is the method where the visitors to the site may be directed to a thank you page where they may have to register or download a link or get a subscription offer. The contact information provided by the visitors is used to send follow up emails.

Such links provide more information about the company and the offer may serve as a problem solver to the user. The firm can initially send thank you messages to the emails followed by emails regarding the products and services offered by the company.

The contact information filled in by the user can be used to send invitations for free webinars, free samples, product specifications, catalogs, case studies, etc. 

Marketing qualified- It represents an advanced stage where the firm can offer free trials, demos, consultations, and coupon discounts to the user. 

Sales qualified – It shows immediate interest in the company's offers and the best method to handle such visitors is to act in 24 hours of getting such business leads or customer leads.

It may happen that the customer has signed up and was using the trial version, and they are in the process of making up their mind to get the subscription version, but if the sale team delays response, the client can change their mind and opt for other similar product available in the market, leading to loss of opportunity.  

Sales process

What is Sales lead management process?

In case a stranger initiate shows "interest", the transition of the stranger to a customer is most natural and is called inbound marketing where you post the advertisement and implemented your marketing strategies and wait for the response from the customer leads.

If the initiation attracts an audience, it can be converted into a customer by proper methodologies adopted by the sales team. These are called sales qualified. 

Quality business leads are the ones where the initial inquiry goes well with the ideal customer persona. This is the case where the customer is interested in getting information as he/she is interested in buying the product or services if they find it comparably valuable.

The sales team can invest their efforts towards pursuing such clients instead of pursuing junk statistics. If the sales team finds the customer interested they can ask the buyer to take a free trial or get a demo of the product for the sales-ready ones. 

This does not mean one should not pursue junk as someone who is not interested may sometimes, in the future, become interested in buying the product or services.

But a proper process should be assigned to the sales team where they can set priorities and chase clients in the manner where the most interested parties are considered first. 

lead process and setting up priorities

Sales lead management process and setting up priorities

Sometimes, all the leads come through to the sales but the team has not predetermined strategy to handle it where they may contact and follow up bad ones, resulting in lost opportunities. 

Sales and marketing teams always have issues related to qualified customer leads and lost opportunities. The marketing may toss every lead to the sale to follow up and as the sales go deeper they discover that these are mostly low quality, which can discourage the team as they do not get any opening.

Sometime, the teams may stop following altogether and they result in missing the ones that are ready to buy. The key step towards fixing these issues is to prioritize contacts and rank them as per the interest level and readiness. Companies score such information as hot, warm, and cold or A, B, C, and D.

In case, one does not have an automated business leads scoring system integrated with the CRM, one can prioritize in other ways to restrict buyers from moving out of the website to another similar site. The leads can be placed in one group to state if it is information qualified, marketing qualified, or sales qualified. 

The ones, who are in reality interested in buying, should be pursued first to finalize the positive deals. Then the team can invest in the ones who are not much interested but they want to know about the service or product and they may get interested if they are contacted by the sales team and explained about the advantages of buying it. 

What are b2b sales leads

What are b2b sales leads?

B2b sales lead provide faster follow-ups and higher closing rate. It can provide a combination like "fit" and "interest". To get a profitable response, the team must follow up on the warmest leads and spend less on the cold leads. 

What are leads in salesforce

What are leads in salesforce?

In salesforce, leads refer to a prospective client or the new opportunity which is called unqualified sales opportunity. Such leads are generated through real-life interactions like meeting someone at a conference or online through form filling requests.

It can be an entry made by the salesforce manually where the system makes a new entry against the sales team/team member where the list can be imported through the web to lead generation or automated system salesforce dot com with the new account contacts and opportunities. 

What are the types of leads in sales

What are the types of leads in sales?

As per Sales Lead Definition, it can be of 4 types-

Suspects – It indicates the potential buyers at the top of the purchase funnel who are showing interest in product or service as they visit the website as they may try to gain general information. Suspects can be moved towards purchase through lead nurturing where the marketer is expected to maintain the line of communication with the buyer and provide proper information to them.

Hot – It is the kind of ready-to-buy, an immediate requirement, and it may have a fixed time and budget for closing.

Warm – If the user is interested in the product and they have trialed, they may actively compare and look around for various alternatives, but if actively pursued client can be locked before he changes mind.

Cold – It indicates the group of users has never heard about your products and they are not ready to buy it sometimes now. 

How to generate leads in sales

How to generate leads in sales?

There are multiple ways to generate leads -

  •  Some companies may buy leads when they are unable to generate valuable customer leads. It happens in conditions when the data is old, or when the company is using previously used customer contacts or if you are buying leads of people who are not in your sale area or against the acceptable use policy. Many tools can be used to optimize visitor response. 

  • Search engine optimization provides one of the best ways to get prospective buyers. The marketers can use it on the website to make it appear on the higher ranks in the Google search results.

  • The content should be able to describe the product effectively, which can help to drive traffic to your website and also increase the inbound sales leads

  • The landing page of the site should be distinct and it should be able to capture leads through forms, trials, offers, or other options.

  • Webinars are online conferences where the presenter discusses certain relevant topics. Such online platforms can be used to discuss the features of the products offered. 

  • Blog posts and social media marketing require consistent efforts, where you need to post every day to update the page and tell about the latest happenings in the firm. 

  • Directories and press releases can be used to provide the basic idea about the products or services offered by the firm. 

How to get leads in sales

How to get leads in sales?

The main aim of the marketing team of the firm is to generate business and get new buyers – that can help to increase revenue where the teams need to integrate and work in alignment towards one goal.

Sales prospect means a step towards finalizing the deal with initializing the sale process where the seller knows the visitors meet the basic criteria to be a customer and now is ready to move into the next phase of the purchase stage, where they order the product and become the customer.

The service department of the firm needs to install the service and after-sale aspects. They may have to maintain the follow-ups to make sure that the customer remains satisfied.

The last stage is the installation or deployment of the product or service and it is the part where the customer may purchase or it is physically installed at the customer's location.

This is a very important stage where appropriate customer service helps to develop long term relationships with the buyer that helps to build customer loyalty and create brand retention. 

What are leads in sales of the office

What are leads in sales of the office?

It involves existing customer referrals or direct marketing or employees and partner referrals that can help the business get new clients.

How to qualify leads in sales

How to qualify leads in sales?

Automatic evaluation of leads can be done through grading and scoring methods. As the firm starts with sales, it spends time talking to the customers to get a better understanding of the particular actions of the visitors to gather information related to the best quality leads

The marketing and sales team need to work together to design strategies for the buying process to ensure the leads are not falling through the cracks and this also guarantees better customer experience.

The companies with better coordination between sale and marketing achieve twenty percent annual sale and those with poor coordination suffer from revenue declined by around four percent (Marketing Profs). The report also finds that alignment helps to generate 208% more through marketing itself. 

The team needs to find out about the buyer's personas that can tell if the customer will be benefited from the product or not. The persona can include the needs, challenges, and ways the product will be helpful to the buyer. 

Differentiate between the intent and interest to prioritize high-quality business leads. One should try to make sure the product is advanced towards the right person to avoid delays in decision making. 

Making use of methods like artificial intelligence, behavioral score, and the traditional methods of scoring to align the sales and marketing efforts, in the best possible manner, can augment the outcome. 

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