What Is a Lead?


There is a lot that goes into working in sales, so if you have recently been offered a sales position or you are considering changing your career to one that is sales-related, you’ll probably need a quick guide to all things sales-related. Although the information you’ll need to work in sales in fairly deep, one of the most important things you’ll need to know is the definition of a lead. So, here is a brief breakdown of what a lead is and why it’s important for sales.

Definition of a Lead

Just like the name implies, it is a connection that may potentially “lead” you to a sale. A sales lead is usually generated through various marketing campaigns, such as trade shows, advertisements, direct mailings, or social media marketing. As the salesperson, whether you are given the lead through your marketing department or you have gotten the lead on your own, it is your responsibility to utilize the information and follow through with doing what you can to make the sale.

Qualified Sales Lead

The definition of a lead is often more than the simple basics. For instance, you may have heard the term qualified sales lead and wondered what it means. Is it different from a simple lead? The short answer is yes, it can have a different meaning than a “simple” lead. Basically a qualified sales lead means that the lead provides you with more information than simply the basic contact information. 

Basically it means that you have additional information that includes detailed information regarding the potential sale, such as the need for the product, when the product is needed, and the contact’s budget. Although the qualified sales lead provides you with detailed information and confirms the contact’s interest in the product, it’s still up to you to make the sale.

Types of Leads

Just like leads can come from different sources, there are also different types of leads and each type is described differently. For instance, if the marketing department calls and tells you they have a suspect lead for you, it’s important that you know what “suspect” means. 

Some of the most common terms used to describe the various types of sales leads include:

> Suspects, which means the contact has expressed an interest in the product or service. For instance, they may have visited the company website and inquired about general information.

> Warm, hot, or cold leads – the leads you are given may be classified as cold, warm, or hot. What this generally correlates to is the interest a contact has shown in the product or service. For instance, if you are given a “hot lead” it generally means that the contact has indicated an immediate need for the service or product, whereas a cold lead may simply be a contact that has no knowledge of the product or service.

> A market qualified lead is a prospective buyer who has shown an interest in the service or product, but they aren’t ready to make the purchase.

Now that you know the definition of a lead, it’s up to you to put the leads to good use. It’s important to develop your own unique style when attempting to make sales and to continue to grow your knowledge regarding the product or service in which you are attempting to sell. 

Don’t give up! Remember a lead is just that, a contact, it isn’t a guarantee, so if you don’t succeed on the first lead, remember that there will be more.

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