The exact definition of a lead varies from marketer to marketer. It is crucial, however, that
everyone involved in the lead generation process, and the sales team, are on the same page
regarding what a lead is defined as.
Typically, a salesperson, for example, will describe a lead as someone who matches the criteria
of the established target audience, and who has both a need and interest in purchasing your
Marketers, on the other hand, may define a lead as someone who might match your criteria and
has an interest in your product. Additionally, a lead that proves to have qualities that fit the
established criteria are referred to as a prospect. The difference between the two will be
important as we get into how to qualify and assess leads as they arrive.
How to Qualify Leads
From a marketer’s perspective, no two leads are created or valued equally. It’s important to lear
how to qualify leads specifically for your business needs. Some lead sources will deliver a high
quantity of “junk” or spam leads which retain little to no value.
Part of the lead qualifying process is determining which have the most potential as long term
customers, so you can then focus on cultivating those instead of spending time on junk leads
that won’t convert to customers. It’s also important to keep in mind, that even leads that can be
referred to as prospects, don’t always have the same value either.
A prospect turned customer that only makes a single, perhaps spontaneous purchase is much
less valuable than a prospect that is drawn to you by your lead generation marketing, and
becomes a loyal, long term customer.
Here a few best practices that will help you determine the quality of your leads, and which ones
are worth following up with:
● Qualifying Questions
Qualifying typically starts with asking a few basic questions. These questions should be
designed to determine whether the lead matches the criteria you have established. For
example, if you’re selling automotive insurance, then people who don’t have cars or don’t have
a need for a car (live in a city, takes public transportation, etc.) will not qualify as prospects.
Therefore, the questions that you design to ask should be able to quickly identify car owners
and the interest they may have in purchasing your specific insurance packages.
● Determining Interest
At the very base level, determining a leads potential interest in your product or service is the
minimum for qualification. A deeper level of qualifying interest would be determining how much
a lead is willing to spend on your product if there are any restrictions in place, and if they are a
person with buying ability (applies when selling B2B products).
Another important aspect of this process to keep in mind is when qualifying actually happens.
Typically, the initial qualification of leads occurs during cold calls, sales presentations, or both.
The reason that some salespeople like to qualify during a cold call, is to gauge whether or not a
follow-up conversation will be likely to yield any results.
What does the lead generation process look like? In this section, we’ll go through each stage of
the lead generation process and show you the best tactics for planning your own lead
The Lead Generation Process
As mentioned in the previous section, getting all departments involved in lead generation and
sales to agree upon a definition is the first step to starting the lead generation process.
Without the shared consensus of what a lead or prospect means for your business, there’s
bound to be some confusion down the line when trying to evaluate leads or pass them on in the
Lead Generation Tools
Once aligned on a definition, the proper lead generation tools need to be set up across your
business. What do these tools look like? Chances are you already may be using them.
Email Marketing, Marketing Automation, CRM Integration
All of the above tools are great for lead generation, as the customers who you would be using
email marketing and CRM’s to engage with, typically already know about your product or
business, even if they haven’t turned into a customer just yet.
Making sure all of these channels are set up properly is a key component to actually begin to
generate leads as you push out email campaigns, content, and more.
How are you going to attract possible leads to your website?
The answer lies in creating an irresistible offer that drives potential leads off your ad, blog post,
or social media content and to your website, where they can be added to your funnel. This
involves creating a CTA (Call To Action) that feeds off your lead’s interests and needs and
brings them to you.
How does a lead generate for your business?
First, a visitor discovers your business through one of your established marketing channels,
such as your social media platforms, website, blog post, or ad.
That visitor then clicks on your CTA which, described in the previous section, is what drives
potential leads to your website or landing page, which is a business page designed to collect
potential leads in exchange for an offer.
An offer is what is being proposed on the landing page that has value to the potential visitor.
Examples of this are endless but can include E-books, case studies, guides, sign-ups to a free
Next, your visitor will be taken to a form that collects your visitor’s information. These types of
forms are typically hosted on landing pages, however, they can be implemented into your main
website with a simple button. Once a visitor fills out your form in exchange for the offer,
congrats! You have a new lead.
Lead Scoring and Segmentation
Lead scoring is a method used by both marketers and salespeople for ranking leads to
determine their readiness for the sales pipeline. Scoring leads is based off a few different
The first being how much interest a lead has expressed in your product or service. Lead’s who
have expressed little to no interest upon initial communication won’t be qualified as sales-ready.
Next is their current position in the buying cycle, and their fit with your business. If a lead doesn’t
have the buying power necessary to actually make the purchase, or if their needs/interest’s
don’t match your established criteria, they would not be high scoring leads.
Lead scoring helps marketers know whether their leads are ready to be pushed into the sales
pipeline, or if they need more time to nurture and develop into stronger prospects. This
methodology not only helps effectively drive more ROI in your marketing efforts but also helps to
better align your sales and marketing teams.
Lead nurturing is the process of developing relationships with potential buyers when they are
not sales-ready yet. On average, 50% of inbound leads are not ready to buy yet.
If, after scoring a lead, it’s determined that it is a fit for your business, but there is not enough
interest yet in your product, then that lead needs to be nurtured.
Leads can be nurtured through several tactics, such as segmented content marketing,
automated marketing through email, and social media platforms.
Hopefully, this helped clear up some of the confusion regarding the definition of lead, qualifying leads, as well as scoring and nurturing them.
Learning the fundamentals of the lead process will greatly improve your effectiveness as a marketer and garner lasting results, quickly.
Founder & Managing Partner Trajectory Capital. Lifetime serial entrepreneur, CEO, Board Member, mentor, advisor and investor. Obsessed with the infinite realm of possibility in disruptive innovation driving global digital transformation in tech, digital media & advertising, cloud-based infrastructure, artificial intelligence, and the blockchain.