Understanding the Types of Leads

Leads and prospects are terms that are occasionally used in marketing. However, many of us get all sorts of things wrong when we try to define them. Just check on Google. You’ll find plenty of different definitions that all fail to provide clarity. And since understanding the types of leads is very important if you want to do anything in digital marketing, we’ve decided to put all our knowledge together and write all you need to know.

Now, you need to understand that every type of lead is addressed depending on its’ qualification and where it fits into the sales and marketing process. You don’t want to end up in a situation where your sales rep approaches a seed lead that didn’t go through the marketing education process. That’s the scenario where everybody loses and we want to avoid that at all costs. We also want to clarify that all the titles that we’re going to mention are applied to people, not companies or corporations. Look at it from a perspective that people do business with people. So, the lead is a person.

Hot Lead

To help you with understanding the types of leads as well as possible, we’ll start with the perfect one. It’s a qualified lead that meets all the required criteria, which is set most of the time. This is a person that can benefit your business probably even more than link building. So, the question here is how to recognize a hot lead? And you’ll be surprised to hear that it’s simple. Just apply the BANT lead qualifying system. Here’s how:

  • Budget: There is a set or prepared budget that is ready for disposal as soon as the project proposal is approved by the management.
  • Authority: In the ideal scenario, the person you speak to should be either the person in charge or the recommended. Whichever way it is, he should have the final word in a form of yes or no when it comes to the proposal.
  • Need: If we’re talking about telemarketing scripts, the need is always at the top of the set of qualifying questions. And it’s not much different with leads either. If your contact has the need for a service that you’re offering it’s a clear signal of a brewing lead.
  • Time frame: This is the time that elapses from when you talked to the prospect of the planned period of purchase of services or products. Ideally, it should be as shorts as possible.
Woman talking on the phone about understanding the types of leads.
Hot lead meets all the set criteria and it is easily recognized.

Warm Lead

This is a type of lead that misses one or two criteria. The situation here is not ideal, but it can be turned into your benefit. The most important thing for the qualifying scale is that a need was identified or detected. If that condition is fulfilled, the other one or two can support for what’s not there. Most often seen disqualifies here are Budget and Time frame.

However, be sure not to get easily discouraged. These kinds of leads are never wasted. The thing with them is that they always can be nurtured and in no time they will be contacting you. And that’s exactly what you’re aiming for.

Cold Lead

There’s not much knowledge in understanding the types of leads needed to get what this is all about. The name speaks for itself. These are the leads that have two or three disqualifies. One that is supported usually bases on the prospect’s agreement to check, look and compare their current setups and system with yours. Usually, cold leads are set to be kept in view and nurtured often. But, some times they are misunderstood and observed as bad backlinks in the world of powerful backlinks for faster rankings.

Business success is rarely achieved overnight and you start to realize that when you have many of these on your hands. On the other hand, with enough time, effort, skills, tools, and strategies invested you’ll be surprised what you can accomplish. You may even outreach your target results.

Desperate man looking through the window.
A part of understanding the types of leads is not getting lost in the sea of cold leads.

IQL – Information Qualified Lead

This is in the lack of a better term for it, the initiation of a lead. People usually exchange their contact information in return for some type of useful information. In the business, it is known as a top-of-the-funnel offer. In this stage, buyers are usually just beginning to research the solution to a problem and don’t know your company or how you can help them. This is the first part of lead generation and this is when the lead is defined as IQL.

After this, there are a few tactics that you can take on to ensure this lead and covert it into a hot lead. Offering free webinars, case studies, free samples, and catalogs are often the ways to go. Don’t expect that you’ll hear back from most of these, but they’re a good starting point to narrow your search down.

MQL – Marketing Qualified Lead

Now, this type of lead is similar to the above mentioned IQL, but they should not be confused. MQLs are called what they’re called because your marketing triggered them to become a lead. However, if a person is first recognized as an IQL, and then it becomes MQL – congratulations. You’ve got yourself a warm lead. 

You can nurture these leads by offering things like free trials, demos, free consultations, or coupons. Depending on your type of business and the importance of each individual lead. However, be sure not to underestimate the potential of MQL. It is comparable with Nofollow links in SEO, and we all know how important those are.

SRL – Sales Ready or Accepted Leads

These are the bottom of the funnel leads that are requesting to speak with you, your sales team, or your representative. As you can imagine, SLRs are very important as they’re practically a buyer. Unfortunately, even these leads can fail and it is on sales to weigh the actual quality of the lead.

Shaking hands over the table.
When you get to all of your bottom of the funnel leads you’re pretty much in the safe zone.

SQL – Sales Qualified Leads

SQLs are most often found when the MQL raises a hand and moves to the decision stage. These are the leads that a salesperson has already spoken to and in which the opportunity is identified. It doesn’t have to be an immediate one, but it is recommended that sales follow up as soon as possible. Researches have shown that the closing rate is the highest in cases where your company is customer-focused and where a lot of attention to detail is invested. So don’t waste even a minute.

And that’s pretty much everything there is about understanding the types of leads in business. You’ll now be able to flash your knowledge in conversation dropping the big words, or probably better, use it to improve your business.

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