Inside Sales Training: How Do You Define a Lead?

How do you define a lead? From a marketing perspective, I would define a lead as someone who is interested in a product and submits their contact information to receive additional information or a sales call.

Thomas Oldroyd, Senior Director of Marketing at XANT, took this a step further and defined a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) as, “Someone who is interested in our product that has a need to be filled and has the ability to buy within a six month period,” he said. “Without the immediate need or ability they’re just a prospect.”

In the November 5, 2012 issue of BtoB Magazine, original BtoB Magazine research was published that surveyed marketers to determine the general consensus of how industry professionals define what a lead is. The results were quite interesting.

Defining a Lead

Requested a sales contact: 73%
Called in: 60%
Requested a white paper of other content: 48%
Contacted our organization through more than one channel: 47%
Accepted by sales: 43%
Attended a webinar: 41%
Qualified by telemarketing team: 35%
Visited site: 29%
Achieved a threshold lead score: 24%
Followed of liked us on social media: 13%

Source: “2012 Lead Generation: A Fundamental Flourishes in the Digital Era,” BtoB, August-September 2012.

Regardless of how you define a lead, the important question that every marketer and sales professional must ask themselves is how a MQL is going to jump into the sales pipeline. Looking at the data from above, it seems like most of these leads are more “tire kicker” leads as opposed to sales ready leads.

While it’s important to have “tire kicker” leads like eBooks, white papers, research papers, and blog articles, these leads often don’t have immediate need or the ability to purchase our product within six months. They aren’t a MQL. They are prospects seeking additional information and education.

What are your thoughts on this research conducted by BtoB Magazine? Do you agree with how the marketing industry defines a lead? How does your company define a lead? Let us know in the comment box, below.

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