What is a Sales Lead? A complete definition

We are always trying to sell something in this competitive world. Sometimes, even without realizing. And we have been doing this for years. Sales has become an integral part of the modern consumer’s life. But what does sales mean to a business? In short: everything.  And the basic component that drives sales for a business is a sales lead.

sales lead - banner

This article aims at dissecting what a sales lead is and how you can bring in an inpour of more leads to your business. To achieve this, you need to thoroughly understand the what, how and why of a sales lead.

Okay, let’s do this one question at a time.

What is a sales lead?

First things first! Let’s define the term we are looking at:

A sales lead is any individual or entity that has come in contact with your business with, or sometimes without, the intention to buy from you. They may not immediately be open to making a purchase, but more often than not, they will have a requirement for the product/service you are offering in the future.”

sales lead - what is a lead

There are two cases here, let me illustrate the same using examples. Just assume that you are a travel business who sells holiday packages.

Case 1: A soon-to-be-married couple is looking for good holiday packages for their honeymoon. Your marketing efforts worked and they came across your website. They navigate to it and explore the many domestic and international packages you have to offer them. They place an inquiry for the one that they really like. Your salesperson calls them and in a couple of days, they have purchased a package for themselves.

This is a sales lead with a high propensity to convert and made a quick purchase, as they had an immediate need.

Case 2: A young office goer who has just started earning, happens across your website. Their colleagues and friends are all posting their various travel pictures on their social media. With some starry-eyed interest, they go to your website and look at all your holiday packages, dreaming of the day they could also plan a fancy holiday. Your salesperson calls them, but they remain elusive and don’t make a purchase. But you keep sending nurturing emails to them. A few years later, when they have the time and money, they remember you and buy a holiday package from you.

This is a sales lead, who at the first contact, had a low propensity to convert, but eventually did buy from you.

Now, if I had to ask you which lead is more important to your business, you’d probably say case 1. But that’s where many businesses go wrong. No, both leads are important. In the second case, in fact, constantly nurturing the lead helped them remember the business when they really need it.

Why is a sales lead important?

Now you know what a sales lead is, the next question is, how important is one for my business. The answer is: very. You always need to get your leads to come to you than reaching out blindly. This is what many businesses do wrong when they are starting up. They decide to purchase contact information and call these leads without any insights. But these are not your leads. They are just random phone numbers.

A contact becomes a lead only when they express interest in your business. This could be them reaching out to you via phone or email, or by interacting with your online presence like your website or social media handles. Of course, cold outreach still works. But even then, salespeople do thorough research before they classify them as a lead.

But, when you have a sales lead that comes to you of their own accord, it is easy for you to figure out what they want. If you have the right tool, you can track them as they move down your sales funnel. See the pages they visit, the emails they send and the conversations they have with you. And you will be able to nail their pain points and eventually convert them into your customer.

Remember, a sales lead is the first step to getting customers.

How do you get sales leads?

Lead generation is the first channel that every business needs to perfect. You have to ensure that the leads know who you are, what you offer and how to find you. Here are some common lead generation methods that will work in getting sales leads into your pipeline.

Social media:

This is the digital era, where everybody and their family is on social media. Use this to your advantage. You have to develop a good social media strategy before going to town. Find out where your target audience is. If you are selling a consumer product, more often than not, platforms like Facebook and  Instagram will be your best bet. But, if you are selling an industrial product, then you should be on LinkedIn where your buyers would also be present.

sales lead - social media

Post relevant articles or posts on these platforms to capture the attention of your potential prospects. Ensure that your message is eye-catching without ever coming across as spammy.

PPC campaigns:

Google AdWords is the bread and butter of most businesses in terms of getting more traffic. You can also run relevant campaigns that ensure that your business comes on top when your prospects search for keywords relevant to you. There are many good ways in which you can optimize your ads for more visibility.

sales lead - Adwords

Not just AdWords, social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn also offers options to run paid ads. These platforms are rich in information on your leads such as their demography, their educational qualifications, and their interests. They come with targeting options that you can use to create and reach the right audience for your business. Don’t forget YouTube, which has worked well for many businesses in terms of generating leads as well.

Search Engine Marketing:

Writing articles for search engines never gets old. Make a list of the best keywords that make sense for your business. Then start writing, as much as you can. In fact, this may be the cheapest way you have of generating leads with long-term returns.

When your article ranks for the right keyword, it will bring in a steady flow of leads who visit your page. Just ensure that these articles have a good CTA at the end so that you can ensure they take some appropriate action. This could be things such as leaving an inquiry, or signing up for a free trial or requesting a demo. This way you’ll be able to encourage them to take the next step.

Webinars or Podcasts:

Now, this is a very effective way of generating good leads. Find out the topics that your audience will find interesting and get people to speak for you. If you do it right it can be a real game changer for you in terms of lead capture.

sales lead - SEM

Since most of these webinars and podcasts require you to register for them, you can ensure that the lead has to enter their contact details to join. Additionally, you can convert the live podcasts or webinars into videos and then get people to register to access them.

Networking events:

There are usually many events that are conducted by big bodies in each industry. Find out the ones that are relevant to you and attend them. If you can, then you can even put up stalls in these events and distribute promotional brochures, or educational manuals for your business.

Since the people who usually come to these events or meets are actually looking for the kind of product/service that you provide, this ensures that the leads you collect are relevant.

So what next?

Okay, so you know what a sales lead is, why you need it and how to collect it. What’s left? It’s not enough to keep collecting them, you need to ensure that they eventually become your paying customer. Because that’s the whole point, right? Sales.

To do this right, you have to get yourself a tool that helps you track, manage, nurture and finally convert your leads. Ideally, you should invest in a good sales execution platform before you start capturing leads. Here are just some of the features that you should look for in your platform before making the purchase.

  • Lead capture automation
  • Lead distribution
  • Lead nurturing
  • Lead management
  • Sales management
  • Sales and marketing analytics

Now, these features will help you track your lead as they travel down the sales pipeline from capture to conversion. You can automatically distribute the leads to your sales team based on factors, such as geography, interest, product or just round-robin. You can also segment them into lists and send nurturing campaigns to ensure that you are on the top of their mind.

In addition, you can also keep a check on your team as they go about trying to convert your leads. Detailed reports help you measure your work and figure out what is working for you vs what is not.

There you go! Now you know everything there is to know about a sales lead. If you too are looking for a good sales execution tool to convert your leads, then take a free trial with LeadSquared.

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