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What Are Leads?

Alright. Back to basics. We’ve written hundreds of blogs about the benefits of outsourcing your lead generation. But what are leads, really? 

The basics of leads are pretty simple. They refer to an individual who has expressed interest in your business (specifically your products or services). Every lead generated means you’re one step closer to securing a conversion. 

But there’s more to it than that, surely? Yup! In today’s blog, we’ll be breaking down all you need to know about leads in B2B marketing and sales, including all the different types of leads, lead scoring, and the benefits of outsourcing your lead generation to a B2B agency like ourselves.

b2b telemarketingDifferent Types of Leads

It’s important to remember that, across all of your marketing channels, there are quite a few kinds of potential leads. Not every warm lead needs to have explicitly informed you that “I am interested in your business”. You may well have prospects interested in your business that you’re yet to speak with directly, but they’d still be considered a lead because they’ve engaged through other channels. For example, if they’re on your email list and are consistently opening and clicking through your emails, then there’s a good chance they have an interest in your business.

Regardless of these distinctions, though, there are generally three different types of leads when it comes to B2B sales and marketing. 

  • Cold leads: A cold lead is an individual or business who has not expressed any interest in your product or service. Naturally, these leads are the most difficult to convert. An example of a cold lead would be someone on your email list- specifically someone who is yet to open any of your emails. 
  • Warm leads: A warm lead is an individual or business who has shown some sort of interest in your business. This could be engagement in the form of liking your posts on social media, clicking through your emails, or anything similar. 
  • Hot leads: A hot lead is an individual or business who has shown an active interest in your product or service. That could mean they’ve scheduled a demo, for example, or requested a quote.

What are Qualified Leads?

Lead generation agencies will often refer to ‘qualified leads’. But what does that actually mean? If a lead is qualified, it basically just means that the prospect is particularly likely to go on to convert. For any lead generation campaign, you’ll be looking for prospects that meet specific criteria or characteristics. If a prospect meets most or (if you’re lucky) all of these criteria, that would be considered a qualified lead. 

A qualified lead is one that is ready to be closed by the sales team. So, if you’re outsourcing your lead generation to an agency, this is the point at which they would hand the lead over to the capable hands of your sales team.

How to Know a Good Lead from a Bad Lead

A lead’s a lead, right? Sure. But not every lead is a good lead. So how can you tell which is which

Most lead generation agencies follow some kind of lead scoring model. This involves assigning a score to your leads depending on how likely they are to convert. If a lead has a high score, it can be prioritised. There are a few different models when it comes to lead scoring, though. Here are the main ones…

  • Purchase intent model: This model predicts the likelihood of a prospect converting based on their web activity, and position in the buyer’s journey. It’s a model that enables the early targeting of prospects. It also tends to be the most cost-effective model. 
  • Activity & suitability: This model focuses more on a prospect’s interactions with your business, and evaluates how well their profile aligns with your brand. It’s determining a balance between the prospect’s engagement, and their demographic fit. 
  • Negative scoring: It’s also important to track negative interest. That means actions from your prospects that indicate they’re not interested in your product or service. If a prospect unsubscribes from your mailing list, for example, it means they should no longer be targeted. 

What is a B2B Lead Generation Agency? 

An appointment setting agency like The Lead Generation Company will generate qualified leads by representing your brand. Here at TLGC, we have a strong focus on data accuracy, and our B2B data comes with a 98% accuracy guarantee. 

Conclusion: What Are Leads in Marketing and Sales? 

What are leads? They are individuals interested in your business, and there are cold, warm, and hot leads based on the prospect’s level of engagement. Qualified leads meet specific criteria and are ready to be closed by the sales team. Lead scoring models, such as purchase intent and activity & suitability, help prioritise leads. Outsourcing lead generation to a B2B agency, like The Lead Generation Company, ensures quality leads and accurate data.

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