What is a Lead Generation in Marketing?

We use the word a lot as digital marketers. Get more leads, turn leads into sales, this lead, that lead, etc. But, ever wonder what does the word “lead” really mean? and What exactly “lead generation” means?

A marketing lead is a person who shows interest in the goods or services a company sells and could become a customer. Any company’s main goal should always be to get as many leads as possible. A business has to move potential customers further down the sales funnel by giving them relevant information and offers that lead to a purchase.

The name “Lead” comes from the fact that it can lead to a sale. 

A Lead is a way for you (and your business) to connect with your prospect, who is out there in the real world.

Usually, a lead has the following three parts:

  • Name
  • Email ID
  • Phone Number

Many a times, the names aren’t in the leads. Sometimes it’s either the phone number or the email address or can be both. You can get in touch with a potential customer through their email address or phone number and talk to them about your products and services.

How do we use lead in Digital Marketing & use of lead generation?

  • You need leads if you want to make a sales call.
  • You need leads if you want to invite people to a webinar.
  • You need leads if you want to invite people to an event.

What is not a lead in Marketing?

When we talk about what leads are, it helps to also talk about what leads are not. People put a lot of effort into growing their social media following. But they are not leads for you.

None of these are leads:

  • Facebook Fans
  • Followers on Instagram
  • Followers on Twitter
  • Subscribers to YouTube

You have a connection in someone else’s platform, which won’t help if you want to sell something to that person. Most of the time, you won’t be able to reach 100% (or even 30%) of the people who use the platform, because they are not your users and you don’t have direct control over them. So, you won’t be able to get in touch with them whenever you want.

For eg, you are reading this article in my blog and this is the platform I own. You are my customer or prospect. I can talk to you right away. This is where I stand. I like to use social media sites to get people interested in my platform and to spread the word about my brand. I don’t want to spend a lot of time on social media. Instead, it’s always better to communicate directly with you without any 3rd party media.

What are different types of Leads in Marketing?

Depending on where they are in the marketing funnel, there ar 3 types of leads. Again, this is the classification which I feel comfortable to use. Many people use diffferent ways to classify. But idea is the same. It is all based on the phase of funnel.

Lead Generation funnel in Marketing
Lead Generation funnel in Marketing

Information Qualified Lead: (IQL)

Information Qualified Lead or IQL  or is a lead, that can direct prospect to a sale. These leads are where the buyer’s journey starts. At this point, a company should offer helpful information about a topic related to the person’s question in exchange for personal information like their name, email address, location, etc. A “cold lead” is another name for this kind of marketing lead.

Marketing Qualified Lead: (MQL)

Marketing Qualified Lead or MQL are those kind of  leads that are good for sales (MQL). The sales funnel has these leads in the middle. A MQL has shown interest in what a brand has to offer based on marketing efforts. MQL is more likely to become a customer than other leads. Most of the time, a MQL is a lead who has voluntarily interacted with your brand by doing things like submitting contact information, joining a programme, putting items in an online shopping cart, downloading materials, or visiting a website more than once.

MQLs are good leads who are interested and thinking about you but haven’t reached the point where they’re ready to talk to you about making a sale yet. But they are more likely than a normal lead to be open to a sales pitch. If you think about your own buying process, you probably wouldn’t give out your real email address unless you were ready to talk.

Since a MQL someone who is thought to be interested in your products or services, and you may be able to help them with whatever they need. An MQL has already shown interest in becoming a customer and is ready to be contacted again. In a broad sense, Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) become Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs), which then become customers.

Some examples of actions for marketing qualified leads:

  1. Trial software or a free book can be downloaded.
  2. Using demos of software
  3. Forms you fill out online
  4. Putting an email address on a mailing list or newsletter
  5. Adding items to a favourite list or a wish list
  6. Putting things in the shopping basket
  7. Visitors who come back to your site often or spend a lot of time there
  8. People can find your site by clicking on an ad.
  9. Getting in touch with you to ask for more information

Sales Qualified Lead: (SQL)

A sales-qualified lead (SQL) is a potential buyer who has been researched and vetted by an organization’s marketing department and sales team and is ready for the next step in the sales process. As a marketer, you worry more about sanity metrics rather than vanity metrics. So lead generation of SQLs are very important

Sales qualified lead or SQL are the leads which are at the bottom of the funnel, and the person says they are ready to buy. A “hot lead” is another name for it. A sales lead is a person or business that is not yet a client but could become one in the future.

The quality of the sales lead depends on a number of things, like how accurate the contact information is, what incentive was used to get the prospect to respond, and whether or not the prospect knew about the sales opportunity at the time they responded.

In future blogs, we will explore more of lead generation in B2B, B2C & D2C businesses.

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