What is a marketing lead? One would think that this question could be easily summed up in a sentence or two. Often, marketers will provide a concise definition like, “someone who is ready to purchase” or “someone who is ready to become a client.” The problem is that there appears to be little consensus about what a lead—what a good marketing lead really is. Certainly a lead is associated with a potential sale or someone who is ready to become a client. However, some leads are actually just inquiries; how can a sales team learn the difference?
What’s an Inquiry, What’s a Lead?
A person with an inquiry into your business or its products is not generally a sales-ready opportunity. In fact, some statistics suggest that only fifteen percent of the inquiries a business gets (in a given year) are actually sales-ready junctures. A lead, by contrast, reflects a more definitive sales opportunity—someone with actual interest, interest that can be finessed into a deal or purchase.
Customer Assistance Versus Closing the Deal
It often happens that a business will view each and every inquiry as a marketing lead and send the person to the sales department that specializes in deal closing. It’s important for companies to understand the nuances between information inquiries and solid leads—a lead that is sales-ready. Treating an inquiry like a lead can scare off the potential customer or client. If people are corralled into the sales line too quickly, they may simply walk away from the business altogether. By treating the inquiry differently from the lead, a company exerts more finesse and may, indeed, coax that inquiry into the next level—the actual lead.
How to Get More Marketing Leads
Aside from working to effectively transform your inquiries into leads, a company can opt to try out lead generation by working with marketing agencies that specialize in targeting audiences for businesses. Whether you want to initiate a mail or email marketing campaign, a firm that specializes in lead generation can provide the data a company needs to reach more people who are likely to become serious inquiries and genuine leads. In essence, through savvy internet tools and sophisticated platforms, these marketing groups specialize in matching data sets with businesses. In simplistic terms, their expertise would allow a toy company to market to new and expecting parents and would prevent a business from marketing their industrial tools to expecting women.
The Beauty of Better Targets
Defining and marketing to target audiences is what many people base their careers on—it’s very nearly a science! This is one reason why marketing agencies have been successful; they specialize in targeting audiences and collecting valuable consumer data allowing businesses to focus on their offerings and their marketing departments to focus on their campaigns. Although a company could still send its associates to sit for hours on end at trade shows to drum up leads, it’s more cost-effective to simply allow a marketing agency to send great leads directly to your inbox. It’s more convenient too!