At LeadGen.com, we are willing to concede that the definition of a “sales lead” has been irretrievably ruined. And so, for our purposes, we use the term “qualified sales lead,” which we define as:
A decision maker (or strong decision influencer) who has a need for your company’s products or services, and who wants to talk with you about how you can help.
As you can see, this definition leaves out several criteria we discussed above, such as budget and timing. This is because we assume that the salesperson knows how to create urgency and show a compelling ROI. And it ignores the issues of awareness and exposure – primarily because they are assumed. That is, it’s hard to create the desire to talk without having first created awareness.
It does include “need,” however, because the need is fundamental to the transaction. (We’ll talk a lot about that later.) But more importantly, the definition focuses on a need for your company’s products or services, which is necessary for the interest to be meaningful to the salesperson. And while we allow for some inference around the need (for example, the need may be in solving a problem, rather than for a particular solution), there is still a need that drives the process. And that’s critical.
We also allow that insisting that the person be the decision maker assumes that there is a decision maker. In fact, most decisions in the B2B market are collaborative, and to assume otherwise invites catastrophe, needlessly increases your cost-per-lead, and leaves many opportunities unaddressed.
But the most important parameter of the definition is that the prospect wants to talk with you about how you can help. Without that, what’s the point? Any definition of a sales lead where the prospect doesn’t want to talk with you about how you can help is not a sales lead at all.
It is simply noise.