There is much buzz around leads but do you really know that differentiating their types is important? Nurturing leads is an art but you should know how to do it to get better results. Being aware of lead classification, you can develop a sound strategy to save your time on customer outreach and marketing.
In essence, all leads can be classified by their relation to the target audience or the stage they are at.
In relation to the target audience, leads are classified based on customer attitudes: cold, warm, and hot.
Cold leads are those who either do not know about you yet or are hardly interested in your offer. However, even cold leads are not hopeless. You can get the most out of it if you spend more time on nurturing them. Cold leads make a pool of your potential prospects. Keep track of them and take efforts when cold leads become warmer. In other words, cold leads to whom you sent your free offerings start to develop trust to your business with time. Turn them into warm leads when you feel they are ready.
This type of leads is closer to what you actually need but still it requires effort to take benefit of them. Most probably, your prospects didn’t allocate their budgets or they are not ready to make a purchase yet. However, they are worth nurturing efforts and will contact you when they are ready to purchase your product even if you thought they dropped out of sight. Imagine they are like a bear in the winter: they sleep and then suddenly wake up and… buy.
These are qualified leads that are ready to buy your product or to use your service. The set of criteria for hot leads involves:
- responsible person;
According to the stage of lead generation, leads are classified as information qualified leads (IQL), marketing qualified leads (MQL), sales ready leads (SRL), sales qualified leads (SQL), and member service requests (MSR).
Information Qualified Lead
It’s a usual practice to make free offerings for your prospects. To develop trust in potential customers, businesses offer e-books, free subscriptions for one month, webinars or tip sheets. Potential customers are not familiar with your company.
IQL are directed to the page where they can download free products in exchange for leaving their contacts. Marketing automation platforms are used to redirect leads to websites. Further, leads receive follow-up emails with additional information about free offerings. The major goal of the company is to provide more information regarding the ways prospects can solve their problems using products or services offered by the company.
Sometimes IQL gets information but doesn’t make next step towards purchase. Such IQL can be qualified as cold lead. You can contact them later when they get enough information and form their purchase intention.
Marketing Qualified Leads
Marketing qualified leads are called like this because they were motivated to become leads by marketing tools. For example, these leads visited a free webinar or used free samples. If marketing served as a trigger for action, the lead is called a marketing qualified lead. These leads already tried to solve their problems but failed. Currently, they are searching for a solution and the level of their readiness for purchase is higher than that of IQL. In this respect, they are similar to warm leads as they show interest to your products. The stage of MQL is the next stage following IQL. Further, MQL should be guided to decision making stage.
Sales Ready/Accepted Leads
Sales ready leads are on the bottom of a sales funnel. A purchasing intention was formed and now you and your prospect need to finalize the deal. At this stage, your prospects try contacting a salesperson from your company to clear up the next steps in making a purchase. SRL only signify readiness for sales but don’t guarantee any sales volume. Your further actions may either encourage prospects to make purchases or discourage them from buying. Therefore, there must be a sound marketing strategy in place.
Sales Qualified Leads
The stage followed by MQL is sales qualified leads. After having conversation with prospects, MQL or SQL are considered sales qualified. This means that prospects formed their purchasing decision and are ready to make an order. SQL presents a great potential for sales and loyalty of potential customers as they develop trust in your company.
Member Service Request Leads
This type of leads is formed by consumer-generated leads and comprises of new prospects which recently joined your subscription service. These leads bring less information if compared to other types of leads but they present an opportunity to reach new potential customers.
All in all, we are sure that these information would be useful when identifying your marketing strategy and pushing your business forward.
Originally published 2021.01.11 , updated 2021.01.19