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In 2016, lead generation was the single most important goal for B2B marketers. Not only do we want more leads, we want better ones. More qualified leads. Leads that lead to conversions and increased revenue. But how do we define leads? And how do we decide which ones to focus more attention on?

How to Define Leads

It’s important to start with the foundation. How can you identify which users or prospects earn that quality lead status?

  1. Define what quality means to you

    To define your lead, ask yourself what attributes a qualified prospect has. Involve sales and other stakeholders within the organization to outline key traits. Use your buyer personas to understand how many lead definitions you may need. Defining factors could be budgets, industries, experience, demographics, firmographics, and even things like need or the timeframe in which they’ll need to make their decision. Draw a clear line for what a minimum viable lead looks like.

  2. Understand what you’re NOT looking for

    Sometimes the easiest place to start is knowing what you’re not looking for. Be honest with yourself. What kinds of customers or clients failed you in the past? What’s a surefire way to decrease profitability? Do certain customers detract from your bottom line? Understand these pitfalls and make sure they’re not included in your definition of a lead

  3. Agree on a final definition

    The key here is making sure it’s measurable. Define your “lead” based on ways you’ll be able to identify prospects as such. Align on a straightforward statement that will help you say “yes” or “no”. Keep your CRM or automation platform in mind and create a methodology for how leads look in your specific tool.

What’s next?

Now’s the time for alignment within your organization about how these definitions will find their way into processes.

The process of lead scoring helps us rank our inbound leads and prioritize which ones sales should dedicate time to first. There are a number of ways to score leads, based not only on your organization but also on any tools you have in place. Lead scoring also helps inform service level agreements between marketing, sales and other relevant teams involved in the process. It’s important you work together to identify when and how you’ll engage with your leads throughout the funnel.

Finally, now that you understand who your leads are, how do you create more of them? Knowing how to define leads can help shape your communications and digital marketing strategies to generate both leads and demand.