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B2B Friday: Is it a Lead or Is it Not?

by Trish Bertuzzi on Fri, Oct 02, 2009

Welcome to the 4th Quarter. Or as IDC's Lee Levitt put it "the most important quarter of the decade." Now onto today's B2B thought.

B2B Thought: Addressing the Definition of a "Lead"

I participated in a conversation over at Robert Lesser's blog on An Identity Crisis for the Sales Lead.  Here is Robert's premise:

Do you find it startling that many sales and marketing teams still cannot agree on the definition of a sales lead?

The irony of course, is that the deliverable for sales is crystal clear - the sale. The contract is signed and the PO received. The heavy lifting from sales is finished and that of accounts receivable begins.

But for marketing, whose key deliverable is often the qualified lead, the picture is confusing: the definition of a sales lead can be all over the map. Is a lead an appointment a qualified lead(or both)? Is a lead an inquiry, a trade show visitor, a webinar registrant, a downloader of a white paper or a referral?

Good question and one that organizations ask themselves on a regular basis!

Here is how I responded:

Let me add a twist. Lead definitions are fluid. Sometimes sales cares more about "activity" and other times more about "opportunity".

"Activity" based lead definitions often occur when you have just introduced a new product and need to talk to anyone and everyone. Or, when you have a significant number of new sales reps and need to get them out there talking to prospects as quickly as possible.

"Opportunity" based lead definitions often occur when you have a mature and stable product and sales organization that want well qualified leads that have true potential.

I agree with Brian Carroll when he talks about the need for sales and marketing to have consistent huddles to discuss this topic because the requirements of sales are often fluid and they need to communicate that effectively to and with marketing.

So, what do you think and how do you address lead definition in your organization?

Topics: lead generation, lead qualification

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