Types of Leads & How to Qualify Them

pp250520 01 01 - Types of Leads & How to Qualify Them

 

A few weeks ago we talked about the basic elements of lead generation. Now that we have a better understanding of this topic it is time to dig a little bit deeper. In order for a company to take advantage of lead generation it must first know how to use it. The sole purpose of lead generation is to gather leads but there is a question born here. Should a company focus on generating as many leads as possible, or focus on generating some but useful leads? Once again here comes the dilemma all companies face across almost all of their operations, quality or quantity? The truth is that the answer lies somewhere in the middle, therefore companies should try to strike a balance between them.

They say that understanding a problem is half the way to finding the solution to it. Thus it is very important for a business to have a clear understanding of why it is using lead generation. Setting clear goals and identifying what your company wants to achieve is very important in this situation. Additionally it is quite important for companies to understand the power of the data they hold and how to use it. So how can we achieve that? It’s Simple! By understanding the types of leads & how to qualify them. Let’s see.

Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)

The first type of lead is the Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL). This type of lead refers to people that have responded to your marketing efforts but are not ready for more. A good MQL example are people who have filled a form on your website but don’t want to be contacted. In this case your marketing team has to keep trying to reach out to contacts indirectly until they convert them.

Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)

The second type of lead is the Sales Qualified Lead (SQL). In this case the lead refers to people that have indicated genuine interest in a product or a service. This is one of the best types of leads given the fact that these people want to become paying customers. An example of an SQL is a person who fills in a form accepting the “contact me” field. If you have these types of leads then the best thing to do is forward them to the sales team.

Marketing has completed its job, and sales have to take over.

Product Qualified Lead (PQL)

The Product Qualified Lead (PQL) is the third type of lead. PQLs are leads that describe people that have been using a product and now show interest in buying it. PQLs usually apply in services like Netflix and Spotify where their customers are offered a trial initially. Once the contact has completed his trial it is time for the sales team to come and do its work. Just keep in mind that although PQLs are similar to SQLs they are not the same.

Service Qualified Lead

The last of these basic lead types are the Service Qualified Leads. A lead belongs to this type when a person has contacted your customer service indicating his interest in upgrading. SQLs are a great way of cross-selling and up-selling features of products and services. Therefore your company should have the customer service team well trained for these situations. A typical example of service qualified leads are cloud storage subscriptions. Once a customer understands that he needs more space in the cloud, he will contact you asking for an upgrade. That is why your company has to be ready for that moment.

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Qualifying Leads

The truth is it is very important to understand and qualify the type of each lead you possess. Leads differ from company to company and from person to person so you will have to treat them carefully. There are different ways to qualify your leads but the most important way is understanding the how and the why? If you manage to answer these two basic questions then you are on the right path. The how refers to how this person became a lead, while the why refers to why he became a lead. Finally once you have done that the best tactic you can follow is lead scoring. Add your leads to segments based on similarities and start tracking their progress. Scoring the progress positively or negatively will generate a medium helping your leads better.

Lead generation is a big topic and we will keep talking about it more in the future. The best way to understand it though is step by step. Trying to figure out ways your company could generate leads is not an easy procedure and will require effort. Just keep in mind that understanding the type of every lead and qualifying it the right way is a gamechanger.