Lead Essentials


Before you invest time into developing relationship with a potential buyer, you will want to check if they meet your criteria. That person is called a lead until the check is completed. The process of checking the lead’s suitability is called qualification. If the lead is qualified, you will want to convert the lead to a customer.

Leads are people who may be interested in buying from you. Anyone who leaves a business card at your trade show booth, calls to get prices of a product, or fills out a form in your website to request information can be a lead.

Not every lead eventually becomes a customer. You usually know a lot less about your leads than you do about your contacts and the companies they work for. That’s why you will want to treat them differently, before you commit significant time to working with them.

The process of evaluating leads to see which ones are likely to become customers (and therefore worth spending time with) is called lead qualification. This is usually done by collecting information about a lead through outside sources and having a quick chat with them.

How do you decide if a lead is qualified?

Every business has its own criteria for qualifying leads. Most companies will try to find answers to some basic questions in this process. Some typical questions may include:

  • What is this person looking for, and can we provide what they want?
  • Is this person authorized to make a purchase decision, or help us reach someone who is?
  • Do they have the budget? Can they afford to work with us?
  • How soon can they buy?

Well designed lead qualification processes look for clues, instead of definite answers.

Example: When you walk into a car showroom, the salesperson will not ask your budget directly. Instead, he may ask you what kind of car you currently have, and try to estimate if you can afford the new car you are considering.

Having information about your leads in a separate section of your CRM helps you keep your customer data clean and full of high-value information.

Once you decide that a lead is qualified, you can then go on to create new contact, company and deal records based on the information you have in the lead record. This is called lead conversion.

Actual selling only begins after a lead is converted.

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