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.
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.