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What is a lead?

The term “lead” refers to a potential consumer who has expressed interest in a brand’s goods or services. They have at least shared some primary information that could indicate a desire to do business with you. For instance, they may have engaged with your website, provided their contact details, or registered to your blog.

Generating as many leads as feasible is the main objective of every business. A business must use pertinent offers and information to move prospects along the sales funnel and toward making a purchase.

Qualified lead

A qualified lead is a potential customer who has been identified by the marketing department, assessed by the sales department, and meets the criteria for an ideal client intending to purchase. Developing a sound sales pipeline depends on the correct qualification of leads.

Three significant factors make a lead qualified:


The potential customer has a challenge that your service can resolve.


The customer has the means to buy what you’re selling.

Decision power

The potential customer has the authority to make the buying decision.

Types of qualified leads

A lead is not the same as a qualified lead, and neither are they all the same. The qualification of leads can be based on how interested they are in your products and services or where they are in the customer lifecycle. On this basis, qualified leads can be categorized as follows:

Based on where they are in the marketing funnel, the type of leads will vary. Different categories of marketing leads available are:

Information-qualified leads (IQL)

These leads are at the start of the buying process. In return for personal information like a person’s name, email address, location, etc., a business should at this point provide them with useful information about a subject pertinent to their inquiry. The term “cold lead” is another name for this marketing lead.

Marketing-qualified leads (MQL)

Such prospects are in the midst of the sales funnel. They have continued to show interest in the business. Prospective customers often seek a company’s relevant solution after identifying the issue. This kind of lead is frequently referred to as a “warm lead.”

Sales-qualified leads (SQL)

Sales-qualified leads, referred to as “hot leads”, are nearer to the bottom of the funnel, and willingly indicate that they are prepared to make a purchase.

Product-qualified leads (PQL)

Product-qualified leads are those who have utilized the product or service and have indicated a desire of becoming paying customers. In general, companies that offer free trials or samples of their products or services tend to generate product-qualified leads. It is valuable to have leads that are product-qualified because they have already used your product or service and therefore have a high conversion rate.

Service-qualified leads (SQL)

Service-qualified leads communicate directly to the customer service team about their keen interest in purchasing the product or service. Leads like this are highly qualified because they walk up to you and offer to buy what you have to offer. Alternatively, a service-qualified lead could be an existing customer looking for an upgrade.

How to generate leads?

Most businesses use a variety of lead-generating tactics rather than relying just on one. This enables them to connect with a range of target clients at various points in the purchase cycle. These consist of – 

Inbound marketing

Inbound marketing is an effective approach for generating leads. It may be defined as a procedure for developing interest in a company or brand via content development and advertising to satisfy the needs of the target markets and cultivate long-lasting connections with customers. 

Content development

It is a marketing technique that comprises developing pertinent informatory content to engage and persuade prospects seeking to solve a certain problem. Blogs, movies, eBooks, infographics, and other media may all help with this.

Content advertising

It is how that material is subsequently displayed and made available to potential consumers through the use of strategies like social media, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, SEO, and other tactics.

Outbound marketing

In the age of online research, some aspects of outbound marketing are less successful than they once were, but they may still be valuable tools when used in combination with inbound marketing to target particular prospects and connect with leads. Outbound marketing examples include:

Email marketing

It can be used to convey news, invite people to events, distribute new information, and keep in touch with clients. It also allows you to reach potential leads who may not be actively seeking you.

Event marketing

Event marketing offers a chance to promote your company, interact with participants, and cultivate personal ties with clients.

Display ads

By focusing on potential customers who have certain behaviors or demographic characteristics, display ads let you communicate with a targeted audience.

Content syndication

The concept of content syndication involves posting your material to external websites to increase awareness about your brand.

Sales and marketing collaboration

An effective lead-generation strategy requires strong marketing and sales coordination. Even though lead creation may be the responsibility of marketing, sales can nonetheless contribute. The sales staff may manage lead generation by using methods including networking, outbound emailing, and social selling.


A problem that any company encounters is luring in new clients and leads. And that’s not the end of it. To reach the right prospects—not just any prospects—you must first qualify those who have expressed interest in your business.