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What are sales leads?

If suspects are companies or people who fit an ideal customer profile and prospects are companies or people who have expressed an interest in what you offer then what are leads?
- by realtor
Good question. I have a hunch you're going to get a variety of replies because I don't think there is a universally accepted definition of "sales lead". - by SpeedRacer
Some generally accepted defintions:
1. "Prospects" are accounts which have expressed an interest in your offering, are capable of making the decision (timing) and have the budget to move forward (generally there is a time line associated such as "60 day prospect"); and,
2. "Suspects" are less defined but fit the mold of a potential client (for example, some companies define anyone outside of a 60-day window a suspect); and,
3. "Leads" are typically generated by marketing campaigns (either internal or external) and, until qualified, they have little value ... they are time sensitive and must be qualified ASAP.

At various points in my career, I've devoted portions of my marketing budget to the generation of leads by 3rd party companies. We would work through a script for them, commit to contract terms, and go for it. They would call a "qualified list" of customers which they've nurtured and would go thru the script with each of them. Any leads would be forwarded to the appropriate SM who would assign each to the proper SR. Then, the SR would have 'X' days to follow-up. It works for some but I've never experienced any success with this approach!

I hope this helps.

Good luck & Good selling!
Pat - by OUTSource Sales
A sales lead is a specific and tangible opportunity to make a sale. It is a term used prior to engaging in the actual selling process. - by Ace Coldiron

Thanks for sharing such wonderful post. I feel For a sales lead to qualify as a sales prospect, or equivalently to move a lead from the process step sales lead to the process sales prospect, qualification must be performed and evaluated. Typically this involves identifying by direct interrogation the lead's product applicability, availability of funding, and time frame for purchase. This is also the entry point of sales funnel or sales pipeline. - by mary92130
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