What Is Lead, Lead Generation and Lead Generation Marketing? Definitions & Meaning

What Is Lead, Lead Generation and Lead Generation Marketing? Definitions & Meaning

You walk around the market, passing some stalls without much interest, but something draws you to one. It doesn't matter if it's the smell, the pleasant appearance of the seller, or the fact that he evokes and attracts customers to his goods. The important thing is that in that moment you become a lead. The seller has gotten your attention and it's now up to them to get you to buy.

It works the same way online. Many users come to your website while browsing the internet or clicking on ads. Some leave quickly, others linger because you've captured their attention. Maybe even by leaving a contact for you. An anonymous user becomes a lead.

What is lead

The term lead is used in sales or marketing to refer to a potential customer who has expressed interest in your product or service. This puts them at the starting line of the sales process. He is not yet your customer, but you have hooked him and if you continue to work well with him, he will become a customer in time.

Lead generation and lead generation marketing

Getting a quality lead, lead generation, is not easy in itself. There is a whole marketing discipline that deals with this - lead generation marketing. It involves various tactics of bringing in leads and preparing them for sales. These include:

  • content marketing (articles, newsletters, videos, podcasts, etc.)
  • SEO strategies,
  • PPC ads or social media ads,
  • cold calling or cold emailing.

Once you've attracted an anonymous user, it's time to serve up more bait. That's what lead magnets are for - perks you offer in exchange for a contact. Lead magnets are used as contact magnets:

  • newsletter subscription,
  • downloading the e-book,
  • discount coupon,
  • a course or webinar,
  • template, guide or checklist.

To know how to proceed, take a look at the separate article 10 ways to find leads.

Lead management

Once the lead is acquired, lead management comes next - building a relationship with potential customers. This is where you have the space to convince them of the qualities of your products and strengthen their perception of your brand as an authority in the industry. Your goal is to turn a new contact into a lead who will soak up information about you, and when they want to buy, they'll make a decision for you.

For example, you can maintain awareness of the lead by:

  • send him an email from time to time with tips for interesting content,
  • you request a connection on LinkedIn,
  • on the networks where the lead moves, you will expand valuable educational content,
  • you will target it with remarketing ads,
  • you will work on branding and PR to get noticed in as many places as possible.

However, you have to find a balance between when you are giving the customer valuable information that they will appreciate and when you are annoying them. If you push hard to get someone to buy who doesn't want to buy yet, you'll soon lose them and with them the time and money you've invested in persuasion.

Lead scoring and lead classification

The key lies in knowing your potential customer, their needs and where they are in the buying process. If someone starts receiving a newsletter from you, it doesn't mean they want to buy from you. Maybe they're just interested in your articles. If they download a price list or create an enquiry, they are much further down the road to a sale.

Lead scoring is used to estimate how far down the path to purchase leads are. It allows you to classify leads as follows and work with them according to their ranking:

  • marketing Qualified Leads (MQL), who need to be prepared for the purchase, for example by sending articles from which they get to know you better, remember you and remember your products as soon as they decide to buy,
  • sales qualified leads (SQL), who are ready to buy and need a push, for example by offering a discount on a purchase or a personal meeting with a consultant.

We have described the procedure for scoring leads in detail in the article What is lead scoring and how it is used.

Keeping track of your leads will help you with CRM. It will make it clear at a glance what stage of the sales process each lead is at. This will give you a better idea of how to proceed and your chances of closing the deal. You can try any solid CRM for free.