Ah, the never-ending question: What makes a good lead? Well, I hate to say it, but it depends upon your specific situation—what you sell, to whom you sell, how you sell, and at what price. But there are also a few universal characteristics that will help you determine when a lead is truly a “sales-ready” lead versus being just an inquiry, research, or a random click.
When evaluating how good a lead actually is, start with knowing what a good lead is within your organization. What criteria or profile does the lead need to have for it to be valuable to you? What title, size, industry, and behavior determine whether it’s a real lead or just an MBA student poking around on your site? The definition of a lead within your organization—something determined and agreed to by both marketing and sales—must be the guideline.
Is demographic information or a profile the only indicator of a good lead? And how easily can you get that needed information? Demographic information is a major component of determining a good lead, but other indicators can help marketers realize the interest of a lead even before a defined profile is known.
Often, the behavior history gleaned from a lead early on in the demand generation and nurturing process is a better indicator of how good the lead actually is. As a marketer, you can use the data from your campaigns, landing pages, conversions, and nurturing tactics to understand as much about a lead as possible. You can see where the leads go and where they don’t, what outbound information sent from your company they respond to, how much time they spend on different pages of your website, what they download, and more. Monitoring a lead’s behavior over time allows you to see the transformation from “just looking” to “ready to buy.”
This brings us to the final characteristic of a good lead. A good lead is one that has shown an interest in buying—or at least an interest in starting the buying process. When is an inquiry no longer just looking and researching, but ready to buy? A sales-ready lead is one that meets certain criteria as defined by your company, has shown an interest in what you are saying, and also is interested in what you are selling.
How do leads show interest? They show it through increased engagement with your communication, product, and brand. They respond to your nurturing emails by clicking on the links. They continue to come back to your site or download your materials. They begin following your brand on social sites. Their interactions with your company become more frequent over a condensed time frame. You see them coming back repeatedly or clicking on all four of the nurturing emails you sent out during the month. Of course, by using a lead scoring system, these interactions will “bubble” the good lead up to the top and, when it hits the threshold, it will then be sent to sales.
A good lead is one that fits your company criteria and demonstrates by its actions by an interest in and intent to buy what you are selling. That combined criteria can give marketers the insight they need to identify and separate good or sales-ready leads from those that aren’t yet ready and still in need of nurturing.