6 Different Types of Leads in Sales and How to Convert Them

Here are the six types of sales leads, tips to quickly identify them, and a guide on converting them into loyal paying customers.

6 Different Types of Leads in Sales and How to Convert Them

Sales are the critical revenue-generating source for any business to survive and prosper. Companies that succeed in sales thrive, and those that fail the test of sales, witness a dropping graph in their venture. There are different types of leads in sales. Sales come with multiple aspects, including generating leads and converting them into paying clients. The lack of proper guidance and knowledge often prevents sales teams from achieving their target sales.  

Every company desires to market its services and products to an audience that would be the right fit. For instance, a venture specializing in machine learning and artificial intelligence solutions would not want to sell its services and pitches to college-goers. Instead, they would desire to sell to businesses and entrepreneurs who are more likely to invest in their offerings. Marketing a product or solution without in-depth research is fruitless for all. These are sales leads in a business that comes in multiple forms. Before getting ahead with a detailed discussion, you must know that a sales lead is a person, not a business or company. 

Were you aware that 79% of marketers state that their most priority goal is to generate leads for sales? And 55% of marketers say their biggest challenge is finding leads that would convert into paying clients and customers. Generating leads and converting them into paying customers to create more revenue is business growth. But, the question arises, how can you successfully develop leads that easily convert into clients and customers?

The answer is to know the several kinds of sales leads and how to convert them. Stay along to learn more about the types of leads in sales and successful ways to convert them into paying clients.  

What are the different types of sales leads?

Before we dive into the different types of leads in sales, it is essential to understand what sales leads are. Sales leads are the individuals that ideally fit into your customer profile or the ones who express interest in your services, business, and products. In simple words, sales leads are your potential clients or customers. Identifying leads can be another point of discussion, and potential customers can show interest in your offerings in many ways. For example, they can:

  • Fill in your contact form
  • Sign up for your newsletters or emails
  • Request for a free demo or a quote 

While speaking of sales, there are different types of sales leads. The kind of leads that one generates depends on the prospective leads. It depends on your sales team's interactions with the leads and the interests they show in your business, services, or products. Nurturing leads successfully by offering them the right information at the right time is required to enhance your sales and conversion rate. A good sales engagement strategy will help you in converting more leads into paying customers. In the following section, learn more about the types of sales leads and the tricks to convert them.

Cold Leads

A cold lead is an individual who ideally fits your customer profile but has not shown keen interest in your solution or product. Such sales leads are generated either by self-research or lead-generating software. Irrespective of how they make a place in the list of your prospective customers, they are the leads there, and they symbolize potential sales. Due to their disinterest in your offerings, cold leads are the most challenging ones to convert into paying clients. However, they are also one of the most common types of leads in sales that you will come across. Being the most common, they would also be in bulk, often dominating the list of your prospective customers. Thus, your sales crew must master the art of seamless communication even to have a chance to convert them. 

Are you deep into thought, wondering how to convert the cold leads? Jotted down are some hacks that can be of help:

  • Be persistent - Use different forms of approaches like a series of emails, calls, and social touches to get to them. Stay in line with follow-up emails. While on a call, mention your purpose for arranging a meeting more than once. 
  • Once you cross this bridge, you are most likely to be able to land a meeting with them. Once an appointment is on board, you can move to the next step of your sales pipeline.
  • Lead the meeting with pain pointers - Well prepare for the meeting with the cold lead and deep research about their business. Be a problem solver for the prospect and address their pain points. Please mention that you have a core understanding of their customer's problems and how your solutions can be of aid. 
  • Nurture them - Do not bother if you do not get a response from the cold lead in the first go. Add the name to your nurture campaign, and you can stick to them via emailing them with helpful information now and then. You can have the best sales automation tools take care of these cold leads, even if they do not revert. Keeping in touch with non-converted leads is no harm when you do not have to spend human resources on them. You can later follow up with them again when they are ready.

To deal with the cold leads, your sales crew would require much time and effort. What you can do on your part is to help them with additional time that otherwise is spent on monotonous tasks like sending in regular emails, scheduling calls, etc. You can opt for sales automation and automate a considerable percentage of the redundant jobs the salespersons of your company perform. Sales automation offers benefits that help ease your business's sales process. 

Warm Leads

A warm lead is a person who is familiar with your business and the way it operates. They are aware of your services, offerings, products, etc. They are the types of sales leads that happen to watch your videos, follow your blogs, have a subscription to your emails, or have gained familiarity via word of mouth. They might not have proactively expressed interest in your business or brand and might not have directly reached out to you or your team. Instead, they are the leads that typically follow you on your social media handles, read your blogs, and keep up with your emails. Irrespective of their source, warm leads are always easier to convert into paying clients compared to cold leads. Know the right way to reach out to the warm leads to convert them in the section below. 

  • Begin with scheduling a meeting or start a casual conversation to learn more about their business and requirements. 
  • If you ever previously connected with them, for example, a couple of months back, and they could not convert due to lack of funds or unsuitable timings, ensure to check with them again. 
  • You can choose to crack a conversation like this - "I remember having a great discussion about your venture in the last conversation, but you were busy building a different sector then. However, you sounded interested, so tough to circle back and check if the timing now was apt, and if you need help with (mention pain pointer)."

Hot Lead

A hot lead is the one that has shown explicit interest in your company, products, and assistance. They can themselves come forward and request a free demo or get in touch with your sales team to discuss business. Commonly, hot leads feature the following attributes:

  1. Need - They express a pain point your venture and offerings can solve.
  2. Authority - They are usually the decision makers or possess the purchasing authority in their business.
  3. Company kind - They belong to a company or business that fits your target audience. 

Typically, hot leads would come forward and express a pain point that your offering, like your service or product, could solve. Such leads are generally your target audience and fit your customer profile. Such leads require immediate attention and assistance. If you take too long, they might switch to a competitor, or their requirements might fade. Chances are, they might simultaneously consider your competitors to land the best offer. Thus, it would help if you acted when the iron is red hot. Listed ahead are the tips to help you convert hot leads to your trusted paying customers:

  • Have detailed research on their business and pain points to support their requirements truly. You must be able to stand out while contesting with your competitors in the market. 
  • Let your sales team send them a pitch and schedule a call to discuss the same.
  • Offer the lead a free trial of your service or product.
  • Demonstrate to them the advantages of partnering with your business. 

Information Qualified Leads (IQL)

Information qualified leads of IQLs are the different types of sales leads that have just begun researching for the solutions to their queries or problems. Typically, they should have supplied you with information about their company but not shown a keen interest in your business or its offerings. One generally recognizes an IQL when they fill out a form on your website or download informative materials from your end, like e-books, newsletters, reports, webinars, etc. With this, you get more access to their company's details, and you can easily qualify them. Here are some practical tips and tricks that can help you successfully reach out to the IQLs. 

  • Enquire what they wish to know more about your business and its services.
  • Please discuss what you can offer to address their pain and help them grow. 
  • Include CTA in your guides, emails, and blog posts. 
  • Please keep in contact with them via your newsletters and emails. Also, keep them updated about your new content ideas.
  • Share new and essential information regarding your business, services, and products in your newsletters. 
  • Show your industry knowledge and industry knowledge in your guides and blog posts. 
  • Create top-quality content that answers their queries and offers them the answers. 
  • Learn about their requirements and interests and personalize their website experience. 
  • Research their business and pain points, reach out to them and spark their interest in your products and solutions. 

Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL)

A marketing-qualified lead is a step ahead of an information-qualified lead. These sales lead actively search for solutions or products to help their business. MQLs are the ones who take the next step after viewing your services or products. They respond to your marketing message and typically fit your criteria for an ideal candidate. For instance, an MQL is someone who might click on your running ads on any social media platform and lead to your blog post for a read. They are generally aware of your brand and its functioning but are not yet ready to invest. Listed below are some ways to identify the marketing qualified leads:

  1. They are the ones who download your case studies.
  2. They attend your webinars.
  3. They are viewers of the videos of how your solutions work. 

As these leads are the ones who show interest in your brand and its solutions, it is not very challenging to convert them to paying clients. The qualifying process can be accomplished within a short duration over an email or a call. Once you feel they are ready, you can arrange for a free demo or a presentation. Their intact interest does not mean they would certainly opt for your services or products. You must be consistent in following up with them via email. Let us find out how you can easily convert MQLs into paying customers in the following points:

  • Please encourage them to subscribe to your emails for more details about your business and new launches.
  • Focus on creating engaging and exciting guides and blog posts that showcase your expertise.
  • Implement customized marketing emails and messages that perfectly resonate with the requirements and interests of these leads.
  • Nurture your MQLs by sharing in-depth information about your business that encourages them to convert. 

Sales Ready/Accepted Leads (SRL)

A sales-ready lead or an SRL is the lead that lies at the bottom stage of a sales pipeline and is ready to be handed over to the sales crew for future processing. How you decide on a prospect to be ready for processing depends on your company's policies. Some companies consider a lead ready for procession even if they have read an e-book, while others might consider a lead ready only after they have expressed a deep interest. 

To understand if a lead is sales-ready or not, the marketing teams often use the BANT technique. Let us know what BANT exactly is in the points below:

  • Budget - Is the lead ready and willing to spend the money?
  • Authority - If the lead is the decision maker in their company?
  • Need - Does the lead possess any pain points that require addressing?
  • Timing - Does the lead require a solution immediately or anywhere close to a short timeframe?

You must understand that being sales-ready does not necessarily mean that your lead would make a spontaneous call to buy. It would help if you kept nurturing the lead, followed up in routine, and continued sharing information to have them ready. 

Sales Qualified Leads (SQL)

A sales-qualified lead is the one who your sales team has tagged qualified. This type of a sales lead is all set to meet your sales crew. They are the ones who have actively expressed interest in your services or products and are ready to make a purchase. However, they might make a detailed comparison of your services against competitor companies. Simply put, these are the leads your sales team would love to pitch to and follow up with. The sales team must consider them scorching leads and reach out to them as soon as possible. As your sales teams qualify these leads, all one needs to do is reach out to them, confirm their identity and start demonstrating the sales process. Below are tips to convey the sales-qualified leads or SQLs.

  • Approach them with a sales pitch they cannot deny.
  • Have conversations with them, letting them know the benefits of partnering with your brand.
  • Schedule meetings with them to converse on how your services or products can help solve their pain points. 

Wrapping up, you need to understand that SQLs are most likely to convert to your loyal, paying customers.

With so many types of sales leads, where should you focus?

To go by the thumb rule, you must concentrate on the leads that are highly likely to convert. This means that the hot leads require priority compared to the cold leads, and SQLs require incremented follow-ups compared to the MQLs, etc. Bringing in more sales and shooting up the revenue requires a deep understanding of sales leads. Once you understand the types, you must appoint a dedicated sales crew to help you with your inbound and outbound sales strategies accordingly. Again, you cannot put the load of the tedious sales tasks on your sales team and expect them to concentrate on lead conversions.

One must automate such monotonous tasks to allow your sales team sufficient time to work on converting leads. Even if you have given automation a thought in the past and have always resisted taking steps ahead, it is time you understand it well and know how sales automation can benefit your venture. You can connect with Zixflow experts and begin your sales automation process today!

Share on social media

Ready to use the platform of the Future?