Is it Time to Change the Universal Definition of a Lead?


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Change is good, change is healthy, change is refreshing; change is often, inevitable. So do we need to revisit the universal definition of a lead in the world of sales and marketing? Has this changed? Does it need to change in light of the transformation impacted by digital and social marketing? Let’s discuss this…

Here’s What HAS Changed with B2B Lead Generation:

  • Building volume at the top of the funnel is easier. Marketers now have multiple ways, both online and offline, to drive traffic to their websites, blogs, social profiles, as well as  physical stores.
  • BUT, you now have multiple funnels! As marketers realize the importance of distinguishing between buyer personas, there is more than one sales funnel you need to fill, filter your leads through and manage in order to drive conversions.
  • Buyers are actively researching information they seek. While this is good reason and a great opportunity to relay this information in interesting ways, most buyers are also tuning out because of all the ‘noise’.
  • Business is now personal. Social media allows organizations to make their brands very interesting and uniquely personal for prospects and customers. To reiterate, however, what I’ve said previously, there is a fine line between trying to engage buyers through social media and turning them off with your “24/7, in-my-face” social chatter.
  • Marketing automation is widely acceptable, even sought after. In this digital age where we talk to our devices more than we talk to people around us, automation is no longer such a hard sell. Without a doubt, marketing automation has its limitations and common reasons for failure. Marketing automation vendors only have to prove that their product has better features and functions at a more attractive price point than their competitor, and companies want it. The buyer, on the other hand, has reached the point of fatigue from being bombarded by automated interactions with CRM and social software rather than a real person. For example, imagine a customer posting on a company’s Facebook page to vent frustration with a product or service and within seconds, the company responds with an utterly banal comment, “Thank you for your comment. We will get back to you shortly.” No! That customer is not interested in waiting for you to get back. As a matter of fact, that customer may just about be done with your company and would be further antagonized with your trite response. The customer wants a live person to resolve the issue, and that is not something your marketing automation can do.
  • Reporting and measurement mechanisms and metrics have evolved. This can be a good thing; provided you have a 360° view of your lead generation process. Most organizations don’t and as a result, too much time and resources are expended on meaningless metrics. Instead of measuring lead quality, the focus strays to building volume and lead quantity. Big Data is not necessarily Big Insights (Click here to tweet this!) until and unless the component of predictive analytics is built in, allowing your company to understand buyer behaviour and address stages of the buying cycle with this ‘intelligence’.

A quick reminder about the 10 Rules of B2B Lead Generation: Proven Steps for B2B Marketers to Secure, Engage and Convert Quality Leads

Here’s What HAS NOT Changed with B2B Lead Generation:

The 5 criteria that universally define a true lead.

1. Right company or demographic – Matches the profile of the organizations or people that are already your best customers
2. Right person – A decision maker, champion, influencer or at least someone whose recommendations are valued
3. Real pain point – There is clear indication that prospect has a need for your product or service  and is interested to know more
4. Time to purchase – The buying decision is in the near future and prospect has budgeted for the purchase
5. Willingness to engage – Prospect is ready and willing to receive further sales interaction

This is the  foundation that time after time, year over year – WORKS. You can be on the cutting edge of technology and lead generation tactics, but it always comes back to the tried and tested universal definition of a lead. That is why we build our newest lead generation program just like this – a solid foundation combined with a new approach that works. Ask for a demo of the revolutionary, transformational MyLeads2Go solution.

Do your sales people find it worthwhile to follow up on the leads provided by marketing? What steps have you taken to unite sales and marketing? How has B2B lead generation changed within your organization over the last 12 months or so? Let’s discuss this on my blog.    

Image credit: Shutterstock

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Louis Foong
Louis Foong is the founder and CEO of The ALEA Group Inc., one of North America's most innovative B2B demand generation specialists. With more than three decades of experience in the field, Louis is a thought leader on trends, best practices and issues concerning marketing and lead generation. Louis' astute sense of marketing and sales along with a clear vision of the evolving lead generation landscape has proved beneficial to numerous organizations, both small and large.


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