Sales leads are vital to any business' success when it comes to obtaining customers and increasing revenue. But what does "leads" mean in the context of sales exactly? And how can your business ensure you are getting leads and making the most of them?

Let's take a look at the definition and meaning of sales leads and how you should be using them in your business.

Sales Lead Definition

According to TechTarget, a lead is a "potential sales contact" or "individual or organization that expresses an interest in your goods or services." Sales leads can be obtained in a myriad number of ways, such as by a referral from an existing customer, through a response to an advertising or marketing campaign or through personal outbound outreach. This is why the marketing department of a business is usually responsible for generating sales leads. 

Sales lead generation can be accomplished by marketing departments or sales teams in a few different ways:

  • Advertising
  • Networking
  • Direct mail or e-mail campaigns
  • Websites 
  • Search engine optimization
  • Buying a sales lead list

Of these, the fastest way to generate leads is by buying a sales lead list. Businesses can purchase sales lead lists that are specific to their industry from direct marketing companies; however, these leads are unqualified, which means they haven't been evaluated to determine whether or not they are a good match for the businesses that purchase them. Additionally, purchased lead lists can often suffer from poor data quality and may not always contain up to date contact information for leads.

Using Sales Leads in Your Business

Sales leads management with BaseThe first step to using sales leads successfully in your business is simply obtaining them. If you have a marketing team, start by working with them to determine the type of sales lead generation (or combination of types) that will work best for your business. If your sales team is responsible for generating leads on its own, work to develop an ideal customer profile and target leads that fit this persona. This will prevent you from spending your lead gen budget & qualification time on potential customers who are not a good fit for your business.

The next step is to be able to track your sales leads using a customer relationship management (CRM) solution. CRM solutions enable you to upload leads or automatically capture their information into a database and manage personalized relationships with each lead, helping move them along the user journey all the way through the funnel to purchase. Some solutions, such as Base CRM, even allow you to skip the manual entry around lead management & qualification.

To learn more about Base's all-in-one sales and lead tracking platform, request a demo today 

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Sources:

http://searchitchannel.techtarget.com/definition/lead
http://money.howstuffworks.com/business-communications/how-sales-leads-work1.htm

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