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What is a B2B Sales Lead?

By: Robert Hennessey

What is a B2B Sales Lead?

We know what a B2B sales lead is not. It is not:  

  • A name and email address  
  • Contact information purchased from a mailing list company  
  • Someone who might be interested in your product or service  
  • Someone who completes a form but does not give you all of these five lead criteria:  
    1. Accurate and Complete Contact Information: Name, Title, Company, Email & Phone 
    2. Specific Product or Service Request 
    3. A Specific Business Application or Problem to Solve 
    4. Specifies Their Preferred Method of Contact: Phone or Email  
    5. Specified Timing of Their Product or Service Need 

Defining what a B2B sales lead is? 

The first aspect of defining a B2B sales lead requires you taking the time to write down your company’s definition. The last thing you want to do is assume everyone in your organization has the same definition. To gain a consensus the definition will require obtaining input from the sales team, your marketing group, senior executives and how your organization is classifying B2B sales leads and tracking them.

When it comes to defining what a B2B sales lead is you, often hear, “No one’s definition of what constitutes a B2B sales lead is necessarily wrong.” I find this comment the epitome of why there is so much anarchy in the types of marketing snake oil being peddled as sales lead generation solutions.

While theoretically, I guess you can call anything a sales lead and just about, everybody does. The business reality is if you expect to grow your sales, you will need to be very specific in establishing your B2B sales lead definition and have everyone agree.

Get Real B2B Sales Leads Not Contacts

If you need B2B sales leads it is critical to know just what the kinds of sales leads are you can obtain on the Internet. Furthermore, so-called sales leads are not sales leads at all but contact information called sales leads. You may recognize some of these misnamed sales leads by the terms they masquerade under terms like;

  • Information Qualified Lead (IQL)
  • Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)
  • Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)

These are not B2B sales leads. To learn more about the types of B2B sales leads available on the Internet and what constitutes a "real B2B sales lead", view our Kinds of B2B Sales Leads infographic.

How do you define what is a B2B sales lead?

How you define a B2B sales lead, I do not know, but here is how we define it. We know that for our business the only “real B2B sales lead” is someone who actually contacts us first and provides complete and accurate contact information and is willing to talk with us about the business problem they are trying to solve. Nothing short of a sales prospect, contacting you is a B2B sales lead that is likely to convert.

One of the biggest benefits of clearly defining what constitutes a B2B sales lead for your company is you can then eliminate wasting your time with most marketing companies trying to sell you their version of what constitutes a sales lead.

Instead of the old method of buying "sales leads" from mailing list companies which is only contact information or the more recent marketing automation approach of sending annoying emails and praying for leads, we believe that focusing on helping buyers find your business solutions is the smart and least expensive way that convert sales prospects into real B2B sales leads at an affordable sales lead acquisition cost.

Low Acquisition Cost Sales Leads that Convert 

Therefore, defining what a lead means to you and your team is a critical first step before you invest in how you are going to generate B2B sales leads that produce sales. If you decide that sales prospects that contact you are the best kind of B2B sales leads giving you the best opportunity to convert them into a sale, then we recommend the following:

  1. Develop quality B2B content like articles, application stories, case studies, and white papers that demonstrate your ability to solve business problems.

  2. Check out this exclusive B2B marketing platform that showcases your content allowing sales prospects to self-qualify themselves generating ready-to-buy sales leads. You can post your content for free and the best part you only pay for the leads you want.

Define What You Mean by a B2B Sales Lead & How to Avoid Allowing Others to Define It for You.

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Bottom Line
Define what you mean by a B2B sales lead and avoid allowing others to define it for you. Best of all when someone promises you a B2B lead if it does not mirror your definition you can avoid wasting your time and money.

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