by: Stephanie Lanik
What is a Sales Lead? (TOFU: Top-of-Funnel)
A person first becomes a “TOFU” (top-of-funnel) lead after completing some kind of call to action or inbound web form, including contact forms and quote requests. These are commonly referred to as marketing-qualified leads (MQLs) who have initiated communication with your brand. The lead’s engagement is usually minimal. So, although they may have expressed interest in your product or service, they aren’t necessarily ready to make a purchase.
The point is: a “Lead” isn’t a sure thing.
Once it’s become clear that a lead is a good fit for a company and what it has to offer, they are considered sales-qualified leads – leads that have been qualified and even profiled by your sales team – a SQL. These “sales-ready” leads are ready for contact by your sales reps to, ultimately, close the deal.
To sum it all up: A lead is a person who has provided at least some basic information that suggests a potential interest in buying from you. Your main objective, once you have a lead, is to focus on learning more about them. This could be through attracting them into some form of engagement with you (two-way communication) and converting them into a prospect.
You can see that the word “prospect” is closely linked to an outcome. The verbiage around the term explains the potential for immediate growth and actualization. In other words, a prospect is farther along the sales process than both MQLs and SQLs, with an increased likelihood of reaching an outcome.
Determining if a contact is a sales prospect is the first step in the selling process. In order for a lead to become a prospect, they need to fit three criteria:
- Fits your target market.
- Has the means (money) to buy.
- Is authorized to make the buying decisions.
So, in a nutshell, a prospect is a qualified and interested lead who, through two-way interaction, has demonstrated they are preparing to make a purchase decision.
Sales & Marketing Funnel
Engagement and Communication!
Sales prospects — created after a sales-ready lead is contacted by a rep. They’re ready for two-way communication with your brand, either through scheduled phone calls or in-person meetings. Messages come from associated reps and are highly personalized to the recipient. Calls to action for prospects usually center on keeping the dialog going (scheduling a call, requesting a quote, etc.). This type of communication is all about turning their interest into a relationship and moving the relationship through the sales funnel.
Key Points to Remember!
- TOFU (Top-of-Funnel)
- Promising Sales Contact
- Unqualified Contact
- Different Levels of Qualification
- One-Way Communication
- Contacted in Large Groups or as Part of an Automated Program
- Mass Communication from General Source
- MOFU (Middle-of-Funnel)
- Linked to an Outcome
- Qualified Lead
- Qualified for Purchase Intent and Ability
- Two-Way Communication
- Contacted on an Individual or Small Group Basis
- Personalized Communication from Individual Rep
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