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The Definition of Lead Generation

By Alex Kleve
Updated December 16, 2019
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Alex Kleve

I help projects and content-entry go smoothly at Hook Agency as a Project Manager. Hook Agency's specialty is where visual design and SEO combine to help get you better leads.

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What is the definition of Lead Generation?

One term that you will frequently come across in the sales and marketing world is lead generation. 

Even if you are already working on your lead generation, it is important to know what it means from the core and find its importance by reviewing it at the most basic level. This way you are able to find new ways and ideas to impact your business. 

The standard definition of lead generation is a potential buyer who will show some sort of interest in purchasing your product or service. When leads fill out a form, they are exchanging their information in exchange for some sort of content or offer.  

What is a Lead?

A lead is a person that has expressed a desire in the product or service that you are offering. When you collect a lead, you are already past the most dreaded part of the sales cycle in prospecting and cold-calling and move into a warm call. 

A warm call is more valuable than a cold call because the person is already expecting to hear from you or has at the very least, shown some sort of interest in doing work with your business. This means that they are going to be willing to listen to you when you call and actually consider purchasing your offer because they have already considered you as an option. 

When contacting a lead, you will use the information that was received and collected so you are able to take a more personalized approach in your efforts and make the sales call as useful and productive as possible for your client. 

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Now, you are able to attract four different types of leads: 

  1. Marketing qualified lead (MQL): An MQL comes from your marketing efforts in things like downloadable guides. These leads are not usually ready to get in contact with your sales team and are in the earlier stages of the buying process. 
  2. Sales qualified lead (SQL): An SQL shows interest right away in your products or services by submitting a contact form or requesting a quote. They will want to be contacted by your sales team to get more information and are going to be further along in the buying process.  
  3. Product qualified lead (PQL): A PQL will show interest in your products or services by signing up for things like a free trial. They are most likely to be the ones to take action by contacting you after they have tried your product so they can ask questions and learn more about what you are offering.
  4. Service qualified lead (SQL): An SQL has an interest in your product and service because they are already using and paying for them. These types of leads will usually be the ones that contact your sales team about upgrades or choosing different plans and options. 

Knowing these will help you in the lead scoring process which we go over later. 

What is Lead Generation?

Lead generation is how you attract people and use different methods to get people to give you their contact information. It is the process of funneling in potential buyers of your product or service down the path of an eventual purchase.  

Lead generation is the use of different resources, programs, and services in order to obtain or receive information for the purpose of getting more business and increasing sales. 

A lead can be a list of names, addresses, and other contact information of individuals, companies, or other institutions that have the budget and need to purchase your product or service. 

Why is Lead Generation Important?

Lead generation is what helps your business grow and is critical to the growth of your business. With the buying process shifting, marketers should be rethinking their efforts so they can continue to thrive. If people are showing interest in your business, you need to contact them about what you are able to offer them. These are leads. They are true sales prospects that have communicated their interest in your product or service. 

Lead Scoring

Lead scoring is a method used for marketing to rank leads you to receive in order to determine their status in the sales process. 

You will score the leads based on the interest they show your business, their current stage of the buying cycle, and whether or not they are a good fit for doing business with you. Scoring leads can help you to know how fast to move in the sales prospects and can be a great asset for you to strengthen your revenue cycle and get more Return on Investment. 

Outbound Lead Generation vs. Inbound Lead Generation

It is essential to know the difference between inbound and outbound lead generation and why inbound lead generation is the better approach to take between the two no matter your industry. 

Now you may be asking, what is inbound lead generation and outbound lead generation? 

Inbound lead generation: This is a strategy that uses inbound marketing channels that focus on getting more people to come across your business and its products or services. It uses strategies such as social media, videos, and blog posts. 

Outbound lead generation: This strategy uses outbound market channels that are focused on pushing people towards your products or services with strategies that include cold calling and advertisements. 

Whatever industry you are in, you are more likely o get better results by using inbound lead generation as your choice for marketing. This is because when you utilize inbound marketing, you will reach potential leads when they are searching for products and services that you supply. 

They are doing research and you are providing information for them to help them out and act as a knowledgable resource. 

The cost of outbound marketing is also much more expensive than inbound leads and you don’t even get as high quality of leads. This is the reason a majority of companies are using inbound strategies over outbound and seeing more success.


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Alex Kleve

I help projects and content-entry go smoothly at Hook Agency as a Project Manager. Hook Agency's specialty is where visual design and SEO combine to help get you better leads.

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