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B2B Lead Generation: Getting on the same page

A lead is a lead. Or is it?

I always recommend to my sale lead consulting clients that they create a glossary of terms related to their B2B lead generation programs. Why? To reduce misunderstandings.

Here's a first draft of a glossary I gave one of my clients to help them get started writing theirs. Perhaps it can be a starting place for yours too.

Contact:

A person at company or contact name on a database

Customer:

A company, division, department or facility that has purchased from our company.

Database:

A listing of contacts at specific companies and facilities which is available for ongoing use. Also often called the Sales & Marketing Database or Customer & Prospect Database.

Decision Maker:

A contact who makes or approves the final decision to buy.

Influencer:

A contact who recommends or influences the buying decision. Also called Recommender.

Inquirer:

A contact who has responded to our company’s marketing (Website, direct marketing, exhibits, advertising, etc.). Also called Responder or Prospect.

Inquiry:

A response to our company’s marketing (website, direct marketing, exhibits, advertising, etc.). Also called Response.

Lead:

A broad term used to describe everything from lists to inquiries to tradeshow leads to sales ready opportunities. To avoid confusion, this term shouldn’t be used.

List:

A list of contacts at specific companies and facilities, as in a rented list. Also called "Database" if available for ongoing use.

Marketing Qualified Lead:

An inquirer, responder or prospect at a particular company and facility who has been "qualified" as meeting the minimum definition of what represents a sales-ready opportunity.

Prospect:

A contact who has responded to our company’s marketing (website, direct marketing, exhibits, advertising, etc.) or has been contacted and determined to have some potentional, but has not yet been qualified as being sales-ready. Also called Inquirer or Responder.

Recommender:

A contact who recommends or influences the buying decision. Also called Influencer.

Responder:

A contact who has responded to our company’s marketing (website, direct marketing, exhibits, advertising, etc.). Also called Inquirer or prospect.

Response:

A response to our company’s marketing (website, direct marketing, exhibits, advertising, etc.). Also called Inquiry.

Sales Accepted Lead:

A Marketing Qualified Lead that has been accepted by sales.

Specifier:

The contact who specifies our company’s products or services.

Suspect:

A contact who appears to be similar to our company’s Prospects, Marketing Qualified Leads, Sales Accepted Leads and Customers, but who has not specifically expressed interest or determined to be a Prospect.

Do you have terms and definitions to add to a BtoB sales lead glossary?

Please share them by clicking on the word “Comments” in the line below the Share button.

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Comments

Thank you for pointing out how broad “lead” can be. What kind of lead? How ready are they to buy? Where do they fall in the sales cycle? All these factors and more contribute to the success of any lead generation program. More doesn’t always equal better.

 

Mac, as usual, your post demonstrates how well you understand this space and its problems! I have seen companies suffer terminology confusion all the time as marketing and sales VPs changes, the CEO refuses to use whatever they come up with and the database is a big mixture of different terminologies.

 

The more terms become industry accepted (as opposed to just a company’s personal glossary) the better off we will all be.

I’d suggest piggy backing off of salesforce.com’s terminology for contacts, and have the other “lead types” be sub categories of “leads”.

What do you think about that Mac?

 

B2B Marketing has totally evolved over the years as correctly pointed out here. Here’s another expert article from the Marketing Head of Nokia Siemens Networks on B2B marketing & its evolution: http://www.strategycentral.in/evolution-of-b2b-marketing/

 

Kyle, Interesting idea. Also one could incorporate the SiriusDecisions terminology(e.g. Marketing Qualified lead – MQL, Sales Accepted Lead – SAL). – Mac

 

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For more information, please call Mac McIntosh at +1-401-294-7730, send him email at or visit www.sales-lead-experts.com