It is not very often to see people consider the efficacy of leads classification in business and online marketing. The concept of getting leads classified is not all about fulfilling a routine arrangement, but a means of maximizing the benefits such leads offer.
If you have a database of your potential customers you are on a good start; however, it is more important that you emphasize the structure and classification of such list, because it will eventually be the bombshell.
Proper classification of potential customers is thus very pertinent since it rids you of indefinite and unnecessary wastage. So for this to be effectively done, you may need to classify or categorize leads into different facets to ensure that time and resources are not being disbursed irrationally.
To get the best from your leads, you first must realize that; all your contact cannot possibly get the same resources and attention; some are to be better prioritized, compared to others. Leads should not uniformly get the same number of calls, notifications or even emails.
Known Lead Classes
Since a lead funnel helps to differentiate leads so maximum efficiency may be attained, Leads are thus classified into cold leads and hot leads depending on your contact’s level of activity or link with the business.
Different business owners and business marketers assiduously emphasize the importance of sales leads classification, both on online platforms and by other conventional means. However, before considering the inherent benefits of such classifications, it is important to know what they are and how they apply to online marketing, as well as the differences and disparities between their functions and characteristics.
These are the set of leads that appear to be the least easy to convert. It is the category of people who never checked in to get a product or occasionally visits your blog or website.
You may not even know how you got to have their details or contacts, or you’ve carried out a quick research on their viability and found out that they do not have anything in common with your business.
These people often surf around the internet and fill in their details via email into contact lists only to benefit from a promo and with no desire to purchase a particular product or service.
Similar to cold leads, another category of leads that is usually not so recognized is the “cool leads”. They are those who have probably shown little interest in a particular product or are in close reach to you but are not yet in urgent need of the product or service, and may also know people that have entered into a business engagement with you recently or currently. They may not even end up being the lead you need but can be the people that will set you in the right course.
Since this category of leads seem to be the one that you are not so sure about the end-result of engagement with them, you can do yourself the favor of reducing the risk you will incur on them by having low commitments and expending less of your time and resources on them.
There may be times when you are exploring an automated lead nurturing system, you are likely to encounter or experience a two-way directional flow of information between your leads and your brand.
As your automated system keeps sending diverse mails to different authorized websites and blog posts, your website cookies, closed-loop marketing, and other progressive forms can be capturing useful information about the leads through the online window or backlinks.
The warm leads are the people that have already shown interest in a product or service either by checking out your website, following your business on various social media platforms and signing up on your public email newsletter, whether by a referral from a previous client, friend or potential lead. This category of leads is a little more valuable compared to the cold or cool leads that have not shown particular interest in a product or service. An automated leads nurturing system will be needed to effectively get quality information about these leads for proper classification.
Hot or Qualified Leads (HQL)
Hot leads are otherwise known as qualified leads. They are the best category of leads because they are the people who are most likely to patronize you.
Such patronage may not be on the go, but they happen to need your product and have an interest in patronizing you. They may also appear to be links to prospective contact such as their friends and family that will later require your product or service.
This category can be seen in two different phases, the Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL) and the sales qualified leads (SQL). The MQLs and SQLs are a very important factor in understanding your sales or leads funnel. The marketing qualified leads are the people that are already on the verge of being a customer based on some criterion sent by the closed-loop marketing, while the sales qualified leads (SQL) are those that are attested for, by the sales team to readily be a part of the buying cycle.
In knowing whether a lead is good enough to be converted to the sales team for direct contact, several areas are to be defined, which are:
- Budget: Does the lead have enough money to purchase the product or service?
- Timescale: At what time, in particular, is the lead considering to make the purchase?
- Need: Is the Lead in painstaking need of the product or service he/she shows interest in?
- Influence or Authority: Can the lead solely decide to purchase or requires a higher influence or authority?
- Fit: does the product or service you are offering fit their need?
Key Differences Between Hot and Cold Sales Leads
Since Hot and cold leads are the two extremes of this classification, all other subcategories fall between them and their characteristics are similar to the “temperature description” they are most related with. Here are the differences.
- Hot leads spend more time on your website or blog compared to cold leads.
- Cold leads will usually unsubscribe after they get what they want.
- Hot leads will respond better to emails and calls compared to cold leads.
Hot leads are most valuable, so we can’t debate the need to put all efforts into converting them. However other classes of leads have the potential to become Hot leads as well and ultimately get converted, therefore they are no to be written off.