What is a Lead?

Lead Management


In a special event, as part of our Revenue Masters series, we brought together some of the top minds in B2B demand generation to answer this critical question. Marketing and sales experts, Jill Konrath, Craig Rosenberg, Sandy Carter and Jon Miller weighed in on the debate with their perspectives, as well as provided advice for marketing and sales alignment.

What is a lead?

Jon Miller, VP Marketing and Co-Founder, MarketoJon Miller: In Marketo’s revenue cycle, a lead is a qualified prospect that is starting to exhibit buying behavior. Note that there is an asymmetry between the false positives and the false negatives. I’d much rather err on the side of calling someone who isn’t a lead, a lead, than not contact someone who really is a lead.

Jill KonrathJill Konrath: From a sales perspective, there is a huge advantage in getting involved in the prospect discussion early. Get there early so you can shape how the buyer in formulating their problem and help them structure the evaluation i.e. before they go to RFP.

Craig Rosenberg, VP Products and Services, Focus.comCraig Rosenberg: There are two elements to a lead – demographic and psychographic. When it comes to the psychographic element, your definition of a lead will depend on your company, where you’re selling and who you’re selling to. For example, in a liquid, more commoditized market, e.g. selling phones, you can wait for the sales hand-off until later in the buying process. But for products with high consideration, conceptual, evangelistic elements to it, sales will want to get involved earlier.

Sandy Carter, VP Business Partners and Midmarket, IBMSandy Carter: Our philosophy at IBM is to have no lead left behind. A lot of people will be interested, but not able to follow through at that time because of budget cycle, etc. We achieve this by having perpetual touch campaigns, building the relationship and becoming the trusted advisor. You can’t become that by swooping in at the last minute.

In the session, the expert panel addressed other questions at the core of sales and marketing alignment including:

  • What is the value of a lead?
  • How can you move leads forward?
  • How can we measure our lead management?
  • Where do you start with lead definition?

How do you define a lead? Let us know!