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What is a lead?


A lead is a potential sales contact: an individual or organization that are interested in purchasing your products or services. In many cases, leads are generated from a variety of activities or sources, for instance, through the Internet, through existing customers’ referrals, through telemarketing and finally through advertisements and events. They can also be created through non-paid sources such as search engine result or referral of existing customers.


Basically, the marketing department of a company is responsible for lead generation. This represents the first phase of the sales process. A research in 2015 has shown that 89% of respondents agreed that email is the most-used channel for lead generation, followed by content marketing, search engine optimization and events. Another study in 2014 discovered that the three most popular online channel for generating leads were web referrals, search engines and direct traffic, accounting 93% of them.



After lead generation, marketers can quantify the purchase possibility of each lead and give it a score. For example, after a telemarketer introduced Mr. Chan about the health insurance, Mr. Chan showed interest in the insurance, marketers can then quantify Mr.Chen’s purchase intention and give him a score. There are many criteria for lead scoring, depending on the company’s receipt, but in general, there are three dimensions  (Marketo):

  1. Fit—Basic data that helps determine if the prospect fits your buyer profile
  2. Interest—Behavioral insights that tell you if the prospect is interested in your brand
  3. Behavior—More detailed measurements that indicate where a prospect is on his buying journey



After collecting a list of leads and giving them a score, marketers can start with the nurturing of potential customers. Lead nurturing is the process of developing relationships with potential buyers at every stage of the sales journey. It focuses marketing and communication efforts and providing information to potential buyers, nurturing a long-term relationship rather than a one-off sale.

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