Sometimes, a sales development manager (SDR) and even a business development manager (BDM) will only have a vague idea of what constitutes a B2B lead. Although they will often understand that it is a business opportunity where a sale may be made, the exact nature of what constitutes this sort of lead is often only partially understood at best. Read on to find out the differences between different sorts of B2B leads and why understanding the sales and marketing terminology in this area can help your business to flourish.
The Definition of a B2B Lead
At its simplest, a B2B lead is information about a professional individual or an organization that may have an interest in procuring your products or services. B2B leads are distinct from B2C leads because they never refer to members of the public. They are necessarily business-to-business oriented, which means that the lead will usually be a decision-maker within a commercial organization or someone who can influence the buying decisions within them.
Although many sales professionals will understand this basic definition, it is not enough to lumpall types of B2B leads together in the modern commercial world. Let's dig a little deeper to gain a fuller understanding of the different types of B2Bleads your business may generate.
Cold and Warm B2B Leads
A cold B2B lead is sometimes called an outbound lead. This type is when you target certain groups of businesses or geographical areas with direct sales techniques, such as cold calling, to generate leads. On the other hand, warm B2B leads are inbound. This is when a business expresses interest in what you have to offer, perhaps by viewing a video introduction you have recorded, by reading a blog post, or by visiting one of your website's landing pages.
Enriched and Non-Enriched Leads
An enriched B2B lead is when you have multiple sources of information about the person or organization they represent. You may have their full name and job description, for example, or their address as well as their phone number. Enriched leads usually mean having more information about the sort of products or services that you are likely to be able to sell, too.
Non-enriched leads, conversely, lack this sort of detail. You are only likely to have a name, an email address, or a phone number at best and little knowledge of what the company concerned might be interested in buying.
Marketing and Sales Qualified Leads (MQL and SQL)
A marketing qualified lead(MQL) is a B2B lead which means your contact has interacted with your marketing but not yet made a direct inquiry of any kind. For example, they may have left their email address so they can read your company blogs or have signed up for an email newsletter. By contrast, a sales qualified lead (SQL) lies a step further down the sales funnel.
An SQL is a B2B lead who has expressed a direct interest in something you sell. For example, maybe an SQL will have filled in a contact form on your website to ask for technical details of a product or has rung your offices to inquire about a promotion you might be running.
Understanding the Process of B2B Lead Generation Today
By now, you should be better informed about the various types of B2B leads there are and how to recognize when you might be dealing with each kind. That said, recognizing them doesn't mean you will always be able to generate them in the first place. Read on to find out more about how businesses generate B2B leads in the digital age and the relevant terminology.
The Differences Between Sales and Marketing in Lead Generation
B2B lead generation comes in two forms. The first is sales-led. This will often involve cold calling, emailing speculatively, and even directly selling to businesses by turning up to their offices. Sales representatives can deal with inbound and outbound B2B leads, but they will usually have a higher volume of activities, sometimes needing to filter, or qualify, their leads.
By contrast, marketing professionals tend to focus on generating warm leads with successful brand messaging in targeted campaigns, both online and in the real world. B2B leads are acquired via marketing channels and usually funneled, or qualified, before the lead is handed over to a sales professional to close it.
Sales Development Representatives and Business Development Managers (SDR and BDM)
Given that salespeople and marketing professionals have complementing but different roles, it is also important to understand the terms for each that are in use today. Firstly, an SDR is a sales development representative who will source their own leads, create the first engagement with them, and attempt to generate sales appointments. By contrast, a BDM, or business development manager, will be responsible for demonstrating products at events like trade fairs and closing B2B leads which have been passed on from the marketing team.