To some, the distinction between an inquiry and a lead is simple. To others (especially those new to marketing), the terms seem to be used interchangeably. And to both groups, determining the quality of leads can be tricky. So, for both newcomers to the profession and those veterans already running through the difference in your minds, here are some useful tips to help the process.
An” inquiry” is a window shopper, someone browsing your website. These individuals are not ready to make any decisions yet, but are just looking around to research or gather information. A “lead,” in contrast, is a browser who’s working toward a decision, someone who takes the next step by asking a question or filling out a form on your website (for instance, to download more information or to receive your monthly newsletter). B2C marketers can think of a lead as a shopper who comes in to try a product or request a sample, while an inquiry stands outside looking through the store windows. Though the sale is still not complete, leads carry a much greater potential for conversion.
So how do we qualify a lead from cold (tire-kickers), to warm (researchers), to hot (ready to make a decision)? Here are a few prompts:
- The quality of information given online by the prospect – good leads will provide you with their full information. They actually want to hear back from you.
- Relevance – can your product or services help this prospect solve their challenge?
- Is the prospect interested in learning more about how your solution can help them?
- Is the decision-maker part of the conversation?
- Can you make an offer they can’t resist? (I am not talking about price here, but value.)
If you answered ‘yes’ to all of these questions, you’ve got a hot lead on your hands. From this point on, the sales conversion will heavily depend on the skills of your sales force.