A Lead, also called Cold Lead, is a contact with minimum contact information who asked about the product or service. Criteria when a contact converts to a lead strongly depends on the process definition. Typically, a lead is transferred to CRM, whereas a contact remains with marketing systems like the website. Common criteria for a lead are:
- Comprehensive personal data, including name, job title or company
- Multiple touchpoints with the company, e.g. downloads, webinars or contact forms
- Trigger signals such as "buy now" CTAs or "request for quotation" contact forms
At any rate, the lead status marks the end of the awareness phase. From a cold lead to a hot lead, lead nurturing aims to generate interest and convert the lead down the funnel. For details on whom to nurture and score a lead, read this article. Further, align your criteria with your company's aims and structure.
A hot lead is also called Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) or Qualified Contact. An MQL reached a certain lead score, previously defined by Marketing, Lead Management and Sales. This is a very important aspect, because a MQL is a typical output KPI of Marketing and Lead Management. Cost per MQL helps to argue budget and shows the Marketing efficiency.
The third step of the Lead Management Funnel (fifth step overall) is the Sales Accepted Lead (SAL). The MQL is handed over to sales. Sales cross-checks the defined criteria and reasons if the MQL is ready for the Sales funnel. If so, Sales accepts the lead and the MQL converts to a SAL.