Sales vs Marketing Leads: Know The Context Of Information

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In the intricate world digital marketing, it’s not uncommon to come across term ‘leads’. And if you’ve found this post you’re probably researching ways to get more leads or improve quality.

But in the information you discover whether it is a blog post, a youtube video, or a podcast, it’s important to understand the context of it and whether they are talking about ‘sales leads’ or ‘marketing leads’. Unfortunately most content publishers in the lead gen space do a poor job of deciphering between the two.

As someone who has spent over $10,000,000 in the last 12 months on lead generation ads for;

  • Sales leads for my lead gen business that are sold to other businesses
  • Sales leads for my home service businesses
  • Marketing leads that I’ve used to grow my ‘drop service business’

I’m going to break it down for you so you can focus on the information that you need and share my insight on how to win with marketing leads and how to win with sales leads!

Defining Sales Leads and Marketing Leads

To embark on this journey, let’s begin with the basics.

Sales leads and marketing leads represent two distinct stages in the lead generation process. Sales leads are individuals or businesses who have expressed direct interest in your product or service and are often at a later stage in the buyer’s journey. On the other hand, marketing leads are individuals who have shown interest in your brand or content but may not be ready for direct sales engagement.

The Contextual Differences

The primary factor that sets sales leads and marketing leads apart is where they are at in the sales process. A marketing lead may not even be considering buying, they may just be interested which is a sign that in the future they’ll be interested in buying. A sales lead expresses interest in buying something that solves a problem they need.

A sales lead should be provide more information than a marketing lead.

The context in which these leads are generated and nurtured can significantly vary. To illustrate this point, consider the following scenario:

Scenario 1: A person visits your website and requests a product demo.

In this context, the lead is signaling a high level of interest and may be closer to making a purchase. The lead is proving a phone number for contact and possibly answering a few questions about their needs. This is a classic example of a sales lead.

Scenario 2: A person subscribes to your newsletter to receive industry updates.

Here, the lead is expressing a general interest in your brand and content but may not be immediately looking to buy. This represents a marketing lead. For these marketing leads it is crucial to have a long term nurturing sequence in place.

Understanding the context of lead information is crucial because it impacts actions as a business owner given your limited resources of money and time. Sales leads tend to have a higher conversion potential due to their explicit interest, whereas marketing leads often require further nurturing to move them down the sales funnel.

Winning With Marketing Leads

Marketing leads are simply people who have expressed interest in something related to your product. In the digital marketing world, software like Optin Monster is used to generate them.

Start with a valuable lead magnet to get opt-ins.

The concept of a lead magnet is a simple, offer up a freebie in exchange for contact information, usually a simple email address. To entice the audience to take lead magnet and ‘opt-in’ some type of ‘promise’ has to be made. And this is where marketers usually botch it.

Marketers tend to make a bold promise but not deliver on. Think about how many times you’ve opt-ed in to learn ‘How to Make $10,000,000 in 30 days while you sleep’, only to find some seemingly useless video that is labeled as ‘value’ but it just a worthless sales pitch.

Probably more times than you can count. To win with marketing leads, don’t do this. Create a lead magnet that leaves your lead saying ‘wow these guys are good’.

Use a double opt-in for quality.

Email addresses are cheap and it metaphorically doesn’t cost a person much to give it up. The result when you ask leads for just an email address is that you have damn near zero intent and ultimately end up with an audience of people that were just ‘sure I’ll take it for the cost of my email’. But the list doesn’t engage and the data the list generates is useless.

For that reason, a double opt-in mechanism provided by basically all email marketing softwares these days ensures the audience of marketing leads you generate have a higher level of interest in your offer.

Plan for a long term sequence.

Marketing leads can take a long time to convert. Consider the average sales cycle is 6-12 months. I know that’s an overly generalized number so let me give you an example. In my epoxy flooring business over 30% of the projects we sell received their initial estimate over 12 months ago… and those were sales leads.

Winning with marketing leads requires sinking in the effort for a long term commitment. Unfortunately what I see many marketers do is create a 3 month sequence and call it a wrap because they don’t feel like putting in the effort to build a longer term sequence. I’m no exception to the rule, but success requires planning and building out a long term sequence.

Periodically ‘ask’.

A long term nurturing sequence is great, but it’s no use if you’re not ‘asking’ for their business.

For that reason it’s important to run some direct contact in conjunction with the long term sequence. In this post I cover an approach that I use to ‘ask’ with email marketing has been incredibly effective with email marketing.

Winning With Sales Leads

Sales leads should provide comprehensive details and are ready to be contacted to talk problems, solutions, and prices.

Have ONE clear and concise value proposition.

When generating sales leads, focus on ONE thing that lead wants or needs. Marketers often botch this because they want to elaborate on all the things their product does or all the problem it solves. The result is they end up ‘speaking to nobody’ or not making their value proposition clear.

Use a web form that identifies needs of the lead.

When it comes to working sales leads, it is a huge help if you get some insight into what the needs of the lead are. Why are they interested in your product? What is going on their business? Do they even need your product? Here is a list of 7 questions I use in my web forms to increase quality. I have a list of 7 good questions you can use in your webforms to help identify

This is all stuff that can be fleshed out with a multi step style webform that asks these questions so they can be handled internally. If you’re using WordPress, I recommend Fluent Forms for creating these multi step forms.

Reply fast. Speed to lead matters.

In the world of sales, response time can make or break a deal. When a lead shows interest, a quick response not only leaves a positive impression but also minimizes the chances of them exploring other options. Timely follow-ups keep leads engaged and motivated. In essence, “Reply fast. Speed to lead matters” is a reminder that rapid responses are a strategic necessity for converting leads into loyal customers.

On that note;

Always considering what kind of lead is being discussed. Information applicable to sales leads is not applicable to marketing leads and vice versa.

About the Author

I have been in the 'online business' space since 2009 when I started an eCommerce business selling motorcycle parts (sold in 2012). Since then I have owned and operated several successful online business (and had a fair share of failures), along with owning offline home services businesses. Currently my focus is online businesses that are profitable with paid traffic. As a 'self employed individual' I do not use Linkedin, but you can connect with my on my personal instagram and youtube which largely revolve around my mountain biking passion!