types of sales lead featured
Sales Intelligence

4 Types of Sales Leads: The Ultimate Guide to Generating Sales

by Leah Messenger , Content Marketing Manager 5 Min.
September 5, 2022 | Updated September 11, 2022

It’s no secret that successful B2B marketing revolves around businesses absolutely nailing their sales process. They have the right data on their leads and nurture them through their funnel. The challenge for most businesses is identifying the right type of leads to nurture; the first step in any marketing or sales campaign.

Businesses that don’t have accurate data on their leads and haven’t segmented them can lose out on a lot of revenue. Studies show that data accuracy can increase closing rates by 152 percent and bad data? Well, that can cost businesses 12 percent in lost revenue. It’s easy to see which route to take, isn’t it? (No? *Mouths slowly*: acc-ur-ate day-ta).

Accurate data can feed into the sales process in a bunch of ways, but here, we’re going to cover the struggle of putting leads into the right buckets, and how using data to segment your prospects can help you generate more qualified sales leads. Oh, and make more money.

Let’s break down the different types of sales leads and how to qualify them.

What are sales leads?

Sales leads are different kinds of potential customers that are in the process of learning about your product and purchasing it. Potential customers can be broken down into two categories: leads and prospects. A prospect is someone familiar with your services and goods, and you’ve communicated with them as they move through your sales funnel. They’re also known as: 

  • Qualified leads
  • Hot leads
  • Working leads
  • Nurturing leads 

So, if a prospect is someone moving through, then a lead is considered an unqualified contact. To turn an unqualified lead into one that is qualified, they need to go through your lead qualification process to make sure your services and products are right for them. 

To identify more qualified leads, you’ll want a solid B2B lead generation strategy and lead them through your sales process. That lead gen strategy of yours – including a lead nurturing process –  is essential to guiding prospects and leads through your sales funnel. 

But before you do that, you need to figure out the type of sales leads you have so you can nurture each one accordingly. We can help with that. 👇

types of sales lead - graphic 1

What are the different types of sales leads?

There are four types of sales leads that every sales and marketing professional should know:

1) Cold sales leads

Cold leads are not qualified and require hard work and regular nurturing to convert them into prospects. They might have replied to one of your social media posts, they might have commented on your blog, but they aren’t actually familiar with your brand.

Cold leads are the most difficult to nurture as you need to build brand recognition and trust with them, at the same time as educating them about your business, services, and products. They may fit your ideal customer profile, so the first step is contacting them to determine if these leads are worth your time. Not sure where to start with your cold sales email? We got you.

2) Warm sales leads

A warm lead is a step above cold leads – a little bit toastier, some would say 🍞. This business may have discovered you through a referral or through your marketing efforts, whether on social media or your blog. They want to know if your products or services are the solutions to their problem. These kinds of leads may visit your site and even sign up for your newsletter, which means they are in the nurturing stage of your sales funnel. So, while warm leads still require work, they are easier to convert to customers or clients than cold leads.

3) Information qualified sales leads

Information-qualified leads (IQLs) are warm leads that have provided you with some data on their needs and the problems they are trying to solve. So, they’re further into your sales funnel and may have downloaded an eBook or filled out a form on your website. You know they match your ideal customer persona, but you don’t know anything about them beyond that. 

4) Marketing qualified sales leads

Marketing qualified leads (MQLs) are the same as IQLs, except they know a little more about your company. They’ve gone further than downloading your lead magnet or filling out a form. An MQL may have attended a webinar or interacted with your business on social media often. Continued nurturing is essential here to see if they are a good fit for your company. 

How do you qualify sales leads?

If you’re wondering how to qualify sales leads, you need to know your customer avatar well and create a B2B buyer persona for each one. And it’s also worthwhile determining where each lead is in your sales funnel. 

If you reach out to someone too soon, you can scare them away. Your messaging not only needs to resonate with them, it needs to match the funnel stage they are in – basically, you need to work out their level of intent. You need to think about when to contact them, and once you do, nurture them with relevant, high-quality content

Use a process called lead scoring to evaluate each lead and see if they are your ideal client or customer.

You can gain vital data from sales engagement for powerful insight into your buyer’s journey so you can craft better pitches and make more sales. And with effective sales tactics, you can drive growth in your business and boost your revenue. 

But the thing is – qualifying leads can be tricky, and there are plenty of mistakes you need to avoid to ensure you qualify sales leads correctly. If you’re asking the wrong qualifying questions, it’s hard to identify if a potential customer is the right fit. You also don’t want to assume they already know your product, and you must also develop long-term strategies for sales leads. 

The better your qualifying process is, the higher your conversion rates will be. 

How to generate sales leads using Similarweb

So, maybe you’re wondering ‘how do I generate new sales leads?’. 

Similarweb makes it easy to generate sales leads with its comprehensive traffic engagement data on millions of businesses around the world. Analyzing business data to mine for potential leads and prospects is difficult to do manually, and accurate sales intelligence is essential to visualizing every aspect of a prospect’s digital performance and strategy. 

Most businesses use ad campaigns to target prospects and leads, and in this ad-saturated online world, a “spray and pray” approach is not an effective marketing strategy. You want to take a more direct, customized approach to prospecting, and that’s where account-based marketing comes in.

What is account-based marketing?

Account-based marketing or ABM is a type of B2B marketing where the sales and marketing departments in your company coordinate their marketing efforts for a more effective sales process. 

With ABM, you target, engage, nurture, and then convert leads based on high-value accounts versus targeting a relevant audience. ABM starts with identifying prospects that have the biggest revenue potential and then launching ad campaigns specifically tailored to them. 

It’s a dual-touch approach. In each ABM campaign, marketers try to engage with the decision-makers of these accounts while the sales team reaches out to the same people. 

Combining Similarweb’s prospecting tools with the right sales tactics can help towards your success of getting more leads into your sales funnel and winning more sales. Similarweb makes it easy to find the right information to run campaigns that convert and nurture more leads for your business.

Similarweb’s tools can help you verify lead data through lead enrichment to enhance the information you have on a prospect. It guarantees your data is complete, up-to-date, and high-quality. These three conditions ensure data accuracy, which is critical for marketing campaigns. 

Key takeaways

Understanding the four main types of sales leads can help you identify where they are in the buyer’s journey, so you can tailor your messaging to that stage. Getting the right data is vital to your success in sales and marketing. 

Luckily, Similarweb has the tools you need to find accurate data that you can combine with effective B2B sales techniques to nurture and convert leads into customers. Learn more on how Similarweb’s tools and research solutions can help you gain accurate marketing intelligence to take your marketing to the next level.

This post is subject to Similarweb legal notices and disclaimers.

Wondering what Similarweb can do for you?

Here are two ways you can get started with Similarweb today!