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A lead is a term used in marketing to refer to an individual or organization that has shown interest in a company’s products or services by providing contact information, such as name, email address, telephone number, etc. This interest can manifest itself in a variety of ways, such as completing an online form, subscribing to a newsletter, downloading a resource, or even expressing interest in a call or direct message.

In inbound marketing methodology, the goal is to attract new leads and convert them into potential customers by using relevant and useful content that solves the problems and needs of prospects at each stage of their buying journey. This strategy focuses on educating them, establishing trust, and maintaining their interest in the company and its products or services, at each stage of the conversion funnel. The process of nurturing and developing relationships with leads in order to move them along the sales funnel and convert them into customers is known as lead nurturing.

We distinguish between two types of leads:

  • Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL): an MQL is a lead that has been identified and evaluated by the marketing team as having an appropriate level of interest and engagement with the brand or product, based on certain predefined criteria based on actions such as downloading content, subscribing to a newsletter, participating in webinars, etc.
    Even if a lead shows interest in the brand, it is not necessarily ready to be approached directly by the sales team. Instead, it may need further education or nurturing by the marketing team.
  • Sales Qualified Lead (SQL): A SQL is a lead that has been qualified by the sales team as having a higher level of interest and willingness to buy, based on information gathered during the sales process, such as requesting a demo, asking specific questions about pricing or product features, or directly expressing purchase intent. SQLs are considered more advanced in the sales process and are ready to be approached directly by the sales team to initiate conversations about the purchase.