How Do You Classify Leads?

Companies determine if leads are high-quality through a lead qualification system. Usually determined by their willingness to purchase, leads are moved through the sales funnel.

Define Your Definition of "Lead"

A standard definition of sales leads is people who have shown interest in your company’s products or services.

Sales and marketing have to work together to determine what this means.

Without a shared opinion, it can be difficult for either team to fulfill their goals – and they won’t be able to win over leads.

Having a single definition that works for both marketing and sales is unrealistic. Having one definition for your entire channel is out of the question.

That’s why it is vital to expand your lead classification into different levels (i.e., marketing qualified lead, sales qualified lead) based on the lead quality.

For your sales and marketing functions to work together to define and categorize leads, you have to first agree on that definition.

Put it down in writing and ensure that everyone fully understands it.

Leads Classification

Using leads classification can save your time and your sales reps time.

There are three main types of leads.

Cold Lead/Information Qualified Lead

According to Marketo, around 96% of website visitors aren’t ready to purchase.

These are the leads that appear to be the least easy to convert. It is the category of people who never checked in to get a product or occasionally visit your blog or website.

Cold leads are people/organizations/companies that didn’t show any interest in your products or services.

Neither contacted your business for services nor could be happy for your efforts while trying to reach them (basically irritated by your calls).

You may not even know how you got to have their details or contacts, or you’ve carried out a quick research on their viability and found out that they do not have anything in common with your business.

Warm Lead/Marketing Qualified Leads

They are leads who have shown some engagement level or are at least interested in your products or services. This means that they are a genuine lead.

They then move on to sales qualified leads (SQLs), where they have passed the point of qualification pre-set by your sales function, and they have moved toward being active customers.

Hot Leads/Sales Qualified Leads

Sales now begin to work with the prospect to determine the readiness to buy.

The SQL becomes an opportunity if the lead is determined to be ready to buy within the organization’s typical sales cycle time frame.

Does the person have purchasing authority or not? If the person you are dealing with has the authority to make a purchasing decision, they qualify as a hot lead.

Still, if the person has to wait to hear from someone else, the lead is unreliable, and you can’t just qualify them as a hot lead because a decision may turn around.

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Create An ICP (Ideal Customer Profile)

Remember that in B2B it is an organization rather than a person. The budget, the position that occupies the person responsible for decisions, the number of employees, etc.

If you already know your target audience, use those buyer personas to start building a well-defined list of qualifications of what a lead is.

You can look at behaviors, budgets, company types, and other details to determine this.

What Is Outbound Lead Generation?

Instead of the customer coming to you, you go to them – a proactive approach. For example, you make the first move by sending out targeted emails. Or you cold call potential customers.

That’s the opposite of inbound calls.

What Is A Lead Score?

This value considers different aspects, such as the characteristics of the lead or interactions with the brand, and helps you determine how ready they are to buy.

Based on the score obtained, you can pass the leads to the right team, prioritize them according to the stage of the process, and properly interact with each of them to improve your conversion rate.

There is no universal formula for creating a lead scoring algorithm, as each brand’s situation and needs are unique.

How To Acquire High-Quality Leads

If you want to acquire high-quality leads, and leads with a higher chance of conversion, you have a lot of work to do internally and externally.

The best thing you can do is have a qualification and categorization strategy that moves your leads from one bucket into another.

In general, most organizations need to qualify their leads using stages.

Get information from both the marketing and sales functions to see what leads worked and which leads didn’t. The marketing team should take the forefront here.

They are the ones that see the highest number of leads, so they have more inside information about the types of leads and clients they see.

Once they have had input, sales functions can tweak the definition of a sales-qualified lead using their criteria.

When looking at the definitions, use your existing customer base.

Lead Generation Strategy

The customer journey does not necessarily start with an advertisement or a cold call. There are various lead generation methods to use.

Content marketing includes blog posts, case studies, infographics, e-books, videos, and social media, while types of email marketing comprise newsletters, lead nurturing emails, and brand story emails.

Other methods include talking directly to potential leads, contests and giveaways, paid ads, and referrals. And don’t forget SEO, as well.

With more markets moving to the digital space and tighter competition, these strategies have become more important.

For example, 70% of marketers actively invest in content marketing.


MonkeyPesa is genuinely built for sales teams. It is simple but well streamlined and organized.

This software allows for integrating services like email marketing, SMS, social media marketing, and customer support, all in a single business system.

Cloud Kennect

Turn warm leads into hot leads today with Kennected’s Cloud Kennect. Sales reps use LinkedIn to narrow down sales leads and are then sought out with personalized messaging.

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Lead Qualification

Lead qualification is an essential step in lead generation, as it helps to reduce lead quality problems, management costs, and problems derived from an excessive volume of leads.

Having a sound lead qualification system is essential to leverage your marketing budget and focus on opportunities to generate more ROI.

A qualified lead meets the criteria you have defined for your team.

When leads visit sites or do searches, they leave digital breadcrumbs behind.

These show you what they are interested in, how urgent their problem is, and even how much they are willing to spend.

By observing these buyer behaviors, you will understand the criteria for which actions qualify a sales lead and which qualify a marketing lead.

Once again, this will differ depending on your business and what your leads tend to do.

Sometimes it is as straightforward as filling out a form to be contacted with more information. Other times, it is a bit more complicated.

This can be a long, detailed process that multiple individuals handle depending on the organization.

As is often the case with B2C industries, the process can be compressed into a single phone call or web inquiry.

As an organization, you need to create your definition of a qualified lead and continue to refine it based on your sale process needs.

If a sales department rejects many leads, you most likely need to correct your marketing qualification criteria or add a new criterion.

Qualifying Questions

To qualify a lead, you need to prepare a list of qualifying questions. These questions should help identify necessary information before transferring a lead to the next sales stage.

Responses are usually scored from 0 to 5. This scoring system may at first seem too complicated.

However, it is necessary when several people interact with a customer during a sales cycle.

  • Are you the person in charge/recommender on this project?

  • What is your role in this?

  • Do you solely make the final decision on this?

After the conversation with a lead, the sales rep enters information about him into the CRM.

Potential buyers that are not ready yet, are transferred back to the marketing department so they will be “warming them up.”

It is possible to use newsletters, social media, useful content, and remarketing.

BANT Method

If you’re unsure how to qualify a lead, consider the BANT Method.


  • B: Budget – Do they have enough money to buy the product?

  • A: Authority

  • N: Need

  • T: Time Frame

Qualified Leads vs. Unqualified Leads

Qualified leads have been incorporated into your sales cycle, have clearly defined needs, and have a budget for the purchase.

In contrast, an unqualified lead is unsure what products or services you offer, why they are important, and does not have the necessary budget.

To further refine your lead qualification process, it can help to classify leads into different categories.

The Lead Generation Funnel

The lead generation funnel moves sales leads through steps to become hot leads and potential customers.

The funnel is segmented into three sections.

Top of The Funnel

Here, it’s all about building awareness. This is your first interaction with the potential customer, so the aim is to establish trust and educate.

Middle of The Funnel

At this stage, the potential customer has realized they need to address a certain problem and explore their options.

To help, you can offer a suitable solution or provide them with something of value to move them towards conversion.

Bottom of The Funnel

When a lead reaches this point, you can make a pitch and initiate the selling process.

Automation Qualified Lead

These leads are identified based on a prospect’s specific activities, such as trade show attendance or requesting a catalog.

This prospect has shown interest in your product or solution by responding to key marketing messaging and programs and tracking and achieving a predetermined lead score.

Cool Leads

Similar to cold leads, another category of leads that is usually not so recognized is the “cool leads.”

They have probably shown little interest in a particular product or are in close reach to you but are not yet in urgent need of the product or service.

They may also know people that have entered into a business engagement with you recently or currently.

Start filling your sales pipeline today

Lead Nurturing

Lead nurturing is preparing and accompanying leads throughout the buying cycle, from the first contact with your brand until they become loyal customers.

A lead nurturing strategy defines several contact points during which you will communicate with the potential customer.

The frequency of this contact varies greatly depending on factors such as the “temperature” of the lead, their role in decision-making, or the frequency with which they purchase your products.

You can do lead nurturing through different channels, but email marketing is an essential touchpoint for most brands.

It allows you to send highly personalized communications, so that leads receive the right message at the right time.


Online advertising platforms offer the possibility of creating remarketing lists to retarget users who already know you.

To achieve maximum effectiveness, you can create different lists according to the temperature of the leads, for example, users who have visited your website in the last 90 days or users who have left an abandoned shopping cart.

Add Kennected To Your Sales Department

As a company, you want a lead generation strategy that’s easy on the budget and effective in attracting customers.

Check out Kennected‘s automated solutions to get a feel for how we can benefit your next move.

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