A: The core concept of the classic lead management process is using lead nurturing to move a lead through stages. It starts with the general populace. Sometimes, that first touch you get is someone coming to your website as an anonymous visitor. Most people don't consider that a lead yet. They consider it a lead when the person, for example, fills out a form giving the company permission to email them, or the completion of some other behavior that signals they may be interested in continuing the conversation.
The classic lead process is described as a marketing and sales funnel. At the top of the lead generation funnel you have a broad ideal customer profile, or ICP. You have the types of customers you know you're going after. And some of these customers visit your website or view your ads. Then they opt into your messaging, usually by filling out a form. Now you really know who they are. You have their contact information and you have their permission to communicate with them. Most people would say they're leads now. They're known. They're in the marketable database.
The step is determining if the leads are marketing qualified. What kinds of behaviors are they exhibiting? Are they reading our content? Are they responding to what we're sending them? Are they coming back to our website? If they're on our website, what are they looking at? All those things go into a lead score, and then that lead score determines whether that person becomes a marketing qualified lead (MQL) or if they’re not quite ready to be that yet.
Once the lead is considered to be engaging with us, and if it's deemed marketing qualified, the next step is to send it into the sales pipeline. Sales reps look at the lead. They look at all the information, they follow up with the customer, they ask questions, and they try to figure out after really talking to them if the lead is truly qualified. Do they really have the budget to buy what we sell? Does the person we’re talking to have the authority to make the decision? If they decide the answer to these questions is yes, the lead becomes a sales qualified lead (SQL). At that point, sales will enter a dollar amount, and the lead becomes an opportunity. And from there, we either win or lose the sale.