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Qualified Lead (Sales & Marketing) – Definition

Cite this article as:"Qualified Lead (Sales & Marketing) – Definition," in The Business Professor, updated December 29, 2018, last accessed October 28, 2020, https://thebusinessprofessor.com/lesson/qualified-lead-sales-marketing-defined/.


Qualified Lead (Sales) Definition

A qualified lead or a sales qualified lead is a potential customer who has been identified through marketing efforts undertaken by the marketing team. This individual is generally someone who has somehow responded to marketing efforts and has made some intentional or unintentional indication of their interest or willingness to purchase the company’s product. This individual is turned or referred over to the sales team for follow-up contact or engagement.

A Little More on What is a Qualified Sales Leads

Generally, a prospective customer or client id deemed to be “qualified” when the sales team determines that they should be contacted or engaged about purchasing the company’s product or service. The sales team generally reviews the profile or characteristics of a potential customer.

These may include:

  • Customer’s perceived needs;
  • Potential solutions meeting customer’s needs;
  • Fit of company product or service with customer needs;
  • Ability of customer to deliver the required return value (ex. Pay for goods/services).

An unqualified lead is one that does not meet the company’s standards for follow-up contact by the sales team. It may seam counter-intuitive for the sales team to not follow up with every potential customer. The reason comes down to allocation of resources (particularly the salesperson’s time). If the salesperson has a finite amount of time to allocate to selling activities, she will need to allocate that time to the customers or clients most likely to convert into a final sale. This is true for internal sales and external sales teams.

References for Qualified Sales Lead


Academic Research on Qualified Lead

Probabilistic modeling of a sales funnel to prioritize leads, Duncan, B. A., & Elkan, C. P. (2015, August). In Proceedings of the 21th ACM SIGKDD International Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining (pp. 1751-1758). ACM. This paper explains the way of learning probability qualifiers used to determine the procedure followed by sales prospects from first awareness to the final success or failure. It uses two models to rank the initial leads on the basis of their probability of conversion to a sales opportunity, likelihood of success rate as well as expected revenue. These methods detect high-quality leads beforehand since they are focused on the features used to measure the fit of potential customers with the product being sold.

Adapting the Lead Management Process, Hidalgo, C. (2015). In Driving Demand (pp. 91-104). Palgrave Macmillan, New York. Based on a 2010 survey, Frost $ Sullivan marketers replied that they did not have the right processes when asked about their top challenges in achieving the maximum from their marketing automation systems. This study finds out that even currently most organizations are still having difficulties in changing their lead management process. It suggests that a defined lead management process brings together a content strategy and organizational structure which enables better use of technology.

Bringing integrated digital marketing to the next level: How to measure engagement across the customer lifecycle for continuous program improvement, Earley, S. (2016). Applied Marketing Analytics, 2(3), 239-254.  This paper explores the various indicators in terms of customer lifecycle and key performance that the EIS uses in tracking and measuring interactions with prospects and customers. It also describes several stages necessary in formulating an extensive and integrated marketing strategy which includes planning, technology implementation as well as the execution of numerous marketing campaigns.

Antecedents of Sales Lead Performance: Improving Conversion Yield and Cycle Time in a Business-to-Business Opportunity Pipeline, Bradford, W. R. (2016).   This is research carried out to determine particular key sales capabilities in the high technology industrial B2B sector with the aim of understanding the effects of the sales effort, sales ability and the lead source on the yield of sale lead conversion and cycle time. Since the previous studies of the influences of sales cycle time have not been helpful, this research illuminates the effects of sales efforts on cycle time.

Inbound lead generation via website, Nguyen, T., & Nguyen, A. T. (2017).  This article presents an essential inbound methodology, together with benchmarks of a lead generation campaign in practice, with an aim of assisting the marketing managers, sales managers as well as the business owners, in changing their perspective into a consumer-oriented approach, and to understand the process involved in implementing the lead generation campaign in practice.

Comparative assessment of cooling conditions, including MQL technology on machining factors in an environmentally friendly approach, Nouioua, M., Yallese, M. A., Khettabi, R., Belhadi, S., & Mabrouki, T. (2017). The International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology, 91(9-12), 3079-3094.  This is an experimental study performed to evaluate the effects of various cutting parameters on some machining factors during the turning of X210Cr12 steel using a multilayer-coated tungsten carbide insert with several nose radii (r). The results of the study indicate that minimum quantity lubrication is a very creative way used to minimize the cost of lubrication and protect the health of the operator and still maintain better machining quality.

Measuring Digitalization–Key Metrics, Kotarba, M. (2017). Foundations of Management, 9(1), 123-138.  This article analyzes five main levels to cover an analysis of metrics used in measuring digitalization activities. It bases its study on the leading public and commercial parameters utilized in evaluating the digital process. It also compares and contrasts the performance indicators on each level to develop conclusions on the scope and maturity of several measurement systems and potential improvement options.

Investigation of the performance of the MQL, dry, and wet turning by response surface methodology (RSM) and artificial neural network (ANN), Nouioua, M., Yallese, M. A., Khettabi, R., Belhadi, S., Bouhalais, M. L., & Girardin, F. (2017). The International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology, 93(5-8), 2485-2504. This paper attempts to search for optimal prediction of uncontrollable machining factors which lead to better machining performance through using the techniques of response surface methodology (RSM) and artificial neural network (ANN). It then compares these two techniques to identify the best one based on model accuracy and capability in predicting the surface roughness and cutting force.

Marketing und Sales Automation, Hannig, U. (2017). In Marketing und Sales Automation (pp. 3-18). Springer Gabler, Wiesbaden.  This article explains how both marketing automation and sales automation are essential in the evolving standards for good business and how they have led to better analytics, development of more sophisticated software as well as more agile hardware platforms. It further explains how various businesses are using marketing automation to improve their sales campaigns and sales automation in assisting the salesmen in the field.

Marketing automation adoption in B2B companies, Tobon, J. (2017).   This paper explains marketing automation as the software platforms and technologies that are developed only for use by marketing departments and organizations to enable them to market more efficiently on various online channels. It also explains how this automation is mainly used by B2B industries in their operations worldwide.

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