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Cold, Warm and Hot Leads

Updated: Oct 26


Salespersons must sort and organize their leads at all times in order to ensure those are progressing systematically towards opportunities and at the fastest pace possible.



In the earlier post Sales vs. Marketing, we described the overall marketing and sales conversion of suspects into prospects, then opportunities, and finally customers.


In subsequent posts, we demystified suspects vs. prospects, prospects vs. leads, leads vs. opportunities.


In this post, we explain and clarify the concepts of cold, warm, and hot leads within the framework of marketing and sales conversion.



Cold Leads are Targets and Suspects


You may be a business development representative (#BDR) responsible for generating leads. Or you may be a sales representative (SR) responsible for end-to-end sales, where you both generate leads and close sales.


Whether you are a BDR or SR, your starting points in your sales efforts are individuals or companies who have not contacted you or your company or with whom the last communication was a while ago.


Either way, the individuals or companies you start with are cold leads.


Although cold, the leads you start with must be #targets that fit the ideal customer profile (#ICP) for your offering defined by marketing.


Also, your cold leads or targets are #suspects in that they may not be interested in buying your offering, to begin with.



Warm Leads are Prospects


Once you approach cold leads and start communicating with them, their interest (or lack thereof) will become evident to you sooner or later.


When their interest is revealed to you, those leads are no longer cold. They are warm now.


Also, leads that are interested in your offering are #prospects.



Hot Leads are Qualified Prospects and Opportunities


Prospects are interested in your offering but that does not mean they are the right opportunities for you and your organization to pursue further.


You have to qualify prospects in order to move further ahead with them and invest valuable company time, money, and resources towards sales closures.


When you qualify your prospects, they become hot leads and the right opportunities for you and your organization to pursue.



The Bottom-line


Go ahead and start to organize your leads into cold, warm, and hot leads. Or into suspects, prospects, and qualified prospects. These two methods are one and the same. Cold Leads → Warm Leads → Hot Leads Suspects → Prospects or Leads → Qualified Prospects or Leads

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