What are sales leads?

Before digging into the means of approaching your future clients, we need to figure out who we approach. Your target audience is sales leads. These are the people or businesses that may eventually find what you may offer useful and beneficial. However, the degree of a lead’s motivation to know more about your product may vary. A person that has left contact info on your website is considered as a lead as well as a person who just scrolls through your website or even who has no idea about your product yet. Sure, buying potential in these cases differs, though still the main aim stays the same - to turn a sales lead into a prospect.

What's the difference between a sales lead and a prospect?

Some of your sales leads may eventually end up being prospects. Prospects are the leads that you’ve communicated with and now count them as potential buyers since they meet your expectations. What would help you convert a sales lead into a prospect? Most importantly it is two-way communication instead of one-way communication when a person just makes inquiries about your product. An email exchange, a phone conversation or a chat with you clients on a website can help you answer these questions:

  • How much a person gravitates towards your product?
  • Would further communication lead to a dead end or not?
  • Does a person meet the criteria of your ideal customer profile?

Discovering that a sales lead has converted into a prospect is all very well, but before you can bet your bottom dollar that an individual or a business will definitely be your client, you should know how to reach out to each type of a sales lead.

Type of sales leads

As pies turn from cold to hot when baking, the leads turn much the same when getting to know about your business. The principle of classification is incredibly easy: the more a person is interested in your product, the ‘warmer’ a sales lead an individual or a business becomes. Therefore, there are cold, warm and hot leads. Various tactics may be adopted while dealing with different types of sales leads.


These are individuals or businesses that have never heard about your product, however the product itself may be aimed at them and hopefully benefit them. Many companies have access to the lists with cold leads by lead generation services or data providers. Note that the information should be up-to-date to hit the target.
Though it is the largest group of leads, a cautious approach needs to be applied not to put cold leads off. These are often hard nuts to crack, however once you put enough effort, establish a nice contact with them, and build trust, that would be rewarding to see them turn into prospects.


In contrast to cold leads, warm leads are aware of your business and have already shown a spark of interest: they may have filled the contact form, responded to your post on social media or subscribed for your weekly emails. They are a whole lot easier to turn into prospects, but warm leads may as well grow cold unless you take action and remind of yourself.


These are the leads who take up the running and contact you straightaway showing keen interest in your product. Some reach out to you before doing their own comprehensive research on the matter, while others go all the way from cold leads to hot leads. Hot leads are the easiest to deal with because often the only thing you need to do is to seal the deal.

Difference between B2C and B2B lead generation

Though both B2C (Business to Customer) and B2B (Business to Business) are targeted at generating more and more leads, some features of lead generation itself differ greatly depending on what target audience you are aimed at.

Difference between B2C and B2B lead generation

Ways and tips to generate sales leads

When it comes to generating sales leads, it’s ill-advised to put all eggs in one basket because a great variety of methods is available at hand. It’s well and good that you can juggle between various ways of generating sales leads, but you should be mindful of what kind of sales leads you are dealing with.


Calling as a means of generating leads has got a bad name. Bombarded with countless unknown calls every day, most people are fed up with such excessive attention. Therefore, a cold call is usually considered to be a dead-end means of generating leads. However, warm calling is still a great option to make a note of since you can tailor a more personalized approach for your lead. Especially if you follow up on a lead within the first minute. Research showed that calling back in 1 minute compared to calling back in 30 minutes increases conversion by 400%.

Cold calling tips:

  • Be lively, adaptable, and flexible but not robotic. Follow the script but remain human;
  • Do pre-call research;
  • Make a strong opening sentence that would engage a lead to talk about the solutions that you may offer. ‘We’ve noticed that you…”

Warm calling tips:

  • Follow up on a lead fast. A service like Convolo may assist you in that, significantly dropping your response time, providing “wow” effect, and increasing conversions.
  • Even though warm leads maintain interest in your product, don’t annoy them with frequent calls
  • Always have customers ready for communication. You may do it either by contacting them immediately after they‘ve left a request or by making them schedule a call. Convolo can assist in both.

Lead magnets

‘Who owns the information, owns the world’. Though a time-worn phrase, lead magnets continuously test the principle encapsulated in it. Lead magnet is a free nugget of information you can provide, while the only thing that you require from a person is his or her email address. People are on cloud nine because you’ve provided free downloadable content, you feel much the same with new sales leads on board. A win-win situation. Lead magnets are highly viable means of generating sales leads.

Tips to make the most of lead magnets:

  • To prompt the lead to download the content, give just a demo-version of it;
  • The content may come in all shapes and sizes: make use of checklists, guides, PDFs, templates, books, etc.;
  • Create content with such free tools as Canva, Youtube, Prezi, Miro.


Once you’ve managed to obtain emails of your sales lead via lead magnets or, for example, lead generation services, you may start an email campaign now and then reminding your sales leads of your product. Pay attention to the way you approach cold leads and warm leads. The approach would differ depending on the data on lead available.

Here are the tips for crafting cold emails:

  • Keep it short and sweet but informative enough to raise cold leads’ awareness of your product and build curiosity;
  • Personalizing your emails by putting a lead’s name in the subject line would greatly increase your chances of a cold lead turning into a warm one;
  • Avoid clickbait subject lines that put people off.

Warm emailing should live up to its name:

  • Write emails that build a relationship instead of pressing a warm lead into buying the product;
  • Make your email relevant to a warm lead’s issues and provide solutions and special offerings.

It would help to add your signature in the end of the email that redirects a lead to your website.

Social media

You kill two birds with one stone if you have an active social media presence: you build up a company profile without wasting much of your leads’ time. Even though such platforms as Instagram and Facebook are full of your competitors who breathe down your neck, nothing hinders you from setting yourself apart from them.

Tips for using social media as a tool for lead generation:

  • Encourage community involvement and participation in contests, giveaways, polls;
  • Share clients’ testimonials that are compelling;
  • Make the best use of social media ads that are tailored exactly for your target audience;
  • Host a live stream to interact with your audience.

Customer referral system

A good old word-of-mouth recommendation is by far the most compelling and the oldest way to convert a cold lead into a hot one. No matter how professional your sales team is, leads would more likely rely on their friends’ suggestions. Friends would get a well-deserved discount and you would attract new sales leads.

Use these tips to improve your referral marketing:

  • Asking your employees to share referrals would help to get referral system working;
  • Reward both referrers and new leads;
  • Encourage your customers to write reviews and provide feedback.


Generating sales leads is a continuous process of trial and error. Good news is that each business has to face up to this challenge. As usual, it is hard to master all things at once, so try to figure out what sales lead acquisition source works for you and focus on it. Good luck in your lead-generating journey!