Buyers, bystanders, and window shoppers - Seeing the distinction

Let’s say you own one of those mid-sized boutiques gathered inside a bazaar or an apparel plaza and every day, hundreds of people come by your shop. Some just stop and stare at the products displayed on the glass window, some step inside and browses through your inventory, some try out some dresses and others end up buying stuff.

As a hands-on salesperson, you want to assist your customers, but logically speaking, it’s impossible to distribute your efforts evenly to all of these people. You would only want to prioritize those who exhibit real interest towards buying. The problem is, customers don’t walk around with signboards on them that declare whether or not they will buy from your store.

So how do you determine which leads are of high quality and which are not?

Low quality leads are sometimes called Top-of-the-funnel (ToFu) leads . These are your respondents that resulted from registration forms, PDF or eBook downloads, or the co elements section of your blog. Leads like this usually show interest on the idea that you presented or the free stuff that you offered, but not necessarily on the brand that you’re promoting.

ToFu leads are still in the research stage of their buying process (that is, if they are indeed intending to buy something from the market). The good thing about them is that they are easy to talk to ; they still don’t have an idea of what exactly they’re looking for, so it gives marketers the chance to present something. The specific needs of a lead can now be addressed and it lets your sales reps personalize the nurturing process based of particular desires.

On the flip side, there are high-quality leads or Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL) . You can easily recognize them – they’re the ones who would usually fill-out a Contact Sales form, or sign up for a trial of your product or service. They would constantly engage with your sales team for questions or demos to facilitate their almost-ripe decision-making.

Naturally, MQLs are “stronger” on account of them being ahead by several stages in the sales process. If you relate it to the boutique scenario, MQLs are the ones trying on 2-3 dresses and are obviously aimed at buying, only that they don’t know which one yet.
MQLs may be quicker in doing business with you, but don’t let that ebb the significance of ToFu leads. Although the latter is still in the research stage, the potential cannot be ignored. If marketers could only “collaborate” with ToFu leads on that research process, they become a noticeable choice for future purchases. They don’t transform into MQLs by themselves – they have to be guided, informed, and nurtured.

This content originally appeard at Smart Business Marketing