Only 27 percent of companies doing cold calling report effective results. It’s challenging to convince cold leads to do business with you that way.

A warm lead has a much better chance of converting into a paying customer. What is a warm sales lead? Let’s take a look.

Types of Sales Leads

Types of Sales Leads

There are three fundamental types of sales leads — cold, warm, and hot.

A cold lead is someone who you’re reaching out to but didn’t express any interest in what your company has to offer. A warm lead, on the other hand, took some kind of action to show interest.

It could be providing their email address through a form on your website or requesting information from your company. They’re at least somewhat predisposed to doing business with you.

A hot lead goes one step further and has expressed interest in buying something.

Sources of Cold Leads

Cold leads come from various sources. Some of the most common include:

  • Visitors to your website
  • Rented mailing lists
  • Cold calls to local businesses

You can find these people via advertising or some other outreach campaign.

Sources of Warm Leads

Sources of Warm Leads

Warm leads often start as cold leads but take some kind of action to indicate interest in what you have to offer. Sources of warm leads include:

  • Filling in an opt-in form on your website
  • Providing their contact information at a trade show or other event
  • Calling your company for information

There are plenty of other potential sources as well. Click here to learn more about marketing lead generation tactics.

How to Convert Cold Leads Into Warm Leads

Cold leads are often taken by surprise by your marketing efforts. The challenge is to convince them to put their hand up to say they want more information, becoming a warm lead in the process.

The most important step in moving a lead from cold to warm is to offer some kind of value. This could be content on your website, a giveaway of some kind in return for their contact information, or some other item that will benefit them.

You want to show them why it’s in their best interest to do business with you. That doesn’t always happen immediately though.

You might need to nurture a cold lead for weeks or even months to move them through your marketing funnel. The degree of complexity and cost of your product or service typically impacts the length of time you’ll need to warm up a lead.

If you’re selling something that costs a few dollars, the process could happen almost immediately. If you’re in a B2B market that deals with transactions worths tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, expect it to take much longer.

You Need an Ongoing Conversion Strategy

You Need an Ongoing Conversion Strategy

If your business relies on a steady stream of new customers to generate ongoing revenue, you need an ongoing strategy to convert cold leads into warm leads and those leads into paying customers. Don’t look at it as a one-time process.

Be sure to check out the Business category on our site for more articles about running a business.

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