This definition is part of our Essential Guide: IT channel sales and marketing strategy for the digital era
Contributor(s): Stephen J. Bigelow

A lead, in a marketing context, is a potential sales contact: an individual or organization that expresses an interest in your goods or services. Leads are typically obtained through the referral of an existing customer, or through a direct response to advertising/publicity. A company's marketing department is typically responsible for lead generation.

Pursuing and closing leads normally falls to the company's sales department. For example, a vendor will display their wares at an industry trade show, hoping to attract the attention of qualified buyers attending the exhibit. Each inquiry for more vendor information would be a "lead," which might subsequently be developed into a sale.

A company's lead generation efforts and its approach to dealing with leads can significantly impact its success in the marketplace. To that end, most organizations try to establish effective practices involving:

  • lead generators: any marketing-related activity intended to publicize the availability of a vendor's product or service.
  • lead nurturing: the practices that a company establishes for dealing with potential leads.
  • lead scoring: processes or software designed to rank the importance of leads to the company.
This was last updated in August 2007

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Has anyone used meetleads for lead generation? It seems to be a free alternative to leadlander, but I was wondering whether anyone used it. Thanks.
It is important that a business needs leads to survive. Leads are the future customers, and they help to build the business. Most online businesses take the term "leads" pretty seriously. A streamline flow of quality leads points that the business is growing in the right direction. Constant interaction with the cold leads through different online channels helps to strengthen the relationship with them and convert the prospect into warm leads.


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