What is a sales accepted lead (SAL)? A sales accepted lead is a marketing qualified lead (MQL) that meets specific criteria that validate that the lead is ready to pass along to sales. Your marketing and sales criteria should agree on the criteria that turn an MQL into a SAL.

When you have clear definitions about what leads qualify as a SAL, you can ensure that your sales team focuses on the highest-potential leads. You’ll know that the leads you pass to sales have some familiarity with your brand and offerings, which will make them more receptive to sales contact.

Typically, a SAL is a “warm” lead or possibly a “hot” lead — both of which are much closer to buying than a “cold” lead that knows nothing about you.

Common uses of sales accepted leads

  • Knowing when to shift ownership of a lead from marketing to sales
  • Identifying likely-to-buy leads who need targeted or personalized follow-up
  • Helping sales prioritize outreach through targeting pre-qualified leads
  • Minimizing the time sales team members spend on broad prospecting (e.g., “cold calling”)
  • Forecasting revenues by identifying leads in the late stages of the lead generation cycle

Examples of how to identify sales accepted leads

Not every lead that shows interest in your company should be a sales accepted lead. So how do you know which ones your sales team should pursue?

Many organizations use an approach called BANT — which stands for budget, authority, need, and timeframe  — to determine which leads are sales-ready.

  1. Budget: Ideally, a SAL will have the funds available to purchase from you. In some cases, sales professionals may need to help leads clarify budgets or secure financial resources.
  2. Authority: Your lead should be able to authorize a sale — or secure the necessary buy-in to finalize the transaction. This situation can occur in both business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) purchasing.
  3. Need: Your prospects should have a genuine need for what you sell. They should have a problem that you can solve with your services or products.
  4. Timeframe: The SAL should be ready to buy within a reasonable time frame. However, “reasonable” can vary widely across businesses. Often, the B2B sales cycle can take six months to a year or more, while B2B purchases tend to occur more quickly.

Having an agreed-upon definition for a sales accepted lead can make your sales processes more efficient. Instead of chasing every potential prospect, your sales professionals can focus their energy on likely-to-buy leads.

With a well-organized lead generation process, you can gain more customers and more revenues, which is good news for your business.

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