Sales Lead


DEFINITION of 'Sales Lead'

A prospective consumer of a product or service that is created when an individual or business shows interest and provides his or her contact information. Businesses gain access to sales leads through advertising, trade shows, direct mailings and other marketing efforts. They can also purchase sales leads from third-party companies. A sales lead is not a sales prospect, meaning that further qualification of the lead is necessary to determine intent and interest.


The sales process begins once a sales lead is identified, qualified and placed into a company's sales pipeline. The lead's contact information is used to make outbound sales calls, send sales e-mails and provide direct marketing material. The quality of the sales lead depends on whether the individual or business was incentivized to provide its contact information, or if the sales lead was aware of what he or she was signing up for. The more qualified a sales lead is, the more expensive it tends to be for a business to acquire it.

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