How to Differentiate Between Warm and Hot Leads

Not all leads are created equal.

In fact, they fall more on a spectrum. There are good ones, not-so-good ones, and just plain bad ones. That being said, there are also amazing leads that are essentially ready to buy. Aka, the dream leads. 

More often than not, though, you will be dealing with warm leads. In terms of the lead spectrum, they fall somewhere around the middle. Confused? 

Don’t worry, we’ll explain.

What Is A Warm Lead?

Think of warm leads as the window shopping of sales. You might be interested in a product, but you’re not ready to actually buy it. 

Maybe you’ll be ready in a week, a month, or a year from now. You don’t have an urgent need for the product, and you might still be conducting research on the best version to buy. 

That being said, a warm lead will probably take action(s) that indicate they are interested. For example, maybe they:

  • Opted in to receive a piece of gated content on your website
  • Submitted a contact form requesting more information about a product or service
  • Followed your company on various social media channels
  • Signed up for an email newsletter
  • Were referred by a friend

Generally, warm leads will have given over some of the contact information in order to be contacted with further information or resources. 

What Is A Hot Lead?

The creme de la creme of leads, hot leads are ones that are qualified, highly interested in your product, and ready for direct contact from a sales rep. Sounds pretty awesome, right?

So how do you know if someone is a hot lead? They typically:

  • Have both the budget and the authority to accept your proposal.
  • Have a clear timeline that they are working with, providing their sales rep with a date to expect closing
  • Are very aware and knowledgeable about your product as a solution for a specific problem they are having. 

While warm leads show interest, they differ from hot leads when it comes to specificity — time, price, and ability to make the decision. Hot leads should also immediately be contacted by a sales team, as they will want to close a deal sooner rather than later. 

How To Nurture A Warm Lead

While hot leads are great, they aren’t necessarily the norm. Instead of waiting for a rush of hot leads to come your way, you’re better off nurturing your warm leads to turn the temperature up.. 

Here are just a  few ways to nurture warm leads.

1. Respond quickly

When it comes to leads, time is of the essence. Warm leads usually gain their status when they submit some kind of inquiry to learn more about a product or service.

When this happens, you should respond as soon as possible. In a study conducted by Drift, 58% of companies they reached out to, never responded at all (at all!). If you have good lead response time, you drastically increase your chances of closing that sale. 

At ZoomInfo, we contact every lead within 90 seconds of contact. If we miss them, we call up to 7 more times that day.

Then we take the process a step further. 

Leveraging our own data, we reroute inbound demos to the AE most suited to help a specific customer based on attributes we have collected. 

2. Give them a product demo

A good way to keep a warm lead engaged is by offering them a product demo. Set up some one-on-one time to show them the ins and outs, and identify any features that would be especially useful to them and their needs. 

Basically, you want to make them feel special and provide the “inside scoop” to get them even more excited about your product. 

3. Share Case Studies

What better way to get a warm lead ready to buy than to show them how much other people love your product? 

Case studies about customer success are a great way to convince warm leads that are still on the fence that your product has real value. It will mean more coming from a real customer than a sales rep. 

How To Generate Warm Leads

Cold calling is a low percentage game. 

While it’s not a waste of time, its yields are often contemptible. You’re better off directing your energy at generating warm leads. 

Let’s do a quick refresher on how to generate warmer leads. 

1. Segment email lists

Once you’ve segmented your target audience, you can begin to send out relevant content to targeted groups of prospects. 

Content that addresses their specific pain points will peak more interest and get more people interested in a product or specific feature. 

Make sure to monitor open rates, CTA clicks, and replies to identify the most interested prospects (aka your warm leads). 

2. Create Compelling Content

Good content attracts prospects, it’s as simple as that. 

Another great form of content is  product videos — you can pump up prospects who are already interested in your product by giving them a clear demonstration of how useful your product can be to them. Remember, people are 80% more likely to remember something that they see. 

3. Use Your CRM Software

A good rule of thumb: when in doubt, turn to your CRM software. 

It’s the best way to make sure that all of the information you’ve gained from your lead capturing techniques doesn’t just go to waste. Additionally, you get a clearer picture of your leads, allowing you to prospect better! 

The Bottom Line: Warm Leads vs. Hot Leads 

Obviously, hot leads are the best, and the more you can get, the better. Yet they don’t just appear out of a vacuum. Rather, hot leads are formed out of warm leads.

The key to nurturing warm leads? Sending hyper-personalized, relevant content out to your prospects. Knowing that your audiences are already interested gives you a leg up, but keeping the customer at the center of all of your content and sales strategies will be your hot lead holy grail.