Figuring out the right time to pass leads from your marketing team to your salespeople is tricky.

If you do it too early, you’ll risk wasting your sales reps’ time on unqualified leads that will never buy from you. But if you wait for too long, your prospects will have already chosen a competitor or moved on to a different solution.

In your defense:

If you look up “what is a sales-ready lead” on Google, you’ll come across many vague terms and definitions. So that only makes it harder for you to apply that knowledge and put what you’ve learned into good practice.

In today’s guide, you’ll understand what sales-ready leads are and why they’re the heart of your sales process. You’ll also learn, in a few simple steps, how to identify leads that are ready to talk to your sales team and convert them.

Let’s get to it.

What Is a Sales-ready Lead?

A sales-ready lead is any prospective client with a high level of interest in your products or services. They’ve been qualified by your marketing experts as ready to be taken by the sales team. With a bit more engagement and convincing, sales-ready leads will be ready to take action and convert into paying customers.

Having a strong flow of sales-ready leads is a result of excellent analysis, prospecting, and nurturing efforts by your marketing team. It takes a lot of planning and development to be able to generate a lot of ready-for-sales prospects and keep your salespeople busy.

The Benefits of Sales-Ready Leads

What is it that makes sales-ready leads so important? Isn’t the action phase just another stage for your prospect to go through during the sales cycle?


Converting new prospects is a shared responsibility between your sales and marketing teams. And so far, the marketers have done their part by providing a good flow of sales-ready leads to your sales reps.

Without this type of hot leads, your SDRs will struggle to close new deals and may lose many prospects to your competition.

But aside from that, here’s how sales-ready leads can boost your business results:

Higher Conversions

A sales-ready prospect is dying to talk to your sales team. They’re on the edge of making a purchase, but they need a little more convincing to guarantee that they’re making the right choice.

By identifying the sales-ready leads in your funnel, you’ll easily close more deals and improve your bottom line.

On the flip side:

If you abandon leads in the purchase stage, some of them may lose interest in your company’s offers over time. Others may choose to go with your competitors, which leaves you with untargeted prospects who need a lot of outreach and nurturing.

Better Revenue Scores

Exceeding your revenue goals is a natural consequence of closing more deals, which makes it the surest way to improving your revenue scores. By paying attention to leads who express interest in buying your products, you’ll get better sales opportunities and increase your win rate.

Getting more sales-ready prospects will also lead to a significant boost in your lead-to-opportunity ratio as well as your annual revenue.

Shorter Sales Cycle

The last thing you want in your sales journey is stagnant leads in the action stage.

If a potential client is positive about your products and is willing to buy from you, why keep them waiting for longer?

By getting your sales reps to prioritize sales-qualified prospects, you’ll ensure a smoother lead flow and shorten your cycle length by a huge margin. Your salespeople will become more efficient as they’ll spend less time talking to unqualified prospects.


This will free up your SDRs’ time to focus on new identifying sales opportunities and pushing more leads down the funnel.

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What Qualities Do Sales-Ready Leads Have?

Your sales funnel will attract many prospects and have them sit in different stages simultaneously. That makes it harder for your marketing team to differentiate hot leads that are ready to talk to your sales reps and make a decision.

So what makes a lead “sales-ready”?

First things first:

A sales-ready prospect matches your ideal buyer characteristics — especially when it comes to job title, company size, industry, budget, and geographic location. As they develop more interest in your products or services, any lead will be ready to convert with a little help on your sales team’s part.

Now, let’s break down the most important criteria to consider when looking for sales-ready prospects:

Sales-Ready Leads Have Relevant Needs

A sales-ready lead is always looking for your help.

What ignites genuine interest is the excruciating need that your target clients are dealing with every day. They believe there is a solution somewhere, so they’re on the look for the next best product or service to solve their problems.

How do you know if a prospective customer is actually interested?

You should always concentrate on prospects that have expressed interest in your company — whether by consuming your content or interacting with your SDRs.

It also helps to spot if potential buyers are exhibiting signs of urgency or whether they have a specific timeline in mind. If a lead is dying to convert, help them buy from you by carrying the conversation and clearing up any doubts they might have.

Sales-Ready Leads Are Budget Qualified

Some prospects can show immense interest in your products and praise your services all day — yet they would never convert.


Because they can’t actually afford you.

Qualifying the prospect’s budget should be an early priority in your lead qualification methodology. A lead that doesn’t have the money to pay you should never enter your sales funnel. And if they do, you need to be able to identify and eliminate them to save yourself time and effort.

Let’s be honest…

It isn’t always easy to predict if a potential client is able to pay you. Sometimes you don’t have enough information to decide whether the budget could be a problem.

In this case, you need to inquire about your prospect’s current spending and plans for the future. Be sure to also explain to them how investing in your solutions can help them thrive and overcome their challenges.

Sales-Ready Leads Have Decision-Making Authority

Can your contact make an important purchase decision?

Your SDRs should always focus on decision-makers if you want to accelerate your sales process and close more opportunities. You don’t want to waste hours talking to gatekeepers, only to have them bail on you at the last minute.

To minimize your chances of dealing with the wrong people, be sure to target employees with decision-making authority from the get-go.

With a quick check on the company’s website or LinkedIn profile, you can tell whether you’re talking to the right person. And if asked nicely, a gatekeeper may even be your friend and help you get to the decision-makers behind the scenes.

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How to Identify and Close Sales-Ready Leads?

We’ve covered so far the most important questions about sales-ready leads. You’ve learned how to differentiate this type of prospect from others in the sales funnel and why that’s important for your sales performance.

Now, enough with the theory and let’s jump into practice.

How do you know which potential buyers are past the evaluation stage and ready to interact with your sales team?

1. Create an Ideal Customer Profile

What does an ideal client for your business look like?

We’ve already covered the most important qualities you should seek when qualifying sales-ready leads. Having the budget, the authority, the need, and a timeline to make a decision are all key factors to take into account.

The ideal customer profile (ICP) is a reference point for your salespeople to rely on when identifying and qualifying hot leads. It’s the first step in this process because having a clear vision of your target buyers helps you score them more effectively later on.

2. Implement a Lead Scoring System

You’ll calculate a lead score that’s specific to your company’s marketing and sales activity. This will help you segment potential buyers into various sections based on demographics and behavior.

Demographics include any information that could reflect relevance and the possibility of closing a sale. It considers as criteria details like company size, industry, location, and annual revenue.

As for behavior, any prospect that has subscribed to your list, opened your emails, and interacted with your SDRs must be scored accordingly. A lead ready to convert should rank the highest in your lead scoring system. They’re aware of their challenges and know that you have the ideal solution. You can clearly see that in the content they’re consuming and their level of engagement with your brand.

For instance, a potential buyer that downloads a relevant case study from your website should be considered highly interested. Them matching your ICP means that they’re ready to purchase from with a bit more convincing.

The more efficient your lead scoring system is, the more accurate you’ll be able to identify and convert sales-ready leads. This allows you to spotlight hot prospects at the bottom of the funnel and work closely on converting them.

3. Align Sales and Marketing Teams

Marketing and sales alignment extends beyond keeping your employees happy about their work performance. It’s a highly effective way of identifying more hot leads and boosting your revenue growth.

Despite their different job duties, your sales and marketing teams are working together towards the same end goal — which is to close more sales opportunities.

How does that happen?

A prospect can only be qualified for making a purchase if they’ve consumed enough content from your brand. Your marketing team will mark such leads as “sales-ready” and turn them over to your SDRs to take them on.

Your salespeople will then further qualify those leads, initiate contact with them, and follow up closely to push for a sale. Once a deal is closed, they’ll move to other sales-ready leads to start the cycle all over again.

So based on that, the equation should be simple:

The more sales-ready leads your marketing team can qualify, the better results your SDRs can achieve. That explains why sales and marketing alignment is vital for the success of your business.

Vito Vishnepolsky
Vito Vishnepolsky
CEO and Founder at Martal Group