What are hot leads?

A hot lead is a potential customer, or a lead, who has been nurtured by your sales team and is interested in buying your product. Typically hot leads will be those at the bottom of your sales funnel. Using lead scoring you can determine whether a lead is hot by how they have interacted with your website, social media, and various other metrics determined by your sales and marketing teams. Hot leads are ready to buy and are likely in the final stages of their purchasing decision, comparing your business and a select few others.

man looking at thermometer thinking

Why are hot leads important for sales?

Hot leads are at the final stage of your sales funnel. They’re ready to buy and it’s crucial at this point to have your sales team reach out and finalize that deal with them. These can be some of the easiest parts of a sales team’s process, but the lead’s final decision on whether to go with you or another team may not be quite so simple. Having the greatest possible number of hot leads ready for your sales team means a much higher rate of purchase. This saves your sales team from spending lots of time cold calling or finding themselves in the middle of the funnel when they could be finalizing deals.


What are cold leads?

Cold leads are exactly the opposite. A cold lead has absolutely no idea about your business or product, or why they should even want it. Cold leads could be right at the top of your sales funnel but the likelihood is that they’re not in the funnel at all. Cold leads may gain an interest in your business through personalized marketing or nurturing but at this point, they aren’t even looking for products/services like yours. Cold calls from sales will likely go ignored or shunned, but with time they will warm up. That’s when you can move them through the funnel and hopefully bring their lead temperature up until they’re at boiling point. Starting that warming process is the first step, and to do so you must reach out – whether that’s through targeted advertising, ABM, or even just a quick call from your sales team. Getting your name in their heads is the beginning of their customer journey.


Hot leads vs cold leads

Regardless of the differences, hot leads and cold leads are both still leads. While you will want to put more effort into finalizing deals, the well of hot leads will dry up if you don’t also warm the cold leads…

So what are the key differences?

Hot leads

  • Knowledgeable of your product
  • Have been nurtured by sales and marketing
  • Comparing price points and differing features between you and your competitors

Cold leads

  • Likely unaware of your product, or have only seen/heard of it in passing
  • Less receptive to initial sales and marketing techniques and need to be shown your product value
  • Express little interest or do not engage with your marketing materials


How to determine if a lead is hot

The first step in determining whether or not a lead is hot is having clear communication between your sales and marketing teams about leads and where they are in your funnel. This alignment will reduce any repeated efforts to a lead that has already been receiving particular marketing materials or sales calls. It also helps them understand that you care about them and their journey specifically, that they’re not just another check to cash.

Aligned outreach can be done through many means but lead scoring and engagement metrics are the best ways to go about this. Lead scoring is the process by which you rank leads based on their engagement with your business and how they’ve interacted with any sales or marketing outreach. You can also use lead scoring to pinpoint exactly where a lead is in the funnel. To keep track of these activities, using tools like Turtl’s Analytics Dashboard is essential. The Analytics Dashboard allows a granular look at how people engage with your content, from how long they read specific pieces of content to exactly how they engage with it. This includes how they interact with different widgets and this information allows you to personalize their journey and your outreach accordingly. But how does this play into lead scoring?

Well, if a lead has been around your website but not looked at your pricing structure then you know that they’re not necessarily hot, but they’re certainly a warm lead. Lead scoring models will use a points system which differs from company to company, but the process remains the same. Once a lead hits a certain score it can be passed onto your sales team, and your sales team will have a very clear indication of not only where a lead is in their journey but also how they have interacted with you so far which will help sales decide how to proceed.

hot v cold thermometers

At Turtl, we have many use cases for our platform. If a lead looks specifically at the use case for white papers, then any effort in trying to convince that lead of how good Turtl can be for digital brochures is potentially wasted energy. It may even be detrimental to the nurturing of that lead as they won’t be as interested in how you’re approaching the sale and may think you haven’t taken into account what they’re looking for.

You can also see how to continue with a specific customer’s journey by how they engage with your content and marketing materials and with feedback loops. In Turtl Docs, using polls is a great way to get direct information without needing to make any assumptions. Polls about what content a reader may want to see next can be used to see why exactly a customer is interested in your product or service.

There are some key points at which you know a lead will be hot. If a lead looks at your pricing structure, especially if they have done so more than once, it’s safe to assume that they are seriously considering your service and perhaps comparing it with competitors’ pricing. Free trials and demo services are also key indicators that a lead is very interested in you and would qualify them as a hot lead ready for sales to finalize the deal.

How to generate hot leads

So now we know what a hot lead is and how to determine whether they’re hot. But how do we turn leads from cold, or even warm, to piping hot leads ready to buy? We’ve put together a short list of some of our best tips to generate hot leads.

ICPs and the relevant audience

  • It’s essential in sales and marketing to know your target market. A B2B software company isn’t going to market to schoolchildren, it’s never going to work. This is where your ideal customer profile (ICP) comes in. By studying your customer base, and those who interact with your business, you can develop an ICP that helps you hone in your efforts onto those leads that are most likely to become customers. Make sure you consistently refine your ICP to ensure that you are targeting the right people and maximizing leads.

Intent data

  • Much like ICPs, intent data is essential to generate high-quality leads that can be passed onto your sales team for a fluid customer journey. Using tools like Turtl’s Analytics Dashboard, you can see how users interact with your content, how leads interact with marketing materials, and track what the highest-performing materials are getting right with that lead base. Understanding consumer intent is key to knowing how to market to them and what they may be looking for. It also reveals how they consume content, so if a lead is always watching videos in your Turtl Docs but has a low read time, you know to include more videos as they’re a visually focused customer and will find more value from your product if you present content in a way that engages them.

Lead magnets

  • Lead magnets do exactly what they sound like they should, draw in leads much like metal to a magnet. Lead magnets consist of any outbound marketing material such as webinars, newsletters, downloadable templates, and much more. These can be shared through emails, social media, or paid advertising. Want to learn more about how to create great lead magnets and generate high-quality leads? See our guide here.

Thought leadership

  • Producing content that adds to important industry conversations is a guaranteed way to generate new leads. IR Magazine generates leads by creating its digital magazine with Turtl. Helping to stay as eco-friendly as possible, digital magazines are a great way to attract prospects and keep leads and customers alike up to date with company news and trend reports. IR Magazine creates sleek and entertaining pieces of content packed with information all while keeping that information visually appealing with plenty of imagery and interactive widgets.

Top tips to convert hot leads 


  • Personalized marketing materials show a lead that you care about what they wish to see, and you’re not just forcing them to consume content that isn’t relevant to them. Basic personalization might just be including their name, but choosing relevant content with widgets they’ve previously engaged with helps even more. Turtl’s Personalization Engine is a great way to create engaging pieces of content at scale that can be personalized for specific people and businesses and that generates more leads.

Asking questions – polls, surveys, feedback

  • Feedback loops are the best way to understand what a lead is looking for. What better way to find out than asking directly? Of course, this does not need to be an email titled “What do you want?” but it can be a poll, survey, or feedback form that asks specific and relevant questions that will allow you to analyze responses and adjust your marketing strategy accordingly.

Nurture stream design

  • There’s no point in luring in leads without a well-designed plan to keep them engaged and moving through the funnel.  Our in-house expert Chris Carpenter explains how to create a successful lead nurture strategy:

To nurture leads effectively, you need to understand their pains. Focusing on the breakdown of those problems and providing education on how to best solve them helps to build trust between you and your prospects.

Afterward, your job is to show that your solution is the right one and prove that you're capable of what you've promised you can do.

Chris Carpenter

Acquisition Marketing Manager , Turtl

Writing for conversions

  • Understanding the psychology behind what gets read and what doesn’t changes the game when it comes to conversions. Here at Turtl, we’re all about psychology and how it affects readership and engagement. We’ve created this handy guide filled with tips and tricks based on psychology research and proven data for how writing can affect your conversions.

Click to read Writing for conversions | Turtl

Turtl takeaway

A keen understanding of your audience and how they tick is essential in gathering leads and letting them move through your sales funnel fluidly. From analytics to good writing, the focus on using data to see how your ICP and leads engage with your content makes all the difference.

Want to learn more about how Turtl can help you gather leads and increase engagement by up to 10x?

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