How do we define lead generation, anyway?

Lead generation is the first step of the sales process, the method of capturing the interest of potential customers in a company’s product/service. While leads may come from a variety of sources including personal referrals, telephone calls, advertisements, and events, the vast majority of modern generation is conducted online.

While the topic itself is one most companies are familiar with, it can be difficult to navigate all of the terminology (not to mention the copious acronyms!) associated with the broad field of lead generation. Luckily, we’ve compiled an essential list of technical and conceptual terms to help you stay on top of things. 

This blog post is part of Your Definitive Guide to Lead Generation blog series.


Key Concepts

  • BANT

    Budget, Authority, Need, and Time. A method for qualifying both likely and desirable sales prospects, who should have the proper resources for your product/ service.

  • B2B

    Business-to-business; the exchange of products, services or information between businesses.
  • B2C

    Business or transactions conducted directly between a company and its end-user consumers.

  • Campaign Management

    Often run by lead generation agencies in coordinating all of the important features of a lead generation campaign.

  • Closed-Loop Marketing

    Marketing that relies on data and insights from closed-loop reporting, which involves sales teams reporting to marketing about their leads to help tie every effective lead to the marketing initiative that created them. Check out this resource to learn more about the topic. 

  • Inbound Marketing

    A less invasive marketing strategy that earns the attention of customers through content marketing, search engine optimization, social media, and content marketing.

  • Lead Distribution

    The distribution of the acquired lead data to other companies, often ones which will use the data to get clients. Follows the lead capture process.
  • Lead Nurturing

    The development of relationships with buyers at every stage of the funnel, and through every step of the buyer’s journey. The focus is on continuously providing relevant information and education as a client needs it.
  • Lead Scoring

    Ranking prospects on a scale (based on attributes, behaviors, etc.) that represents their perceived value as a lead. The scores are used to prioritize the company’s engagement with the most valuable leads.
  • Lead Segmentation

    The act of subdividing contacts into groups with similar characteristics or interests, who are likely to exhibit similar purchase behavior, in order to efficiently find the right audience for an upcoming marketing campaign.
  • Lead Verification

    The process of determining the validity and significance of the leads acquired through lead acquisition in the context of your campaign.

  • Marketing funnel

    A visualization of a company’s process of generating, qualifying, and closing leads into customers. This consists of a TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU.
    • TOFU

      The Top-of-Funnel stage. Prospects in this beginning stage are typically trying to solve a problem, and thus want to be educated and acquire relevant information to determine the best solution.
    • MOFU

      Middle-of-Funnel stage. Offers in this stage are potentially the most important in the funnel, as they distinguish “good fit” leads and begin to pull them in. Prospects have moved on to determining the best solution for their problem, so you can now focus on why your company’s products/services are their best choice.
    • BOFU

      The Bottom-of-Funnel stage. Prospects at the bottom of the funnel are approaching a purchase decision, so it is at this time that a deal should be closed.
  • Outbound Marketing

    Delivers a message to customers through old-fashioned general advertising and paid programs.
  • PPC

    Pay-per-click, an online advertising model in which advertisers pay every time their ads are clicked on by a user.
  • ROI

    Return on investment. The results gained from invested resources, typically of a monetary nature.

Get started on your path to creating powerful lead-generating content with our guide! 


Technical Terms


  • Affiliate Management

    A service that allows you to track the number and productivity of affiliates working for the company.

  • Auto-Dialer

    A type of hardware that automatically dials telephone numbers and either plays a recorded message or connects the call to a live person, with the use realtime analysis to determine optimal calling time.

  • Call routing

    A technology that allows you to route a placed call to individual agents or queues through a network, based on pre-established criteria such as the time of day. This is intended to reduce costs and call congestion.

  • CTA

    Call-to-action; a prompt that encourages a lead to move closer towards making a purchase. The words/phrases selected for CTAs are tailored for sales scripts, advertising messages or web pages that encourage consumers to take action.

  • CRM

    Customer Relationship Management tools, which use data analysis from numerous communication sources to focus on customer retention and nurturing relationships. HubSpot's CRM software would be an example of this. 

  • CMS

    A content management system, which allows users to design, publish, and manage website content from a single interface.

  • CTR

    Click-through rate; a percentage of how many users click on a link included in a webpage or email, which provides a way of measuring the success of the campaigns.

  • Pipeline Management

    A cross-project management tool that systematically tracks open sales opportunities as they move through your sales process. 

  • Prospecting Tools

    Data analytics-focused applications that allow you to get better results in finding leads throughout the lead generation process.

  • SEO

    Search engine optimization, a marketing discipline focused on growing visibility in search engine results. SEO combines technical and creative elements to improve rankings, drive traffic, and optimize search engines recognition.


Are you ready to put your knowledge to practical use? Download our Introduction to Lead Generation guide and start generating qualified leads for your company today.


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Do you agree with our list? Have ideas for expanding it? Leave a comment below!