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To some, the distinction between an inquiry and a lead is simple. To others (especially those new to marketing), the terms seem to be used interchangeably. And to both groups, determining the quality of leads can be tricky. So, for both newcomers to the profession and those veterans already running through the difference in your minds, here are some useful tips to help the process.

An' inquiry' is a window shopper, someone browsing your website. These individuals are not ready to make any decisions yet, but are just looking around to research or gather information. A 'lead,' in contrast, is a browser who's working toward a decision, someone who takes the next step by asking a question or filling out a form on your website (for instance, to download more information or to receive your monthly newsletter). B2C marketers can think of a lead as a shopper who comes in to try a product or request a sample, while an inquiry stands outside looking through the store windows. Though the sale is still not complete, leads carry a much greater potential for conversion.

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