Classification of Sales Leads: Hot, Warm or Cold

Classification of Sales Leads Hot, Warm or Cold

Learn the basics of classifying sales leads and start fine-tuning your lead generation process right away.

Video Transcript:

A typical telemarketer makes at least 140 live calls, talks to at least 40 decision-makers, acquires at least 10 fresh contact emails, and sends out reference materials to at least 140 contacts – all in a day’s work. That looks quite a lot to finish in a plate – unless you’re a foodie.

Do all these guarantee a Lead? Let’s see.

Each qualified lead follows a set of criteria. The number of qualified criterion of a certain lead will determine its classification. See below.

Hot Lead

Sizzling and sumptuous to your eyes…

Yes, it’s a Lead! This type of a qualified lead that meets all the required criteria which most of time is set. So how to know if it’s a hot lead, apply the BANT lead qualifying system.

B is for Budget

The prospect has set or prepared a budget and is just ready for disposal at anytime a project proposal is approved by the management.

Qualifying questions for this criterion would be:

Do you have a budget? How much is your budget? Are you willing to expend? What is your budget range?

A for Authority

The contact person you speak to could either be the Person In charge, or the Recommender. He should have the final word to either say “yes” or “no” to the proposal.

Qualifying questions are:

Are you the person in charge/recommender on this project? What is your role on this? Do you solely make the decision on this?

N is for Need

Need would always top the set of qualifying questions in a telemarketing script. When a need from the prospect is identified, this sends a signal of a brewing lead.

Qualifying questions may be as follows:

Are you looking into this type of product/service to improve your process? What product/service are you currently using? Have you encountered any issue? Are there any initiatives from your company to evaluate/replace your current system? What functionalities are you looking at?

T is for Timeframe

The point period from the time you spoke with the prospect to the planned or projected period of purchase or implementation of the new product or service.

Most qualifying questions would be:

When do you plan to purchase? When do you plan to implement the new system?

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But BANT is not the only lead qualification framework. Just like you can use different recipes in cooking to make the same meal, lead qualification frameworks can come in a number of different formats. A few other options that stand out are MEDDIC, CHAMP, ANUM, and FAINT. All of these have significant similarities to BANT, but they can help you prioritize different criteria.

Related: Everything You Need to Ask When Choosing a Lead Generation Company


MEDDIC is similar to BANT, however, it is focused more on the value your product can bring to a prospect’s company and focuses on the decision making process as well as understanding the internal workings of your lead.

M is for Metrics

The prospect needs to know that your product or service will have a positive impact on their company’s revenue, whether it be making money or saving it.

Ask yourself:

How much money will your product make for the lead’s company? How much money will your service save the lead’s company?

E is for Economic Buyer

Similar to the A in BANT, the E in Economic Buyer refers to the individual who has the purchasing power. The contact you are speaking with should be the one saying “yes” or “no.”

Most qualifying questions would be:

Is your prospect the decision maker? Is this lead in charge of spending money?

D is for Decision Criteria

There are many different factors that play into the decision to buy, so being mindful of the different elements of the decision making process will help you determine whether or not this lead is viable. Additionally, some factors may carry more weight than others. Just as you are making sure your leads are qualified, the prospect also has criteria to ensure your business fits their mold.

Qualifying questions for this criterion would be:

What factors determine whether or not the lead purchases your product? How important are these factors?

D is for Decision Process

Every lead has a process or pipeline for deciding whether or not they are going to purchase a product. Similar to the timeline criteria in BANT, this tells you how soon you may see results.

Most qualifying questions would be:

What is the process like for the lead to approve the purchase of your product? How long is the process?

C is for Champion

Every cause needs someone to helm it, so be aware of who is selling your product on your behalf internally.

Most qualifying questions would be:

Who is going to vouch for your product within their company?


CHAMP is a framework that prioritizes consumer needs and does not put too much weight into authority. Any lead can be a good foothold into an organization and help you get to the decision-maker.

CH is for Challenges

Challenges are the obstacles this lead is facing. Similar to pain points or meeting a need. Ask yourself how your product or service can help them. 

A is for Authority

Once again, authority asks the question: Does this person have the power to say yes or no to your product? If not, who does?

M is for Money

Determine how much the lead is willing to pay for your product.

P is for Prioritization

Identify the importance of this problem in relation to your lead’s other priorities.


Some salespeople prefer ANUM because this framework focuses on building a relationship and puts the discussion of money and buying power at the end of the process. This builds familiarity before getting into the hard hitting questions about money.

A is for Authority

Like many other lead qualification frameworks, ANUM prioritizes identifying the decision-maker for purchasing your product or service.

N is for Need

Identify your lead’s needs and how your product can help meet them. This is similar to identifying pain points.

U is for Urgency

Urgency asks the question of if this lead is going to make a decision soon or if the process will take a long time. 

M is for Money

Finally, consider if the lead has the money to afford your product or service.


FAINT focuses on leads that have a capacity to buy but no set budget, since many purchase decisions are not intricately planned out.

F is for Funds

In order to find leads with no set budget that would be open to more spending, you need to focus on leads with the biggest bank accounts.

A is for Authority

From there, similar to the authority role or decision maker role in BANT and MEDDIC, you want to find the individual who has the authority to call the shots on whether or not your product will be purchased.

I is for Interest

Once you have identified a lead with a large account and decision making power, get them interested by educating them on your product or service, particularly how your product or service can help their business.

N is for Need

Discover what their needs are and how your product or service fits into that mold.

T is for Timing

The final step in FAINT is to tie off the deal by getting your lead to verbally commit to buying from you and to establish a timeframe for this plan to go into effect.


Across all these frameworks, there are a few criteria that reappear. Many of these classification processes put a focus on finding the decision maker, identifying a need, and ensuring that the lead has the funds needed to make a deal in a reasonable amount of time.

Warm Lead

Well-plated and perfectly garnished, but tastes just fine… what’s the missing ingredient?

This qualified lead misses 1 or 2 criteria. But what makes it bagged the qualifying scale is that a Need was identified and the other 1 or 2 qualified criteria should be able to support the first. In most cases, the disqualifiers would either be Budget or Timeframe.

But don’t get easily discouraged, these leads are not wasted.  They could still be nurtured and you might be surprised in due time they’ll be contacting you again.

Check out this video on how Callbox nurtures your prospects who just aren’t quite ready for a conversation.

Cold Lead

So, who likes a bowl of cold soup?

A qualified cold lead has 2 or 3 disqualifiers and the remaining qualifier would be supported by the prospect’s agreement to take a look or compare setups between their current system and yours. This is the kind of lead which most of the time is set to KIV (kept in view), and further nurturing is needed. Business success is not achieved overnight. It takes time, effort, tools, skills and strategies to be able to reach your target results.

Look at every lead as an edible opportunity. Imbibe hunger for it. Whether it’s HOT, WARM, or COLD, it’s still comestible, isn’t it?


Looking for leads? Our industry – focused expertise allows us to create successful campaigns for several industries, helping them boost their sales for over 14 years. We help them increase their ROI by providing qualified leads.

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