‘a person regarded as likely to succeed or as a potential customer, client, etc.’
In our previous Leadberry Definitions Series, we began to dwell on the meaning of a lead. In this next part, we would like to clarify the difference between a lead and a prospect. In short, a prospect is already closer to a sale than a lead.
Some companies use these two words interchangeably, however, this would be a false understanding of the two terms. A prospect is someone who could potentially become your customer, as they fit your target audience, have the authorization to make a purchasing decision and hence have the means to buy from you. Leads are only unqualified interests (in your product or service).
Leads are not as engaged as a prospect, and perhaps this is the biggest difference between them. A lead has reached out to you through a sign-up form or similar tool and provided their contact information, while a prospect is sales-ready already and can be contacted by a sales representative.
As an example, if you are working with small to medium sized business owners in need of online marketing services, a prospect would be a marketing manager of such a company (target market) that can pay for your services and make the decision to hire you. Once you successfully determined that your lead-turned-prospect meets the above criteria, you can move onto the next stage of selling.
You might ask ‘so how is a lead different from a prospect?’ The answer is simple: a lead needs further background checks to see if they have the potential to become your customer, hence a prospect. Leads are unqualified contacts.
While it may sound trivial, many business owners forget to qualify leads to convert them into adequate prospects – and hence waste time on chasing up unqualified leads, as if they were prospects already. With LinkedIn and company websites, it’s quite simple to do your research on a lead, and then take initiative. Do make an effort to determine if a lead is a good candidate for your offer and has the money and authorization to purchase.
Using B2B lead generation tool Leadberry for prospecting is a smart choice. Why? Because Leadberry enables you to see who visited your website as a lead, and then offers you various social media (incl. LinkedIn) connections to that company via real contacts, whom you can check out with your own LinkedIn account (or a sales colleague’s LI account). Use technology to your advantage, and connect the dots with a clever CRM database for your company. There are many great, inexpensive or even free CRM tools available.
It’s also important to segment your target audience into well-identifiable sub-segments who share common needs that can be served easier by your company, perhaps developing specific tweaks on your services or product to one sub-segment vs. the other. See our account based marketing post as well, providing food for thought.