We live in a time when the fastest-growing companies have the most vital digital presence. They use the power of digital marketing and sales to grow, find new customers, and stand out from their competitors.

These companies have transparent sales processes that can turn a stranger into a long-term client and brand lawyer.

The main question is, when does a person go from the phase of a stranger to the stage of a potential customer who is ready to buy?

In today’s article, we will reveal the difference between a lead and a prospect, and when a person can be considered a prospect.

Lead Generation is critical for success in any business field.

Typically generating leads is the first phase of the sales funnel.

There are different lead generation processes, but they all have a
similar end goal: finding new clients for your business. The most common methods are inbound and outbound marketing and sales, which we will consider in another article.

Using these methods, we can warm up a total stranger and convert him into a lead. No matter is this stranger is searching for a product or a service like yours, or he doesn’t know that he has such needs initially, we can’t consider him as a potential client until the moment he becomes a lead.

Who is a sales lead?

A sales lead is a person or a business who may eventually be interested in the product or services you offer, but you don’t know what and why they want it. On the first hand, they are qualifying in your ideal customer persona, but they are at the start of their journey with you.

They may have heard about your company or service, but they are still searching for the best option out there and didn’t start proactively communicating with you or someone from your sales
team.

In other words, leads are those potential clients with which you have one-way communication. That one-way communication could be from both sides. Maybe your marketing and sales team verified their data and contact information, saw that they might be interested in your offer, and engaged with them through cold emails, LinkedIn messages, cold calling, or social selling activities. On the other hand, maybe the lead needs a particular service or product and considers different options. Still, he isn’t in active communication with your company and didn’t pull the trigger yet.

Who is a sales prospect?

The main difference between prospect and lead is that prospects are potential clients who engaged with you or someone from your company, and now there is two-way communication.

They show real interest in your offer and respond to your messages, emails, and calls.

When a lead gets in contact with your team and starts communication that indicates an interest in your service, that lead is moving to the next stage of the sales funnel, and it is becoming a
prospect.

If a potential client responds to your cold email, message, or call and asks to learn more about your service, get a proposal, or have a meeting with someone on your team, he moves from the phase of lead to the stage of a prospect.

Maybe they saw your ad and called your phone, or perhaps they ordered your product, but they didn’t pay, and now your sales team needs to get in touch with them and help to finish the order.

To have a better qualification process and be sure which ones of your potential clients you qualified as leads and which ones as prospects, you need to have a strict sales process and initially set some rules.

I will be happy to hear your opinion and learn more about your process and qualify your customers.