It is important to know the difference between a lead, a prospects and an opportunity.
Lead – A lead is the name of a person. Multiple leads may have been built or purchased your company. Perhaps they’re on a list of people who attended your workshop, webinar or downloaded your white paper. A lead is a one-way communication proposition.
Those who submit the forms are considered leads even though they may not have the authority, resources, or intent to purchase. These leads are just beginning to receive branded communications, phone calls, or even a visit.
Prospect – Prospects tend to be classified in one of two ways. Some consider prospects to be contacts who fit one of a company’s buyer personas but have not yet expressed any interest. Others consider prospects to be sales-ready leads that have moved on to the sales team.
The first classification would have a prospect coming before they were a considered to be a lead. The second classification has the lead being generated and then that lead being converted into a prospect.
It is important that your company provide exact definitions and flowcharts which clearly clarify how these terms are defined internally, as well how they progress from one stage to the next.
Personally, I define a prospect in the first sense. My sequence of actions would place these three terms within the business growth sequence as such:
- Prospects (Can also be referred to as “target audiences” or “our buyer persona.”)
- New or Returning Customers
- Referral Sources (Really satisfied customers)
Opportunity – In order for leads and/or prospects to become opportunities, they have to communicate with the company or sales rep and then agree to change; now considering and expressing their interest in you as a potential partner in helping them make that change.
That change might relate to a problem or challenge they face or it might position them to take advantage of a future opportunity. Until they agree to explore change and consider you a partner, you’re still dealing with a lead and/or prospect.
Lead Generation Marketing Is A Vital Business System
A business is made up of people, products, and processes organized to profitably find and keep customers. Many companies fail because owners and managers are unable to create effective business systems that accomplish their fundamental objective.
Business systems and processes—whether in the store, the office or the workshop—are your proven, step-by-step actions for getting work done. These systems are governed by the Law of Cause and Effect.
The result (effect) of a business system is determined by the resources used (e.g., forms, checklists, materials, supplies, equipment, software, people, etc.) and the procedures followed (cause).
Systems Support Your Goals
Correctly designed, your business systems and processes support the mission, strategy, and the goals of your organization.