It is no secret that a good sales team is the backbone for any organization. Any business primarily relies on its sales to function. Closing a sale is a hard task. No matter how much we talk about the qualified leads – be it for marketing or sales, the main focus must be channeling all leads and prospects into the final sale.
Below we will discuss the differences between a lead and a prospect and how to convert one to the other and eventually land the sale.
What is a Sales Lead ?
Before even committing to any framework, generating leads must be your primary step to ensure sustainability of your business. This marks the starting point of your campaign. A lead is a potential contact who expresses interest in what you have to offer, be it a product or a service but without any specific frame of reference.
When connected through some data capture modules, they might just sign up with name and email address or sometimes with more details such as age, sex, location or even job information. They are termed as Sales Leads. Once your marketing team profiles them to fit into the category of your target audience, they are known as Sales Qualified Leads as they have been qualified by your team. However these seldom turn into a final sale.
Once the sales team establishes that this particular person’s interest is certain, a sales representative connects with them to discuss their requirements.
Now that you have a lead on you need to find ways to connect and bring them on board by attracting them with what you have to offer while also building more information about them in order to convert them into a prospect.
What is a Prospect?
A prospect is different from a lead as you have now advanced to the next stage of the sales process. You have established a dialogue with your potential client ensuring their interest is genuine and taking the next step towards a potential sale. They are now safely termed as a Sales Prospect.
This is the point where the prospect must be thoroughly studied for any challenges from not only the prospect’s view but also from your business’ perspective.
The form of communication between a lead and a prospect advances from a one way connection to a two-way, one-on-one connection where the prospect responds to a communication from the business via a phone call or email.
Lead vs. Prospect.
Now understanding the differences between a lead and a prospect, the business needs to have a different marketing approach to make this transition and ultimately land a sale.
Considering this entire process of transition, the main challenge lies in finding a lead. This is a big hurdle for any business. All strategies must primarily be focused on how to get a potential lead to be interested in buying from you. It is equally important to establish if the targeted lead will add value to your business. The campaign should be designed to mainly cater to the targeted audience which may be from a certain industry with an ideal annual income bracket. A thorough analysis should be done to address the most probable challenges any lead might have and devise a plan accordingly. This approach not only increases the probability of clicks from potential leads but also lessens the scope for disqualifying the individual.
Once you have qualified your lead to be a Sales qualified lead, you need to convert them into a potential prospect by first establishing a contact. Your goal now is to nudge the lead to respond to your one-on-one communication be it through a direct phone call, personalized email or face to face meeting. Engagement must be strategized in a way that will successfully illustrate what your business has to offer, and therefore override any potential obstacles. The ultimate aim is to convert a prospect to a client and close the sale.
Most successful marketers know the importance of communicating with the lead and prospect. It is important to adopt the correct approach when communicating with your potential client in order to move the relationship forward and transition them from a lead or prospect into a customer.
A balance needs to be found between encouraging the lead or prospect towards the final sale without coming across as aggressive.
Sales and marketing are always meant to run side by side for an effective flow of any business model. Recognizing the requirements of leads and prospects will enable you to use the right approach and increase your chances of finalizing the sale.
Determining the requirements of the lead or prospect.
It is important to manage any initial responses to your advertising campaign in the correct way. You need to establish if the response is merely a query or a serious request for information and also if the person contacting you is the decision maker or simply contacting you on behalf of somebody else.
CRM (customer relationship management) software can help with qualifying any leads and ensure you are in contact with the correct person.
After analyzing the requirements of the prospect, you need to establish your offer.
When approaching a prospect, a marketer must always have answers to the following questions:
- What is the extent of their knowledge about your business and what you offer?
- What is your understanding of the prospect’s business , industry and their specific needs?
- Is your product or service going to benefit them?
- Will your offer fit their budget?
Once you have answers to these questions, you can adapt your approach accordingly.
A marketer needs to recognize these contrasting stages of the sales process and align their marketing strategy to complement their current stage. All campaigns must be carefully designed to advance from lead to prospect and a final sale.