Determining where you are in the sales funnel or the buyer cycle requires you to determine who is a lead, a prospect, or in customer status.
While a customer is easy to identify as someone who has made a purchase, it can be confusing to figure what a lead vs a prospect is.
The single biggest difference between prospects and leads is their engagement. More specifically, leads are characterized by one-way communication, while prospects are characterized by two-way communication.
What Is A Lead?
Potential customers who have expressed interest in our company or services through a behavior such as visiting our website, subscribing to a blog, or downloading an ebook.
15 Lead Generation Examples and Techniques:
- Direct mail
- Word-of-Mouth (WOM)
- Google Ads
- Brochures and Literature
- Business Cards
- Magazine Ads
- Social Media posts
What Is A Prospect?
Leads become prospects if they are qualified as potential customers, meaning that they align with the persona of our target buyer; a prospect may also be classified as a potential customer who has limited or no interaction with our company, but they would NOT be considered a lead.
Examples of prospecting:
Cold calling – Unsolicited calls
Social spamming – Random unsolicited messages
Warm emailing – Sending emails to leads who have shown interest
Social selling – answering questions, nurturing relationships, introducing new products
Before potential customers make a purchase decision, 60% of them rely on WOM, friends, and social media, 49% on customer references, 47% on analyst reports and recommendations, and 44% on media articles.