Like many industries, business has its own language and terms. Several are used interchangeably, even though they don’t actually mean the same thing. This is the case with the terms “prospect” and “lead”.
Who Is A Prospect?
A prospect is a prospective customer who has been qualified as fitting certain criteria. In most cases, a prospect:
- Fits your target market.
- Has the means (money) to buy.
- Is authorised to make buying decisions for the organisation.
Prospects don’t need to have indicated an interest in buying. They just need to meet the above conditions. For instance, if you sell virtual support services to small businesses, a prospect would be a small business manager (target market) who can afford your services and can make the decision to take advantage of your services. If your contact doesn’t have the authority to make a purchase decision, then he’s not your prospect.
Establishing whether a contact is a sales prospect is the first step in the selling process. Once it’s been determined that the person meets the criteria, he is a prospect. The next phase of the selling process can be moved to.
What Is A Sales Lead?
The sales process starts when a sales lead is generated, qualified and is then put into a company’s sales pipeline. Sales professionals use the lead’s contact information to send sales emails, make outbound sales calls as well as provide direct marketing material.
Several factors will determine the quality of sales leads. These qualifying factors include:
- Whether the individual or business was incentivised to give over their contact information,00
- The accuracy of the data provided, and
- The validity of the sales lead.
The validity of sales leads depends on whether the targeted person was aware of the sales opportunity when they responded.
Cold calling is any effort to solicit business from a prospective customer, via the telephone, who may or may not know about your business. Even a sales prospect who is a good match for the product or service will not automatically be receptive, which is why the usefulness of cold calling is often called into question.
Cold calling is also known by the following terms:
- Telephone canvassing,
- Prospecting, and
- Telephone prospecting.
Making an effective cold call is tricky because of the variety of possible responses from the prospect. Often, the recipient will simply hang up. In the worst-case scenario, you could even receive verbal abuse.
One of the most effective ways to maximise sales is to ask clients for referrals, directly or indirectly. A direct referral is when you ask your client for help introducing you to other prospects. An indirect referral is when you receive a call from a prospect who says that “others are talking about you” or that they “saw your information at an event / on your website / or in a publication”.
Customer referrals are one of the most useful selling and marketing tools available. In fact, the best source of new business is a referral from a satisfied customer. Keep in mind the importance of word of mouth as you focus on making the buying process effective and enjoyable before, during, and even after the sale.
A trade show is an event which is held in order to draw together members of a particular industry in order to display, demonstrate, and discuss their latest products as well as services. The main trade shows usually take place in convention centres in larger cities and last between three and four days. Local trade shows may take place at a local arena or hotel and allow businesses in the area to connect with prospects.
Leads are generated when people approach the salespeople assigned to an organisation’s booth. The potential leads details are recorded – usually through customer-relationship-management software – and forwarded to the salespeople, who make the next contact with the leads.
Generating leads is a crucial aspect of the digital marketing process. Learn more about this essential function in a business with the Advanced Digital Marketing Course. Find out more here.
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