Lead VS prospect? What difference in treatment?
The jargon of marketing is rich. Some related terms can be easily confused, misused and negatively impact your marketing strategy. The words “lead” and “prospect” are in it. Easily confused, they should not be! Used mainly in B2B, the lead and the prospect will must be known and studied in depth by you and your sales team: follow the guide !
Definition: what is a lead?
The lead is considered as a commercial contact, whose needs we do not yet know. The lead maybe someone who subscribed to a newsletter, who decided to follow your company on social networks, which made contact during a trade fair, who visited your website, etc. The forms are multiple, and the lead is in or someone presumably interested in you and your business, but whose you know very little. You do not know if it is part of your target.
Definition: what is a prospect?
The prospect is also a commercial contact, but much more established. You know he’s the target of your business, because you have identified its need, the solutions you can bring him. It can also be a person who has already met one of your sales representatives, to whom you provided a quote or exchanged informational emails. The prospect has the ability to become a customer, you know he’s your target.
You will have it understood, the objective is to transform the lead into a prospect, then the prospect into customer.
The difference between lead and prospect
The definitions that we have detailed from the lead and the prospect are, after all, quite close to each other. Indeed, these are two commercial contacts that have shown interest in you and your business. Yet a difference fundamental exists and it is essential to understand it: the degree of maturity.
Indeed, leads and prospects are not at all at the same stage of development regarding their journey in the purchasing process.
The prospect already has identified his problem with you and your sales team, he has even been able to benefit from an offer in the form of a quote. All you have to do is make it happen your business relationship by triggering the sale.
The lead, at on the contrary, had only very vague contact with your company. Visit on your website, a “like” on social networks, a contact on a show … The origins of a lead are very varied, can come from a little everywhere, especially with the development and growth of media digital and connected.
It is very important to understand the difference between the lead and the prospect in a B2B relationship. This understanding will influence your future business strategy.
To schematize this difference, we’ll put you in the shoes of a lead, then a prospect.
Lead: you are walking in the street and you pass a cell phone store. You stop in front of the window and look at the different models. You spend a few minutes, look at the different ranges, take a look at the prices. You say that maybe one day you go back to see this point of sale when you will need a new cell phone. That’s right, yours is starting to get old, its screen is scratched and you are struggling to keep the battery day… Out of the corner of your eye, you see a salesperson looking at you through the showcase. After all, you don’t need a new cell phone just yet right away, and anyway the seller doesn’t know yours shows some signs of fatigue. You will come back later. May be.
Prospect: you are walking in the street and you think of your cell phone, the very one that fell from your pocket this morning when you got out of your car. You saw himself break its screen, its shell will be covered with large notches and you understand that, despite the fact that it still seems to work, it was only a matter of time before he bowed out. One or two months, while more. You pass a cell phone store. You stop in front of the window. You enter the shop and ask a seller more information, explaining that your phone was that fell out of your pocket but that it will hold “another one or two months, I throw a glance while waiting ”.
The first seller saw the person take an interest in their window, but did not actually see the status of his cell phone. So he doesn’t know anything about this lead, apart from the fact that he looked at the phones. Does he need to replace the his? No idea.
The second seller received information from the person who entered their store and he knows his needs. Obviously, his phone made a beautiful fall and would need to be replaced. The seller has everything you need to convince the person to call on him now. Or in one or two month.
After defining the difference between lead and prospect, let’s now look at the sinews of war: how to behave with them?
Lead and prospect: two distinct relationships in BtoB
It’s obvious that you don’t act the same way with a lead as you do with a prospect.
In fact, everything is a matter of timing, because don’t forget that the lead and the prospect are two different stages of the buying process. They are not engaged commercially in the same way. The lead is in the observation, the search for any information that may be suitable for its own needs, needs that you do not yet know. The prospect is more involved in the B2B relationship, his needs are identified and he knows what you have to propose to him.
The key is to offer different content to the lead and the prospect.
For the lead, he will have to favor so-called “discovery” content, which will allow him to learn more in detail. According to its receptivity to these content, you will be able to identify information about it: what what interests him the most, what he spends time on, what he quickly scans, etc.
For the prospect, your sales team will move towards so-called “decision” content, which will in the best case allow him to trigger a purchase choice between several offers. Since you already know their needs, the content, the exchanges or the raises that you will have with him will be adapted precisely to his case.
You must segment leads and prospects very precisely in order to direct your various business strategies to the right people at the right times. This will allow you to save precious time, where you can devote yourself to the progress of your activities, such as perfecting an elevator pitch for a next meeting, or developing your inbound marketing (which, we will see in a future article, is an essential element in your BtoB relationship with leads). This will allow you to avoid laborious “blind” canvassing in a list where leads and prospects are mixed up.
To read: the bible of inbound marketing
From lead to prospect
Transform a lead to prospect is essential for your business. To do this you need to put set up a tool that will be able to “track” the activities of the lead by in relation to your business, your offers, your content, etc. This tool determine the evolution of the lead based on specific criteria that will be evaluated of its degree of maturity. You will be able to see if the lead matches your target, if you can meet their needs, if they have all the potential to be part of your prospects, and future customers!
The study of the behavior of the lead vis-à-vis your activities is very important. She goes thus allow to see if you should continue to follow closely this lead, or to abandon it, because it does not match your target. The main thing is to do things on a precise, respectful schedule. This is actually common sense. You can imagine that a lead who made a simple visit to your site web will not see very well that we send it a proposal commercial priced, or being inundated with commercial emails.
Leads should be tracked so that you can determine precisely when the ideal time to contact them in prospecting mode will be.
To read : Remarketing: definition, examples and secrets of successful campaigns
Life cycle: from internet user to lead, then from prospect to dream customer
In BtoB as in life, each action has repercussions on another. It is a virtuous circle. Thus, a simple Internet user who visits your website is the first link of an infinite chain:
- He visits the site;
- Thus becomes a lead;
- You follow it and determine that it matches your target;
- He then becomes a prospect;
- Your salespeople transform the trial;
- He becomes a client;
- Satisfied with your B2B relationship, services, offers or products, he becomes a customer ambassador;
- He recommends you around him;
- What generates traffic, Internet users who visit the site …
And so on.
If you want to develop your business without having the time to prospect all day long, opt for the commercial outsourcing .
Read also : How to do business development in BtoB? The Complete Guide
Conclusion: don’t treat leads and prospects the same
Some reminders important:
The lead is a distant contact, about which you know almost nothing. The aim is to determine if it belongs to your target.
The prospect is a contact more established. You know he has everything it takes to be a part of your customers.
A lead is not a prospect.
A prospect is not a lead.
Their evolutions respective ones are in very different degrees.
Adapt your content according to the level where your contacts are located.
You now have all the information relating to the lead and the prospect, which will allow you to refine your commercial strategies, set up the prospecting plan adequate and increase your business activities.
You want to switch to inbound marketing or to social selling BtoB ? Want to grow your business through marketing and LinkedIn? Make a free telephone exchange appointment to present me your need, your challenge.