In my work I often come across two expressions: Lead prospecting and Sales prospecting, and the question arises if there is any difference in them or they are the same notions. Sometimes these terms are used without a deep understanding of what they mean. Many people consider these terms as equal. So, what is the difference if there is any?!
Let’s start with definitions.
Lead and Prospect definitions
Let’s take a look at the most general term – Lead. There are a lot of definitions, and they can vary from company to company.
In general, Lead is anyone who shows some interest in your product or service. It could be a fit either for marketers or for sales. Still, there are a lot of debates on this point between departments.
Then goes Prospect – it is a lead who has been pre-selected and defined as most appropriate for your business and who is more likely to become a client. As you may see, there are some significant differences between these two definitions. You know nothing about a lead but you have enough info about a prospect.
And finally, it goes to Prospecting – is a process of warming up leads and converting them to the clients.
Lead prospecting vs Sales prospecting
Lead prospecting is the starting point in finding a person who probably will be interested in your business/product/service. As a result, we build a prospect list based on our assumptions. There is no personal communication in this process.
Sales Prospecting is the process of finding leads who do fit your buyer’s profile, has the necessary budget, and is interested in a product or service from the very start. It deals only with outbound marketing. Sales prospecting includes personal communication.
As you see, Lead Prospecting is the beginning step to Sales Prospecting. Obviously, Sales Prospecting is closer to opportunity than Lead.
Now let’s see the difference between lead prospecting and sales prospecting on the example of Leadguru – Social Selling platform.
Prospecting in Leadguru platform
Nowadays salespersons and marketers use different social platforms to find prospects. If you don’t use social selling, you are old-fashioned and your business is struggling for every client.
But social selling doesn’t mean just bombarding the person you are interested in with direct messages & spam on Twitter, Facebook or Slack convincing them that your service/product/company is the best. It is much better to investigate lead’s behaviour on these platforms and find their needs according to their posts and activities.
You could talk back that such a method is very time-consuming as we have a variety of platforms, communities, etc. And you will be right.
All these issues could easily be solved by Leadguru, a social selling platform that finds prospects in online communities. Lead Prospecting is being done automatically on the basis of people’s inquiries and at the end, we have leads that are pre-selected by Artificial Intelligence. Leadguru finds leads on the base of messages where people express their need or interest in your product or service. This approach is much more effective than building a prospect list on the base of assumptions about companies’ potential needs.
The pool of pre-selected leads is called Marketing Qualified leads. The next step for them is to save most promising leads for further processing. Now, these leads are called sales qualified leads. From this moment the stage of Sales prospecting is started.
Leadguru does not use automated schemes in sending messages. SDR could easily cope with every sales prospecting personally and use an individual method of writing.
When we get a positive reply, a lead becomes a prospect. It means that we found out that a person is really interested in our product or service.
What is important is that Leadguru uses Lead Prospecting not on subjective opinions but on the algorithmic searching of leads, based on the keywords and parameters of the program.
To sum up
Returning to the terms and to crown it all, I would say that Lead prospecting is based on thoughts, while Sales Prospecting is based on facts, actual people’s interests that are expressed clearly. So it’s obvious that every prospecting based on guesses and spam won’t bring results and will have low efficiency.
Every sales prospecting is performed with the help of sales tools and Leadguru is the right one to find the right person to reach out to and actually contact them on social media. In this case, you are more likely to receive the answer but it will be quick which is not less important.