Explainer: Prospects Versus Leads

The terms “prospects” and “leads” come up a lot in digital marketing. But “prospects” versus “leads” – what’s the difference? Romain Berg helps you fit your target market and turn leads to prospects to opportunities – creating a powerhouse sales funnel.

Definition of “Prospects” Versus “Leads”

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Prospects

Prospects are the potential buyers at the very beginning of the sales process. They are someone who has just become aware of your product or services. 

This awareness could happen in any number of ways. 

Perhaps someone shared your page or product on social media. Alternately, maybe your website’s search engine optimization (SEO) game is exceptionally adept. In that case, your site was competitive in the search engine results when a potential customer searched relevant keywords.

Another way to target sales prospects is through Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising

PPC can work a few ways, depending on your platform of choice. Fundamentally, however, it’s a way to organically identify consumers who may be interested in your product or service. You do this by leveraging existing platforms in social media, search engines, and e-commerce to pinpoint sales prospects.

Businesses who choose PPC marketing agree to pay these platforms each time someone clicks on their ad or site. Search engine PPC is extremely popular; in this paradigm, businesses bid on keywords related to them or their product. In exchange, their ad receives more optimal placement in the search results.

Identifying prospects who are a good fit for your business takes dedication and quite a bit of work. However, that is only the beginning. 

You need to turn prospects into leads.

Leads

Leads differ from prospects in that they are contemplating a buying decision. Prospects, on the other hand, are still primarily in the browsing stage.

Let’s look at a typical example of the way a prospect transitions to a lead. First, a search engine user clicks on your site and becomes a prospect, as previously discussed. They then become a lead when they sign up for your email list.

What does that mean? Essentially, you have effectively established a relationship with this potential customer that exists outside of your website. You now have additional opportunities to familiarize them with your brand, its voice, and your product or service.

Because this user has signed up for your email list, you will now regularly show up in their inbox. Newsletters, sales, and special offers are opportunities to remind leads on your email list about you and your business.

These email messages then have the potential to bring leads back to your website. Coupon codes and special offers can be an effective way to attract repeat visitors and customers.

Another lead generation option is contact forms, either at the point of sale or on your website. This way, prospects can give you their phone numbers, as well.

Now, once you have a lead’s phone number, you may not necessarily find yourself scheduling a call with them. This information is less valuable for phone calls than it is for SMS (text) marketing.

When you look at open text rates – over 82 percent – phone numbers can be a central aspect of lead generation.

Qualified Prospects and Sales Versus Marketing Qualified Leads

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Now that we’ve explored the basic differences between prospects versus leads, we’re ready to drill down a little bit more. Qualified prospects along with sales or marketing qualified leads take you to another level when it comes to developing a sales opportunity.

What Is a Qualified Prospect?

Essentially, a qualified prospect knows they have a need. They are not someone who happened upon your website out of idle curiosity.

A qualified prospect is a decision-maker: they have the authority to make a purchase and ability. This concept is especially useful when you’re dealing with business to business (B2B) sales.

Qualified prospects often have additional characteristics, including a near-term or immediate need, and confidence in your business’s ability to deliver. 

When you have the trust of your qualified prospects, they listen to you. This trust helps to create enthusiasm for your product or service.

Defining Sales Qualified Leads

A sales qualified lead (SQL) is another term you’ll find in the world of B2B. SQL has come from the prospect phase, wherein they found your business through organic or other means. A business’s sales team assesses their readiness to buy before introducing them to the next stage in the sales process.

Marketing Qualified Leads

This brings us to marketing qualified leads. A marketing qualified lead (MQL) demonstrates a higher likelihood to become a customer than other leads.

Those in the MQL category can communicate their interest in a variety of ways. Multiple website visits, items in shopping carts, and filling in contact forms are all common MQL indicators.

Developing a Buyer Persona

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One thing that can help court prospects and convert them into leads is your buyer persona. Your buyer persona is a profile of your typical customer or client.

You can cultivate a sketch of your quintessential buyer by looking at your site analytics. When you examine users’ behavior on your site, you get a picture of what interests them and what they want. 

Now, you may want to develop more than one buyer persona. A buyer persona can be helpful if you choose to engage in A/B testing of your landing page or email newsletter. Accordingly, you can test different messages with different audiences to determine efficacy.

With buyer personas, you avoid wasting time and effort in attracting prospects and generating leads. Otherwise, your alternative is shots in the dark; when (and if) you find something that works, you aren’t sure why.

By taking the time to know your customers and clients, you can develop effective marketing that brings in prospects. More importantly, you have a better idea of how to convert those prospects into leads who turn into satisfied customers.

Let Romain Berg Worry About Prospects and Leads

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From small businesses to organizations of a substantial size, Romain Berg is standing by to turn your prospects into leads. What’s more, we’ll work with your vision to convert those leads into loyal customers.

We appreciate the time and dedication it takes to run a business. That’s why we make achieving your marketing goals our mission.

Romain Berg offers a range of services: Search Engine Optimization, web design, content development, digital consulting, and more. When it comes to digital marketing if you’re ready to level up, reach out to our committed digital marketing professionals.

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