Lead Generation

Lead vs. Prospect vs. Opportunity

We understand there can sometimes be confusion as to when a lead is no longer a lead and has become an opportunity. It is important to understand the difference between a lead, prospect and opportunity as each term should invoke a different response and represents a different part of the sales process.

May 12, 2022

Lead vs. Prospect vs. Opportunity

We understand there can sometimes be confusion as to when a lead is no longer a lead and has become an opportunity. It is important to understand the difference between a lead, prospect, and opportunity, as each term should invoke a different response and represent a different part of the sales process. 

Once you clearly identify leads, prospects, and opportunities, you will have a much easier time organizing and navigating your lead generation, qualification, and nurturing efforts. 

This blog post will take you through each of the different meanings and give you a guide on how to progress through the sales funnel.

Let’s start with a lead. A lead is anybody who fits your ideal customer profile and has either given you their contact information through inbound lead generation or has it publicly available for direct outreach. Leads are at the top of your sales funnel. 

Next down the funnel, you have a prospect. A prospect is a sales-qualified lead who has undergone a sales call with a salesperson who has decided that they’re highly qualified and worthy of nurturing.

How to Turn a Lead Into a Prospect

There is a simple 4-step process that you can follow to assist you when turning leads into prospects.

1. Score your leads

Give each of your leads a score based on how likely they are to make a purchase. Consider factors such as demographics, company details, engagement with your company, and online behaviors.

2. Conduct a needs assessment to qualify your leads

Use the needs assessments to get an idea of your leads’ goals, pain points, and priorities and ensure that you can be of help to what they need.

3. Follow up and set an appointment

Plan a discovery call with each and use this opportunity to pick out the bad leads that are not likely to progress down the funnel further

4. Hold a discovery call

Use this discovery call to dive deeper and learn about their budget, role, and timeline.

Once you have moved your leads to prospects, they are now at the lead nurturing stage of the process and no longer at the lead generation stage. At this point, you open a sales opportunity for them in your sales pipeline. 

A sales opportunity is a deal you open for a prospect who has shown significant interest in making a purchase and has a high degree of fit based on your discovery call.

How to Turn a Prospect Into an Opportunity

Turning a prospect into an opportunity simply means opening an opportunity for qualified prospects. If you use sales pipeline software or a CRM, you’ll have created a record for the lead before this point. 

To open an opportunity, add the new information you’ve learned to the record and move it to the first stage of your pipeline’s nurturing step.

Use that new information to help you close the deal. Once you open an opportunity, it’s time to start discussing the deal size, terms, and other specifics so you can sell your product or service as a solution to the needs you’ve learned they have.

The bottom line is that while the terms lead, prospect, and opportunity are often used with the same meaning behind them, it is important that you differentiate between them. We hope this article helps you understand this!