People often use these terms interchangeably, which can be quite confusing. The truth is, leads, prospects and sales each refer to a different stage in the sales funnel. Understanding the various classifications is crucial for any Accountant looking to grow their sales pipeline and improve customer acquisition.
Whether they realize it or not, every business has a sales funnel which is used to generate revenue. Filtered traffic entering the top of the funnel is the very first stage of customer acquisition. Suitable customers who have entered your funnel by clicking a link or opting in to a ‘Call to Action’ by providing their email address can be referred to as 'Marketing Leads'. Essentially, your digital marketing efforts have generated enough 'low levels' of engagement with potential customers that you are receiving their email addresses. However, the prospective sale is still a million miles away from being a highly qualified – or ‘hot lead’ – one that you can ultimately transition into a paying customer.
So be very careful when marketers offer you 'leads' at a low price, particularly without firsthand industry experience. These are often unknown quantities at the very top of the funnel who are typically a mixed bag and yield a low sales conversion rate.
In other words, you could do a better job yourself!
Think of your funnel as a measure of engagement, where you need to engage leads more and more in order to engage leads and steer them through your funnel. Sales and marketing integration is critical at this stage, if you are to convert leads to ‘Qualified Prospects.’ Prospects reside farther down your funnel, offering higher levels of engagement (white paper, demo, pricing, training video, quick intro etc.), and typically willing to provide more information about themselves in order to schedule an appointment with you.
So if a Marketer offers you qualified prospects – as opposed to leads – then take note, as this may be a very strong return on investment. The more information gathered from qualified prospects, the sooner you will know if he or she is an ideal client. Furthermore, the more informed your prospects are about your business, the easier it is to convert them into paying customers.
The worst businesses take on any work that comes their way. The best businesses always turn away potential clients if the prospects aren’t a good fit based on this key information exchange.
With the right sales and marketing system in place, you will have an automatic filtering system to do exactly this.
If you’re interested in learning more, schedule a time to for a free consultation.