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Prospect x lead: what's the difference?

Gustavo Goncalves
Gustavo Goncalves

May 26, 2023

When we talk about marketing, some concepts are very important for professionals in the field and, as simple as it may seem, if you want to define good strategies, it is essential to have the concepts of marketing at your fingertips, prospect x lead!

Mainly whatWhen we started thinking and structuring the sales funnel it's from marketing for universities or companies, we inevitably think of the difference between prospect and lead, this is because, in marketing, these two audiences are at different stages of the funnel and therefore require different actions.

What will you see in this post? 

The area's commercials certainly already know and use the term “prospect”, which in Portuguese means perspective. Who has never heard expressions like “we need to prospect more customers? But what about lead, when does it appear? And what is the interrelationship between these two audiences?

Stay with us until the end of this post and find out!

What is a sales funnel?

Much more than a representation of the sales stages, the sales funnel it's a strategic way to see the customer's journey from before they are a lead, to the moment of purchase.

One sales funnel basic has three steps: top, middle and bottom. At the top are all those people who have the basic characteristics of a future student/client, regardless of whether they have awakened to a need or not.

We can say that it is a recognition stage. At that moment, the person will still reflect on the need to purchase your product - or not. This is where you need to look to make yourself relevant to that person's life.

It's what we call "content top", when you deliver something relevant without making a sales pitch.

Already in the middle of the funnel, there are those people who identified a need and contacted your institution or company, leaving contact details. Here, that person already knows about a need and is considering a solution to that problem.

In the end, are the people most qualified to become students/clients. Here, your lead is already aware that they have a problem, they already know the possible solutions to this problem and it is time to choose the best option to resolve this situation.

In this scenario: at the top of your funnel, we have potential leads, a huge universe of people who you think might buy your product or enroll in your institution.

In between, we have the leads, those people who saw something relevant in your brand and started to dialogue with it through one or more communication channels.

At the bottom, we have the prospects, that is, your sales prospects. Leads that went through the process of lead scoring and who are ready for a more assertive sales contact.

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What are the characteristics and what is a lead?

Lead is a visitor who came to your educational institution or company through a website, social media, landing page, blog, event or a folder, for example, leaving contact details.

That is, it is a person that you already know about their existence. At this first moment, you know that it exists, but you still have no way of knowing if it has all the characteristics to become a real customer.

Therefore, it will be necessary to organize a nurturing flow to better understand the needs of this lead and how your company or educational institution can help them.

The lead is still an indecisive person, searching for information to clarify their doubts and concerns, and depending on the stage of the funnel, this person does not even know that they have a problem.

What you have to do is share knowledge and market experience to help her on her journey, educating her to become a prospect.

And the prospect, what is it?

Prospect it's that lead that has already gone through the qualification process, gathered all the information it needed to make a decision and is now ready to choose the best solution provider on the market.

We can say that this person is a sales prospect for you. If your commercial team is sharp in argumentation, it will be able to counter any objection that still remains and convince this prospect to carry out the enrollment.

Here, it is no longer necessary to add basic information, such as course quality, job market, professional profile, etc. what the Sales team needs to do is show that, in addition to the benefits he already knows, there are other advantages in being part of the institution.

This data union can be done with the help of a CRM such as Hubspot! That's because, to help analyze the data collected and new leads more assertively (and to perform lead scoring properly), it's important to have the data recorded in one place.

Imagine having to pull data from more than one different system, or worse, having to do manual and complex analyzes every time a new lead registers on your capture pages? Complicated, laborious and unpromising, isn't it?

Finally, at this time of approaching leads and prospects, tactics such as enrollment exemption for educational institutions, discount on the first monthly fee, possibilities for student financing and gifts, such as tablets and virtual book readers, for example, come into play.

If you work in another sector, you can promote with discount coupons, offer gifts or even experiences. The budget is the limit of creativity!

And then it became a clearer difference between prospect and lead

How about learning more about user experience through reading? Take the opportunity to check out this post here on our blog: UX writing: The importance of consumer experience.

The importance of customer experience

Happy reading and until next time!

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