The definition of a Lead versus a Prospect
Some companies see the terminology used in Sales and Marketing very differently
This could be as a result of individual training background, be it commercial or academic.
This is compounded further by the definitions that a CRM system may use and data list supply companies who seem to call targets either leads, prospects or opportunities.
Marketing Automation companies appear to package 'clicks' as if they are leads, as they pat themselves on the back for the volumes of what I would identify as
'un-qualified curiosities' (that they have generated for a client), just starting the journey at the widest part of the Sales & Marketing funnel.
A new client of mine many years ago, told me that he had 500 leads for me work through. I said to him 'if you have 500 leads, why do you need me?' He then handed me his local yellow pages and said 'the leads are in here'. I realised that he was from a technical software development background, but his title was Sales Director.
At Reflex IT Marketing, we only use the terminology of leads or prospects (with appropriate grading codes) if some form of prior qualification has already been undertaken by us first. And we make sure our clients - both in Sales and Marketing teams, understand our very straight-forward grading structure.
We grade our leads accordingly to a pre-defined list of key qualification criteria to ensure we give each lead its relevant place over other leads ‘in the funnel’, and we do not alter the grades to satisfy any lead volume targets a client may wish to impose.
So before any campaign begins, we have to make sure that our definitions match and are both easy and logical to understand, avoiding any confusion.