What is the difference between a Lead and a Prospect?

what is a lead and what is a prospect

Prospective customers go through various stages of engagement with your business during sales process. They start out not knowing what your business is all about then they build tentative interest. In an ideal situation, some will desire your products or services, which might be strong enough to purchase your products or hire your services. The terminology Lead and Prospect will help you in identifying how far people have interest in your business and what action you need to take to get them to purchase your products.

What is a Lead?

The meaning of a lead has become complex over the years that you could get up to 20 different definitions from various sales managers, marketers or CRM providers.

A closer and clearer definition which is more relevant in sales and classifying data:

“A lead can be defined as an individual that expresses an interest in your products or services.”

Leads tend to be classified “I don’t know you “sale phase. Although they might have interest in your product or service, but they aren’t in close contact with you yet. For instance, they clicked an ad about your business in a magazine, or they decided to sign-up to your newsletter to obtain more information about your products.

Examples of leads are: visitors to your website with purchase intent, individuals, requesting to join your email list, or individuals sending email asking about your products or service.

lead process example

A lead may or may not have a clear idea about your business, your product or services you offer, they just have given you the green light to add them to your email list. They are at the starting stage of the sales process.

Ways to generate Leads

If you already have a blog, you are in the right direction. You can engage your visitors in a discussion and create a relationship with them. If you write quality articles, they will come back and they will be more inclined to click the links where you promote your products and services.

Read also: What is Lead Generation in simple words?

Another efective method that you can use in your blog or website, is the newsletter.


The newsletter is one of the simplest way to generate more leads. You can share with your contacts all the insights, case studies, opinions, and industry news. Just make sure that the newsletter sign up button is well visible. And do not forget to offer a free bonus for every visitor that subscribe to your list.

Read also: How to Get More Customers with your Email Marketing Campaigns


Your visitors love to read and gain knowledge about their industry. Your ebook must be simple to read and informative: write it from a neutral perspective, and do not use it with the objective to promote your products. The only goal is to give valuable pieces of information to your potential customers.


Engage your visitors with interesting and entertaining videos. YouTube is the most popular platform to host your work. You can be operational in a few minutes, all you need is to create a YouTube channel once your first video is ready to be publishes. Even a few minutes short video is enough, you don’t need to produce a film.

Watch Also: Benefits of buying Leads to promote your Products

Do you want to learn further about leads? Read also: Cold Lead, Warm Lead, Hot Lead: What’s the Difference?

What is a prospect?

A prospect can be defined as a lead that has been qualified as fitting certain criteria. At this stage you already know whether they fits your market niche, or they have the financial means to purchase.

difference between lead and prospect

A prospect knows what your business is all about and has shown greater interest in your product or service, and has already established a contact with you. They usually expect you to provide them with more information to help them decide whether your product or service is the best or they want you to build a strong relationship with them.

It is now up to your sales team to turn that interest into a strong desire that will compel them to buy your products or hire your services.

Read also: what is the difference between marketing and sales?

Converting your leads into prospects is essential for generating a Sale

When you identify a contact as a lead or a prospect, then you should roughly know the direction where the relationship is going. A lead may or may not have an idea about your business, your product or services you offer, so an introduction should be the first step. Then, you will secure their permission to keep marketing your products or services to them through direct SMS, phone calls or even email.

Then, a lead starts progressing to being a prospect from that point on. You should now place your attention on providing them with the required information used to ensure that they purchase your product or service. Also, you can take an alternative action to build a strong relationship until they need to purchase your products or services.

from lead to paying customer


Teachingbiz provides internet marketing services and education to digital entrepreneurs and marketers who want to learn how to build and scale their businesses.

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