In our last blog we made a commitment to what we’ll be writing about in the coming months, and in this 3 part blog series we’re going to talk about what we do once we have ‘a lead’, and how we progress ‘what we call’ leads into orders/active customers.
One of the main reasons I wanted to write about this is to help our clients on the next steps of the sales journey following us referring a lead to them. To put that into a bit more context, the way we work is by acting on behalf of our clients, as if we are our clients. Our prospecting service is based around generating leads through personalised conversational emails (which appear to come from our client). For a bit more info on that, our 6-step process breaks it down nicely here.
This 1st blog of 3 is to explain how we class and apply two different categories to leads. Then, in the following 2 blogs, we’ll run through how we work/manage each category of lead.
Difference between a lead and a prospect
If you scour the web, you’ll find different explanations as to what ‘a lead’ actually is. Probably the best way to break this down is to first understand the difference between a lead and a prospect. However, when googling this, it can get confusing. For example, if you simply type in ‘what’s the difference between a lead and a prospect’ you will get a flurry of definitions.
Some say that the difference is that a lead is an unqualified contact, while a prospect is a qualified contact (nothing about what stage the level of engagement is at). Others will say that a prospect is someone that ‘meets the criteria’ to be a potential client (ie: what you sell would be suitable for their business), although you have not yet established dialogue with them regarding this. Whereas, a lead has progressed beyond one-way communication, and has now engaged with you about what you sell.
Just so we’re clear, here at Neptik, we’re firmly on the side of the street of the second definition. We class a prospect as someone who has been qualified as a potential client. Someone who we are going to or have reached out to; but is yet to respond with an intent to engage with us. Whereas, a lead is someone that has engaged with us already, and a two way conversation regarding the product, or services being offered is underway.
Types of leads
So, now you know how we define leads here at Neptik, it’s worth mentioning how we then categorise leads following the first stage of engagement (pre-sales). This isn’t us preaching from the hilltops, it’s just the way we do it (and we know it works well for us).
For us, a hot lead is a prospect who you’ve engaged with, knows what you offer and is interested in talking more, now. For example, at Neptik we class a hot lead as someone who’s responded to us reaching out and is interested in talking about what we’re offering.
Positive engagement lead
On the other hand, when we reach out it might not always be the perfect time from the prospect’s perspective. But, if they respond/engage with interest to engage at a later date (having understood what you offer), then we class that as a ‘positive engagement lead’.
It’s also worth me mentioning – these two types of leads are how we categorise leads prior to the call/pitch. After that part we have further categories (as we do with different types of active clients), but so we don’t become overly complex here, we’ll leave going into that part of the sales process for another blog.
As we class the two types of leads differently, we cater for each one accordingly. But, there are four key ingredients to the way we follow-up that we swear by when managing both types of leads (following the initial outreach process):
- Keep it simple.
- Listen first. Sell next.
- Be positive. Upbeat people make more sales.
- Don’t give up.
Hopefully, this has given you a short introduction into the world of leads and prospects, and in our next 2 blogs, we will be going into much greater detail about how to manage things on your side, when you have a hot lead or positive engagement lead to run with.