“You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks” – W. Churchill
One of the most common challenges sales people in financial technology as well as the ones initially their product is knowing how to make the difference between a simple lead and a real prospect. Although, there is no scientifically proven exact formula that can create a crystal clear frontier between both, there are certain key differences that can help you create an adequate sales strategy as well as focus your efforts where they can yield the best results. Teaching junior sales reps how to find the difference between leads and prospects is one of the first mentoring conversations I usually have when new recruits are joining our team.
A lead is any person or information acquired for the purpose of a potential business transaction, but whose potential has not been determined yet. A prospect is nothing more that a lead whose potential has bee been evaluated and has been determined to be good. In other words, a qualified or interested lead. So how can these two terms be best used in your sales process? Simple. They can be used to more efficiently target and nurture your respective audience.
Lead nurturing is impossible in financial technology if you do not know who you are working with or trying to sell. Basically, you need to understand how far a lead has gotten in the sales process. Here is an example: You build a web form to capture leads. By filling out you web form, these leads have shown initial interest, but that does not necessarily turn them into prospects. It is entirely possible that these leads have filled out bogus information or, depending on how fast your response is, may have already purchased from a competitor. They still need to be qualified to confirm interest. For this reason, you get your qualifier to call them up and confirm further interest. Once interest has been confirmed, the lead becomes a prospect. Your efforts to nurture a lead and a prospect should be completely different from each other.
Prospects are already interested and should be dealing with differently because their need or interest have already been established and qualified. this is especially true in financial technology as well as for start ups. An interest generation campaign is next to pointless if you are dealing with an interested person. It is like trying to convince someone lost in the desert to take a drink of water.
Using the desert allegory, your efforts should be directed towards getting him to drink your water and not the next guy’s. Generally speaking and as a best practice, lead qualification and closing of prospects should be done by active contact strategies, such as face to face or over the phone. This is not so vital in the nurturing process and can be be done passively, such as by email. This whole process is called Lead Management and when done correctly, can greatly increase close ratios.
Your efforts to nurture a lead and a prospect should be completely different from each other. Generally speaking, your nurturing efforts with your leads are for the purpose of generating interest. When it comes to real prospects, your communication efforts can be much more specifically focused in order to advance and eventually close a deal. Out of personal experience, it seems that knowing how to make the difference between both leads and prospects as well as when and where to focus your sales teams efforts at given time yields much higher closing rations. Will be keen how does your organisation approaches that specific element of building a successful sales strategy. Please let me know.