How to Manage Inbound Calls from Leads and Prospects4 min read

Leads vs Prospects

Discover the difference between Leads and Prospects

To know how to manage inbound calls from leads or prospects, its important to know the difference.

Confused about the difference between these two?

If you said yes, you’re not alone. Many managers and business people don’t know the difference between the two terms.

Some think they refer to the same thing. Well, they don’t.

Instead, they refer to different opportunities that can help grow your businessopportunities you can’t afford to ignore.

In fact, knowing the difference between leads and prospects can help you increase business, bump up profitability, and boost revenues at your organization.

That’s good news no matter what business you’re in.

Leads vs Prospects

So how do you compare leads vs prospects?

While both refer to people or organizations interested in what you’re selling, leads exhibit critical firmographic or demographic data that can help you determine prospects.

Firmographic data are sets of characteristics to segment organizations into marketing systems. Demographics refer to statistical data and the groups within it.

Put another way, leads provide quick snapshots of a marketplace. The data that helps you do this comes from a wide variety of secondary sources, government agencies, or demographic vendors.

Often, leads come from a variety of marketing mechanisms like case histories, new product or service announcements, or print advertising.

Leads Aren’t Sure Things

Leads, however, aren’t sure things. They’re starting points that need to be “qualified”, which you do by asking individuals or organizations key sales questions.

When you get the right answers, leads become prospects.

Prospects are a good fit for what you’re selling and are progressing toward making a decision by conversing with you. Put another way, prospects are qualified sales leads.

Guiding Leads to the Decision Stage

These marketing qualified leads are “warm” leads. Your job as a salesperson or business manager is to guide these leads through the buyer journey to the decision stage.

What’s the buyer journey?

Envision a funnel with three stages—top, middle, and bottom. Prospects travel through the funnel to a final decision.

At the top of the funnel are leads that show genuine interest in your product or service but are just starting their journeys.

They have real pain and a fit for what you’re selling, but the need isn’t immediate. So you still have work to do to make a sale.

In the middle of the funnel are what some refer to as “nurture ready leads (NRL).” These prospects show continued interest in your products or services but aren’t quite ready to buy.

These leads need to be nurtured—perhaps with more content that triggers more touches with the prospect.

At the bottom of the funnel are the highest quality leads. They’re sales-ready leads that want to speak to you because they’re ready to buy—the highest quality lead possible.

The faster you follow up on these quality leads, the better. Your responsiveness sends a powerful message to leads about you and your capabilities.

How Call Centers Can Help Manage Leads

Leads and prospects are critical to growing your business. You need a steady flow of them to grow your business.

After spending money on marketing, the phone begins to ring. Can you afford to miss a call from a lead?

Businesses don’t always have the time or resources to manage high volume of inbound calls to grow their businesses. That’s where call centers can help.

Call centers offer a cost-effective way of managing inbound calls. An inbound lead management strategy implemented by a professional call center, can make sure every lead not only speaks with a live person but follows your processes to generate more business.

They can also help you collect additional information and provide critical data to your sales team. Outsourcing lead management is a great way to scale efforts and reduce the costs of managing leads.

But there are factors about outsourcing this function that stop some organizations from using call centers. These factors include:

  • Too expensive
  • Loss of control
  • Poor quality agencies
  • Language barriers
  • Stigma of outsourcing services

The truth is, there are call center services where these factors are very true.

That’s why hiring the best call center is critical.

A high-quality call center that features professional agents can be more cost-effective and more productive than you may realize.

Call centers can also help with outbound sales activities. They occur when the call center calls out on behalf of the organization to provide information regarding a product or service.

This service is more specialized and requires a call center built around this specific function.

Critical to an Organization’s Survival

Leads are critical to your organization’s survival. Some say they’re the lifeblood of a business.

Whether cold, warm, or hot, they can help you increase profitability, boost revenues, and generate growth.

That’s why not one single lead can be lost.

Many companies lack the time and resources to manage inbound phone leads, so they need help from outside sources.

Outsourcing your call management efforts to a qualified call center with professional agents, however, is one way to beat this challenge.

Using a knowledgeable and professional call center can boost lead generation dramatically and take your company to the next level, regardless of your size.