What is the Difference Between a Lead and a Prospect?

Written by The Valve+Meter Team / January 28, 2021 / 3 Minute Read
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A sales team is pivotal for business growth. While leads fit your target market, they might not be purchase-ready. Prospects, however, have shown explicit interest in your offerings. The journey from a lead to a prospect and finally to a customer is crucial. Learn the nuances and enhance your sales approach.


A sales team can either make or break a business. They’re the heartbeat of any business or organization. Even with the best marketing in the world, your business won’t grow if your salespeople aren’t converting on leads and prospects and turning them into sales. But, what are leads and prospects?

Though you’ve likely heard the words “lead” and “prospect” used interchangeably, there are a few differences between the two. 

What Makes a Lead?

Leads are likely to fit your target market or audience, but they might not be ready to purchase your product or service quite yet. Several factors can put an individual in a target market, such as their gender, age, interest, previous purchases, and more.

For leads, you might even be reaching out to people who have yet to hear about your company, but they’d still be considered strong candidates as they fit your target market. 

Reaching out to leads can result in fewer responses, but once they respond and express some sort of interest in your product or service, they become a sales prospect. The goal is to turn as many leads into prospects as possible to help your business grow.

What Makes a Prospect?

A prospect is a lead who has taken the next step in the sales process. They’ve explicitly expressed interest in the products or services offered by your company in one way or another. Many times, a lead can become a prospect after they’ve shown interest in what you offer. 

Sometimes, though, prospects can naturally occur before you’ve even reached out to them. They might’ve seen an advertisement about your company, stumbled upon your website or social media account, read content written by your company, or discovered you in some other way and now want more information about the products that you offer.

After a potential customer becomes a prospect, it’s up to your sales teams to provide the necessary remaining information that will convince them to become a buyer.

What’s the Difference Between a Lead and a Prospect?

Though sales prospects and leads both define people whom you’ve reached out to about buying your products, there are differences among them. Usually, the sales process turns a person from a qualified lead to a prospect, and then finally to a customer. 

Generally speaking, leads are those that you’ve reached out to about your products, but they haven’t necessarily expressed interest back. It’s mainly one-way communication, like cold calling and emailing. 

Prospects, on the other hand, are further along and more mature in the sales process and have expressed interest in the products or services your company offers. These people show their level of interest by asking for more information about your products, requesting a phone call, or viewing products on your website. They’re likely actively engaging in conversation or another avenue of the sales process and are far more likely to ultimately become a customer. 

Contact Valve+Meter Today

Valve+Meter offers lead generation services which are designed to fill your pipeline with valuable sales leads and prospects that your sales team can convert on. To help your team find leads who are interested in the very products and services your company offers, get in touch with us today. We’d love to help you grow your business to heights you’ve never before seen through our lead generation services.


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