Prospect marketing is a key function of your brand. However, the words ‘prospects’ and ‘leads’ are frequently interchanged. You may even be guilty of interchanging the two terms. However, it’s important to know and distinguish the different opportunities in your sales pipeline. Because let’s be honest: it wouldn’t end well if you marketed to someone who is already interested in your product the same way as you would to someone who has never heard of your brand at all.
What’s the difference between a lead and a prospect?
Essentially, a lead is any contact that is not yet qualified. A lead could be gathered from almost anywhere: newsletter sign-up, social media, an email contact list, a gated content piece, etc.
A prospect is any lead that has been qualified and moved further into the sales funnel. Typically a prospect has had a conversation with an SDR or sales rep and has expressed interest in your product offering.
When does a lead become a prospect?
This is where our sales funnel and the prospect’s level of consideration comes into play. A product with a low level of consideration has a smaller funnel than a product with a high level of consideration. If you are grocery shopping, you likely don’t think deeply about buying a pack of gum. If you are a CMO responsible for integrating a new marketing automation tool for your team, your level of consideration will be drastically different and more in-depth.
Levels of consideration are how we fully differentiate a prospect from a lead. A lead is someone who has shown interest in your content. A prospect is someone who has shown interest in using your brand or product.
Therefore, by definition, prospect marketing should guide your prospect deeper into your sales funnel.
The Prospect Marketing Crash Course
The #1 rule with prospect marketing is to always ensure that there is full alignment with your sales and marketing efforts. Consistency is key in prospect marketing efforts.
Your sales team spends a large portion of time speaking with prospects and understanding their needs and wants. The collateral that is designed to support your sales team as they begin to take the prospect deeper into the funnel has to be aligned with your sales team objectives so that the message translates into a unified presentation regardless of who is contacting your prospect.
Prospect marketing relies heavily on solid content as its foundation. Here are a few types of valuable content to drive your strategy:
White papers display your organization’s leadership ideas, provide statistical evidence for those ideas, and express the technical expertise that your product or solution provides. Depending on how your white papers are used during your prospect marketing efforts and which portion of the funnel they support, you will want to craft your content appropriately.
Case studies are social evidence for your product. They demonstrate tangible examples of how your solution solved specific problems that your clients faced. For prospect marketing, case studies are designed to increase interest in your product or service by offering a clear, real-world example of your product or service at work.
Email marketing benefits every stage of the sales funnel. As a benefit to prospect marketing email marketing can be used to build initial interest with your prospect. You can start with more generic messaging, and as you get further in your sales funnel, your messaging will become more personalized to your prospects’ needs.
Videos can be used at every single stage of the funnel. From product overviews and introductions to follow-ups and best practices, video is an engaging and personal way to connect with your prospects. You can get creative with your delivery and tailor messages to specific prospects, industries, or clients. With over 60% of internet traffic coming from videos, it’s essential to integrate video into your prospect marketing strategy.
Finally, the key to prospect marketing is to ensure that your messaging includes an aspect of personalization. Effective prospect marketing will move your prospect deeper into your sales funnel. If your prospect does not feel seen and known they will not be invested in what you are offering. So, personalize, personalize, personalize!