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B2B Marketing: The Difference Between a Sales Prospect and a Lead

Published 01 Mar 2022 by Chris Glover, CANDDi
Read this in about 4 minutes

Did you know that a customer is 57-percent more likely to purchase from a brand that they feel a legitimate connection with? In fact, 76-percent of them will elect to buy from them over a competitor every time.

Statistics like those show just how important sales prospects and leads are to your B2B marketing strategies. It takes both of them for your business operations to thrive. But what is the difference between the two? Why do they have two separate names for them?

See below for an in-depth definition of a sales prospect, a sales lead, and why they're both crucial to your B2B sales initiatives.

Shaking Hands

What is a Sales Lead?

Oftentimes, certain terms in the corporate world get mistaken for one another. The terms “sales lead” and “sales prospect” certainly fit that description; a great number of people don’t realize there’s a difference at all.

These terms refer to the quality of the connection. To start, a sales lead is a largely unqualified contact. That means that you don’t have enough information on them to determine whether they have a legitimate need/interest in your products or not. If a client is considered a “lead”, then you’ll need to peel back a few layers to see if they qualify as a target buyer.

On the other hand, a sales prospect is a contact that is qualified. Through insight and information, you’re able to conclude that they need your product(s).

Therefore, the difference between the two is that one leads into the other. Every contact starts as a “lead” at one point in time. However, with a savvy sales approach and the help of software (more on that in a moment), you can generate more prospects from the get-go. As a result, you’ll streamline the entire sales process.

How to Turn a Lead Into a Prospect

Gone are the days of calling every number in the yellow pages to get a list of B2B clients. These days, you can generate a list of prospects by getting insight into the B2B customers that have come to you.

If you’re letting business-to-business clients visit your website undetected, then you’re missing out on a significant amount of sales for your business. These people, by visiting your site, have shown a legitimate interest in your brand, your services, and the solution you can offer them.

Thankfully, you can implement the CANDDi tracking tool on your site to alter the results. This software can help you get valuable information on all website visitors. It will show you things such as:

  • Contact’s name and location
  • Number of visits they’ve made to your site
  • Number of activities on your website
  • The time they’ve to spend on your site
  • What they’ve looked
  • When their last visit was
  • CANDDi-approved “grade” for all clients

With all of this information in front of you, you’ve automatically boosted your site visitors from a lead to a prospect. You’ve seen what product pages they’ve looked at and can customize a sales pitch to finalize the sale.

The Benefits of Prospects for Your Business

Now that you understand the goal is to convert a lead to a prospect—or skip the “lead” phase entirely with our CANDDi software—let’s take a look at the benefits of B2B prospects for your company.

The Start of a Beautiful Partnership

Put yourself in your client’s shoes. You’re experiencing a setback for your brand and need to find a company that can solve it. You browse a few sites but are unsure of which one to choose.

Then, all of a sudden, one of those companies reaches out to you. They take the time to describe their services, listen to your pain points, and offer up resolutions to alleviate them.

Not only will they convince you to buy, but you’ll go back to that brand time and time again. That’s the value of a B2B prospect: with just a little intention on your part, they can quickly become a loyal customer.

Higher Sales Conversions

We’ve all talked to customers where we thought, “this person will never buy.” It’s best to cut the cord on those contacts and move on; don’t become a victim of hope.

With effective B2B marketing in place, you can increase your sales conversions. You’ll only talk to customers that have shown an interest in your products or services.

This means more sales with fewer calls. Instead of converting a sale every 20 calls, you can convert a sale every 5 to 10 calls. Talk about a high ROI!

Perfect your Sales Process

Think of your B2B sales process as a production line. First, it’s a lead, then it becomes a prospect, and then you push it right on down the customer buying journey until they purchase.

With tools like CANDDi at your disposal, you’ll be able to shorten your company’s sales process. Your sales staff will have more confidence heading into their calls, which can yield superior results.

More importantly, your staff can focus more on building a relationship than fact-finding. They already have the information they need, now they just need to make a genuine connection.

Use CANDDi for Your Company’s B2B Marketing Strategies

Now that you have seen an in-depth guide on the difference between a lead and prospect, invest in CANDDi to produce more prospects in your B2B marketing initiatives.

Take the time to read this article for more information on the reasons everyone should track website visitors. For any other inquiries, please be sure to email us at

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