The difference lies in how you qualify the leads. Let’s look at the simplest lead qualification process in the diagram below:
This is the first stage. A lead is someone who can be trailed to convert into a business opportunity in the future. Marketers generate leads on regular basis and feed them to the sales team.
A lead is considered to be a contact when a direct two-way communication starts. So, when the lead expresses interest and the salesperson actively follows up, it becomes a contact. A contact can even be an old customer, or a friend who is in a position to influence your target company’s buying decision.
The advanced stage of the contact. As the name suggests, a sales person sees the opportunity of the closure. Here, the discussions are in final stage – about pricing, terms of service, competitors evaluation etc.
So, I hope the difference between these simple terms is a little clearer now!
In the next chapter, we will discuss lead generation, its different components and how can you master it.