Yesterday I received an e-mail offer from a company claiming that they can deliver “highly targeted e-mail leads” for my company. After exchanging few more messages with them it occurred that they are not offering sales leads but prospects - this tiny difference can cost you a lot of money.

So what is actually the difference between sales leads and prospects. It’s very simple but not so obvious in a lot of cases. Sales leads are people or companies strictly interested in your product. Sometimes they don’t have to be interested exactly in your product but they have a certain problem for witch you have a perfect solution and they are aware that you will contact them anytime in the near future to tell them more about your offer. So what are the prospects? Basically they are people or companies in your target group. If you sell Mercedes this can be: male, 35+, big city etc. - but of course in the age of RTB (Real-Timie Bidding) and audience targeting you can define them much more precisely. Nowadays you define attributes of your potential customers within three main dimentions: 

  1. Interests - what are they interested in? Sport, cars, racing, horses, politics, football etc.
  2. Intentions - what current problem do they have right now? They are looking for the best car insurance deal, a gift for birthday, a plumber or yoga personal trainer. 
  3. Demographics - this is age, gender, city they live in etc.

Of course by using DMP (Data Management Platforms) solution you can also gather custom audience data about your potential customers - prospects. For example using our WAY2TRAFFIC platform (www.way2traffic.com) our customers gather audience data of people looking to change a mobile carrier (custom intention) or people looking to buy an airline ticket (custom intention). This custom audience databases can be used to reach exactly the people you are looking for across all the different ad-exchange networks like Google DoubleClick Ad Exchange, FBX or iBillboard. If you are an advertiser the best way to get the traffic is to use a DSP (Demand-Side Platform) - this are the tools allowing you to display your ads across couple of different ad exchange networks.

sales leads and prospects
As you can see with such a precise targeting available right now in the RTB eco-system it might be hard to tell what’s the difference between sales leads and prospects. The only way is to test which  work better for your company - using with your sales team gets better conversion rates.