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It’s a Lead, Not an Opportunity

Leads and opportunities are different.

If a company spends money in your segment, that company is a lead. Even if they spend a massive amount of money, they are still just a lead. Spending a lot in your segment doesn’t make them an opportunity.

If this company would benefit from using you to buy the product, service, or solution you sell, it’s a still only a lead (maybe even a qualified lead). If you have had a conversation with some contact within the company to learn about their needs and some ways that you might help them, it’s a lead, or maybe a qualified prospect. But it still isn’t an opportunity.

If you have no commitment to explore working together and to take the next step in that process, the company is still only a lead. Without a commitment to pursue working together (something that results in this company potentially buying from you) there is no opportunity.

If you have the names of companies that fit this description in your sales force automation and they haven’t moved from their present stage for months (or years), that company is a really a lead. To transform it into an opportunity, you need to gain some commitment to take steps towards working together to turn it into an opportunity.

If it’s a lead, treat it as such and work to create an opportunity. If it’s really an opportunity, gain the commitments you need to move it forward.


Why are some “opportunities” really just leads?

What has to happen for a lead to convert to an opportunity?

What commitment does the company you are pursuing need to make to convert it from lead into an opportunity?

How many opportunities in your pipeline are really leads? How should you go about converting them into opportunities?

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  • Sue Hershkowitz-Coore

    Interesting concepts. I actually suggest to my clients that they never think of their prospects as opportunities. When they begin to think of them as business opportunities, they begin to focus more on themselves than on the client’s needs. If the word comes up, I reframe it to an opportunity for the prospect to enjoy the best X ever.

  • Mark Stonham

    This highlights the importance of the ‘Next Step’ that the buyer takes, rather than the next step in the sales process. Tempting the buyer with a sequence of ‘next steps’ and monitoring to see if they are taking them identifies those who are actively putting time and commitment to explore what you have to offer and how it could help them.

  • johncousineau

    Whether a lead or an opportunity, it’s effort on a seller’s part. In both cases, buyer committments / actions matter. In both cases, when sellers efforts yield no committments / actions, it’s time to test other tactics. Rather than as a cue to ‘stop’ or ‘start’, buyer committments / actions are a cue to learn. In both cases.