If you were asked how a lead becomes a sales opportunity, what would your answer be? Whatever your answer, know that there ain’t something you’d call an objective, universal answer to the question. Still, there are some usual misconceptions that clearly need to be put in the spotlight, and, thus, resolved. That’s because one shouldn’t fool around with the concept of an opportunity, since that will evidently affect your whole sales process or your company’s ability to qualify. Also, that will also affect your alignment with marketing, and if there’s no way that you can share the same definition of an opportunity with the marketing team, you’re bound to have some trouble. In this article, we tackle the lead vs. prospect vs. opportunity issue and tell you how to make the transition! Keep reading.

What is a lead?

A woman laughing.
A lead is a person or an organization that’s expressed a certain dose of interest in what your company’s offering by leaving pieces of contact info on your website.

Before we delve deeper into the subject matter of this article, let’s define some of the terms we’ll use a lot today. That being said, it’s only natural to ask: what is a lead? In the simplest of terms, a lead is an individual person or an organization that has expressed some interest in what you’re selling, whether it’s a product or a service. So, how is this interest exactly shown? Well, they express it by sharing their e-mail address, other contact info, and even their social media. Wondering how to generate more leads? If so, you might want to try out leads managements for movers. If, of course, you’re coming from the moving industry, that is.

What is a prospect?

By standard definition, a prospect is a person or an organization that matches your company’s criteria to become a potential customer. As you can notice, this makes it hard to differentiate between leads and prospects. So, how exactly do they differ? We’ve got two ways to look at his:

  • Difference #1: Leads are found through a good variety of different marketing channels. Also, they’re mostly found in larger numbers than prospects. See it like this: they allow for many individuals or businesses to “come through”. However, not all of them fit your ideal customer description. In other words: prospects aren’t qualified.
  • Difference #2: Their second difference lies in the level of engagement. As we’ve already said, aside from requesting to be contacted, a lead doesn’t engage much. On the other hand, a prospect has most likely already had a talk with your sales rep and gave you a chance for two-way communication.

If you do have a moving company, think about obtaining assistance in the form of customer management software for movers.

What is a sales opportunity?

Two men looking at a laptop screen, one explaining to the other the process of moving from a lead to prospect to opportunity.
A sales opportunity’s a prospect that has a very good chance of becoming your company’s customer.

Next up, let’s define what a sales opportunity is! It’s a prospect that has a pretty good chance of becoming a customer. The thing is: this opportunity we’re talking about should have a so-called pain point your company’s product or service can solve. Folks from sales will need to guarantee that an opportunity is well-fitted for what your company’s offering on the market.

Alright, now that we’ve defined the main terms for today (lead, prospect, sales opportunity), let’s check how you’ll make the transition.

Lead vs prospect vs opportunity – how to make the transition?

First of all, let’s consider how you can turn a lead into a prospect:

How to turn a lead into a prospect?

As we’ve already noted, a lead is an unqualified contact. On the other hand, a prospect is a contact that has qualified. In other words: it had been moved into the sales process. So, how does one become the other? Okay, so in order for a lead to become a prospect, you’ll need to walk them through the so-called sales qualification process to see if your products or services represent the correct solution for their issue(s). You’ll want to know that there are three steps or stages to this process.

#1 Organization-level qualification

In this initial phase, you’ll need to verify that a lead matches the most important qualities of your business’s buyer persona. Take into consideration the following factors: location, industry, and company size (if, of course, we’re talking about B2B).

#2 Opportunity-level qualification

Okay, so during this phase of the process, you’ll need to figure out whether the prospect will actually benefit from using your product. In other words: whether or not they can find some use for what your company’s offering.

#3 Stakeholder-level qualification

Now that you’ve figured out that your lead fits your ideal buyer persona, and that they could find your service or product useful, you’ll want to confirm that they have the authority and the credentials to make the final purchasing decision. If that’s not the case, you’ll have to figure out who’s the right stakeholder with whom you’ll carry on the rest of the sales process.


Two people shaking hands.
Once a prospect agrees to consider your company’s solution to the problem, they become an opportunity.

Now, let’s see how the whole process works. It’s fairly simple to explain:

  • First of all, leads agree to get a piece of gated content. 
  • Once they’ve gone through the qualification process, they become prospects. 
  • Lastly, once prospects agree to think about your solution, they become opportunities. 

Bonus round: Attributes all sales opportunities must share

Last but not least, let’s talk about the “attributes” all sales opportunities must possess. Also, we’ll expand the talk to see if we can give some recommendations or tips.

#1 Pain (AKA Need)

Here’s the thing: the pain point of a single prospect doesn’t have to be all that visible. A good sales rep will have to get that information using a set of qualifications and skills. That pain or a certain need your possible future customer has will have to be brought to the surface. That’s done by making sure to ask important questions.

#2 Interest

Let’s say you’ve discovered the issue but a certain prospect doesn’t seem to have any interest in solving it. They’ve lived with that problem for a good amount of time, and it hasn’t bothered them much, so why should they do it now? A good sales rep will have to battle against his indifference.

#3 Match

The last but not least section of our “lead vs. prospect vs. opportunity” talk is concerned with finding out whether or not your prospect is a good match. Let’s say that a prospect is totally interested in your products, but your product or service doesn’t really suit their needs. For instance, they might be running a 3-person company, and your product is created for companies with more than a hundred employees. Is this an opportunity? Nope. The only thing it might be is a future unhappy customer, and that’s, of course, something you’d want to avoid. Luckily, unhappy customers are easily taken care of with customer care software for movers. If that’s your niche, that is.

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