Suspects vs. leads
When you are selling a product or a service to a new client, you have 2 types of potential customers: suspects & leads. These concepts are very different and crucial to understanding how to improve your sales process.
When someone reaches out to you, it’s a lead. That contact is qualified; they have a requirement and seem to be interested in your product or service. However, when you have to make the first move and present what you’re doing for the first time to a contact, then it’s an unqualified prospect,it's a suspect.
Most sales reps have to manage both prospects and leads; some only handle the first, others the latter. It depends on the structure and how the sales department was divided. They certainly shouldn't be handled the same way and that's where a lot of traditional CRM systems go wrong.
A sales rep has to be able to quickly transform a suspect into a lead, with as few distractions as possible. This is so they can either start working on it, or cancel it. Prospects can become leads, but they can also “die” so it’s important that you can manage these transitions easily, without expelling too much energy on lower quality contacts.
Furthermore, when there is an identified lead, i.e. a qualified prospect, the sales rep needs to focus and make sure they never forget the next action to be made (e.g. call, send out an e-mail, arrange meeting, etc). Suspects can be managed on a spreadsheet, whereas leads can’t. Leads require a very precise follow-up; they need to go through the sales funnel, calls and meetings need to be set up, and so on… A good way of looking at it is that it's extremely important that you remember the last thing that happened, and you can’t do that on a spreadsheet.
Where do you manage both prospects & leads in an easy and efficient way? Inside You Don’t Need a CRM! you import your spreadsheet with your prospects into what we call Prospecting Lists. When a contact becomes qualified (they have shown interest in what you have to offer), then you create a lead in the system with a single click on the (+) button. If not, you cancel the row using the right click menu and forget about it. Once a lead, you manage it as you would normally do so – with proper reminders that can be synced with your calendar, with a sales funnel, a to-do page, etc…
View also: Create leads from Prospecting Files