Lead, Prospect, Opportunity: What’s the Difference?

Nicholas Ayers

Nicholas Ayers

Better Agency Co-founder

As an insurance agent, your sales and marketing teams must work together to understand your target market and who your customers are, what they need, and how, as an agent, you can fulfill that need. To do this, you must first define the terms lead, prospect, and opportunity and understand the difference between each. Here we define each term and explain how they work together in order to deliver the best way to get leads for insurance.

What is a lead?

Leads sit at the top of your sales funnel and include any person or business that is not qualified but has the potential to become a client. They come from a variety of different sources, including inbound advertising, existing customer referrals, or purchased lead lists. In most cases, leads are people in your target market, but you have yet to connect.

But how do you know if you have a quality lead? Let’s look at the different types of leads and what they mean to you.

1. Cold lead

A cold lead is a lead in your pipeline that has not been qualified or contacted by anyone associated with your agency. These leads are often the leads that reject your calls, emails, and other marketing efforts at first. Cold leads are the toughest leads to convert to a customer.

2. Warm lead

Warm leads are those that have information about your agency and services but are not yet a client. You may find these leads liking or following your social media accounts or posts, signing up for email lists, or engaging with your agency in other ways. With warm leads, you can work to better understand their needs and the ways you can fulfill those. In many ways, a warm lead is already a prospect.

3. Hot lead

A hot lead is essentially a prospect already as they are qualified leads that have already been nurtured by your agency and are ready to close on a policy. These leads are directly seeking your services and are ready to sign on the dotted line.

4. Sales qualified lead

A sales qualified lead (SQL) is another term for a hot lead. This prospective customer has been through the sales process and is now in a position to convert to an active customer.

5. Marketing qualified lead

A marketing qualified lead is a potential customer that has gone through the marketing portion of your sales pipeline and is ready to talk about potential policy options and begin the process of converting to a customer.

6. Bad lead

Bad leads are those people that have a very low likelihood of converting to a customer. In most cases, these people have no understanding of what they need and how your company could provide them with any benefit.

What is a prospect?

A prospect is a hot or SQL lead that you have determined is interested in your services. Through discovery calls or active engagements, you know what they need and how your services can help them.

Converting leads to prospects

The goal of every insurance agent is to improve their lead conversion and close more sales. So, how do you convert leads to prospects? Here we look at some top tips that can help you quickly turn your leads into prospects.

Lead scoring

When evaluating your leads, it is a good idea to create a scoring system. This allows you or your marketing team to give scores to leads based on the likelihood they will make a purchase. To do this, you must consider things like your target demographic. This includes things such as age, gender, employment, salary, etc. In addition, consider behavioral data points, such as website visits and social media engagements. Using CRM or AMS software, you can track and assign points for each of these data points.

Qualifying leads by assessing their needs

When leads reach certain points in your lead scoring system, they can trigger an assignment for your agent to make that initial phone call. This initial contact allows you to assess the needs of this potential client, as well as the policies they may be interested in and which ones you think will provide the solution they are looking for. It is also important to establish a timeline of purchase through this initial contact.

Follow up and set appointments

Once you qualify the lead and their interest, it is essential to set up defined appointments for discussing the sale further. Offer a range of dates and times for a follow-up appointment. If they are hesitant to set a date, be sure to follow up again in a few days with an email or another phone call. If after 3-5 attempts and you still do not have an appointment set, move on to another lead.

Discovery call

Your discovery call is an opportunity to start and nurture a relationship with your lead. Here you can find out key details, such as their needs, budget, decision-making power, and their timeline for purchase. This gives you the opportunity to introduce yourself and your agency, the policies you offer, and begin to build a relationship.

What is an opportunity?

An opportunity is a prospective client that has left the lead generation and prospect stage and is now in the nurturing stage. Here is where you are ready to provide them with solution options and convert them to a customer.

Converting a prospect to an opportunity

Turning a prospect into an opportunity is simply providing opportunities to your prospect that will fulfill their needs, such as policy options. If you have an industry-specific CRM, you already have this lead in your system, as well as all the pertinent information you acquired through discovery, so you can offer them policy information that meets those needs and work toward closing the deal.

Lead vs. prospect vs. opportunity

While leads, prospects, and opportunities may seem to overlap, they each play an important role in the sales and lead generation process. Identifying these leads, prospects, and opportunities, and using an automated CRM, can help you streamline your sales pipeline and your sales process.

For more information about our insurance CRM software and how it can make a difference for your business, schedule a call with Better Agency today.

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