There is a big difference between a sales lead and a sales opportunity. One can bring your company revenue, while the other cannot. They refer to the same group of contacts; however, depending on your business they are at different stages of the sales cycle.
Before a contact can become a qualified sales opportunity, they are a lead. A sales lead is someone who may be interested in your products or services, but haven’t defined their fit in your business. These contacts are often collected through research, third-party data, referrals, inbound marketing, or cold calls/emails. They may or may not be a potential buyer as your company has yet to establish whether they have the interest, budget, or authority to make a buying decision.
A sales opportunity is a qualified sales lead. Here at VizQuest Ventures, we call them “validated sales opportunities” (VSOs). The number one complaint of 91% of all sales organizations is that they do not have enough VSOs. A VSO is a company that matches up with your company’s solution or offering. VSO’s have a close rate of 30-50%, making them much more productive than leads which have a 1-3% close rate. Depending on the type of business, leads become VSOs at different stages. The contacts behind the opportunity have spoken to the sales team about the product in interest, expressed enthusiasm in continuing to talk, and have a high probability of closing a deal. By having validated sales opportunities, it helps forecast revenue in your pipeline.
To learn more about VSOs and how they impact revenue for your business, check out this white paper here.