Read the rest of this article by one of our favorite contributors who provide some of the best supply chain content in the industry.

Keeping your “sales pipeline” full is essential to making sales and meeting your goals. It is always challenging to manage your time – between prospecting, selling, and maintaining existing relationships, it can be a lot to keep straight. One of the most important, and often overlooked, stages of the sales process is prospecting. It doesn’t matter how much you practice your sales presentation and refine your selling skills if you don’t have anyone new to meet with. If you’re not consistently seeking new potential clients, you are doing yourself a disservice.

The “prospecting” stage can be a bit daunting as there are a variety of categories that your contacts can fall into. How do you know if a contact has become a “lead” an “opportunity” or a “prospect” when in the early stages of interactions? This can be even more challenging when the terms are used differently by different companies and business units. Creating a consistent system for defining and categorizing each of the terms with your team (and hopefully your company as a whole) will be extremely helpful for increasing the efficiency of the prospecting process.

The biggest difference between the three is the nature of the