The sales process is not a straight line. This is why converting a lead to customer often takes its own course, and varies with business. Whether B2B or B2C sales, it’s important for sales reps to understand and visualize a lead’s journey; otherwise, they’re shooting in the dark. This is done by a series of steps which develops into what’s called the sales funnel—a concept that finds its way back to the 1890s.
Prospecting and marketing are all the things you do to get people into the first of your sales funnel stages. Note that stages are broken into two or more steps wherever possible. A demo could be called a single stage, but in real life it involves a lot of things: contacting the customer, sending reminders, doing the demo, and then following up. Whatever your own sales stages look like, the support you need in managing them will be the same.