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In English, a sales lead is "a prospective consumer of a product or service, created when an individual or business shows interest and provides contact information. Businesses gain access to sales leads through advertising, trade shows, direct mailings and other marketing efforts. They can also purchase sales leads from third-party companies. A sales lead is not a sales prospect; further qualification of the lead is necessary to determine intent and interest"

How do I translate this concept to French? I have seen things like

  • "clients potentiels"
  • "vente potentielle"

but I am not sure if this is used in a French sales context.

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    linguee gives you many examples, which look fine – Random Oct 18 '16 at 11:35
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You are right with 'Client potentiel', which literally translates to potential customer.

You could also use 'prospect', both would be very acceptable in a sales context.

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To add something to @Nickstoy client potentiel correct answer.

As commented @Random, in linguee, you can find usages of :

  • "potentiel de vente"
  • "perspective de vente"

which both translate the fact the term prospective, in your definition, is not 100% sure + represent an action of a consumer and not directly a consumer itself.

You can also find "piste de vente" or "manifestation d'intérêt" which will be understood but I do not think these are business vocabulary.

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