Prospect & Customer Statuses in Zendesk Sell

This article takes a deep dive into Contact statuses in Zendesk Sell and how to leverage these to clearly differentiate between your prospects and customers.

What we'll cover:


Overview of Prospect Status & Customer Status

A sales process doesn't have to be a complex thing, but you do need to know where you stand with your Contacts.
Sell uses the statuses of a Prospect and a Customer to help you differentiate your Contacts that you’ve done business with (either you've already won a Deal with them or you're working an active Deal with them) from those that do not have any active Deals associated to them.
The assignment of the appropriate statuses to your Contacts happens automatically, based on deal association. Later in the article, we'll dive into what this means a bit deeper but something to keep in mind is that while both Prospect and Customer Status update automatically on your Contacts, the Customer Status can still be assigned manually.
Note: Prospect Status and Customer Status cannot be customized
Just to be clear, Prospects and Customers in Sell are still considered Contacts, they are just contacts with Deals associated with them.



Where to use Prospect & Customer Status

From any Contact card in Zendesk Sell, you'll find 2 statuses located along the left side:

  1. Prospect Status - updates automatically on a Contact when an active Deal is associated
  2. Customer Status - updates automatically on a Contact when a Deal is moved to "Won"
    • **Customer Status CAN be updated manually
These statuses update automatically on the contact card based on associated Deal activity (or lack there of). The reason behind this is to easily let decipher whether a contact is an active prospect, an existing customer, or neither.

Customers and Prospects statuses can be used as filters on your Contacts Smart List, just like any other filter in Sell. More on using Smart List Filters can be found in this support article.

Settings: Prospects and Customers


You can set up Tags and Custom fields that are specific for your Prospects and Customers in their dedicated Settings page, to make it easier to keep all the relevant data exactly where you need it. This means that even when a Tag or Custom Field is deleted from Contacts Settings, it will stay on the Prospects and Customers Settings page, and also stay associated to all relevant Contacts (that are marked as either a Prospect or a Customer).


If you would like to open up access to all contacts, regardless of whether the contact is a prospect or customer then you will want to update a certain users Permission Settings by navigating to Settings > Manage Users > click on the name of the user to update. Here's a link to more information on data access and permissions.

How Prospect & Customer Status are assigned

To put it simply, the path a Contact goes through when you create a Deal associated with this Contact can be summarized as Contact > Prospect > Customer.

Here are detailed rules of how we classify Prospects, Lost Prospects, Customers and Past Customers, along with examples of when certain statuses are applied:

When you start a deal with a contact or company, they are automatically converted into a Current Prospect and remain such unless they’re removed from the Deal or the Deal is closed.
A Current Prospect will automatically become a Lost Prospect if the Deal attached to it is moved to Lost or Unqualified. It will remain a Lost Prospect until you open a new deal with them.

When you move the Deal through your pipeline and mark it as Won, the Contact attached to it is automatically marked as a Current Customer and will remain a Current Customer unless they’re manually marked as a Past Customer.
Note: The Current Customer status is only applied to the Primary Contact and any associated Contacts that share the same Company with the Primary Contact.

If you haven't worked with a Customer for a while (or if you had deals with them before you signed up for Sell), but want to renew your relationship, you might want to mark them as a Past Customer. This lets you filter and work separately with either Current or Past Customers, depending on which group you want to concentrate on. Past Customer status can only be selected manually.
Again, to sum up:
Current Prospect is a contact you have an active deal with. A contact becomes a Current Prospect when an active deal is created for them.
Lost Prospect is a contact you only have Lost or Unqualified deals with, or when marked manually.
A Current Customer is a contact you have Won a deal with, or when marked manually.
Past Customer is a contact you want to be able to filter out on the Customers tab – this status can only be selected manually.
Note: certain combinations of Prospect and Customer statuses are not selectable.
A contact with an active deal cannot be a Non-Prospect or a Lost Prospect.
A contact without an active deal cannot be a Prospect.
A contact with at least one Won deal cannot be a Lost Prospect.
In order to remove all statuses from a contact (i.e. revert them to a regular contact), you need to delete all deals associated with a contact.

Companies and Employees and automatic status changes
If a deal is associated with an employee of a company (the employee is the deal's main contact, as shown by the star icon by their name), automatic status changes affect both the employee and the company. This means that both the employee and the company will become Current Prospects upon deal creation and, when a deal is won, both the employee and the company will become Current Customers.

These automatic status changes will also affect any other employee of this company if that employee is also listed on the deal. Any other employees of this company who are not added to the deal will not be marked as prospects.

Note: Any additional contacts, even though listed on the deal, will not become prospects. Only the deal's main contact, its parent company, and its co-workers (if applicable) are marked as prospects.

Common Use Case

It's possible in Sell to quickly gather all of your Contacts that you've done business with (aka have won Deals associated to them) ;-)

So in your Contacts Working List, you should just add filter 'Customer Status' to your view and then choose the 'Current customer' option from its lists. This will result in showing only the Contacts that you're looking for in your view.
Now go ahead and add the 'Email' field in the Table View and you're all set for exporting the list you need or adding it to MailChimp for a bulk email send out. Or you can also send the bulk email straight from Sell by selecting all of these Contacts at once and choosing the email option from the menu.
This will let you quickly get in touch with all your Customers to follow up with them and possibly generate some new Deals.