Sales Prospecting vs Lead Generation | What’s the Difference


Lead generation and sales prospecting are any organization’s two most crucial processes.

These two are unquestionably significant in business since they determine how you connect with and serve your target market. Even though you have a fantastic product or offer excellent service, it won’t matter if you don’t have leads or prospects in your pipeline. 

Lead generation and sales prospecting are crucial processes of sales and marketing. However, both terms are often used interchangeably, which can be confusing.

Lead Generation vs. Sales Prospecting: What is Best for You?

As stated in the beginning, lead generation and sales prospecting are the basis of an excellent functional business.

To get customers, you need to market your product or service. Marketing your product or service will bring in potential customers, this process is known as lead generation. Once you have marketing leads, your marketing or sales team could nurture these leads and then qualify these leads based on your company’s ideal customer profile, this process is known as sales prospecting. The sales team then runs cold outreach campaigns to these qualified leads and converts them into customers.

Lead generation is a task done by the marketing team, and the sales team does sales prospecting. Both these processes go hand in hand. To understand this in detail, let’s start by understanding the meaning of these two terms.


What is Lead Generation?

Let’s break this down!

A “lead” is referred to the contact information (like name, email, mobile, etc) gathered from a user who has shown interest in your product or service.

It is important to note that your leads have to be analyzed before being passed on to the sales team. Not all your leads might be worth pursuing. Hence before you spend time pursuing a lead, it is essential to qualify them (the lead should be interested in your offer and able to invest in your product/service).

Referring back to our question of what lead generation is, it is the process of collecting the contact information of people who have expressed an interest in your offer (lead magnet).

Creating a value-packed lead magnet that addresses your target audience’s pain points is an excellent way of getting high-quality leads. Your lead magnet can be an e-book, webinar, checklist, or video addressing your audience’s pain points.


What is Sales Prospecting?

Sales prospecting consists of two different terms Sales and Prospect.

Let’s start by understanding who a prospect is.

A prospect is an individual who has shown interest in purchasing your product or service. 

Sales prospecting is the process of finding ideal customers most likely to purchase from you, analyzing their profile and ensuring that they fit most criteria of your ICP. Creating a database of potential consumers, and communicating with them regularly to warm them up would help in turning them from prospects to customers.


Difference Between Lead Generation and Sales Prospecting

By now, one can easily say that lead generating and Sales prospecting are two different jobs. The Marketing department is responsible for lead generation whereas the Sales department looks after sales prospecting. 

Customers who have taken one of the predetermined actions, such as visiting a website, obtaining a report, or downloading a trial version of an app, have shown interest in a product or service and are referred to as leads. In contrast, prospects are individuals your sales staff has identified as highly relevant potential clients.

SDRs independently explore new business possibilities as part of sales prospecting, which is mostly manual work. In contrast, when marketers talk about lead generation, they typically mean capturing a lead from the lead magnets or any other online activity. 

To summarise, sales prospecting involves the methods for identifying and qualifying new customers and the processes for nurturing them, whereas Lead generation is all about how a lead is produced.

Now that we are clear with the meaning of these two terms, let us understand the challenges people in these departments face.





Challenges Faced While Generating a Lead

1. The Right Strategy

Finding a strategy, approach, or offer that captures potential customers’ interest is crucial to creating leads. The sales team will move on to the next lead if a lead is not qualified. Therefore, it is the responsibility of a marketer to bring more leads to the table; to do this, you must have a skilled and knowledgeable team.

Ensure you know your audience before running any lead generation campaign. Marketers should ask themselves questions like

  • What issues do your potential consumers need help with?
  • What are the roots of their struggles?
  • What mediums are they using?
  • Which newsletters are they signed up for?
  • Which events (online or offline) would they like to attend?

2. Tracking

Keeping track of the success of your lead generation strategy is the second most frequent problem.

You may identify your campaign’s weak points and where you can improve to have a greater conversion rate at the end by monitoring the ROI of your lead generation campaigns. While conversing with leads, one must remember that they are building their company’s reputation.

Since they are the leads’ initial point of contact, SDRs should answer their inquiries promptly; otherwise, the customer will be adversely affected.


Strategies to Overcome Your Lead Generation Challenges

The following are three key strategies to overcome the challenges related to lead generation

1. Be More Active on Social Platforms

If the traffic you receive from your lead generation strategies on social media is declining, consider raising brand awareness using a video. Linkedin, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube are excellent places to promote your brand using videos. Additionally, you can utilize an online video editor to create and edit captivating videos to make them more engaging.

Also, keep in mind that social media is constantly evolving. So continually evaluate and improve your strategy. Don’t leave it unattended. Find out which other platforms your target audience uses by researching your niche. Test out different platforms and see whether it works best for you.

2. Offer a Lead Magnet

A free giveaway offered to gather contact information is known as a lead magnet. Lead magnets are essential for acquiring fresh leads for your company.

Lead Magnets grabs your target audience’s attention by providing free value. A lead magnet usually addresses a pain point of the target audience. Examples of lead magnets include –

  • Free webinars
  • Tutorials or product demos
  • E-books
  • A free consultation/one-on-one with an expert.
  • SaaS tool (free credits or free for limited days)

At SmartReach.io, we ran campaigns offering free lifetime credits of “ProspectDaddy”. This is a prospecting tool used to build a prospect list based on your ICP & persona. It provides details like business email, Linkedin profile, designation, company name etc. In case you are a sales professional and want a lead magnet to write to [email protected]. They offer this lead magnet for free to businesses that are looking at lead generation.

How to create an irresistible lead magnet?

Step 1: Understand your audience persona and the top three persona-specific problems 

Step 2: Determine how your product/service can help solve this problem

Step 3: Create a lead magnet as an eBook, video, or webinar on ways to solve the problem.

Step 4: Create a landing page for your lead magnet addressing the three core problems specific to this persona with a clear and appropriate call-to-action. 

3. Be Informative and Precise

Everybody loves an attractive landing page.

How you present your lead magnet on your landing page will determine how your audience feels about your brand – and, in turn, your offer.

  • Be visually striking 
  • Address your audience’s pain points for a high conversion (at least a minimum of 3 pain points – the more, the merrier) 
  • Contain information about your product as mentioned on your website/social media post.
  • Capture only required information

4. Optimize your Website

This process refers to improving the speed, performance, and user experience of a website. This process involves various techniques and strategies designed to improve the website. Some of the strategies can be

  • Optimizing website speed for a better user experience
  • Optimizing the website content and images for mobile screens
  • Using of SSL certificate and keeping the website up-to-date
  • Using the CTA button in appropriate places

The Most Challenging Part of Sales Prospecting SDRs Face 

Sales reps declared that prospecting is one of the most challenging jobs in sales. But below are a few challenges faced by the SDRs:

  • Limited Data: Finding and using accurate and full data to develop a successful prospect list may be tough.
  • Defining ICP and Persona: Finding the fundamental features and attributes that form the ideal consumer profile and persona may be a difficult and subjective task.
  • Multiple Decision Makers: There may be several decision-makers involved in the buying process, making it challenging to identify the best person to target.
  • Competitive Landscape: Highly competitive markets can make it challenging to differentiate and attract potential customers.
  • Limited Budget: Creating an effective prospect list may need a major time and resource investment.
  • Changing Market Conditions: Market conditions and customer preferences can change rapidly, making it essential to keep ICP and persona up-to-date and relevant.

Besides the above points, lack of qualified leads, time management, rejection, limited information, lack of training or resources, and competition are some of the common challenges that sales reps face. By addressing these challenges and developing effective prospecting strategies, sales reps can increase their chances of success and achieve their sales goals.





Strategies to Overcome Your Sales Prospecting Challenges

The following are four strategies to overcome challenges related to sales prospecting.

1. Find Quality Prospects

Spend some time identifying the characteristics of your ideal consumer profile and conducting some database research. Don’t assume that a prospect fits your ideal consumer profile because it is in your database. Recent studies indicate that 50% of your prospects are unsuitable for your products or services.

ProspectDaddy is a LinkedIn prospect finder tool that works by automatically synchronizing the filtered list of prospects from LinkedIn, and then providing their corresponding business email addresses, LinkedIn profile and other details. The list of prospects and their corresponding data can be conveniently downloaded in CSV format or imported directly to the SmartReach.io account for use in a campaign.

Prepare a list of questions to understand who is your ideal customer. Ask questions like:

  • Does my potential customer require my goods or services?
  • Is my potential customer a decision-maker or an influencer?
  • Does my potential customer understand the issue and the options for fixing it?
  • What is their company size? 

It takes time and effort to understand your ideal customer. However, this step is critical. Once you’re clear about your ideal customer, you can start looking for individuals matching those criteria.

It’s essential to think in a “problem-solution way” to address any potential problems your target clients might be experiencing and explain how your product benefits them.

2. Group Your Prospects

While getting to know your prospects, there may be instances when you run into prospects who are alike.

You can bundle these prospects into separate groups to tailor your message to each group. You can also create more individualized emails, and sales call scripts.

Sales engagement software such as SmartReach.io provides pre-sales CRM that makes prospect management easier and simpler. It is a platform where millions of prospects can be managed with ease. Prospects can be categorized and tagged based on their activities. 

3. Personalise Your Emails 

Tailor your content according to the requirements of your prospects. Your objective is to educate your audience about your product or service and how it will benefit them. Hence, address your prospect’s needs in your emails.

With SmartReach.io, it is possible to personalize your email content to a high degree using merge tags. Additionally, it is also possible to create custom merge tags as per your specific requirements.

4. Remember to Follow-Up

Following up is vital.

Once the lead has shown interest in the product or service by replying to one of your sales mail, ensure you stay in touch by following up. 42% of customers report that salespersons persuaded them to by calling back at the prearranged hour.

Your chances of closing a deal are greatly improved by providing proposals or product specifications on time and by sending a quick “just checking in” or “thank you” message.


Conclusion

Both lead generation and sales prospecting are crucial processes for an organization’s success. However, despite how similar they seem, they are different. The marketing team oversees lead generation, whereas the sales team oversees sales prospecting.

Both processes are essential and are the cornerstone of any business’s growth. 

The combination of SmartReach.io and ProspectDaddy tools can be highly effective for sales prospecting. SmartReach offers a range of outreach options, including LinkedIn, Email, WhatsApp, SMS, and calls, enabling outreach to prospects through multiple channels. The use of multiple channels helps to widen the audience reach and increase the engagement rate. Additionally, SmartReach includes a shared inbox feature that provides access to all incoming emails for the sales team, promoting transparency and collaboration among team members. This shared inbox feature reduces sales inquiry response times, eliminates duplicate responses, and streamlines team communication, among other benefits.


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