Prospecting vs. lead generation — which method is better for your sales team?

Prospecting vs. lead generation — which method is better for your sales team?
Vlastimil Vodička
December 14, 2021

Prospecting and lead generation are often used interchangeably in the sales world. Both have the same overarching goal — to bring qualified leads into the pipeline — so it’s an easy mistake to make.

Prospecting vs. Lead Generation

There are significant differences between these two business-growth methods, starting with which team is in charge of what: Prospecting is a key function of the sales department, while lead generation falls within the marketing department’s territory.

Sales and marketing are known for butting heads when it comes to the hows of pulling in potential clients. Having different perspectives is certainly not a bad thing, so long as the teams can find a way to align their strategies and objectives. Admittedly, this is sometimes easier said than done. Keep in mind that, in an ideal world, you’ll want prospecting and lead generation to be running simultaneously and as smoothly as possible. Ultimately, studies show, companies that take this approach are statistically more likely to increase their deal volume. 

The stakes are high. Customers have a lot of choices these days, so if a company doesn’t have a clear sales strategy and hyper personalized outreach, its business prospects and revenue flow could take heavy hits. This is why many sales departments are turning to automation tools, like Sales Booster, to help give them a head start by uncovering more viable leads within days — not weeks. Explains Vlastimil Vodicka, CEO of Leadspicker

But before you get started, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the basics — prospecting and lead generation — and how they can be used to achieve your company’s overall goals and revenue targets. We’ll also explain when it’s best to use one method over the other.     

What is prospecting?

Prospecting is the core part of a sales rep’s job — reaching out to targets who might not know much about your company and fuelling interest. Prospecting can be carried out by a numblier of typical outbound sales methods, including cold calling and emails or direct messaging via social platforms like LinkedIn.

Prospects can also be taken from a list of promising leads cultivated by the marketing department — we’ll go into more details on this later. Such a lead can be a person or business that has expressed interest in your company’s service or product. In other words, targets that have a business problem or challenge that needs to be solved. It is then up to your sales reps to convince them that your company has a viable solution.

This short-term approach is generally carried out on a one-on-one basis and can quickly help your sales team to identify the difference between real potential and lukewarm interest. 

What’s lead generation?

Marketing plays a vital role in generating pre-qualified leads via events or other data-driven branding methods. As a result, these leads, having already engaged with your brand in some way, might be more receptive to a cold call or email from a sales rep.

Lead generation is typically part of the marketing department’s realm. It’s considered more of a long-term strategy that builds brand awareness and engagement with the help of, for example, gated content, like a blog, webinars and other events that generate valuable data about the participants, like their contact information and job titles. E-books, YouTube videos and whitepapers are also useful lead generation tools.   

The target market is wider than with prospecting and uses a one-to-many approach.     

Which method is best for your company? 

First things first: Define your Ideal Customer Profile. Once you know who you are targeting, deciding on your objectives, overall sales strategy and which tools to use becomes a whole lot easier.  

As we pointed out earlier, it’s best if you have prospecting and lead generation running simultaneously. But that might not always be the ideal solution. For instance, your sales team might find themselves with a lean lead pipeline that needs an infusion — fast. In which case, prospecting makes the most sense.

However, if your pipeline is healthy, then putting time and energy (and money) into lead generation would be your best long-term bet, as it will produce better, more qualified leads to work with down the line. It really is as simple as that.

Now, want to make things even simpler? Then here’s our suggestion: 

How to prospect effectively — automate!

It's no secret that prospecting is time-consuming, mundane work. It keeps your sales reps essentially chained to their desks instead of out in the field, meeting leads and closing more deals.

This is why many companies are turning to automation tools, like Sales Booster, to automate as much of the prospecting process as possible, so that sales reps can focus on turning the most promising targets into bonafide customers. Our AI-driven software would essentially take care of prospecting’s administrative and repetitive daily tasks as well as your team’s initial outreach. 

Not quite convinced? Then read our how-to guide on sales automation and outreach for B2B companies — where we break down the pros and cons of automated sales and share how to develop a winning game plan and how to efficiently keep your contacts organized with CRM.

For more information on how Sales Booster can help you, set up a meeting with our team in the form below!

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