A business employs various methods and tactics to generate potential clients and customers and for increasing sales volume. Sales prospecting and Lead generation are two such tools that help to discover more prospective customers and fill them in the sales pipeline. But these terms are not the same. They have distinct functions, processes, and characteristics. Many businesses perceive it synonymously. This leads to confusion and unsatisfactory results. So, what is the difference between Sales prospecting and Lead Generation?
The more sources you consult, the more perplexing this gets. It’s important to know this difference correctly. The choice of your method highly depends on business type, stage, objective, etc and it greatly affects your sales and profit. Opting for the wrong method will lead to a massive waste of precious resources and time.
We have broken down this riddle into simplicity. Continue reading for a detailed guide on how these methods vary from each other and know what suits best for you.
What is Sales Prospecting?
Sales Prospecting, as the name suggests, means identifying and reaching out to potential customers/clients/buyers, etc. These customers are called “Prospects”. Prospects are those individuals or organizations who may turn into profitable customers of your business in the future. They depict a positive scenario and find their solution in your services.
Prospecting is the first stage of the sales process. It is implemented by SDRs(Sales Development Representatives) or AEs(Account Executives). SDRs research, contact and qualify the prospects through chat procedures, emails, etc and then transfer the verified prospects to AEs which guide and fit them into the sales pipeline until deals are closed.
Activities involved in Sales Prospecting
Sales prospecting is a lengthy process. It involves one-to-one communication with the prospects. It is not a single-level person’s work; different aspects are carried out by different specialists.
The first step is to search your prospects among the pool of leads. The sales team measures the total addressable market of your business. A buyer persona and ideal customer profile are formulated to identify best-fit prospects for availing your services. After identifying, a list of prospective contacts is created by the sales leader using tools like ZoomInfo, LeadIQ, etc.
Post research, the next crucial stage is communication. Analyze the sales opportunities and best time of outreach beforehand. Identify and connect with prospects on social media to break the ice before formal interaction. Check inbound lead quality before embarking on sales procedures. Contact your qualified prospects through cold outreach via email phone etc. Book AE meetings with them. Listen to the prospect’s needs, and expectations and build a trustworthy relationship.
What is Lead Generation?
To understand this process, First, let us define What are leads?
Leads are contacts who can become prospects. They have not yet engaged or interacted with your business. They are just a population that may or may not benefit from your services. The lead Population possesses similar qualities. In short, we can say that Leads turn into Prospects. Thus, Lead Generation is a process of provoking interest, generating demand, building brand recognition, and collecting contact information to find prospects.
It aims to create a continuous supply of leads who give a high probability of profitable conversion towards your business.
There are two types of Leads:
- Inbound Leads- Leads that contact your business by their will and interest.
- Outbound Leads- Leads discovered and contacted through the marketing team.
Activities Involved in Lead Generation
Lead Generation is a continuous process of gathering quality leads for your business.
Some important steps of this ladder are:
- Prep-Up: Identify the pain points of customers and create ideal customer profiles and buyer personas to find leads. Discover channels to reach potential leads. Design lead forms for inbound clients when they engage with your business to get contact information.
- Outbound Activities: Implement activities that aim at increasing brand awareness through digital marketing, newspapers, articles, etc. Create content over social media such as blogs, video tutorials, reels, etc, and share them through email, social platforms messages, websites, etc. These tactics act as “Lead Magnets” by attracting humongous leads.
Utilize account-based marketing for content personalization, catering to the same genre targets. E.g., Triblio Uses automated marketing tools to reach multiple leads at once. E.g.; Mailchimp
Difference between Sales Marketing and Lead Generation
- Duration: Sales Marketing is a short-term and focused process to reap faster-closed deals whereas, Lead Generation is a time-consuming, long and continuous activity.
- Personalization: Sales Marketing is more personalized as it involves one-to-one interaction with prospects. On the other hand, Lead Generation extends brand information to a broad audience.
- Department: Sales Prospecting, obviously, is performed by The Sales Team consisting of SDRs, Account Managers, etc.
Lead Generation is managed by The Marketing Team, as it involves market research of product demand, customer persona, lead location, etc.
- Success Rate: The dynamics here are quite the opposite. Inbound Leads are more likely to convert as they are already aware of your business and have shown evident interest in your content whereas prospects need to be enlightened about you. Thus, the Conversion process snails down.
But we also see that Outbound prospects are more convenient as you can control whom you interact with. Leads may lead to a waste of resources and time if they aren’t verified. But, outbound prospecting gives clarity of action.
What to choose for your Business?
Ideally, sales prospecting and lead generation should go hand in hand. But we don’t live in a perfect world, do we?
Every business model operates differently. The market strategy depends upon the product, stage of business, scale of the business, industry type, etc. There is no size-fit principle.
Some helpful tips:
- If your target prospects require one-to-one assistance and personalized communication with tailored needs.
If your sales cycle is lengthy with multiple decision-makers. If your business aims to accomplish high-value deals. In these cases, you may go for Sales prospecting as it’s more personal and customized according to the needs of selected prospects according to their company, role, and challenges.
On the contrary,
- If your company’s product and services cater to a large audience.
If you wish to promote and extend your brand awareness to a high scale. If you follow product-led growth, Where product market itself.
Then, you should adopt Lead generation. Apart from all this, the current goals, priorities, and availability of time and resources act as decisive factors.
The Ending Note
Sales Prospecting and Lead Generation are two prime activities for increasing your brand reach, finding new and profitable prospects, driving up the sales cycle, and boosting revenue generation.
Sales Prospecting is a short-term, specific, target-oriented activity involving one-to-one communication, nurturing, and tailoring solutions according to the prospect’s peculiar needs. Lead Generation is a long-term, continuous, and mass-intended process. It is impersonal and one too many. It is directed toward building brand recognition and product demand over a long period.
Choose mindfully what’s best for your business, taking into account all countable factors and characteristics.