Prospecting vs lead generation – which is more important?

The life of a salesperson isn’t as easy as many people think. On the contrary, there are plenty of tasks that are tiring, and some of them are simply frustrating. And things aren’t much different with marketing either. So, it makes sense that sales and marketing teams sometimes clash about qualified leads. If this happens a lot, your business is the one that will suffer the most. Errors and misalignments between these two will cost you time and money, and that’s not something you want. So, you need your sales and marketing to work together. You want them to stop fighting about prospecting vs lead generation and get on the same page. And, of course, you can achieve that, but you need to learn about both of these things first.

Now, we see lots of people using these two terms interchangeably. They treat them like they’re the same thing, while in fact, they aren’t. So, today, we’ll explain the difference between the two and try to bridge the gap between your teams.

The goal is to make them understand each other. As soon as this happens, how to convert more leads into sales will be a thing of your worries no more. It will happen on its own, and you’ll only have your employees to thank for that. But let’s not rush ourselves and start with the basics.

People in the office talking about prospecting vs lead generation.
You want your marketing and sales teams to understand each other and work together.

Leads and prospects aren’t the same things

It’s astonishing just how many people think that leads and prospects are two words for the same thing. Of course, this isn’t the case, and we’ll try to make it a bit clearer for you.

Saying that these two are the same is like saying that a cheap econobox is the same as a luxury sedan worth a quarter of a million dollars. Yes, they’re both cars, and their purpose is to get you from point A to B. However, being in the back seat of one and the other isn’t comparable in any way.

And you can take this analogy and apply it to leads and prospects. They’re both parts of the sales process, but they aren’t on the same level. The lead has shown some interest in what you sell, and they gave you their contact information, so that’s good. However, a prospect is even closer to buying what you sell, and that’s why it’s great.

Here’s a bit more detailed explanation.

What is a lead?

Sales leads are people or companies that are at the top of your funnel. They’ve expressed interest in your product or service, and they provided you with some information about them. Most of the time, people do this by filling a form to get access to your gated content. And what you have about them will range from their name and email to their job title and company size.

The important thing here is that leads aren’t qualified. You still don’t know if these people fall under your buyer persona or if they really want to buy what you’re selling.

What is a prospect?

Two men shaking hands.
A lead is someone interested in your product, but a prospect is much closer to a sales deal.

As soon as the lead meets the requirements that you laid down, it becomes a qualified prospect. So, they get closer and closer to becoming prospects as they move down your sales funnel. And the best way to take them on that journey is to use lead engagement software.

What’s important here is that a prospect must have an unaddressed business challenge or problem that you can help them solve. That’s the foundation of your chances to sell them something. If they don’t have any issues, you can go ahead and disqualify them. By doing this, you’ll only save yourself time and nerves. Remember, a prospect is never a closed deal. You have to work on it to get it there, but more on that later on.

Lead generation

To get to the bottom of which side of the prospecting vs lead generation battle is more important, we must take a look at both.

And lead generation is a process in which you attract potential customers by improving your brand awareness and nurturing your relationships. It’s a marketing effort, and it’s one of the first things you’ll do in your strategy.

In essence, you do it because you know it will bring you benefits in the long run. It won’t get you sales right away, but it’ll get more people to hear about your company, and some of them will probably become your clients at some point.

Some of the examples of B2B lead generation are:

  • E-books
  • Training videos
  • Whitepapers
  • Contests
  • Webinars

As soon as you get the contact information from the lead, your marketing team can begin nurturing the relationship. And if that works well, the next step is sales prospecting.

What is prospecting?

To put it simply, it’s the process of reaching interested leads and trying to figure out if they’re prospective customers or not. Contrary to lead generation, your sales team will be in charge of this one. They’ll call each person or company your marketing team got contact info from, and they’ll talk to them.

A woman looking at her phone.
Prospecting vs lead generation is a battle that no one should fight.

Now, in the past, sales reps called all the leads out of the blue. They used tactics like cold calling or cold emailing, and they gave some results. However, people realized that talking to pre-heated leads brings a lot more conversions. So, they turned to tactics like:

  • LinkedIn direct messaging
  • Warm calling
  • Warm emailing

These might seem like simple things, but they’re far from that. For sales reps, it’s a stressful and challenging part of the process. So, it’s a good idea to help them by picking the best conversion rate optimization software. It will allow them to perfect their game and create a personalized experience for each lead. Do it this way, and you’ll push past your competition in no time.

Which is more important?

When it comes to prospecting vs lead generation, it’s not easy to pick a winner. Not only that they’re equally important, but they must work together for your business to have a successful sales process. Throw the focus of your marketing team onto the high-quality contacts, and your sales reps will have a great time working with your leads.

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