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Understanding Prospecting vs Lead Generation

sales prospecting vs lead generation

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Ever scratched your head wondering why your sales team is always busy but the leads just don’t convert? Maybe you’re mixing up prospecting with lead generation.

If you’re puzzled about Prospecting vs Lead Generation, don’t sweat it; you’re not alone. Let’s clear the fog and get you on the right track.

Shall we start?

What is Sales Prospecting?

So, what’s the deal with sales prospecting? Well, I call it an art and a science.

Sales Prospecting is the process of identifying and reaching out to potential customers with the aim of nurturing them through the sales funnel until they make a purchase. It’s the initial step in the sales cycle and involves a mix of research, cold outreach, and networking.

Prospecting Techniques to Generate Interest

First things first, you can’t just spam people and call it “prospecting.” There are 4 main prospecting strategies, let’s break it down:

Cold Emailing

Ah, the good ol’ cold email. But be careful, cold emailing no longer works the same way it used to, it works better, but in a different way, I mean, the key is to combine automation, segmentation and personalization. SPAM doesn’t work, trust me

With tools like FindThatLead, you can automate this process without losing that personal touch.

Psst… I have created a guide on how to do cold emailing effectively.

LinkedIn Prospecting/Social Selling:

If you’re in the B2B space and not on LinkedIn, what are you even doing? LinkedIn is the playground for finding high-value prospects.

There’s a tool for it, can help you automate those connection requests and initial messages.

Yep, here’s another guide on how to do LinkedIn Prospecting

Cold Calling

It’s not dead; it’s just evolved. With the right tools, even cold calling can be automated to some extent, making your life a whole lot easier.

Guess what? here’s another guide on how to do Cold Calling.

lead generation vs prospecting

How Prospecting Differs from Lead Gen?

Okay, it may seem that Sales Prospecting and Lead generation are twins, but I would say they are more like first cousins, let’s see:

  • Automated but Personalized: Both lead gen and prospecting can be automated. The difference? Prospecting is more targeted. You’re not just looking for any lead; you’re looking for the right lead.
  • Quality Over Quantity: Lead gen is about getting as many leads as possible, while prospecting is about getting the right leads. Both can be automated, but the focus is different.
  • The End Game: With lead gen, you’re filling the top of the funnel. With prospecting, you’re moving those leads down the funnel toward a sale. And yes, automation tools can help you in both stages.

So, whether you’re into lead gen or diving deep into prospecting, automation is your friend. It’s not about choosing one over the other; it’s about knowing when to use which strategy.

Lead Generation Explained

Alright, let’s switch gears and talk about lead generation. It’s the sexy term that everyone loves to throw around, but what does it really mean? It’s all about filling that sales funnel, baby! But remember, we’re keeping it outbound-centric here.

B2B Lead Generation Strategies

Before we jump in, let’s get one thing straight: When we talk about B2B Lead Generation Strategies, you’re not limited to just one playbook. You can totally leverage all the sales prospecting techniques we’ve talked about, and then some. Ready to expand your toolkit? Let’s dive in.

  • Sales Prospecting Techniques: Remember how we said those “old strategies” have evolved? Well, it’s not just for prospecting. In lead gen, it’s about casting a wider net but still keeping it real. Automation and segmentation are your best pals here.
  • LinkedIn Ads: If you’re already prospecting on LinkedIn, why not go the extra mile with LinkedIn Ads? It’s a great way to get your brand in front of the right eyes.
  • Webinars: Ah, the digital age’s answer to seminars. Host a webinar, provide value, and watch those leads roll in. It’s outbound because you’re reaching out, but it’s also inbound because you’re providing value.
  • SEO and Content Marketing: These are more inbound, but hey, they work. Write killer blog posts, optimize for search, and let the leads find you.
  • Social Media Ads: Platforms like Facebook and Instagram aren’t just for selfies; they’re also for lead gen. Create compelling ads and target them well.
  • Affiliate Marketing: Got a network? Use it. Affiliate marketing can be a goldmine for leads if done right.

sales prospecting vs lead generation

How Does Lead Generation Differ from Prospecting?

Okay… So you’ve got the basics down, but you’re still wondering how can we differ between lead generation and prospecting. See, each has its own game plan, tools, and end goals. Let’s break down those differences, shall we?

  • The Net vs. The Spear: In lead gen, you’re casting a net to catch as many fish as possible. In prospecting, you’re using a spear to catch the best fish. Both are important, but the tools and strategies differ.
  • The Funnel: Lead gen fills the top of your sales funnel, while prospecting moves leads down to the bottom. It’s like setting the table and then serving the meal.
  • The Tools: For prospecting, it’s about targeted tools like FindThatLead and that help you zero in on the right prospects. For lead gen, you might use a variety of tools from those we use in prospecting + SEO and social media ads: Facebook Ads, Semrush, HubSpot…

Prospecting vs Lead Generation in a nutshell

Okay, let’s break it down what we’ve talked about above.

Lead Generation: Trawling.

You cast a campaign like a big fishing net. You catch all kinds of “fish”, but not all of them will be the ones you really need.

It can feel a bit like “trawling,” more focused on quantity than quality. But hey, let’s face it, it’s not that bad, right? The best way to get results quickly and without a lot of hassle.

Prospecting: The harpoon

Let’s go to a more precise, more filtered fishing. You know what “fish” you want and you go straight for it. It’s a much more targeted and personalized approach. Here, quality rules. 🌟

prospecting vs lead generation

Choosing Between Prospecting and Lead Generation

So you’ve got the lowdown on both prospecting and lead generation. But here’s the million-dollar question: When should you use which? Let’s break it down, shall we?

When to Use Sales Prospecting?

If you’re looking for high-value clients or deals that need a personal touch, that’s when you whip out your prospecting skills. It’s like dating; you don’t propose on the first date, right? You nurture that relationship.

Again, tools like FindThatLead and are your go-to for this. They help you find the right people and send them the right message at the right time.

When done right, prospecting can lead to long-term relationships and high-value deals. It’s not quick and dirty; it’s slow and steady.

Strategies like Account-Based Marketing work very well if you couple them with Sales Prospecting, trust me. It’s about taking care of the customers that convert and get more satisfaction out of them, that they work as a conversion channel, that they become more loyal customers and, obviously, more money.

When to Go for Lead Generation?

When you need to fill that sales funnel ASAP, lead gen is your best bet. It’s like throwing a big party and inviting everyone you know. Sure, not everyone will show up, but those who do might just be your next big client.

While you can use FindThatLead for initial outreach, you’ll also want to leverage other platforms for lead gen. Think LinkedIn Ads, webinars, and even affiliate marketing.

Lead gen is about numbers. The more leads you have, the better your chances of finding that diamond in the rough. It’s a numbers game, but it’s one worth playing.

Prospecting and Lead Generation Working Together

Hey, you’ve made it this far, so you’re clearly invested in understanding the nitty-gritty of lead gen and prospecting. But what if I told you they’re like the dynamic duo of the sales world? Yeah, Batman and Robin got nothing on them. Let’s dive in.

Achieving Synergy between Sales and Marketing

So, you’ve got your sales team doing the prospecting hustle and your marketing squad pulling in leads like a magnet. But what happens when they join forces? Magic, my friend, pure magic.

Imagine your marketing team warming up the leads with Account-Based Marketing and some killer content or webinars. Now, your sales team steps in with their prospecting superpowers, targeting those already warm leads.

The Impact of Aligned Sales Prospecting and Lead Generation

Let’s get real, when your sales and marketing teams are in sync, the impact is huge. We’re talking better lead quality, shorter sales cycles, and yeah, more revenue.

Your marketing team’s lead gen efforts can feed directly into the sales prospecting pipeline. So, if you’re still thinking of keeping your sales and marketing efforts in separate corners, think again.

The synergy between prospecting and lead generation can be a game-changer. And with tools like FindThatLead, you can make this alignment smoother than ever.

Tips on Demand Generation vs Lead Generation

Hold up, we’ve talked a lot about prospecting and lead gen, but what about demand gen? Yeah, it’s another player in this game, and trust me, it’s worth knowing. So, let’s get into some tips, shall we?

Content is King, but Distribution is Queen

You can have the best content in the world, but if no one sees it, what’s the point? For demand gen, focus on getting your content in front of the right people. Think guest posts, collaborations, and yeah, even some paid promotion.

Email Marketing: The Oldie but Goldie

Don’t underestimate the power of a well-crafted commercial email campaign. For both demand and lead gen, a killer email can make all the difference.

Retargeting: Don’t Let Them Forget You

Ever browsed for shoes and then seen ads for them everywhere? That’s retargeting, and it works for B2B too. Use it to keep your brand top of mind and convert those almost-clients.

A/B Testing: Because One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Whether it’s demand or lead gen, A/B testing is your friend. Test different headlines, CTAs, and even email templates. The more you know, the better you can tailor your strategies.

Social Proof: Let Others Do the Talking

Testimonials, case studies, and reviews can boost both demand and lead gen. Let your happy clients do the talking and watch the leads roll in.

The Right Tools for the Right Job

For demand gen, you might lean more on content marketing and SEO. For lead gen, it’s about those targeted tools we’ve been talking about, like Semrush, Hubspot, Pipedrive, FindThatLead and Know your tools, and you’ll know your strategy.


And there you have it, a deep dive into the world of Prospecting vs Lead Generation. Remember, it’s not an either-or situation; it’s about using both strategies to fuel your sales engine. So go ahead, mix and match, and let the leads roll in!

. . .

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Content wrote by
Picture of Rafa Gandía

Rafa Gandía

Sharing and learning Marketing & Growth Hacking knowledge daily from FindThatLead. Copywriting and Email Marketing enthusiast.
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