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Lead Generation Vs. Prospecting: A Comprehensive Guide

Lead Generation Vs. Prospecting: A Comprehensive Guide

Table of Contents

Are you stuck deciding where you should invest: prospecting vs lead generation? Then, we are here to help!

To be clear, you need to do both for your business growth.

You can pick one over the other when investing more time and resources. But, striking the right balance can bring excellent results. Plus, using these strategies rightly may help you cross the average success rate of gaining new customers from 5-10% to more

So, allow us to share detailed insights into the topic with you. Let us start with learning definitions and differences between these strategies. 

What Is Lead Generation And Prospecting?

Let us begin with understanding the definitions of prospecting and lead generation: 

1. Lead Generation

The lead generation process involves finding potential customers who might be interested in your offer. The marketing professionals in your team are in charge of generating leads. And, they mainly focus on: 

  • Creating Awareness- Make your product or service known to a target audience through marketing by using various channels.
  • Capturing Lead Details- Gather details about potential customers, such as contact info, preferences, etc.
  • Sparking Interest in Your Target Audience- Engage potential leads so they become interested in what you offer.
  • Pre-qualifying Leads: Filter leads to finding ones who may soon convert into your paying customers.

Once your marketing team gets qualified leads, they pass them to your sales team.

2. Prospecting

Lead prospecting is the process of finding sales opportunities from the leads passed by the marketing team. Here, your sales development representatives (SDRs) take charge of this process. Their main job is to dig deeper, focusing on creating a list of potential customers. You can prospect leads obtained through a purchased list directly via outbound tactics. 

SDRs mainly focus on: 

  • Running Targeted Search: Look for potential customers who match your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP).
  • Sales Qualifying Leads: Use methods to qualify leads based on lead qualification frameworks. SDRs often use the BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, and Timeline) framework to find ICP. 
  • Creating a Prospect List: Make a prospect list of potential customers more likely to convert.

Key Differences Between Lead Generation and Sales Prospecting

Let us skim over a quick comparison table between prospecting leads and generating them: 

Feature Lead Generation Prospecting
Purpose Identify potential customers interested in your offerings Identify highly qualified potential customers for sales outreach
Scope Broad marketing-driven process Focused sales activity
Objective Attract a wider pool of potential customers Identify and nurture the most promising sales opportunities
Channels Variety of marketing channels (social media, content marketing, advertising) Direct outreach via email, phone calls, or social media
Timing Ongoing process throughout the sales funnel Conducted in the early stages of the sales funnel
Expertise Marketing expertise Sales expertise
Key Activities Creating awareness, capturing lead details, sparking interest, pre-qualifying leads Running targeted search, sales qualifying leads, creating a prospect list
Responsibility Marketing team Sales Development Representatives (SDRs)
Transition Point When qualified leads are passed from marketing to sales When SDRs identify and nurture promising prospects
Key Metrics Number of MQLs and SQLs Pipeline velocity Number of sales opportunities


Now, that you learned the differences between prospecting and lead generation,  

let’s explore unique strategies you can apply while using these approaches:

Effective Strategies To Generate Leads And Prospect Potential Customers 

About 37% of marketers face the significant challenge of generating high-quality leads. Meanwhile, 40% of sales professionals find prospecting the most challenging aspect of the sales process.

If you can relate, we have some great strategies to deal with these lead gen challenges

Let's delve into the information, shall we?

3 Spot-on Strategies For Lead Generation

Here are our curated strategies for generating business leads

1. Use Content Syndication

If you want to improve your content marketing, you must use content syndication. This method lets you broadcast your content across third-party platforms and multiple channels. 

You can share your lead magnets like:

  • Ebook
  • Whitepaper
  • Thought Leadership Articles 

-to third-party websites, given that they have a reputation among your target audience. 

2. Apply Account-Based Marketing (ABM)

Our following lead generation method is ABM. We recommend this method because of two compelling reasons: 

  • It's the best-targeted approach to generating leads, focusing on specific accounts. 
  • 87% of marketers say ABM delivers a higher ROI than other marketing activities.

So, here are tips to make your ABM strategy work for you: 

  • Craft Tailored Offers for Your Ideal Lead Accounts: By introducing a personalized touch, you can compel your target leads to check out your content. Curate offers specifically designed for your target accounts' unique needs. When they see the value, it'll be irresistible for them just to ignore it.
  • Personalize Every Website Visit For Your Leads: With account-based marketing, you can entice your leads with personalized landing pages. Incorporate customized copy, images, offers, and lead forms to suit the interests of the person or account browsing your site. 

Though tread carefully, you can even greet visitors by name—some might find it too intimate.

  • Uncover Leads' Insights Through Social Intelligence: Use social data to fuel your ABM strategy. For example, you can use social intelligence tools like InsideView or LinkedIn to stay agile. Be flexible and ready to pivot your marketing approach as you discover new social data about your target leads. 
  • Curate a Database of Key Role-Based Contacts: Don't just collect titles of your target lead accounts. Instead, aim for the decision-makers who truly matter. You can take the help of list-building vendors specializing in providing role-based lists.

For example, if you want to target in charge of an IT firm, the vendor will share information about the individuals holding that pivotal role.

Thus, you can have the right contacts to market to. 

3. Leverage Webinars

79% of buyers are willing to exchange information for webinars. That's a perfect way to generate leads that fit your ideal buyer profile. 

But, before you leverage webinar marketing, ensure to build the foundation by: 

  • Sorting who to invite
  • Selecting the topic series 
  • Determining the topic's depth, you will explore 
  • Choosing the webinar's duration
  • Inviting related guest speakers and presenters
  • Selecting channels to promote the webinar
  • Deciding date/time for live event
  • Picking key points to highlight on the registration landing page

Once you complete the above tasks, follow the below framework: 

Promote-Prioritize-Follow up.

Let us explain it to you in the form of a table:

Promote  Prioritize Follow up
  • Buy an email list that matches your ideal webinar attendees. Send creative promotions to that particular list. 
  • Depending on your marketing budget, leverage paid advertising to reach leads. 
  • Find out the most preferred social channels among your target leads. Then, create appealing posts to share across these channels.  
  • Ask your guest speakers or co-host to promote your webinar among their audience.

Apply a lead scoring model for your webinar attendees based on the following:

  • Registration data: Leverage the webinar signup information to get basic details about your attendees. It may include company size, job title, industry, department, and location.
  • Behavioral data: Check each lead’s interest/engagement level. Behavioral data includes asking questions, viewing duration and history, webinar downloads, etc.
  • Send Thank You emails to attendees as soon as the webinar ends. It makes them feel appreciated by you. 
  • Offer on-demand webinar version access to get new leads. It also allows registrants to catch up with those who missed the event.
  • Provide relevant post-event content directly responding to attendees' input from live Q&A sessions, downloadable resources, and surveys. 

The above framework will help you reach suitable leads. 

3 Killer Strategies for Sales Prospecting

Among others, these three strategies are the most effective: 

1. Perform Cold Calling

With cold calls, you directly contact potential customers without prior contact. While it sounds daunting, a compelling pitch can make it work wonders.

But that is not enough; there are many strategic factors backed by research that you must consider. The most important ones are: 

  • Select Optimal Calling Times: Try calling prospects between 4 and 5 PM in their time zone. It increases your chance to book meetings by 71%. The second-best option is calling prospects between 11 AM and 12 PM. This time frame consists of high connection times for successful sales outreach.
  • Keep Persistence in Contact Attempts: Ask your sales team to make about 8 attempts to connect with a single prospect through cold calling. It's said to fetch a response from the prospects.
  • Set Daily Call Targets: Aim to make around 60 daily calls to get enough sales responses. However, on average, sales reps manage only around 35 calls daily. So, if your SDRs cross this point, you'll quickly get ahead of the curve.

2. Establish Cold Email Outreach

Like cold calling, you can directly reach potential clients through cold emailing. It gives you a medium to showcase value and generate interest among people seeking a solution like yours. Plus, you can make them personalized by tweaking email content to initiate meaningful relationships with prospects.

Here are some key tactics and tips for crafting effective and engaging cold emails:

  • Customize Subject Lines: Your subject line is essential. So, make it compelling, concise, and relevant to pique the interest of your cold leads. Here are some tips: 
  • Use the recipient's name or reference something specific to their business to show it's not a generic mass email.
  • Invoke curiosity without being misleading. A little mystery can encourage prospects to open the email.

Subject: "Revolutionize Your Workflow in 3 Simple Steps"

The above subject line invites curiosity by suggesting a simple method or tool could bring about significant changes. It's specific enough to catch attention but vague enough to prompt the recipient to open the email to discover more about these three steps.

  • Optimize Email Bodies: Ensure clarity, conciseness, and relevance in your email body. The content should convey value, encourage action, and foster meaningful engagement with the recipient. 

Here are some tips:

  • Address the recipient by name in the email, and tailor the message to their industry or pain points. 
  • Highlight the value you can offer. What issues can you resolve for your target clients? How can your product/service benefit them?
  • Keep it concise. People are busy, so get to the point quickly. A few short paragraphs or bullet points work wonders.
  • Clearly state what action you want them to take, whether scheduling a call, visiting your website, or responding to the email. 
  • Include relevant testimonials, case studies, or notable clients you've worked with.
  • Avoid using generic templates. The more tailored and authentic your email, the better.
  • Have a Follow-Up Strategy:

You must recognize the impact of follow-up email sequences spaced 2-3 days apart once you send your initial cold email. Your prospect's response rate rises by 40% after you send your first follow-up email. 

Here's what you need to consider while following up on your sales prospects: 

  • Refer to your previous interactions with the recipient. Remind them of your initial email and the purpose of your follow-up.
  • Offer something of value in each follow-up. It could be additional information, a resource, or even a special offer.
  • Use email tracking tools to see open rates and clicks. It helps refine your follow-up strategy.
  • Experiment with different subject lines, email bodies, or CTAs to see what works best.

3. Use Social Direct Messaging (LinkedIn)

Though you can use Instagram, Meta, and other online platforms to direct message your prospects, we believe LinkedIn to be the no.1 platform for prospecting. We and around 82% of B2B marketers favor this platform over others. 

Here's how you can use it effectively:

  • Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile: Your profile should be complete and professional. Highlight your expertise, experience, and what you offer. A strong profile makes a good impression on potential leads.
  • Use Advanced Search: Employ advanced search filters to find potential prospects based on various criteria such as:
    • Industry
    • Job title
    • Location
    • Company size, etc. 

Consider using LinkedIn's premium tool, Sales Navigator. It offers access to its advanced search and filtering features, CRM integrations, and lead recommendations. Thus, you can quickly narrow your search to the most relevant leads.

  • Connect Strategically: Always personalize your message when sending connection requests to prospects. However, hold your horses when it comes to sales pitching; focus on building a relationship first. You can mention common interests or connections to increase the chances of acceptance.
    However, once you establish a connection, use direct messages strategically. Offer value, such as sharing a relevant resource or inviting them to a webinar or event.
  • Engage and Share Your Expertise: Regularly share valuable content, insights, and updates related to your industry. Also, you will benefit significantly by engaging with others' posts and comments.
    One excellent option would be to join LinkedIn groups relevant to your industry or target market. Then, contribute meaningfully to discussions and build relationships within these communities.

Common Mistakes You Must Avoid

Here’s what you must never do:

In Lead generation

  • Neglecting Lead Qualification: Generating leads without a clear qualification process can lead to a high volume of unqualified or low-quality leads. 
  • Failing to Nurture Leads: Not nurturing leads can result in missed opportunities. Without consistent follow-ups or relevant content, leads may lose interest or forget about your offering.
  • Lacking Diverse Lead Generation Channels: Relying solely on one or two channels can limit exposure. Diversify strategies across various platforms and methods to reach a wider audience and mitigate the risk of dependency on a single source.

In Prospecting 

  • Overlooking Personalization: Unpersonalized outreach efforts can lead to disengagement. Generic messages often miss the mark in capturing the prospect's interest or addressing their needs.
  • Ignoring Research: When you perform prospecting without thorough research on the target audience or market, it causes misaligned pitches or offers. Not understanding the prospect's pain points and preferences hampers successful engagement.
  • Using Pushy Sales Tactics: Your overly aggressive or pushy pitch can alienate potential leads. Bombarding prospects with excessive follow-ups or pressuring them for a quick sale can damage relationships and trust.

Combine Prospecting And Lead Generation For Optimal Results!

You can already see how prospecting and lead generation are two different approaches toward your potential clients. But, if you see clearly, they complement each other throughout the sales process. 

Let us explain in simple terms-

Say you have two sets of potential contacts. One set involves your target market (Leads), and another includes those you want to do business with (Prospects). 

Instead of separately generating and prospecting leads. You can use a well-planned lead generation strategy to ensure a continuous flow of new contacts into your sales pipeline. 

By utilizing nurturing content, you can push ahead in your sales funnel. Your prospecting approach can then focus on top contacts and generate immediate, qualified leads through personalized, one-on-one sales approaches.

Now, let us see some tips on combining these approaches for effective results:

  • Create your buyer persona and ideal customer profile to optimize the "prospecting lead generation" synergy. It involves understanding your ideal customers' characteristics, behaviors, and pain points, guiding your prospecting and lead-generation activities. 

For instance, align your outreach strategies with these defined profiles and tailor your messaging, content, and approach to resonate more effectively with potential leads.

  • Next, use different channels and tools for a broader reach and engagement with prospects and leads. You can choose: 
    • Email
    • Phone
    • Social media
    • Webinars, and more

Each channel offers different strengths in communication; some might excel in personal connections (phone), while others are effective for widespread reach (social media). Employing a mix allows you to cater to your potential leads' diverse preferences and behaviors, increasing the chances of successful engagement.

  • Use a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system for managing and tracking prospects and leads. It centralizes information, interactions, and activities, providing a holistic view of your leads' journey. It facilitates informed decision-making and enables tailored follow-ups, ensuring you take advantage of potential opportunities.
  • Apply a lead scoring system to prioritize and focus efforts on the most promising leads. It helps you direct attention and resources towards high-value leads. 
  • Lastly, employ a lead nurturing system to maintain communication and guide leads through the sales funnel until they are ready to buy. This ongoing engagement, through personalized and relevant content, keeps your brand at the forefront of your leads' minds.

Measure Success Of Prospecting Vs Lead Generation

We recommend these two methods to measure the performance of sales prospecting and lead generation

  • A/B Testing and Optimization: You must compare two versions of your lead generation and prospecting efforts. These may include testing web pages, email templates, etc, to see which performs better. 

You can also measure qualitative analysis of your efforts. 

For example, measure mass prospecting vs prospecting and see which drives more potential customers. Or measure whether webinars bring more leads or content syndication. 

  • Return on investment (ROI) Analysis: Assess the ROI from lead generation and prospecting efforts. It measures how much revenue you generate compared to the cost of acquiring leads and prospecting them to convert. 

This metric will help you adjust your strategies as needed.


So, what will you focus on more: prospecting for leads or efforts to generate them? Well, we favor using the blend of both strategies more. You can find promising prospects easily once you perform strategic lead generation.  

Use our tips to identify and nurture potential customers and pave the way for conversions and revenue generation. If you feel these strategies are overwhelming, then you can put your trust in our experts at Revnew, a B2B lead generation company. We have expertise and years of experience designing tactics specific to our client's needs and scaling up as required. 

Let us see how we can help your business by contacting us here

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