Cre8tive Logic Insights
Lead Generation or Lead Prospecting?
Oct 2021 | Written By David Yovich
Lead generation and lead prospecting are often used interchangeably; however, these activities are, in fact, very different. Traditionally, there is a hard line drawn between the two, specifically, which department is responsible. Lead generation is an activity performed by marketing, while lead prospecting falls under sales. First, it’s important to understand the difference, then realize that developing a hybrid strategy that intertwines both is the real secret to success.
Lead generation is a more passive activity. In recent years lead generation has been at the forefront of marketing strategies, but it’s nothing new. Years ago, coupons, yellow page ads, and even trade shows could be considered lead-generating activities. However, at its core, lead generation simply implies activities that generate leads. In practice, lead generation takes a more “build it and they will come” approach, especially with digital content and media. This means that emphasis is placed on activities such as content creation, digital ads, organic search, videos, and other activities that connect a potential customer with your company’s products or services. Simply put, lead generation attracts potential customers by driving brand awareness and nurturing relationships long term.
Lead prospecting is a much more proactive approach. In an ideal world, salespeople’s core job function is to define the market, build a customer profile, and directly reach out via cold calls, cold emails, or messages on social network platforms to introduce the company’s products or services. In reality, the average salesperson does not know where to find good prospects or recognize them. As a result, sales tend to focus on warm prospects or those who have already entered the sales pipeline. When correctly implemented, lead prospecting can produce significant short-term results, but its effectiveness relies solely on the performance of the individual salespeople.
A hybrid strategy leverages the strengths of both activities and mitigates the weaknesses. Most importantly, however, any hybrid program must cater to your organization’s processes. Therefore, a successful hybrid strategy should not completely change how an organization traditionally handles sales and marketing but rather enhance the process. When planning your hybrid strategy, keep a few things in mind:
- Design a sales approach that fosters both short and long-term approaches.
- Standardize the process so it can be predictable, repeatable, and scalable.
- Consider hiring or outsourcing a person whose sole job function is first contact and data mining information specific to potential customers.
- Develop specific deliverables and a timeline for those deliverables for which both sales and marketing are responsible.
- Don’t expect immediate results. Immediate success may happen, but view that as an anomaly, not the norm. Successful programs can take time.
- No matter how complex your strategy, always make sure it keeps to one simple overriding purpose; Find, Introduce, and Nurture.