Lead generation and prospecting are often confused, but indeed they are two different things. Let’s break down the differences and why it’s important to approach each with unique strategies.
Both prospecting and lead generation are a part of the sales process and both are crucial steps to the sales pipeline. Though they are similar they serve different functions within the sales pipeline.
If you don’t already know, the sales pipeline is a series of steps that includes finding leads, qualifying leads, and selling to those leads. Of course, there is much more to the process, but that is the gist. Lets go over the basics of both prospecting and lead generation so you can understand the foundation of sales.
Sales prospecting is a manual effort made by the sales team of the call center to identify qualified buyers of the product or service that the company offers. The company will need to have a set of criteria that explains what a qualified lead is and it is the salesperson job to find those individuals or businesses that meet those requirements. If they meet the criteria they will be called prospects.
Lead generation is a task performed by the marketing team to gain interest in the product or service. A few ways a marketing team might try to gain interest is through:
Leads are individuals or businesses that have not been qualified. This doesn’t mean that they don’t fit the criteria, it just means that a sales agent has not yet communicated/researched them to determine if they are qualified.
Lead generation simply seeks to gain interest, which can then be given to the sales team to go through the qualifying process to become a prospect.
As said before, prospecting is a sales technique, while lead generation is a marketing activity. In the sales pipeline, lead generation will come first through the marketing team and then it will go down the line to the sales team to be determined as qualified or not qualified. Usually, there are different teams responsible for each of these strategies, but in some cases the agents will have both roles.
Call centers will use sales prospecting as a way to save time and maximize the agent’s efforts into qualified candidates. While it does take time to qualify a lead, it is a valuable use of time as opposed to investing large amounts of time speaking with every lead that is produced by the marketing team. Here are the steps we suggest in order to produce a prospect and weed out unqualified leads:
The goal is to spend a little extra effort understanding who is capable of buying and who is willing to buy, so the agents can focus the majority of their time spent on nurturing the prospects.
With the use of automation, much of the prospecting process can be done with little effort on the agents’ part which helps even more so to preserve agent time for other tasks.
Generating new sales leads requires knowing your ideal market. You must know who you are targeting and why. Sales lead generation techniques starts with answering some basic questions like:
Once you know the answers to those questions, you will be able to create a campaign that will appeal to the target audience. Part of networking and marketing for your targeted audience is knowing where to market and what promotions to use. It is very important that you have a good understanding of your audience so you can successfully target them.
Of course, there are very ‘in-depth’ ways to generate sales leads, but once you know this information, you should focus on generating interest. Creating new sales leads requires knowing who your leads are and making attempts to gain their attention. This lets them know that you are an option. Here are a few helpful tips on how to generate leads:
Both prospecting and lead generation contribute to the earliest stages of the sales pipeline and they both seek to achieve the business goal of generating sales. Knowing the importance and difference of each process will help the call center agents understand their roles and goals. Furthermore, it will help the manager set and define goals for the departments. With all this in mind it is not time to get the process started by getting your sales leads lists!