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What is the difference between prospecting and lead generation?

Is prospecting different than lead generation? What is the difference? - by Thomas
Is prospecting different than lead generation? What is the difference?
Prospecting is a term we use on the sales side when we seek to find qualified prospects whom we hope to turn into client. Activities such as networking, cold calling, referral generation fit here.

Lead generation is a term that comes from the marketing side of the business. Technically, lead generation activities are the marketing department efforts to generate leads for the sales force. Things such as advertising, direct mail, publishing white papers, pay per click, etc.

Most salespeople use the terms interchangeably since on a very small scale we engage in both and most salespeople don't distinguish between the various activities. In reality, for salespeople prospecting, marketing, lead generation mean basically the same thing. The only time you really have to worry about the technical definition of lead generation is when you're speaking someone from marketing. - by pmccord
What the salesperson does is prospecting and what the company does is lead generation? That's not exactly what you said but is that the same thing? - by Thomas
Basically, the answer is yes because of scale.

When you send out a direct mail piece to 1,500 people, you're engaged in a traditional lead generation process, but on a tiny scale. When the company sends out 10,000,000 pieces, that's lead generation as marketing sees it.

When you send out your small mailing you're looking for leads for yourself, you're prospecting for your next prospect. When the company sends out their huge mailing, they're looking company wide, for the entire sales force.

But cold calling can be corporate lead generation also. When you cold call, you're looking to set an appointment for yourself. You're prospecting for your prospects. If your company has a cold call center where people are cold calling setting up appointments to be worked by the sales force, that's lead generation.

Your activities are geared towared your personal sales. The company is getting leads for anyone who will work them--or for the house in some cases, cutting the commissioned sales force out the loop. - by pmccord
Basically, the answer is yes because of scale.

When you send out a direct mail piece to 1,500 people, you're engaged in a traditional lead generation process, but on a tiny scale. When the company sends out 10,000,000 pieces, that's lead generation as marketing sees it.
I hope that wasn't too ignorant of a question but some books say prospecting and some say lead generation and some say prospect and lead generation. Another mystery solved. thmbp2; - by Thomas
Excellent thread.

Chuck - by Sales Pro 1000
I hope that wasn't too ignorant of a question but some books say prospecting and some say lead generation and some say prospect and lead generation. Another mystery solved. thmbp2;
Not an ignorant question at all. The sales side of the business doesn't have a lot of well defined terms like the marketing side does. We tend to use words imprecisely, which is fine most of the time. So, we use marketing, lead generation, and prospecting interchangeable. The books you are reading probably are doing the same. The only time you have to think of the marketing meaning of the word is when you're reading something written by someone from marketing--then, just think big picture, not individual. - by pmccord
In my humble opinion, Lead Generation is a practice that results in barely to highly qualified leads, depending on the approach. While prospecting qualifies at the same time.

A big challenge facing companies right now is that the marketing department is so hung up on lead-generation metrics, that they often deliver poorly qualified leads, which in turn costs a lot more than whatever price tag came with that lead.

It's difficult (but crucial) to measure the success rate of lead sources to determine if money is being spent in the right places. Even the largest sales organizations have a hard time doing that.

I'm on a tangent now, but I think if salespeople will actively let the marketing department know what is working and what isn't, they will find a much more successful relationship.

Justyn - by Justyn

A big challenge facing companies right now is that the marketing department is so hung up on lead-generation metrics, that they often deliver poorly qualified leads, which in turn costs a lot more than whatever price tag came with that lead.

I'm on a tangent now, but I think if salespeople will actively let the marketing department know what is working and what isn't, they will find a much more successful relationship.

Justyn
Justyn,

You are certainly correct that marketing is hung up on ROI without taking into consideration the quality of the leads--metrics are the only things that matter for some in marketing. It's what they get paid on--and they can always shift closing issues to sales, which they do. They argue that they get the leads and the damn sales department doesn't know how to close them.

The problem with having sales let the marketing department know what is working--or what will work, is that many in marketing make the assumption that sales doesn't know what it is talking about. After all, they reason, who has the MBA? It's the traditional