Lead Generation Vs Prospecting – The Differences Explained

Lead Generation Vs Prospecting – The Differences Explained

The terms “lead generation” and “sales prospecting” are often used interchangeably. But should you do that?

Here’s what we are going to discuss today:

  • What is lead generation?
  • What is sales prospecting?
  • What is the difference between lead generation and sales prospecting?

Want to get some clarity?

Continue reading…

What is a Lead?

What is a lead graphic.

A lead is a potential customer who has:

  1. Expressed an interest in your products or services 
  2. Provided you with their contact details (typically their name and email address or just the email address, although some companies ask for more information)


It can be someone who hasn’t given you their contact details, but who has expressed an interest in your product once you reached out to them.

What is Lead Generation?

Lead generation graphic.

Lead generation is the process of converting a potential customer into leads by persuading them to give you their email addresses.

This is typically done by implementing a lead generation funnel:

  1. You create a lead magnet
  2. You create a landing page for that lead magnet
  3. You drive traffic to that landing page

People who give you their email addresses in exchange for your lead magnet become leads.

They can then continue progressing through your sales funnel.

3 Lead Generation Tips

Want to get more leads with lead generation?

Here are three tips that can help you do that:

#1 Create a Super Valuable Lead Magnet

Here’s what you have to understand:

People are not going to give you their contact information unless you give them something super valuable in return.

So make sure that your lead magnet is super valuable. Create something that people would happily pay for, then give it away for free.

#2 Implement Landing Page Best Practices

Online marketers have been using landing pages to sell their products and services for over two decades.

So by now we know what works and what doesn’t. People sometimes talk about the “art and science” of creating a high-converting landing page. It’s pretty much just the science at this point.

That means that if you want your landing page to convert well, you need to follow landing page best practices.

You should start by:

  1. Making your landing page simpler – Bells and whistles might seem cool but they are distracting. 
  2. Making your landing page copy more intriguing – You want to pique the potential customer’s interest. Convey the value that you offer, but don’t give everything away. Why would they give you their email address if they already know what you are going to say in your lead magnet? 

Here’s how our co-founder Russell Brunson explains it:

#3 Drive High-Quality Traffic to Your Landing Page

All traffic can be separated into two categories:

  1. High-quality traffic that is made up of your dream customers
  2. Low-quality traffic that isn’t made up of your dream customers

When it comes to driving traffic to your lead magnet landing page, you want to focus on quality over quantity.

Otherwise, the people that you send to it either won’t download your lead magnet at all or they will download it but then won’t ever buy anything from you.

What is a Sales Prospect?

A sales prospect is a person that meets your criteria for qualifying someone as a dream customer.

Note that a sales prospect isn’t the same thing as a lead:

One doesn’t need to express an interest in your products and give you their contact details to be considered a prospect.

What is Sales Prospecting?

Sales prospecting is the process of converting prospects into leads by reaching out to them and getting them interested in your product.

Here are the three most popular prospecting methods:

  1. Cold email
  2. Cold calling
  3. Cold social media outreach

So instead of getting potential customers to come to you by attracting them to your lead magnet landing page, you go to them by using cold outreach.

3 Sales Prospecting Tips

Want to get more leads with sales prospecting?

Here are three tips that can help you do that:

#1 Set Daily, Weekly, and Monthly Cold Outreach Goals

You may have heard people say that “sales is a numbers game”.

That is inaccurate because the number of prospects you reach out to is just one factor in sales success.

But it’s certainly important to be process-oriented rather than goal-oriented.


You should focus on reaching out to a certain number of prospects, not on closing a certain number of sales.

So set daily, weekly, and monthly cold outreach goals and then concentrate on achieving them.

#2 Keep Optimizing Your Approach to Sales Prospecting

Don’t be mindless about cold outreach, though.

Pay attention to what works and what doesn’t:

  • Which emails received replies?
  • Which social media messages received replies?
  • Which calls got you on the phone with the right person?

Most importantly:

Which emails, social media messages, and calls resulted in converting the prospect into a lead?

Keep adjusting your approach based on what you learn.

#3 Invest in Improving Your Sales Skills

There’s this idea that the ability to sell is an innate talent.

And sure, some people are naturals at, they seem to have been born with it.

However, the ability to sell is a skill that can be acquired by anyone, provided that the person is willing to put in the work.

So consider investing in:

  • Sales books
  • Sales courses
  • Sales seminars
  • Sales conferences
  • Sales coaching

You can start small.

For example:

The classic sales book “The Psychology of Selling” by Brian Tracy costs less than $12 on Amazon (for the paperback version).

Keep in mind that the better salesperson you become, the easier it will be for you to convert prospects into leads.

What is the Difference Between Lead Generation and Sales Prospecting?

Lead generation and sales prospecting have the same goal: to convert a potential customer into a lead.

But there are also important differences:

  • Sales prospecting is done manually, lead generation is automated
  • Sales prospecting relies on outbound marketing, lead generation relies on inbound marketing (with the exception of paid advertising)
  • Sales prospecting is done by salespeople, lead generation is done by marketers

Note that this is just what people typically have in mind when they use the terms “sales prospecting” and “lead generation”.

You don’t need to obsess over these terms, though. What matters is that you convert potential customers into leads.

Is Sales Prospecting Outdated?

There’s no doubt that manually reaching out to potential customers can help you get your online business off the ground.

For example:

Justin McGill, the founder of LeadFuze, used cold email to grow his company from zero to $30k/month in monthly recurring revenue in just one year. That’s impressive!

Is Sales Prospecting Outdated, Lead Fuze example.

So we are definitely not saying that sales prospecting has no place in the process of growing an online business.

However, sales prospecting isn’t scalable, which means that at some point you will have to move beyond it.

In fact, you might want to start building your sales funnel right from the get-go, so that you could automate the process of converting potential customers into leads as soon as possible.

What is the Most Effective Way to Sell Online?

Our co-founder, Russell Brunson, has developed a sales funnel model called the Value Ladder.

It’s what he used to grow ClickFunnels from zero to $100 million in annual revenue in less than a decade without any outside funding.

We believe that the Value Ladder is the most effective way to sell online.

The Value Ladder, graphic.

Here’s how Russell explains it:

So don’t hesitate to use sales prospecting when you are just starting out. Cold outreach is the fastest way to get your product in front of your dream customers.

But your aim should be to build a high-converting Value Ladder sales funnel that does the work for you.


You can convert potential customers into leads manually via sales prospecting.

But we believe that automating the process by creating a sales funnel makes much more sense.

For example:

Our co-founder Russell Brunson used sales funnels to take ClickFunnels from zero to $10 million in annual revenue in just one year.

You can’t do something like that by making cold calls all day. You need to use technology if you want to grow your company explosively.

Want Russell to teach you how you can implement sales funnels in your business?

That’s what our 5 Day Challenge is all about.

You will learn how to:

  • Generate unlimited leads
  • Create your first lead magnet
  • Build your first sales funnel
  • Create a simple 6-email follow-up sequence
  • And launch your funnel!

…in just five days.

So don’t hesitate.

Join our 5 Day Challenge. It’s completely free!

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