You came to know what lead prospecting is, why it matters, and how to do it. This guide will show you the very best practice, so let’s jump straight in.

What’s lead prospecting?

Lead prospecting starts at the top of the sales funnel. It’s the art of hunting down potential quality customers. You don’t cast the net out wide and hope to pull in a few strays. You actively seek out people or businesses that could fit your ICP (ideal customer profile) – you know – those more likely to convert into paying customers.

It’s usually your sales team who will take the lead (ha) on prospecting leads. To do lead prospecting properly, you need to do these things well.


Know what your ICP looks like, their interests, and where you’ll find them. We’re going to talk about this a lot.

Reach out

This could be your sales team cold calling, outbound emailing, or LinkedIn DMing.

Follow up

Qualify your leads and learn where to put your efforts into getting those conversions.


Build relationships with your contacts and guide them through to purchase, then keep the relationship going.

Why is lead prospecting important?

Identifying your qualified leads

They’ve been through sales rep vetting and they’re ready to hear more. You don’t lose time and effort on leads that will never go anywhere and in time, this will up your conversion rates.

Building relationships

It’s also a winner for building authentic relationships with customers. Lead prospecting involves a hands-on approach from your sales team, so they get to know your customers, their needs, and habits, which helps further down the line when you’re nurturing them through first, or repeat, purchases.

Streamlining your sales cycle

Put in the time at the beginning with your ICPs and you’ll reap the rewards. As you identify leads more likely to purchase, you’ll be able to move through the sales cycle faster, have the right content ready for them at the right time, and be able to predict their decisions and intentions more accurately.

Lead generation vs prospecting

What are the differences between lead generation and lead prospecting? Let’s take a look.

Lead generation

Typically falls under your marketing team

Uses a lot of one-to-many, wider marketing tactics and channels

Starts as one-sided communication

Can take longer to identify leads, who then become prospects

Lead prospecting

Typically led by your sales team

Targets customers more individually and is more personalized

Feels more like two-way communication between you and the customer

Qualifies leads early on, so the process is shorter and leads to quicker gains as your targeting is more specific

Take a look at our post on the difference between leads and prospects to understand how they fit together and learn about different types of prospects.

Lead generation examples

Lead generation uses lots of different channels and tactics.

  • Content marketing
  • Blogs
  • Webinars
  • Quizzes and surveys
  • Downloadable content such as whitepapers, ebooks, or infographics.
  • Sign-ups – landing pages or forms that offer lead magnets or takeaways for your interested customers, and vital data for you.
  • Social media marketing – organic posts to encourage engagement or paid ads that direct to need-to-know info and downloadables.
  • SEO – PPC ads and keyword targeting.
  • Email marketing – get sign-ups and use automation to direct them to relevant content and move them through the funnel.

Our lead generation guide will take you through everything you need to know to start up a lead generation campaign. 9 essential lead generation strategies give you some food for thought on putting it into action.

Lead prospecting examples

Like lead generation, there are several ways you can go about lead prospecting. There can even be a bit of overlap on channels, but it’s how you use those channels that matters in prospecting leads.

Cold calling – This can feel like a slog, like you’re speaking to more answerphones than people, but now and then you land a good nugget. You can source this out to agencies if you’re budget-rich but time-poor. Some outbound lead gen strategies still work.

LinkedIn – use it for research. Have a nose through profiles to find out if they meet your ICP then slide into their DMs, retarget them with lead gen content, or pick up the phone.

Multi-channel marketing – email newsletters, SEO strategies, social media, webinars, or events.

Referrals – when you’ve got strong relationships with customers who are ready to advocate for you, it opens the door to other customers from their network. When they refer you to new business, you’ve already got trust established and you’re one step ahead.

Networking – find a group that fits your ICP. Think about the size of the business, its needs and pain points, and which contacts to invite to a networking event.

How to know which one to use?

If you’re not sure whether you need to be focusing on lead generation or lead prospecting, here’s an easy rule of thumb to follow.

Use lead prospecting if:

Your pipeline is looking empty. This is a quick gains approach to fill it up again

You need quick results

You’ve nailed down your ICP and you know exactly the type of customer you’re looking for

You want to create strong working relationships with customers

Use lead generation if:

You want to cast your net out wider to find leads

Time is on your side and you can dedicate a longer lead-in time frame

You’re going for quantity over quality, to then catch the quality leads further down the funnel

You'll be leading the activity, less so your sales team

Top lead prospecting strategies

Bring your marketing and sales together

Lead gen and lead prospecting work best together. So bring sales and marketing together and align your strategies. Make sure you’re not duplicating your efforts and you’re clear on how a lead can become a prospect.

ICP research

Your ICP is the center of your lead prospecting strategy. To target the right people or businesses to become qualified leads, you need to up your research. Think about:

  • Their needs and pain points
  • The size of their company
  • Who the decision makers are

Get some more pointers and  learn how to use data to refine your ICP (and grab some free ICP templates).

Lead scoring

Setting up a lead scoring model (like our one below) will help you qualify prospects and prioritize who to contact first. Use a scoring system alongside your ICP to work out:

  • Which potential customers have the biggest pain points your product or service can help
  • Who’s most likely to move through your sales funnel and engage with your sales team

 Turtl lead scoring model

Take all that intel and turn it into a personalized experience for your prospects. Your first phone call should make them feel like they don’t need to reel off a list of pain points, needs, and desires to you because you already know them. Prepare in advance by tailoring a pitch that can work over the phone or email.

Build relationships

Another huge part of prospecting to make it successful is to build relationships with your prospects. Do more individualized research to understand them. Do some social listening, read their blogs, and read their reviews.

So now you’ve personalized your first contact with them and they want to engage more. This is your time to follow up with them consistently and keep communication lines open. Strike the balance between speaking to them regularly without hounding them.

Analyze, learn, and iterate

A staple of any campaign activity, you need to analyze how it’s going and tweak where necessary. Look at how well you’ve managed to:

  • Understand their problems and react to them
  • Move them through the sales funnel
  • Get them to engage with the right content to help their decision-making process.

You’ll also need to look at your own processes. Are you in budget? Have you scheduled the right amount of time to spend contacting prospects? Have you stuck to your timelines? Evaluate how your sales and marketing teams are working together too.

Lead prospecting best practices

Stay ahead of the competition

Keep an eye on your competitors. Have a snoop around to see what their tactics are and how they’re interacting with prospects. Think about strategies that you could use to make you stand out from them.

Nail your ICP

We’ve not stopped talking about your ICP, but we need to drum in on how important it is in lead prospecting.
Get your ICP right at the beginning and you’ll save time further down the line. If you don’t, you may as well be doing a lead generation campaign and trying to hook a wider customer demographic. Your ICP will help you to target the right people, the first time around.

Don’t engage then leave them to it

The crux of lead prospecting is building meaningful relationships. This will give you a higher chance of immediate conversion and repeat buying in the future.

Sales need to hand-hold through the whole process. They need to make sure prospects:

  • Feel understood by you
  • Get the chance to engage with all the relevant content to help their buying decision
  • Have built a level of trust with your business.

Consistent communication is where it’s at – that could be a mixture of regular phone calls or emails, or more interactive content like webinars or events. Today, you can send personalized and interactive sales proposals, pitch decks, or brochures – and see exactly who is reading your content.

Use automation tools

Of course, when the ball’s rolling, it can be tricky to keep on top of all your prospects and where they’re at in their journey. So use automation tools wherever you can to make your lives easier. We’re talking automated emails with the next piece of relevant information or content, booking in phone calls, or directing them to the next piece of content in your sales funnel.

Turtl takeaway

Once you’ve brought in those leads, they need to journey to the end of the funnel. And how can you do that? With a smart, sleek lead management strategy.
Want step-by-step instructions on how to build one of your very own? Dive into our guide ‘Optimizing the MQL” below.

Click to read Optimizing the MQL

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