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Getting sales leads: which methods work in today’s world?

A new study unveils the most effective tools for generating sales leads, most effective and most common marketing methods, and the most under-utilized and over-utilized marketing methods.

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Brands are failing to leverage tools to get sales leads

Insidesales.com, a leading provider of cloud-based sales acceleration technologies and solutions has released new research revealing companies are failing to leverage the most effective technologies and methods for generating sales leads and driving business awareness.

The report finds that generating sales leads and improving the quality of those leads are the most common challenges faced in business-to-business (B2B) marketing. Yet, salespeople and marketers are giving priority to channels with more perceived value, than actual value, according to their study.

“This study indicates that companies can better focus their marketing resources into those channels which are most effective,” said Ken Krogue, president of InsideSales.com.

Examining marketing methods

Their study encompassed twenty six marketing methods, broken down in to five sub-categories:

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  • Traditional: Tv advertising, radio, direct mail, print advertising, public relations, outdoor media
  • Events: tradeshow, conference, sponsorships, executive events (breakfasts, seminars, etc.), virtual on-demand events, webinars/webcasts
  • Online: company website, email/electronic marketing, search marketing, blogs, online display ads, other web 2.0 tools (RSS, Mashups, Widgets), online video, rich media (podcasts, flash demos, interactive PDFs)
  • Social: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest
  • Outbound: Inside sales, telemarketing

Some of these methods could fit into more than one category, but that is how the study broke them down. Their study found that the most effective marketing methods were inside sales. It was the highest rated method for generating leads and driving brand awareness. Inside sales were followed by executive events and telemarketing.

As for the most common marketing methods, the methods which are highly effective at generating leads are company websites, email (or e-newsletters), and tradeshows.

The most underused marketing methods

The most underused marketing methods, despite their effectiveness, are executive events and telemarketing. They were only used by one-third of the study’s respondents. Other underused tools were webinars and search marketing. These were used by less than half of the companies in the study.

The most overused methods to generate sales leads

Surprisingly, it is social media methods that are the most overused. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest are the least effective for generating leads or driving brand awareness. However, over fifty percent of the survey takers have adopted these methods.

“While there’s a lot of buzz surrounding it, social media’s very poor lead generation and business awareness effectiveness means marketers are over utilizing LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Companies should more frequently use executive events, telemarketing, webinars, and search marketing to improve their results in these areas.”

The big caveat

While this does seem surprising, the study itself states that “only 12% of respondents have marketing budgets adequately large to allow them to undertake large scale campaign such as broad reach marketing.”

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One might infer that price could be a driving factor behind the marketing choices these companies have made. By and large, social media outlets like Pinterest, Google+, and Twitter are free to use which is why so many turn to these tools.

The study’s primary finding

Telemarketing and executive events are costly, but can be effective. There is a necessity to weigh your budget against your marketing needs before you completely reject social media as a means for lead generating, in my opinion – many brands have found great success online, but the study’s primary finding is that more companies are crowding free spaces, abandoning traditional methods that still work.

Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.

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