Mind the Gap: The Disconnect Between LinkedIn, Twitter and What Actually Works for Lead Generation

If you had to make a sale today, where would you start? What method would you choose to generate qualitative leads?

In today’s market, sales professionals are swimming in a sea of choices. The options for online lead generation alone are overwhelming–email, search marketing, blogs, videos, mobile ads, webinars–so it comes as no surprise that sales and marketing teams having conflicting thinking on where to start when it comes to generating leads.

XANT decided to shine a light on the most used and most effective lead generation tactics as well as how sales and marketing professionals view the effectiveness of these methods.

What follows is a snapshot of what we discovered.

What’s Keeping Us Up at Night? Top B2B Challenges

According to the survey, nearly half (49%) of all sales and marketing representatives believe that not generating enough leads is their top marketing challenge.

The Top Five B2B Challenges:

  1. Generating More Leads – 49%
  2. Converting Leads to Customers – 43%
  3. Improving Lead Quality – 39%
  4. Reaching decision makers – 37%
  5. Increasing Product Awareness – 31%

However, this data was split along company size. Companies with smaller marketing budgets (below $499,000) saw an insufficient quantity of leads as their top challenge. For companies with a budget of $500,000 and up, their challenges changed to place improving lead quality, reaching decision makers, improving sales support as number one.

For companies looking to increase their lead generation and increase opportunities for their sales team, the marketing budget may be the first step to changing things around.

All in on LinkedIn?

Move over, Zuckerberg and Dorsey: It’s no longer just about Facebook or Twitter. According to the survey, LinkedIn now leads the pack when it comes to professional connections and with that, sales and marketing opportunities. In the past four years, XANT’s survey found that LinkedIn’s effectiveness to generate leads has jumped 28%, compared to Twitter’s 10%.

However, before you start using LinkedIn as your only method for lead generation, take a quick pause. What’s hot may not yet be the most effective. Here is what the data shows:

Top Five Adopted Lead Generation Methods:

  1. Company Website – 83%
  2. Email – 74%
  3. LinkedIn – 69%
  4. Tradeshows – 62%
  5. Blogs – 53%

Top Five Most Effective Lead Generation Methods:

  1. Small Executive Events – 77%
  2. Webinars – 73%
  3. Tradeshows – 72%
  4. Sales Development – 72%
  5. Virtual Events – 71%

That doesn’t mean LinkedIn won’t come to dominate the space, but for now, it’s not even listed in the five most effective methods. A look at the most effective list from the survey shows the need for financial resources and a dedicated, hands-on approach. Taking the time and resources to curate webinars, tradeshows and small executive events is well worth it.

Lead generation methods vary greatly by effectiveness.

When it comes to satisfaction and choice of methods for the future, inside sales leads the pack. The survey found that more companies are willing to try inside sales this year (13%), with 93% of companies who currently use inside sales, pledging to continue their use.

Hey, if you find a good thing, you stick with it.

All of this data and more can be seen in the full Lead Generation Methods report, available here.

We’d love to hear from you in the comments below–what do you think is the most effective lead generation method and which are over-hyped?

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