Leads, networking and social media

In the previous blog we looked at three different ways to generate leads for your business: Hoovers, Salesgenie and LinkedIn.com. They’re all pretty much the same, right? Do the same thing? Provide the same basic information? The cost of the two subscription options — Hoovers and Salesgenie — are within a few hundred dollars of each other so no real difference there; and basic LinkedIn accounts are free.

HOOVERS: Hoovers typically has more contacts per company and more relevant information altogether. Another plus for Hoovers is the ability to copy and paste information into the search criteria. Doesn’t seem like a big deal but it does come in handy and if you’re a slow typist (like me!) it can certainly speed up the research process.

SALESGENIE: Salesgenie does have a more appealing user interface, and the slick navigation functionality makes it very user friendly. Another unique feature of Salesgenie is that it shows the credit rating of business in the database, and also provides a quick snapshot of their business expenditures. I’ve looked up companies in Salesgenie that I’m familiar with on purpose and it’s disappointing to see just how inaccurate some of the information is in the database. Once again, Hoovers is a no brainer for me.

LINKEDIN: So how about that LinkedIn account that you all have but never use? Despite the lack of company financial info and competitor reporting, it is still a very good tool for trying to find that one contact you need to get your foot in the door and begin conversations with the potential client.

The info it provides is way more accurate because each profile owner self edits and updates his or her profile. Another neat feature of LinkedIn is the ability to follow companies and get updates of new hires, recent departures and job postings. LinkedIn also has a ton of different groups you can join which can be helpful to keep up on emerging trends in your own field and fields you want to follow. And as far as LinkedIn goes, you all should have a profile for your business and a personal file. And keep them updated. This is free marketing, folks. [We practice what we preach. Check out Imaginuity Interactive on LinkedIn.]

It all comes down to networking

So don’t know which one is right for you? Each is helpful; we use multiple resources at Imaginuity Interactive to keep as up to date as possible. And no matter which tools work best for you, good old fashioned networking is essential to success in whatever business endeavor you are pursuing.

The bottom line: Online social media are here to stay. Most venues are free or low cost, and businesses of all sizes are leveraging the power of social media to connect with potential clients, customers and industry colleagues. Paid sales lead services have their place, but will never replace good solid networking. If your business isn’t leveraging social media yet, it needs to get there. ASAP.

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