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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I suppose it was only a matter of time.

I noticed today a Twitter Sales Lead Tool which searches tweets for keywords relative to your business. It seems to filter tweets based on intent words (such as "need" or "looking for") and then delivers you a list of sales-ready leads which you can communicate directly with via the tool.

All very neat stuff.

It's something you can already do manually with a search string or advance search form and then saving the search. But, the search tool is free and looks to make organising the results easier so maybe it's worth a punt.

However, my real question is whether you really can get sales ready leads off twitter.

You see, as I've posted before Are social networks just a waste of time for B2B lead generation?, I wonder whether they really generate qualified sales leads or just a lot of time wasting noise.

Let's take our business as an example.

I'm looking for prospects who want telemarketing, right? (Well, not exactly, but lets follow this route). If I run a search on twitter for "telemarketing" I get a whole mixed bag a people complaining about telemarketing, looking for a telemarketing job, people looking for hire someone for a telemarketing job, it goes on.

OK, so I filter it by using a search string to remove the word "job" and to only look for people asking a question. What do I get? Well, in this instance, just one tweet and it's someone looking to hire someone.

But let's assume I actually get more. What next?

Well, for it to a qualified "sales-ready" lead I need to tick a few boxes. Basic stuff like budget, target market, timescales, etc. Whatever the filters are that you need to decide whether it's a qualified lead.

My point is that, when you really drill into these things, for b2b lead generation twitter doesn't seem to deliver. Of course, if you're selling something that has less qualification criteria and/or a large universe of people looking, then it could be a goldmine.

But for my business (and for pretty much all of my clients) I don't think so.

The more I look, the more I see that most of the buzz comes from people selling training or tools to use social media for lead generation. Everyone's jumped on the Sales 2.0 bandwagon and are making hay.

Don't get me wrong, social networking platforms can be useful for sales lead generation. Identifying and researching prospects are two key areas where we use them every day.

And, I don't rule out that as they develop and adoption grows within business, we won't find serious buyers tweeting their intent or starting discussions on LinkedIn groups whereas they used to wander around an exhibition hall looking for solutions.

But right now, for b2b sales lead generation, I think you're still better off investing your time, money and energy in more proven tactics.

Bottom line is that we're interested in delivering results. Whilst it might be sexy to talk with clients about social media the reality is that we can't guarantee it'll deliver qualified sales-ready opportunities.

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Posted by: David Regler @ 1:29 pm |   | Links to this post  

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