Who has the best sales leads for small business?

I’ll get straight to the point – it’s Google. Or Yahoo. Or Bing.

There are a variety of companies like Hoovers orĀ D&B who have been selling leads for decades, and even folks like SalesGenie and JigSaw let small business owners “cherry pick” lists to buy at small volumes. But do they work?

Maybe it’s time to take a step back and define what “does it work” means.Simply put, if a business buying leads does not have the sufficient resources to turn those leads into revenues, it simply does not work as a marketing campaign. For medium to large sized companies who have marketing departments (or at least a marketing person) and a team of salespeople to wade through lists of contacts, buying lead lists can be a viable solution.

That doesn’t mean they won’t invest in other lead generation channels like Google or trade shows, but these companies have large sales quotas to fill and often the only way to reach those milestones are to go out and “push” the sales message to folks who are identified by lead lists as targets. Some folks call these “outbound” campaigns.

For small businesses though, the need to get past the initial introduction and education parts of a outbound sales campaign is paramount. They simply don’t have the time to cold call 90 people a day, invite them to a webinar, email drip on them if they don’t buy immediately, follow up, etc. It’s simply too exhausting. And don’t they have a business to run other than just sales & marketing?

Wether it’s on Google or Bing (and I’m not discounting Yahoo either) the nature of a lead that comes from such media sources are “pull” rather than “push.” Meaning it’s inbound marketing rather than outbound.

Meaning those leads coming from an inbound campaign are from people who have already decided they need your product/service, have started the search process and have actively decided to contact you.

Yes, I realize that paying $_ per click and having to pay for ___ amount of clicks to get just 1 lead from Google, Bing or Yahoo sounds like it’s more expensive than buying a list of leads for 25 cents each, but what’s the real cost?

Too many small business owners think of what they spend for leads in terms of the price per lead, but that’s completely ignoring the real matter at hand which is – how much does it cost to make each sale?

It takes economics of scale – meaning a lot of money and people-power – to make the metrics of buying lists of sales leads work. For most small business owners, it’s much more economical to let search engines filter out those who would never buy from your small business and sit there at the end of the funnel to sell to only those who have decided to spend money.

You can get started at Adwords for Small Business here. Just be warned, it takes some money and experience to get good at managing the Adwords console so that Google (and other search engines) actually generate positive returns for your business. The truth is, chances are some of your savvier competitors are already generating revenues from Google and hoping you don’t crowd their space.

Diligence, education, training and consistent tinkering with your ads, landing pages and messaging will give them some competition. And if you have questions (you should have many) the helpful community at WebMasterWorld are there to help. It’s free and the members on the site are very helpful samaritans.