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9 proven ways to generate sales leads

Sales and marketing experts share their lead-generation tips, including the best methods and media for finding prospective customers.

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When it comes to the best way (or ways) to generate sales leads, or find new customers, "there is a lot of buzz surrounding social media," says Mick Hollison, the CMO at InsideSales.com, a provider of cloud-based sales automation and predictive analytics for inside sales professionals. Social media "is exciting and highly utilized.

However, our research found that social media platforms -- Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest -- aren't very effective at generating quality sales leads," he says. "Meanwhile, some of the more effective methods, like executive events, webinars, search marketing and telemarketing, are underutilized."

While trade shows and webinars work well for certain organizations, many businesses swear by LinkedIn and Facebook (despite InsideSales.com's findings). Clearly, when it comes to lead generation, one method does not fit all.

So how do you determine which methods or media are the best for finding new customers? By testing several different lead generation strategies — and measuring the results.

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