There are a number of ways that businesses can get new sales leads. Some do it through advertising, some through internet marketing, some by getting data from information aggregators such as Salesgenie and Jigsaw.
What has been interesting is that each industry has had its successes and failures with each. It is going to depend on which one you are in. If you are a B2C business, you'll probably want to look at an integrated strategy where you do some internet marketing through pay-per-click, banner advertising and social media.
If you're B2B, you may wish to begin by getting into certain verticals and start reaching out to their associations. Find out which memberships will help you get either free advertising in their buyer's guide or consideration for advertising directly to the decision makers.
A new business that wanted to market to the medical industry recently asked me if I had any ideas on how to get out its message to the buying decision makers. The first step was to find the local office managers association and start talking to them to see what issues they were facing locally that this business could help with.
In doing so, we discovered the same problems exist on the national level. The business explored membership opportunities and now has an "in" with a national association that allows them to market directly to the decision makers representing about $180 billion in purchasing power. Not bad.
In your case, you might want to determine who you're after and find out which associations are available to you to begin marketing to decision makers.
Again, if you're in the B2C, you will want to look at a comprehensive strategy that will find your perfect customer and engage them where they are. Sales leads from a data company might not be the best unless you're looking for mortgage leads. Even then, getting leads can still be a harder run of numbers than you're looking for.
Figure out who you are marketing to then start finding them where they are. If you are limited on budget and want to do an outbound campaign, you can always go to a data aggregator and buy leads.
Be sure to understand the data needs to be fresh as possible. If it's even slightly old, with the economy the way it is right now, there can be a lag on that info and your data may not be that effective no matter where you get it.
Related: How Do Your Sales Leads Measure Up?
Related: How to Find Sales Leads on Social Media
Related: Three Tips for Following Up Sales Leads
Question added to topic Marketing • August 21, 2011
What's the Best Way to Acquire New Sales Leads?
I have launched a new company with my partners. We are using trial and error to acquire new leads but the difficulty of introducing a startup company seems far-fetched. How can we show our skills without scaring people away with pricing? Are there any strategies or tips you can suggest?