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SMBs' Favorite Sources for Sales Leads

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Phone calls are the highest rated source for sales leads by small and midsize businesses (SMBs), according to a recent BIA/Kelsey’s Local Commerce Monitor report.

Just over two-thirds (66.4%) of SMBs consider phone calls a good or excellent lead source (28% rated calls an excellent lead source; 38.4% rated them as good). This includes leads from click-to-call online ads, which were found to be especially effective for businesses in the restaurant, food and grocery, auto, telecom, and travel industries.

In-person interactions are also a favorite source of leads, with 54.1% of the SMBs surveyed rating the channel as excellent or good (28% excellent; 26.1% good).

Online forms have a similar level of affinity, with 58.2% of SMBs rating them as excellent or good (19.5% excellent; 38.7% good).

Email is the next most popular channel, rated as good or excellent by 43.7% SMBs (15% excellent; 28.7% good).


Facebook pages were the highest ranked social media channel, rating higher than Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social networks.

About the Data: The report was based on data from a survey of 568 SMBs conducted in 3Q13.


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Ayaz Nanji is an independent digital strategist and the co-founder of Inbound ContentWorks, a marketing agency that specializes in content creation for businesses and brands. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. His past experience includes working for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, AOL, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji

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  • by Gord Collins Fri Mar 7, 2014 via web

    My first thought about this study is that they didn't take into account the effort/cost required to use that channel. Online forms are great but how much did you spend to get people to the form? Some put no effort into Twitter yet actually get some good leads? Where does the smart money go?

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