Non-Stupid Sales Lead Generation—Hello Big Data

server-upgrade-150x150Ah, the joys of utterly impersonal marketing… While generating sales leads is essential for customer acquisition and the growth of any enterprise, it can be pretty soul-destroying. Up to now, there have generally been two (tried and absolutely distrusted) methods. These methods may be about to change due to big data.

The first is to blindly send out vast numbers of e-mails to every company or person that could potentially have any interest in whatever you have to offer. The good old ‘Blunderbuss E-mail Method’ has at least two negative side effects. One is that your company may be seen (completely unfairly, of course) as unprofessional, because e-mail recipients may view your e-mails as spam (admit it—you’ve got half a dozen of those in your spam folder right now).

Getting spammed is especially likely if you have not fine-tuned and updated your list of recipients, a task that is rather difficult, or at least labour intensive, to do. While the Blunderbuss may be effective for some companies, you may well have just peeved half the nation with your blanket e-mails, and annoyed potential customers who got your mail three times to their old and new e-mail addresses. Marketing fail.

The second approach is search for and to personally engage customer leads via phone calls. This produces better results, as you can tell whether a potential customer is interested or not and, if they are, you make a human connection they don’t get from a generic e-mail. The problem with this approach is that cold-calling costs time…and it is stupifyingly boring…

Cue Big Data
The sorcerers from Tech Leads Online (TLO), however, have developed a third option for their IT industry customers. The service they offer could find potential customers you might not even know about, something the traditional approaches cannot offer. According to TLOs own statement, their method is already 90 per cent accurate—and they keep fine tuning.

What they do is to scour publicly-available websites for information. They asses this information and match it up with whatever their customers have to offer. That way they can generate an enormous number of leads very fast. But they don’t search just any web site—they use methods like identifying the actual companies that utilise your competitor’s technology products, and checking how much relevant data can be squeezed out of each site.

Oliver Deng, TLO chief strategy officer, said in an interview that they have gained competitive data on more than 250,000 companies, adding over 20,000 new companies a month to their databases. This gives them the ability to find potential customers for very specific services.
One example given by Deng is that of a customer who wanted to target companies running Oracle databases with Intel Itanium processors. They found the model numbers of every Itanium server (and through that their owners), and combined that with available oracle database data…and viola. Try to imagine that with the old-school approaches, most of which are just a fancy Golden Pages. Such new methods promise not to waste resources on finding leads, and you might even save your sales people from lifetimes of cold-calling and door-to-door rejection. They’ve still got to close that deal, though…