Business information company OneSource released their "B2B SalesPulse Survey" last month that shows the sources that B2B sales professionals consider the most successful for lead generation. By far the most effective source was tr

aditional outbound prospecting, still providing companies the most qualified leads. On a scale of 1-5 (least qualified to most qualified, respectively), outbound prospecting scored 3.7, far surpassing the second place source, the corporate Web site at 2.9 from these professionals. Inbound calls and e-mail campaigns rated 2.6, with events and trade shows just behind at 2.5. Social networking sites trailed along with direct mail at 2.1, and at 1.8, Webinars came in last.

While social networks did not score high in general terms, within the category some sites performed better than others. LinkedIn was considered most effective, receiving a 3.1 out of 5, far out performing blogs (2), Facebook (1.9) and Twitter (1.8). Professional favor of LinkedIn has encouraged usage - nearly one half of respondents use the site more than one year ago for prospecting and research. The other social media performed in the same order as with perceived effectiveness. Blogs experienced a 21.8 percent increase, Facebook was just behind at 20.8 percent, while Twitter had only 17.3 percent of an increase. Also in this category was YouTube, which underperformed them all with an 8.4 percent increase.

While those polled were using these modes of social marketing more than last year, the survey showed that most respondents do not use these sites for research at all. Prospecting and research use by these B2B sales professionals was more than half for all choices except for LinkedIn, which was unused under one third of the time. 51.9 percent of polled professionals do not use blogs, 63.1 percent do not use Facebook, 69.2 percent do not use Twitter, and 77.9 percent do not use YouTube.