B2B company leaders are always looking for ways to fill their sales funnels. But many of them don’t recognize the common pitfalls of lead generation that can cause them to waste precious time, money and resources chasing the wrong people.
Lead generation is the process of initiating prospective buyer interest or inquiry into your products or services. Its goal is to acquire qualified contacts and ultimately convert them to a sale. Traditionally, lead generation was left to sales through techniques such as cold calling and networking. Marketing takes a different approach; they use the prospective buyer’s need for knowledge to generate leads.
Brand awareness marketing is about presenting your brand to as many potential customers as possible in your target market while lead generation is about gathering as many high-value contacts as possible in your target market. B2B companies that struggle with lead generation often find that a lack of brand awareness is hindering their efforts. Brand awareness and lead generation go hand-in-hand in B2B marketing. You can spend all the money in the world trying to generate leads, but if you have no visibility in the market (which comes from awareness), very few prospects will do business with you.
1. Poor alignment between sales and marketing
The rivalry between sales and marketing can be a big roadblock to generating, nurturing and closing leads. If sales and marketing work in partnership, they can work together to nurture leads from top to bottom through the funnel and increase the chances of closing the sale. And since B2B buyers today are generally teams, not individuals, the more positive touches that sales and marketing can have with those in the buying group, the closer they will come to a sale.
2. Following up too slowly and not having a consistent process
A consistent, step-by-step follow-up process should help drive consistent and predictable results. And, gone are the days when a rep could take 2 or 3 days to respond to a warm lead and then another week or so to prepare a quote. 74% of buyers choose to work with the rep who first added value and insight, so be the first off the mark to share your knowledge and you’re 3X more likely than the competition to win the business.
3. Neglecting to qualify and score Leads
Lead qualification is ensuring that a lead comes from a source that meets your criteria for a potential customer, including the company they work for and their role in the company. Lead scoring goes a big step further. It’s the exercise of assigning a point value or some sort of designation that signifies how far along the lead is in the buying process and whether it is an MQL that marketing needs to nurture or an SQL that sales needs to contact. It’s critical that both sales and marketing participate in lead scoring. The sales team often lacks confidence in the leads they are given.
4. Failing to nurture leads
Companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% higher sales at 33% lower cost. However, 65% of B2B marketers have no lead nurturing program in place. In B2B, lead nurturing means addressing a potential customer’s needs and pain points through every stage of the buying journey. Companies that do this build a reputation as a helpful, customer-oriented brand.
5. Inability to attribute lead generation activities to revenue
Accurately attributing ROI to lead generation campaigns is important, but it isn’t always easy. Building marketing programs with attribution in mind not only helps validate the marketing spend but it also shows which activities have the greatest impact on sales. Marketing automation tools have reporting capabilities that enable multi-touch attribution – where all marketing touches are given credit for their portion of the sale.
6. Not knowing which tactics to use and when
B2B companies often lack the knowledge of which tactics to employ to generate leads. There is no simple answer. If. yours is like most small and midsize B2B companies, you have 3 key lead generation tasks – growing brand awareness, generating new leads and nurturing the leads you have. Each task has its own set of tactics that work best.
7. Underestimating social media as a lead generation tool
Even though social media is an integral part of our home and business lives, B2B companies don’t exploit it as much as they could for lead generation. A natural fit for B2B, 59% of marketers report generating B2B leads through LinkedIn. Advertising on social media is also effective for influencing prospective buying teams both at work and at home. Facebook is a good example of a platform that can reach buying team members outside of work hours. And Facebook. ads can also reach specific companies, company sizes, as well as your own CRM list, so it can be highly targeted.
8. Not having a long-term plan
Most leads develop into sales opportunities over time. It’s a slow build. Accept that the majority of your leads will not have an immediate need for your product or service. Develop and implement a methodology and, if possible, use a technology that will track your leads all the way through the funnel to the final sale.
Recognizing that you have a few or more of these pitfalls might be alarming to you. Read our whitepaper to learn more about these pitfalls and most importantly, 4 actionable tips to help your lead generation success.
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