Does the following scenario sound familiar to you?
You spent a lot of time getting your marketing and sales efforts on the same page. The goal is to generate more B2B leads for your business, but sales remain stagnant.
Try this one: you are a marketing or sales executive and find yourself frustrated because no matter how many B2B leads you generate, few or none of them are converting.
If so, you are not alone.
Companies that serve the needs of other businesses are struggling everywhere with the problem of lead generation and sales ratios. The problem is that, on the surface, it seems like their marketing is working — they have plenty of leads.
But the underlying problem is that these leads don’t generate sales. In B2B marketing, the quantity of leads often gets higher priority over the quality of the leads.
In this article, we will go over some of the most common reasons why companies fail to generate quality B2B leads.
6 Missteps That Kill B2B Lead Generation
The following list will go over some of the most common mistakes made when acquiring B2B leads for your business:
1. Targeting the Wrong Demographics
We can’t stress enough how important it is to align your B2B lead generation efforts with the correct target demographic. Take into consideration the types of professionals most likely to use your product or service and align your marketing strategies to attract the attention of that particular group.
Solution: Create Targeted Buyer Personas
A buyer persona is a hypothetical profile of a person who is likely to use your goods or services. You create this persona by considering the wants, needs, interests, and pain points of your target audience — also known as demographic and psychographic information.
Buyer personas are used to generate content relevant to your target market. So when your buyer persona is all wrong or not specific enough, your marketing efforts are going to waste.
Any available user data on your customers, as well as real-world interactions you have had with them, can help you construct an accurate and up-to-date buyer persona. An accurate buyer persona will inform an effective marketing strategy.
Here are some free tools to get user data:
- Quantcast — gives detailed user data from your site
- SimilarWeb — shows competitors user data
- Tower Data — gives detailed user data from an email list
You want to maximize quality leads, which means you don’t want to get too specific with this profile. At the same time, you shouldn’t leave it too ambiguous, or you run the risk of targeting too broad an audience with minimal ROI.
What you can do:
1. Create buyer personas (if you don’t have one, download our template here)
2. Have your sales team fill out a form after they speak to an ideal prospect or client. They should notate the prospect’s title, function or role, common objections, and real quotes about their goals and challenges.
2. Failing To Warm Up and Nurture B2B Leads
Cold calling and cold emailing aren’t useful anymore as stand-alone B2B lead generation strategies. A mixture of outbound and the use of digital platforms like social media are great ways to identify leads, interact with them, and warm them up. Once you have warm leads, you can send them through your sales funnel. This strategy is referred to as account-based marketing.
Far too often, companies fail to nurture B2B leads once they are warmed up. B2B lead nurturing includes following up with potential customers and offering them content that relates to the problems they face.
Try drip email campaigns to keep them abreast of your products or services. Or, provide them with content that leads to more content that is relevant to their expressed interests.
What you can do:
- Create a lifecycle for your contacts. For example, categorize your contacts as prospects, leads (sales-qualified and marketing-qualified), and customers
- Tag your contacts by their buyer persona
- Create content that solves very specific problems the personas face
- Write an email series of three to five emails for prospects to become leads, leads to become customers, and customers to repeat purchase or send referrals
Here’s an example: let’s say your sales team has a prospect that is the purchasing manager for a large retail chain. Knowing that their biggest challenge is finding reliable vendors or suppliers to provide quality goods at reasonable prices, your marketing team prepared a market analysis of market prices and order fulfillment data to send to prospects. You can craft an email series highlighting the data and what it means to them and their job. The point is, create content that speaks directly to your prospect’s challenges and nurture them by letting them know you understand their challenges.
3. Weak Communication
The line of communication between the sales and marketing departments of your B2B business should be humming like a hard drive. There should be a near-constant feed of information passed between these two departments. They should be communicating which campaigns lead to sales, how leads get followed up with, which leads converted, and so on.
What you can do:
- Have meetings between your marketing and sales departments to discuss what the sales team is hearing from prospects. Hearing from the sales team will help the marketing team align their marketing efforts quickly.
- Create direct lines of communication between sales and marketing using technology like Slack. This will allow your marketing team to remain agile during campaigns.
4. Lack of Automation
Today, there are tons of helpful tools that take mundane tasks out of the hands of your staff so they can focus on more important things.
B2B lead generation fails when the brains of the operation are stuck scheduling social media posts, composing follow-up emails, and the like.
Many of these tasks, such as email campaigns, can be fully automated to boost overall productivity. They can help save time by filtering out those who you’ve already reached out to and who didn’t respond and by identifying prime leads interested in your product or service. Then, all your staff has to do is reach out to those leads accordingly.
What you can do:
Invest in marketing automation software. Here are a few we recommend:
5. Prioritizing Weak Leads
If your B2B leads are not converting, your team may be prioritizing weak leads in the first place. Prioritizing strong leads can go hand-in-hand with automation. You can start an automated email campaign that will identify strong leads by implementing a lead scoring system. Reprioritizing your leads will allow your team to focus on the strongest ones instead of the weak ones.
You can also include qualifying questions and keep track of the leads that have shown interest to entice them further as they move through your sales funnel.
What you can do:
- Create a lead scoring system. Most marketing automation software will come with a CRM that allows you to score your leads based on engagement, data, and more.
- Only call leads that have high engagement with your brand or content and who fit your ideal buyer persona.
6. Failing To Keep Up With Evolving Purchasing Cycles
In this digital age, customers have the power to shop for multiple goods and service providers — and more than ever, they’re not beholden to one brand. If you fail to keep up with this break-neck shopping pace, you will inevitably stumble.
Keeping an active line of communication between your sales and marketing team will provide valuable data on where you may be losing customers in the sales process. It will allow them to know at which point a customer was most interested and how they can nurture that interest to purchase finalization.
In today’s B2B lead generation environment, it is about keeping the interest of your prospect at every phase of the purchasing cycle. To do this, you will need to provide a great experience with valuable content targeted to each stage.
Stay on Top
Businesses are failing because their B2B leads are not generating sales. They follow dead-end leads, don’t follow up, and don’t keep up with shoppers who have the power of instant information at their fingertips. By staying aware of these six common pitfalls, you can give yourself a significant advantage in the B2B lead generation game. Keeping these principles fresh in your mind will help you to stay aligned and on target, so review this list with care frequently.
B2B lead generation doesn’t always come easy, especially in today’s competitive market. With our definitive guide, you’ll understand how to generate leads and start implementing these methods into your business. Click here to learn more.