When it comes to generating revenue for an organization, marketers and salespeople alike understand how difficult it can be to find the right leads that convert. In fact, B2B organizations consistently list quality leads as their top challenge. Even still, lead generation efforts are the foundation for generating revenue and growing an organization.
However, according to one study, a staggering 80 percent of B2B marketers report their lead generation efforts as only, “slightly or somewhat effective.” This begs the question, why is it so difficult to drive the right leads down the funnel? The answer lies in how complex the modern B2B sales cycle can be.
From start to finish, marketers now need to do more to capture prospect attention, nurture them down the funnel, and arm sales with the prospect insights needed to effectively drive home sales.
Given the complex nature of B2B lead generation, it goes without saying that there are plenty of stumbling blocks that can hinder lead gen efforts. With this in mind, we’re diving into the common pain points marketers experience when filling the funnel while offering solutions that lead to better marketing results.
Take a look:
1. Marketing Without a Cohesive Lead Generation Strategy
Marketing and sales both rely on lead generation to consistently drive revenue. However, many organizations still view the process as an abstract, loosely-defined marketing concept. As a result, marketing and sales teams often conduct their efforts without a consistent, data-driven strategy guiding their efforts. What’s more, many marketers still believe common lead gen myths that can negatively impact business results.
To address this common pitfall, marketing and sales teams both need to align their efforts toward identifying a cohesive strategy they can use to ensure quality leads enter the funnel, are effectively nurtured, and have a high propensity for conversion by the time the sales team picks up the phone.
With that said, successful B2B lead generation starts with a clear and well-defined strategy. Before any efforts can be effectively implemented across marketing channels, marketers need to know their target audience, the content relevant to their needs, and qualification factors.
2. Marketers are Focusing on Lead Quantity Instead of Quality
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: marketers who focus their efforts on generating as many leads as possible simply won’t drive the results they’re after. Instead, it’s crucial that the quality of leads be emphasized more than the number of leads in the funnel. It may sound counterintuitive… smaller amounts of leads result in smaller amounts of sales right?
Wrong. Here’s why:
If marketers and sales teams spend their time reaching, engaging, nurturing, and qualifying leads that have no intention of actually converting, all that time, effort, and money has been misplaced. In fact, 79 percent of all leads generated never result in a conversion. While this statistic may surprise you, the root cause shouldn’t. Just because a lead is in the pipeline doesn’t necessarily mean it belongs in there.
Poor leads result in poor conversion rates, plain and simple. The higher the quality of the leads in the funnel, the higher the likelihood that those leads will be effectively nurtured in the middle of the funnel and converted at the bottom of the funnel. Knowing this, it’s crucial that marketers focus on defining what constitutes quality leads within their organization. This can be done in a number of ways, but at a high-level, consider the following best practices to help focus on quality vs. quantity:
- Align marketing and sales teams to better identify the lead aspects that indicate quality
- Identify the engagements and audience behavior that indicate genuine interest
- Compare commonalities between target audiences and current customers
- Identify the engagements that indicate funnel location.
Once marketers focus on bringing quality leads in first, they’ll be in a better position to drive the kind of revenue their organization is looking for. Additionally, the more streamlined the process of determining lead quality, the faster quality leads will be in added to the pipeline—leading to more sales.
3. There are Gaps in Content Marketing Efforts
Today’s B2B prospects are research-driven and digitally savvy. Considering the fact that 90 percent of all B2B businesses use some form of content marketing, prospects no longer have to wait until a conversation with sales to get their questions answered. Instead, prospects rely on the content organizations put out there to help them navigate the sales cycle and reach an informed buying decision.
In fact, according to a Havas Group study, 84 percent of people expect a brand to publish content that entertains, tells stories, provides solutions, and creates experiences and events.
It’s clear the role of content marketing in the B2B space has never been more important. Yet, many marketers are still relying on traditional content ideation and implementation—leaving content gaps across the buyer’s journey. These content gaps are areas along the sales cycle that don’t provide the kinds of content a prospect is looking for, and as a result, prospects will turn elsewhere for the answers to their questions.
To address these content gaps, marketers need to understand the unique questions their prospects are asking and tailor their content marketing to answer those questions at each level of the sales funnel. To help, consider using the following strategies to help identify where your content gaps lie, and how you can create the content to fill them:
- Talk to the sales team for insights into prospect needs, interests, questions, and selling points
- Understand the related content ranking on search engines
- Research consumer reviews
- Understand the content your competitors are publishing
For marketers looking to understand where their content marketing efforts can be improved, interactive content can be an effective tool. By placing responsive interactions in existing and new content, marketers can understand the topics, trends, and pain points their target audiences are most interested in. Additionally, interactive content makes it easy to add qualifying questions that help accelerate qualification.
4. Content Marketing Isn’t Aligned with the B2B Buyer Journey
In addition to identifying content gaps, marketers need to ensure that the content they leverage in their marketing efforts aligns to the buyer’s journey marketers are providing for their prospects. Why? Because if prospects can’t find the content that relates to their unique needs and questions, they’re going to find a competitor whose content can.
To prevent losing leads at the various stages of the sales cycle while increasing the effectiveness of content engagement, marketers need to ensure they match content with sales funnel stages.
For example, there may be a need to develop two different content assets that aim to answer the same question, “Why Choose Brand 1?” Leads at the top of the funnel aren’t ready for an in-depth look at all the specifics that Brand 1 brings to the table. Conversely, a prospect toward the bottom of the funnel already understands the high-level offerings, capabilities, benefits, etc. and wants content that dives into the specifics of how Brand 1 can help solve that prospect’s needs and pain points for the organization.
5. Marketing Efforts Aren’t Consistently Optimized
The last lead generation stumbling block we’ll mention is arguably one of the most common: infrequent and inconsistent marketing optimization. Simply put, the B2B marketing landscape is constantly changing. Consumer demands shift, new technologies and capabilities emerge…the list goes on. For B2B businesses looking to get the most from their efforts, they have to stay ahead of these changes.
In order to keep lead generation efforts consistent and effective, marketers need to optimize their efforts based on data to address the constant changes impacting the success of their marketing. Think about it this way: would your organization generate more or less revenue if you still used the same strategies that were popular 10 years ago? In all likelihood, you’d be generating much less. As the B2B landscape continues to evolve, lead generation efforts need to as well.
Across the B2B space, lead generation remains a critical component for driving revenue. The marketers that understand the common obstacles in their way – and how to avoid them – will bring the right leads to conversion, faster. For those that can’t…time, money, and effort will continue to be misplaced on the wrong prospects that lead to lackluster results.
To learn more about various ways to tackle lead generation stumbling blocks and get the most out of your marketing, check out our Use Cases pages. We highlight some creative and effective strategies that lead to better marketing across the sales cycle.
The post The B2B Lead Gen Stumbling Blocks and How to Overcome Them appeared first on SnapApp.