But what teams actually need to be asking, is ‘how can I generate more high quality leads?’ As generating a steady stream of the right type of leads will be a far more efficient use of time, money and resources, than going for high volumes and trying to sift out the few golden nuggets.
The good news is, you have options and there are many different approaches you can try – not to mention all the clever digital tools that can help boost your impact.
As a first step, you need to check you’re getting the basics right. Try and spot where there may be room for improvement and look at ways you can better optimize and refine what you’re doing.
There are many reasons why your lead generation efforts may be stalling. Some of the most common being:
1. You’re aiming at the wrong people
Do you truly understand who your audience is and what their pinch points are? You will never be successful if there is a mismatch between who you’re aiming at and who is the best fit for your product or service. Revisit your buyer personas. Make sure they are detailed and up-to-date. Check you have them in mind when you plan and produce your marketing plans and content. Check out our free ready to use buyer persona template.
Remember, job titles aren’t that important, it’s the role and function an individual carries out that matters the most. You also need to consider everyone who may be involved in making a purchasing decision, as the bigger the ticket price the more likely it is that lots of people will have a say.
2. You’re not providing the right info at the right time
Buyers require different things at different times. Someone at the beginning of the sales process will want something very different to someone nearing the end. If you instantly go in with the heavy sales pitch, you’re just going to put them off. Key to successful lead generation is understanding how modern B2B buyers find and choose their suppliers.
You need to get in front of them early on in the sales process, with content that educates and informs them on a problem they may be experiencing. Then to start nurturing them along with more in-depth content, until they’re heading towards making a purchasing decision. That’s when they’ll want things like case studies and free demos, and to learn more about you as a company.
3. Your communication is inconsistent and unclear
People do business with people, so how you communicate is really important. Even if you operate in a highly technical area, you need to be speaking in clear and understandable language. You need to present information attractively and to cut out the fluff and waffle. Take a step back and look at how your company is presenting itself. Assess your website, online content and all other marketing materials.
What’s the overall picture and impression that is being given? Is your messaging and style consistent? Are you always concise and clear? Are things properly linked together and do you help guide visitors along a logical path, with next steps mapped out for them? How you communicate suggests what it may be like to work with you.
4. Your activity isn’t tailored enough
If you’re sending the same email to everyone in your database, or providing just one broad offer to try and generate conversions, then your take up is likely to be limited. The more tailored and personal you can make your content and messaging, the more effective your activity is going to be. At the other end of the scale, the broader you go and the more scattergun your approach is, the more likely you are to be seen as an annoying spammer. It may take longer to do, but your results will be far better.
You also don’t have to use every channel going. Select the ones which will be the best fit for your target audience and invest in doing them really well, rather than trying to do everything and doing it poorly.
5. It’s all about you and not about them
You may want to shout about how great your product is and what it can do, but now is not the time. Lead generation needs to be all about the target audience, not about your company and what it offers. Forget trying to sell and instead focus on offering content that will educate, inform and entertain. Brainstorm topics that will be relevant and of value to your target audience/s – bearing in mind the point above that leads will want different things at the different stages of the sales process.
Look at your website, has it been designed with visitors and their needs in mind, or is it just a glorified brochure? No one has time to waste digging around for the info they want. If a competitor answers their need instantly, they’ll be gone.
6. Your timing is out
Is each stage of the sales process fully optimized, so things happen when they need to? Have you worked out workflows and are you using automation to help you nurture leads? There is often a short window within which you need to act to effectively hook a lead. You want to be grabbing their interest, then following up in a timely manner. It doesn’t take long for a contact to forget you and move on, meaning all your hard work will be wasted.
If you use Lead Forensics software, then you’ll have an advantage here, as you’ll be able to see who is visiting your website and what they looked at, plus set up alerts so you know when a target firm is on your site. That way you can react in minutes if you choose to.
7. You’re expecting to see results too quickly
Don’t write off an activity until you’re sure you’ve executed it properly and given it enough time to work. Lead generation approaches, such as content marketing, take considerable time to get up and running. But it’s not about rushing to get loads and loads of content out, quality will always win over quantity. The more quality content you produce, the quicker you’ll start to see results. Sharing one blog a month is unlikely to get you much traction any time soon.
What you’re ultimately aiming to do is to build up an online profile, which shows you as a leading voice in a particular sector. You’ll achieve this by creating a library of strong content, with core pieces.
8. You’re not monitoring and reacting to your analytics
The key to success with your lead generation efforts is to keep an eye on the numbers. It can be easy for time to pass and for analytics to take a back seat, while you concentrate on the day job. But you need to know what’s working and what’s not, so you can refine and adjust what you’re doing.
Nowadays there is so much data you can gather and access at the click of a button. Ideally, you should be able to track leads back to where they came from and the path they followed. What gets you the best results? What gets you the best quality leads? Where are there gaps or road blocks getting in the way?
The do’s and don’ts
If you’re doing all these things, but the leads are still just trickling in, then it’s time to delve deeper. Assess where there may be areas ripe for improvement.
As an example, let’s take a closer look at the top of the funnel and the key do’s and don’ts.
Top of the funnel (TOFU)
The TOFU stage of the sales process is all about targeting and building awareness amongst prospective B2B buyers. You’re aiming to identify their needs (not push your own wants) and to introduce your company as a trusted and recognized brand.
DO – create data-driven buyer personas
Get to know your B2B buyer personas inside out. Use insights and information you gather from website visitors and customers to make your targeting really strong.
What industry are they in? What size company? What content do they like to read on your website?
Implementing data-driven buyer-personas will help you build a clear picture of the challenges, needs and pain points of your B2B buyers, as well as understanding the motivations and goals behind their purchase intentions.
Use this information to fuel your marketing communications and deliver influential TOFU content to the right prospects.
DO – provide value through your content
B2B companies that use business blogging generate 67% more leads per month. At this stage, your blog content needs to cover industry news, reports and statistics that support (but don’t overly promote) your product or service offering.
We can’t say it enough: Give your buyers valuable, informative and educational content – and be promotional at your peril. Your B2B prospects may not be looking to buy something that day, but it doesn’t mean you can’t provide them with valuable insights.
DON’T – neglect ROI
Never undertake any new TOFU marketing activity until you’ve forecast the best, expected and worst possible ROI outcomes.
According to the IDM B2B Barometer, 30% of marketers said “lack of budget” and “demonstrating importance” were their most significant challenges this year. And guess what? They both tie back to ROI.
Before you invest any money in top-of-the-funnel advertising or marketing activity, you need to understand exactly what results you need to achieve, in order to deliver a healthy return.
If you can benchmark your performance you’ll be taking the guesswork out of your TOFU marketing activity.
DON’T – forget you’re playing the long game
There can be a tendency in B2B marketing to over-fish the lower funnel, where prospects are closer to converting, but with a detrimental effect.
Take a long-term approach with your funnel strategy and focus on prospects who might not buy now, but may do in a year or two’s time. Invest in TOFU activity to not only build your bottom line, but strengthen your brand awareness too.
DO – invest in the right tools for the job
There are so many digital tools around nowadays that can help you boost your lead generation results. From marketing automation software, to intelligent CRMs, social media scheduling tools and our very own Lead Forensics software.
If you’d like to know who’s visiting your website, even if they never convert, along with having access to contact details for key decisions makers, then you won’t be disappointed.