Lead generation in the B2B sphere requires significantly more time, effort, and resources than in the B2C segment. Needless to mention, the road to success is bound to be challenging. An inflow of new customers has to be maintained while making sure the services to the existing customers are not compromised at any cost. I’ve seen a lot of companies give up on their mission when they start facing obstructions. The reason is not that they fail at generating quality leads, the main reason is that they fail to identify the potential hurdles that would cross their ways.
So, I decided to come up with this article that would talk about the 5 biggest lead generation challenges for B2B companies so that they can take necessary steps to overcome them and at the end of the list, I will share some real world challenges that limit the ability of small and medium-sized B2B companies in India to drive effective ROI from their investments.
1) Relying on the “Lead List”
It is appalling to see most companies follow the same old, time-tested approach of buying leads from a provider and then passing on the list to the sales and marketing teams for cold-calling and e-mailing. This should be understood that even if those customers were interested in products and services similar to what you might be offering, there are huge chances hundreds of other companies that have bought the same list might have already contacted them. And this renders your lead generation efforts next to useless; you might get a few quality leads too, but I’m sure that is not what you had in mind originally. The target audience in the B2B lead generation area is usually smaller, with multiple companies vying to woo the same prospect; taking a frequented path will yield no added benefits.
2) Leads or High-Quality Leads?
Leads can be made available easily, but the point is that those leads have to be high-quality in order to get business out of them. The B2B Technology Marketing Community on LinkedIn conducted a survey in 2013, the aim of which was to check how the marketing community was adjusting to the challenges in the field. An important finding was the fact that most (61%) of the marketers thought generating high-quality leads was the major challenge, amongst all.
It was assumed by the experts that the trend will continue to be so for the years to come, and here we are, in 2018, and it is evident that the marketers do find it challenging to generate high-quality leads for their organizations.
3) Assessing the Market Need
How often does it happen that thousands of your e-mails go un-responded, many a time landing in the spam folder of the recipient? Happens quite frequently, I can say! Lead generation is not the process of shooting mails at supersonic speeds to clueless businesses. What I want to convey here is focus on quality, not on quantity. Know what the businesses need, assess their requirements before sending them a mail proposal or calling them with generic scripts in hand. Every business has a different need, and the same solution doesn’t work every time. The idea is to know their problems/issues, and propose a solution so effective, they won’t be able to say NO. Finding a strategy that works and gets the attention of potential leads is a task much required, but very difficult, as per this report by ITSMA(2010).
4) Identifying the Right Technologies
Very often, marketers are confused when it comes to identifying and deciding on the right technologies to be used in their campaigns. There are many factors to assess – analytics, automation, collaborations, social channels, etc. and there is a plethora of options in each case. Choosing the wrong tool or technology in any of these fields may have adverse effects on the overall lead generation plan.
5) Converting Leads into Customers
Now that you have quality leads at hand, converting them into customers isn’t a process that can be deemed automatic. It takes a lot of time and effort to convince them into choosing your services over that of others’. A 2018 report by Hubspot has revealed that the top priority of 69% of marketers is converting leads/contacts into customers.
Now, if converting leads into customers is a top priority, it ought to be challenging! There is fierce competition and the company with the best pitch and strategy will win the race. Closure should be the biggest priority of the leadership and this is not something that should be left to non-seasoned professionals. Your customers seek trust and maturity before signing on the dotted line and the best ones to exhibit that is the leadership in the company.
Having been in this domain for over a decade now and after overseeing hundreds of wins translating into millions of dollars and also part of quite a few losses along the way, I am absolutely convinced that one of the biggest problem is the lack of involvement from the senior leadership. I have seen on numerous occasions, the moment a company on-boards a lead generation agency or may be a sales manager, they simply believe “magic” is round the corner.
What organizations need to understand and embrace is the fact that customer profiling, lead generation, marketing and sales, need constant feedback and involvement from the leadership and SMEs in the company. It has be an involved process, not a hands-free execution. And, there can be no debate around this if you do consider sales and customer acquisition as your top priority. Cheap, dirty and fast and constant experimentation with resources, will not do the trick. You need to invest time and resources with the specialists and this is a process not a magic pill. If you have taken care of the top 5 challenges listed above, and are committed to invest your time to consistently optimize your lead generation and nurturing process, to be involved with your lead generation team, it will in no time evolve as an extremely well-oiled engine to consistently bring you results where it matters most.