What’s Holding Back Your B2B Lead Generation?


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What’s Holding Back Your B2B Lead Generation?“Let it Go, Let it Go…Can’t Hold It Back Anymore”

FROZEN. It’s easy to say that and feel that way too when you live in Canada or the North Eastern United States. It’s been a brutal winter for sure. The good thing is, the weather doesn’t stop the free spirited among us from doing what we want to do. For some others, it becomes a cause for whining, groaning and complaining.

Complaining is what Peter was doing when I chatted with him last week. Peter has been a client of mine for years and is now a good friend too. He wanted to see me about getting his B2B lead generation moving with some new ideas. Their lead generation had frozen over, he said, and need a big push. It was very clear that while Peter, as the CMO of this mid-sized B2B company was enthusiastic about wanting to accelerate lead generation, there were a number of things holding him back. I told him they needed a meltdown. They needed to let go and allow change to happen.

Here are the top 5 issues I found with Peter’s current process—and these are common B2B lead generation challenges:

1. Budget: We have to figure out how to allocate resources and manpower; there is no room to increase our lead generation budget, but we don’t have the results we need.

2. Legacy: This continues to be a big issue for B2B companies. Lead generation for Peter’s company, is being managed largely around their legacy software. They are struggling to accommodate this software which was extremely costly to purchase, install and train the first time. No surprise that they are reluctant to “let it go”.

3. Silos: Everything happens in watertight compartments. Sales and marketing don’t work together and share common goals. The organization lacks the agility to make the changes demanded by this fast-changing environment in the online world.

4. Pace of Change: Sometimes a change also requires a paradigm shift or even a smaller shift, but it can have a big impact when it requires new software or new training. None of this could be achieved by Peter and his team in time to make significant changes for this quarter.

5. Numbers Fixation: Peter’s head was constantly on the proverbial block—the Bean Counters couldn’t look past the numbers. “How much are we spending and how many leads are we getting?” “How much are we spending?” is a good question and you have to know the answer to that. You need a monitoring process to measure every penny’s worth, no doubt. “How many leads are we getting?” is the question that needs to change. “How many conversions are we achieving?” – that is the important question that Team Peter needs to answer.

Quality of Leads is the Number 1 B2B Lead Generation Objective

Take a look at this chart below—these are all the obstacles B2B marketers worldwide said were holding back lead generation in 2014.

Important Lead Generation Objectives (eMarketer)

Source: eMarketer

In the same study quoted by eMarketer, this year’s number 1 goal for marketers is to improve the quality of leads. Finally! This is a refreshing change. Of course numbers are sexy, they give you a high, they give you bragging material. Your heart will race and you will want to include in your next report that you have thousands of new Twitter followers. There is excitement in sharing news that the sales team has connected with a lot of influential people on LinkedIn. If your blog posts have received thousands of views, it is a great feeling. But you have to look past that. Resist the urge. How will you do that?

This is what I recommended Peter’s B2B company should do to “let go” and move their lead generation forward:

  • Uncover the gold: I concur that with social media, particularly networks such as Twitter, numbers do come into play, BUT you must marry that with extracting the quality leads from it. It’s like being on a treasure hunt—it doesn’t matter how many boxes you find; it’s how much gold is in those boxes!
  • Engage: We have moved far beyond the “spray and pray” stage of B2B lead generation. You have to play strategically and there is no other choice. So many marketers fail to follow up at the right time, with the right person and in the right way. When you miss the engagement, you aren’t going to make it to the wedding! (click here to Tweet this)
  • Know your audience: With today’s technology, it is possible to can capture information about so many people in our target group. So make sure you are utilizing every opportunity to do this. Here is a great example from B2C: #taylurking (Taylor Swift’s Christmas video)
  • Personalize…but do it sensibly: When was the last time you personalized an email keeping in mind what the recipient’s interests were (according to their social media behaviour)? We have so much information at our fingertips, yet we rarely use any of it. Most often, we just use it to repeat over and over again, “Buy my stuff”, “Try my stuff” or “Meet with me” or the ever hollow, “Tell me what you need”—before we even get to know each other. No kidding, it’s a mess out there! I received a DM the other day on Twitter that started with “Hi The, thanks for the RT. I think the beta version of our product would really help you.” How in the world will I ever want to connect with someone who can’t take the time to figure out that my first name is not “The” because our Twitter account is in the name of our company, “The ALEA Group”? Even worse was a LinkedIn message that said, “Hi {first name}, I wanted to introduce you to this amazing service that automates your LinkedIn outreach”. Yes, it actually said “{first name}”. Probably not a good idea to do this when you are promoting an automated tool!

What steps are you taking to improve your focus on quality of leads over quantity? How will you ensure that your sales team follows up on the leads provided by marketing?

If you would like to receive updates and information about B2B lead generation, please click here. And do leave me a comment.

(featured image credit: Shutterstock)

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Louis Foong
Louis Foong is the founder and CEO of The ALEA Group Inc., one of North America's most innovative B2B demand generation specialists. With more than three decades of experience in the field, Louis is a thought leader on trends, best practices and issues concerning marketing and lead generation. Louis' astute sense of marketing and sales along with a clear vision of the evolving lead generation landscape has proved beneficial to numerous organizations, both small and large.


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