When lead generation is running well, everyone is happy - the sales team, company management and marketing leadership leave the lead generation team alone and probably don't even remember to compliment them on a job well done. But when lead generation isn't going well - that becomes a company-wide emergency with a lot of attention and fingers pointing at whoever's involved in lead generation.
The best way to avoid that unwanted attention is to prevent common mistakes that B2B marketers make when it comes to lead generation, often without realizing they're making them. Here are 3 of the most common errors:
Mistake 1 – Inconsistent lead generation activity
It's incredibly tempting to turn lead generation 'on' when the pipeline is empty and to turn lead generation 'off' when things are going well. After all, what's the point in spending money to generate leads when your sales team is busy and you have plenty of leads to reach your revenue targets for the upcoming quarter?
Resist that temptation!
There are several problems that come with turning lead generation off and on.
The first is that B2B buying is not a short-term undertaking. Buyers often spend 6 - 18 months considering a purchase, especially if it is big-ticket. So if you are turning your lead generation off and on, you are missing buyers at some point in their purchase cycle and your company will fall off their radar - or never get onto it and be considered as a potential vendor.
The second reason is that inconsistent lead generation sends a signal to your team that you're not fully invested in the importance of lead generation for your company. If you want to have good people doing lead generation for you, you'll need to show them that you are committed to it - throughout the year. If you treat it off and on, they'll see that your commitment is half-hearted at best.
For small and mid-sized B2B companies, it can be difficult to maintain staff and resourcing for a full in-house lead generation team, which is why some companies outsource their lead generation.
Mistake 2: Your website has lead generation issues
Websites have grown exponentially in complexity in the last 5 years. They need to look good (design, navigation), tell the right story (strategic messaging that is compelling to your target buyers) and work well (high-performing search engine optimization and mobile access to attract users).
Websites also need to work in perfect sync with your lead generation efforts to convert unknown website visitors into leads that want to talk with you.
Does your website have the basics of good design, effectively tells your story and is optimized for SEO so you attract potential customers? And once you have those basics in place, does it do a good job on the buyer journey so that visitors are compelled to get in touch and talk with your sales team? Do you make it easy for them to contact you for a quote or further information? Having Calls To Action at the right time and place on your website is one of the fundamentals of good lead generation. If you haven't audited your website from a user's perspective in the last 12 months, make it a priority project for next month.
Mistake 3: Your social media is weak
B2B companies are just getting going with social media. In the past it wasn't clear how social media 'fit' into lead generation and strategic marketing for B2B, and many companies didn't think it would deliver an ROI. That has changed now, and it's clear that social media plays an important role for most B2B companies.
There are 2 common issues that B2B marketers make when it comes to using social media for lead generation. Both can be traced back to an issue with the marketing strategy.
The first is that the frequency is inconsistent with what is required for the channel. If you’re going to commit to Twitter, plan for 3-5 posts per day. If this seems unachievable, consider another channel like LinkedIn (as long as your audience is there) which doesn’t have the same requirement. Companies that haven’t posted in months are also an issue and probably leads back to mistake #1 (inconsistent lead generation activity).
The second issue is that social media is all self-promotion. No one likes that. Social media is like being back in high school. Share content that is thoughtful and shares your experience with your audience. Contribute thought leadership, not ads. Follow influential contributors in your industry and learn from them. Test your content and make sure its relevant and of interest.
A good social media strategy backed by knowledgeable and talented staff will ensure you don’t make either of these mistakes.
Lead generation is growing in importance and profile for B2B companies. Make sure to avoid these 3 mistakes to put your lead generation on the right track.
Contact us if you would like an expert opinion on addressing these mistakes, and any other concerns you might have about marketing.