B2B Marketers, as a group, struggle with lead generation.
At first blush, that’s a little surprising. How could something that is so important, and so critical to marketing’s success, continue to cause so much confusion?
There are three key factors complicating the process.
The process of taking an interested prospect and turning them into a sales lead typically involves many different parts of the typical B2B company:
All those functions, then, may be involved at one point or another in the process of converting an interested prospect into a paying customer. So for a B2B lead generation program to be successful, all of them have to agree on the proper way to handle a prospect at various stages of the process.
Technology has improved and streamlined the process significantly. But it really hasn’t changed the essentials: While lead scoring and marketing automation have made it easier to manage leads, it was always a good idea to keep communicating with a prospect after they asked for a sales call. And it was NEVER a good idea to send an unqualified lead to sales.
Unfortunately, many B2B marketers confuse these new technologies with the process of lead generation itself. That’s never a good idea. Most of the time, adding technology to a broken lead-gen program really doesn’t fix the original problem. It just costs more.
The new technology has added a host of complications, as new vendors and systems are vying for attention (and business).
While most of the new suppliers have excellent stories to tell, they are often rifle-shot specialists on one aspect or another – like lead nurturing or lead scoring. Check out my recent post on "Key Steps in Producing Quality B2B Leads".
Very few, if any, offer a comprehensive package across the entire enterprise (described above). So their solution may work exceedingly well for one company but not at all for another, especially one that doesn’t have the other infrastructure needed. Lead nurturing, for instance, wouldn’t help a company that didn’t have a system in place to capture and store lead information.
So what is a B2B marketer to do?
How to Get Started with Lead Generation