Generating leads for B2B companies is like taking a walk through a minefield. The right sources for quality leads have to be identified, the strategies to find them have to be finalized and implemented, connections have to be made with elusive professionals, and getting them to sign the dotted line is a never-ending ordeal.
That’s probably why, in a 2022 survey, 61 percent of marketers cited lead generation to be their biggest challenge. But lead generation is the cornerstone of the marketing and sales functions in any business, and integral to its success. So we rounded up a list of the costliest mistakes B2B companies make while generating leads:
1. Failing to define your target audience
Not defining your target audience is the equivalent of shouting ‘hey’ in a crowded room and seeing which head(s) will turn.
Narrowing down which leads are the most important to you can make your communication much more purposeful and hence, effective.
Your existing customers are often the best place to start when chalking out/up your ideal customer profile.
Find out their:
- Organizational size
- Job titles
- Pain points
Psychographics also offer useful information that helps you speak to their interests and passions.
Don’t stop there. Conduct surveys, put yourself in your customer’s shoes, and look at who your competitors are wooing to identify crucial segments you may have overlooked.
Use past negative experiences to figure out who to not approach. Everyone’s had a few nightmare clients, and if you’re planning to go big, it’s best to have yours defined to a T so you can steer clear.
2. Ignoring the buyer’s journey
Leads in different stages of the buyer’s journey have different informational needs. Shoving a free demo down someone’s throat when they’re only just finding out who you are can come across as hasty and overbearing.
Instead, you could entice them with free templates, quizzes, or checklists.
Webinars and whitepapers are more appropriate for leads better acquainted with your brand.
Bottom-of-funnel (BOFU) leads are prime candidates for demos and free trials.
Don’t treat all potential customers as one homogenized lump. Use segmentation and multiple buyer personas to streamline communication.
If you use an email tool, it should automatically segment leads at the time of signing up or converting.
Changing the content, format, style, frequency, and tone according to these segments makes messages more relevant to potential buyers.
3. Not providing enough value
Audiences that are convinced of the value of your offer will stop at nothing to get it. They’ll gladly give you their name, email address, location, age, gender, fingerprint, retinal scan, mouth swab, social security number, and firstborn.
But after making them jump through all these hoops, if you still don’t follow through on your promise, don’t be surprised if they descend on you like a pack of hungry wolves.
There’s a clear give-and-take principle when somebody visits your website to access the free quiz or tool you promised them in exchange for their email.
You have to hold up your end of the bargain, maybe even give more than you take, if you want them to trust your brand.
Your content should be original, well-researched, and insightful—only then can you expect leads to picking you over competitors.
Social listening can give you some interesting content ideas. A free trial or a special product tour can also pique the interest of new users and articulate the value in your proposition.
4. Not optimizing landing pages
People that click on the CTA in an ad or blog post have tunnel vision. The page they’re redirected to—the landing page—capitalizes on this tunnel vision to generate leads.
Do a website audit and make a list of frequently-visited pages, and low-traffic, but high-converting pages. When you figure out where the traffic comes from, build landing pages with those specific channels in mind.
A good landing page makes it effortless for people to submit their contact info. It minimizes exit links and the number of fields on forms.
It can contain authentication APIs like Google, Facebook, or Twitter to facilitate quick sign-ups.
Or use interactive design, exit pop-ups, and hello bars to drive conversions.
Thinkific’s pop-up, when clicked on, shows a single-field, easy-to-fill, form.
Even for social media posts, include links to special landing pages designed to maximize subscriptions, sales, or entries in a contest.
5. Not testing and optimizing campaigns
A/B tests are simple yet effective at picking winners. Whether it’s a blog title, a CTA button, or pre-header text, run a test to tell you which one your audience prefers.
For example, if you’re testing a CTA button, the deciding factors could be the color and the text you’re using.
You can use the test results to determine which gets higher conversions and then continue tweaking it for optimal results.
Similarly, you can run tests for web copy, or when choosing between different images in your emails.
It’s important to not go in with any biases as these will render the test results worthless.
The smallest mistakes could cost you, so keep an eye on:
- The number of leads generated
- Cost per lead, and
- Conversion rates.
6. Relying too much on one communication channel
Even if a sizable chunk of your audience, say 80 percent, hang out on a particular channel, LinkedIn for example, it’s still a bad move to risk alienating the other 20 percent accessible through Facebook, email or search engines.
A strong social media bond doesn’t always translate directly to trust. If it did, everybody’d be inviting all 3000 of their Facebook friends to their wedding.
Hesitant leads, scratch that, most leads need multiple touchpoints across channels to trust you.
For example, in a survey including millenials and Gen-Zs, the most social media-loving demographic, email was still the preferred channel of communication for purchases.
So while you can use social media to grow your following and establish credibility, don’t give attending client industry meetings and seminars, or sending cold emails like these a miss.
You can schedule and personalize them using Hunter, or send them manually.
Maintain consistency in the messages and tone, and experiment till you hit the right frequency and mix of offers.
7. Failing to follow up
Everyone wants a shorter sales cycle. But deals involving complex, trust-based services don’t materialize overnight.
In fact, just 2 percent of sales happen at the first contact with a lead.
With raised customer expectations in globally competitive markets, no one can afford to invest most resources in chasing new leads while potential high-quality ones slowly wither away in the pipeline.
No matter how perfect your first cold email is, it’s unlikely it’ll stand out in your leads’ crowded inbox. There’s also the matter of timing. It’s possible that when you first made an offer, your lead didn’t need it, but cut to three months later, they’re now desperate for that same solution.
Create drip sequences with clear CTAs like these to tackle slow sales.
Aim to add value with each follow-up email instead of just reminding leads to reply.
Ideally, you should send 3-4 follow-ups with a final breakup email.
With a long-term nurturing plan in place, you’ll able to bring more of those tedious negotiations to a successful close.
8. Your CTAs in content aren’t convincing or placed wrongly
Every communication with a lead should culminate in a next step. This next step, or Call-To-Action (CTA), can be signing up for a newsletter, taking a survey, or making a purchase.
The CTAs in ads, posts or email campaigns should:
- Be clear
- Align with the content
- Have balanced ask vs. offer ratios.
Toast link to their free downloadable resource twice in their blog post for added emphasis. Once just under the title.
And then one more time in the post.
While reading a blog post, leads might be willing to view a white paper, read testimonials, or have a sales call, but they’re unlikely to make the leap from first-time blog reader to customer.
Regularly test and optimize CTAs to ensure they are delivering the desired results and helping to drive lead generation and conversions.
Social media posts should have CTAs at the end that tie in with the overall message.
For example, if you’re a fintech company and you’ve shared a post about the best ways to manage cashflows in startups, the end of your post can contain a link to a recent podcast on the subject.
Lead generation planning is a turbulent journey. It’ll take countless discussions with your team before you have something remotely functional. Even then, you’ll have to constantly reinvent and rehash your strategies.
But the basic principles remain the same. Pick quality over quantity. Invest time in research. Focus on providing value. Keep these in mind and avoid the mistakes listed here to keep landing and converting quality leads.