B2B Marketing’s Biggest Challenge: All About B2B Lead Generation

There’s no denying the fact that B2B lead generation strategies are different than those a B2C company might use. However, the fact does remain that lead generation is one of the biggest challenges in marketing across the board. After all, without leads, you don’t have much of anything.

Consistent marketing efforts, coupled with constant cultivation of relationships within your industry can help. However, there’s a lot that goes into understanding just what is B2B lead generation and how to optimize it in order to enhance your growth marketing efforts.

What is B2B Lead Generation?

It’s important to understand that B2B lead generation is not a one-size-fits-all effort. The tactics that work for a real estate company might not work for a B2B SaaS company, and that’s part of where the challenges lie.

Generally speaking, however, this type of lead generation is one of the very first steps in the sales process for a business-to-business company. 

After collecting information about a potential client, whether via social media, email marketing, or an in-person meeting at a trade show, you then nurture the lead through tactics such as marketing automation. The goal? To convert the lead into a sale.

It’s therefore incredibly important that you not only work to create the right kind of marketing strategy for your company but for those that you’re targeting as well. And, this strategy should extend to include every step of the process up until it’s handed off to the sales team.

However, it’s important to note that both the marketing and the sales team should be involved in, or at least aware of, every step of this process. Marketing lead generation in the B2B world can be partially automated before being handed off to the sales team where they’ll manually take over the account and the further cultivation of the business relationship.

In terms of B2B SaaS lead generation, marketing and sales are increasingly working together to tackle issues such as lead quality, organic on-page SEO, improving content quality, and even optimizing the company website or landing page.

What Problems Do B2B Marketers Face?

HubSpot found that inbound tactics produce 54% more leads than traditional paid marketing. So, it’s easy to see why traditional marketing teams might have trouble understanding why their usual tactics aren’t working for B2B lead generation.

Similarly, Crazy Egg released data alongside Hubspot that reveals that, although B2B companies gain leads through traditional marketing methods such as SEO, email marketing, and social media, the majority comes from an “unknown” category.

And, sure, it’s hard to cultivate a comprehensive growth marketing strategy if you’re not even quite sure what’s working, what’s not, and where you’re even drawing these leads in from. It’s a challenge that’s specific to the B2B industry, especially if you’re focused on the wrong KPIs.

In 2020, B2B marketers faced a variety of problems and obstacles. Some of them were traditional and some were caused by the recent coronavirus crisis and changing business landscape. Here are some of the most common and how to identify them.

Injecting Humanity into Business Practices

There’s no doubt that COVID-19 is transforming the way that businesses communicate and interact with customers. 

Conversational marketing data from a company called Drift shows that worldwide internet traffic is up 18% since the beginning of last year. And, that conversation volume across our customer-base is up 79% year-over-year. While this is great news for marketers, you have to dive a bit deeper.

Conversations might be up, but since they’re virtual, the problem of simply being human is amplified amid these unique circumstances. The challenge, therefore, remains, particularly in B2B settings that are often crowded and noisy.

Being human is an asset in today’s market and now, perhaps, more than ever. Display your company’s unique value and implementing new ways to connect face-to-face can help combat this issue. The goal is to humanize your brand to foster deeper connections and interactions.

How? Unique tools like Drift Video allow you to connect with buyers face-to-face, but on their terms and timeline.

Generating MQLs with High-Quality Content

Content marketing is a vast field, and it’s one that B2B companies often seem hesitant to navigate. Traditional B2B lead generation strategies have relied a lot on in-person connections and tactics such as email marketing.

However, with SEO on the rise in the business-to-business world and content marketing shown to produce 3X more leads than paid search marketing, there’s a lot of value in producing high-quality content.

Marketing-qualified leads are leads that have been deemed more likely to become a customer compared to other potential leads. Generating these leads still proves to be difficult for some B2B companies. Why? It’s difficult to cultivate and promote content.

It’s important to learn to identify and attribute leads to the correct content channels. This will allow you to then identify the issues and solutions surrounding the lack of leads for certain areas of content. 

If your blog isn’t driving traffic, why is that? Perhaps it’s because you operate within a niche industry that’s hard to compete in. Perhaps you’re using the wrong keywords.

Cultivating Different Audiences

This is a challenge that most companies face, whether they’re B2B or B2C. It’s due to the fact that few companies sell products or services to one target audience or buyer persona. Chances are, you have a few different buyer personas you’re trying to target. 

This poses a big marketing challenge. You need to learn how to first identify and cultivate those different audiences. Then, you’ll need to learn how to target them with the right messages.

The solution lies in learning how to balance the needs of each individual audience without alienating the others. We’d suggest forgetting about trying to tailor each individual blog post or social media upload to individual audiences.

Instead, focus on humanizing your brand while cultivating a strong SEO plan that attracts different types of users with the same keywords and strategies.

Understanding the Customer Journey to Attribute Leads

Attributing leads, as mentioned, is an issue faced by nearly every single B2B business around. Your CMO might know that a large percentage of traffic comes from organic traffic to the homepage, but it’s hard to know how exactly they arrived at the page in the first place.

This makes identifying holes in your marketing plan especially difficult as it prevents you from gaining a deeper, clearer picture of what’s working and what’s not. Social content might be driving more traffic than you know, but it’s hard to prove.

To counter this marketing struggle, it’s important to really understand the customer journey. This allows you to track the process they go through in order to reach a buying decision or to at least begin to interact with your brand.

In turn, you’ll be able to cultivate more meaningful touchpoints and clearer goals for each campaign that will make attribution just a little bit easier.

The Benefits of Focusing on B2B Lead Generation Strategies

You might understand the challenges you face when it comes to B2B lead generation, but that’s nothing without understanding the benefits you gain from really focusing on shifting from viewing them as challenges to really tackling them via a solid lead generation strategy.

While there are numerous benefits of investing in this kind of marketing strategy, here are the top few we tend to see with the companies we work with.

Higher MQLs

We mentioned that one of the biggest challenges teams face in terms of business-to-business leads is generating MQLs through high-quality content. When you begin to focus on this kind of strategy, however, you’re inherently creating higher MQLs.

Because you’re investing in a strategy that focuses on identifying only the highest quality leads, whether it’s through marketing automation or any other tool, you’ll see that your pipeline grows drastically and that those in the pipeline are more likely to convert to sales.

More Automated Lead Qualification Process

This one goes hand-in-hand with identifying and targeting higher MQLs. Investing in lead generation best practices ensures that able to better automate the lead qualification process. TreeRing is a great example of a business that was able to generate more qualified leads through automation.

After automating the process, the sales team was able to focus more on closing instead of generating the right leads. In turn, they saw a 10% increase in pipeline value and a 15x ROI in just two months.

Enhanced Customer Experience

Because B2B lead generation relies heavily on humanizing your company and opening the floor up to more engaging conversations, you’ll find that when you invest in the right lead generation strategies, you’re enhancing the customer experience overall.

Targeted Leads at a Lower Cost

You’re after high-quality MQLs. And, you’re looking at the need to pass those on to the sales team at lightning speed. Lead generation strategies and solutions can help you do that so you can target higher-quality leads at a lower cost.

Lead generation practices allow businesses to determine pricing on a per-lead basis. And, the nature of the practice ensures that you’re paying only for the leads that are received. This makes it cost-effective, to begin with.

However, because businesses that use lead generation services and solutions are generally able to turn the targeted leads into customers, the overall cost advantage is much greater.

Helpful Tools for Business to Business Leads

Traditionally, inside sales, trade shows, executive events, and telemarketing have worked more efficiently as part of B2B lead generation strategies. That’s a huge contrast compared to B2C companies that target customers more through social media and online ads.

Why? As mentioned, B2B relies heavily on connections. It’s part of the reason why LinkedIn consistently ranks as one of the top tools for B2B lead generation and marketers in general.

An article from CMS Wire revealed that “This credibility and authority building platform within your trusted professional network is an invaluable tool to B2B marketers and B2B sales teams.” This is great, but LinkedIn can only take you so far. To really get the most out of your lead generation investments, it’s worth understanding the benefits of marketing automation as it relates to your business specifically.

Automated solutions, however, are often best. We can help advise you as to which are going to be the most beneficial for you.

What to Expect from Investing in B2B Lead Generation Best Practices

B2B lead generation is tough. It’s why most companies outsource their lead generation efforts in some way or another.

Looking to invest in a B2B lead generation solution? Your ROI will look a little different depending on your company, your goals, and the solutions you’re implementing.

The best way to understand how these kinds of solutions might benefit your B2B company is to get in touch with us. We’ll gladly start a conversation about your specific needs and how we can help you achieve hypergrowth.

Author avatar
Elizabeth Thorn
Elizabeth is a skilled, passionate writer with experience in content creation for both print and digital outlets around the world. While working with clients such as StubHub, Lonely Planet, and Cheese on content strategies and copywriting projects, Elizabeth launched her first business at the age of 26. Currently, she leads a team of bilingual creatives as the Creative Director of Sherpa Way Marketing where she oversees all creative and content-related tasks in an effort to help other business owners in European, Latin American, Asian, and North American markets build their dreams.
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