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How to overcome B2B lead generation challenges

Business-to-business organizations continue to struggle with lead generation. A big reason for this is due to the complexity involved in creating effective digital marketing campaigns that attract the right audience of buyers. There are a number of elements involved in giving customer acquisition campaigns more life.

Where B2B companies struggle
One of the top challenges in B2B marketing is innovation (1). This refers specifically to their products and services. However, any adjustments to the offerings available to purchasers will inevitably influence the marketing team because they must keep on top of alterations and updates. To effectively position the brand, it's critical that the advertising team – and sales, as well – has full visibility of initiatives aimed at innovation.

Additionally, 57 percent of B2B companies said that building market share is a difficult objective to achieve. In capturing a larger portion of the buying audience, effective lead generation campaigns are crucial. Although a company can build a solid customer base, profits will remain stagnant if they don't acquire new buyers. Finally, 45 percent of organizations indicated staying ahead of competition is a big issue. In many ways, countering other companies' acquiring the same target audience means getting in front of purchasers with more strategic marketing campaigns. Utilizing digital channels to reach out to buyers at different points in the sales funnel with relevant messages can give companies a significant advantage when battling competitors for new customers.

Even with these challenges, there are steps that B2B organizations can take to leverage their lead generation campaigns to remain competitive, build greater market share and attract new buyers by communicating product or service innovations.

Build a healthier marketing database
The most effective lead generation strategies have a strong foundation sustained by accurate and complete data. To target the right buyer audiences, companies need to have a holistic view of their existing customers, as well as any leads they acquire through online marketing forms. One of the most tried-and-true strategies for generating higher quality lead is optimizing online forms to capture a variety of information. On a 5-point scale, a study involving 223 million B2B marketing database records found the average score for completeness was 2.9, which equates to unreliable (2). In other words, between 50 and 65 percent of files were complete, with the remained lacking key information necessary for lead scoring, routing and qualification.

A few of the most significant issues were that 84 percent of records didn't have revenue data, while another 82 percent didn't include company size according to the number of employees. Furthermore, more than 7 in 10 files were missing industry descriptions. However, a big gap in database management was seen in the number of records – 54 percent – that didn't have a contact phone number. Individually, these issues can set back a lead generation campaign, but taken in sum, they're a major detriment to any company hoping to target a specific buyer or audience.

Optimize Web forms to capture necessary data
As a result, it's important to make sure that online lead generation forms are getting the most valuable information possible about prospects. This will likely mean adding imbedded validation and verification tools into the forms themselves so that anyone inputting an email address or telephone number enters accurate, existing information. In addition, it may help to make certain fields mandatory if the lead wants to download a white paper or get access to a webinar. There may be some individuals who will end up not filling out the form, and this may ultimately mean they're not fully engaged with the brand just yet. Otherwise, it may be better to request more detailed information the further down the sales funnel a prospect goes.

1. "Key B2B marketing challenges and strategies"
2. "The State of Marketing Data 2015"

Sheila Kloefkorn

With more than 25 years of hands on marketing strategy and operations experience, Sheila Kloefkorn is dedicated to developing marketing strategies and plans that help clients succeed. Some of the world's largest brands have depended on Sheila for marketing programs that delivered tangible and substantial results. Specialties: B2B marketing, lead generation, lead nurturing, sales strategy, marketing strategy, competitive marketing strategy, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), mobile marketing, email marketing, website design, marketing plans.