Those who are in the business-to-business (B2B) industry know that one of the most important parts of growing their business comes from lead generation. This is more than simply emailing potential customers. Instead, it involves continually identifying and reaching out to potential customers through a variety of means in order to convert as many as possible.
The problem is that lead generation is difficult. It can be hard to identify good leads to start with, and the process of converting them into paying customers sometimes seems more like luck than anything planned. However, anyone who operates a B2B business knows that lead generation does work if you have the right process in place. Unfortunately, there are a number of hurdles in lead generation that can hurt your business. Here are five of these hurdles and how you can deal with them.
Editor’s note: If you’d like to learn more about lead generation, check out this article on effective email lead magnets and this other post on marketing funnels. They’re a great starting point for anyone who’d like to improve their lead generation process.
1. Having no lead management
In order to have successful lead generation, you have to have good lead management. Without any sort of lead management, it’s going to be very difficult to identify any potential customers, let alone convert them into buyers. Lead management ensures that all lead generation is centralized and efficient by using the following methods:
- All of the customer relationship data is in the same place and is analyzed and used in the same way to make lead generation as effective as possible.
- It’s easier to track the progression of each lead as it moves through your pipeline. This means that leads won’t be contacted twice with the initial pitch, and it will be easier to get an idea of which potential leads will convert to customers.
- The same guidelines will be applied to all potential leads before they are placed within the process, so all leads will be good potential customers. Time won’t be wasted courting customers who have no interest in your business.
Without an effective and best-in-business lead management system such as Salesforce, the entire lead generation process breaks down. To deal with this hurdle, make sure all of your lead generation information is kept in the same database in a most robust and systematic way.
2. Using one lead generation method
There’s no sure-fire way of lead generation. That’s why most businesses have created a generation strategy that utilizes different methods. Relying on one lead generation method, especially if it’s a method that has been used for years before the advent of new technology, may be the reason why you’re not getting many conversions.
If you’re using nothing but offline techniques, it’s time to move to social media and content marketing. For instance, social media has become a prime hub for lead generation and prospects conversion catering to many businesses.
Conducting social media quizzes, capitalizing Facebook lead ads and boosting existing customer referrals are few of the innovative methods through which social media boosts up lead generation.
As for content marketing, sharing the most relevant content to your target audience in systematic intervals along various media platforms is the best secret for proper lead generation. And don’t forget mobile platforms!
3. Irregular and unsystematic follow up of prospects
Without following up on prospective leads, you can’t move potential customers through the lead conversion process, which means they may never become paying customers. If you don’t follow up on these leads in a systematic, regular way, you may lose them. Some leads will look elsewhere if they don’t hear from you. They may need services or products such as the ones you offer, but if they haven’t received any information from you recently, they may go with a competitor who has followed up more regularly.
Potential customers may also decide that you aren’t serious about working with them if you never follow up or do so irregularly. This is especially true if you’re engaged in a dialogue with a lead. Going several weeks without responding to questions tells the potential client that you aren’t that serious about their business.
Having a timetable and a proper system for follow up communications in place is the key to overcoming this hurdle. Make certain every employee who is working with leads knows how to make initial contact and when to follow up on that contact. This system doesn’t have to be rigid—in fact, having a flexible CRM tool such as ZOHO CRM system is adapted depending on how the lead reacts is ideal.
4. Using outdated technology
One key part of lead generation is organization. You have to make certain you know who is being considered as a lead, who has been contacted, at what stage each lead is in your conversion process, and more. If any of this information gets jumbled or isn’t accessible, it can lead to confusion and a breakdown in the process. Worse, leads may start receiving duplicate or incorrect communications, which can prevent them from becoming customers.
In order to get around this hurdle, you should instill technologically packed softwares such as Accreon (primarily for Healthcare & Life Sciences sector) which indulge in deep analysis of your firm’s inbound and outbound marketing along with lead generation and follow-up via telephone and email campaigns. Using email templates in your email campaigns will also help keep your communication professional. You may also want to use a cloud based phone system like Dialpad that can translate voice mails to email, record calls, provide IVR facilities, and more. Keep this database updated, too. Using outdated technology could result in losing data. This applies to all your marketing, analytics, or sales performance management tools.
5. Letting one-offs go
Sometimes, you may have a lead that simply wants to make a single purchase from your company. These one-off purchases may have a very specific need that, when met, will never be had again. Letting this one-off customers go may seem like a victory—you converted them into a paying customer, even if they never come back. But that’s no way to grow your business. If you have one-off customers frequently, work to develop lead generation materials that will show them the benefits of continuing to work with your business. In some cases, the way around this hurdle may be to actually develop new products that these customers will want.
If you look at your lead generation and see that you’ve been hitting one of these hurdles, it’s never too late to change your strategy and your process. Once you do, you may find that you start converting leads into customers at an astonishing rate. Some of the key strategies to overcome these retention hurdles are reducing attrition, maintaining frequent communication calendar, providing extraordinary customer support etc.
Do you have any ideas on lead generation or these hurdles? We’d love to hear from you!