Acquiring business-to-business (B2B) sales leads requires a different approach than standard business-to-consumer (B2C) leads. B2B sales and marketing professionals are often busy conducting their own work, so they often disregard promotional efforts made by other companies. Here are five of the top reasons why companies fail to generate and more convert B2B leads.
Targeting the Wrong Audience
You won't be generating many sales leads when targeting the wrong audience. If your target audience is plant managers, and you market your services to HR managers, for instance, it's doubtful you will gain any ground. Think about who's most interested in your product and service and focus your lead generation efforts on them.
To dive one step deeper, think about potential triggers or events that might indicate that a prospect is more qualified and will have a need for your products or services.
While traditional lead-generation methods like direct mail and cold calling are still effective, search engine optimization (SEO) is particularly effective for B2B. In fact, a HubSpot study ranks it as the single most effective channel for B2B lead generation, even more so than direct mail, trade shows, email marketing and telemarketing. By optimizing your business's website to rank higher in the search engines, you'll generate more traffic and ultimately acquire more B2B leads.
Not Using Email
Granted, Hubspot found SEO to be the leading channel for B2B leads. However, email is still a highly effective means for nurturing and converting B2B leads. A separate study conducted by Chief Marketer cited email as being the most popular lead generation channel. A whopping 87% of respondents said email was their preferred marketing channel for B2B leads.
Lack of Automation
There's nothing wrong with manually reaching out to prospects and promoting your product or service, but there are certain tasks that can be automated to streamline your efforts and improve overall productivity. Manually posting new content on social media, for instance, is a painstaking and time-consuming process, especially when it's done several times per day. Thankfully, this is one of the many tasks that can be automated, allowing salespersons to focus their time and resources elsewhere, such as exploring new promotional channels.
Trying to Sell to Early
Rather than trying to sell your product or service during the early interactions with a prospect, you should wait until a second or even third correspondence. Doing so will allow you to build rapport and really understand a the prospect's challanges. After the initial correspondence, you can send the prospect useful content to gain trust and credibility, at which point you can then attempt to begin driving your key vaule proposition and differentiators.