Many B2B marketers continue to approach lead generation with a “spray and pray” mentality. Lead gen is unproductive if you're assets are seen in the wrong spots. A 2013 IDG Enterprise survey revealed that 61% of B2B marketers indicate that generating high-quality leads is their biggest lead generation challenge (higher than converting leads into customers). Lack of resources in staff, budget, and time are significant barriers to optimally generating leads. Lack of resources in staff, budget, and time are significant barriers to optimally generating leads. So which B2B lead generation practice provides the best way to sift through the digital sand to reveal a fruitful catch?
1. Qualify, Qualify, Qualify
Success starts with knowing your markets. While there may be several methods of attracting an audience, without intelligence gathered through prospect engagement you cannot separate the graduate student completing her thesis on your industry from the hot lead ready to buy. There must be a way to capture business intelligence – explicit attributes and implicit behaviors. Whether it's captured through an automated marketing platform or through traditional outbound practices, business intelligence has to be accurate and actionable in order to retain the best leads.
2. Use Tools Effectively
Next, marketers need the right tools to measure impact, starting with a marketing and sales dashboard. Dashboards act like sonar equipment for inbound marketing practices. Analytics reveal which channels are effectively gathering leads. But the dashboard must provide a holistic view of your lead generation results. Benchmarking both quantitative and qualitative metrics allows you to measure the market appeal and suitability for conversion. Which leads will ultimately generate revenue? Using the right tools effectively will show you.
3. Look for Signals
Finally, marketers must move leads to the qualification phase in as few touch points as possible. As we mentioned before, lead qualification is critical to generating high quality leads. Gathering intelligence may not always be a direct process. Certainly, a web form can provide actionable data in a direct manner. But direct requests for explicit attributes may not accurately qualify a lead as suitable for conversion. One campaign may have snared 1,000 website visitors but the critical point between attracting a suspect and snaring a qualified lead is what happens after the first touch point. Lead sources and engagement activities (such as a whitepaper download) provide the intelligence that may indicate whether a lead will move through the pipeline.