Lead Generation Mistakes to Avoid

Lead generation header graphic

Lead generation was the most important content marketing goal for 85% of B2B marketers surveyed in 2016 by the Content Marketing Institute.

Yet even though lead generation is essential to marketing and sales efforts to grow revenue, marketers continue to make mistakes that hurt effective lead generation.

Let’s consider some of the lead generation mistakes to avoid:

Failing to Plan Ahead

Effective lead generation strategies demand specific goals and objectives. Determine in advance the lead nurturing goals and what particular metrics will be used to gauge success. Work with sales teams, again in advance, to determine what attributes will qualify a lead as sales-ready. Set up marketing automation programs to track and evaluate prospect interactions with your digital assets. Then, set up an automated work flow to respond with actions decided by the intelligence offered from that data.

Marketing to sales alignment: buyer lifecycle stages

Not Knowing the Buyer

Effective marketing strategy demands buyer personas that help target specific audiences at each stage of their evaluation journey. The buyer persona should accurately reflect the individual’s priorities, perceived barriers, decision criteria, role in the evaluation journey and more.

Buyer personas

Build the persona off past, current and prospective client insights. Audit social media interactions, review LinkedIn profiles, read blog comments, and revisit other prospect and client interactions to gain a true sense of what the buyer is looking to achieve and his or her pain points.

Related reading: Six Steps to Better Buyer Personas

B2B buyer persona icon

Treating all Buyers Alike

Not only does a business need to identify and target buying personas, but it also needs to differentiate content across the buying journey. Someone who is being attracted to the brand would react more favorably, for instance, to a case study outlining current market trends whereas a prospect who is on the cusp of converting is more likely to respond well to a product comparison or buyer’s checklist.

Related reading: 4 Best Practices in B2B Digital Marketing

Publishing Inconsistently

Creating content that your ideal buyer wants, enjoys and even shares can positively impact lead generation. Address the audience’s particular challenges and opportunities with consistent content publishing. Give subscribers relevant and valuable content on a regular basis to generate authority in the market and increase your credibility when the buyer moves to make a buying decision.

content publishing schedule for B2B marketing

Focusing on You, You, You

Lead generation is reminiscent of a first date. People seldom want to go out again with the guy or gal who spent the entire meal talking only about themselves and promoting all of the ways they are great in a relationship. Instead, generate lead interest by publishing content that addresses that prospects’ pain points, unique issues and needs, while educating, informing and delighting them.

Looking at Social Media as One Big Channel

Social media strategy is critical to all marketing success — even B2Bs. In fact, 75% of B2B buyers consult social media as part of their buying journey, according to International Data Corporation.

lead generation influencer

Don’t treat Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram as if they are all the same thing. Each has a different audience with its own unique interests and needs. Target usage of the channel and the marketing message accordingly.

Related reading: B2B Social Media Marketing Statistics 2016

Tracking the Wrong Data

We are assuming, of course, that you are tracking results for all marketing initiatives. If you aren’t, start there. Otherwise, match key performance indicators with the metrics that matter. For instance, the number of followers on a brand’s Facebook page means little if there is no evidence that the Facebook page is a source of lead referrals. Or, in another example, the number of newsletter sign-ups may be low, but if a high percentage of newsletter subscribers are later converting to sales that may be an area to leverage.

Content Planning

Buying Lists or Using Other Interruptive Tactics

The tactics outlined thus far will help marketers generate leads without having to turn to list buys or cold calling. In this era of permission-based marketing, buyers are more likely to respond to a website and digital content that is easy to use, quick to navigate and clearly communicates a value proposition. Using search engine optimization and consistent content marketing strategies, your business can drive more website traffic and start seeing a rise not only in quantity of leads, but also in the much more important quality of the sales leads generated.

Related reading: How to generate leads without cold calling

A CMO's Guide To B2B Lead Generation - eBook download

Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs. (2016). B2B Content Marketing: 2016 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends— North America.
Gynn, A. (2016, July 29). How to Tell If Your Content Marketing Is Working: Tips From 22 Experts. https://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2016/07/content-marketing-working
Lambert, S. (2016, August 3). Warning: 25 Reasons Your B2B Lead Generation Is Failing (And How To Fix It). https://www.business2community.com/b2b-marketing/warning-25-reasons-b2b-lead-generation-failing-fix-01617477#8afaPIzF6Mm28O2C.97

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Ironpaper is a B2B marketing agency and lead generation agency. Ironpaper integrates design, technology and marketing for the web to drive meaningful results for clients. We are based in New York City and Charlotte, NC.