If LinkedIn has taught us anything, it’s that almost anyone can make B2B lead generation sound easy – but very few will actually deliver.
As marketers in the IT space, we’ve all had our fair share of DMs that promise to make it all nice and simple for us. We’ve learned to simply roll our eyes at these offers. And at the idea of “simple” lead generation.
But why isn’t it simple? What’s so hard about making a list of contacts who might want to buy your products and services? And then qualifying them as leads? And then offering them great content to nurture their interest? And then following up with them before they lose interest? And then…?
Part of the answer is hiding, rather conspicuously, in the questions.
To answer the rest we talked to Dan Blake, a true lead-gen veteran and a director here at TBT Marketing.
Dan has been helping brands interact with different lead generation approaches for more than 15 years. He’s heard every client request. He’s seen the marketing audience expand from the IT department across the whole business. If you’re tackling a lead gen problem in your business, Dan and TBT Marketing have probably helped solve it.
Unlike lead gen itself, our message is simple: work with people who have mastered the complexities, instead of glossing over them.
“It takes a holistic approach,” says Dan. “The only way to simplify lead generation is to partner with someone who understands that it’s a journey and not a one-off task.”
“Trust and transparency are everything. You can’t build high quality leads without coordinating experts in lots of different fields, so forget the idea of one supplier doing everything.”
Let’s take a look at some of the common challenges that have inspired TBT Marketing’s holistic approach to lead generation.
1. Setting realistic expectations
A big challenge with lead gen is deciding what to aim for – and knowing what’s possible. Unrealistic expectations can set your efforts up for failure.
“We start by finding out what the client really wants,” says Dan. “Clients have different ideas about what a qualified lead is, even within the same company.”
“For example, sellers want qualified leads they can call, but they don’t always know about the funnel that delivers those leads. Or, in the marketing department, goals might be different at the local and global level.”
This is why at TBT Marketing, we find out about every aspect of the project – the goal, the data that’s available, what you want to do with the leads – and then set realistic expectations. We can help you involve sales, marketing and leadership in the process.
Here are some other best practices we can help you implement:
- Choose quality over quantity — Prioritise leads that closely fit your ideal customer profile. Few well-qualified leads convert better than a stack of poor-quality leads.
- Take a measured approach — Lead generation takes sustained effort. Set incremental goals that build momentum, instead of expecting overnight results.
- Define “sales-ready” — Clearly determine, with sales input, what constitutes a qualified lead ready for outreach.
- Allow for nurturing time — Most leads require ongoing nurturing before sales outreach. Build in time for lead maturation based on your sales cycle.
- Review metrics regularly — These cost per lead, conversion rates, sales cycle length, and others. Reviewing them helps you optimise where needed.
“The key is that we’re open and honest about what’s possible when we put all of our experience and knowledge into the project,” says Dan. “That’s the best way to make sure our clients achieve ROI.”
2. Being ready for red tape and admin hurdles
In the world of IT marketing, campaigns are often jointly funded by an alliance of two or more vendors.
Co-funding can give your project a bigger scope and potentially better results. But you’ll need to follow the terms of your partnership to the letter, or risk not receiving funding that made your project possible.
“The administration side of co-funded campaigns adds a lot of complexity to campaigns,” says Dan. “Partners will set rules about the cost for lead, messaging in the campaign content, and the proof of execution you need to provide. Co-funded campaigns also introduce creative challenges for content creators, around how to combine each partner’s message and brand.”
Handling these challenges is part of the value TBT Marketing adds for our clients. We can facilitate your partnerships, look after proof of execution, and even help you negotiate better rates.
3. Understanding the value of content
Content is the most vital element when you’re pushing for leads. Why? Because if you expect IT decision makers (ITDMs) to give up their time and contact information, you have to give them something valuable in return.
“We often get asked to re-use existing marketing assets because that’s all the client has,” explains Dan. “But the old adage is true, content really is king. You have to customise your message and content to the needs of the campaign. The same old content doesn’t work everywhere.”
At TBT Marketing we help our clients create a range of engaging content. Our creatives collaborate on solution briefs, case studies, infographics and many other assets that helps nurture buyers at each stage of the buying process.
4. Not letting leads go stale in the inbox
Lead management is a difficult problem that new clients tell us about all too often.
If you’ve ever run a successful campaign, but suddenly found you have more leads in your inbox than you can deal with, then you can relate. The answer is to target a volume of leads that aligns with your sales team’s capacity to nurture and convert. Too many raw leads overwhelm sales.
“It’s not enough to generate leads,” explains Dan. “You need to be able to manage them and act on them when they come in, before they go cold.”
“You also need to understand how far down the sales funnel each lead is, so you can nurture them to the next step.”
Failing to act quickly on new leads can hurt your sales efforts. If your sales team is complaining about poor-quality leads, where does the real problem lie? Were your leads never really interested – or have they simply cooled off after waiting too long for a follow-up call?
It’s often the latter. And that’s why whole-campaign orchestration has become a big part of what we offer at TBT Marketing. We manage campaigns from end to end, even when they involve multiple suppliers, so that your leads are followed up with no lag.
5. Building the right mix of partners
If your campaign is on a large scale and spans several brands, geographies or languages, a single supplier can’t really deliver everything. Still, some pretend to.
You might have worked with lead-gen partners like this. They try to appear super-powered and make things super-simple for you, by saying they handle everything in-house.
But what happens when one of their suppliers lets them down? Well, your project fails. You’re in the dark about why. And you need to start again from scratch.
This is why transparency is so important for building lead-gen ROI, and the right mix of partners to deliver it consistently.
“It’s really important to be up-front about working with specialist suppliers,” says Dan. “Our clients get to know our suppliers as we work together, so they can see where things are going right, where things have gone wrong. TBT Marketing suppliers work together with complementary skills to maximise campaign results.”
“That transparency helps build stronger relationships with our clients and our partners, which makes your campaigns even more effective.”
What’s complicating your lead generation projects?
Lead generation is crucial for driving pipeline and revenue. But many marketers either under-prepare or over-think the process, leaving them with complex challenges that hamper ROI.
Either way, TBT Marketing can support you through the preparation, concept, and creation of lead-gen projects, all the way to delivery of quality leads.
What are your challenges with lead generation? Get in touch today to discuss them with our team.