When it comes to acquiring new customers, sales lead generation is the name of the game. Companies use a variety of strategies and tactics to draw in consumer interest, guiding potential future buyers through the sales cycle.

Even if you already have a full strategy in place that sets out how to generate leads, there are still a number of challenges your company might face along the way.


Common Challenges and Hurdles

The sales and marketing landscape has changed dramatically with the growing popularity of internet research.

With search engines and social media providing an abundance of information at your fingertips, business lead generation is more complex than ever before. Here are some of the most common challenges lead generation companies and marketing teams face:

  • Generating High Quality Leads: A recent study found that nearly half of marketers consider generating high quality sales leads as their main business challenge. Even if you acquire a large number of business leads, you simply cannot turn them into customers if they’re not interested, don’t have the budget, or just aren’t ready to take the next step.
  • Limited Resources: Companies often have limited resources in terms of time, money, or staff (or all three) that they can utilise for getting sales leads. In a survey of B2B companies, roughly 38% of respondents said that having enough or the right people to generate leads was a challenge they faced in lead generation, putting it high on the list of issues for many businesses.
  • Converting Leads into Customers: More than 40% of B2B marketers list lead conversion among their main challenges in lead generation. Just because you’ve managed to acquire some high quality sales leads, it doesn’t mean your work is complete. Turning those potential buyers into actual customers is a challenge that even the most experienced lead generation teams face, especially if their lead management strategies are not up to scratch.
  • Creating Meaningful Content: With all of the information being thrown at today’s customers, it’s difficult to create meaningful content that cuts through all of that noise. Among marketing professionals surveyed, 41% claim that producing engaging content is their biggest marketing challenge.

Multi-Layered Customer-Focused Strategies for Lead Generation Success

In his article in Entrepreneur, digital marketing consultant Brett Relander says that “one of the most common reasons that many marketers fail to find traction with their lead generation efforts is that they neglect to court prospects properly.”

Lead generation is all about developing strategies to generate customer interest based on their particular wants and needs. This not only applies to grabbing their attention, but also maintaining it by creating a good customer experience.

There are a number of solutions and tactics that companies can employ to create successful lead generation campaigns. From improving web content to using new technologies to manage leads or analyse data, each challenge can be overcome with multiple consumer-focused solutions.

Quality Over Quantity

Say your company has already laid out a strategy that defines how to generate leads for B2B sales. Things have been moving, the numbers look great, but they’re just not turning into customers. Even though you may have acquired the right quantity of leads, the quality was just not up to snuff. Generating high quality leads is of utmost importance for any company trying to acquire new customers and can be very difficult without the right lead generation strategies.

The first step to finding qualified leads is defining what they should look like – that is, creating buyer personas. One ITSMA survey shows that buyer personas have given 90% of respondents a clearer understanding of their customers, with 56% citing higher quality leads.

Targeting your ideal customers will help you create content that is meaningful to them by gathering useful data based on their specific wants and needs. Data analysis and management tools can help you sort through the information you’ve collected about your potential leads and focus on high quality data which can be used to reach a clearly defined target audience on social media and elsewhere.

Turning Leads into Customers

Now, go back to that last scenario, only this time, you’ve matched your leads to your buyer personas and qualified them using data based on their demographics and behaviours.

At this point, the challenge may not be generating quality leads, but rather converting them into customers. This could be a communication issue between the marketing and sales teams – good marketing and sales alignment is crucial to ensuring successful lead management and conversion.

According to research by the Aberdeen Group, companies that optimize marketing-sales alignment see higher growth in revenue, brand awareness, average deal size, and sales acceptance of marketing-generated leads. Both teams should work together to define what ideal leads look like and then consider it from the consumer’s vantage point to determine how they should be nurtured, and when they are ready to be passed from marketing on to sales.

The customer experience should be the main focus in lead generation. Nearly 3/4 of consumers say they would switch brands if they receive inconsistent service, and good sales-marketing alignment is crucial to ensuring you provide the same top-notch service throughout every customer interaction.

Linking your marketing automation and CRM systems can be very useful here, since it will give sales and marketing a better understanding of each other’s roles, make it easier to track leads, offer additional sales insights, and help you to provide a better all around customer experience.

Accomplishing More with Less

This time around, you’ve been asked to develop a campaign on a shoestring budget, half of the team is off sick, and the deadline is fast approaching. Essentially, a hard task has just been made much harder. Now it’s time to look to inbound marketing methods to save the day.

Not only does inbound marketing cost 62% less per lead than outbound marketing, it also offers a variety of venues where you grab the customer’s attention for little to no money, and can even save time in the same breath.

For example, you can re-publish existing texts in different venues: an e-book can be broken into a series of blog posts with calls to action, social media can offer previews and links to a text. The top two things that make content effective are audience relevance and engaging and compelling storytelling, meaning that it is once again vital to keep consumer interest at the core of your strategy.

As you can see here, challenges in sales lead generation can be addressed with a variety of solutions and tactics. Often, challenges are interlinked and one strategy may be able to help you solve multiple issues at once.

The main focus of any lead generation strategy should be the customer’s experience, wants, and needs. Technological advancements, such as analytical software and CRM, can prove useful in lead generation, as they increase efficiency and cut back resource use.

This post is part of our Navigating the Sales Cycle series. Download the e-book and discover the 7 steps to sales success