Time to change your Lead Generation Strategy? The 8 Questions you need to ask
It’s time to admit that your lead generation strategy is not working- plain and simple. For your new business, you may still be trying to find that golden egg – just 2 or 3 lead flows that are repeatable, scalable, and time-efficient.
“There are too many options to choose from. But my budget is limited and my time is limited”, you say.
The conventional approach to solving the lead generation strategy problem would be to dig up more wells rather than repair or close stagnating ones.
There isn’t a shortage of blog posts, and videos telling you about shiny new lead generation techniques and hacks to follow. But according to the 80-20 rule: only 20% (or less) of lead generation sources are going to deliver a consistent stream of SQLs (Sales Qualified Leads) that your business needs.
As an example, when your conversions are low, digging up more landing pages might work. However, a smarter strategy would focus on improving your email’s lead nurturing sequence.
This article will help you answer the crucial questions for optimizing and creating a successful b2b lead generation strategy for your own business.
What’s wrong with my lead generation strategy?
Startups and new business owners with lead generation issues are generally in one of three stages.
1. I can’t figure out the best way(s) to generate leads for my business. Since lead generation impacts sales. This is a crucial concern for many new businesses. And the wide range of options does not help. You just want to identify the best, simplest, and most effective sources of new leads for your business.
2. My cost per lead is too much. Cost per lead is calculated as the total cost of the campaign divided by the number of leads generated. The average cost per lead varies by industry and by channel. LinchPinSEO compiled lead cost data from Hubspot, MarketingCharts.com, Matchcraft, Prospect Marketing, Pulse Local Marketing, Survey America. Here are some interesting findings.
For example, in the financial services industry, the average cost per lead is $160. At the high end, the cost per lead for financial services is $270 and on the low end, it’s around $44. Your goal is to maximize cost-efficiency, the best sources of leads at a fair price.
3. My lead gen process is not efficient (it’s hard to scale). The problem with “high-turnover” lead gen sources like cold calls is that they are difficult to scale. Of course, that doesn’t mean cold calling is dead or that it’s a waste of time. You probably just want to focus more efforts on strategies that can scale easily.
The common element in all three cases is the need to generate more leads for your business at a lower cost. The questions below can put you in a position to hold all the aces when it comes to generating leads for your business.
The 8 Questions you should ask
1. What are the best, simplest, and most reliable sources of potential clients (leads) for our company?
It’s hard to answer this question without looking at your company’s data. But when you don’t have enough data, looking at competitor data (or industry data) should help. Find answers to these questions:
- Who is most likely to buy from us?
- Where can we reach them?
- How do we reach them?
The four B2B lead generation strategies with the highest ROI in 2020 are email marketing (50%), SEO (43%), content marketing (34%) and live events (32%).
Here are some content types you could explore for your own small business:
2. Do you have a repeatable structure around your most successful lead generation activities?
It’s important to think quantity, not just quality with lead generation. A successful lead generation strategy will be one that constantly helps fill the pipeline.
To do this at scale, you must automate as many aspects of your lead generation as possible. 79% of top performing companies are already utilizing marketing automation
Essentially, the more leads you can generate, the faster your business can grow. Want a repeatable lead gen system? Check out this one by Proposify’s CEO, Kyle Racki.
3. How many lead gen processes can you have running at a time and effectively?
Lack of resources such as staff, funds, and time remains the biggest obstacle to successful lead generation efforts for 61% of B2B marketers. Many lead gen processes can be automated (which saves time) but you still need funding and expertise. For a small business, you’d definitely need to narrow down your options to avoid wasteful spending.
In the book, Professional Services Marketing: How the Best Firms Build Premier Brands by Mike Schultz, John E. Doerr, and Lee Frederiksen, they identify ten tactical mistakes made by professional services firms:
- Spending on marketing activities that don’t produce return on investment (ROI) or that are vanity exercises (for example, over the top graphic designs).
- Holding unrealistic expectations for which marketing tactics can produce which results.
- Not implementing marketing because of inefficient decision making (committees).
- Not sustaining implementation over the long term (giving up too soon).
- Relying on one tactic to do the job
- Poor implementation (for example, poorly written marketing copy, poorly designed websites or poorly targeted campaigns)
- Dropping leads and failing to nurture leads
- Not communicating value in your marketing
- Not integrating the various marketing tactics.
- Planning poorly for lead generation – all the steps in the process.
When you bite more than you can chew with lead generation sources, you’ll probably get caught in one of the above traps.
4. Who manages your lead generation activities?
While good planning is important, execution is critical. You want to set strategies and goals for your optimal lead generation techniques and make sure you can hold people with the right skills accountable. And of course, you want to make the right tools and the right motivation available. This is also where you think about the alignment between sales and marketing. According to MarketingProfs, sales and marketing alignment can lead to 38% higher sales win rates.
5. Should you prioritize inbound lead gen over outbound lead gen or vice versa?
Yes, outbound leads cost 39% more than inbound leads. This is because, with outbound leads, you’re pushing out direct mail, cold emails, radio ads, billboard ads to people based on a specific demographic, industry, location or job title. These people haven’t expressed interest in your brand, product, or service. So it’s basically interruption. It leaves a lot of room for waste.
With inbound leads, your targeting is based on demographics, industry, etc., but also based on interest. For example, Google gets 3.5 billion searches every day. When you run PPC ads or perform effective SEO, you reach people who are already somewhat interested in what you do.
However, don’t completely rule out outbound marketing. “A strategy like event marketing could become the primary source of high quality leads for your business, especially if you sell high ticket items,” says Peter Robert, co-founder of ECS, Houston-based information technology company.
A side note to this is that in a post-covid19 world, it is very important to observe standard precautions with outbound marketing avenues like events.
6. What lead gen tools would you need for streamlining each lead gen process?
So you probably know what to do and who’s going to do what. To build structure around your lead gen processes, you need to equip the right people with the right tools.
For example, if you’re going to tap into someone else’s audience through guest posts, you need to think about:
- Outreach Tools (how do we get the right peoples’ attention?)
- Content Creation Tools (how do we create shareable content?) and
- Social Media Management Tools (how do we promote published posts?)
7. What are your costs per lead gen process relative to ROI?
Getting enough attribution data has been a big marketing problem for a while. How do you know which marketing channels are really generating ROI? It becomes more difficult when you have ads on multiple channels, both online and offline.
Digiday surveyed 197 brands and agencies along with 44 publishers in January 2018 to explore how expectations vary when it comes to attribution. One of their findings was that “More than half of marketers (52 percent) believe that sales metrics such as conversion rates and return on ad spend (ROAS) were the most effective when evaluating a campaign’s success.”
So, keep an eye on your sales metrics and make sure you’re not spending too much on the wrong channels.
In the book, “Professional Services Marketing”, the authors say:
“Only seven levers matter to increase your revenue:
- Number and/or quality of targets.
- Number of overall leads
- Number of qualified leads
- Number of qualified leads converted to clients
- Revenue per client
- Revenue retention
- Growth rate per retained client
Everything you could possibly do in marketing should be viewed through the lens of these levers”.
8. What’s your accountability plan for lead generation (how many leads do you need to generate on a daily or weekly basis?)
This is probably the first question to ask when creating a lead generation strategy. Conventionally, once you have a goal, the next step should be breaking it down into daily or weekly steps.
Marc Wayshak, author and director of Sales Insight Lab, a sales analytics firm, describes his process:
‘When I work with clients on this, we often start backwards. We say, “What are the sales that we ultimately have to generate?” And then from there, “How many leads do we have to generate in order to hit those sales numbers?” And then from there, “What do we have to be doing on a daily or weekly basis in order to generate that many leads?”’
Finally, your 2021 lead generation strategy is probably going to be a bit different from 2020’s. According to Oleg Donets, Founder and CMO at real estate MarTech company, Real Estate Bees, “Your lead generation strategy should not be static. Over time, people’s behavior with respect to your product and your market changes. You want to create A/B tests to see what CTAs work best, what colors work and what email copy converts best.”