B2B demand generation moving forwardLast week I talked about “quick wins”. Among all the feedback I received, some readers expressed their fear and shared common instances of B2B lead generation failure. Yes, there are many reasons your marketing and sales activities can fail and they occasionally will. It’s hard to admit, but what you learn from failure is sometimes much more valuable than what you might gain from winning.

We are strong and mighty and all powerful while we win and conquer. The moment we experience failure, we become weak and fearful. The fear of failing again prevents us from moving on to newer challenges with the same intensity, passion and dedication we had before having failed. It’s ironical how the one organ that makes us the strongest race on the planet is also the one that weakens us—the brain, the seat of the human mind. Reflect for a moment on these words of wisdom:

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think, we become.”- Gautama Buddha

It’s important to think like a winner, even when you fail. Like I’ve said before, you need to fail fast and recover even faster in order to keep moving ahead. So what does it mean to “fail fast”? It means being able to see the warning signs and recognize failure quickly so that you have enough time to stand up and get back in the fight.

5 Warning Signs of B2B Lead Generation Failure

  1. WEAK DEMAND GENERATION STRATEGY: If your demand generation strategy is on a shaky foundation, you have a host of problems on hand. Common issues include not following a regular list hygiene process, missing solid account mapping and lead scoring metrics, not being in touch with the dynamics of your market and not fully comprehending the issues your customers find most challenging. What can you do to ensure your strategy is well-defined and strategically aligned to deliver on your lead generation goals?
  2. YOU HAVE NOT MAPPED THE B2B BUYING PROCESS: B2B procurement is not a simple process. Not only do you have to comprehend it generically, but you also need to map it for every B2B buyer you are targeting and working on to achieve a sale. Recognize that it is going to be a long and complex sales cycle with more than one ‘power buyer’ involved. In addition, the buying process within your client’s organization may be impacted by factors such as budget issues, growth patterns, debt situation, staffing and personal issues, economic factors, and more.
  3. TOO MANY WALLS: Marketing is tossing ‘qualified’ leads over the wall to Sales. Sales is not picking up on those leads because they do not seem promising. Finance is breathing down the CMO’s neck questioning the purpose of all the lead generation activities and demanding ROI. The CEO is drinking from a fire hose with a desk that’s piled high with Big Data. All in all, everyone is functioning behind walls and in silos rather than in an environment where learning, resources and customer analytics flow freely between departments. This is a fairly typical scenario in large and medium-sized B2B companies. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
  4. TOO MUCH CONTENT: Is there such a thing? Hard to believe since everyone is going nuts with social media and content marketing. The problem is, the buyer is experiencing too much noise. If your social media and content marketing activities are not grounded in buyer persona profiling, your time and resources are going to waste.
  5. TOO MUCH RELIANCE ON EXTERNAL SOURCES: Marketing automation toys, fancy CRM software, trendy analytics tools and reports, paid social media channels, all of these are the flavour of the day. Unfortunately, a heavy reliance on these creates a situation where you now need ‘experts’ and ‘specialists’ to make sure you are getting results from your latest investments in B2B lead generation. You have to remember, though, that a specialist will pressure you to spend more time and money on activities within her or his field of specialization. That’s when the specialist can show your company some measurable results. If you find yourself sacrificing tried and true marketing techniques to replace one or two newer ones, know that you are also compromising the integrity of your overall demand generation strategy. Expert advice and partnerships with specialists are beneficial but you must know the key questions to ask your B2B lead generation partner.

Turn Every B2B Lead Generation Failure Into An Opportunity

Let’s look at some examples of how to do this.

  • Did you spend a ton of money on ads to buy Facebook “Likes”? If you aren’t getting any conversions, the campaign is failing; but it isn’t the end of the road. Use a small, focused budget to turn those Likes into engagement. Over a period of time, as you engage and interact with your fans, you will work your way slowly but surely towards conversions and ROI.
  • What can you do if your email marketing is not effective? Recognize that your process may be wrong. Start again with a properly segmented list and start sending customized emails. As you succeed with engaging even one small segment of your target audience, you will reach bigger milestones along the way. Your engaged audience will start contributing towards sharing and expanding your network.
  • What happens when your appointment setting team isn’t getting results? A quick solution would be to assemble a S.W.A.T. team and do a deep dive into the metrics you do have. You can usually find some gold in prospects that haven’t been nurtured and followed up with properly. Instead of spending more money finding new leads, start working the leads you have.

Image credit: Shutterstock

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