This year’s B2B Lead Generation Report from Holger Schulze of the B2B Technology Marketing Group on LinkedIn was recently published, detailing key trends, best practices, and challenges for B2B marketing professionals.
The reports high-level findings were about as surprising as discovering there really is gambling going on in those casinos:
- • The top two priorities for B2B marketers are increasing lead quality and lead volume.
- • 59% of respondents said generating high quality leads is their biggest B2B lead generation challenge.
- • Lack of resources such as staff, funding and time remains the biggest obstacle to successful B2B lead generation.
So, were there any surprises in the findings? Here are several conclusions from the report that may be at least bit more unexpected and noteworthy.
Quality trumps cost. 68% of respondents identified “increasing lead quality” as their top priority for the coming year; just 14% said the same of “reducing the cost per lead.” Vendors are generally willing to spend more on marketing in 2016 if that results in leads with greater win potential.
Marketing becoming more about sales than PR? 42% of respondents said that converting leads into customers was among their top challenges. For high-value business products like enterprise software, servers, and production equipment, this is the job of sales. But for low-value, frequently purchased, commodity-type products, marketing often is sales. The same is often true for low-cost SaaS applications.
Meanwhile, just 17% indicated that “generating public relations and awareness buzz” was among their most challenging tasks. It isn’t clear if this is because the role of brand buzz is under-appreciated, or if most marketers simply don’t find this to be challenging.
Less signal, more noise. Just 16% of B2B marketing professionals rate their lead generation efforts as “very or extremely effective.” Ironically, the proliferation of new tools and channels for reaching potential buyers hasn’t made lead generation easier, but rather has made it more difficult for marketers to make their brand messages rise above the noise and stand out from the crowd.
High-touch beats high-tech. Conferences and trade shows were rated as the most effective lead generation (which mirrors findings reported here previously), with 88% of respondents using live events and 32% calling these efforts “very effective.” Meanwhile, just 4% of B2B marketers believe mobile marketing is a highly effective tactic—and 59% don’t use this medium at all.
SEO is valuable, but misunderstood. About 80% of B2B marketing pros rank their company website and/or SEO as very or somewhat effective for lead generation. Only about half say the same for tactics like PR, content syndication, blogging, or social media—though those efforts are vital in increasing a brand’s overall web presence, which is vital for improving search engine rankings and ultimately driving more website traffic.
99 problems, but the economy ain’t one. Finally, at least somewhat surprisingly, few marketers view current economic conditions as a significant problem. As noted above, lack of resources is cited as the top challenge in B2B lead generation. About 40% of marketers also identify lack of high-quality data and audience insights as key challenges. Just 12% cite the economic climate or lack of demand.
And there’s much more. Just 15% of respondents said marketing contributes half or more of company revenue. 24% just plain don’t know. Whitepaper and eBook downloads are by far the top producers of leads, according to 59% of respondents; just 4% say the same for podcasts. LinkedIn is viewed as the most effective social platform for lead generation; Vine is the least.