10 Jan B2B Lead Generation: The 7 primary reasons campaigns fail!
The 7 primary reasons B2B lead generation outbound marketing campaigns fail:
(Urgent to read if considering outbound)
- Focused on short-term tactical deals only
Obviously, you engage an outbound provider to win deals. But understand that typically only 3% of the market is looking for your services at any given time. An additional 37% are in need of what you offer but don’t know it, so urgency isn’t in place. When it comes to B2B lead generation campaigns, most companies we work with only care about the top 3% of their market. They tend to focus only on those who are qualified and ready to close deals right away.
However, this approach leaves so much opportunity on the table. The most successful B2B lead generation campaigns take a short-, mid-, and long-term approach to pipeline development and teach their sales teams to focus on relationship building with their ideal market. This is because the Buyers Journey is more complex than it has ever been before. By taking this approach and building purposeful business cases with curiously ideal profiled companies – success happens occasionally in the short term, while much more of the future market is captured as you are engaging your future buyers’ pre-consideration. This makes you the leading option when they are ready. Turning your future pipeline into tomorrow’s short-term opportunities.
- Most companies think they can figure out ROI on B2B lead generation campaigns in 3 months or less.
Let me ask you this … what is your sales cycle? 1, 3, 6, or 9-month sales cycle and sometimes even 1 to 2 years!
- Ok, now, how long does it take to optimize a marketing campaign with real focus and a great process in place? Another 1, 3 maybe 6 months?
- Now, how about the setup? How much time does it take to obtain your database, clean it, scrub it, append it, and create your DNC list? Another few weeks? Maybe more?
- What about copywriting and approvals? A few more weeks?
- Then the technical stuff – warming a domain, split testing? What about data integrations between systems? A couple more weeks?
I’m walking you down a path of expectations that it takes at least a few months to set everything up between setting things up, quality checking everything, and then, after launching, getting campaigns optimized. Once you’re there, then another couple to a few months to convert the deals based on your sales cycle.
In our experience across hundreds of companies and thousands of campaigns, we see most companies figure out their conversion rates around the 6-9th month in B2B lead generation campaigns.
So why are so many companies asking for 3-month pilots? Because they believe this will hedge their risk.
The problem is this sets you up to fail. Doing short-term deals means you’re rolling the dice in hopes that the stars will align and the vendor partner will somehow strike gold on the first attempt. The chances are you’ve already failed before you started. Any B2B lead generation provider that cares about your winning deals wouldn’t offer these short-term deals, or they are just out to make money, hoping a few get lucky and stay. They are churn shops. Deal structure often leads to failed campaigns with misaligned outcomes.
- Low-quality data sources
There are a lot of “cheap” outbound B2B lead generation solutions on the market. They can only exist and keep business by leveraging low-quality data sources.
Why’s that matter to you?
A poor-quality data source used on your behalf by a B2B lead generation provider can cost you in severe ways.
Here are a few ways low-quality data can affect you and your brand:
- Brand damage
- Internal company lower email deliverability
- External marketing lowered email deliverability
- Lawsuits, compliance violations, huge fines
Most poorly cleaned data sources (typically the very cheap providers or scrapper tools) are wrought with spam profiles. These are profiles built by the blacklisting companies that try to trap the companies using scrappers and autobots. If you get this data in your system, it will show as clean and deliverable if you validate emails and they won’t bounce. When you email it, it will put you on blacklists. This will weaken your deliverability and your campaigns will slow to a stall. This will affect your primary brand and your client communications as well. If the data is bad or erroneous and you accidentally email the wrong country, you could be subject to fines, lawsuits, and more!
This is all before the AI spam engines read your emails and look for you from all sources. You can effectively hurt your whole company’s ability to send regular emails, let alone marketing initiatives. Bad or low-quality data will make a campaign fail.
- Build it vs hire it
So many companies want to build this B2B lead generation engine internally. I get it as it’s valuable to crack this code. The problem that most companies are facing right now unknowingly is that AI is out to stop marketers, and the policymakers are not on your side either with laws like GDPR, CASL, POPI, and California’s new law. The aim is to effectively not allow you to reach out without permission. It kills commerce and whether we like it or not these laws are sweeping the nation and the world. It’s a matter of time now that the ability to engage the market cold will be eliminated without enormous risk or investments. Additionally, it’s super expensive to keep up with the pace of change.
An outsourced partner – if qualified and capable – will provide the following roles/functions for you as an expert practitioner:
- Strategy & Go-to-Market Planning
- Best-in-class copywriting
- High-quality data
- Advance email/calling tech w/ high deliverability
- Custom email servers per client
- Tech integrations support
- Reporting and analytics
- The data management team
- Lead managers & meeting setters
- Calling team
- Quality assurance and tester
- Compliance and legal team
- Project manager
The fact is leveraging experts who do it every day will always be cheaper when considering your time, people resources, technology, and data, as well as compliance requirements. Email and phone calls are more sophisticated and dangerous to your brand, internal communications capability, and legal compliance than ever before. Instead of looking at a vendor as a vendor look at them as an internal resource and work with them to create success. As long as they are competent and responsive, provide high-quality data, leverage custom servers to engage the markets to protect your brand, and have top-tier copywriting support, you can’t get better… pivot till you get it sorted. The promise and success of “cracking the code” so to say to access your market is worth the time investment.
- Measure what Matters
Most companies hire B2B lead generation providers to get leads or meetings, but what they really expect are ready-to-buy clients/customers.
It’s funny to say but it’s super true. You control sales and your provider controls leads/meetings. We’ve run hundreds of clients through tens of thousands of campaigns. If you know your market, you are certain your market will buy from you eventually- now or later – and you’re getting meetings with that market consistently. Your provider has delivered what you asked for. But in most cases that’s not success – success is measured against the ROI of closing deals. Even though sales conversion is a different problem.
If you’re struggling to win business from those conversations- you’ve ticked the first box but not the second to scaling your business. Any other campaign you run is ultimately trying to get meetings with qualified buyers.
The first step is to get meetings with potential buyers. Then it’s your job in sales to figure out where they sit on the buyer’s journey and how urgent change is to them today. If they are not today but maybe next year and you have built a relationship before vendor selection began you’ve got a great chance at their future business.
So keep at those conversations until you figure out the right workflow to win that business.
What most companies do is blame the lead source and look for more qualified models. That might be good too but if you have cracked the code to getting meetings with your exact target market – and they aren’t ready to buy today, become their friend. They eventually will.
B2B lead generation campaigns result in a short-term business that accounts for 20% of my company’s annual revenue. We close 25% of our clients from older B2B lead generation campaigns that we’ve nurtured for more than a year sometimes as long as 3-4 yrs. At some point, the right buyer will acknowledge that you could be a good partner to solve a problem they have. They just need to trust you. Time is one way. Books, gifts, insights, case studies, etc. are also great ways to speed up that process.
The hardest thing to get is access and an open line of communication- that’s valuable. Focusing exclusively on the return on your investment in year one will make your campaign fail.
The heads of marketing and sales have a lot of pressure to perform. Whether the market is volatile or not they have to perform. So in outbound, we’ve come across the notion that more is better. We hear this, “I’m going to hire a couple of vendors and have them compete to see who wins.”
Ok, I get the “hedging our bets” concept, but let me share why this will make all the campaigns fail.
Limits on data – you probably have a limited data source if you know your market well. Splitting outbound campaigns will require you to split your data into however many you’re trying out.
This will result in a high volume of emails from your brand to the market, quickly placing your brand on blacklists and causing all campaign emails to never be seen by your market, resulting in low open rates and nearly zero engagement by the second to the third month, and for the remainder of your contract until you fire or expire it.
This is true if you’re running an internal test against the vendor as well which we’ve seen.
This approach will likely cause your outbound to fail completely.
- Skepticism – at this point most companies say “I’ve tried that and it doesn’t work!”
Ok, I get it. But read above. The likelihood is one of those mindsets or approaches was part of that strategy. It was doomed to fail because you were not fully informed about what it takes to succeed in outbound marketing.
Think about it this way. Our firm has over 200 QA steps to ensure a campaign runs perfectly. 16 of those are critical and if any of the 16 are done wrong will absolutely ensure campaign failure. Some are very technical others are more look and feel but they all matter the same!
The other thing to know is – outbound is marketing. So follow the CANI model – Constant And Never-ending Improvement! This means anything can work if given the right resources, time, and experts to lead the process.
You need to learn and find the messaging that best shows your highest value, can be measured in real-time, and is validated by the market.
Skepticism that this approach won’t work because you have tried it doesn’t mean it doesn’t work – it means the variables you tested didn’t work. Marketing at its core is a game of tests and iterations. Skepticism as a mindset will kill all campaigns. So as the saying goes, whether you believe it will work or not, you’re right.