Generating more leads is the primary focus for B2B marketers and is also the biggest challenge they face. Without continual optimisation and improvement of your lead generation campaigns, you’ll see your sales pipeline dry up pretty fast. So it’s essential that you stay on top of the latest lead generation trends so you can continue to fuel sales.
Although it is common knowledge in the B2B sphere that lead generation is critical for your business and your clients, it is also listed as a top topic that B2B marketers wanted to learn more about in a survey conducted by Capterra last year. So while marketers know how important lead generation is, it is clear that there is a lot of misunderstanding and uncertainty around the concept and how best to go about it. Lets clear all the confusion up right now:
49% of B2B marketers cite social media marketing as the most difficult lead generation tactic to execute [eMarketer, 2013]. The above image backs up this statistic; we can see that the worst performing methods for lead generation are made up of the social networking platforms. Pintrest proves to be the worst, method, followed closely by Twitter, Google+ and Facebook, with LinkedIn just climbing above the bottom five.
On average, marketers spend between four and six hours on social media each week [Marketo, 2015]. Are we getting a little carried away here? Time is money and these hours represent a lot of cash going towards social networking especially considering that social networks have been showing a decline in the level of reach companies can achieve organically. “The average organic reach for posts from Facebook pages in March was 2.6 percent of a brand’s audience. … This percentage dropped to 2.3 percent for pages with more than 1 million likes.” [1to1Media, 2015]. So even if you’re posting the most relevant, savvy and interesting information, unless you’re paying for promotion, it’s likely never to reach your audience.
With more than 1.4 billion monthly users on Facebook and 288 million monthly users on Twitter [1to1 Media, 2015], brands that do not establish a social presence fear that they are missing out on the opportunity to increase their brand awareness. However, in the B2B marketing world, social media plays the important role of nurturing prospects, not generating them! These platforms act as a great way of keeping a channel of communication open for already generated leads, and can assist you to nurture these leads until they are ready to engage. The mistake of seeking lead generation rather than utilising these avenues to nurture is one that is all too commonly made by B2B marketers
Time and money would be much better spent on methods that actually yield more, and better quality, leads. No amount of posting will have the same impact on a prospect as the direct impression gained through the top lead generation methods: Inside Sales, Executive Events, Telemarketing, Tradeshows & Conferences and Email & eNewsletters.
This doesn’t mean that you should wave your white flags in defeat and shutdown all social media efforts immediately. There can be some lead generation benefits associated with social efforts. 44% of B2B marketers have generated leads via LinkedIn, 39% have generated leads through Facebook and 30% through Twitter [ReachForce, 2014]. However, there is no number to indicate the quality of these leads, the class of which will not compare to leads generated through the top performing methods. Your time on social media would be much better spent nurturing the leads you have already generated via other means than by trying to attract new prospects
With the influence and rapid development of the digital world, the marketing landscape is ever evolving. Marketers, it seems, will always be one step behind the latest software. Moments after installing the newest program it seems to be already out of date. So don’t go crazy spending 6 hours of every weeks staring longingly at your Facebook page, wondering what you’ve done wrong. Instead, devote your precious time to attending networking events and spreading the word in person and via phone and email. For B2B software marketers the top sources of new business are organic search, SEM/PPC advertising, and word of mouth referrals [Capterra, 2013].
Don’t let your social network determine your worth to prospects, get out there and really engage them, then use these platforms to keep them interested.