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B2B Lead Generation is a Hot Topic

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by: Will Schnabel (@wschnabel)
05 April 2007

It seems no matter where I look, B2B Lead Generation is the topic.  Today I read an article in B2B magazine titled, 'B-to-b 'lead generation' efforts lacking in energy'. Not surprisingly and definitely not new, the report found 54% of marketers are challenged by lead generation because they don't have time to generate leads. But, 84% of marketers said they plan to significantly or moderately increase their lead generation efforts in the next two years.

A few other stats were included in the article but what caught my attention was how the author, Matthew Schwartz, suggested B2B marketing executives improve lead generation - by cold calling!  Yes, cold calling. He did add that you need to have a value-add offer in order for this tactic to be successful. Nothing against Mr. Schwartz, but in the B2B world if time savings and relevant offers are the issue, cold calling is not the answer especially considering the minimal success and tremendous cost of this medium.

My argument would be to figure out how you can generate more value from the existing contacts who have already told you they are interested in your products or services by signing up for your newsletter, downloading a whitepaper, visiting your website or watching your product demo.  Gone are the days of generating as many leads as possible and touching them once with your messaging.  Today B2B lead generators need to focus on the quality of leads and building a solid relationship with them by understanding their needs and providing very specific information they need to make a purchase decision.

I've had the privilege to speak with many B2B marketers who have overcome the challenges identified in BtoB magazine by implementing successful lead generation and subsequent nurture programs. The common denominator in these best-in-class organizations is the deployment and adoption of marketing automation technology. You can't argue with revenue increases of 200-400%, increased sales of 20% or the ability to attribute 90% of sales to marketing generated leads - all as a result of marketing automation technology.  I don't have proof, but I'm willing to hypothesize B2B marketers have never experienced returns such as this from a cold calling campaign.

Although the challenges identified in this article are on point, the recommendations are a bit behind the times. Cold calling was the channel of choice 15 years ago, but today marketers have access to sophisticated marketing automation technology which opens the door to more effective, proven channels.  So, what would you choose - 10-digits to dial or 10 digit revenues?




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