25 BIggest Lead Generation Mistakes (& What You Do About Them!!)

5 Key Actionable Lead Generation Tips You Need Now

Biggest lead generation mistakesLead generation is at the heart of B2B marketing.

It’s a major driver of content marketing.

According to Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs research:

  • 74% of B2B marketers use content marketing to generate leads
  • 47% of B2B marketers use content marketing to nurture and manage leads.

Lead Generation The biggest problem marketers face is focusing their efforts on creating epic content. As a result, they assume leads will magically appear and convert into paying customers without managing back-end of the process.

Here’s how B2B marketers track their content marketing performance:

  • 54% of B2B marketers measure sales lead quality.
  • 48% of B2B marketers measure sales lead quantity.
  • 39% of B2B marketers measure direct sales.

Lead Generation Metrics - 2014When generating leads, marketers must balance driving better quality leads versus more leads. Without a sufficient number of leads, converting enough prospects into customers is difficult .

Over time, with improved processes, marketers can drive higher quality leads.

25 Biggest lead generation mistakes

Here are the 25 biggest lead generation mistakes that marketers make according to experts.Biggest lead generation mistakes

1. Connie Bensen – Global Social Media, Dell @CBensen
Content that doesn’t resonate with target audiences is the biggest mistake. Placing content intended for conversion in people’s paths in the social channels is a waste of time and resources (if paid amplification is used). People will recognize it for the advertising that it is and not engage with it.

2. David Berkowitz – MRY, @DBerkowitz
A huge mistake is trying to force feed lead generation campaigns into situations where consumers aren’t as focused on taking actions. Most social media activity is best at impacting earlier stages of the purchase funnel, so many lead gen campaigns wind up looking like square pegs in round holes.

3. Bernie Borges – Find and Convert, @bernieborges
Clearly the biggest mistake I see is asking to get married on the first date. That’s an obvious analogy for asking for too much from the first touch point with your target audience. Marketer’s need to use the “romance” metaphor in their approach.

4. Michael Brenner –  SAP and B2B Marketing Insider, @BrennerMichael
The biggest lead generation mistake company’s make is assuming that people care more about your brand than they actually do. 73% of people surveyed recently said they could care less if the brands they use disappeared tomorrow. You have to provide value from start to finish.

5.  Ian Cleary – Razor Social @IanCleary
The biggest lead generation mistake is not building email subscribers.  The majority of your website visitors will never come back to your site unless you encourage them back through regular communication.  One of the best ways of doing this is building up email subscribers.

6. Heidi Cohen – Actionable Marketing Guide, @HeidiCohen
Lead generation is skipping the romance portion of the buying process. The objective is to turn hand raisers into satisfied customers.  Here’s where marketers can go wrong.

  1. Don’t understand your target audience. This includes your customers, influencers, end users and the public. Without appreciating your key market, you can’t create marketing that drives and converts leads. This means creating a marketing persona.
  2. Don’t drive leads. You can’t assume that your audience will buy from you without getting the 5 basic types of content. Ensure that this information is both search and social friendly.
  3. Don’t give prospects a reason to share their contact information. This means incorporating a contextually relevant call-to-action (CTA).
  4. Don’t have a process to close sales. Just because your target market raises their hand, that doesn’t translate to sales unless you’ve answered all of their questions and converted them.
  5. Don’t track results. It’s critical to measure your results to appreciate where your process isn’t converting prospects.

7. Jeffrey L. Cohen –  Ball State University and Social Media B2B, Co-author of The B2B Social Media Book,  @JeffreyLCohen
Many marketers view content-generated leads in the same way as traditional leads. Just because someone fills out a lead form to download an ebook does make him or her sales-ready. This is the beginning of a trust-building relationship. And that relationship must be nurtured before you have the right to contact them in a sales context.

8. Andy Crestodina – Orbit Media, author of Content Chemistry, @Crestodina
They ignore the data. They ignore the low-hanging fruit. They don’t look at Analytics and don’t optimize their blog. The don’t know what’s working so they waste a lot of time doing things that don’t get results.

I recommend picking the reports that are most interesting to you, and add them to a dashboard (it’s one click at the top of the report) Then set the dashboard to be emailed to yourself every week or so (this also only takes a few clicks) Now you’ll at least see the numbers more often.

The next step is to ask questions and then go look for answers. Do you ever wonder if…? Now go dig around and explore. See if you can find the answer in your Analytics. Once you get into it, it can be fun. The trick is to get over the “I’m bad at Analytics” attitude and jump in. 

9. Mike Delgado –Experian-North America, @MikeDelgado
Stop thinking “we tried that already and it didn’t work.” Figure out all the reasons why a campaign didn’t perform like you wanted and test again later.   Test strategically – and don’t be afraid of failure.

10. Ric Dragon – DragonSearch, Author of Social Marketology@RicDragon
Always be selling.  Isn’t that a mantra of sales?  Okay, so maybe you can always be selling, but by not “selling.” The incessant communication of promoting the brand destroys trust. Trust, on the other hand, is a fundamental element of social media marketing. If your focus is on creating customer or audience value, this will be communicated and felt, and will create trust.

11. Jason Falls – CafePress, Author of  No Bullshit Social Media. @JasonFalls
Not targeting in granular enough ways to attract qualified leads. Those same social media software companies are mostly full of community managers, entry-level account people and the like rather than marketing decision-makers who control budget and buying decisions. It’s harder to get those folks on a webinar or to download a white paper, but few software companies even try. They just assume by spraying the opportunity out to a broad audience, a few targeted folks will trickle in. We could get so much better at targeting if we wanted to.

12. Barry Graubart – Content Matters LLC @Graubart
Particularly, with social media, marketers seem to treat the “follow” or registration as the sole goal, regardless of how they got it. A good example of this is how many marketers (particularly B2C) use contests to get follows, then move to standard interrupt marketing. The person who follows your brand solely because they entered a contest, will likely not engage with your push marketing efforts on social media. Instead, they’ll wonder why they’re following this annoying brand and will unfollow you. Be consistent in the way that you engage users up front and throughout the buying lifecycle and they will be more supporting of your brand going forward.

13. Kelly Hungerford – Paper.li
Making assumptions about the wants and needs of your target audience. Don’t rely on just traffic and purchasing data. Reach out and talk to your customers and prospects and ask them what they like, or dislike, about your content and your site. Once they give you feedback take action to make changes to your content or website based on the feedback. It’s always surprising the gains that can be made by daring to ask and experiment. 

14. Dave Kerpen, Likeable Local – author of Likeable Business & Likeable Social Media@DaveKerpen
Offering content without collecting email addresses is the biggest lead gen mistake marketers make! 

15. Alan K’necht – Digital Always Media Inc., @AKnecht
Asking too many questions up front. For example, If I’m registering for a white paper download, don’t ask for a phone number or even the full name. An email address should be sufficient to start the process. It’s shocking how many times I see organizations asking for First Name, Last Name, Email, Phone, Company Name, Full address all for a white paper. Structure how much information you require based on the value of what you’re giving away. For a free software download, Name and phone number might justified to both you and the person requesting it.

16 Arnie Kuenn – Vertical Measuresauthor of Accelerate,  @ArnieK
The biggest mistake I’ve seen is asking TOO much information off the bat on a lead form. Remember, it should be an equal exchange of content value for personal information. You must gain someone’s trust right here at this form before they even get to the download. If a person feels that they’ve given too much information in exchange for what they then receive, you could have just lot a potential customer. Gain trust on the lead form and deliver matching value.

17. Jason Miller – LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, @JasonMillerCA
The biggest lead gen mistake that I see is giving up too quickly. Lead generation, especially in the world of social, takes time to build the right campaign strategy. It’s not going to happen overnight, and it’s likely going to be a lot of trial and error. But stick with it, find what works, and then scale. 

18. Jesse Noyes – Kapost
Honestly, the set-and-forget-it attitude. Too many marketers think they can turn on their marketing automation and the leads will start pouring in. A tool isn’t going to give you a strategy. You have to come up with a fluid, ongoing strategy for attracting, engaging and enticing leads. The tools just help you implement your strategy.

19. Phil Paranicas – ThomasNet
I can’t tell you how many times I see poorly worded calls to action. Or, even worse – NO call to action! If the user has made it to your web page or blog – chances are they are interested, and maybe even in a buying position. Please don’t make it difficult for them to contact you! Calls to action should be concise, clear and BIG. Every word counts. “Click here to request a quote” is a good place to start. Though, “I’m ready for a fast quote” will get you more clicks. Make sure buttons are LARGE. Here’s a tip.

Walk six feet away from your monitor and look at your call to action. If you can’t read the words, make them big enough until you can! CTA language that puts the user in the center of the action is much more likely to get click.

One last and important point-Forms should be short and only require the minimum details you need to provide a quote. Don’t turn your RFQ into a DMV form with 30 questions. Take a look at your website right now, and make sure your contact buttons are large, concise and enticing!

20. Paul Roetzer – PR 20/20 and author of The Marketing Agency Blueprint.
Not having a process to follow through with the opportunities. Marketing technology is readily available to enable advanced lead scoring and nurturing, but the majority of organizations still lack marketing automation and intelligence solutions. So the leads may be coming in, but they are not maximizing conversions and performance.

 21. Dayna Rothman – MarketoAuthor of Lead Generation for Dummies, @dayroth
Another pitfall is too many marketers today rely only on inbound only for lead generation. Inbound marketing has a lot of buzz right now, but you need to combine it with effective outbound marketing (paid) techniques in order to have a complete lead generation strategy. You need outbound techniques like events, outbound sales, advertising, and more to amplify your inbound efforts and create an even bigger splash.

22. Stephanie Sammons – Wired Advisor™ and Sammons Digital, @StephSammons
Too many offers or calls-to-action which can create indecision.

23. Neal Schaffer – Maximize Your SocialAuthor of Maximize Your Social@NealSchafferal
Generating a lead through content marketing and then “spamming” the prospect with too frequent or not relevant enough information.

24. Jim Siegel – HealthCare Chaplaincy Network, @MeaningComfort
Using social media solely for promotional means. Not cultivating credibility and trust by providing information that is useful to the recipient. Don’t just be self-serving.

25. Deborah Weinstein – Strategic Objectives, @DebWeinstein
Siloing of marketing/communications activities is the biggest mistake marketers make. Consistency is imperative in today’s hyper-connected world, where all of your marketing and communications efforts – public relations, advertising, social media, experiential, promo, direct, etc – must row in the same direction. Your brand is doomed if your right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing.

Integrating your key messages across all your communications channels will ensure your agency partners are on the same page and aligned with your company’s goals, objectives and KPI’s. Alignment = Success. Silos = Failure.

5 Key actionable lead generation tips

To avoid these 25 biggest lead generation mistakes, here are 5 key actionable lead generation tips:

  1. Make sure your content targeted to your best sources of leads. This means knowing your customers as well as using a variety of different forms of marketing (both inbound and outbound) to reach your entire market.
  2. Use a contextually relevant call-to-action to get prospects into your purchase funnel. Don’t offer potential customers too many choices or you risk that they’ll abandon your process before you even have a chance to convert them!
  3. Minimize the amount of information you request upfront. You can qualify prospects later. Your goal should be to maximize the number of potential buyers you have to start with. Think in terms of building an email housefile.
  4. Have a process in place to nurture and convert leads. This means landing pages.
  5. Measure your lead generation process and test different aspects to maximize results. This is an iterative process to ensure you maximize the benefit of your marketing.

What do you think is the biggest lead generation mistake that marketers make and how would you fix it?

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen



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