A quick definition. Lead generation, for purposes of this post, is collecting registration information for content, in order to build a marketing database or deliver leads to telemarketing and then on to sales.
Delivering leads for sales drives today’s B2B marketing organization. According to a study from Fusion B2B on 2011 B2B marketing priorities, lead generation is the single top priority of B2B marketers, at 26%. By comparison, awareness only captures 7%, near the end of the list. B2B marketing is all about lead generation.
But lead generation is breaking, and if your marketing relies heavily on lead generation, it will slowly break too. Here are the five things breaking lead generation today.
Contact Information Isn’t Accurate
Bad contact information undermines the entire premise of lead generation. According to research from TechTarget and Google, only 21% of registrants from search provide accurate phone numbers on registration forms. [requires registration, even though they should know it won’t be accurate].
Requiring Registration Disrupts Your Pipeline
According to Sirius Decisions, marketers should consider not gating late stage content. This content should accelerate the pipeline and registration adds friction. Further, according to ITSMA, two-thirds of buyers do their own research rather than wait for sales to contact them. Incorporating lead generation slows the pipeline and limits buyers ability to do their own research.
Lead Generation Misses a Significant Portion of Your Audience
With registration rates ranging from 1% to 10%, most of your audience stops when confronted with a registration form. And since your content delivers a significant portion of your message, requiring registration restricts the distribution of your message and value proposition.
Sales Followup is Alienating Your Audience
If you market to technology buyers, look at this chain on Spiceworks for an unfiltered view on sales calls. Marketing needs to establish and build positive relationships with prospective customers. Instead, it has turned despising you into a badge of honor.
The Exchange Is Based on an Out of Date Concept
Underlying today’s problems with lead generation is an out-of-date corporate mindset. Buyers want good, useful information. Some of the comments on the Spiceworks thread highlight this, despite the negativity towards sales and marketing. Today, buyers expect to be in control. If you require someone to enter a stream of sales and marketing communications, then registration is confirming your determination to control their research process.
Marketing must deliver leads for sales, however I believe today’s lead generation practices are slowly breaking. The cost of capturing contacts is increasing, the value of those contacts is decreasing and the opportunity cost of the audience you are missing or research process you are disrupting is enormous.
How does lead generation need to evolve? Share your comments below or with me on Twitter (@wittlake), and I will post some of my thoughts on how lead generation needs to evolve next week.
Update: My followup is now posted: What Comes After Lead Generation