When the success of your business is less important than the success of your marketing, something is seriously wrong.
Yet this is exactly how most B2B marketers approach lead generation today! You don’t care about the number of leads your sales team has. Instead you care about the number of marketing sourced leads.
We all know B2B marketing measurement is imperfect, yet we momentarily suspend all reservations in order to judge our effectiveness based on results attributed to our efforts instead of the results for our business!
This is crazy folks!
In many enterprise B2B organizations, only 25% to 30% of leads are attributed to marketing, and many will say those numbers are high. Of those, more than 50% often come through your website and branded search traffic, not from any specific marketing campaign!
The Lead Generation Opportunity Gap
I call this the opportunity gap. Instead of focusing on how you can increase leads from the sources that represent 85% to 90% of your pipeline, you are desperately trying to drive your overall growth plan by increasing activities behind the 10% to 15%.
Instead, how do you drive an increase in leads across the entire spectrum of your business’s lead sources?
The Dirty B-Word: Brand
Branding has become a dirty word in some B2B circles.
Some people believe it is a money pit with no measurable return. If that is you, I would suggest looking again at your branded search and direct site traffic: they probably represent a significant portion of marketing’s measured contribution, and that doesn’t include the value of increased recognition when sales is calling on potential prospects.
Others think of logos, detailed brand guidelines, and the dreaded brand police when they hear branding. But that is just execution. What really matters is shaping what others think of you before you engage one-to-one through your sales or other marketing efforts.
Branding doesn’t necessarily mean advertising either. PR, analyst relations, content marketing, events, social media, even internal marketing, can play important roles in establishing your brand.
How Branding Bridges the Opportunity Gap
Improving awareness and perception of your product, brand or company increases the leads across all sources. Here are just a few of the ways a strong brand improves your results.
1. More Referrals
When peers recommend your company to a prospect who already knows and is interested in you, the recommendation is more memorable and confirms their view that your company should be considered.
2. Improved Cold Calling
Seriously, no one wants a cold call from your company if they have never heard of you. However, if they already know and respect your company, they are far more likely to give you the courtesy of a couple minutes and information that may be valuable down the road, even if they are not ready to purchase today.
3. Increased Site Traffic
A strong brand increases both branded search and direct traffic to your site. Look at search trends for any relatively new brand to see the impact this can have. Below is the five year search trend for Airbnb, a newer brand that, today, is searched for nearly as Alaska Airlines, a long-standing regional airline.
4. Higher Registration Rates
Visitors are more willing to share their information with a brand they respect and trust than one that is completely unknown. In addition, if you are asking visitors to register for content and they already value your perspective, they are more likely to value the content you are offering as well!
This list goes on. More inbound contacts. Increased booth traffic at trade shows. Higher click rates in search. Better open rates in emails. Larger webcast audiences.
When potential prospects know and respect your company, when more of them want to connect to you, there will be more leads from everything you do.
I’ve said enough. Do you believe B2B marketers will cross the lead generation opportunity gap? Or will many continue to be stuck focusing on the increasing the 10% to 15% of overall leads that come their lead generation activity? The comments are yours!