How to Obtain Better B2B Marketing Leads Without Wasting Money

 In Sales Alignment

When it comes to obtaining qualified B2B marketing leads, many B2Bs face an all-too-common challenge: their sales and marketing teams fail to jive.

One major area of discord between the two groups stems from their disagreement about who (or what) makes the “ideal” B2B marketing lead. Sales teams often blame marketing for providing them with “lousy” leads lists, while marketing blames the sales teams for not providing them with the right information they need for accurate sourcing.

All too often, sales teams become disenchanted with their marketing department. In fact, some may choose to purchase third-party B2B marketing leads lists or databases over dealing with their counterparts. Making this choice is risky though. In many cases, these purchased lists and databases are full of discrepancies or extremely outdated. The sales team often ends up spending more time chasing down leads than not. What a waste of money, right?

Of course, there are better ways to obtain B2B marketing leads. And the best ways involve not breaking the bank while increasing your organization’s sales revenue.

Can’t sales and marketing just get along?

Here we are, well into the 21st century…and sales and marketing professionals are still battling it out like cats and dogs. Wouldn’t you agree this is completely unnecessary?

For one thing, the internet has dramatically changed the way businesses conduct their sales and marketing activities. If you think about it, the lines between the two groups are much blurrier now, thanks to online marketing and social sales.

And, when it comes to lead generation and conversion, sales and marketing teams have fairly identical goals, regardless of how they accomplish them. The main difference now lies in the ways sales teams receive their B2B marketing leads.

The rise of online marketing

On the flip side, the internet has empowered key decision-makers with the ability to research and choose the companies they want to do business with. This serves to blur those sales and marketing lines even more as the competition to attract and “sell” to potential clients heats up through various online marketing techniques. This includes social media marketing.

The dozens of surveys and studies regarding B2B social media marketing and whether it affects the purchasing behavior of company buyers show mixed results. For example, only three short years ago, B2B social media marketing efforts weren’t quite as effective as many companies thought:

2014-B2B-Web-Usability-Report

Source: The 2014 B2B Web Usability Report

 

It appeared even then that online marketing increases vendor awareness, but not online purchases. Although more executives are beginning to make their purchasing decisions online, it’s still going to be important for the marketing department to provide their sales teams with qualified B2B marketing leads.

That’s not to say social media marketing has zero impact on B2B purchasing decisions, however. As Mark Kovac states in an article for Harvard Business Review titled, “Social Media Works for B2B Sales, Too“:

One effective way to make a strong impression with buyers early in their search is to develop authentic, insightful content and syndicate it through relevant channels where buyers can easily consume it.

Better communication between sales and marketing will result in improved B2B marketing leads.

As I mentioned above, sales and marketing teams are working towards similar goals when it comes to lead generation and conversion. When the two groups choose to align and openly communicate and work together, the probability of obtaining qualified B2B marketing leads should increase. And this all contributes to the optimal result of improved performance for the company.

The reasons for miscommunication over B2B marketing leads vary, but probably include the following:

  • Sales may start demanding high volumes of leads in a short amount of time in order to meet their quotas; marketing throws lists of names together in order to keep up with sales goals and expectations
  • Marketing may not understand the specific qualifications and characteristics needed by sales to qualify the leads they’ve generated as sales-ready or not; this results in a waste of the salesperson’s and the prospect’s time.
  • The sales team doesn’t share information about their performance, so marketing is left in the dark about which of their tactics are effective. A vicious cycle of continuous and unnecessary AB testing by marketing may ensue.

You can see how well communication could easily clear up the confusion for both sides. And, as Brooke Goodbary points out in her article for Inside Intercom:

When your largest customer-facing teams [sales & marketing] work together closely your customers get more value from your products and your sales team is able to create a more effective sales process. It’s simply better for business.

Where can I find great B2B marketing leads without breaking the bank?

A good rule of thumb when it comes to purchasing third-party lists or databases is to do your own due-diligence first. Keep in mind that a perfect list of B2B marketing leads, especially one which is specific to your targeted industry, is impossible to create for three main reasons:

  • Businesses constantly experience turnover, and key contacts may change jobs without notice.
  • Companies acquire other companies – or become acquired – on a regular basis.
  • Companies go out of business or change their names

For these reasons and more, a third-party list will never be 100% accurate. Your company may find a few new leads through paid subscriptions and databases such as Hoover’s or InsideView. However, due to the same reasons listed above, the leads you obtain from these sources, even though they’re updated regularly, are only as good as they day they are added.

If you’re looking for the best B2B marketing leads lists for you and your organization, then you may consider the option of creating your own.

Here are a few places to find leads:

  • LinkedIn
  • Event attendee lists
  • Association lists
  • Google searches/alerts

Over to you

Are you one of the lucky few whose organization benefits from the collaboration of its sales and marketing teams? Do you see a difference in the quality of leads entering and moving through the sales pipeline? I can imagine the change would be significant, but I would like to hear your thoughts. Please feel free to leave your comments below.

 

Image Source: Pexels

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