lead generation challenges

Top 10 Lead Generation Challenges (and How to Overcome Them)

Key points

  1. One of the biggest lead generation challenges is identifying and targeting the right audience.
  2. Budget constraints are a major factor when it comes to generating new leads.
  3. Many companies struggle to track the ROI for lead generation campaigns.

Getting high-quality leads is every agency owner’s goal. You get to increase your sales pipeline, grow your customer base, generate more revenue and scale your agency. This makes lead gathering a must for anyone intentional about growing their business.

Unfortunately, generating quality leads is something many companies struggle with. In fact, 37.1% of marketers say generating high-quality leads is their biggest challenge, according to Ruler Analytics’ Marketing Attribution and Reporting Analysis 2021. Pipedrive’s State of Sales 2020–2021 survey shows that 51% of sales professionals are struggling with lead generation.

Something must be done about this problem because if left unchecked, it could lead to the death of a business.

Lead generation is the lifeblood of a company, so it is a concern to see so many businesses struggling in this area.

Nikolas Kairinos from Prospex.ai
Nikolas Kairinos , Prospex.ai

In this article, I’ll discuss some common lead generation challenges and how to overcome them.

1. Lack of a lead generation strategy

Trying to generate leads without an actionable strategy is like going on a road trip without a map or GPS. You may have a destination in mind, but without a clear plan of how to get there, you’re likely to get lost and waste time and resources along the way.

Without a well-defined strategy, you’ll face difficulties acquiring potential customers. And if by chance some of what you’ve thrown at the wall sticks, they may be unqualified. This is even worse considering the time and effort you spent.

A simple way to overcome this challenge is to create a lead generation strategy. This involves:

  • Outlining and setting SMART business goals

  • Identifying your ideal customers

  • Creating relevant, valuable content

  • Promoting content on the right channels

  • Measuring your KPIs

Pro Tip: when creating a strategy, collect input from your marketing and sales team. It provides a better understanding of potential clients from their point of view.

2. Relying on old lead generation tactics

Outdated lead generation tactics include cold calling, telemarketing, sending unsolicited emails, etc. While these tactics were effective in the past, not so much today.

And the reason isn’t far-fetched. These tactics are stressful, expensive, time-consuming, and interruptive (those annoying telemarketers’ calls that come at the most inconvenient times come to mind).

What’s more, customers now do their due diligence before making buying decisions. They read reviews, case studies, and do product comparisons before speaking with a sales rep.

A more effective strategy will be to provide relevant, helpful content to your target audience. That way, you build a database of people who are genuinely interested in your product or services.

Further reading

3. Budget Constraints

According to WPromote and Ascend’s 2022 state of B2B digital marketing survey, 25% of B2B marketers cite budget as their greatest challenge to a successful lead generation campaign.

However, this has more to do with companies prioritizing funds in other areas than lack of funds.

Companies don’t budget enough for lead generation. They expect it to be part of the marketing budget but focus most of the dollars and resources on branding instead of lead generation, nurturing, and qualification.

M.H Mac McIntosh from B2B Sales Expert
M.H Mac McIntosh , B2B Sales Expert

While branding and other marketing activities are nice, lead generation is equally, if not more important. After all, there is no business without clients.

As such, you must allocate sufficient funds to lead generation, as it will go a long way in helping you build a healthy sales pipeline.

4. Finding ideal customers

What’s the point of running a lead gen campaign? To attract and capture your ideal customers; those who are happy to pay for your product or service, right?

However, most business owners find it difficult to identify who their ideal customer is. So, they target everyone with the hope that a few people will show interest.

ideal client personas

This often leads to spending time and resources on the wrong target audience. It is a widespread problem, as 57% of B2B marketers report that their greatest cost associated with lead generation is wasted time and resources.

Also read

So how do you solve this huge challenge?

A better approach is to create a buyer persona to understand the demographic and psychographic characteristics of your ideal customers. You can do this by visiting communities they frequent or surveying existing customers or using sales intelligence platforms.

A buyer persona will help you learn more about your ideal customer’s challenges, desires, activities, needs, and goals.

Once you have identified who they are, create targeted marketing campaigns that speak directly to their pain points. This strategy will help you generate quality leads for your agency.

If you’ve successfully identified your buyer person, you can also use tools such as ZoomInfo or alternatives to find contact information.

5. Converting leads

You’ve nailed your marketing strategy. Your CRM is getting filled with leads. The only problem? Converting those leads into paying customers.

Here’s why this is a challenge: most business owners only focus on filling their pipeline with leads. They don’t have an actual strategy for moving these leads through the conversion funnel.

As a result, there’s usually a huge drop-off between leads and conversions. More often than not, potential customers simply move to companies that provide them with relevant content to help them make buying decisions.

To overcome this challenge, start by creating targeted, personalized messaging and content for different stages of the sales funnel. For instance, you can create bottom-of-funnel (BOFu) content like case studies, product comparisons, and review pages.

You can also host webinars to educate potential clients on how to solve their problems. This will position you as an authority, promote your product and help your leads make more informed purchase decisions.

But to convert leads into clients, you need an effective lead nurturing system which brings us to our next point.

6. Nurturing leads

If everyone who shows interest in a product or service buys immediately, the world will be a happy place. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case.

A lead nurturing process means building meaningful relationships until someone becomes a hot lead and is ready to buy. Sometimes, the sales cycle could take weeks or even months, depending on the nature of your business.

Nurturing leads

This long process is usually a problem for most business owners because it requires a significant amount of time and effort to build relationships with leads. And there’s no guarantee that these leads will eventually become paying customers.

Moreso, there is often a large volume of leads that need to be nurtured. It can be overwhelming and capital-intensive, especially for small businesses. All these contribute to why companies overlook the lead nurturing process.

But considering 79% of marketing leads never convert into sales (according to MarketingSherpa) because of a lack of lead nurturing, the importance of staying top-of-mind with your leads shouldn’t be underestimated.

So how do you overcome this challenge?

First, ensure the type of leads coming into your database is of high quality. This way, you don’t waste your precious resources on unqualified leads.

Also, since lead nurturing involves building trust and credibility with potential buyers, provide them with relevant, valuable content, thereby encouraging them to move further down the sales funnel.

7. Tracking ROI

Some agencies focus on getting as many leads as possible but don’t track their Return on Investment (ROI). They forget that data is the pillar of any lead gen strategy.

If you don’t track your ROI, there’s no way to determine the cost of acquiring leads and clients. This means you can’t make informed decisions about the right channels to allocate resources.

According to the aforementioned Ruler Analytics survey, 39% of marketers say more accurate data would improve their marketing outputs. And the reason is obvious: you get better insight into what’s working and make data-driven decisions regarding resource allocation and improving lead generation campaigns.

Using a tool like Google Analytics to track and analyze your lead gen campaigns can provide you with vital information like:

  • What channels are leads coming from?

  • Which marketing tactics are most effective at generating leads?

  • Which channels are you spending more money on?

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8. Hiring salespeople

You already wear many hats as an agency owner. So hiring salespeople to help you manage your workload is great. Do you know what’s not? Hiring salespeople to handle your lead generation process.

Salespeople are responsible for closing sales qualified leads (SQLs), not attracting them. So asking them to generate and close leads may negatively affect your lead-to-conversion rate.

Also finding salespeople with the right blend of skills, knowledge, and personality to attract, and convert potential customers to clients can be difficult. The hiring process will require careful selection and training, which can be time-consuming and costly, especially when you make the wrong hire.

Hiring salespeople

So your best bet as a business owner is to hire a marketing professional whose sole job is to generate and nurture leads, or better still, use software for automatic lead generation.

9. Running Experiments

Lead generation is a process that requires continuous testing and optimization.

But working with a manager who only wants you to follow industry practice without giving you room to test can be a major stumbling block. And as Albert Einstein rightly said, “doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is insanity.”

When you don’t give room for experimentation, you’re stuck with the same ineffective strategies which result in no clients.

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To overcome this challenge and get great results, experiment with new ideas and optimize your campaigns. You can create split tests with multiple variations of copy or images.

When managers see how well the new campaign performs, they usually have no choice but to pay more attention to what works.

10. Difficulties in engaging prospects

It’s not a secret that consumers have more information available at their fingertips, making it harder to reach and engage them.

So it’s not surprising to see 57% of marketers say that getting targeted prospects to engage is their biggest challenge to generating new leads, according to Chief Marketer.

To solve this problem, your best bet will be to identify your prospects’ pain points and interests. This will ensure you are delivering targeted content that resonates with them. As a result, they are more likely to engage with your brand and become leads.

You can also build relationships with customers through loyalty programs, personalized offers, referral packages, and customer feedback initiatives.

Which activities will not help with lead generation?

Without an effective lead generation strategy, you’ll be struggling with your efforts, failing to find highly qualified leads. To avoid that, here are a few things you shouldn’t do:

  • Be vague with your offering: Are you doing cold email outreach and are being vague on purpose? While you might get a reply, setting the wrong expectations from the beginning can sour a potential relationship.

  • Not having an ICP in place: Who are your ideal customers, and what makes them such a good fit? If you don’t have an answer to that question, read up on that topic first.

  • Lack of automations: If your processes are still 90% manual, you should think about automating your lead generation. It can save a lot of time, allowing you to generate more leads.

With these tips, you’re one step closer to overcoming lead generation challenges that most businesses face.

You can avoid common lead generation problems

Lead generation is an initiative that is plagued with its own challenges. But they are not unsolvable.

By following the tips provided above, you can overcome these challenges and generate qualified leads to help scale your agency. And if you’re not successful with your own experiments, you can always use outsourced lead generation services.

Avatar of Chris Willow
Founder of SPP
Chris started Service Provider Pro back in 2014 as a way to help automate a video production agency he was running at the time. Being early to productized services, he was frustrated with having to piecemeal different tools and services and ended up building an all-in-one client portal platform for himself and a few friends. That eventually took off and now Chris helps agency owners scale through software and systems.

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