For every B2B marketing team, there is a B2B sales team that is clamoring for leads. And it’s marketing’s task to deliver on that demand. A new Chief Marketer study of 270 B2B marketers depicts the challenges B2B marketers face and what’s working in their lead generation practices.
The study reveals that B2B marketers are seeing increased lead generation success with content and event marketing, but continue to struggle with lead nurturing once those leads are acquired. We recommend downloading and reading the study for the most in-depth look at the topic, but we’ll use this blog post to hit some of the highlights.
Top Lead Generation Channels
Chief Marketer’s lead gen report indicates that the top performing lead generation channels remain consistent with expectations. Email is top the top performing channel with 62% of the respondents citing it as the most effective, followed closely by live events (59%) and content marketing (51%).
These findings map tightly to the survey’s findings for the channel that produces the highest ROI. Email continues to lead the way with 61% of respondents supporting the old stand-by, followed by live events (54%). Content marketer drops to 4th place (41%) when it comes to ROI.
Data Quality Challenges
Far and away the greatest lead generation challenges B2B marketers face today is making use of data. Seventy-two percent of the survey respondents claimed poor data quality to be their biggest challenge. Other challenges facing marketers included the fact that their data lives in separate silos (53%) and the lack of the skills to know how to apply data (31%).
Account Based Marketing Challenges
The Chief Marketer study looked at account based marketing as well. Of those surveyed, 43% of B2B marketers claimed to be using ABM. Of these, 48% indicated that they were challenged with creating the right content, while 37% claimed their troubles resided in the inability to understand the buyer’s journey of their target accounts, a fact that ties back to the previously mentioned data quality issues.
The Most Effective Content
Not surprising for a survey of B2B marketers, whitepapers are considered to be the most effective content (52%) format for driving prospects through the funnel, followed by articles or blog posts (44%) and product/service comparisons (39%).
The Metrics that Matter Most
As we’ve written previously, metrics such as clicks are increasingly being deprecated. The survey revealed that only 21% of B2B marketers are concerned with the first click. By contrast, 49% of marketers indicated that the cost of conversion (49%) as the most important metric, with the amount of time to conversion following a close second (47%).
The Chief Marketer study affirms that the hallmarks of lead generation are slow to change. Whitepapers remain the top dog when it comes to content; email and lead generation continue as the most productive channel. However, these practices pace behind advances in technology. Nowhere is this clearer than in the questions around data quality.
Technologies exist that can harness data and apply it to lead generation campaigns allowing marketers to customize for each unique account. For example, whitepapers may work for one account, but video may be more popular at another. To be successful, B2B marketers need to know what’s working and customize accordingly.
For more about how data is used in successful account based marketing campaigns, download our whitepaper, How to Capture Your ABM Audience.