Aliya Zaidi
Aliya Zaidi 8 July 2019

5 Things You Need to Know About B2B Online Lead Generation in 2019

The State of B2B Lead Generation 2019 report, published by London Research and ON24, focuses on the characteristics of lead generation leaders, outlining what it takes to deliver a successful strategy. In this post, we examine the main findings of this latest research which follows a similar report in 2017.

1.The market is thriving as online lead generation continues to deliver results.

B2B online lead generation is a crucial component of a successful digital strategy, as it helps to guide marketers towards a tangible and defined goal, defined in terms of transforming prospects into buyers. The latest research from London Research and ON24 shows that the market for online lead generation is buoyant, with half of marketers (50%) planning to increase budgets in this area over the next 12 months.

The reason why it’s thriving is because investment in the right areas, combined with a well-thought-out strategy, leads to tangible results on the bottom line. For the most successful companies (defined as ‘leaders’ in this research), almost half of their total sales (47%) are generated from leads generated online.

In comparison, for mainstream companies (those who are not as advanced along the maturity cycle as leaders), 22% of their total sales are derived from online lead generation. This indicates companies could reap significant gains if they direct investment into the right areas and follow best practices.

2. Measuring ROI remains a key challenge.

Despite an increase in budgets, companies are struggling with measuring ROI and part of this involves having the right processes in place to be able to measure success. Fewer than half of companies surveyed (47%) say they have a clear understanding of ROI based on sales data.

One of the defining characteristics of a lead generation leader versus a mainstream company is the ability to measure ROI based on sales. The ability to measure success is at the heart of a winning lead generation strategy. It is difficult to divert additional resources towards lead generation and justify higher budgets, without proven and demonstrable results.

3. While content production is flourishing, marketers must strike a balance between quality and value.

Most B2B marketers are still early in the maturity cycle when it comes to online lead generation, as most describe their capabilities as basic, according to the findings of this research.

Marketers are most confident when it comes to content production and development, with just under half (46%) describing their capability in this area to be ‘very’ or ‘quite’ advanced.

However, a successful content management strategy needs to strike a balance between quality and value. While marketers are producing good quality content, they also need to understand how content can drive traffic and amplify lead capture.

When it comes to best practice, companies need to extract the maximum value from a piece of content. This may entail repurposing content assets or tailoring it for different customer segments.

When is comes to content, quality is preferable over quantity. A high-quality piece of content can be used to generate leads several times by changing its format or presenting it to different consumer groups. Marketers can obtain more value from high-quality content in term of generating leads. Producing fewer, but higher-quality assets, delivers a better bang for your buck, than generating large volumes of lower-quality content assets.

4. Acquiring clean data is a top priority for many, but companies need to improve verification at the point of capture.

Good data is the foundation for successful B2B online lead generation. It is the responsibility of the marketing department to ensure that the leads passed onto the sales department are of high quality, so that prospects have the highest possible chance of being converted into customers.

Therefore, data hygiene must be prioritised by all organisations, and this includes verifying data so that it is kept up-to-date, relevant and error-free. With high-quality data, the leads passed on to the sales team are more likely to bear fruit. If the leads are sub-standard, this means they cannot be followed up, resulting in wasted time and effort for all teams across the organisation.

Despite almost half of companies (47%) reporting that the flow of clean data is a top priority, only 3% rate data verification as their strongest discipline. Marketers are at the beginning of the journey and they clearly need to be doing more. Cleaning data will lead to quick wins in terms of increasing the chances of conversion and successful lead generation.

5. Internal silos are preventing companies from reaping the benefits of online lead generation 

A failure of communication between different teams is a significant challenge for many businesses. This research shows that only a third of companies (32%) say their sales marketing departments are very joined up, which means that there is a clear case for a more integrated approach.

The sales team relies on marketing to provide high-quality leads. Meanwhile, the marketing department often puts the blame for unsuccessful lead generation squarely on the shoulders of the sales team, and in particular, a failure to follow up on leads passed on by marketing.

Unless both teams are working cohesively towards a common goal, they will be unable to extract the maximum value from lead generation. To fuel success, the sales and marketing must collaborate at every stage of the lead generation process. 

In conclusion, there are significant benefits for companies to reap from lead generation, but to formulate a successful strategy, they must direct investment to the right areas and address the challenges head on.

There’s more information, statistics and data in The State of B2B Lead Generation 2019 report. Download the full report now to cast a spotlight on what the most successful companies are doing to make their online lead generation efforts flourish.

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