How to Avoid These 6 Pitfalls of Demand Generation

October 18, 2018 | Kaleigh Moore


It seems like a no-brainer: More leads means more conversions. Yet getting those leads (especially quality ones) isn’t always the easiest thing to do.

Following up, nurturing, guiding, persuading, and selling customers on a product is a challenge.

In fact, according to BrightTALK, 80% of marketers report that their demand generation efforts are only slightly or somewhat effective.

Pretty shocking, right? For a significant component of marketing success, that number is staggering.

Leads indicate potential customer interest in your product or service either from filling out a form, signing up for your email newsletter, downloading your white paper, etc. However, most marketers don’t know how to acquire the best leads for their product or service–and what’s more–many don’t see that they’re making these common mistakes.

Let’s dive into the most common lead generation pitfalls and how to fix them.

Mistake #1: You aren’t offering content for people in different stages of the customer journey

Many marketers tend to overlook the customer journey, and instead, launch generalized, one-size-fits-all materials that fall flat.

Why does this happen? Well, chances are that everyone who visits your website isn’t at the same point in the funnel. Some are just learning about your product or service, while others are ready to buy.

Think about it: People who are familiarizing themselves with your product or service likely aren’t ready to pull the trigger on buying anything just yet. What should you show them first, second, and third to get them closer to the point of conversion? Or how about the people who are getting ready to make a decision? What do you need to provide them to seal the deal?

How to fix it:

The short answer: Create content for leads at every stage of the buyer journey. Think about every type of potential customer and what they’re looking for as they browse your website, read your blog, or tune into your webinar.

According to Marketo, 93% of B2B companies report that content marketing results in more leads than traditional marketing tactics. That means providing value-packed content and resources at every stage will likely lead to more conversions.

Thinking about what customers at different stages need or are looking for is what will ultimately separate you from your competitors. You need to provide value to your potential customers and show them why they should use your product instead of a competitor’s.

It’s time-consuming, but it’s worth it if it means moving potential customers to convert. The bottom line is to show every type of customer what makes your company stand out by providing unmatched value at every different funnel stage.

Mistake #2: You don’t have a unified messaging strategy

This pitfall is tricky because many marketers spend countless hours working on this component. You might be thinking, “I have a clear messaging strategy. I have buyer personas and clear business objectives, too.”

Well, unfortunately, none of that really means anything if each component of your messaging strategy doesn’t connect and work together in some way. Synergy is key here, and that only happens when your message is clear and cohesive.

How to fix it:

Enter: The messaging map.

Message Map

Image source

Take a step back and look at your approach as a whole. Are there things that need to be tweaked? Does a specific part of the strategy fail to bridge to other elements? Is there anything about your current strategy that doesn’t work to help your team meet your goals?

As you begin to quite literally draw the lines between the different parts of your plan, you can see where things might be dropping off or falling short. You can also spot missed opportunities this way. Are there types of content you should add to your strategy (like interactive content, video, etc?) Are there common questions from leads that aren’t being addressed in your existing content?

With a messaging map, you can draw lines between components of your strategy and better define their why. You can also find ways to create content that resonates with different audience personas that makes sense for where they are in the buyer journey (which, as we discussed, is very important.)

Mistake #3: You don’t have a robust lead scoring process

If you don’t have an issue with the number of leads you receive but they aren’t converting, you likely have a problem with your lead scoring process.

Of course, it’s any salesperson’s dream to have tons of leads, but if they aren’t the right leads, your conversion rates might come up short. Focusing on the wrong types of leads is not only a waste of time, but it can cost you money, too.

How to fix it:

Consider establishing a lead scoring process. That might mean integrating a new CRM software that better organizes your sales information, or streamlining how your team prioritizes lead profiles. Keep in mind that a survey by DMNews found that 84% of B2B companies claim a CRM system is beneficial in determining the quality of leads.

Setting up a lead scoring process can take some time, and you might find that this eliminates a lot of your leads. But excluding the leads that don’t match your criteria means you can focus on the ones that do. If you haven’t already, figure out what your ideal customer looks like and make adjustments in your lead scoring process to ensure you only go after the leads that are most likely to convert.

Mistake #4: You aren’t leveraging your blog effectively

You have a blog and you know it’s essential to market your product successfully, but maybe it isn’t crystal clear as to how or why. Perhaps you’re even posting to your blog on a consistent basis–but aren’t seeing much ROI.

If this is the case, you likely aren’t providing your audience with the right content at their stage in the buyer funnel–or your content isn’t providing them with any tangible value.

How to fix it:

Think about the purpose of each blog post and how it’s serving the potential customer. What is the reader taking away at the end?

We’re not suggesting that every blog post you create has to be long and complicated, but instead, each post should teach the reader something he or she didn’t know before. In addition to blog posts, consider creating other engaging content (like interactive whitepapers and infographics) that not only keep readers interested, but also help establish you as a top authority in your industry.

The bottom line: Make sure every piece of content is providing something helpful to potential customers.

Mistake #5: You aren’t optimizing your top pages for lead generation

More often than not, certain pages on your website will get more traffic than others due to their specific purpose. Your Contact Us and About pages are likely frontrunners. Because of this, you shouldn’t treat your top pages like the rest of your website.

How to fix it:

Not all pages are equal when it comes to lead generation.

If you aren’t sure which pages on your site see the most traffic, it’s time to consult your site analytics. There are tons of free and powerful website analytics tools you can use to identify your top landing pages (like Google Analytics or Fathom Analytics, to name a few.) Or, if your site is built on WordPress or Squarespace, you might have access to this information already.

Identify your four or five most-visited pages within the last six months. Once you have those pages, optimize. Place clear, eye-catching CTAs where users’ eyes naturally gravitate–likely the top and middle of the page.

Also, create special offers or other valuable content on your most popular pages and gate them. For example, you might include a pop-up promoting your latest ground-breaking interactive whitepaper on your homepage–but require users to enter their email address before they can download it. This way, you already know these select users are interested in your product and can follow up.

Mistake #6: You don’t have a pulse on how your channels are performing

If your lead generation campaigns are like most these days, they likely utilize a multi-channel strategy. Many marketers have found success from leveraging digital, non-digital, paid, and organic channels simultaneously.

However, with many channels to monitor, it can be hard to identify where your leads are coming from and see what is working if the proper tracking isn’t in place. A study from BrightTALK found that 42% of B2B marketers feel a lack of quality data is their most significant barrier to lead generation.

How to fix it:

Identify what metrics matter to your team the most and establish a way to measure your channels’ performance.

Once you have your key metrics identified, you can quickly determine what channels are working, which are not, and what needs adjusting. Your time, money, and brainpower have gone into maximizing each channel of your campaign, but they can’t convert potential customers if you aren’t aware of how they’re trending.

By identifying your most important metrics and having the proper analytics in place, you can better determine what moves to make in the future.

Better Demand Gen: Avoid the Pitfalls

With demand generation, there typically isn’t a one-size-fits-all strategy. Your product, your company, and your team will likely determine what demand generation tactics work best to meet your goals

Understanding what your unique customers want will radically change the way your team approaches lead generation.
Need help with your demand generation strategy? See how we can help.


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