Lead generation is the critical driver of growth for B2B businesses and the first step in building a meaningful relationship with customers in every industry.
But getting lead generation right is one of the biggest challenges in-house marketing and sales teams continue to face.
According to a new survey of US and UK senior marketing and sales professionals, commissioned by Leadfeeder, 82% of B2B companies continue to find lead generation a challenge, with enterprises of over 250 employees more likely to describe it as a “large challenge” than SMEs.
The research also found 65% of B2B companies are looking to invest more in buyer intent data to overcome their lead generation challenges.
Buyer intent data is now a vital way companies can grow their leads. Intent data consists of aggregated behavioral signals that indicate interest in a service or product, helping marketers and sales teams to nurture and convert new customers.
According to the research, over three quarters (76%) of businesses now use buyer intent data to inform their marketing and sales strategy.
Of the in-house teams who use buyer intent data, frequency of visits was cited as the strongest indicator of a sales lead, followed by time spent on site, requests for more information, completing a contact form and downloading assets.
Furthermore, the most reported benefits of using buyer intent data were higher conversion rates (47%), bigger deal sizes (43%) and more deals closed (38%). Only 1% of respondents reported no performance increases, highlighting its value when used correctly.
B2B companies need a lead generation funnel for the simple reason that, in most cases, a purchase takes a long time to develop. It’s a lengthy process, with 90 percent of B2B sales taking more than one month to close, while 10 percent take more than one year.
While there are a lot of differences in the way individuals make a purchase, there’s still a process leading up to a buyer’s decision. And increasingly, B2B companies are tracking intent data signals to help them develop a smarter, more customer-focused marketing and sales strategy that’s designed around the modern buyer cycle.
But despite a growing appreciation for the value of buyer intent data, a knowledge gap remains.
The study reveals 87% of senior sales and marketing professionals still have more to learn about this method. The majority of B2B companies aren’t fully leveraging the power of buyer intent data and may need expert external support to unlock more value.
Of the B2B companies that don’t use buyer intent data, lack of internal knowledge and budget limitations were cited as the main reasons why.
Jaakko Paalanen, CRO at Leadfeeder said, “Our survey provides a valuable insight into the challenges faced by B2B sales and marketing teams when it comes to lead generation but also highlights the benefits of taking a more data-led approach.
“It’s clear that lead generation is still a priority of B2B marketers and a major headache. But with the help of intent data, marketing teams can drive more qualified pipeline and sales teams can focus on the right prospects, creating a more efficient process that delivers revenue.”