Obtaining high-quality leads is a perpetual challenge for B2B marketers. In a recent survey of B2B influencers by LeadCrunch, more than 60 percent of respondents listed improving the quality of their leads as a top priority of their lead generation strategy.

Research firm Ascend2, recently published the results of a survey focused on lead generation quality, which revealed some of the primary strategies marketing influencers employ to help generate higher quality leads.

In this post, we’ll review some of the results of Ascend2’s survey and provide some tips on how you can implement these strategies in your own marketing and sales efforts.

The primary lead quality strategies of B2B influencers

B2B marketers employ a variety of different strategies when trying to generate higher quality leads. At the top of this list is personalization, with 60 percent of survey respondents indicating personalization is one of their primary strategies, followed by improving content and content engagement. Other top strategies include improving data management tools and platforms, optimizing third-party lead sources and improving lead quality metrics.

Source: Ascend2

Personalization can be a challenge, because it involves aligning your messaging across multiple channels and touchpoints. But getting this right can make all the difference in not only getting new customers, but also retaining existing ones.

Research has shown that if customers don’t feel valued or understood by a company — even B2B customers — they will likely switch to a different brand.

This is true of 64 percent of business buyers who were surveyed by Salesforce in 2016.

Source: Salesforce

Personalization and automation aren’t the only things that can help attract quality leads and keep valued customers. Nearly 80 percent of business buyers in the Salesforce survey indicated that it’s very important — even critical — that they have a sales rep that serves as a trusted advisor.

Technology and automation can help sales teams better understand prospects and customers in real-time, which is an important piece of the personalization puzzle.

The importance of a lead generation quality strategy

In the Ascend2 survey, 95 percent of companies with a deliberate lead generation quality strategy indicated that this strategy was successful to some extent — either very successful or somewhat successful.

Source: Ascend2

As noted above, personalization plays a large role in developing a successful lead generation quality strategy, but so does content. In fact, the two are inextricably linked.

Delivering high-quality, personalized content is a pain point for the B2B influencers surveyed, with more than half indicating that improving content and content engagement was a critical challenge followed by improving personalization of marketing efforts.

When considering a B2B lead quality strategy, it can be helpful to do a side-by-side comparison of the strategies versus the challenges. Ascend2 did exactly this in its report. This can help marketers devise a tactical plan that connects the primary strategies to the critical challenges, thus ensuring the most impactful approach to the problem of lead quality.

Source: Ascend2

In the above chart, the primary strategies of marketing personalization and improving content are somewhat aligned with these same critical challenges. Improving content and content engagement is more of a challenge for influencers than personalization, likely because there’s an influx of content management and personalization tools on the market, so streamlining this piece of the puzzle isn’t as difficult as creating the content itself.

Lead quality strategy needs its own budget

A B2B lead generation quality strategy needs its own budget. Though lead quality optimization and improvement techniques tend to be baked into various marketing, sales, IT and creative initiatives and tools, investment must be made in a cohesive strategy that includes robust martech tools, high-quality content and dedicated personnel. This will ensure that your messaging resonates with each specific customer profile along every point of the buying cycle, attracting appropriate leads while weeding out poor quality prospects.

Increasingly, B2B influencers are recognizing the importance of focusing on lead quality improvement, with 88 percent of survey respondents indicating they plan to increase budget moderately to significantly in this area.

Source: Ascend2

Quality over quantity

The prevailing belief among B2B influencers is that quality trumps quantity. Finding quality leads is a function of multiple tactics and channels, because B2B buyers tend to visit at least six different sources before they selected vendor and make a purchase (even more reason for B2B marketers to present their brand and their content consistently across multiple touchpoints, including the sales team.)

A recent study by Gartner revealed that B2B buyers are channel-agnostic, meaning they visit multiple channels and sources when gathering information about a new product or service.

The Ascend2 study lists the most effective tactics and channels based on lead quality, with 59 percent of respondents indicating social media generated the highest quality of leads, followed by email marketing, website personalization and content/video marketing.

Source: Ascend2

Focusing on improving lead quality over volume is a strategy that pays dividends in terms of increased revenue, a more qualified pipeline of leads and less time spent sifting through poor quality leads. B2B buyers, more than 70 percent of whom are millennials, expect better, more personalized interactions with brands. Meeting these expectations equates to more sales and happier customers.

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