Fumbling Leads: B2B Brands Need To Automate Their Processes

B2B marketers remain hung up on pipeline growth rather than lead conversion, judging by the State of B2B Lead Management, a recent study by LeanData in partnership with Sales Hacker, Heinz Marketing and Outreach.

The respondents cite these priorities for 2022:

  • Pipeline—48.79%
  • Building/staffing teams—24.40%
  • Expanding the addressable market—18.26%
  • Accelerating digital transformation—7.10%
  • New tech stack investments—3.45%

At the same time, they admit they are facing these challenges:

  • Generating sufficient pipeline—27.01%
  • Lack of automation/too many manual processes—22%
  • Meeting revenue targets—19.90%
  • Pivoting go-to-market as conditions changed—18.31% 
  • Virtual selling/performance of a remove team—12.78%



Moreover, 51% agree that revenue growth was a challenge in 2021 -- 18.85% strongly so. However, 78% felt this way in 2019, a reflection of accelerated growth in the tech sector. 

That said, 43.65% somewhat agree that their sales and marketing teams are aligned to deliver growth in 2022, although only 15.73% strongly agree. 

Indeed, 27.17% believe their lead management systems and processes cannot help deliver an ideal customer experience. And only 27.44% say their current lead management strategy helps them achieve their conversion goals.

In addition, a mere 17.56% strongly feel that their current lead management system will support their revenue goals in 2022. Another 38.52% are somewhat confident. 

On an anecdotal level, respondents are looking for communications channels beyond email.  Among their comments:

“Sales is changing. We can’t keep doing the same thing and expect different results. Leaders need to understand that emails, calls and LinkedIn messages do not work like they used to. Buyers want something else. There has to be a different way.”

“The biggest hurdle will be breaking through the noise as email becomes more and more saturated!” 

“Looking for a new way to get above and beyond the additional lead generation chatter of sending emails and phone.”

How well do firms respond to new leads? They say they are: 

  • Faster than average—47.45%
  • Average—41.23%
  • Slower than average—11.31%

Indeed, 59.92% report that leads are being sent to the wrong person for follow-up some of the time, 5.06% half of the time, 2.03% most of the time -- and 0.75%, always. 

And, 65.54% are happy with their process for matching leads to accounts. But 24.33% say it’s a slow and error-prone process, 

“You’d think we’d be better at this by now, especially with so much focus on account-based strategies,” states Matt Heinz, president of Heinz Marketing. “But based on our experience and research over the past couple years, what should be table stakes is still eluding far too many B2B organizations.” 

LeanData, Sales Hacker, Heinz Marketing and Outreach conducted surveyed 1,732 B2B sales and marketing professionals in December 2021. 







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