B2B Lead Generation Techniques: How Much Information do you really need?

B2B Lead Generation Techniques - How Much Information do you really need

How do you gather data from your target market? Do you ask them to fill out forms? Do you send out email subscriptions? Do you conduct phone surveys? Do you draw together prospects in social media pages?

Whatever approach you have in lead generation, it’s important to understand the subtle art of collection information from your audience. When is data too little or too much?

There can be several repercussions to forcing people to divulge so many bits of information before they could appreciate your marketing message. Marketers need to determine the definition of “sufficient” data in order for them to stop wasting time on information they don’t really need.

But how?

Consider these several factors:

  • The basic data requirements for a good lead are: name, job title, company, and contact info (which could be in the form of phone numbers, email addresses, and/or social media profiles). Anything other than that already necessitates a sound reason to be added to the mix.
  • Other lead generation marketers usually extend their forms to include ‘qualifying’ data such as company size, industry type, and annual income. If you look at it, the first two are “Google-able” pieces of information, and annual income is something that prospects don’t really like to divulge.
  • Although these extra data could definitely offer more insight on how suited a company is to be offered your product or service, think of the hassle on the part of the prospect. Those could mean 3 extra fields on your blog sign-up form or website appointment scheduler.
  • Now, what marketers do is to make this additional information as ‘optional’ – meaning, prospects can still submit forms even these fields are left blank. This may look like a sound plan on the surface, but not quite. You see, even if these fields are not mandatory, there would still be 3 fields that make the form seem lengthy. That alone could cause a negative effect on the prospects’ willingness to fill them out.
  • Here’s how you can approach it: First, ask yourself if your lead qualification process involves a strict ruling out of leads based on these additional information such as company size, industry and income. If not, you can remove them from your forms and leave the discovery part to your lead nurturing team.
  • However, if the nature of your business is heavily based on reaching out to buyers that belong to a particular sector or to those that belong to a specific budget range, then that’s the time you would consider including extra ‘qualifiers’.

Bad Assumptions Can Destroy Your B2B Lead Generation Potential

Everyday people make assumptions on just about anything they encounter, and while it can help them gauge possibilities, it can also deter them from taking risks and jumping into opportunities that can make things better.

It’s the fear of failure and disappointment that usually triggers this tendency to assume without even considering the pros and cons of a given circumstance. The thing is, with these ‘unsubstantiated’ assumptions you are likely to be more wrong than right.

For business, this can be a fatally destructive thing. If you look at the success stories of most businesses in our mainstream culture, you will see that the best decisions were made out of sheer risk-taking. But we’re talking about calculated risks here.

Making conclusions without proof

Take for example the plight of social media marketing. Until now, a lot of businesses are still reluctant to engage themselves into Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social networking sites. Why? Because they already assumed that it won’t work. Because they assumed that B2B prospects are not on social media. Because they assumed that it does not have a clear ROI.

Now at some point they could be right – but to totally ignore the power of social media is definitely counter-productive to their business goals. Think of all the exposure and interaction they’re missing just because they don’t have any online presence. Clearly, those false assumptions have impacted the business dramatically.

(Mis)understanding the target market

Even seasoned businesses make the mistake of making bad assumptions. Whenever their sales numbers encounter a rocky road, they tend to scratch their heads out of confusion because they thought they had their target market all figured out.

Just because you’ve been offering the same set of products and services to your loyal customers doesn’t mean they won’t yearn for something fresh. Just because you’ve been sending the same marketing message since day one doesn’t mean it will not eventually lose it essence in the minds of the people. Marketers should never assume that they know their audience from head to toe. Lifestyles evolve and technologies develop. Hence, needs also change.

Research is the cure against false assumptions

If you’re not sure, why not employ the power of good old scientific method? We see a lot of sites that offer endless graphs and sheets of marketing statistics. Why? Because they know that false assumptions can mean the demise of businesses.

And that numbers don’t lie.