LeadGenerationStrategy Outlook ReportWhat lead generation successwill look like in the year ahead andhow marketers plan to achieve itClient Connection Research™ conducted by Ascend2 in partnership with Research Underwriters
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Lead Generation Strategy Outlook Report3Table of ContentsLead generation is the lifeblood of marketing 4Distinguishing between Superior and Inferior Strategies 5Viewing lead generation survey results from 30,000 feet 12The sales cycle and its impact on strategies and tactics 19Strategies and tactics for type of products or services sold 26How company size influences strategies and tactics 33Actionable advice for developing a Superior Strategy 40Survey methodologies 42About Ascend2 44
Lead Generation Strategy Outlook Report4Lead generation is the lifeblood of marketingNothing pumps new life into a stagnant sales program like a boost in the quantity and quality of leadsgenerated. That’s why lead generation is the lifeblood of marketing. During the week of April 1, 2013, Ascend2in partnership with Research Underwriters completed survey interviews with 435 business leaders, marketingexecutives and practitioners from around the world. We would like to thank these busy professionals forsharing their valuable insights on lead generation with you.This report features a methodology that distinguishes companies with a superior strategy for accomplishingmarketing objectives from those having an inferior strategy. It includes actionable advice on using this researchto develop a superior strategy beginning with a SWOT analysis of your company’s marketing program.This Client Connection Research™ has been produced for your use. The charts may be used in your ownstrategy planning and presentation materials, blog content and social media posts, credited as published.Sergio BalegnoChief Strategy OfficerAscend2800-762-1595 ext email@example.comPS: This report may be rebranded for marketing agencies, consultancies and marketing automation firms tolicense as marketing content. Learn more about this Research Underwriter Program at Ascend2.com.
Distinguishing between Superior and Inferior Strategies5In this section, the disparity between companies with a Superior Strategy for lead generation and their InferiorStrategy counterparts is clear. These benchmarks are provided to show you what social marketing success lookslike, and how those companies with a Superior Strategy plan to achieve it.
Success is the difference between a Superior Strategyand an Inferior Strategy for generating leads.Determining which lead generation strategiesare worth emulating requires identifyingcharacteristics of the most successful marketingorganizations. Performance criteria, based onthe success of a lead generation strategy, isused to differentiate between companies with aSuperior Strategy and those with an InferiorStrategy.The highest performers (18% of respondentsrated Very Successful) are identified in thissection as having a Superior Strategy. Thelowest performers (11% of respondents ratedNot Successful) are identified as having anInferior Strategy.In the following charts, marketers rating theircompany’s lead generation strategy as onlySomewhat Successful (71%) are notrepresented.6
Superior strategies focus on converting more leads tocustomers by improving the quality of leads generated.7
The obstacles to success are much more challenging forcompanies with an inferior strategy.8
The same tactics top the list for effectiveness whetheryou have a superior or inferior lead generation strategy.9
Companies with an inferior lead generation strategy aremuch more likely to have difficulty executing tactics.10
Segmentation enables the targeting and nurturing ofhigher quality leads that are more likely to convert, adistinct characteristic of a superior strategy.11
Viewing lead generation survey results from 30,000 feet12The charts in this section represent the aggregate of all responses. The data has not been segmented, as it hasin all other sections of this report, so results represent the overall “average”. It is a view of the lead generationlandscape from 30,000 feet.
Generating a sufficient quantity and quality of salesleads that will convert to customers is a universal goal.13
Generating the level of lead quality expected by sales isconsistently the most challenging obstacle to success.14
Email is universally the most effective stand-alonetactic however the integration of inbound tactics (SEO,content and social media) is rapidly gaining popularity.15
While gaining in popularity, inbound tactics (SEO,content and social media) remain among the mostdifficult tactics to execute.16
There is no correlation between the degree of difficultyand the effectiveness of lead generation tactics.17
Creating and maintaining lead segmentation fields is noeasy task but well worth the time, effort and expense.18
The sales cycle and its impact on strategies and tactics19The charts in this section break out survey results by type of sales cycle. For the purpose of this survey, therewere two sales cycle types which were defined as: Long and complex sales cycle involving multiple decision-makers Short and direct sales cycle involving one or two decision-makersThere were twice as many responses from marketers with a complex sales cycle (62%) than a direct sales cycle(31%), however, the results in this section are weighted equally.
Lead generation success is comparable in companieswith complex and direct sales cycles.20
Complex sales goals are more focused on lead quality,while direct sales is pursuing lead quantity. Both arehoping to convert more leads to customers.21
A majority of companies with complex and direct salescycles are not producing the quality of leads expected.22
Paid and highly targetable outbound tactics like paidsearch, online ads, and direct mail are more effectivefor direct marketers than are inbound tactics.23
Social media and content marketing are most difficultfor the complex sale. While email is not a difficult tactic,it is more difficult in the direct sales environment.24
Marketing databases are much smaller in complexsales, making data segmentation easier to manage andmore prevalent than it is for direct marketers.25
Strategies and tactics for type of products or services sold26The chart breakouts in this section are by the primary type of products or services the responding companysells. The survey was segmented by three type of products or services sold; Business, Consumer or MarketingServices. The following charts represent sellers of Business Products or Services and Consumer Products orServices, but do not represent responses from providers of Marketing Services.
Consumer marketers are less likely than business marketers tostraddle the fence between very successful and not successfulwhen it comes to lead generation.27
One notable point in this chart is business marketersare about twice as likely to set a goal for automatinglead generation processes than consumer marketers.28
There isn’t much disparity between the lead generationchallenges facing business and consumer marketers.29
Search – whether organic or paid – has a significantlydifferent effect on lead generation results for businessand consumer marketers.30
Mobile marketing stands out as the most difficult tacticfor consumer marketers to execute, while businessmarketers are wrestling more with content marketing.31
With fewer contacts to manage in their databases,business marketers are more likely to get granular withsegmentation fields enabling more targeted campaigns.32
How company size influences strategies and tactics33The charts in this section break out survey results by size of the respondent’s company. The three segmentsbroken out in this section include: Small companies: 10 to 100 employees Medium companies: 101 to 1,000 employees Large companies: More than 1,000 employeesMicro companies with fewer than 10 employees are not represented in this section.
The smaller the company, the more positive theattitude about their lead generation success.34
Smaller companies will target both lead quantity andquality, and larger companies will focus more on quality.35
Optimizing visitor-to-lead-to-customer conversion ratesare more science than art, and a bigger challenge formedium and larger companies to overcome.36
Search tactics – both organic and paid – are moreeffective for medium and larger companies.37
Two of the newest tactical channels – social media andmobile marketing – are significantly more difficult formedium size companies to execute.38
There is little difference in the lead segmentation statusin marketing databases for companies of all sizes.39
Actionable advice for developing a Superior Strategy40
A Superior Strategy is the goal, and developing onebegins with a lead generation SWOT analysis41This research was conducted to help marketers develop a Superior Strategy for effectively achieving their leadgeneration objectives. The process begins with a SWOT analysis of your company’s lead generation program byapplying the questions asked in this survey, then comparing your analysis to the lead generation strengths,weaknesses, opportunities and threats of companies with a Superior Strategy (shown here).TacticalStrengths WeaknessesMost Effective Tactics Used Most Difficult Tactics to Execute1. Email marketing2. Search engine optimization3. Content marketing4. Paid search or online ads5. Online events (webinars etc.)1. Social media marketing2. Content marketing3. Offline events (tradeshows etc.)4. Mobile marketing5. Search engine optimizationStrategicOpportunities ThreatsMost Important Objectives to Achieve Most Challenging Obstacles to Overcome1. Convert more leads to customers2. Improve the QUALITY of sales leads3. Convert more website visitors to leads4. Automate more lead generation processes5. Increase the QUANTITY of sales leads1. Optimizing lead-to-customer conversions2. Generating expected QUALITY of leads3. Generating projected QUANTITY of leads4. Lead generation budget limitations5. Optimizing visitor-to-lead conversion rate
Survey methodologies42Ascend2’s Client Connection Research™ surveys are conducted online from a panel of more than 30,000 US andinternational marketing decision-makers and practitioners representing a range of roles, company sizes, regionsand industry segments. Survey findings are examined in a quantitative context by experienced analysts andreported objectively.An important goal of Client Connection Research™ is differentiating the performance of companies with aSuperior Strategy from those with an Inferior Strategy. To identify these groups, performance criteria is usedbased on the success of a company’s marketing program in accomplishing business objectives. This model forsegmenting Superior Strategy is then used to analyze and present for comparison marketing performance inthe form of charts and a Marketing Program SWOT Analysis by topic and, for Research Underwriters, byindividual prospects. The questionnaire is standardized to incorporate these methodologies across all studieswhile maintaining the proven 3-Minute Survey format.
About Ascend244Connecting Agencies to Clients with the Power of ResearchAscend2 partners with marketing agencies, consultancies and marketing automation firms to accelerate newbusiness growth. An integrated research, content creation and lead generation process delivers the inside trackon prospective clients’ real-life strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, and will position yourmarketing firm as a thought-leader for solving a clients specific challenges. Learn more at www.Ascend2.com