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Lead Gen Challenges: Engaging Prospects

Michelle Burson, Ytel |  
Marketers have a pretty tough path to follow - once you've roped in a new prospect, how are you going to ensure that they're staying engaged? Creating a sales funnel gets you through the initial steps of capturing a lead. After that, it's up to your content to make the magic happen and turn your prospect into a customer. 

Creating a sales funnel gets you through the initial steps of capturing a lead. After that, it's up to your content to make the magic happen and turn your prospect into a customer.

One of the biggest lead generation challenges cited in a recent survey, coming in at a whopping 58%, is engaging prospects and encouraging them to convert.


Tracking Your Leads

Marketers are increasingly finding that the C-suite is deeply interested in acquisition cost, something that can be challenging to calculate for a variety of reasons. Acquisition is impacted by:

  • Attribution strategy and metrics
    • First click, last click, channel, conversion time, cost of conversion
  • Ability to accurately capture data across a variety of channels
  • Whether or not prospects are highly qualified or "warm"
  • Tracking prospects from various channels through to a closed sale 

For organizations with a defined sales funnel that requires a human interaction to close the sale, it's often the final metric that is the most challenging. Sales teams are notorious for neglecting to inform their marketing colleagues when they make a sale... work with them to change this! 

F2F Still Works

Prospecting can be a lonely activity, especially when leads are not part of an online community. The Chief Marketer study cites face-to-face meetings as the highest ROI for many marketers, with dinners and roadshows still being seen as high-value activities.

While this may not sit well with digital marketers who are looking for ways to streamline the sales funnel, taking things out of the digital realm with educational events brings a huge value to organizations. 

The most valuable tools for nurturing leads:

  1. In-person meetings
  2. Email marketing 
  3. Content marketing
  4. Calls from salespeople
  5. Webinars
  6. Social media 

Focus on Education

Content that feels overly sales-y can be off-putting to prospects, who prefer to receive information that educates them and helps steer them closer to a decision. Most people are savvy and can spot a heavy sell a mile away, and tend to steer clear of those brands.

Instead, marketers find that webinars and other educational tools like case studies are more effective at ultimately closing the sale.

BENEFICIAL CONTENT FOR TURNING PROSPECTS TO BUYERS

  • 49% cited articles and blog posts
  • 37% felt whitepapers were the most beneficial
  • 36% preferred video 
  • 33% utilized research reports
  • 29% used webinars
  • 22% used social media posts or content that was co-created with partners

Surprisingly, only 18% noted that images were effective in moving prospects through their sales funnel. Images have been widely praised for their ability to create an emotional loop with prospects in the past, but that may be shifting as more browsing is happening on mobile devices -- where images are not as impactful as they are on larger screens.

While respondents to the survey came from a variety of different backgrounds and used various approaches to prospecting, several themes came through that applied across the board.

Prospects want to be actively nurtured with a mix of personal communication and educational content.

Gone are the days where you simply pass people through a single streamlined funnel. Instead, marketers need to look for ways to create one-on-one communication - at scale. To explore your options in lead gen communication methods, download the eBook below. 
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About The Author

Michelle Burson, Ytel

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Michelle manages Ytel's Marketing strategy and has worked in Marketing and Communications for more than 10 years. She has a Bachelors’s in Mass Communications from Chapman University, is a firm believer in the use of the Oxford comma, and enjoys hiking, fishing and chicken wings.


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