Mistakes Startups Make When Doing B2B Lead Generation


In our previous blog post, we’ve written why startups need lead generation, especially the ones that are B2B oriented. What is more, startups need lead generation more than any other business out there, because they are new, unknown, need to gain trust and rise above the competition that seems to be growing every day.

Some startups prefer doing their own lead generation and, as long as they have resources and time to dedicate to it, it’s a good choice. However, you should make sure that you’re not making mistakes that could make a huge hole in your budget and reputation.

Selling To Just Any Company

No, not all companies that you can think of or have even contacted in some other context, are your buyers. Actually, most of them have absolutely no need for your product unless you’re making computers, tables and chairs.

If you have no customers and you’re just starting, do a basic market research. Who does your competition sell to? Can you sell to them or other similar companies? What are the industry problems that your startup’s solution can solve? Can the company afford your solution?

Make an Ideal Target Account or Ideal Buyer Persona, focus on the industry or niche and let it be your guide.

In case you do have some customers, search for similar companies or companies with similar problems and aspirations.

Selling To Just Anyone Inside The Company

Yes, we know you are desperate to start and develop your business. Yes, you want to grow sales and increase revenue so you can invest further. But, please, don’t sell to just any contact you might have inside the target company. Rather ask that one contact - who is the decision maker in their company, whether they can introduce you or at least give you their email address.

Would you approach your barista and ask for lower coffee prices? No, their owner or manager is the person to ask, the barista is just there to sell.

Same with any other company – every person has a job description and some titles include decision making and buying from other companies. Find who those people are and reach out to them. It’s usually C-level people, directors and sometimes even managers, it all depends on the organization.

Just remember – the bigger the company, the more people involved in the purchasing process.

Buying Prepackaged Cheap Lead Lists

Yes, we know, you have very little or no budget for sales and lead generation, but please remember that cheap lead lists will never pay off

Not only will you get a list of contacts that seem like your potential customers, who are actually not at all interested in your solution, but you will get hundreds and even thousands of unusable, outdated contacts that you will have to verify yourself. We also like to mention the fact that these lists are usually incomplete and unorganized, which means there’s more time for you to spend arranging them so they make sense and fit your CRM.

Also, scraped email lists are usually full of spam traps - email addresses that look like a regular work email but don’t really belong to anybody. Their only purpose is to mark the sender as a spam and ban them from email providers for good.

Paying a bit more for a tailored lead list of decision makers’ contacts who are hand-picked to suit your industry, solution and company size is always a better choice.

Doing Lead Generation Without Proper Resources

Lead generation is a full-time job. An owner, CEO, project manager – anyone inside the startup doing lead generation will need a lot of time. Make sure you can afford not to spend that time on your core business. Sales are important, but they will have no purpose if your solution is underdeveloped and malfunctioning.

Those that are developing the core business should focus on that and sales should be given to a sales rep, freelancer or outsourced to a third party.

The more customers you acquire – the more time you will need to spend managing those accounts. 

This is especially important for startups making their content in order to gather leads. You will spend a lot of time on content creation (blogs, videos, white papers, eBooks, etc.) just to acquire leads that are partially interested in your solution.

Make sure you have enough time and enough people to do the lead generation yourself.

Not Testing Your Emails And Offers

There’s no market and business research that can give you the quality insight like A/B testing can.

You can see vaguely what audiences to target and how to tailor your messaging, but the only precise knowledge will come from testing.

Test your emails (subject lines, messaging and CTAs) as well as your offers, one thing at a time. Test different times of day, month, season and year. Only then will you see what and when sells best in your case.

Just because someone didn’t reply now, doesn’t mean they won’t need your service at the end of the year when the time to achieve results is running out. Want to establish an annual contract with a company? Reach out to decision makers before they’ve planned their budget for the next year.

Learn how to compose a perfect sales email and don’t send epic stories about your startup. Nobody wants to read that and you’re probably 100th startup contacting the buyer today. Be clear, be brief and offer a solution right away. Turn your elevator pitches into your sales emails.

Compose two different emails and send them to contacts on your list to see which one works better, then use the version that had more success.

If you notice some solutions or price packages not selling or selling more than others, try to modify them. Add something new to make the price a bit higher or omit something to make them cheaper. Then track the results.

Just never stop testing.

“I’m not rich enough to buy cheap things.”

Hopefully, we helped you understand how to put the little resources you have to a good use.

Startups can’t afford to make mistakes because every step is a make or break step for them.

Startups such as Twilio, Wiredrive and Quid trusted us with their lead generation and we can help you, too, if you decide to acquire some tailor-made lead lists.

You can even get a free lead list sample to see if these highly targeted lists work.


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