You Can’t Trip Over Your Shoelaces if You’re Not Wearing Any Shoes

B2B lead generation tipsKelly K. asks “I’m the Marketing Director of a large B2B company with over 20 websites.  We mostly sell to Fortune 500 companies and the government.  As you said in one of your recent posts, all of our sites get plenty of very qualified traffic but we don’t get much action.  What are we doing wrong? Do you have any tips for us? Please don’t reference my sites.  This is a new job for me and I was hired specifically to fix this problem. Thanks.”

Hi Kelly –

You’re not alone.

A lot of business-to-business companies struggle with this very same problem.

There are two primary reasons that you may not be getting enough “action.”  (I am going to assume that “action” means prospective clients signing up for your webinars, whitepapers and the like.) 

First, you don’t ask for what you want.  If you want people to sign up for your FREE newsletter, you need to ask them.  Most important, you need to ask them all over the place till you get it. 

What does “all over the place” mean?  It means at least 2-3 times on every view of your site. 

Isn’t that excessive?  Not at all.  If you look at your site as each view (what the user calls a page) being one screen, it’s really not that much, especially if you have good creative (copy/art direction.)

It’s important that your action directives are big, bold and IN-YOUR-FACE.  (You can find more about action directives here.)

Remember, you don’t get what you don’t ask for so it’s better to be VERY aggressive upfront.  Give it your best shot.  Once you’ve gotten the lead in whatever form you prefer (for example, sign up for a FREE podcast), you can often eliminate most of the lead boxes.

The second reason that most B2B companies lose/don’t get enough leads is that they screw up their lead forms.   (Thus the “you can’t trip over your shoelaces if you’re not wearing any shoes” headline for this post.) 

You can’t ask too many questions on a lead form (well, you can, but it kills your chances of getting the lead.)  You’ve got to ask ONLY the relevant questions.  Relevancy is determined in the user’s mind.  Research has shown that every question that you ask that’s not relevant MORE THAN QUADRUPLES your chance of losing the lead. 

I understand that a lot of companies want to know things like “employee size” and “purchasing authority.”  Personally, I think that information is easier to get from an outside profiler, but if you must ask for it do it AFTER you’ve gotten the barebones of the lead.  (Usually name, phone number, and e-mail address suffices.)  You can do this two ways: (1) one after you’ve gotten the lead or (2) in a triggered e-mail thank you letter with survey questions.

(Click here now for some additional B2B lead generation tips.)


  1. MIke McCormick says

    Relevant (to the user) questions? What a concept. I’ve been answering all the irrelevant questions I see with “None of your business”. So far, I’ve had reactions only from the Census and the IRS.

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