Lead Generation — Biggest Challenges and How to Manage Them

6 min readMay 24, 2018


According to the recent survey, lead generation is a key pain point for 60% of marketers, and it’s unlikely to change for another couple of years. Constantly increasing competition and abundance of information makes it very difficult for a company to track, reach and engage with potential clients. As a result, many businesses find it hard not only to succeed, but also to survive “in the jungle.”

However, things aren’t as discouraging as they might seem at first glance. A proper examination of lead generation challenges will help you survive the natural selection of business nature, fill the sales pipeline and acquire potential clients more effectively. With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at this issue.

The takeaways of the lead generation surveys

We’ve found five surveys that are dedicated to lead generation and mention its challenges. The first one dates back to 2010, and the last one was conducted in September 2017. We listed these surveys below along with top three lead gen challenges they found:

Top 10 Lead Generation Challenges 2010 survey by RAIN Group in cooperation with ITSMA:

  • Finding a strategy, tactic, or offer that gets the attention of potential leads — 42.1%
  • Having enough people/the right people to generate leads — 38.2%
  • Measuring and documenting lead generation success — 31.2%

MarketingSherpa 2012 Lead Generation Benchmark Report:

  • Generating high-quality leads — 71%
  • Getting a high volume of leads — 44%
  • Creating public relations “buzz” — 36%

2013–2014 Survey of CPA Firm Best Lead Generation Practices by Vitberg LLC:

  • Generating high-quality leads — 43% (Very challenging) and 35% (challenging)
  • Generating a high volume of leads — 35% (Very challenging) and 36% (challenging)
  • Time or resources — 25% (Very challenging) and 42% (challenging)

2015 Lead Generation Survey of B2B Technology Marketing Community on LinkedIn:

  • Generating high-quality leads — 59%
  • Converting leads to customers — 42%
  • Delivering effective lead nurturing programs — 37%.

The State of B2B Lead Generation and What it Takes to Succeed held by Digital Doughnut in September 2017

  • Lead quality — 30%
  • Getting the right processes in place — 28%
  • Tracking ROI from leads — 26%

As you can see there was a major shift in the perception of lead generation challenges between 2010 and 2012. Ever since 2012, the top challenge has remained unchanged — quality leads. Accordingly, we look forward to seeing the surveys on this problem in the year of 2018. Now that we’ve seen the key pain points of lead generation, there’s one question we need to answer:

Why is getting quality leads so challenging?

The answer is pretty simple: because it’s crucial and difficult at the same time. Many factors make the acquisition of quality leads difficult (and we’ll list them below). On the other hand, the importance of this task should never be underestimated. A business needs to continually generate quality leads because it saves resources for your sales team:

1. The time and effort

It takes up to 30 minutes for an SDR to make additional research on the company, up to 30 minutes to write a follow-up and up to 8 dials to get to a prospect. Thus, if your lead isn’t a good fit, all these efforts and time will be wasted.

2. The emotions

First, rejection is always hard even for a strong-willed SDR. Don’t make them endure it more than necessary. Second, an experienced sales rep will sooner or later understand that a lead is no good. Will he or she be happy? Probably not. Third, you need satisfied employees because unsatisfied people don’t work optimally.

3. The money

Time is money. However, apart from that, your employees will spend money on calls, electricity and on the Internet. Some of them might even solve their emotional stress by bad habits that become harmful to their health.

There’s an even worse scenario. A poor quality lead can reach as far as your Account Executives. As a result, it will cost your company more time, more efforts, more negative emotions and more money. That is why it’s important to solve this problem at the very beginning of your sales pipeline.

We are sure that the profound analysis of this challenge can largely improve the lead generation process of a company and bring more potential customers. Thisis why one should take a closer look at this problem.

Quality lead is a business with a significant likelihood of becoming your customer

In other words, it fits your buyer persona like a glove. In addition to that, this business suffers the problems that your product can solve. Furthermore, your company can bring great value to them. Finally, quality leads should have financial capabilities of buying your product.

This definition provides insight into one of many possible problems that might occur when you try getting quality leads. This is your buyer persona. Crafting it is one of the first steps in your lead generation process. The mistakes made at this stage will undermine all the efforts your researchers and outbound prospectors make.

Take a look at your buyer persona. It should be:

  • Up-to-date
  • Detailed
  • A perfect fit for your company and your product

What can you make to improve it? Sometimes, it’s better to analyze your product and your company, and then craft your buyer persona from scratch rather than try fixing the old one.

If everything is fine here, you should check the next stage of the lead generation process — research. Do you outreach “quality contacts” that fit your buyer persona? You won’t have a good contact list unless you order a research on businesses that match your specific criteria.

Some companies think that acquiring a list of firms is enough to fill the sales pipeline. However, the quality of these lists might be really low. First of all, they are usually out-of-date, i.e., businesses close, people leave their jobs for various reasons, the size of companies, geography, and many other characteristics change over time.

Secondly, the lists are mostly generalized. They won’t have many quality contacts to match your buyer persona. Summing up, they’ll contain many companies that are absolutely unlikely to become your customers. All you’ll get is quantity and not the quality.

That’s why targeted research is very important for lead generation.

If for some reason, you can’t narrow your list of prospects to “quality contacts,” you can try dealing with the problem at stages 3 and 5.

The third stage is crafting a message that would hit the pain point of your prospects. As a reminder, your buyer persona is a company with a problem you can solve. Does your message appeal to it? It might happen, so that the content of your email attracts the wrong type of leads.

Stage 5 of lead generation process is phone-calling. Your SDRs are your last line of defense. They turn the contacts into leads and set the appointments. If you can’t filter your prospects with high-quality research, that’s something your reps will have to do for you.

Take time to:

  • Explain to your SDRs what a buyer persona
  • Teach them how to determine quality leads

In some companies, the earnings of SDRs depend on the number of quality leads they passed to Account Executives. However, we suggest introducing these reimbursement systems carefully. If you can’t provide many quality contacts, your SDRs won’t be able to generate leads that fit your buyer persona. You’ll simply put additional stress onto your employees.

Even if you’re 100% sure about the excellence of your researchers, just like we are here, at CIENCE, it’s still better to teach them how to generate quality leads.


In conclusion, analyze your lead generation process. Check your buyer persona and conduct or outsource a targeted research of quality contacts. Revisit your target message and make sure your SDRs have necessary knowledge and skills to do their filtering work properly.

These actions will help you tackle the key challenge of lead generation, and increase the quality of your sales process.




CIENCE offers managed services for lead generation. Our trained teams generate targeted leads and qualified appointments for your business. http://cience.com/