Sales Lead Generation: 10 Reasons Why Sales Reps Struggle Hard

13 min read
May 9, 2022

Are you like most sales professionals who constantly ride the sales lead generation struggle bus and can’t get off?

If so, there’s good news and bad news: The bad news is that consistently bombing lead gen is the equivalent of blowing a tire before even crossing the starting line. The good news is that going from lead gen zero to lead gen hero is 100% within your power to change.

You’re not at the mercy of prospects and team members to secure leads. Rather, it’s all up to you to make changes to the way you sell!

That said, I’m sharing 10 reasons why sales professionals struggle hard to generate new leads. Additionally, I’m sharing techniques you can start using today to officially hop off the struggle bus.

Sure, keep bombing lead gen, but you’ll only:

  1. Lose dream clients;
  2. Feel more anxious; and
  3. Set the stage for a poor sales cycle.

Here are the real reasons why you always blow your tires out before even crossing the sales prospecting start line.


What Are the Benefits of Nailing Lead Generation?


Riding the lead generation struggle bus is no laughing matter because failing to nail lead gen means that you miss out on the benefits of a smooth sailing lead gen process.

If you’re unfamiliar with just how beneficial nailing lead gen is for your overall sales outcomes, here’s just a glimpse of what you’re missing:


A Smoother and Faster Sales Process


As the first phase of the entire sales process, lead generation sets the tone for how the remainder of the process will go. Therefore, if lead generation moves along swiftly, then the rest of your process will also likely flow swiftly. By swiftly, I mean that it’ll move along faster with fewer bumps in the road.

Unfortunately for many sales teams, their lead gen process turns into a weeks-long ordeal with many self-created hoops to jump through. As a result, the remainder of their entire process turns into a similar hot mess (that is if they even make it to the remaining steps of the process)!

Believe it or not, top-tier sales professionals who nail lead gen are resultantly able to cut down the length of their entire selling process from several months to a matter of weeks! Not only that, but they’re able to stick to their defined lead generation process instead of working on the fly.


Working With Only High-Quality Leads


Nailing lead gen means that you successfully siphon qualified leads into your sales pipeline. And I’m not just talking about boring old leads who you’re only targeting because they look like a good fit. Instead, I’m talking about your DREAM clients.

With only the highest quality leads in your pipeline, those potential customers are more likely to stay retained within the pipeline until the very end. Consequently, you end up with a significantly higher pipeline conversion rate.

At the same time, having only high-quality leads in your pipeline means that you can kick low-grade leads who were probably only going to ghost you to the curb.


Sales and Overall Business Growth


Sales success is central to business growth. If you don’t make more sales, then your business can’t grow. Whether your idea of business growth is expanding to new markets or increasing your product line, it all comes back to making more sales.

Additionally, lead gen success is central to sales success. If you can generate potential new customers in the first place, then it’s impossible to close any sales deals.

Therefore, business growth ultimately comes down to lead generation success. When lead gen is on fire, it’s only inevitable that business growth will light up in flames.  

Think of all the good things that could happen if you hunkered down on lead gen!


How do you generate sales leads?


10 Reasons Why Salespeople Struggle Hard With B2B Lead Generation


Here are 10 reasons why sales teams consistently struggle so hard to generate leads. While these are not the only reasons, they are some of the most common and damaging.

Like I said above, the reason why you can’t generate leads isn’t because your prospective customers are terrible or because of your other team members. Rather, it’s because of mistakes on your end.

While it’s a hard pill to swallow, the fact that you’re the one making the mistakes means that you’re the one with the power to change the situation for the better! If you’re up for the challenge, you can leave lead gen struggles in the past.


1. Fear Holds Salespeople Back From Doing What They Need to Do


Fear is the single most common reason why salespeople struggle so hard with lead gen. They’re afraid of everything from making sales calls, connecting with the top decision-makers, and even reposting marketing campaign content on their personal LinkedIn accounts.

Believe it or not, a recent survey revealed that almost 50% of B2B salespeople are afraid to make cold calls! Something looks awfully wrong with this picture.

However, while each salesperson might have their own fears related to the lead gen process, just about every individual fear can be traced back to one single, core fear: the fear of judgment.

For example, a salesperson is afraid to make sales calls because they’re afraid that the person on the other line will judge them as annoying. Or, another salesperson is afraid to send a video cold email message because they’re afraid that the prospect will judge them as overstepping boundaries.

Ultimately, it’s the core fear of judgment that holds salespeople back from taking the actions they know they need to take to be successful!


Taking Action Dissolves Fear


I could spend all day going over countless tips and tactics to help you manage fear so that you can finally take action.

However, the truth is that overcoming fear is a matter of taking action. Instead of waiting until the fear goes away to take action, you need to take action to make the fear go away!

When you take action in spite of fear, what you’re doing is overriding your body’s internal desire to stay in its comfort zone. When you override that desire, the body kicks into survival mode. Once you’re in survival mode, the body will give you more than enough energy to push through the fear-inducing situation.

Thinking about all the ways you can work to overcome fear will get you nowhere. Instead, action ITSELF is the factor that’ll make fear disappear.


2. Persistent Overthinking


Most salespeople approach lead gen believing that it is complicated. However, that is pure nonsense.

In reality, generating leads is quite a simple process. Believing that it is anything but simple is just a matter of overthinking.

Sadly, this kind of overthinking is the second-most common reason why salespeople struggle to generate leads, and it sets off an entire cascade of self-inflicted issues.


By believing that generating leads takes a complex process, you start to develop complex solutions to overcome the challenge. With complex solutions, there are more opportunities for things to go wrong. Because there are so many opportunities for things to go wrong, something eventually does go terribly wrong. In the end, you’re left to put out the fire of an issue that you created yourself.

Had you just trusted that generating leads is simple instead of overthinking, then you wouldn’t be left to put out such a major fire.


Lead Generation Will Never Be Perfect


Not only do most B2B salespeople incorrectly overthink that lead gen is complex, but they also incorrectly overthink that they need to have the perfect process before getting started.

However, perfection does not exist, and striving for something that doesn’t exist stops the salespeople from taking any action at all.

Instead of trying to make your sales prospecting process perfect, you must start before you think you’re ready. Then as you move through the process, make adjustments as you go.

Rather than striving for perfection, strive for continuous improvement.

If you wait around until you feel perfect to get started, you’ll never get started.


3. Little to No Sales Leadership


As the leader of your sales and marketing teams, everybody looks to you for guidance on what to do and how to act.

However, would you believe me if I told you that most sales leaders exercise little to no leadership? Instead of leading their teams, they’re constantly caught up in the weeds. As a result, nobody on their team knows what to do, particularly during the most challenging phases of the selling process like lead gen.

Worst of all, because you’re caught up in the weeds instead of leading, team members don’t get the support they need to manage the lead gen process. As a result, the process falls apart from the inside.

The key to upping your leadership value is by getting out of the weeds so that you can focus on actually leading!

Doing so will require you to start delegating away the small tasks so that you can focus on big-ticked lead gen leadership items, including supporting team members, building relationships with leads, and focusing on lead generation strategy.

Get yourself out of the sales weeds so that you can be the leader your team needs during the lead gen process!


What is a lead generator in sales?


4. Using the Wrong Lead Generation Tools


Have you ever encountered an online sales guru who pressed you to buy their supposedly fantastic lead generation software? After looking into it, were you impressed with how thorough and sophisticated it looked with all of its technical features? After purchasing the software, did you realize that most of those technical features only made your lead generation process more complex and difficult to manage?

Unfortunately, many salespeople use their lead gen tools as a form of self-sabotage.

Instead of opting for the correct technologies that will make their selling life simpler, they opt for the most complex of the complex solutions. All this ends up doing is making lead gen harder.

Rather than using unnecessarily complex tools that’ll only make your life more difficult, focus on simplicity. More specifically, focus on tools with fewer bells and whistles that’ll actually help streamline your process.

I suggest starting with just two tools:

  1. Basic CRM to organize the process
  2. Prospecting software to help identify leads

The key is to focus on software functionality; you’ll know that you’ve chosen the right tools if using them makes your selling life simpler!


5. Setting Low Standards


Whenever we see some process as difficult, we’re likely to set low standards for ourselves regarding that process.

For example, if there’s an upcoming exam that’s supposedly extremely challenging, we’re more likely to set a benchmark grade as a B or C instead of an A. Because the exam is supposed to be difficult, we shoot for subpar instead of top-tier.

Similarly, sales and marketing teams see the process of generating leads as nothing short of difficult, therefore they set low standards for themselves. Perhaps the worst instance in which they set low standards for themselves is when it comes to selecting qualified leads.

Rather than setting a high lead standard, sales and marketing teams will take any lead who is willing to listen to them! What this ends up doing is clogging the sales pipeline with totally unqualified leads who are unlikely to make a purchasing decision at all.

Instead of lowering your standards because you perceive lead generation as difficult, remind yourself that it is a simple process so that lead standards slip!


Qualified Leads Are the Standard


Qualified leads are leads within your target audience who fit the ideal prospect profile and ideal buyer persona.

The ideal prospect profile (IPP) outlines target B2B companies who are most likely to buy your product or service including factors like demographics and company culture.

Second, the ideal buyer persona (IBP) is like a caricature for the decision-makers at the target B2B companies. It includes factors like the decision-maker's personality and values to appeal to them through the buying process.

If you do not create both an IPP and IBP and then stick to them when generating leads, you’re setting up the perfect storm: Not only will you have a pipeline filled with tons of low-grade leads, but you won’t have enough time and energy to focus on leads who are actually qualified.

There are no winners when you let your lead standards slip!


6. Poor Application of Lead Generation Strategies


The two primary lead generation strategies include:

  1. Outbound outreach - Cold calls, cold emails, social network outreach
  2. Inbound marketing - Referrals, SEO (search engine optimization), content marketing, etc.

When it comes to generating leads, I suggest mixing the two strategies together. By mixing the two, you get the best of both worlds! On the outbound side, you’re going directly to the prospects to set up initial sales meetings. On the inbound side, you’re adding value to a prospect’s buying experience while increasing brand awareness.

Unfortunately, many sales teams put too much emphasis on one of the two strategies, or completely neglect one altogether.

For example, a team might go 100% on cold calling and leave no room to put our relevant content that supports a lead’s buying process. Or, they might go crazy putting together the greatest lead generation campaign ever only to completely drop the ball on cold outreach.

I suggest striking a balance between the two strategies. Ultimately, the best lead gen results stem from a combination of the two.


7. Confusing Prospects With Overzealous Marketing Content


How often does this happen to you: You look at a piece of marketing content, recognize that it looks super cool, but then ask yourself, “Wait, what does this company do?

Too often, marketing teams go on this craze of developing the most overzealous marketing campaigns ever. While they have good intentions, this ultimately results in them creating marketing content that confuses customers. Rather than the marketing content sending a clear message, it leaves viewers wondering what the company actually does.

Rather than giving in to the urge to go the overzealous route, stick to straightforward messaging. By doing so, prospects will instantly get a grip on what your company does and the value it creates.

For example, use the hero section of your landing page to tell prospects exactly what your company does. Or when you’re putting together email campaigns, focus solely on themes that align with your company’s brand messaging.

By no means does this mean that your marketing content needs to be boring. Rather, the idea is to make sure that your message doesn’t get overshadowed by zeal to the point that prospects walk away not knowing anything about you.


8. Zero Personability


People buy from people, not from companies.

Even customers who purchase products or services online without ever speaking to an official sales rep look to reviews written by REAL people or their favorite social media influencers before making a purchasing decision.

Sadly, many sales teams neglect this personal, human element of selling. As a result, potential leads are less inclined to enter the pipeline.

If you’re struggling to generate leads, then perhaps you’ve neglected this human element of selling. Perhaps your company needs to put faces and personalities to its name.

Now, that doesn’t mean that you need to invest in a major social media influencer’s campaign! Instead, you can just make use of your personal social media accounts to help amp up that personable aspect of selling.


Take Advantage of Your Personal Social Media Account


I have a favorite social media tactic that is sure to help increase that human element of selling and resultantly increase your company’s appeal to its potential leads.

Here’s what you need to do: First, connect with your leads and potential leads on LinkedIn. Second, share a piece of one of your existing customer’s content on your own page. Ideally, this content should show off the fact that your current customer’s business is thriving or growing. Finally, caption that content sharing how excited you are to see one of your customers thriving.

This tactic accomplishes a few things, including:

  1. Exhibiting social proof;
  2. Demonstrating that you genuinely care about your customer’s success; and
  3. Build on the relationship that you already have with your current customer.

As I said before, all you need to do to rev up that personal element of selling is to take advantage of your social media accounts.


sales lead generation services


9. You Don’t Have a Hook


There is no such thing as something for nothing.

It’s unreasonable to think that a lead will respond to your cold call or email unless you offer them something valuable during that call or email.

When making a cold call, offering the prospect valuable information you’ve dug up on their competition will intrigue them. Or, offering the prospect an invitation to an upcoming webinar in which you’re going to cover one of their biggest pain points will surely increase their value.

Moreover, you can’t expect to generate leads without offering them something valuable first! Just like how a fish will not bite a line unless there is valuable bait on the end, your leads won’t bother answering your call or email unless they believe it will increase their own value.

Bottom line: No hook, no lead!


Prospects Are Instinctively Self-Centered


As much as nobody wants to admit it, humans are biologically wired to be self-centered. In just about every situation, our subconscious mind is wondering, “What’s in this for me?

Unless you’re superhuman, it’s impossible to unwire this biological instinct within prospects.  Therefore, all you can do is play to it!

From now on, approach every lead gen scenario asking yourself, “In what way can I use this situation to increase the prospect’s value?

Once you start thinking about what prospects want instead of what you want, you’ll know how to hook a prospect’s attention and siphon them into your pipeline.


10. Lack of Assertiveness


If you want something, nobody else is going to get it for you. On top of that, you can’t expect others to know what you want in the first place.

Therefore, you absolutely must be assertive if you want to generate leads. If you don’t assert yourself and the value that you bring to the table, then don’t expect to close any deals.

Instead of assuming that prospects will connect with you first, pursue them before they find somebody else to solve their problems.

When it comes down to it, being assertive is about taking back your power. When you’re in power, you’re in control of your destiny.

On the other hand, if you’re always letting other people control the outcomes, you’ll never reach your goals.

If you take anything away from this, I hope that it’s you MUST be assertive to generate leads! Unless you’re assertive, then all your other efforts go to waste.


Final Thoughts on Why Sales Reps Struggle so Hard Generating Leads


Sales lead generation is perhaps the most important stage of the entire selling process. If you’re currently riding the lead gen struggle bus, hopping off that bus won’t just increase your sales prospecting results, but will impact your overall sales outcomes for the better.

How much longer will you continue to botch lead generation without ever making any changes? Whether you continue to struggle or switch to thriving is totally up to you!

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