3 reasons why lead generation campaigns fail (and what to do about them)

10 February 2022| by Paul Avery

Lead generation campaigns

With the lack of face-to-face events able to take place over the past couple of years, many companies have been forced to pivot their marketing strategies and rethink how to reach their target audiences.

Not only this, but in these unprecedented times budgets have inevitably been cut, therefore with tighter budgets, marketing teams have had to look for more creative ways to optimise their ROI (return on investment) through paid media and digital marketing channels.

The way people behave has also drastically changed as we’ve emerged into the ‘new normal’. This has been yet another factor marketers have had to take into consideration when trying to generate new leads.

In summary, it’s getting harder and harder for life science companies to generate leads in a cost-effective way.

To help, our CEO, Dr Paul Avery recently gave a talk at ELRIG’s Drug Discovery event, providing a number of solutions to common lead generation problems. We’ve now turned this into an on-demand webinar called Five secrets to super-charge your life science lead generation activities (25 minutes). You can also read this short summary blog post we have put together (but please note, the video contains a lot more insights than we could fit into this blog post, so it is well worth a watch - you can watch the webinar here!).


Why are many life science lead generation campaigns getting poor results?

In the US alone, B2B companies spend $2 billion dollars a year on lead generation. However, according to Marketing Sherpa, nearly 80% of these leads fail to buy. This has left companies wondering why their lead generation campaigns are generating such poor results.

Here are a few key reasons why this could be happening…


1. Not budgeting appropriately

On average, B2B companies spend 8.6% on their marketing as a percentage of their revenue. If your marketing budget doesn’t come close to this figure, and your company has aggressive growth goals, then it’s likely that you should consider asking for more budget, otherwise it’s simply not going to be enough. After all, marketing is an important strategic discipline that helps drive business growth and you need access to an appropriate budget in order to deliver effective marketing results.

In our experience, marketing budgets in the life sciences are significantly lower than B2B industry averages. Why could this be? For one, life science companies often invest a lot of budget into product research and development (which is quite understandable, given the complex nature of many life science tools and technologies, as well as the fact that our industry is underpinned by rapid, ongoing innovation).

In other cases, there is often so much confidence in the technical wizardry behind a new product that management can be lured into thinking that it will “literally sell itself”. However, could you buy something you’ve never heard of? Would you buy something where you can’t clearly see and understand the benefits for you? Would you invest in a brand that you didn’t trust? In most cases, the answer to these questions is no.

Ultimately, products can’t sell themselves, no matter how cutting-edge, new or shiny they are. They can’t talk, they can’t negotiate with prospects and customers, they can’t do outbound sales calls, they can’t come up with compelling messaging and write great copy, and they can’t secure media coverage. It is exactly these activities that are needed to market and sell even the most unbelievably amazing products… and that requires having the necessary budget to invest.

How much is your life science company investing in marketing? Is it realistically enough to reach your goals?


2. Not promoting the right offer through the right channels

In general, most of the market you’re trying to sell to are in learning and discovery mode and aren’t ready to buy yet, with the “3% rule” suggesting that only 1-3% of the market are actively seeking to buy a solution at any given time.

However, as many marketers are keen to generate as many sales-ready leads as possible, they can sometimes focus too intently on this section of the market, especially when leveraging channels that address the whole market at once (e.g. social media advertising, email list rental etc.).

This can cause a number of issues. For example, you might end up promoting a “bottom-of-the-funnel”, product-driven offer using a channel where 97% of the audience are not looking to buy right now (which means most people ignore what you have to say). This leads to a low number of leads (and a high cost per lead).

Promoting bottom-of-the-funnel offers can also lead to missed opportunities – if you were to leverage something more educational (and more relevant to the wider audience), you would generate more leads to add to your CRM (customer relationship management) database. The downside is that some of these might not be ready to buy in the near future, but if you are investing in paid lead generation campaigns like email marketing, you should aim to gather as many of the contacts as possible into your own database (so you can remarket to them later for free).

Finally, it is worth noting that the above is not a fixed rule of thumb. In fact, some channels are perfect for generating sales-ready leads and many of your ads/offers SHOULD focus on product-driven, bottom-of-the-funnel messaging (e.g. Google Ads). The key is to select the right offer for each channel, and select the channels you use based on your goals. For example, are you looking to generate a small amount of sales-ready leads OR do you want to generate as many leads as possible to get maximum bang for buck (and then remarket to them over time)?


3. Not optimising your website before investing in lead generation campaigns

The goal behind many life science B2B lead generation campaigns is to drive people to the company’s website. Optimising a life science website isn’t easy, but for your customers, visiting a website that’s not optimised and simple to use is very frustrating (and ultimately leads to poor lead generation/sales results). Scientists and tech-savvy people will not stick around on a website where:

  • It’s not clear who you serve or what problem you solve
  • The messaging is verbose, dull, unclear, confusing etc.
  • It’s hard to navigate or find relevant information quickly
  • There is a lack of proof points/reasons to believe

For these reasons it is critical that you optimise your website for lead conversion BEFORE you start investing large sums in lead generation.


Get more tips to improve life science lead generation

We hope you found this blog post useful, but we’ve also got even more tips and tricks to share! So, if you’d like to get more insights into what factors can derail life science B2B lead generation campaigns (and what you can do about them), watch the full webinar from marketing expert and BioStrata CEO, Dr Paul Avery.

Lead generation webinar