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For B2B marketers, quality trumps quantity in lead generation priority and according to a recent Marketing Sherpa poll, generating quality leads is the greatest challenge marketers face.

The chart below is from an August 2010 Marketing Sherpa poll of B2B marketing professionals, who answered the question "What are your greatest challenges as a B2B marketer?" The responses indicate that the top five challenges for B2B marketers in rank order of importance are:

  1. Generating high quality leads
  2. Generating high volume leads
  3. Marketing to a lengthening sales cycle
  4. Generating perceived value in "cutting-edge" product benefits
  5. Generating PR Buzz

Interesting to the note that generating quality leads has become more challenging this year, as has generating a high volume of leads and competing in lead-gen. across multiple media.

lead quantity vs quality chart

I asked similar questions in a current LinkedIn poll of sales colleagues, "What are your greatest challenges as a B2B salesperson?" to see if there was any alignment between sales and marketing challenges. This poll is still live, so please click on the link and cast your vote and I will update the chart as it changes.

While the sample size of my poll is considerably smaller than the Marketing Sherpa poll and too small to be statistically significant, it is interesting to compare B2B sales and marketing challenges.

B2B sales challenges

Both sales and marketing are aligned in that their greatest challenge is generating quality leads. The second challenge that sales faces and where they clearly need help from marketing is in communicating product value.

If B2B salespeople are successful in communication product value, they are more likely to engage buyers in conversation around their needs, vs. rattling-off product features and benefits. In addition they are more likely to achieve differentiation from competiton in the mind of the buyer and isn't that the goal?


1. B2B Salespeople and marketers agree that generating quality leads quality is their biggest challenge.

2. What sales needs from marketing after quality leads, is help in communicating product value.

3. If sales and marketing teams align around clearly communicatingMessaging Grader product value, then the inbound leads that are generated are more likely to be converted into customers. Therefore sales and marketing messaging alignment is a logical first step in any B2B lead generation or sales performance initiative.

4. Find out how effective your messaging is at attracting inbound leads with our Free Marketing Messaging Grader assessment.