4 Biggest Lead Generation Challenges Startups Face — and Cost Effective Ways to Solve Them

February 24, 2023

ViB Editorial Team


Topics we'll cover

Startups have it different. When launching into the marketplace, a startup needs to carve out a niche in an already competitive industry, build brand awareness, and generate leads from scratch, all at an extremely rapid pace and with limited budgets.

And it’s especially tough for industries like B2B tech which is already brimming with established companies and budding unicorns.

Steering a new tech startup is tricky. That’s where this blog aims to help. From working with numerous startups as an agency, we’ve compiled the 4 biggest lead generation challenges that startups face.

4 biggest lead generation challenges startups face

  • Building brand recognition quickly. 
  • Creating powerful content and finding an audience to consume it. 
  • Speeding up the lead nurturing process with a small team 
  • Attracting quality audiences to virtual events. 

Sounds like you? We’ve also put together plus cost-effective solutions to overcome them. Read on to find out how you can enter your marketplace and hit the ground running from day one — even with a small budget and team. (Hint: You can leverage affordable lead generation strategies and outsourced lead generation services.)

Lead generation challenge 1 — Driving brand awareness as a young newcomer

When your company is a newcomer on the scene, you’re naked to the world. You’re not yet fully dressed up in your brand name — including logo, color palette, voice and tone, reputation. 

But these brand factors are also the first few considerations your consumers have when evaluating a company, product or service. Your consumers might not even take the next step in the buyer’s journey, if there’s no immediate recognition or fond appreciation for what you are selling.

This means that when you’re pitted against the incumbents (aka, your competition) who have already built a great brand, they will likely win.

The reality is that a strong brand identity is worth its weight in gold because it will do the heavy lifting of reminding consumers why they should choose your products and services over other options, or could even conjure up good feelings that lead to sales.

Read the guide: The Ultimate Quickstart Guide to B2B Tech Brand Storytelling

Solution — Build brand recognition fast using the right tactics

Startups can tap into a range of marketing tactics to get their brand heard, though costs, control and speed will definitely vary. 

Conventional tactics like ads and events do the job well, if you have the budget for it! But because emerging startups often won’t be able to spend on expensive campaigns, we like using email marketing as a branding tactic instead. Let’s break each of these down.

Promote your brand with email marketing lists 

Tapping into an email marketing list to promote your brand to a fresh group of targeted prospects is a quick and cost-effective branding tactic not many B2B marketers consider.

Yet email is one of the most used channels, with 4 billion on it daily. Every $1 spent on email promotion also generates an average of $42 (hack: use these stats to earn budget and buy-in for email promotion).

But there’s a catch. It’s important that the contacts in each email list not only fit your target audience, but are also qualified. Otherwise, a list with fake contacts or uninterested prospects could hurt your email deliverability, and affect future email marketing campaigns.

ViB Emails, an email marketing service to reach B2B tech contacts, focuses on quality exactly. Prospects come from a warm community that they’ve opted in to join, and are further segmented according to targeting criteria in tech. Read more to find out how our community works to keep lead generation inexpensive yet powerful.

ViB also takes care of any unsubscribes and bounces, so marketers can focus on driving brand familiarity, promote branded assets, conduct A/B tests, and even generate quality leads.

Datacore is one such tech company that has grown their brand with ViB Emails

Read the customer story: Software company leverages precision data to bring in 2,000 net-new names

More costly — Paid ads

A conventional higher cost tactic to boost brand awareness is paid advertising. It’s one of the fastest options if your startup is running on a tight timeline. Paid ads also give you a good amount of control over your messaging, targeting and channel. But if you’re in a competitive landscape, ads won’t be cheap. 

More costly — Event sponsorships 

On the same side of the cost spectrum is event sponsorships, which falls under a larger event marketing strategy. Sponsorships allow you to promote branded assets, get air time to speak about your brand or offering, and even a list of leads. 

Though they often start with 5-digit price tags and take months to plan, you get to penetrate your market with one single marketing effort that reaches thousands of interested prospects. 

Lead generation challenge 2 — Designing in-house B2B content that generates demand

We all know that content marketing is a powerful inbound strategy to attract leads with minimal spending. In fact, according to HubSpot research, companies that blog generate 95% more leads per month than those that don’t.

But to stand out in a crowded content marketplace, your assets can’t just be highly valuable. It has to be original too. Think about thought leadership blogs from experts, or data-backed findings.

What’s more, these branded assets need an audience who will be interested in that content. Ideally, its viewers should have a good chance of turning into paying customers.

That’s exactly where startups struggle. They often fall short in having adequate resources to create organic insights, and access to a target audience interested in consuming the content. 

Solution — Invest in primary data

Many startups believe they don’t have the budget and time to invest in primary research data, especially those from large analyst firms. 

However, there are ways you can consolidate existing resources to produce new insights, or strategically leverage B2B market research tools to produce competitive intelligence that drives profit.

Cost-effective research reports

Highly targeted, data-rich reports are one of the most effective pieces of content you can add to your content library. With ViB Research, you can get insights at a fraction of the cost you’d typically spend with analyst firms, and endlessly create  one-of-a-kind assets.

ViB Research taps into ViB’s community of in-market buyers, surveys them with a custom list of questions, and produces competitive intelligence that:

For example, after investing in primary data like with ViB Research, a tech startup built a new content library that generated millions in pipeline.

Read the customer story: ViB Research Generates $5M in Pipeline for CyberSecurity Company

Add-on — a content syndication service 

After you create high-quality, thought leadership content, you then need to scale another important hurdle — finding the right audience to consume the content, and maximizing that to the fullest!

We’re referring to both the audience that exists in your database that you can reach via email and social media, and also new audiences to share your content with.

This second tactic can be incredibly easy for new companies through a high-quality content syndication platform. Read this blog to understand what paid vs free content syndication options you have as a B2B tech company, and how to choose the right strategy.

ViB Syndication is an example of a paid content syndication tactic that’s well suited for startups to maximize outreach of each asset, without breaking the bank.

Unlike typical vendors who place your syndicated assets as ads, ViB Syndication actively promotesyour content to targeted audiences from the ViB community:

The vibrant community gives you these advantages:  

  • Active promotion instead of passive placement

  • Immediate access to millions of professionals who are eager to find new content.  

  • Targeted B2B high-tech decision-makers who fit your ideal customer profile and are verified as in-market for new solutions.

🔍 How are B2B marketers approaching generative AI, lead generation and marketing budget allocation today? Check out our latest B2B marketing trends report for the latest stats and strategies you need to know.

Thumbnail of ViB B2B Marketing Trends Report
Discover the latest trends and statistics — and the key actions B2B marketers and leaders need to take today. 

Lead generation challenge 3 — Accelerating pipeline with a small sales team

New companies face considerable challenges in getting tech prospects. This includes everything from attracting leads to nurturing them through the sales funnel. 

A less known brand identity, no or few proven case studies to back their offerings, and small or less experienced sales teams are some of the bigger culprits.

Unless a new company has time to spare, it needs to find a fast way to push the needle. One way to accelerate your sales pipeline is through B2B appointment setting services, which can give your new startup a leg up. 

Solution — Scale quicker with appointment setting services

The B2B appointment setting landscape can be complicated, but think of it as two main service models that we’ll explain more below. 

Hire an outsourced SDR team

Many companies, especially new ones, look for outsourced SDRs as an extension of their sales team. There’s typically a monthly fee for a specified number of hours worked.

This option has its pros and cons though. On the one hand, it’s cost effective because you don’t need to hire anyone in-house. However, working with an external team means there will be some overhead associated with training and managing them. If you’re in a niche industry, this may not be the best option since many outsourced teams won’t understand your solution well enough to deliver the right audiences. That means the quality and number of leads delivered may suffer.

Purchase high-quality leads as a service 

Another option is to enlist a non-traditional appointment setting service with a leads-as-a-service approach, such as ViB Appointments

The biggest differentiator is that prospects take the first step in ViB Appointments. Companies promote a request to meet through ViB, and interested members from the community are the ones who opt in to the meeting. 

This way, our customers get benefits including: 

  • Opted-in leads: Gain access to leads who are open to receiving sales calls and attending meetings. 
  • Proven results: Achieve a higher lead to opportunity ratio. 

  • No risk: Get the maximum from your investment by only paying for the meetings you actually hold  

Check out how a cybersecurity startup which was founded just three years ago estimated a 67x ROI from leads delivered by ViB Appointments.

Lead generation challenge 4 — Creating and promoting virtual in-house events

Virtual events are a huge demand generation machine. Successfully producing and promoting a high-quality event can dramatically increase your credibility and expand your pool of high-quality MQLs. 

However, it’s so resource intensive to plan and to attract registrants for your own in-house event. It could put a strain on your startup’s internal capacity and delay other lead generation efforts.

A practical fix for small companies is to still look for opportunities to leverage virtual events and to build larger lists of registrants, but with some extra support.

Solution: Employ a full-service virtual event firm 

Our top tip is for new companies to partner with a specialized full-service virtual agency. That will help your startup offload a lot of the logistical tasks involved in planning and executing an event.  

Plan in-house events with the help of vendors

New companies with resource-strapped teams, can employ full-service solutions such as ViB Events to create in-house virtual events from start to finish. 

It’s also an affordable lead generation service that’s great for startups to supplement their marketing mix with.

All you have to do is plan their event topic and speakers. The service does the rest for you — i.e. creating materials, sourcing for targeted registrants, promoting the event, scheduling rehearsals, conducting the event and so much more.

Add-on — get a registrant or attendee guarantee 

If you’ve sorted out event planning and are simply lacking registrants, you can also get a specialized service that ViB offers. 

Using the same community-based approach, ViB does all the work — including expert promotion, so you can expand your attendee list in a short period of time. What’s more, there’s a built-in guarantee, because you only pay per lead

Many companies have achieved success with this solution. For example, software company AtScale gained over 500 net-new virtual event registrants.

Some highlights of AtScale’s program with ViB are

  • Increased campaign engagement, with 519 net new registrations for a webinar
  • High scalability with consistent results and no audience fatigue
  • Precise targeting 
  • Qualified and interested leads who anticipate follow-ups meetings
  • Excellent customer service

Read the customer story: Software company drives over 500 net-new registrants with ViB Emails

The right cost-effective services can help you optimize your resources

Like established companies, startups and small businesses want to grow and generate profits. However, they need to achieve the same goal with fewer hands-on deck, smaller budgets, and a tighter timeline.

Achieving this goal means effectively balancing the best outsourcing services. Choosing an affordable and effective lead generation agency is an ideal option. 

Along with a smaller staff, often cost is a major prohibiting factor for new companies. That’s where ViB’s fair pricing structure delivers a considerable advantage. 

You’ll gain these cost-saving benefits with ViB pricing:

  • Volume pricing: Pricing is designed to fit your needs and budget, with volume-based packages and discounts available.
  • Subscription pricing: For companies that want to drive a predictable number of leads or meetings, subscriptions are available either monthly, quarterly, or annually for the majority of the primary ViB services.
  • Targeted leads: Fees will align with how narrow or broad your ideal target audience is. Filters include title level, title role, company size, industries, geographies, technology installed, and more.

Want to talk directly to ViB rep about how we can help your new company or startup rapidly and cost-effectively expand your brand into a large, established marketplace? 

Let us know how we can help your new company grow larger, faster. 

Ready to get started with B2B lead generation?

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