Growth marketing

6 Customer Acquisition Challenges that Derail Most Companies

Written by Mallory Kuhn / December 30, 2021

Mallory is a Growth Marketer at Lean Labs, working with brands to ignite their growth engine through conceptualizing, implementing, and optimizing growth marketing strategies.

There’s no denying it: customer acquisition is the lifeblood of any B2B tech or SaaS business.

So, when the well looks like it’s starting to dry up, you need to solve the problem ASAP.

Challenges to your sales pipeline funnel are troubling, yes, but not impossible to solve. Especially since the most common customer acquisition roadblocks stem from a few primary root causes.

What are the customer acquisition challenges that plague most brands? How can you fix them? What can you do about your SaaS sales funnel problems? Keep reading to discover the answers to all of these questions.

 

6 Common Customer Acquisition Challenges

Without enough active customers, no company can survive. If your customer acquisition processes fall short, your business will struggle to keep its head above water. This is doubly important because customer acquisition efforts aren’t free, so if your processes aren’t working, you’re not only losing future customers, you’re losing dollars in real-time, too. 

In our experience, there are two primary causes for customer acquisition woes:

  • Lack of marketing and brand fundamentals
  • Marketing-sales misalignment

The good news is that our experience hasn’t only given us insight into the causes of your problems - it’s also allowed us to develop solutions. Lean Labs has solved these problems and more for dozens of brands, and in those years of experience, we’ve detected some key patterns. Let’s explore those common challenges and their solutions now. 

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1. Lack of Website Traffic and Low Lead Generation

If you aren’t pulling new leads into the top of your funnel, you won’t be able to nurture them into customers. You know this, so you’ve invested in a flashy website or purchased leads, and nothing seems to be working. Why?

There are a few reasons why your website traffic and lead gen are lagging. Ask yourself a few questions: Have you differentiated yourself from your competitors in your marketing efforts? What unique value do you promise your prospects? Have you positioned yourself appropriately in the market? And, if you’re making all these promises to your prospects, have you offered them social proof of why they should trust you?

If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” you have a problem that needs solving. Your customers may not perceive your product or service as different enough from your competitors. Alternatively, they may just not see how your product or service can solve their problem, or they might not believe you can deliver what you’ve promised. 

Your solution to this problem is to nail down your marketing foundation. Take another look at your brand positioning strategy. Ensure you can clearly express your unique value proposition. Examine your customers’ problems and your promises to solve them. Use the Jobs To Be Done framework to guide your messaging to hit the customer’s pain points and show how you can solve them. 

 

2. ROI From Paid Tactics is Decreasing

Another common challenge we see is concerning paid traffic efforts. If you’ve relied on traffic from PPC campaigns like Google Ads or Facebook Ads to keep your customer acquisition process afloat in the past, you have likely noticed a pattern in recent years: The price of those ads keep going up. 

Increased competition on ad platforms continues to drive ad prices higher, which means that even if your ads are driving consistent traffic, your ROI is going down. 

What’s the solution here? Support your paid traffic efforts with robust organic traffic efforts. Invest some resources into building solid domain authority for a few vital keywords, allowing organic search traffic to supplement your paid ad efforts. 

 

3. Leads Aren’t Moving Through the Pipeline

Maybe you’re getting plenty of leads, but they’re not moving through your pipeline to become customers. If this is your struggle, you need to take a closer look and see what is causing that friction. 

Spoiler alert: Nine times out of ten, it comes down to a disconnect in your buyer’s journey

Are you targeting the right audience? Examine your ads and B2B lead magnets to ensure you’re attracting your target buyer personas with that content. Other pieces of the buyer’s journey puzzle you want to take a closer look at will be the stages themselves: Do you have a firm grasp on what steps your buyers need to take to move through your funnel efficiently?

Lastly, check out your promises. Are you showing off your unique value proposition in a compelling way? Can your prospects see the transformation that will be possible for them once they invest in your solution? 

You can solve a sticky sales pipeline by nailing down your buyer journey. One essential tip here is to involve your sales team in the process. You’ll need their buy-in for your approach to succeed, and they may be able to provide you with customer insights you hadn’t yet considered. 

 

4. Low Quality Leads Eating Up Your Time

Lead nurturing takes time and effort. If you’re nurturing leads that will never convert, that means you’re wasting a lot of hours and dollars. Generally speaking, when you’re spending time nurturing poor-quality leads, the issue stems from a lack of alignment between marketing and sales. 

The solution to this problem is simple: score your leads. Work closely with your sales team to identify what makes a qualified lead. Then, make sure you’re segmenting your lead population and only passing qualified leads through to sales. 

If you take these steps, you’ll be able to avoid wasting time on leads who will never close. 

 

Related read: Overcoming the Most Common Lead Nurturing Challenges

 

5. Good Prospects Fall Between the Cracks

This bullet point is the flip-side of the point above it. Instead of wasting time on low-quality leads, here we’re not investing enough time in prospects that fit our ideal buyer personas to a T. If this is your struggle, it might be a sign that your marketing and sales teams aren’t aligned enough. If your teams are too siloed, there may be a disconnect between each team’s definition of an MQL, a SQL, and an opportunity. 

Marketing and sales are different teams for sure, but they should be encouraged to work together whenever possible. Marketing should care about closing just as much as the sales team does, and by the same token, sales should care about awareness and acquisition just as much as marketing does. 

The solution to this problem is to set up a sales system with recorded definitions of each stage in the sales funnel. You should also make sure that both teams have access to the necessary data. Additionally, you can set up regular syncs between the two teams to ensure that they stay aligned. 

 

6. Customers Churn Too Quickly

You may be thinking, “Churn? That’s not an acquisition problem.” After all, customer acquisition and customer retention are entirely separate activities. If customers churn because the customer service team isn’t doing their jobs correctly, how is that marketing’s problem?

Stick with us here.

Customer acquisition and customer retention tactics are inextricably linked. Think of them as opposite sides of the same coin. Great customer acquisition tactics set you up to win in the retention and referral game. After all, if you’re bringing in perfectly matched customers, they’re more likely to be delighted by your product or service. 

Similarly, retention and referrals help you with customer acquisition. Your most satisfied customers will help you bring in more customers like them. That’s a win-win for everyone. 

If you’re acquiring customers who quickly churn, you should make sure you’re aligning all three teams in the process: Sales, marketing, and customer success. Once these three teams see eye to eye, you’ll have a much better chance of stopping that churn rate in its tracks. 

 

Conquer Your Custom Acquisition Challenges by Nailing the Fundamentals

In short, if you’re facing the six customer acquisition challenges outlined in this post, you may need to take it back to basics for a minute to make sure all your bases are covered.

By making sure your marketing and brand positioning are in order, you’ll be able to bring in the people who are most likely to buy.

You’ll have a better chance of moving qualified leads down the pipeline when you align sales and marketing in the nurturing process. By aligning both sales and marketing with customer success, you’ll make sure your customer acquisition process changes beliefs, makes the sale, and creates a fan of your business right from the start. 

Are you looking for more information on how to align your teams and achieve explosive growth?

Check out the Lean Labs Growth Marketing Kit today! 

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