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B2B lead generation is capturing the attention of intent-rich leads so that they can be reached out to and nurtured for sales.
Generating leads is the priority of every B2B business—it’s a fundamental part of the sales process that ignites the sales engine.
Every sales rep or business owner knows that there is no chance of having qualified leads to show up at your doorstep.
But if you want your engine to run smoothly, you’ll need to fuel it with high-quality leads to fill up your sales pipeline.
Generating leads can be difficult and time-consuming. However, the idea itself is pretty simple.
You need to create a website or landing page that offers a product or service, and get it seen by the right people.
Then, using a compelling call to action, you need to persuade those people to complete a form or otherwise hand over their contact information, so that you can follow up with them later on.
Leads generated using B2B lead generation processes are segmented into marketing qualified leads (MQLs) and sales qualified leads (SQLs).
SQLs are qualified by sales teams and scored based on predefined criteria, similar to MQLs, but involve the sales team‘s effort to vet each SQL.
Target audience and visitors on marketing assets are filtered through a low-touch qualification process, converting them into MQLs.
MQLs are usually looked after by marketing teams responsible for generating and qualifying the leads.
It starts with marketing activities that help generate interest from a targeted audience of potential buyers who convert into “leads” qualified based on predefined criteria.
What Is Lead Generation?
Lead generation is the first step in the buyer’s journey and is designed to guide prospects through the funnel to the final sale.
Lead generation helps materialize demand by filling up the top funnel of your customer acquisition process.
These leads are potential customers and opportunities for closure in the sales pipeline.
But all lead generation channels can primarily be categorized into two types: inbound marketing and outbound marketing.
Inbound marketing consists of platforms and channels that generate leads from traffic sources like search, social media, online advertising, etc.
Visitors to your inbound channels approach you or sign up for your product or offer, which can be used as a proxy for buying intent.
Inbound leads have a higher rate of conversion and shorter sales cycles.
The Lead Generation Process
It’s critically important to understand the modern B2B buyer’s journey, the process through which a prospect is identified first as a qualified lead, then as a prospect that needs to be nurtured, and eventually as a buyer and a loyal repeat customer.
Lead generation campaigns begin by capturing leads (collecting their name and contact information) and then feeding them into the sales funnel (i.e., an email nurturing campaign).
The goal is to generate more qualified leads and increase sales and revenue.
Sales will gain leads directly through some of their actions, including emailing prospects with the content and posting it on select digital media platforms.
Be in close touch with your sales team to make sure you’re handing off high-quality leads regularly.
In other cases, like when prospects are led to a corporate website that collects customer information, sales leads will need to ensure that information is shared with the field; otherwise, the field will not be properly incentivized.
After multiple meetings with different vendors, the prospect picks you, and the deal is done. They’ll now be transferred to customer success for onboarding.
Why Is B2B Lead Generation Important?
With the right lead qualification process, you can quickly identify those high-quality sales leads that will increase the velocity of your sales funnel from the top to convert prospects into customers.
In any given lead generation campaign, there can be many moving parts. It can be challenging to tell which parts of your campaign are working and need some fine-tuning.
When done right, lead generation can drive more high-quality leads. This is especially true when you adopt marketing automation tactics to drive leads.
Processes align sales and marketing teams and give reps a proven framework to follow.
One report shows that 80% of marketers think marketing automation drives better leads. And 77% convert more leads than those who don’t use marketing automation.
A good lead generation engine can deliver outsized results and set the business to grow for several years.
The good news is with the rise of digital marketing channels and distribution. There are now more ways to generate leads. So how do you start generating leads for your business?
What Are The Benefits of B2B Lead Generation?
Implementing a B2B lead generation strategy is vital today because many prospects want to control their buying journey. So no longer will ads and traditional marketing work.
Today’s consumers conduct their research to find solutions to their problems.
If you want to drive more high-quality leads to your business, finding ways to attract your target audience is key. This is where lead generation strategies come into play.
Controlling the quality of B2B sales leads at the beginning of the sales process can help reduce churn and ultimately build customer satisfaction in the post-purchase phase.
Emails, prospecting leads, data entry, and meetings eat up most of their working hours.
With the right B2B lead generation tool, reps can automate manual tasks and spend more time closing leads.
Your lead generation strategy needs to be as dynamic as the people you’re targeting.
B2B lead-gen is a win-win for both parties involved. On one end, you’re driving awareness and prospects to your business.
And on the other, prospects are getting much-needed information about their problems and possible solutions to resolve them.
This is why all of your lead gen campaigns should keep the prospects’ needs in mind.
Generating predictable volumes of high-quality leads can arm your sales team with more opportunities to close and generate more revenue.
While there are a ton of sales tools on the market, listed below are the bare-bones essentials to beef up the entire B2B lead generation process:
Leadfeeder shows you what companies visit your website, even if they never interact with your page, or contact you.
Cloud Kennect grows your leads and network through personalized messages using LinkedIn’s popularity and automation.
You can automatically reach out to those in that group after narrowing down your target audience through a Boolean Search.
Of course, it’s possible to find leads without a planned strategy; however, engagement is lower, and overall, the process is ineffective.
This is one of the drawbacks of cold outreach since your leads don’t know you or trust you.
But when cold outreach is combined with content resources like case studies, presentations, blogs, videos, etc., it increases conversions.
Sales enablement has been observed to increase sales by 6-20% for 76% of organizations.
Besides cold outreach, sales enablement content can also be placed in channels already generating traffic.
These channels can include landing pages, newsletters, onboarding emails, social media posts, etc.
Sure, SDRs must keep up with the current trends, as they are constantly evolving.
But while sales have developed new digital ways of prospecting, cold calling has remained as effective as ever.
You might have heard that this is outdated, but this could not be more wrong. According to a RAIN Group report, 51% of buyers prefer to be contacted by phone.
Out of fifteen outreach methods studied, sellers found that using the phone made three of the top five most effective methods to connect with prospects.
To generate more quality leads, read this blog on the benefits of cold calling.
Unlike cold calls, emails can be automated using sales engagement tools and set up in a sequence to send follow-ups.
Cold email sequences help improve response rates for outreach campaigns and move your leads to the next stage in the sales cycle.
This increase in engagement consequently results in more opportunities and leads being generated.
Appeal To Your Target Audience
B2B Customers vs. B2C Customers
According to HubSpot, the three best lead sources for B2B companies are SEO (14%), email marketing (13%), and social media (12%).
B2C, on the other hand, gets more leads from traditional advertising, social media, and email.
Online lead generation is a cover-all term for any method of generating interest or inquiries via the internet.
While online lead generation can take longer to start generating results, compared to things like traditional advertising, the leads coming through online channels tend to be both cheaper and more effective
It’s not just where leads come from — the nurturing process between B2B and B2C is also quite different, so marketers have to start on the right foot.
Personalize Dynamic Web Pages
One of the most important elements of modern lead-generation marketing is a well-designed website that is fully optimized, and geared towards generating interest in your services.
Website personalization is no longer a bonus in B2B lead generation strategies. It’s a must.
People who visit websites have come to expect a personalized experience.
When it comes to B2B lead generation, it is in your best interest to make sure it is happening by employing dynamic web pages and content tailored to your visitor.
Lead Capture Forms
Lead capture forms are excellent for gathering emails and names from prospects who visit your site. There are various ways you can use them on your website.
For instance, you can have a lead capture form pop up when a visitor tries to leave your site. Or when they scroll to a certain point on a blog post.
Landing Page Builders
When it comes to increasing B2B sales, your landing pages — the most transformative points in the buyer journey — are bountiful trees to source fruit.
Whatever lead gen forms you’re using (PPC ads, blog posts, social media), you need a place to send the leads you’re driving to your site.
Landing page builders are page design tools that help build, host, and publish new web pages on your website with minimal effort.
These tools help you spin up and publish new pages for targeted sales and marketing campaigns and convert visitors into leads.
The majority of landing page builders offer a graphical drag-and-drop interface to design pages and customizable templates.
Update Your B2B Data Lists
Your outbound marketing strategy is only supported by the quality of your sales lead lists. This means updating your B2B sales lists in these ways:
Set up your B2B data list by audiences.
Identify your target and then analyze your existing customers’ behavioral patterns by audience.
Chatbots can communicate with site visitors using the language they prefer. Chatbots break the language barrier.
You don’t need SDRs speaking multiple languages; all you need is an AI-powered chatbot satisfying the needs of your visitors around the globe.
Social Media Marketing
Social media is currently one of the top channels in B2B, with LinkedIn being the most useful for B2B lead generation.
When publishing on social media or other channels, create content relevant to your audience.
This could be about something trending in your industry or answers to potential clients’ burning questions.
One way to capture leads from social media is by directly linking your landing page to your post content.
Similarly, you can also leave your email address or keep your DMs open for leads to approach you within these platforms.
Social media is rarely about making a direct sale. It is about connecting with your target audience and building a relationship with them over time.
According to the Content Marketing Institute, many of your daily actions on social media can help you find new leads.
Social media gives people from the same industries a forum to discuss common interests and share ideas.
Groups like these are built on solving problems for the members, which in itself is a good qualifier for product fit.
Large, engaged communities built around your customers’ problems and pain points can serve as a budding ground for evangelists and power users.
You can find such communities on Facebook, Slack, and Reddit, where people come together to discuss and find solutions to problems specific to a product, category, or industry.
LinkedIn can help you seek out decision-makers and give you current information about the company, its products, and pain points.
This will give you a leg up by figuring out their issues beforehand so you can offer solutions to resolve them.
Content marketing is part of inbound marketing efforts and involves publishing and distributing relevant, topical content focused on gaining search traffic.
Creating engaging and relevant content is another great way to introduce your service and products to potential customers.
Typical content marketing and SEO activities include keyword research, competitor and topic research, writing, and distributing content.
You can create blog posts, whitepapers, or case studies with useful information to demonstrate the value that your products offer and your expertise in the industry.
Content is a great way to guide users to a landing page. Typically, you create content to provide visitors with useful, free information.
Content includes information on a vendor’s website, in-depth reports, and third-party reviews. You can use this reverence for data to radically transform your inbound lead generation.
The content your team produces must be “outcome-based.” It focuses on the problems clients face rather than the products that the field is selling.
The team should set up the infrastructure for this content to be housed on internal landing pages and for a subset of the content to be available externally on social and digital channels through marketing teams.
You can include CTAs anywhere in your content — inline, bottom-of-post, the hero, or even the side panel.
Cast a wider B2B lead generation “net” with guest posts.
There’s a reason why inbound lead generation pros like HubSpot still use guest posting to increase B2B sales. It’s an underused (and misunderstood) strategy that works.
Adding images to your content, ads, and sales pages makes them more appealing. But you don’t have to be a graphic designer to pull this off.
Instead, you can use imaging tools like Canva and PicMonkey to create quality photos, infographics, and memes for your marketing collateral.
Whatever lead generation tools you decide to use — make sure they integrate with your tech stack, so you don’t have a bunch of siloes to wade through.
Email marketing is the process of nurturing your email leads throughout their journey to get qualified as an MQL or convert to low-touch eventually.
To run email marketing, you’d need a list of leads to connect. These leads can be captured through gated content, newsletter subscription, or trial signups.
Most B2B leads come from referrals followed by email and search engine optimization (SEO).
If you’re interested in getting in on this trend, it’s worth considering revamping your referral strategy and helping existing customers bring you new leads.
If you aren’t using videos in your lead generation campaigns, here are two reasons why you should:
Search Engine Optimization
These are targeting terms that are likely to draw in relevant, high-quality traffic from search engines which will be valuable for your business.
While competition will be high for broader, generic terms, several longer variants are often available, known as “long-tail” terms, which can be considered.
What Is Account-Based Marketing?
Paid Acquisition Channels
Apart from a sizable audience, these platforms also boast targeting and bidding features that make it easier to attract qualified leads.
Unlike organic inbound channels, paid ads help you drive traffic and generate leads almost instantly.
Paid acquisition channels include:
Social networks: Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter
Search engines: Google Ads, Microsoft Ads
Reviews and listing platforms: G2, Clutch
Ad networks: Taboola, Media.net
As the name suggests, paid ads come with an acquisition cost attached to every lead you generate.
And based on various factors, results from your ad campaigns could swing in either direction. This is why budgeting is vital to running successful ad campaigns.
These are larger than regular posts, which makes them more eye-catching. Since these cost more per click, you should target high-value leads, the most profitable prospects.
You’ll find many B2B brands using display ads to promote guides and other gated content to capture leads and their contact details.
Customer Data Platform
With a CDP, you can combine customer data collected across all tools.
Ideally, you want a platform that integrates your sales tools and CRM to create transparency across departments.
Set up a new CDP to import data, streamline sales, marketing efforts, customer service, and management to speed up communication and get results in real-time.
Choose one that’s AI-powered to model ideal customers, score leads, and automate customer data enrichment (finding up-to-date customer information, including contact details, company, job role, tech used, and so on).
Lead scoring is a way to qualify leads quantitatively.
Using this technique, leads are assigned a numerical value (or score) to determine where they fall on the scale from “interested” to “ready for a sale.”
The higher a lead’s score, the closer they are to becoming a sales-qualified lead (SQL), only a step away from becoming a customer.
You may need to tweak the score and criteria along the way until you find the formula that works, but once you do, you’ll transform your lead generation into customer generation.
Even with all your eggs in one basket, customers remain leery of businesses asking them to consider a product or service. It’s simply the state of the sales world today.
Because buyers may doubt your product/service claims, they’ll look for social proof to make a more thoughtful purchasing decision.
The more social proof you can gather on your site, the easier it is to build trust and increase sales.
Consider adding client testimonials or reviews to your landing pages or sharing them on social media.
Consider adding social proof to your landing pages and homepage, sharing reviews on social media, and creating case studies — collecting positive reviews on G2 Crowd is another excellent way to build trust.
Sales Process Post-Purchase
This might be the most critical point in this blog.
Just because the buyer has handed over their cash, doesn’t mean this should be the end of your involvement and lead generation efforts.
If the buyer feels you have gone out of your way to be helpful, keep them happy, and troubleshoot any problems, you could earn the most powerful marketing of all – word of mouth referrals.
The Next Generation Lead Gen Tool For Sales And Marketing Teams
There are countless ways to generate leads for your business, but the most important thing is to find a lead generation strategy that works for your business.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to lead generation.
These lead generators are just a few examples of lead generation strategies to attract potential customers and guide them towards your offers.
For more information, check out our blog covering additional must-have lead generation tools.
Applying these strategies can make your B2B sales lead generation process more efficient.
Get started today and super-charge your business growth.