Your Guide to B2B Lead Generation: Process, Strategies, and Tips
B2B lead generation is the trick to finding new prospects interested in your company's offerings. Lead generation is an essential business component since the more leads you bring in, the better.
You can employ email marketing, traditional and online advertising, content marketing, social media marketing, and inbound and outbound marketing to generate these leads.
But there is no one-size-all approach to generating leads and growing a company. Every company must develop innovative ways to generate and score leads for its service or product by personalizing its demands.
Before diving into the whole process of attracting, gaining, and retaining customers, let us go through the basics first.
What are B2B Leads?
B2B lead is a business term given to those prospects who have been identified as potential customers for your firm. They can be categorized as those who would likely find value from using your product or service.They express interest in conducting business with you by requesting more information about your offerings, revisiting your page on a regular basis, or requesting a product demo.
Email marketing (13%), social media (12%), and SEO (14%) are the three major sources of leads for B2B businesses. It's challenging to produce high-quality leads that turn into customers. But, It can help your company beat the competition and develop tremendously if done right.
MQLs, or marketing-qualified leads, are highly likely to convert into paying customers. The qualification is based on the MQL's involvement with your company's marketing efforts.
MQLs who have moved farther down the funnel and are deemed ready for engagement with your sales team are referred to as SQLs. A lead must have expressed an interest in purchasing your company's product or service.
Contacts that have utilized your product and performed steps that show a desire to become a paying client are considered product-qualified leads. PQLs are commonly used by businesses that offer a free or limited version of their product or a product trial.
Service qualified leads are contacts or customers who have expressed an interest in becoming paying customers of your service staff. A consumer who asks their customer service representative to upgrade their product subscription is an example of a service-qualified lead.
What is B2B Lead Generation?
Business-to-business (or B2B) lead generation is the process of locating and recruiting the right clients for your product through nurturing. It is vital for the b2b marketing team and the sales team. It refers to businesses that majorly sell their products/services to other companies.
What Makes B2B Lead Generation Different?
A thousand-mile trip begins with a single step. B2B lead generation is the first stage in a typical marketing funnel or sales process. Lead generation for business-to-business (B2B) is different from lead generation for business-to-consumer (B2C), in which products and services are offered directly to customers.
Types of B2B lead generation
Every company adopts a mixture of two types of lead generation strategies to gain new leads.
Inbound lead generation
Make your brand discoverable online (such as on social media platforms and search engines) by creating valuable and relatable content. This engages the visitors and opens a door for you to interact with them, get their contact information, and ultimately make them valuable customers.
Inbound lead generation works as a trial for your leads to find you in the crowd with pertinent information, follow your brand and connect with you.
Outbound lead generation
Outbound lead generation is a more traditional marketing method that works on actively reaching out to a niche audience. It could be done by cold calls, cold emails, email marketing, handing out brochures, and using banners.
Outbound lead generation is the way to go if your organization is interested in new areas and needs further information to assist in expansion.
Although outbound lead generation is now a little outdated, it still works well in marketing when combined with inbound lead generation. When done correctly, outbound lead creation can yield speedy returns.
Why is B2B Lead Generation Important?
B2B lead generation is critical to a company's success. It is how a company finds consumers willing to buy from them. These leads interact with your site for a long time and express an interest in your products and offers.
The move from a stranger to a customer is far more natural when a stranger establishes a relationship with you by exhibiting an organic interest in your business. It only works when a customer resonates with your product, and that’s how lead generation works.
Customers cannot be forced. Warming up to them goes a long way toward maintaining a healthy relationship. The following are some of the advantages of B2B lead generation.
1. Driving High-quality leads - Sales and marketing must collaborate to identify what qualifies as a lead in the first place, and then tailor their demand creation approach to fit the most critical buyer criteria.
2. Builds awareness and trust - With lead generation, you can target individuals depending on their needs and behavior. Content curated for a specific niche helps build brand recognition since consumers prefer customized products. Also, your customers and prospects entrust you when they receive more relevant and meaningful information. Posting consistently across multiple social networks using tools like Hootsuite is a great idea. However, there are better Hootsuite alternatives available in the market.
3. Shortens sales cycle - Once you've identified the highest-quality leads, you may guide them to the appropriate conversion procedure while ignoring those who don't. You may also effectively analyze which aspects need improvement and which are doing well.
4. Learn about your audience - You gather a lot of data about your audience during lead generation campaigns. This helps you better understand their needs and improves your marketing content.
For example, you can learn about your audience's questions and then focus your blog, eBooks, social media, and other lead gen content on answering them.
5. Positive ROI - Solid processes result in clearly defined goals and objectives. Your marketing and sales team will be more effective and productive if they know what to look for. And with everything in place, you'll almost certainly see a rise in your ROI.
6. Increase in sales opportunities - B2B lead generation shortens the sales cycle by ensuring you're interacting with the most likely buyers, resulting in higher conversion rates.
The B2B Lead Generation Process
As we all know, B2B lead generation is the process through which sales and marketing teams convert prospects into paying clients. But how do we get there? These steps cover what you need to do to set foot in the market.
Step 1: Set goals. Knowing what you want before starting a lead generation campaign is a must. A definitive plan will help you and your team focus better during the campaign.
Step 3: Reach out to leads. Reps contact leads using cold outreach, social media, or by responding to inquiries after compiling a list of high-quality leads.
Step 4: Build and distribute your content. After getting to the audience, comes content management. Build top-notch content to attract and keep each target group in the loop with your business. It's critical to get your content in front of your target audience if you want to generate demand. So concentrate on delivering information via email, video, live events, Stories, direct mail, social media, and blog postings, among other venues.
Step 5: Qualifying & prospecting high-quality leads. When communicating with leads, reps assess how inclined leads are to buy your service or product. You will gain two types of leads after conducting sufficient qualification checks – those who do not fit your criteria and those who might.
This gives you information that will guide you to make that sale.
Step 6: Measure outcomes at multiple levels. Operational performance metrics must be in place to improve quality content and leads. This final stage guarantees that the content library only contains sales motions that add value to clients and field personnel.
What are the Strategies to Implement in B2B Lead Generation?
Understanding where B2B industries are going with their marketing strategies can help you identify trends and outpace your competition.
1. High Seo and Content marketing
Customers prefer to be well-informed before making any kind of purchase. Thus, content marketing is a standard option in every business (be it B2B or B2C). Use tools to determine the content length and keywords to develop blog articles and pages, and go as niche as feasible.
Keyword research, competition and subject research, writing, and content distribution are all common content marketing and SEO operations. The overall purpose of the approach is to uncover keywords that will attract visitors with a strong desire to buy and then nurture and convert them using your content.
Moreover, SEO and content are two sides of a coin. SSL certificates can be categorized in single domain, wildcard SSL, multi domain SSL and Code Signing certificate. However, B2B websites carry more subdomains, there should be a proper SSL cert that is easily available at low cost. For example, a low priced or cheap wildcard SSL certificate can be an ideal choice. It can secure unlimited subdomains with a strong encryption.
No matter how useful the material is or how much time and effort went into developing it, content is preferable for nurturing MQLs rather than building a list of SQLs.
Organic search accounts for 29% of all inbound web traffic.
Webinars are a tried-and-true marketing strategy that has consistently generated new sales leads. However, it only works if they are strategically implemented.
A business leader can utilize webinars to discuss industry concerns at the top of the funnel or to highlight the benefits of the service or advertised product in the center of the funnel.
According to GoToWebinar, a webinar is a unique approach to producing the best leads for B2B marketers and sales professionals.
3. Email marketing to capture and nurture your leads
These days, cold email is undoubtedly the most underused medium. It's difficult since you don't know the firm or person to whom you're delivering it.
But if done right, email marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways to acquire customers.
Email marketing also helps in nurturing your prospects by sending them carefully timed emails. The emails should offer them something new and essential that they wouldn't otherwise have access to.
The most crucial things to focus on are creating a high-quality email list and making your emails stand out. Gated content, newsletter subscriptions, personalizing subject lines, removing HTML (which might cause emails to be sent to the junk or spam folders), and sending relevant emails can all be used to capture these leads and help boost your CTRs.
Tip: Use merge tags to tailor and customize your cold emails. Merge tags allow you to replace the initial name or company name in each email so that each lead receives an email that is customized.
Have you ever noticed how much easier it is to sell something to someone who wants to buy it?
When you respond to a relevant Quora question with a little plug for your services mixed in, you're selling to someone who has expressed a need for the assistance that you have to offer.
These are warm leads, and they are more likely to act "whether by clicking your link or contacting you" than cold leads who haven't expressed any interest or need for your services.
Here’s an example of using Quora to solve one’s query while pitching in your brand:
However, you need to be careful about the link usage and the words used in your answers.
5. E-Books as lead magnets
From a detailed guide to best practices for retaining leads to providing useful industry advice, E-books can be your go-to solution. A well-written, long-form tells the reader about your ‘story’ and establishes your credibility.
It attracts readers and generates leads, making it an important aspect of your content library. Aside from efficiency, high-performing e-Books are a great way to reach out to a new sector of your audience or coincide with different stages of the customer journey.
6. Increasing your reach with paid ads
Every lead you generate through paid marketing comes with an acquisition cost. The results of your marketing campaigns could go either way, depending on a variety of circumstances.
Budgeting is critical when you are running a large ad campaign. If your acquisition expenses exceed these parameters, you'll be losing money on leads, making the campaign unsustainable.
7. Social proofing to win the trust of potential clients
Social proof is an important component of most B2B lead generation strategies.
Buyers will seek social proof to make a more informed purchasing decision because they may be skeptical of claims about your product/service.
The more social proof you can assemble on your website, the easier it will be to build trust and increase sales.
Consider adding social proof to your landing pages and homepage, sharing reviews on social media, and creating case studies — another excellent way to build trust is to collect positive reviews on G2 Crowd, Product Hunt, Capterra, etc.
8. Offering free product trials
Free trials, when used correctly, can help you generate leads and convert those leads into paying clients. It allows potential clients to get to know you and your company without committing. Offering a free trial of your product/service allows individuals to understand the product firsthand, while also creating trust in your company.
9. Social media marketing to identify and attract idea audience
Social media is a powerful way to get leads for your company. It’s definitely hard, but the effort is worth it. Social media marketing gives customers an easy way to approach you and builds a personal relationship with them.
You may target your ideal audience based on location, age, gender, and interests. Even the targeted ads placed on these sites are useful to attract your audience. Your ultimate goal should be to be able to interact directly and engage your leads via email, DMs, or phone calls.
Keep in mind that your site's ability to generate B2B leads is directly related to its effectiveness in this area. Another option to increase your website's performance is to use landing page builders to create, host, and publish new web pages with little effort.
A CTA button in one of your blog posts or site pages takes the lead to the landing page. This helps leads interact with your product and helps you collect their information to move further and get associated with them.
11. Co-marketing to engage an already interested audience
Creating a client base when you are starting from scratch is a difficult task. This is where co-marketing enters the picture. By collaborating with several firms, you can gain access to potential clients. Make sure your product is pertinent and appealing to your target market.
Not only that, but this method is also useful if you want to increase your audience in a new business vertical. For instance, if you want to expand your company's social media presence (if you haven't already), you can link up with influencers to persuade their followers to follow your brand.
12. A/B testing of key pages
Increasing lead acquisition while driving down costs and minimizing missed opportunities is every company's objective. A/B testing helps you acquire, document, and use data to test changes made in marketing programs and make changes accordingly.
It may be that certain features appeal to potential clients without even considering your unique selling point. It lets you play around with the features of your services and get feedback for all of them.
There are many other benefits of implementing A/B testing in your strategy, including high sales, a spike in conversion rate, increased user engagement, and improved personalized content.
13. Video Marketing
What’s a quicker way to narrate a story than to have a video?
Videos engage a customer and give an interesting personality to a company. They can be shared with your customers' networks across all social media channels. This gives you a whole new platform to engage your clients while also increasing the value of your existing content assets.
You can optimize your content for SEO improvement, and increase the CTRs. Adding meta tags, YouTube cards, and transcriptions will make your content more searchable, and easy for viewers to find. It also increases relevant content suggestions on the viewers' page.
14. Guest Posts
Guest blogging is one of the best ways to generate leads. It increases referral traffic and opens up partnership opportunities to reach out to a larger audience and develop cross-marketing.
"62.96% of people believe blogs with several authors are more reputable," according to research from Social Marketing Writing.
Write a guest post to non-competitor sites in your field to connect with leads you might have missed otherwise. To get readers to visit your blog and website, your content should be detailed and valuable.
15. Optimize For Mobile Devices
It's necessary to make your website mobile-friendly to attract inbound traffics. You should also include mobile-friendly lead generation forms on your website to give your prospects a seamless online experience.
It's the web developer's responsibility to build a hyper-personalized, secure, functional, and responsive website to ensure your visitors have an incredible user experience. This also attracts more inbound traffic because they would no longer need to scroll horizontally or zoom in just to read the entire content.
Consumers perform business research on the go using their phones. Creating a mobile search strategy will ensure that your company appears in those search results and that your target audience is interested.
As a crucial component of developing your business, lead creation should primarily focus on enhancing the quality of your leads rather than increasing the quantity. Because the goal is to attract new clients and expand your business, focus your efforts on the most promising leads.
Lead generation demands a wide range of tactics for locating and nurturing leads, all dependent on your intended audience and the organization's interests. It all boils down to understanding your target demographic and how they connect with your company.