Finding the right B2B sales leads can often feel like a tough uphill battle. If you’ve delved into the world of B2B lead generation strategies, you’re familiar with how challenging it can be. It’s certainly not a task for the faint-hearted or those looking for an easy solution.
In fact, comparing it to swimming without using your hands or feet, or attempting to solve the Diophantine Equation with limited algebraic skills, wouldn’t be an exaggeration. B2B lead generation is far from a casual stroll in the park. In this blog, we cover how to generate B2B sales leads.
What Is a B2B Lead?
A B2B lead is a new contact that comes from marketing efforts. But in B2B, it’s not a regular person; it’s someone representing a company. What details make up a B2B lead can vary depending on the company. It might include a person’s name, their work email, the company they’re from, or their phone number.
A good B2B lead isn’t just about these details; it’s also someone who could become a new customer. You can tell if a lead is promising when someone from a company shows interest in what you offer. For example, if a visitor on your website downloads a document or asks about prices, it means their company might have a need or a problem they think your product can solve.
What are MQL and SQL?
A Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) is someone interested in your offering due to marketing efforts, like downloading a whitepaper. MQLs are promising but not yet ready to buy. They become Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs) when they’re ready for direct sales contact, either through nurturing or strong interest, saving your sales team time.
B2B Lead Generation Process
Mastering the art of acquiring B2B sales leads is just the beginning of a more extensive process. To drive sales growth effectively, you must establish an efficient lead generation process. This process serves as a crucial bridge between marketing and sales teams, offering representatives a proven framework to guide their efforts. Generating leads entails a series of well-coordinated steps by sales and marketing teams to turn prospects into paying customers. In the following discussion, we’ll delve into these key components that pave the path to B2B sales success.
Step 1: Find B2B sales leads
In many B2B lead generation strategies, the initial step involves collecting the contact details of potential buyers. This information can be gathered internally, acquired through a third-party lead generation service, or purchased from a lead database (although this is not recommended for B2B lead generation).
Step 2: Contacting Leads
Once you have a list of top-notch leads that align with your lead scoring criteria, your sales representatives make contact through various methods like cold calls, emails, social media outreach, or by responding to inquiries.
Step 3: Assessing and Finding High-Quality Leads
When engaging with leads, sales representatives evaluate the likelihood of them making a purchase. This guide is based on the stage of the buying process that leads are currently in. These stages include:
- Research & Awareness: At this stage, potential customers recognize a problem or need for a solution and begin to gather more information. During the awareness stage, they consume content such as blogs, whitepapers, and case studies.
- Consideration: Leads in this stage have a clear idea of the specific product or service they require. They outline their exact needs and start researching while becoming more receptive to engaging with vendors.
- Decision: When in the decision stage, buyers are actively evaluating vendors that align with their requirements. They engage in multiple meetings and consult with other decision-makers before finalizing a purchase.
Depending on the lead’s current stage, sales representatives will either launch nurturing campaigns or concentrate on encouraging prospects to schedule a call or demo.
Step 4: Sealing the Deal and Making the Sale
Congratulations! After several discussions with various vendors, the prospect selects you, and the deal is closed. They will now be handed over to the customer success team for onboarding. Hooray!
B2B Sales Lead Generation Strategies That You Can Try.
To increase your sales, it’s essential to tailor your lead generation approach to fit your industry, product, and the audience you’re targeting. Using just one or two B2B lead generation tactics won’t be enough.
For success, your sales and marketing teams should adopt a mindset of experimentation, continuous learning, and trying out new methods to attract B2B sales leads. This involves exploring and testing various approaches until you find what truly works for your specific business.
If you’re ready to explore new opportunities and think outside the box, we’ve put together a list of 9 B2B lead-generation strategies for you to experiment with. These strategies are meant to spark creativity and assist you in discovering fresh ways to boost your sales. It’s time to move away from the usual methods and start a journey of exploration.
1. Content Marketing
According to e-commerce-platforms.com, 93% of B2B buying processes begin with an online search. This underscores the importance of content marketing in digital lead generation. Creating content tailored to your target audience and sharing it through appropriate channels has proven to be a highly effective source of leads.
In content marketing, your company’s website, especially landing pages, plays a crucial role. These pages provide valuable information about your company and products to visitors. To make the most of this, it’s essential to ensure your landing pages are user-friendly and optimized for search engines (SEO).
What does this mean for you? Well, when your optimized landing page ranks high on a search engine results page (SERP), it becomes more discoverable, increasing your chances of reaching your desired customers.
2. Case Studies
In B2B, spontaneous buying decisions are uncommon. Typically, potential customers gather in-depth information before considering a product.
That’s why whitepapers and case studies are effective for B2B lead generation. Whitepapers help support the research process and position your business as an industry thought leader. By offering relevant information, you can justify requesting a business email address in exchange.
It’s a good idea to mention your product in the content you provide, even if it’s not the primary focus of the whitepaper. This serves as the initial step in qualifying leads: An interested reader is likely to become curious about your product.
3. Launch Webinars
In B2B, potential customers often seek guidance and comparison before making a purchase. They want to be sure they’re making the right choice.
When your business uses webinars for lead generation, you can showcase your product to a group of people simultaneously, emphasizing its advantages and use cases while addressing their questions. This is your opportunity to highlight your product’s strengths and all the benefits it offers to customers. Don’t miss out on this chance.
Registering for a webinar is usually easier for people compared to signing up for an online demo. Therefore, you can expect higher conversion rates. Lead generation happens when a prospect registers, and in return, they get to participate in the webinar for free.
4. Writing Blog
Blogging is a great way to generate B2B leads. Instead of heavily promoting your product or service, focus on providing valuable content to assist your target audience. Position yourself as an expert in your niche to build trust with potential customers. When they’re ready to make a purchase, they’ll already be familiar with your product and more likely to buy it.
Understand what kind of content your target audience is searching for using search engines and deliver that content. This means optimizing your content with relevant keywords or common search queries so that people can easily find it. Don’t let your competitors outshine you in this regard!
When you improve your ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs), you’ll gain more visibility within your target audience, attract more views, and, of course, generate more leads.
Within your articles, you can offer helpful resources like checklists or infographics for download. These are known as “lead magnets” and can be used to generate B2B leads.
5. Web Visitor Identification
A B2B lead is someone who has expressed interest in your product or services by sharing their contact details. However, not all website visitors take actions like downloading whitepapers, requesting pricing information, or booking demos. These visitors are still valuable as they’ve shown interest in your product, even if they haven’t engaged further. So, how can you identify these website visitors?
The solution is known as “visitor identification.” There are tools that can uncover the IP addresses of your website visitors, helping you identify companies with an interest in your product. This provides you with B2B leads you might have otherwise missed. These tools often provide additional company information, such as the number of employees and contact details.
With IP identification and visitor tracking, you can see exactly which pages your visitors are viewing and how frequently. This information allows you to prioritize your next steps and tailor your sales approach for each visitor.
A social platform like LinkedIn is essential for B2B businesses. It’s not just a source of valuable content, but also a place to create a profile and connect with relevant professionals in your industry. You can also share content that engages your target audience, and with effort and strategy, establish yourself as an expert in your field.
The goal is to have potential clients approach you or be recommended because they’ve seen your expertise on specific topics. You can also post about company-related subjects like webinars or exciting insights on your blog. This boosts your company’s visibility and helps you gather more leads.
7. Do Advertising and Traffic Generation
Effective lead generation through content marketing involves a straightforward two-step process:
1. Capture the interest of your desired customers.
This begins with a thorough and well-thought-out analysis of your target audience, providing essential insights.
2. Identify the most suitable channels for reaching a specific target audience.
This involves understanding which media channels are preferred by different groups. These touchpoints can encompass platforms like social media or search engines. When you know which touchpoints matter most to your prospects, you can place relevant advertisements and steer traffic accordingly.
In addition to standard content optimization for search engines, using Google Ads strategically has proven to be effective. When your target customers are searching for specific topics or solutions, your content ads can automatically appear, leading to lead generation. In your search engine marketing efforts, always make sure to include a link that directs users to the appropriate landing page.
This landing page should offer sought-after information and may include a form for users to complete in exchange for accessing premium content. We’ve previously discussed gated content, which can be items like whitepapers, checklists, or providing access to your price lists. In most cases, a business email address is sufficient when requesting lead information. While having more information about a lead is valuable, it’s essential not to overwhelm them with too many form fields, which could deter them.
LinkedIn is a vital B2B marketing channel for lead generation. While Facebook and Instagram work for B2C, LinkedIn’s Lead Gen Forms simplify the process. With one click, users share their contact info, making it easy to download resources and qualify leads. This data can be smoothly integrated into your CRM system. Focus your efforts where your target customers are active for the best results.
8. Native Advertising
In recent years, B2B advertising has seen a decline in effectiveness, leading some to predict the end of traditional advertising. Meanwhile, trust in independent, editorial-style content has been on the rise. Native advertising, exemplified by services like Taboola, fuses advertising goals with editorial principles and can be found on platforms like blogs, newsletters, news sites, and social media. These native ads are visually aligned with editorial content, typically offering brief previews and linking to company landing pages. Well-designed native ads have the potential to build trust, attract attention, and drive the generation of new leads on the landing page.
9. Generating B2B Leads from Existing Customers through Lookalikes
Ever considered skipping the wait for leads and directly reaching out to companies resembling your existing customers? Well, it’s possible! Thanks to artificial intelligence, you can input a customer list, and AI will provide a list of similar companies known as B2B lookalikes. These lookalikes share similar traits with the companies on your customer list that served as the template.
You can utilize B2B lookalikes for cold calls or advertising. Oftentimes, you might already possess relevant sales stories or use cases that can make it easier to persuade a potential customer about your product.