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What is B2B Lead Generation? Definition, Strategies

Whether you are a small business owner or a mega-corporate, you will agree that B2B lead generation is the lifeblood of every organization’s existence.

Sep 17, 2021 - By Skirmantas Venckus

b2b_lead_generation_strategies

Whether you are a small business owner or a mega-corporate, you will agree that B2B lead generation is the lifeblood of every organization’s existence.

No leads, no sales. Without sales, we can’t talk about profits. For new businesses, leads in fact are the biggest worry.

This easy-to-read guide focuses on providing highly focused methods for B2B lead generation and how to make it work for your company.

What is B2B Lead Generation?

Lead generation is about identifying and attracting highly interested prospects to the products or services your company sells.

When your target customer is a consumer, we call it B2C (business to consumer). And when the recipient of your product or service is another business, we call it B2B (business to business).

25 B2B Lead Generation Marketing Strategies You Can Leverage

Your lead generation business model can either be outbound (you reach out to the leads and ask them if they need you) or inbound (leads come to you and tell you that they want you).

Get your lead strategy to hit the ground running with the best b2b lead generation examples of both types listed below.

Run A/B Split Tests On Top Landing & Website Pages

In marketing, lead generation is an important activity. What is even more important is that your digital assets such as website and landing pages stay highly optimized for conversions.

A/B split testing involves running two different versions of one webpage side-by-side. 

One version receives all of the same elements except for one element which gets changed between the two versions.

During A/B split testing you can change variables such as Headline, Offer, Copy or Content, Design, Images creatives, Video creatives, Layout, Fonts, Call to action (CTA), and many more.

Example 1: Consider A/B testing of the hero headline for the landing page below. 

A version:

a-version

B version:

b-version

Version B converted 20% better than Variant A. 

Without an A/B test, who would have known? 

Not performing an A/B test while you can, is leaving money behind on the table in the form of non-optimized conversions.

Optimize Your Web Forms to Generate Leads

Your web forms are elements used to collect customer information in exchange for some resource or subscription.

Optimizing your web forms is a must. Some leading practices are:

  • Fewer fields – ask only what is the bare minimum necessary
  • Have a clear offer that focuses on benefits for the user For e.g. Why should someone sign up for your weekly newsletter?
  • A/B test the text on the buttons

Contrary tip: Having more fields that are intended to qualify the prospect may result in a lesser number of leads but high-quality ones.

In Sender.net form builder, you can select a design from which you can start to add your text, new fields, and other information.

form-builder

Use Popups to Collect More B2B Leads

Again, neither are all popups created equal nor do all pages need popups.

Some best practices for pop-ups to collect more include:

  • Visibility – Make them stand out YET as non-intrusive as possible. If they come between the audience and the value that they seek, it will end up being the perfect recipe for low conversions.
  • Clarity – Your visitors should NEVER feel confused about what to do or where to click when they see a popup. Benefit-driven copy coupled with a clear Call to Action (CTA) is the answer.

Here is a popup created with Sender.net tool in few minutes:

subscription_pop_up_form_popup
  • Painless – Use fewer fields to make it easier for the user to opt-in
  • Mobile friendly – Ensure it is in line with Google’s interstitials policy.
  • Choosing the right type of popup – Bar, Pop-up, or Slide-in. 
  • Timing of Popup – Timed or Exit intent or combination of both.
  • Context of Popup – What the popup offers, does it have relevance with the content on the page?

Get your popup formula on point and watch the conversions sailing through.

Also read: How to Create a Popup Form for a Website Without Knowledge

Use Powerful CRO Tools Like Heatmap Software To Generate Quality B2B Leads

Heatmaps are a high-quality CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) tool that allows you to understand how a user engages with your website. They help generate recordings of user interaction with the various elements of your website like the layout, buttons, content, and more.

As a result, you can identify where users spend their time online and which sections of your website receive the most attention. 

This info can help you decide which areas need improvement to improve the overall conversions.

Here’s a great example:

A customer may have clicked on a button because he wanted more information about a product, not realizing it was part of the checkout process.

Perhaps a customer scrolled down to see shipping costs before realizing she needed to enter her address first. 

Let’s take the real-world example below where it was found that that too many customers were navigating to the Shopping Cart after adding items, but not clicking the Checkout button.

heat_map_of_the_page
Source

Heatmap analysis revealed that most of the visitors could not see the Checkout button on the Shopping Cart page because they were distracted by a promotional banner above the button.

Once they placed the Checkout button above the banner, there was an increase of 21% for the click-through rate on the Checkout button.

Gated Content to Attract More Leads

Gated content needs a user to provide some information (first name, email ID, phone no, etc) before getting access to a resource. If you get this on point, and what you are offering is not easily available for FREE elsewhere, this can be a great lead generation tactic for B2B.

Types of B2B resources you could offer include:

  • Product demo video
  • Whitepapers
  • Case studies
  • Cheatsheets 
  • Checklists
  • Templates & Toolkits

Bear in mind that the resource being offered should actually have high value for your target audience and it should ideally promise a quick win – something they can benefit from immediately.

Consulting Funnels – Powerful Inbound B2B Lead Generation Tactic

If you are in a niche where professional expertise is highly valued, offering a FREE consultation could well be your best offer. The best way to do this would be to set up a landing page with a simple Calendly link.

To ensure success when using this approach, ensure the consulting is actually 

  • High value – provides clarity or answers to the prospect’s concerns.
  • Executed by an expert.
  • Time-bound.

Whether these are companies in the USA, India, Ireland, or just about anywhere in the world – this funnel will work for most countries and niches.

Getting Signups for Your B2B Newsletters

B2B newsletters are an effective way to distribute your brand’s content. 

One reason newsletters work is that B2B newsletters are read in the office, on company time, by people in the right frame of mind.

You could include industry news, latest blog posts, exclusive webinar training, upcoming industry, company events, and even special offers.

When implemented with the right context, a SOAP opera sequence done right could get you fans for life.

With open rates of 20.6% and click-through rates of 3.2%, are you still waiting to send that impactful email?  

Quick instruction, how you can easily create and send emails to your contacts with a few clicks:

  • In Sender.net tool click on Campaigns and create new campaign
  • Choose a template from the library
  • Drag and drop blocks you want to add to your email:
email_design_blocks

After that, you can set up your email fonts, colours and other settings, which can do your email top-notch:

email_template_settings
  • After you have done just click “Save & continue” button.
  • And send your email to your contacts.
  • That’s it!

High Focus Webinars & Summits

High focus webinars that are centred around specific topics including industry pain points, popular solutions for the same, product training, masterclasses, etc can help you by:

  • Increasing brand awareness and visibility.
  • Generating targeted, high quality leads.
  • Making you the go-to expert in your niche.
  • Building and nurturing relationships within the industry.

Ensure that your webinars are more content-focused and less product-oriented and your sales pipeline will be filled with more leads than your sales team can possibly handle.

Increase Your B2B Leads Conversation

Got a question from a prospect about a feature or a use case, don’t just send them another email or website link and sit back satisfied that you ‘answered’ another potential customer query.

Can you jump on a call with them and walk through the use case or feature?

Outbound B2B Lead Generation using Cold Email Outreach Technique

The key to cold email success lies in relevancy and personalization

Is there a problem that only you can solve? Congratulations, you got yourself a blue ocean! Go ahead and draft that email.

Is there a problem everyone’s solving? Go ahead and still draft that email explaining how you can do it faster, better, cheaper! Better still, attach a case study of how you actually did this in the recent past.

Ensure that you are talking about the prospect’s pain points more than your product feature and you will be fine.

Schedule automated follow-ups to avoid losing leads. Most leads convert over a follow-up email.

Join Relevant Facebook Groups

The key is to join groups where your target prospects are alive and kicking, discussing their problems and possible solutions. Offer to help them for free. 

Start conversations by asking interesting questions and respond to each comment personally without copying and pasting standard responses.

Aim to build lasting relationships by engaging with prospects on their content as well.

facebook_group_community

Sponsor or Host Offline Events & Get-Togethers To Generate Warm B2B Leads

These can be in the form of conferences, workshops, seminars, etc. 

Inviting industry-renowned speakers can ensure a high attendance rate.

Speak at events where you can afford a booth. Network with the crowd and capture lead contact data such as emails or phone numbers.

Also, you may also offer incentives in the form of personalized gifts and paraphernalia that add value to the prospect’s life.

Even though digital marketing is more potent and scalable, the value of a personal, offline, face-to-face meetup cannot be undermined.

Implement Live Chat on Your Landing Pages To Generate More Leads

The best way to ensure that traffic on your website is attended to well is by deploying Live Chat manned by real agents. Not only does it provide an instant response to a prospect should they need it but responses can also be strongly personalized.

livechat_on_website_example
  • No Chatbots – the B2B segment is known to strongly gravitate towards personalization and attention.
  • Play nice – avoid pushing a chat session out to anyone who visits your webpage.
  • Tie them all down – Integrate Live Chat with other marketing automation tech stack (CRM, emails) to make this work powerfully.
  • Use Chat history to converse more contextually with the prospect.

You can engage with your customers right away through live chat tools and programs like Intercom and Drift. You may even find other tools free to use as well.

By collecting email addresses as well, you can generate more sales leads for B2B companies.

List Your Company on Relevant B2B Directories

Got a SaaS (software) product? You should be on Product Hunt already!

It is crucial to place your brand in front of conversion-ready crowds on websites that are already ranking on Google page 1. 

These crowds are already looking for someone like you. B2B directories are sometimes the best way to allow the spotlight to shine on your company.

Some of the good B2B directories include G2, Capterra, Software Advice, Product Hunt, Clutch, Relevance, and Curata.

Help Prospects Out on Q&A Sites Like Quora 

quora_promotion

Quora can be a great source of new sales leads. By answering the right questions, you can reach potential customers.

Avoid falling into the trap of overpromoting by backlinking your product or company link at the bottom of every answer. 

Instead, focus on providing great value through specific and sometimes elaborate answers.

Additionally, build a strong bio that speaks in all the right ways to your prospect. Include a link to your latest content piece or lead magnet that could be useful to your target market.

Leverage Other People’s Audience

Use the power of guest posting on popular blogs to educate your audience. 

Not only do tactics like these help build up traffic, but you’ll earn quality backlinks that help your Google rankings.

Ensure that your guest post or article:

  • Has high quality content – think quality over quantity.
  • Offers actionable advice.
  • Talks to your target audience deeply by addressing their problems and possible solutions.

Don’t have the bandwidth for writing? 

Simply outsource guest post blogging to freelancers. Guide them with a specific content brief and brand voice guidelines.

Generate Referrals from Current Customers

Word-of-mouth referrals from existing customers are a powerful way to acquire leads. When your happiest customers become your brand evangelists, you can’t ask for more.

In fact, as per the Edelman Trust Barometer, 84% of B2B businesses initiate the buying process with a referral.

Sending them sudden emails begging for a referral is not a strategy, sorry!

To build a great referral program using the below guidelines:

  • Provide a rock-solid product or service
  • Nothing replaces a great customer experience. Ensure they get it at every touchpoint.
  • Stay in regular touch regardless of the transaction size.
  • Avoid cumbersome procedures. Make it super easy for existing customers to do you a favor.
  • Ensure warm introductions wherever you can. These have a huge chance of converting.

Leverage the Power of LinkedIn Groups

LinkedIn groups, although dead, are still a great place to find targeted prospects in your niche. 

Cold outreach to these prospects using personalized DMs and sending out Connection requests accompanied with a great introduction.

If you have a decent budget to spend on LinkedIn, check out their LinkedIn Sales Navigator tool that can help you reach out to active decision-makers at the right times.

Use Facebook Lead Ads To Generate B2B Leads

The single biggest advantage of using Facebook lead ads is that the leads acquired are highly targeted by demographics and interests. This means that they are more likely to show interest in your offer.

The key to making B2B lead generation over a recreational social media such as Facebook lies in:

  • Gaining trust through links to case studies, testimonials, and social proof
  • Working with an accurate buyer persona of the decision-maker
  • Super targeted ad copy

Some trial and error may be involved and results are not guaranteed for all niches, but given its cloud, Facebook lead generation campaigns are definitely worth a try.

Leverage the Superpower of Organic LinkedIn B2B Lead Generation

LinkedIn organic reach is still the envy of most other social media platforms. Especially, given that it is primarily B2B in nature, it would be criminal to waste this opportunity to improve visibility and awareness, and also generate FREE high-quality B2B leads in the process.

Best practices, tips, and ideas for LinkedIn organic posts:

  • Send and accept connection requests to only those people who closely align with your target audience 
  • Post highly relevant content during your prospect’s business hours
  • Post in a variety of content formats including text, video, and carousels.
  • Engage constructively with your target audience’s content 
  • Avoid political and religious discussions – any discussion that takes away your value of being present there
  • Discuss real case studies and client scenarios and how you were able to overcome those challenges
  • Convert your employees into influencers by having them create and engage on content as ambassadors. Content shared could be accomplishments of the company, inside scoop, and customer success stories.

And while you are at this, we recommend you take a shot at posting a few high-quality articles to establish your status as a thought leader.

LinkedIn has the power to give you great introductions. Ensure those are great ones.

Putting Your Email Signature to Work

Got a winning article or blog post that could be a valuable read for your prospect? Use a popular link shortener like bit.ly or Switchy to convert the long URL into a friendlier, shorter one.

Add this special link to your email signature. Any clicks you get are a bonus. But hey, you didn’t have to lift a finger to get them right?

A secondary benefit of using a link shortener is that many of them allow you to place pixels on the URL being clicked, allowing you to retarget these click-happy prospects.

email_signature_example

Also read: Create The Best Professional Email Signature

Use Google Ads for B2B Lead Generation

Whether you are a lead generation company running PPC (Pay Per Click) or Google ads on behalf of your client or a business going this in-house, we don’t think you need to be convinced about its single biggest benefit. 

Google ads majorly help target prospects who are already “warm”. In simple words, they are already looking for the solution you offer. All you have to do is to appear in front of them before anyone else does.

The average cost per lead is high for search advertising as compared to say Facebook ads but the quality of the leads generated makes it well worth it!

Retargeting Ads

According to the popular “Rule of 7” in marketing, prospective buyers should see or hear your marketing message at least seven times before they decide to buy it.

Your marketing campaign needs specialized techniques such as retargeting ads that reinforce the original ad. These retargeting ads could point the prospect to case studies and testimonials, building trust and acceptance among your target audience.

More often than not, retargeting ads are ultimately what ends up making your marketing campaign profitable.

Use LinkedIn Ads Campaign To Generate B2B Leads

linkedin_leads_ad

LinkedIn is the king of B2B marketing. Undisputedly so, when it comes to paid advertising.

b2b_desicion_makers_using_social_media

LinkedIn boasts over 740 million users across more than 200 countries. Over 25% of these users are senior-level influencers (LinkedIn, 2021). 

LinkedIn ads are similar to google ads in that they are more expensive generally speaking. But the fact remains that when you are able to target your niche all the way down to their company and designation, LinkedIn conversions end up being far more valuable.

Use the Power of SEO Lead Generation Techniques

SEO is a very important part of any B2B marketing strategy. It works hand in hand with content marketing to form the most effective way to attract high-quality inbound leads.

Search engines like Google use algorithms to determine which web pages appear at the top of results lists.

Standard steps in the SEO process:

  • Conduct a website audit
  • Conduct keyword research
  • Update on-page content 
  • Benchmark your competition
  • Create an ongoing content strategy
  • Build backlinks

Tip: As far as possible, try and optimize for the long-tail keywords (i.e. keywords with 3+ words in them) first. Once you start ranking for these low competition keywords first, optimizing for the high-value keywords (short tail) becomes easier.

To get maximum ROI from your digital marketing investments, do not start without a solid B2B lead generation marketing strategy.

B2B Lead Generation Funnel

b2b-lead-generation-funnel

Step 1: Discovering leads

The initial stage involves you providing value to the prospect in some way and receiving their data in exchange for some information e.g., name, email ID, referrals, company name, mobile number.

This data can be used later to serve the potential customer in an automated way. 

For example, you can send him a valuable email newsletter, inform him about your upcoming webinars, etc.

There exist a number of B2B lead generation channels. Choose whichever your target audience hangs out the most on.

Step 2: Engaging with Leads

No lead becomes a sale overnight. They need to be provided with the right information, in the right way, through the right medium, to help them make the right decision.

Nurturing your leads can be a short, medium, or long term process depending on

  • The competition in the market
  • How well the prospect knows their own requirements and your product?
  • How urgently the prospect needs the problem to be solved
  • Value of the transaction

For e.g., high-value deals tend to have a longer sales cycle than relatively cheap ones.

Step 3: Qualifying and Segmenting leads based on Intent

Not all leads are created equal. Some may have higher purchasing intent. Ideally, you want your sales team to handle only these high intent leads.

Any prospects who are not ready to buy just yet, go back into the marketing funnel to be nurtured until they move further on to the buying stage.

If you have adopted PPC lead generation methods (Google ads), this becomes easier since you will get good quality leads who are willing to either buy or be nurtured.

Step 4: Seal the deal

Although a sale ends the involvement of your sales team, marketing will still be an integral part of a prospect’s life cycle even after they have joined you as a paying customer.

B2B Lead Generation Tools

B2B lead generation tools fall into one of the following categories:

  • Conversion rate optimization
  • Content Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Paid Advertising
  • Social Media Marketing

B2B Lead Conversion Rate Optimization

Most CRO tools do not generate leads directly but may help optimize the digital assets and vehicles (e.g email, website, app, landing page) already in place, for better conversions.

Conversions could mean more visits, app installs, clicks, subscriptions, or sales.

Examples of CRO tools: 

  • Web analytics software for e.g. Google Analytics which tells you everything about the nature of the traffic that comes into your website.
  • Landing page builders for e.g. Instapage, Swipe Pages

Content Marketing for B2B Lead Generation and Nurturing

Contrary to normal sales, content marketing is all about providing value upfront to your prospect. We either educate or entertain them with well-researched, customized content that they are able to relate to. 

Content marketers often create valuable resources in the form of:

  • Videos (e.g. FB Live, YouTube)
  • Audio (e.g. Podcasts)
  • Text (Blogs, Social media posts)

Examples of content marketing tools:

  • CMS (Content Management System) for e.g. WordPress
  • Podcast tools for e.g. Anchor.fm (the easiest way to make your podcasts)
  • and many more.

Email Marketing for B2B Lead Generation

Email marketing is the process of sending emails to prospects who have expressed interest in what you offer. Your goal here is to promote products or services, build brand awareness, retain existing clients, acquire new ones, etc.

Here is an example of email marketing tool:

  • Sender is a high-quality email marketing tool that not only provides you with an easy-to-use platform for emailing your subscribers but also features a powerful autoresponder that can handle newsletters and other automation sequences that can set your business revenue on auto-pilot.

    Its FREE plan features 2,500 subscribers to whom you can send over 15,000 emails per month. Sender is the perfect way for a business to get started in the world of email marketing for FREE.
sender_drip_automation

PPC B2B Lead Generation

Paid advertising refers to any form of paid promotions on different channels such as search engines (e.g. Google ads), social media platforms (E.g. Facebook, Instagram ads), or websites (e.g. google display ads).

These are costly but can be laser targeted to bring you high-intent traffic immediately.

Example of paid advertising tools:

  • Google ads, also referred to as PPC (Pay Per Click) ads. This is a great B2B lead generation platform if you are looking for leads with higher intent to purchase. 
  • Facebook Business Manager – Facebook’s interface for you to manage multiple Facebook ad accounts from a single account. Any company providing B2B lead generation services is bound to consider from between Google, Facebook and LinkedIn ads.

Organic Social Media To Generate Leads

Social media can help you connect with your target audience by allowing them to interact directly with your brand or product. E.g. Facebook groups, Instagram posts, Pinterest boards, etc.

In some cases, the role of social media for B2B is that of an enabler to allow trust buildup through branding and engagement. Say for example Facebook.

Whereas in others, it will actually attract high-quality inbound traffic. Say for example LinkedIn.

Example of social media tool:

  • Social media scheduling software for e.g. Promorepublic or Hootsuite lets you schedule several months’ worth of content in advance for multiple platforms including Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. 

There seems to be an almost infinite number of lead generation software tool options to choose from. Whatever tool you choose, your strategy will still reign supreme.

Apply These B2B Lead Generation Strategies Into Your Business

B2B lead generation is becoming increasingly competitive. Therefore, if you want to be successful at generating qualified sales leads online, you need to build an effective B2B strategy for converting those visitors into paying customers.

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