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B2B lead generation: Importance, strategies and ideas

B2B lead generation: Importance, strategies and ideas

Demand and lead generation teams are always on a spree of filtering and reaching out to prospects with the added pressure of meeting their monthly sales targets. 

Earlier, it was difficult to analyze this process as it functioned without using science and tech to optimize the pipeline or close deals.

According to a report from Intellistart (2021), B2B firms with a mature lead generation process enjoy 133% more revenue than average companies.

The advent of the pandemic forced businesses to reconsider their approach to marketing their products or services and change their sales approach.

Yet, generating quality leads still remains a daunting task where one has to find their way through impolite clients and fierce competitors.
It also feels like a cumbersome task due to the following reasons:

  • Absence of authentic guidance that talks about the pitfalls and successful strategies of B2B lead generation.
  • Big organizations show off their lead generation tactics which may not apply to other small or mid-scale businesses. For instance, a celebrity tweeting about their product or service can increase sales overnight.

The harsh reality is that every organization has to pave its way in a consumer’s life by building trust in its service or products over time.

To help you gain a realistic understanding of how to generate quality leads, this read brings you insights on:

  • Understanding the basics of B2B lead generation. 
  • How data assists in generating quality leads? 
  • Marketing channels pertaining to different areas of the B2B lead generation funnel. 
  • Top 5 strategies that can boost B2B lead generation. 
  • Top lead generation ideas for B2B businesses. 
  • How to create a successful B2B lead generation campaign? 
  • Insight into new B2B sales playbook.

So, let’s get to it!

What is B2B lead generation?

B2B lead generation is a step-by-step process that helps your product or service reach its targeted customers and helps them understand the same before making a purchase decision.

Here’s a video that shares insights into B2B lead generation basics.

Why is B2B lead generation important?

B2B lead generation offers essential resources for sales and marketing teams. It contributes fundamentally to the success of a business.

Here is a list of benefits one can reap by investing in the same.

B2B lead generation benefits for sales teams

  • Discover the potential customer base that your organization can target to sell your service or product. 
  • Accumulate accurate and current data about your potential leads.  
  • Increase your conversion rates by selling to the users who are actually interested in your company’s offerings. 
  • Boost predictability & improve your closing percentages with a sturdy sales pipeline.

B2B lead generation benefits for marketing teams 

  • Create content that caters to your targeted niche. 
  • Optimize your content, implement SEO for lead generation strategies to rank higher on SERPs and attract more leads. 
  • Measured your marketing strategies effectively, offering you data to enhance engagement.
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Importance of data for collecting quality B2B leads

High-quality data is one of the prime requirements for conducting the B2B lead generation process.

Inconsistencies in data can also affect the sales team’s productivity.

This is because inaccurate data can make it difficult for them to send outbound emails or cold-call potential customers.

Data is also essential for analytics. It’s the only way a company can analyze the results of the efforts they’re putting in with marketing and sales.

Everything needs accurate and up-to-date data, measuring KPIs or setting individual or team targets. 

Depending on the data observed, companies can inculcate changes in their approach to lead generation.

Companies that know how to leverage data in day-to-day decision-making are often the most successful ones.

Indeed, every prospect doesn’t need the same amount of motivation.

To track where a prospect lies, marketing teams introduced the funnel concept. Let’s learn about the same thing in the following section. 

B2B lead generation funnel: How does it look like? 

It’s difficult to point out patterns buyers follow while purchasing. Individuals, at times, are random at making purchase decisions, but that doesn’t apply to a large user base.

Most consumers follow a process before making a final purchase decision. This process is best understood by studying the B2B lead generation funnel.

Marketers can visualize this funnel to improve their demand and lead generation process.

As per Ascend 2 survey report in 2016, 48% of companies agree that leads undergo different sales funnel stages before making a purchase decision. 

What is a lead generation funnel?

A lead generation funnel consists of various stages a prospect follows, from when they get acquainted with your company to when they make a purchase.

This process is represented using a funnel as it focuses on filtering prospects that are fit to do business with your company.

In a nutshell, the lead generation funnel is a roadmap to converting your prospects into customers.

The lead generation funnel is basically divided into three parts: 

  • Top of the funnel (TOFU) 
  • Middle of the funnel (MOFU) 
  • Bottom of the funnel (BOFU)

Content is the common denominator with your lead generation funnel.

Using the concept of segmentation, sales teams can identify where a buyer stands in the sales funnel. And help them get to the next stage by feeding them unique and relevant pieces of content.  

Let’s gain a deeper understanding of the various stages of the funnel.

1. Top of the funnel (TOFU) 

This area focuses on demand generation and trust-building activities. The content you publish aims to attract as many individuals as possible. 

Here are the most prevalent marketing channels one can use in top-of-the-funnel lead generation.

  • Guides
  • Blogs
  • Podcasts
  • Videos
  • Social media posts

The content you share should add value to a prospect’s current knowledge of the subject. In addition, it helps create a connection between the prospect and your business.

Companies generate 67% more leads with a successful blog compared to those who don’t have one.

A thumb rule to lead generation is if a reader starts trusting your brand by consuming your content, they might share their personal information.

2. Middle of the funnel (MOFU)

If a prospect reaches this area of the funnel, it means they’re considering several options.

It’s a difficult task to extract personal information from a prospect.

To achieve the same, one can offer gated content that offers a solution to their problem. Once they capture their personal information, they can use other methods to engage and educate their clients.

Ultimately, pitch your product as a solution to their problems. 

One can try the following forms of content to address a lead’s concerns: 

  • White papers 
  • Comparison blogs
  • Newsletters
  • eBooks
  • Webinars

3. Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU)

When a lead reaches the bottom of the funnel, they’ve been nurtured with benefits they can receive from your product or service. You’ve established yourself as the go-to resource for finding solutions.  

Now, it’s time to take out the big guns.

BOFU offers content that prompts a prospect to make a purchase. Your patience has paid off. Now, one just needs to help them overcome any objections or reservations they have. 

Here are different types of content that cater to this area of the funnel.

  • Case studies 
  • FAQs
  • Highly targeted blogs
  • Reviews
  • Tools

If a prospect reaches this stage, they already trust your product. What they seek is reassurance with their purchase decision.

Each type of content in the funnel serves a particular purpose. It helps prospects lose their inhibitions and guides them in the right direction.

To create an efficient B2B lead generation process, one must primarily focus on creating content that caters to different areas of the funnel.

This will help an organization lay the foundation of its lead generation and nurturing process.

Now you’re aware of the different stages a prospect passes through before becoming a consumer.

So, let’s dive straight into learning the strategies that one can use to generate these leads.

Top 5 B2B lead generation strategies in 2022

You can try a range of strategies, depending on the platform you choose to generate leads. Let’s learn the most prominent B2B lead generation strategies in 2022. 

1. PPC lead generation 

PPC is an abbreviation for pay-per-click, which refers to the ads we observe on search engine results pages (SERPs).

Google, a perfect B2B lead generation platform, gets approximately 3.5 million daily searches.  

Many factors, such as targeted keywords, user flow, budget, and more, contribute to your PPC campaign’s success.

2. Twitter lead generation

Twitter offers a unique lead gen process where one can generate leads within a tweet without leaving the site. This process is conducted with the Twitter Lead Gen Cards.  

A prospect must feed their email address, name, and Twitter username into the card. After doing the same, one directly gets converted into a lead by clicking on the ‘Submit’ button. 

3. Facebook lead generation

Facebook is the world’s most renowned social networking site. But it has also been one of the best platforms for lead generation since its inception.  

If you’re just starting out, you can try placing outbound links in your posts as well as in your bio to attract strangers.

Facebook introduced Ads in 2007. The algorithm they used was so efficient with lead capturing that it raised an obligation among businesses to use the same.

Its success motivated the platform to introduce the ‘Lead Ads’ feature.

The platform also allows you to add a ‘call-to-action’ button at the top of your Facebook page to redirect users directly to your lead generation website.

As per a G2 report (2020), 66% of marketers use social media to generate leads

4. Website optimization using A/B testing

Lead generation doesn’t end with a user visiting your website. One would need a functional website to convert a user into a customer. This is where the concept of website optimization comes in.

You can try the A/B testing method, removing all the guesswork and enabling your team to make data-backed decisions.

In A/B testing, ‘A’ represents the initial testing or ‘control’ variable. ‘B’ refers to the new version of the testing variable or the ‘variation.’

Changes are mapped by studying business metrics. The version that illustrates changes in a positive direction is the winner.

One can optimize their website and increase business ROI by implementing these changes to their website element(s)/ page(s).  

The conversion metrics will be different for each website. For instance, for B2B, it would be ‘lead generation’ while it’ll be ‘sale of products for an eCommerce website.  

As per some statistics observed:

  • 94% of B2B buyers search for your service or product before they make a purchase.  
  • Also, an average B2B buyer makes about 12 online searches before starting an interaction with a website.

Hence, we can learn the importance of organic search in generating more sales-qualified leads.  

Content marketing vs traditional marketing

One can achieve this by:

  • Publishing informative and relevant content in blogs, YouTube videos, whitepapers, case studies, and more.
  • Including researched keywords that the prospects generally use and placing them naturally is your published content.
  • Placing the right keywords in your URLs and linking them with high authority sites.
  • Optimize title tags and write attractive meta descriptions.

This process might take some time, and test your patience before offering results.

But once Google learns that your website is an authority on the subject, it’ll enhance your website and content’s visibility on search engines.

Your website will experience a surge of new users. Also, your content would generate top-of-funnel leads that you can nurture.

B2B lead generation ideas to implement

Lead generation strategies can be monotonous and don’t necessarily have a creative side. Here are the top 11 creative B2B lead generation ideas/tips you can apply in 2022.

B2B marketing channels used by companies

Offering an online course that adds value to a user’s knowledge is a great way to attract consumers. You can even charge a small fee for the same.

  • Podcasts have become the go-to place for users to learn new things. It can be considered an audio version of your blog. A podcast works best in developing a connection between your business and consumers.
  • As per a report from Edison Research (2020), podcasts are now consumed by over 100 million Americans every month.
  • Interview a renowned personality or influencer in your industry and share the same via blogs and podcasts. It can prove to be an efficient trust-building activity for your brand.
  • Give a free trial of your product or service. This works best with SaaS marketing. For example, Salesmate offers a 15-day free trial for its CRM without asking for a payment commitment.
  • Only seek user information that’s relevant to you. Having more data fields can decrease your conversion rates.
  • Rather than boasting about your service or product features, share the benefits it offers to users. For instance, instead of saying, ‘it offers multiple platform integration,’ ‘it’s a time-saver as it can be accessed from anywhere.
  • Optimize your content to make it most suitable for skimmers and readers. Highlight the necessary information in a way that a reader quickly finds what they’re looking for.
  • Host meet-ups where you can learn about a prospect’s problems and educate them about all the possible solutions.
  • Quora is a great platform where you can become an expert that answers questions posted by users. This helps educate users as well as promote your products and services.
  • You might think it’s best to streamline your traffic using a single channel. But as the saying goes, “the more, the merrier.” Targeting multiple channels will generate more visitors and, as a result, more leads.
  • Promote your brand’s services or product features by printing them on t-shirts. Organize a fun event and give it to them as a participation gift.

To get more interesting lead generation ideas check out this blog.

How to create a successful B2B lead generation campaign?

A lead generation campaign is an amalgamation of different moving parts with the common goal of generating new leads.

Lead generation campaign

Therefore, it becomes challenging to point out the areas that are not offering the desired results and need some fine-tuning.

Here is a step-by-step guide to generating a successful B2B lead generation campaign.

1. Establish your goal

If you’re conducting a lead gen campaign for the first time, there are chances that it might not be the most successful one. But it can indeed prove to be a learning curve. An upside in today’s times is that you can observe and measure every aspect of your campaign.  

But firstly, it’s essential to dictate the goals you wish to achieve with the same. Here is a list of objectives you can map to learn if your campaign is moving in the right direction. 

  • Conversion rate 
  • Subscribers
  • Revenue per lead 
  • Registrants 
  • Sales 

2. Know your audience

Who is your target audience? Your specificity in this area can be best used to predict a user’s wants and needs. It also assists you in planning and executing your campaign.

Here are a few tips for conducting a thorough audience research program.

  • Learn about your target audience from your competitors
  • Run surveys
  • Examine the demographics of your social followers and website visitors
  • Interview your customers
  • Publish authentic content optimized with SEO

Before we learn about optimizing content using SEO, let’s learn about the volume of B2B marketers who invest in content marketing.

b2b marketers who invest in a content marketing strategy

Publishing original and informative content is your currency for producing quality leads. The content you publish should be congruent with the goal you wish to achieve. The most effective channels for sharing your content are via:

  • Blogs
  • Case studies
  • Videos and podcasts
  • Social media
  • Website

Creating an authentic content is another game, but helping it reach the right people. You can use paid keyword research tools to learn what exactly your targeted audience is looking for.

3. Create a lead magnet 

Your website will start generating organic traffic if the above process works effectively. All this hard work has one goal: to get a user to visit your website. Once you start initiating, the process of converting a prospect to a lead begins.

This pursuit needs a ‘lead magnet.’ You now need to offer gated content like a webinar, eBook, or more in exchange for a user’s personal info such as email, phone number, and name.

79% of B2B marketers consider emails the most relevant lead generation channel.

4. Measure the effectiveness of your campaign

To learn the effectiveness of your campaign, you should measure how many leads are generated using different marketing channels.

Measuring the effectiveness of your campaign is a difficult task. It will require using CRM software such as Salesmate to learn essential data-driven insights.

CRM software offers observable metrics from different marketing channels. Using a CRM, you can know which channels aren’t working well for you and change your approach with the same.

Identify high-performing lead gen campaigns

Identify high-performing lead gen campaigns

Conduct an A/B test on your lead gen campaigns and measure effectiveness.

Explore Marketing Automation

B2B lead generation: Insight into new B2B sales playbook 

Ever since the pandemic, there has been a shift in the way B2B lead generation works. About 70% of B2B decision-makers today prefer digital self-service or online interactions.  

This environment offers challenges as customers don’t wish to return to conventional ways of doing business.

Here’s a five-step process that can help you generate better leads without bothering your prospects too much.

1. Develop a go-to-market strategy 

A go-to-market (GTM) strategy is a detailed plan created by an organization that observes how its product or service reaches its target audience. 

It also dictates how they should engage with them in order to make a sale and gain a competitive advantage.

A GTM plan includes the following tactics:

  • Buying journey 
  • Product rebranding 
  • Launching new products and services 
  • Strategies related to sales, marketing channels, and pricing 
  • Technique to enter new markets.

2. Design meaningful content that relates to your industry offerings  

Prospects don’t feel interested in your products or services instantly. They first need to get acquainted with the same in the most natural way possible.

Your prime focus in this stage should be to educate them rather than pitching your boring sales pitch.

As per an analysis of 502 B2B companies by Backlinko (2021), only 38% of B2B companies publish blogs to educate their audience.

Your marketing teams should set up an infrastructure that shares content on internal landing pages and other digital and social channels.

3. Create awareness using your content

Awareness is a primary step when it comes to sales. Everyone in the organization must be familiar with the go-to-market program, especially the marketing and sales team members.  

The content should be accessible to salespeople as it would be their responsibility to push the same to myriad corners of the digital market.  

They must use efficient sales tools to track productivity and performance after content distribution to achieve this feat.

4. Offer filtered leads to sales teams 

Sales teams receive many leads directly through channels like email prospecting and digital platforms.

But other lead generation channels collect the customer information, which is presented to sales teams.

The demand generation teams must observe that the information presented has relevant data fields to incentive these fields correctly.

5. Measure the outcomes periodically 

To refine your sales and conversion process, one should always monitor how your content performs on different platforms. By using paid tools, one can quickly learn the views and impact on deals.

It can help the sales teams analyze the content which works for them and capitalize on the same while removing redundant parts. There should also be an internal process that acts as a metric to produce quality content and leads.  

The above process ensures that your content library only presents the content that adds value to your prospects and business.

The sales and marketing activities are observing a global alignment and support. This has resulted in quicker and wider user reach, superior content quality, and a higher engagement rate.

A global template offers cost-effectiveness and a higher revenue return for organizations. These five steps, when observed together, can surely earn you qualitative and quantitative returns.

Afterword 

I understand that lead generation can test your patience to its fullest. But it doesn’t have to be so if you get your essentials right.

If you identify your funnel, use the appropriate strategies backed by tactics from the new sales playbook, and stay consistent with your efforts, your business will reap high revenue returns in the times to come.

So, if you want your B2B business to grow successfully, implement lead generation software such as Salesmate. Want to know if Salesmate will work for your B2B business? Try it out for 15 days!

Jainy Patel

Being an ardent reader and content editor, Jainy draws inspiration from every situation and story. She spends her time developing creative content to invoke the reader's interest. An ambivert with an interest in art, when she's not writing, you'll find her reading or occupied in a creative project.

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