“Business-to-business lead generation is super easy,” said absolutely no one ever. In fact, it might just be one of the greatest challenges in B2B marketing. But as hard as leads are to obtain, they are also indispensable to keeping your business afloat. After all, no leads mean no clients, and no clients mean no revenue.
But where do those highly coveted B2B leads come from? In this article, we’ll explain all you need to know in your quest to find them and we’ll demystify the strategies you and the corresponding teams within your business can use to get some.
What Is Business-To-Business Lead Generation and Why Is it Important?
In marketing, lead generation refers to the act of identifying potential customers for your business and capturing their information to feed them into the sales funnel. The idea is to ultimately convert these people into paying customers. However, in B2B marketing, this whole process often sounds easier said than done. The thing is, B2B companies have different criteria—depending on their business niche—for what’s considered sales qualified leads.
Lead generation relies heavily on your marketing and advertising efforts, but it isn’t necessarily limited to paid channels. Actually, some of the most common means to convey your message in B2B lead generation are email, cold calling, and content marketing, which are entirely free. Modern lead generation does, however, need a well-designed, fully optimized website that’s geared towards drawing attention to your products or services.
How Does Lead Generation Work?
In traditional marketing, lead generation was all about doing the leg work and reaching out to people to introduce your offering to them. However, thanks to the growth of the internet, the contemporary lead generation game has changed. As the saying goes, you must “Adapt or perish.” So companies across all sectors have had to learn how to use the digital world in their favor when trying to influence buyer behavior.
As mentioned above, creating a website or landing that will allow your potential customers to learn more about your offering is essential for B2B lead generation. Note that it must include a compelling call to action that will convince visitors to subscribe to your mailing list or provide you with their contact information. This way, you’ll be able to reach out to them to follow up.
Why Do You Need Lead Generation?
Modern lead generation allows you to get the right people to come to you instead of resorting to intrusive cold sale techniques to catch their eye. This methodology often results in more solid B2B leads that are more likely to eventually turn into paying customers. If you get them to reach out with genuine interest in your product using consumer-centered techniques, you won’t have to deal with hostile prospects hanging up the phone on your people. This means a better experience for both your sales team and those interested in your product or service.
Who Is in Charge of B2B Lead Generation in a Company?
In the B2B world, lead generation is typically managed by your sales and marketing teams. Whether they work as a team or individually, both departments must be closely aligned if you want your lead generation strategy to succeed. Your sales team, at the same time, can split into two groups to work more efficiently in building a strong lead generation plan. On one side, the sales development representatives will source the leads, engage with them, and book demos and meetings, while on the other, business development managers will conduct the demos, close deals, and ultimately generate revenue for your company.
This technique is an excellent way to create a robust B2B lead generation pipeline and enables everyone in the salesforce to focus on one duty at a time, which further allows them to build more expertise in the role they play within the sales team.
Your marketing team can follow a similar “divide-and-conquer” methodology on its route to lead-generation success. The demand generation marketers usually nurture your leads and guide them in their journey to becoming customers and advocates. Growth hackers, on the other hand, generate quick revenue for your brand with a less scalable and more experimental approach. Both groups can analyze data and perform tests to create a foundation upon which they can build a more robust strategy that permits them to make better decisions.
Types of B2B Leads: Marketing-Qualified Leads vs. Sales-Qualified Leads
Leads are, in a nutshell, the people who have been identified by your team as prospective buyers. In B2B sales, there are two different types of leads:
Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)
An MQL is a person or an organization that’s shown interest in your product and seems likely to finalize a purchase. These leads typically demonstrate a certain behavior that gives them away as possible future clients, including:
- Downloading specific types of content
- Frequenting your website
- Filling out forms on your site
- Attending your offline events
When a lead has been labeled as marketing qualified, you can easily send them targeted content that may increase their interest in your offering. Eventually, if you put the right amount of effort in, your MQLs can turn into sales-qualified leads. Those who are guided through this conversion process are less likely to show resistance to becoming paying customers in the near future.
Sales Qualified Leads (SQL)
An SQL is a type of lead that’s already been approached by your sales team and shows a strong intent to buy your product or service. They’re essentially MQLs that have progressed along the sales funnel and are ready to take the next step. However, to qualify as a sales lead, they must be a good fit for your business and display interest via:
- Telephone conversation
- Email or social media communication
- A demo request through your site
Essential Questions You Must Ask Yourself in B2B Lead Generation
Collecting prospect data is a little tricky for B2B companies. There’s no one right way to go about it—no magic formulas to design a winner strategy. Lots of businesses admit to having a hard time planning the most suitable lead generation tactic. Yet, asking yourself the right questions before you embark on your lead generation venture can help set you up for success. The answers could prevent you from messing up your strategy with common mistakes and allow you to make educated decisions.
1. Who Is Your Ideal Lead?
Make sure you and your team know what type of customer would be your ideal buyer. This will help identify the best way to approach your leads and increase the chances of them becoming paying customers, aligning your sales and marketing efforts for better results.
2. What Do Your Potential Customers Want?
Once you know exactly whose attention you’re trying to get through your sales and marketing strategies, you can determine what their needs are and how your offering can meet them. Performing industry research, customer surveys, and data analysis can help you craft a more effective message to communicate with your potential leads.
3. What Can Your Product or Service Deliver?
To inform your target market of the main advantages of buying your offering, you’ll need to develop a unique selling proposition that resonates with your audience. Doing so will help you demonstrate what makes your product or service stand out and what differentiates your company from the competition. Communicating this message at the beginning of the consumer’s journey could mean the difference between converting your leads into customers or not.
4. What’s the Best Way You Can Reach Leads?
To find out the most suitable channels to communicate with your leads, you must learn which are their go-to platforms and sites to search for information. Knowing this will also help you decide what type of strategy to implement. The most common today are:
- Sponsored content
- Affiliate programs
- Paid advertising
- Content marketing
Identifying your leads’ favorite channels to consume information about your brand is vital to also learning where you can obtain information from them. Through these platforms, you can set up polls, A/B testing, interviews, etc.
So, How Do You Generate Leads?
There are numerous strategies you can implement to generate leads once you know what type of customer you’re trying to attract. The most popular are.
1. Generating a Sense of Urgency
You can appeal to your ideal lead’s fear of missing out. Introduce time-sensitive offers and countdowns to generate a sense of urgency and prompt them to reach out. Avoid overusing this technique, though, as it can cause your potential customers to lose trust in your company.
2. Optimize Your Content
Make sure the content on your pages and offers is current. Listen to your target audience’s wants, needs, and pain points, and let the information in your site evolve with them. Optimizing your pages will make it seem as if your content is always fresh and help create brand awareness by allowing you to rank higher on search engines.
3. Invest in the Proper Promotional Efforts
The internet allows you to promote your brand for free in dozens of different ways. However, investing in paid advertising may help your content reach a more specific audience that will result in more accurate B2B lead generation.
Using Data and Technology in B2B Lead Generation
When crafting your lead generation strategy, you need to learn how to use technology to your advantage. Doing so will allow you to reach a relevant public and measure results more accurately. These are some of the tools you can use to promote your product or service so that you can capture the leads you need.
1. Generate High-Quality Content
Regularly publishing content is a proven way to increase brand awareness and build credibility as an expert. In addition, content can help you provide value to your potential customers and encourage them to share their information with you.
Aim to create content that educates or entertains your target audience—or all of the above. Value is typically paid with loyalty and trust, and those are infallible tools in converting leads. Pay attention to the frequency in which you publish your content too, as doing so more often displays your commitment to offering value.
Moreover, crafting evergreen content helps you stay fresh on search engines. Keeping your website optimized will allow you to rank higher, thus making you more visible to your target audience.
2. Offer Content in Exchange for Contact Information
Crafting interesting, shareable content that offers value has some other perks. If what you create is interesting enough, your potential leads will most certainly want more. This could result in them signing up for your company’s mailing list or social media channels, which will grow your contact list and allow you to reach out in the future.
Provide your target audience with all sorts of valuable content. Your options include:
3. Build Communities in Social Media
Social media platforms are still at the very core of digital marketing. Not only do they allow you to publish interesting and shareable content, but they also let you follow up and interact directly with those interested in your offering. Use this in your favor and nourish your communities on social media. Stay active across platforms and offer unique publications on each of them so that your potential leads have an excuse to follow your multiple accounts rather than just one.
Based on where your target audience hangs out the most online, choose three to four different social media channels to promote your brand. For example, you could start a Facebook group to keep the conversation going about relevant industry issues your product or service can help solve. Use LinkedIn to communicate with like-minded B2B prospects. Make sure to keep your accounts human to build a genuine bond with your potential leads and come off as an active member of the communities you’ve built online.
4. Optimize Your Landing Pages and CTA
A landing page could let you showcase more than one offering to your potential buyers. However, narrowing down your content and focusing on one product or service at a time may help you increase conversions. It will help you make more compelling points that could ultimately lead to increasing your sales. Address search engine optimization (SEO) best practices when crafting the copy that you’ll present on your site.
Focusing on a single goal will allow you to fine-tune your messaging and craft a better and more effective call to action (CTA). It will also reduce the possibility of distracting your potential leads from what you actually want them to do while visiting your website. Keep your CTAs straightforward and engaging to prompt your audience to click on them.
5. Monitor Your Website Visitors Actions
Knowing what your visitors do while on your site could help you pinpoint what they’re not converting. Some apps and extensions can help you measure what the most-clicked buttons are on your site and determine what you need to tweak so that your potential leads follow the path you want them to.
6. Encourage Online Reviews
Most buyers nowadays spend a considerable amount of time looking at what other customers are saying about a specific product or service online before committing to making a purchase. That’s why having social proof is so important in your B2B lead generation strategy. Add testimonials to your site and encourage paying customers to leave a review. This will help you build consumer trust and improve your conversion rate.
7. Ramp Up Your Video Marketing
Branded video content is a highly effective way to capture leads for your business. It allows you to provide easy-to-digest information that offers value to your potential leads. Tutorials and other types of educational videos are a proven way to attract more leads. Keep your audiovisual content engaging and always make sure the quality is up to your company’s standards.
8. Optimize Your Website for Mobile
People spend more time scrolling away on their mobile phones than ever before. Even B2B mobile queries are significantly increasing, and those made on smartphones have reached 50% of online inquiries. If your potential leads reach your site via mobile devices and it turns out not to be correctly optimized, they’re highly likely to move on to the following search result.
9. Implement AI Chat Bots To Engage Your Leads
Automation is critical when optimizing your interactions with your prospective customers online. Consumers look for immediacy now more than ever, and they’re quick to move on if they cannot receive an answer fast enough. Since it’s impossible—or considerably more costly—to have someone available 24/7 to solve your potential leads’ doubts on your digital channels, a chatbot is a reasonable solution to optimize your response times and keep your leads business.
Chatbots, or artificially intelligent messaging-based bots, can engage website visitors without the need of having a dedicated community manager or a team of people tending to your audience’s requests and inquiries. Having a chatbot can convey the message that you’re fully invested in giving your public a seamless interaction and making your customer service more efficient.
10. Keep Tabs on Your Data
To determine where your leads are coming from and what to do to engage them and become more appealing to them, you must collect and assess information about them. Performing thorough data analysis will help you determine which channels are generating the most leads and where you should put in more effort to draw in more potential customers.
The Bottom Line
In the B2B landscape, generating and converting leads might not be a piece of cake. However, there are numerous strategies and approaches you can take to make the experience much more manageable. The suggestions mentioned above will get you on the right track to streamline your B2B lead generation process and boost your sales. If you need help optimizing your conversions, visit our site and check out the solutions Redstitch has for you.