What is lead generation?
B2B lead generation is the mechanism of finding and stimulating the interest of potential customers in marketing. Or, to put it another way, it’s the first step every company must take before making a deal. Identifying potential clients (your target audience) entails locating companies who may be interested in the product or service your company provides. Capturing information from these interactions and feeding it into your sales funnel is what initiating curiosity is all about. Through a transaction, a lead can turn into a customer.
Since it depends on the particular sector or niche the company operates in, B2B businesses typically have various requirements for sales-qualified leads. There are three ways to improve the lead generation strategy to generate more qualified leads.
Lead generation is typically associated with advertisements, but it isn’t limited to paying platforms or strategies. Lead generation can be classified as any online or offline channel that generates interest in your website or company. Email, event marketing, social networking, email marketing, pay-per-click advertisements, cold calling, and content marketing are the most popular channels.
Why is B2B lead generation important?
The generation of B2B leads is critical to a company’s success.
Listed below are several factors that show the value of B2B lead generation for sales and marketing teams, as well as the rest of the company.
B2B leads: Categorization, Examples:
The term B2B lead generation is used for those identified as potential customers for a business and who are likely to find value from using your product or service.
There are two types of B2B lead:
- Marketing-Qualified Leads (MQLs) :
MQLs are leads with a high probability of being paying clients. The certification is dependent on the MQL’s involvement in your company’s marketing activities.
- Repeatedly visiting a specific page on your company’s website.
- Using the company’s website to fill out a form or a series of forms.
- Downloading a piece of content created by your group.
- Registering with one of the company’s meetings or webinars
- Sales-Qualified Leads (SQLs) :
MQLs that have gone through the pipeline and are able to connect with the sales team are known as SQLs. The lead must plan to purchase the company’s product or service in order to be classified as a SQL.
- Expressing interest during a teleconference with a member of your sales staff.
- By sending an email or a LinkedIn post expressing concern.
- By seeking further information about your business and services.
- By requesting a demonstration of your product or service.
Qualifying your prospect as a significant lead through BANT Strategy
BANT is a sales qualification approach that allows salespeople to decide whether a prospect is a suitable fit depending on their budget, internal influence/ability to buy, product need, and purchasing timetable. The acronym for the same is: Budget, Authority, Needs, and Timeline .
BANT consists of fundamental checkboxes that must be confirmed with a prospect at the beginning of the sales cycle so as to ensure that the generated lead abides with the brand. A viable lead is one that satisfies at least three of the four BANT requirements, though each sales team determines what constitutes a viable lead.
Budgetary considerations are given to BANT sales leads. If a prospective buyer does not have the money to purchase the goods you are offering, they are most likely not a qualified opportunity. By removing or skipping over prospects with little promise, this lead qualification procedure saves sales teams time and resources.
BANT Lead Qualification Questions that’ll help strategize your process :
- How much time and money do you actually devote to this issue or need?
- How much does it cost to build the machine from scratch?
- What does it cost if you haven’t solved the problem in five years?
- How much can the cost factor influence your decision?
- What would be your expected return on investment?
- Who will be involved in the creation of the product?
- When was the last time you bought a similar product?
- Will anyone else be interested in this decision-making?
- When did you first see a challenge, a threat, or an opportunity?
- What steps have you taken so far to resolve the issue?
- What are your current top priorities? Whose place does this occupy on the list?
- What happens if you don’t do anything about it?
- If you have any future activities or milestones for which you’d like to have a plan in place?
- Are you making any improvements to your lead generation campaign, such as a big recruiting spree, programme overhauls, or other initiatives?
- What are your objectives for this year? Will you be able to achieve that objective without making any adjustments?
Who conducts B2B Lead generation and what is the process?
B2B lead generation is managed by sales and marketing professionals, alone or in teams. For B2B lead generation to work effectively, sales and marketing teams should be closely aligned.
Sales: A sales team centered on B2B lead generation is often split into two groups. These groups perform separate, clearly defined tasks.
The two groups are:
- Sales Development Representatives (SDRs) – responsible for sourcing leads, engaging with them, and booking meetings.
- Business Development Managers (BDMs) – accountable for conducting demonstrations, closing deals, and generating ROI for the business.
There can be several benefits to this strategy:
- It creates a robust B2B lead generation pipeline – the SDRs amplify possibilities for the BDMs to act.
- It empowers employees to focus solely on one responsibility, implying that they become experts in their roles quickly.
- It builds a roadmap for professional development and progression – if an SDR consistently hits their targets, they will become eligible for becoming a BDM.
Marketing: In general, there are two categories of marketers focused on B2B lead generation. While their work may overlap, their marketing approaches are very different.
These two categories are:
- Demand Generation Marketers – focused on the entire B2B lead generation revenue cycle. Their mission is to nurture leads, guiding them from simply being aware of your brand to becoming a customer and finally an advocate.
- Growth Hackers – focused on generating quick revenue growth while spending as little as possible. They typically work at early-stage startups and tend to be more experimental in approach. The activities they undertake are experimental and scalable.
Despite the differences, these two groups do have one thing in common – they rely on analyzing data and testing to drive their decision-making. They are both laser-focused on successful B2B lead generation.
How are Leads generated ?
B2B lead generation is conducted through various sales and marketing activities.
Sales: B2B lead generation is carried through B2B outbound includes –
- Cold calling – Cold calling is done manually or through automated technology. SDRs call up the B2B leads to explain the benefits of their product/service and qualify them for future engagement.
- Outbound email – Outbound email is managed through automation platforms. SDRs connect with B2B leads via email in the hopes of striking up a conversation.
- Social selling – In the B2B space, the major social media network is LinkedIn. SDRs follow B2B leads on social media, engage with them, and develop relationships over time.
- Sales cadences – Most SDRs deploy cadences to increase the chances of a B2B lead response.
The goal is to make the B2B lead agree to attend a product demo conducted by a BDM.
Marketing: The B2B lead generation process is also known as Demand Generation. There are several tactics marketers leverage to generate demands and leads. They are:
- Growth hacking, where B2B marketers or growth hackers deploy unusual, experimental techniques to quickly create demand and grow their business. Examples include incentives, contests, and free tools.
- Content marketing, where marketers publish relevant, valuable content in blogs, videos, webinars, podcasts, and eBooks and promote them to their target audiences.
- Account-based marketing (ABM) is where marketers identify the critical decision makers inside a specific company (or account) and then create personalized marketing campaigns for the leads.
The objective behind these activities varies depending on where the B2B lead is in the marketing funnel. It could attract new leads to the business or steer existing leads towards making a purchasing decision.
B2B Lead Generation Strategies that’ll help deliver Marketing ROI
There are loads of free lead capturing tactics, but only a few will help maximize your ROI. Here are a few effective B2B lead generation strategies that will play up your game.
1. Create High-Quality Content:
Content is a strategic means to focus on developing and delivering practical, meaningful, and reliable information to attract and maintain an audience — and, eventually, to drive profitable consumer action.
In this sea of rivalry, the only way to stand out is:
- To publish regularly based on keyword analysis.
- Mix long and short-form content
- Profiling clients, executives, and partners, and then concentrate on growing the subscriber base.
- Promote their best-performing content with paid advertising.
According to a HubSpot report, companies that publish 16 or more blog posts per month produce 4.5x more leads than those publishing just 0-4 posts per month. Content is relied on by 47% of B2B buyers for research and purchasing decisions. More importantly, before contacting a salesperson, B2B buyers consume at least 3-5 pieces of relevant material.
Evergreen content complements your SEO strategy by helping you to stay fresh in search results. Evergreen content is useful, insightful, and shareable, which are all characteristics that people value in high-quality content. Furthermore, it never goes out of style.
It is quintessential that you personalize your content as per customer response. Use the content consumption behavior of your audience to present personalized content.
2. Gate Your Content Strategically:
It is one of the proven methods for attracting and identifying leads interested in your business. Gated content will help you generate more leads and convert them into sales.
If you have already created a library of content that you know your audience would appreciate, gated content is a good idea. This way, loyal readers won’t be hesitant to give you their names and email addresses in exchange for a chance to read what you have written.
3. Offer content in exchange for an email address or personal data:
Use content that requires users to provide contact information. Doing this will help you to speed up your conversion of new customers. Offer different resources such as, e.g., whitepapers, checklists, handbooks, tools, or anything else you can give your audience. In addition, if there are other opt-in offers, try and use them.
You may even need forms to capture your visitors’ contact information. It’s suggestive that you minimize the number of required fields in the form and ask for information that your sales team needs.
4. Build Communities and Personalize Social Media Interactions:
Whatsoever platform one may choose, you are expected to be active and consistent across your selected platforms. It’s suggestive that more than one channel should be used to promote your brand. Consider whom your target market hangs out with and what type of messages they have a desire to hear.
Start a Facebook group where you discuss pressing industry topics that would be of interest to you. Sharing hashtags on Twitter and Instagram helps connect you with like-minded people or those associated with a specific cause or issue.
As straightforward as it may be to a B2B marketer, LinkedIn is an excellent way to connect with industry colleagues and provide information about your brand. It’s a large-to-small business lead generator in terms of B2B sales. Since 80% of B2B business contacts are sourced from LinkedIn, B2B CEOs have much work to do in social media as some of the prominent brands are yet to impact Linkedin.
With the proliferation of other brands on social media, just making contact with people is not enough. Send personalized messages and connection requests that cut through the marketing noise to reinforce your brand to reach your customers. The most successful results are achieved by being a contributing member of your community.
5. Optimize your landing pages and call-to-to-action elements and periodically monitor actions of your website visitors:
Addressing SEO best practices, concentrating your content on the quality of your offering, optimizing your signup form for interaction, and implementing a customer testimonial campaign are all part of optimizing your landing pages for lead generation.
Making your offer more compelling will help get you more leads and boosts conversions.
For each landing page, focus on a single goal and communicate clearly to drive call-to-to-action (or-contact) traffic, rather than spending time explaining what you are selling in the body of your ad. When it comes to B2B lead generation, your primary goal is to get people to respond, so ensure your landing pages and CTAs convince them to convert. Simplify them by filling out their forms while maintaining an engaging and natural workflow.
The icons on your website could be critical in determining whether or not someone makes it to your desired page. Ensure you have the right colors, shapes, sizes, positioning, and any other attribute that affects how users see your page. A/B Test your CTA buttons to uncover which combination works best towards improving your conversion rate.
Also, asking yourself questions such as: Why are they not converting? Why aren’t they filling up my forms? Why are they liking this webpage so much, etc., can help rectify a situation or apply more of the same strategy (if successful) to other pages. This is often helpful for A/B testing.
6. Optimize your website for Mobile/Tablet users:
B2B online queries have shifted from personal computers to smartphones. With the entry of more B2B businesses due to a subtle shift towards Digital trends and a generation of Millennials and GenZ’s, smartphones have increased manifold. As per Google’s research, 70% of B2B queries are made on mobile phones. Mobile phones can accelerate time to purchase by 20% by increasing efficiency in decision making and enhancing team collaboration.
It would help if you were asking the following questions –
- Is Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) activated on my site?
- Are all of my web pages mobile-friendly? Did users pass Google Mobile-Friendly test?
- Is my website’s content configured for mobile-first indexing?
- Am I getting the most out of micro-interactions?
7. Engage your Audience/prospects via AI Chatbots:
Using chatbots sends a clear message to your prospects that you want a seamless interaction with your users. Incorporating AI into the B2B lead generation strategy also opens up new possibilities for process productivity and optimization. In addition to lowering operating costs, reducing the reliance on human customer service and lead generation will also help you save money.
8. Mobilize the power of Micro-Influencers:
The market is crowded, and big influencers are being inundated with demands. Not only does this make well-known influencers costly, but it also makes them picky on who they collaborate with.
Micro-influencers are the perfect option for marketers in this situation. Despite their enormous capacity to successfully target new markets, these micro-influencers remain untapped. Furthermore, they are less expensive and are less flustered by unsolicited approaches from other brands.
Technology that assist in B2B Lead Generation
Driven by an influx of new insights and a host of emerging technologies, B2B buyer behavior continues to evolve at breakneck speeds. B2B marketers have to recalibrate their lead generation strategies in this ever-shifting landscape.
Technology helps save time in B2B lead generation, especially if monotonous sales activities such as cold calling and outbound emails are automated. Blogging and social media depend upon content management systems. Content that addresses consumer concerns at every step of the buyer’s journey has an exceptional contribution in increasing the number of educated consumers. Besides, advancing technology has heightened consumer expectations for customer experience.
3 Successful Case Studies for B2B Lead Generation
- IBM: IBM had a requirement of conducting 4 tech webinars every month, content syndication activities, and virtual conferences. The challenge for them was that they couldn’t reach the success level they were expecting internally. They required a dedicated marketing team to carry out their end-to-end webinar activities resulting in targeted registrations and attendees.
As a solution, we (Voxturr Consulting Pvt. Ltd.) initially created an Outbound marketing strategy for IBM to reach out to the targeted audience, which resulted in 300+ registrations within 3 weeks.
We promoted and hosted 4 webinars for IBM every month through properly designed campaigns and other marketing activities, content syndication, and virtual conferences across multiple regions. As we began to achieve success, we experimented with multiple channels to deliver interesting leads and engage audiences. With a dedicated marketing team and thorough planning, we managed to register 100,000+ individuals for the webinar using B2B lead generation techniques.
- Sodexo: Sodexo, a leading service and facilities management company in the Food and Beverage industry, faced a challenge wherein they had to reach out to companies interested in corporate gifting during the holiday season. Since the holiday season was nearby, time was essential for them to identify target companies and convert them as early as possible.
As a solution, We (Voxturr Consulting Pvt. Ltd.) created an inbound and outbound marketing strategy to reach Human Resource Directors and Managers. As time was crucial, it was essential to reach out to more and more prospects. Therefore, we planned and executed multiple outreach campaigns using conventional B2B Lead generation techniques like email marketing, Social media marketing platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Quora Ads, and other supportive B2B campaigns. We created a custom messaging based on the prospect’s interaction with the campaign. As a result, we could reach 15,000+ highly-targeted HR contacts facilitating Sodexo to secure 380+ meetings with targeted companies in just a month.
- Dell: Dell, one of the biggest global manufacturers of Personal computers and tablet devices, was facing sheer competition from HP when it came to social media presence. Therefore, Dell decided to promote the Lead Generation of various Dell products on different digital channels. They decided to associate with a Digital marketing agency that could help them build their online presence.
As a solution, We (Voxturr Consulting Pvt. Ltd.) adopted multiple solutions, including targeted Content Marketing and Email Marketing, to reach out to an already engaged audience for higher visibility on search engines, increased conversion potential, and unrivaled return on investment.
Voxturr assisted Dell with its extensively targeted content marketing and content syndication services to promote B2B products such as Dell Latitude, Dell Precision, Dell EMC products, etc. With the help of TechStunt, the tech content channel of Voxturr, they were successful in achieving between 60K-70K+ views across all the Dell products.
Since the audience varied across the vast product portfolio of Dell, Voxturr created email marketing campaigns with dedicated content across various product ranges to promote Dell and Dell EMC products on a large scale.
Customized emails ushered in 25K+ subscribers, and we also targeted the database of CEOs, CMOs, CIOs, IT Managers, and Procurement Managers.
- Outreach – 70k+ Average
- Click Rate – 6%
- Results Average Open Rate – 21%
The content syndication has worked really well and support of email marketing has provided us the edge to promote the product to the target audience. We have successfully generated 400+ high quality leads for Dell and Dell EMC products using different methodologies
The must have B2B Lead Generation Tools
When choosing the tools that will be the best fit for your business and reap the most significant ROI, you need to have a clear understanding of the basics.
We have streamlined our tool recommendations into 3 stages:
- Before conversion
Recommended Tools: pop-ups, Lead Forensics, website analytics
- Pop-up ads on the internet are one such tool to suggest. They work because a screen will pop up when a visitor has met specific criteria to engage with them.
For instance, if someone glances through your pricing page, a pop-up will appear asking if they’d like to speak with someone about pricing. If they answer, they will be assigned to a member of your team. If you’re going to use pop-ups, keep in mind that they must be well-placed and subject to strict guidelines to avoid annoyance.
- Lead Forensics enables people to make a proactive link with a prospect, even before they convert. Set up reminders so that you know anytime a particular company you’re targeting hits the site and what they looked at, allowing you to pick up the call with better timing.
- Website analytics is another useful application. If you want to learn more about what’s going on with your website, Google Analytics is the bare minimum you can be using. The app provides information to aid in your understanding of visitor activity, absolutely free.
- At the point of conversion
Recommended Tools: Form Generator, Landing Page Generator
- This is the point at which a website user considers what you’re selling (i.e., An e-book, a free preview, a callback order) is so compelling that they’re able to trade contact information for it. Typically, this information will be exchanged via a web-based form that requests specific contact information, the most basic of which may be their email address. It should be brief and to the point, demanding only a tiny amount of data at a time and steadily increasing the amount of information requested as the partnership develops.
Tools like MailChimp and Campaign Monitor, for example, are often found inside mass mailing software and would be helpful here. They all offer some form builder.
- Another critical element is the landing page– that is, the web page that an individual visits that contains details about the bid. The best approach is to exclude anything irrelevant to the proposal. It includes links to other pages on your website, so you are guiding the reader to just one conclusion – get the offer now!
3. After conversion
Recommended Tools: CRM, LinkedIn Sales Navigator
- Once someone has converted to your website, you can start communicating with them in other ways, such as by email, based on the quality of the deal. The information they provide can be saved in a CRM database. In an ideal world, you’d have a single account connected to all of a customer’s interactions with the brand. In fact, with smaller teams, this isn’t easy to do, so make the best compromise you can.
Sales Navigator is a social selling channel that provides several features that help you find the right prospects to build trusted relationships. With LinkedIn Sales Navigator, you can reach the right kind of prospects by using the search and filter features. Sales Navigator also provides actionable information and insights that can pave the way for a deeper understanding of leads and prospects. This is how you can engage with your prospects at a far more personal level by offering personalized content, customizations, discounts, and offers.
How Social Media Influences B2B Lead Generation
Social media is a fruitful source of leads. The difficulty lies in the fact that the power of social media is not fully harnessed in the B2B industry. Social media generates leads, but the B2B industry doesn’t take it.
These are a few strategic ways to reverse the trend and recapture the leads on social media platforms:
- Direct the visitors to your website from social media channels: A social media visitor is not a ‘lead’ until you have captured their email address or contact number. You need to ensure that every social media visitor is seamlessly redirected to your website. Providing multiple links to the website or landing pages will capture those leads with email signups, free offers, etc.
- Allow newsletter signups on your Facebook page: Gain leads on social media by inviting newsletter signups directly through the social media channel. This will help you gain the email addresses of social media visitors interested in your newsletter.
- Use powerful CTAs: Since social media is all about marketing, it needs to have a powerful Call-to-action. Promote your company, invite feedback, link your landing pages, or suggest the next step.
Generating leads via effective Content Marketing Techniques
Content marketing is a strategic marketing strategy that focuses on developing valuable content to attract an audience and drive profitable consumer action. Content marketing comprises dozens of segments. Here are a few ways to generate valuable leads via content marketing.
- Host a Webinar: Select a topic that appeals to your marketing segment, and plan a webinar on the subject. Webinars aren’t for selling your product. It is to keep your audience informed about something they are already interested in. It is a relatively low-cost way to get your message before a vast audience and ideally attract many leads.
- Publish Research Reports: Research reports are a valuable source of lead generation. Publishing research reports opens the gateway to connect with new leads.
- Videos: Visual content, undoubtedly, has the most viral potential and popular appeal. For instance, YouTube is the world’s second-largest search engine and a source of viral videos. If you sideline videos, you sideline one of the largest lead generation sources.
- Blog: Blogs, if done right, are the best form of content. They are more likely to appear in search results than any other form of content. To improve your domain authority, dominate search engine results, improve your brand awareness in the industry, and gain recognition, you need a blog on your website. It’s that simple.
These content marketing techniques work together and generate incredible results if done right. For instance, you can publish the results of a research report on your blog, a video extract from your webinar, or announce your webinar on your blog and more. All these methods should be used in tandem with one another.