Lead generation in B2B marketing refers to the process of locating prospective customers and then engaging in promotional or sales activities to pique their curiosity and entice them to make a purchase. 91% of marketers say it is the single most resourceful option out there. Any company that offers a product needs to generate leads. The more sales lead you to generate, the more money you can make.
As a business-to-business company, you’ll have different standards for what constitutes a competent leader and what the company’s marketing and sales departments need to collaborate on strategically.
There is a long-held belief that sales and marketing are two separate entities. The way sales teams interact with prospective clients has evolved along with changing buyer behavior. Coordinated action is essential. The strategy can help capture leads, qualify them as appropriate, and drive them through the sales funnel.
What is B2B Lead Generation?
In B2B marketing, a lead is a record of a person interested in buying a product or acquiring a service.
Although there are several types of leads, the most relevant for B2B lead generation companies are those that show a high interest in a product or service. We call this type “Hot Leads” or “Qualified Leads,” and with them, the chances of making an effective transaction are higher.
The most effective way starts from reviewing a database, continuously purging it until obtaining those relevant contacts, decision-makers in the purchase process, interested in a product or service, or who may be at the ideal moment of change of supplier or search for new products.
Through the telephone process, lead generation companies filter each of the possible leads until they achieve a substantial increase in sales for companies that have contracted B2B marketing services.
In general terms, a B2B lead represents a company that showed some interest in the product or service that we sell and provided their contact information. That is to say that it is a commercial track.
Thus, lead generation refers to the different marketing actions aimed at capturing those potential customers, such as the delivery of valuable content in exchange for filling out a web form.
Prospecting is very similar. It refers to the strategic process to attract highly qualified potential customers, that is, to generate new and real sales opportunities. But it is not limited to marketing alone and involves different stages of sales prospecting, such as:
- Active search for leads or potential customers
- Qualification of the same to determine if they fit the profile of the buyer person
- Consolidation of a database of qualified prospects
- Prospect tracking
In this sense, we have different types of sales prospecting, such as scanning internal databases, data analytics on technological platforms, consulting external databases such as those of associations, marketing actions, and direct prospecting.
In a certain way, capturing leads is part of the first stages of sales prospecting because a lead obtained does not necessarily fit the qualified prospect we are looking for. This is one of the great challenges in prospecting and lead capture strategies.
When talking about how to feed the B2B sales funnel with good sales opportunities, it is said that it is not enough to have a broad base of unsegmented and unqualified leads. The chances of success grow when we detect the decision-makers and determine a real interest in the business.
What Does a B2B Lead Generation Process Look Like?
A lead generation strategy considers the same objectives and uses activities similar to demand generation but differs by focusing its efforts on capturing potential customer data, leaving positioning (awareness) aside.
Considering this key difference, lead generation focuses on the first conversion: what we want the user to do after capturing their attention.
In online marketing, most of the time, the transition occurs when the user goes from being a visitor to your website or landing page to leave their contact information by sending a form in exchange for valuable content.
In its offline counterpart, it usually happens when attendees at an event you organize (a breakfast or a workshop, for example) leave you their data or personal cards.
Once you have a person’s contact information, the next thing is to guide them through the marketing funnel to mature them as a Lead. With a mix of sending content according to the stage of the purchase cycle in which you are and constant follow-up, we can aspire to convert you into a client.
- A CRM or a marketing automation platform: Having an automated tool to manage your leads is a must. According to VentureBeat, 77% of companies surveyed that had recently implemented business management software saw an increase in lead conversion rate. With a CRM, your sales and marketing teams can manage and track leads until they turn into sales and business opportunities.
- Criteria for qualifying leads: the reality is that not all the leads that enter your funnel will be material for a potential sale. You need lead scoring criteria to focus only on the most promising opportunities. There are many ways to qualify leads, but one of the best known (and the one we use the most) is the BANT model:
- Budget: Does the lead have enough budget to purchase the solution?
- Authority (Authority): Does the lead influence the purchase decision, or is he the one who makes the final decision?
- Need: Does the customer need what you offer?
- Time: How long does the lead expect to close the sale?
- Content designed for each stage: The more personalized the content, the more effective it will be. To hook our potential customers, we must generate valuable content at the moment of each client. The possibilities are many. Blog notes, business cases, product demos. We must ensure that we have material that responds to different levels of depth.
- Speed: Last but not least, you must respond quickly when a lead completes a contact form. Promptness means within 2 business hours. If you do it sooner, much better Remember, if they left their data, it’s because they want to be contacted, and if you don’t do it soon, a competitor will.
At this point, marketing automation is an invaluable ally. You have won a large part of the race by automating your messages and content via email. If the contact happens by phone, it is key that you have a well-oiled commercial management process and a trained team to manage the calls efficiently.
B2B Lead Generation Best Practices
Over the years, companies have used multiple tools to manage leads, contact management software, or spreadsheets. But they only function as a record-keeping system. Sales agents see their leads using these tools but without context.
And that problem is what you can solve with CRM (Customer Relationship Management) lead generation software. In a CRM, each lead has a unique profile that contains demographic information, a chronological list of all conversations, and any data or documents the lead has shared with you. And all that is a small part of what a CRM does.
7 Best Lead Generation Strategies to Drive B2B Sales
- Lead Magnets for generating B2B leads
- Newsletters for engaging B2B leads
- Utilize chatbots for collecting business to business leads
- Social Media Tracking
- Offer free trial to B2B customers
- Organize an event
- Promotions and paid advertisements
1. Lead Magnets
Let’s say a potential customer comes to your website, and you don’t want them to leave empty-handed. You want them to check out your offers and make a purchase if you’re lucky.
To convert browsers into buyers, you can try effective and legitimate ways to create more leads for your business.
Discounts: Offer new buyers an initial discount of 50% (or whatever suits you). People love discounts. Make the deal juicier by offering a hefty initial discount.
A gift: Prepare a free report, e-book, checklist, white paper, or library of specialized resources that users can download to opt-in, which means providing their name and email address so that you can get in touch with them.
Multiple CTAs: As a minimum, three call-to-action (CTAs) are needed. One after the introduction, one after listing the product’s benefits, and one at the end after the testimonials.
Also, a popup near the exit with a final FOMO (fear of missing out) teaser if possible. Post every day or twice a week or 5 times a day, but have a plan. Please make sure the lead magnet is worth your contact information. Ideally, marketing gurus recommend a gift of $20 or $30.
Shortly after the visitor shares their email address, you’ll need to continue to engage with the user through email at scheduled times each week or day, or monthly at least. That’s where the newsletter comes in.
Initially, newsletters should be free but valuable information that gently pushes the reader to get out the credit card for premium material. A study states that email marketing returns $36 for every dollar spent. A streamlined email approach with a personal touch and quick tips can warm up your audience and whet their appetite.
You build familiarity and rapport with potential customers by sharing little tips in email. Little by little, conversions increase based on the frequency of your emails and the usefulness of the content you share in routine emails.
Chatbots are known for driving conversions. For certain products, it’s a better alternative to FAQs, as this seems more interactive. Chatbots are finding their place in both the B2B and B2C industries.
Chatbots through WhatsApp like Softgoza or similar save the human effort and cost of hiring a level 1 chat support team. Develop a conversation script and configure it with easy drag-and-drop templates in a WordPress or similar interface to get started.
Gartner predicted that it wouldn’t be long before more than 25% of customer interactions would be handled without human contact.
4. Social Media Tracking
All companies need accounts on social networks to be present in the online world. Startups already spend a ton of money enlisting the help of social media influencers in the early stages.
Increasing the number of followers makes it easier and faster to advertise new products and services online.
Using the right images, visuals, GIFs, infographics, and videos can work wonders in an online post. Optimize posts on your blog, Linkedin, FB page, Medium, Tweets, or IG to include a CTA or lead to a sales page.
Social media presence and interaction with people who engage with your brand also establishes credibility. Having an active presence on social media is a non-negotiable to be successful in the market that will soon be virtual forever.
5. Free trial
A free trial is one of the best ways to get potential customers to try your product. Do you remember when stores or supermarkets offered a product sample as a promotion?
It’s more of a way to get your foot in the door of potential customers and win them over time. Previously, vacuum cleaners and water purifiers were offered in homes for a free trial week. Users could return them or pay for them. More often than not, consumers will buy them.
The same goes for website builders, SEO tools, and other online software products. There is a free trial offer and an upgrade offer.
Most of us have used the free version of Grammarly and upgraded to the Pro version after using the free feature for a year. The product does the job of being the best seller.
In his editorial classic “Scientific Advertising,” Legendary copywriter Claude Hopkins swears that giving away free samples is more powerful and cheaper than hiring an advertising agency to market your wares.
6. Organize an event
Hosting a webinar or master class is one of the most requested methods course creators use to influence potential customers to enroll in their author course. It is also very popular with finance companies and cryptocurrency startups to invite investors into the fold via a recorded webinar.
Webinars and video masterclasses are also popular mediums for people who don’t want to read a lot of text. Videos are more attractive to the general public. Attendees get an idea of what they are likely to buy, which helps make decisions faster.
You can enhance your webinar by offering a free manual or a discount for potential new customers. Using celebrities and influencers to endorse the new business is a winning combination. More and more YouTubers are emerging. The number of YouTube channels earning $10,000 or more per year grew 50%, year over year.
7. Promotions and paid advertisements
Targeted ads are more effective than generic ones, but surfers often ignore Google ads. However, several PPC lead generation campaigns on popular websites with a decent click-through rate (CTR).
With paid promotions, you can access a niche audience interested in the specific type of products and services you offer. You can target all your competitor customers who are the best prospects for your new business.
FB Ads, Twitter Ads, and Google Ads are typical promotions that can appear on your potential customers’ websites. The writing of a paid promotion must be top-notch to win over new customers, who must be captivated by the new advantages compared to what they are using.
Talk about results and numbers if you have them.
Technology is a major plus that could do wonders for B2B lead generation. Web-based tools like blogs and social media networks rely on the Internet and content management systems to do their marketing work for them. Automated sales activities, such as cold calls and emails, are possible.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems can keep track of interactions with B2B leads. A good strategy is to use CRM data and nurture your leads to improve customer relationships and increase sales by analyzing them.
In recent years, there has been a significant increase in sales and marketing technology, particularly in the B2B sector. A wide range of B2B lead generation solutions is now at your fingertips. Most of them are delivered via the SaaS model or software-as-a-service. The technology stack, or technology stack, is the total number of tools a company uses.