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What Is B2B Lead Generation? Strategies & Process

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B2B lead generation strategies and process

Are you having trouble generating quality leads for your B2B business? or are you tired of wasting time and resources on marketing tactics that don’t deliver results? If so, then you’re not alone. 😢

A common issue for many B2B companies is finding a way to generate a steady stream of qualified leads who are willing to buy. The basic methods of reaching a client through cold calling or direct mail are no longer very effective, and it is now more challenging to penetrate the market.

Better way? B2B lead generation – a winning strategy that unites content marketing, SEO, social media, and other digital activities to help you get more qualified leads.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the ins and outs of B2B lead generation, from defining your target audience to measuring and optimizing your results. So let’s get started! 🎉

🔐 KEY HIGHLIGHTS

  • B2B(Business-to-business) lead generation refers to the process of identifying and attracting potential clients for a business’s product or service and urging them to purchase.
  • HubSpot, Salesforce, and IBM are some of the popular brands that excel in B2B lead generation.
  • B2B lead generation offers benefits like increased sales and revenue, targeted audience reach, improved return on investment (ROI), enhanced lead quality, and scale and predictability.
  • The B2B lead generation process includes identifying target audiences, attracting potential leads, capturing lead information, lead nurturing, lead scoring and qualification, sales handoff and closing, measuring, and optimizing.

What is B2B Lead Generation?

B2B (Business-to-business) lead generation refers to the process of identifying and attracting potential clients for a business’s product or service and urging them to purchase. However, don’t confuse yourself with B2C, which is all about selling products to consumers. B2B’s main purpose is to create a pipeline of qualified prospects that sales teams can convert into loyal customers.

So, to get started with effective B2B lead generation, you must require an in-depth understanding of the target audience and a well-defined buyer persona. Moreover, a mix of inbound and outbound marketing tactics to attract and engage potential leads.

However, once you have snagged a thorough understanding, you can make a strategy for B2B lead generation which requires content marketing, email marketing, social media outreach, SEO, and PPC advertising. Consequently, by combining these strategies, your business can generate and nurture leads, which will ultimately increase sales and revenue.

B2B Lead Generation Examples

Most successful companies understand that B2B lead generation is not just about collecting contact information – it’s about creating a holistic experience that educates, informs, and builds relationships with potential customers.

So, here are some of the popular brands that excel at B2B lead generation include:

1. LinkedIn: Uses Professional Networking at its Best

As part of its advertising services, LinkedIn uses its extensive professional network to generate B2B leads. By using LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms, businesses can capture leads directly on the platform and increase conversion rates.

For instance, Adobe uses LinkedIn’s tools to promote its Experience Cloud, which targets decision-makers in relevant industries. This strategy led to an increase in lead quality and a substantial rise in conversions.

2. Slack: Uses freemium models to drive engagement

Slack, a popular remote work tool, uses a freemium model to attract B2B leads. By offering a free version of their product, they allow businesses to experience its value firsthand. Once users are engaged and reliant on the platform, Slack targets them with upgrades to premium plans.

A case study highlighted Slack’s success in converting its free users into paying customers, showcasing the effectiveness of the freemium approach in B2B lead generation.

3. IBM: Uses AI to target outreach

Using thought leadership, case studies, and industry expertise, IBM positions itself as a trusted advisor in target markets. They attract and nurture high-quality leads by establishing themselves as subject matter experts.

For lead generation, IBM Watson’s AI capabilities were used to identify and engage potential leads for their cloud services. This approach not only increased the efficiency of their lead generation efforts but also improved the conversion rate, as detailed in a case study.

Benefits of B2B Lead Generation

Benefits of B2B lead generation

There are many benefits of B2B lead generation. Among them, it includes:

  • Increased Sales and Revenue: By attracting high-quality leads that are more likely to convert, B2B lead generation can directly drive sales process growth for your business.
  • Targeted Audience Reach: B2B lead generation helps you to focus your marketing efforts on the specific industries, companies, and decision-makers that are most relevant to your products or services. This leads to a more efficient use of resources.
  • Improved Return on Investment (ROI): Because B2B lead generation targets a more relevant audience, your marketing efforts tend to generate a higher ROI.
  • Enhanced Lead Quality: Strategies like content marketing, SEO, and social media outreach attract leads who are genuinely interested in your offerings. As a result, you can get higher-quality leads that are more likely to convert.
  • Scalability and Predictability: B2B lead generation can be scaled up or down based on your business needs. Thus, this consistent flow of leads can help you to create a more predictable sales pipeline.

Types of B2B Leads

There are two primary leads that help businesses tailor their marketing and sales strategies more effectively, namely Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) and Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs). Let’s discuss what those are.

1. Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs)

MQLs are leads who have shown interest in your products or services through actions like downloading content, attending webinars, or engaging with your social media channels. MQLs are typically the first step in the lead nurturing process.

Most of the time, customers are not quite ready to buy yet, but they have expressed interest in the company. If they have subscribed to your website or downloaded gated content, they might have been interested in your content.

2. Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs)

SQLs are leads that have been further qualified by the sales team and are deemed ready for a sales conversation. SQLs indicate concrete intent to buy. Prospects can demonstrate this intent via direct interaction or conversation with the sales team or by being an engaged demo respondent.

By requesting a demo of your product or service or maybe requesting a sales quote, they’ve engaged with your marketing content. In addition to their purchase intent, this level of engagement qualifies them for direct sales contact.

Who Conducts B2B Lead Generation?

Lead generation for B2B companies is a collaborative effort that involves various departments and roles. The following are the key players in B2B lead generation:

1. Marketing Teams

The marketing team is primarily responsible for creating and implementing the overall B2B lead generation strategy. They use various tactics such as content marketing, social media outreach, email campaigns, SEO, and PPC advertising. 

Moreover, their main goal is to generate interest and awareness about the company’s products or services, nurturing leads until they are ready to be passed on to the sales team.

2. Sales Teams

The sales team plays a crucial role in the B2B lead generation process by directly engaging with leads. They follow up on leads generated by the marketing team, qualify them, and move them through the sales funnel. However, sales and marketing teams work together to get more enhanced lead generation strategies. 

Nevertheless, sales development representatives use methods like cold calling, personalized emails, and product demonstrations to convert leads into customers. They also provide valuable feedback to the marketing team about the quality of leads and the effectiveness of lead-generation efforts.

3. Business Development Teams

The business development team focuses on building relationships with potential partners and strategic accounts. BDRs specialize in identifying and qualifying new business opportunities. They focus on outbound lead generation by reaching out to potential clients through phone calls, emails, and networking events.

Thus, BDRs work closely with the sales team to ensure that leads are properly qualified before they are handed off for further engagement.

4. SEO Specialists

SEO specialists optimize the company’s online presence to improve visibility in search engine results. They conduct keyword research, optimize website content, and implement technical SEO strategies to drive organic traffic. Higher search engine rankings increase the likelihood of attracting qualified leads through organic search.

B2B Lead Generation Process

The B2B lead generation process typically involves several key steps to attract, nurture, and convert potential customers. Here’s a detailed breakdown of the process:

1. Identifying Target Audience

The first step is to clearly define your ideal customer profile (ICP) and create detailed buyer personas. Analyze factors like industry, company size, job titles, pain points, and buying behaviors to identify your target audience. This will help you tailor your lead-generation efforts to the right prospects. However, you can also focus on B2B social selling, which helps you to emphasize building relationships and guiding prospects through the sales process,

2. Attracting Potential Leads

Once you’ve identified your target audience, it’s time to start attracting them to your business. This can be achieved through various marketing tactics such as:

  • Content Marketing: Create valuable, informative content like blog posts, whitepapers, ebooks, and webinars to attract and engage your target audience. 
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Optimize your website and content to rank higher in search engine results and drive organic traffic.
  • Social Media Marketing: Use platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to share content, engage with your audience, and generate leads.
  • Paid Advertising: Run targeted ad campaigns on search engines, social media, or industry publications to reach your ideal customers.

3. Capturing Lead Information

Once potential leads arrive on your website or engage with your content, you need to capture their contact information. This is typically done through lead capture forms, where visitors exchange their details (such as name, email, and job title) in exchange for valuable content or offers. So, ensure that your forms are optimized for conversion and provide a clear value proposition.

4. Lead Nurturing

Not all leads are ready to make a purchase immediately. The lead nurturing process involves providing these leads with relevant, personalized content and communication to move them further down the sales funnel. This can include:

  • Email Marketing: You can send targeted email campaigns with educational content, case studies, and special offers. You can also use B2B Affiliate Marketing to promote products and services. 
  • Marketing Automation: Using marketing automation platforms to automate and personalize lead nurturing based on lead behavior and demographics.
  • Retargeting Ads: Showing ads to leads who have previously visited your website to keep your brand top-of-mind.

5. Lead Scoring and Qualification

As leads engage with your content and move through the sales funnel, it’s important to score and qualify them based on their level of interest and buying intent. Lead scoring assigns a numerical value to each lead based on predefined criteria, such as job title, company size, and engagement with your content. This helps you prioritize the leads most likely to convert.

6. Sales Handoff and Closing

Once a lead is deemed sales-ready, it’s time to hand it off to the sales team for further engagement and closing. The sales team can then reach out to the lead with a personalized pitch, address any remaining questions or concerns, and ultimately convert them into a paying customer.

7. Measuring and Optimizing

Continuous measurement and optimization are crucial for improving the effectiveness of your B2B lead generation process. Track key metrics like lead generation rate, conversion rate, cost per lead, and customer acquisition cost. Use this data to identify areas for improvement and make data-driven decisions to refine your lead generation strategies.

How to Generate B2B Leads: B2B Lead Generation Strategy

How to Generate B2B Leads

Traditionally, B2B sales leads can be generated by door-to-door sales or cold calling, but there are ways or strategies to find the same people more effectively.

Here are 7 proven B2B lead generation techniques and prospecting tools that will boost your sales team.

1. Use Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to Drive Traffic

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a crucial component of any effective B2B lead generation strategy. By optimizing your website and content for search engines, you can attract potential leads who are actively searching for the products or services you offer.

So, focus on optimizations that can improve your site’s ranking, such as keyword research, on-page optimization, and link building. This helps to attract potential leads searching for your products or services.

2. Run an A/B Test

It’s not necessary to get marketing and outreach right on the first try. Almost no company does.   This is where A/B tests come in. Find out what works best for your website and marketing materials by experimenting with different formats, colors, and messages.

Aside from looking for the best products, B2B contacts have specific (and sometimes odd) preferences. You can improve visitor engagement by changing even a simple button to increase B2B lead generation. It’s simply a matter of tracking the numbers and seeing what sticks. Thus, you can also launch some lead-generation campaigns.

3. Get Survey Results

Surveys are important for B2B lead generation as well as for measuring current customer satisfaction. You should not just resolve customer service concerns if they are complaining about the length of time it takes to get in touch.

Identify other places where you can improve communication by customer feedback management so that leads are never left waiting. There are many ways to improve your business: you can install a chatbot, increase email automation, or even expand your staff. If you take a holistic approach to your business, you can solve problems for both your current and potential clients simultaneously.

4. Don’t Let Leads Escape Your Landing Page

It is natural for people to be drawn to interactive content. It is estimated that 81 percent of marketers agree that interactive content is more effective at drawing people’s attention than static content. Therefore, why are most landing pages still static?

Upon landing on your landing page, you must act quickly in order to grab the attention of the leads. There is no doubt that catchy headlines, clear calls-to-action, and large font statistics help, but pop-up boxes can do even more.

Using a contact pop-up box or direct inward dialing option on your landing page forces your prospect to engage with your content. Regardless of whether they close those options, their attention is directed towards your website rather than to what else may be happening around them. Those are the worst-case scenarios.

As a best-case scenario, you should create a box with an entry form for leads to enter their email addresses or a click-to-dial widget to generate sales leads on your website. This will allow potential customers to make a call directly.

5. Personalize Your Web Content for Your B2B Lead Personas

In the world of B2B sales and marketing, generalizations cannot be tolerated. Even though mass emails and marketing automation are useful, personalization is the key to success.

Moreover, Account-based marketing (ABM) has become a mainstream B2B lead-generation tactic. With ABM, you can tailor your website and marketing materials to appeal personally to the leads or segments you find most interesting.

Depending on the visitor’s IP address, you can also code your website to display content based on their location. The process of personalizing is always more time-consuming, but with a good number of B2B marketers doing it, you also shouldn’t avoid it.

6. Optimize B2B Lead Generation Through SEO

If you’re already looking into SEO for long-form written content, did you know you can optimize any content you generate for your company? The right SEO strategy can boost the visibility of any website or press release your company produces.

For instance, consider accounting software, where one of your demographics is independent small businesses. When you implement B2B lead generation strategies, developing content with that specific group in mind can help you identify more targeted SEO questions and keywords.

7. Ask for Referrals

As long as you build successful relationships with your clients, you can receive a fair number of qualified leads. Just like with reviews, where leads care what other buyers think, referrals are related to the higher lifetime value of customers.

If you miss out on this opportunity, it can greatly affect the quality and frequency of your leads. Don’t be afraid to reach out to repeat or favorite customers when you provide a quality product or service. Send a detailed request and supplemental material so they can forward it to their appropriate contacts. Those who love your services will be game for whatever you have to offer.

Conclusion

Effective B2B lead generation is no longer an option – it’s an absolute necessity in today’s highly competitive business landscape. By implementing an integrated strategy that combines content marketing, SEO, social media outreach, and targeted advertising, you can attract a stream of high-quality leads and sustain your business.

Whether you do it through blog posts, webinars, or personalized outreach, your goal should be to position yourself as a trusted advisor. Building relationships with potential clients and guiding them through the sales funnel with relevant, tailored content makes you more likely to turn them into loyal, long-term customers. Hence, taking your B2B lead generation to the next level is possible with the right mindset and a commitment to delivering value.

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Dinesh Silwal

Dinesh Silwal is the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of KrispCall. For the past few years, he has been advancing and innovating in the cloud telephony industry, using AI to enhance and improve telephony solutions, and driving KrispCall to the forefront of the field.

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