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B2B Lead Generation: How To Do It Right

DATE

14 May 2024

WRITTEN BY

Jeevan

The ultimate goal of any business is to make money. How do you do that? By generating leads, of course! As marketing adapts to the changes in the digital landscape, so should lead generation. That’s why we’re writing this blog to show you how B2B lead generation works and how you can use it to grow your business in the digital era.

An Introduction To B2B Lead Generation

What Is B2B Lead Generation?

B2B lead generation refers to identifying potential buyers, nurturing their interest, and finally converting them into customers. Lead generation is the backbone of any business. For B2B, lead generation should especially take the front seat in your marketing strategy. 

Knowing what B2B lead generation is is only half the knowledge. To fully understand B2B lead generation, let’s look at how it works.

How Does B2B Lead Generation Work?

B2B lead generation is slightly different from B2C lead generation. It is not as simple as attracting customers and initiating sales when they visit your website. 

Due to the nature of the transaction and the amount of money involved, B2B lead generation is a lengthy process. To simplify this process, we’ll look at the different stages of the marketing funnel and see what role B2B lead generation plays in each stage.

1. Awareness

In this stage, you deal with potential buyers who are a good fit for your business. They usually have no prior information about your company and are considered cold leads.

Your business can increase cold leads in two ways: inbound and outbound lead generation. Inbound deals with raising awareness of your brand and waiting for the leads to come to your brand. 

On the other hand, outbound lead generation is about reaching out to potential buyers and cultivating their interest in your business.

 2. Interest

Once potential buyers show interest, they move down the funnel and become warm leads. This interest could take any form, from visiting your website to following you on social media. 

This is where your business should take a proactive step towards interacting with them. For B2B businesses, this would mean sending them personalised communications with offers or providing information that could build trust towards your brand.

3. Consideration

Once a lead has been made aware of your business and has generated interest, your company becomes a part of many choices for them. This is when they weigh the pros and cons of buying your offerings and considering other options. That’s why this stage is called the consideration stage.

This is where B2B lead generation takes centre stage. You must convince potential buyers that buying your offerings is their best option. Give them free trials, explain additional benefits, and show them guides or case studies. B2B lead generation is a wide field with many options you can choose from depending on the situation and your offerings.

4. Action

The final stage of the marketing funnel deals with leads who are finally ready to make a purchase. However, just because they are ready to purchase does not mean you are at the end of your B2B lead generation journey. 

The reason for this becomes evident when you look at the nature of B2B transactions. B2B transactions, more often than not, do not end with a single purchase. They are usually a contract to provide a product or service for a specified duration. That’s why building relationships with your customers is so important in B2B. 

So, where does B2B lead generation come in this picture? That’s simple! You build a foundation for the next cycle of transactions at this stage. Provide them with a stellar customer experience and additional benefits for maintaining a relationship with your brand. 

An example of this is how many brands send regular newsletters with offers and insights to their customers. 

These stages can give you an overall picture of how B2B lead generation works. As you might expect, you need to use a different approach for each stage and even for different types of leads. For best results, most B2B businesses classify their leads in two ways and adopt different strategies for each category.

How To Classify Your B2B Leads:

B2B lead generation is an expensive process requiring time and effort. To get the utmost efficiency, most B2B businesses spend their resources once a potential buyer has shown interest in their company. That’s why B2B leads are classified as follows:

Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs)

These leads have already shown interest in your business due to your marketing efforts. They are leads who have given you their information and can be contacted by your sales team. Warm leads belong in this category. 

How B2B lead generation deals with MQLs is simple. They provide them with information, valuable content and personalised communication to increase their interest in your offerings.

Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs)

SQLs belong to the next stage of the marketing funnel and include hot leads. They have shown interest in being contacted by your sales team and are awaiting negotiations. 

They have a higher conversion rate and are very important for your business. Most B2B lead generation strategies recommend contacting them through your sales representatives. 

Since they have a high rate of conversions, spending more resources on them is viable. Especially for B2B businesses, where the quality of leads is more important than quantity, SQLs are the holy grail of lead generation.

Now that you know the basics of B2B lead generation, it’s time to move on to the next step. How to generate leads for your business.

How To Generate Leads For Your B2B Business

1. Identifying Your Target Audience

The first step in B2B lead generation is identifying the target audience. Before you start your lead generation campaign, you must understand who you are targeting and why they would purchase your product or service. This is done through two steps.

Step 1: Conduct Market Research

This allows you to gather insightful information about the market, including industry trends, competitor analysis and customer behaviour. With this, you can identify potential opportunities and areas for growth.

Step 2: Create Buyer Personas

You must create the ideal customer profile based on the data gathered from your market research and your goals and objectives. Identify their preferences, motivations and pain points. Then, tailor your lead generation campaigns accordingly.

2. Selecting A Marketing Strategy

Once you have an idea of your target market, it’s time to select what approach you will use. Depending on the buyer personas you have created, you can go for inbound or outbound marketing strategies. 

Depending on your choice, you will have more options along the way. Each has its advantages and limitations. For best results, we recommend a combination of the two to get the best of both worlds.

3. Adopting A Content Marketing Strategy

Whether you are using inbound or outbound marketing, it is necessary to use content marketing strategically. This is important throughout all stages of the marketing funnel.

Create the right messaging to get across to your target audience and reinforce that message throughout all the stages of your marketing campaign.

4. Implementing Your Marketing Strategy

The core of B2B lead generation is how effectively you can implement your strategy. Just knowing what you need to do is not enough. You need to use different tactics, from both inbound and outbound marketing, to move your prospective buyers from the top of the funnel all the way down. 

We will be talking about the different B2B lead generation strategies in the next section. The core takeaway is that your entire lead generation strategy relies on the success of this stage.

5. Following Up On Your Leads

Once you have successfully implemented your B2B lead generation strategy, you will start receiving different types of cold, warm and hot leads. What you need to do now is to reinforce your messaging so that all three types eventually become customers. 

This step is especially important in B2B marketing, as the transaction cycles are long and require a lot of negotiations. Your sales representatives must be trained and armed with resources to make this stage successful.

6. Refining Your B2B Lead Generation Strategy

Like any marketing strategy, constant evolution is a must. Track the right metrics and find areas to improve. 

A/B testing is one necessary step to optimise your B2B lead generation strategies. What may work in January may not work in May. Constantly monitor your progress to find out what works at the moment. 

Don’t forget to record the information and analyse the data to make better strategies for the future. The more information you have, the better your future performance will be.

And that’s how B2B lead generation works. As promised, here are a few B2B lead generation strategies you can adopt to grow your business.

B2B Lead Generation Strategies

1. Optimising Your Website

Your website is the storefront of your business in the digital era. This is where your marketing campaigns will lead your potential customers. Optimising your website is the same as designing the visiting room in your office. You must make your leads comfortable and willing to explore a relationship with your business. 

Optimising your website is not all about aesthetics. You want it to be informative and easy to navigate. And you want to convince your leads to take action. 

Creating compelling landing pages is one of the most essential aspects of optimising your website. With persuasive copywriting and a visually appealing design, you will have a higher chance of converting your leads.

2. Effective Content Marketing

Content marketing plays a pivotal role in lead generation. As most interactions between you and your leads will occur online, you need to utilise effective content marketing strategies to nurture your leads. 

With a good content marketing strategy, you can:

  • Create engaging and informative content on your website
  • Attract visitors to your website through paid ads
  • Generate interest through social media
  • Maintain and retain customers through email marketing

An example of using compelling content marketing is Semrush. They are leaders in providing SEO tools for businesses. One of the reasons for their success is their effective use of content marketing. Through their blog, they offered guides and informational articles, quickly becoming a figure of authority in the industry.

3. Paid Advertising

Paid advertising is the most surefire way to generate leads. It can reach thousands of viewers very quickly. With paid advertising, your reach is guaranteed, and you face less competition than organic marketing. 

You can also target your audience more efficiently, increasing the quality of the leads you find. 

The different types of paid advertising available for B2B lead generation are as follows:

Types Of Paid Advertising

Search Engine Advertising
An example of b2b lead generation using Search Engine Advertisement on Google Search

The first thing anyone does when they need information is to do a Google search. By using paid advertising in search engines, you can guarantee that you are the first business they come across.

Social Media Advertising
An example of b2b lead generation using social media advertising on LinkedIn

Seamlessly appear on the social media feeds of your leads if they have previously shown interest in your products or services. The algorithms can detect their interest in similar products and show them your ads, increasing brand awareness.

Display Advertising
An example of display advertising on a website

Show up on websites like billboards on highways. Platforms like Google Ads use search history and behaviour to show your ads to your target audience and remind them of your business.

Video Advertising
An example of video advertising on YouTube

Do not underestimate the importance of videos. Google’s own Consumer Insights show that over 70% of B2B buyers go through videos on their buyer journey. So why not show your ads when they do?

Native Advertising
An example of lead generation using native advertising on Amazon

Seamlessly appear on a platform and blend your ads with the native content. This non-disruptive way of advertising fosters a high engagement and ensures contextual relevance.

4. Utilising Social Media

Social media is an effective tool for B2B lead generation. With social media marketing, you can attract many viewers, create engaging content and use the platform to kickstart your B2B lead generation efforts. 

Social media allows you to interact with your audience actively. You can address enquiries, generate interest and lead them towards the next stage of the funnel through strategic marketing techniques. 

For B2B businesses, social media platforms like LinkedIn are especially useful. LinkedIn enables you to connect with other companies and engage in industry-specific networking.

5. Remarketing For Lead Generation

Remarketing refers to engaging with an audience who has already shown interest in your business. It is a very effective way to move your leads further into the marketing funnel. Paid ads using search history and user behaviour are considered the best platform for remarketing. 

Email marketing is another avenue for remarketing. By recording visitors’ information on your website, you can send emails to remind them of your business after some time has passed.

6. Retaining Customers

B2B purchases are often not a one-off thing. There’s a reason B2B lead generation emphasises building relationships. B2B products and services, especially the SaaS variety, require subscriptions for continued usage. 

Not to mention, it is 5 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than to retain one. Then, you will have increased brand loyalty as an added benefit. 

Again, email marketing shines here. It is incredibly effective for customer retention. By providing promotional offers, informational newsletters and simple reminders, you can use emails to improve customer retention drastically.

7. Networking And Relationship Building

As mentioned many times before in this article, B2B lead generation places a huge emphasis on relationship building. What better way to build relationships than actively networking within the industry?

The easiest way to do this is through platforms like LinkedIn, which is specially designed to facilitate this.

You can also attend industry-specific events like conferences to build a network of connections and showcase your products and services.

8. Search Engine Optimisation

B2B lead generation does not always have to be expensive. You can optimise the content of your website and social media pages to ensure that the algorithms display your content to the right audience. 

Using blogs and webpages targeting specific keywords is a free and efficient way to ensure your website shows up on the top of search results. 

Organic marketing may not be as effective as paid advertising, but it is the most efficient in terms of ROI due to its incredibly low cost.

9. Account-Based Marketing

ABM is considered the best B2B lead generation strategy. By focusing resources on a few key clients and using personalised campaigns for each, you can significantly increase the chance of conversions.

Of course, this is depending on the industry and resources available. However, the effectiveness of ABM is unquestionable, and it is a tried-and-tested strategy for B2B lead generation.

Even though the initial resources needed may seem high, the overall efficiency of ABM is much higher than that of most marketing strategies. Do this if your focus is on high-value accounts.

A great example of this is Salesforce’s ABM campaign. Called the “Connected Tower” experience, Salesforce lets prospective customers go on a virtual tour of a “smart building”, allowing them to experience how their program works.

There are many more B2B lead generation strategies you can use. The important thing to note is that implementing them right is the only guarantee for success. For that, we’ve compiled a list of simple tips you can use to increase the success of your B2B lead generation.

B2B Lead Generation Tips

  • Always implement a call-to-action (CTA) on every page of your website and your social media posts.

  • Use gated content like checklists and templates to convert warm leads into hot leads.

  • Build a targeted email list for potential leads. Use a subscription option on your emailers for added effect.

  • Use webinars and collaborative events to display your expertise.

  • Create case studies. They are an effective lead generation tool that the sales team can use to convert leads.
  • Implement chatbots to save costs on customer service. AI-driven chatbots can even drive leads up the marketing funnel.

To conclude, B2B lead generation is a vast landscape with endless possibilities. There are so many ways to generate interest and nurture leads that picking the right mix can be daunting. If you feel that your efforts are best used elsewhere, TargetG can be your perfect partner. Talk to us today to learn how our experts can help you generate qualified leads for your B2B business.

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