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B2B Lead Generation: Definition, Process, Methods

In today’s fiercely competitive market, capturing customer attention is more challenging than ever. Therefore, it’s crucial to discover practical strategies to connect with the right audience. For this reason, we’ve decided to talk about B2B lead generation, the definition, process, and methods you can use to ensure you gain the attention of as many businesses as possible. 

Some of the topics we’ll discuss today are:

Once you’ve reviewed this article, you’ll have no issues figuring out which approach to take to generate leads and make sales. You’ll understand what B2B leads are and what you need to do to create and develop them into paying customers.

What are B2B Leads?

B2B leads are organizations that show potential to become clients or customers of a company offering a business-to-business product or solution. Business-to-business leads develop as a result of successful B2B marketing efforts.

Also, B2B marketing differs from business-to-customer (B2C) marketing. While B2B marketing aims to reach businesses in a specific industry, B2C marketing targets individuals.

Imagine a business-to-business lead as a key that opens the door to a potential client. This key could be the name of decision-makers within a company, an email address, a phone number, or even just a company name.

B2B leads often have an interest in what your business has to offer, and it’s the job of B2B marketers to find a way to convert those leads into actual customers.

Types of B2B Leads

Qualifying the types of leads that you have is an integral part of lead management. Leads are at the very top of the sales funnel, so you can’t be sure if they will convert.

For this reason, marketing teams need to qualify these leads. The most common way of qualifying is with one of two qualifications those being marketing-qualified leads (MQLs) and Sales-qualified leads (SQLs)

Marketing-Qualified Leads (MQLs)

Marketing-qualified leads, or MQLs, are prospects who are highly likely to convert into paying clients. MQLs typically show behavioral patterns such as multiple visits to the pricing page, form completion, webinar and course participation, and ebook downloads. 

Even though their actions might change, MQLs are usually considered strong leads since they know your service or product and are probably prepared to buy.

Sales-Qualified Leads (SQLs)

SQLs, or sales-qualified leads, are MQLs identified by the marketing and salespeople as ready for the next stage of the sales process. 

Whether getting a salesperson’s attention, requesting a demo, or even signaling to a teammate that they want to buy something, MQLs can switch to SQL by demonstrating intent to purchase.

Why is B2B Lead Generation Important?

B2B lead generation is the bread and butter of any company looking to start a successful marketing campaign. Lead generation is the first step towards figuring out who your customers are. 

Furthermore, you can’t have customers without a strategy to attract them. The ideal strategy is one that works and can be repeated to keep bringing in customers. For this reason, you need to figure out how to generate leads as soon as possible to maximize the effectiveness of your marketing campaign.

On the other hand, generating leads allows you to initiate the journey for your business customers. You can guide them through the sales funnel and build lasting relationships by raising awareness about your offerings.

Who Conducts B2B Lead Generation?

Sales and marketing professionals conduct B2B lead generation. These individuals can work independently but most often in teams to ensure that the lead generation strategy they create is seamless and practical. That said, each team focuses on a different aspect of lead generation.

  • Sales teams: are responsible for sourcing and scoring B2B sales leads, engaging with potential customers, and booking meetings. They also close deals and generate revenue for the business.
  • Marketing groups: focus on nurturing leads. They guide potential clients from initial brand awareness through the sales process to complete conversion.

Collaboration between these teams breeds clear communication, shared goals, and a uniform approach among the two teams about nurturing and closing these leads. 

What is the Best B2B Lead Generation Process?

The process of B2B lead generation starts with marketing channels or any other means by which your target audience can discover you. Today, we will cover Inbound and outbound marketing. 

  • Inbound marketing: this lead generation process generates leads when potential clients find your business online, typically through search engines, social media, or ads. Sales cycles are often shorter, and conversion rates are higher for inbound leads. 
  • Outbound marketing: this lead-generation process involves cold calling, emailing, and social media prospecting. Sales cycles for these leads tend to be longer and necessitate more nurturing and interaction. 

With that in mind, the following is an overview of the necessary steps in the B2B lead generation process.

Identify and Find B2B Sales Leads

To gain strong B2B leads, it’s essential to have a solid understanding of an ideal buyer. Just like with B2C lead generation, this requires creating a buyer persona, which defines the characteristics of your target audience. 

However, a B2B buyer persona is different from a B2C persona since the person we are making a persona for is usually a corporate executive or a middle manager. 

Outlining the age, demographic, industry, job title, goals, and pain points of this buyer persona will help you identify the direction in which you should aim your marketing efforts. Once you know the ideal customers, it’s time to scout out businesses that closely fit that description.

Research and get the contact information of as many businesses that fit your buyer persona as possible. Then, compile a list of the most promising B2B buyers. Once you have a list, you can move on to the next step.

Reach Out to Leads

You can start your outreach effort if you have a solid list of potential clients. With that in mind, cold emails and calls are some of the best, most cost-effective ways to reach out. These two approaches sound similar, but they are entirely different.

Cold emails are a great way to introduce yourself, what you offer, what value you provide, and how you can help address the prospect's pain points. However, you must be very careful when sending one. 

Cold emails that are not personalized, clear, and concise often end up in spam folders and can even hurt your domain reputation. For this reason, make sure you understand how to write effective cold emails.

On the other hand, cold calls are also a great way of reaching out. They don’t require as much preparation as cold emails and allow you to share a lot more information quickly.

Cold calling has a drawback, though, because the company you are calling has an easy way out: They can just hang up. Telemarketers have also turned most people against cold calls over time, to the point where they are unwilling to give you a chance to explain how you can help them.

Qualify and Prospect High-Quality Leads

Once you have reached out to all your prospects, it’s time to conduct lead qualification. To do this, you need to figure out how far down the sales pipeline each of your prospective customers are. 

Some businesses you contacted may have immediately accepted your offer, some may have had follow-up questions, and others may not have even acknowledged it. Qualify the leads depending on whether they are in the pipeline's awareness, consideration, or decision stage.

Focus more on the leads further down the sales pipeline. Try to prioritize high-quality leads that are most likely to convert.

Close the Leads by Making a Sale

To close a lead, you have to make a sale. However, this can sometimes be easier said than done. Closing requires you to use effective sales techniques, one of which is consultative selling.

Consultative selling is effective if you’ve already had several correspondences with a potential client. This technique requires you to fully understand the pain points and needs of the business you are selling to.

This approach is perfect if you wish to create a strong relationship and trust with the buyer. Whenever possible, aim to have a conversation with prospects rather than pushing them to buy your products or services at all costs.

Best B2B Lead Generation Strategies 

It is difficult to compile a list of the best B2B lead generation strategies because there are so many. For example, lead generation methods that work for a software as a service (SaaS) business will differ in many ways from methods used by a company selling souvenirs.

For this reason, before considering any of the following strategies, make sure they fit your business model and marketing strategy.

A/B Test Campaigns

An A/B test campaign focuses on trying out different campaigns at the same time. This allows you to see which is the best fit, or at the very least, gives you an idea of where to improve. 

Moreover, A/B testing may be the only way to determine which type of campaign will bring in the most opportunities. 

Testing is also necessary for outreach optimization. This means that even once you decide on a strategy, you must continually test it out in different ways to see if there are ways to improve it.

Make the Website Mobile-Friendly

Making your website mobile-friendly is the first of a few SEO-related B2B lead generation strategies we will mention today. While it may seem odd to some people that having a site that works well on the phone can influence lead generation, we assure you it can.

Let’s begin by mentioning that almost 61% of web traffic comes from mobile devices today. This means that more than half of your prospects will likely find you while scrolling on their phone. 

For this reason, it’s imperative that the mobile version has a mobile-friendly layout, loads fast, and contains all the necessary Calls to action (CTAs). Neglecting this essential element can lead to a lost opportunity.

Use Google Ads to Target Leads

Google ads offer many valuable tools that will help you generate leads. For instance, with Google Ads Manager, you can target specific keywords your potential leads are searching for. You can then bid on these keywords, which will help you reach the top of the SERPs.

Another aspect of your Google Ads campaign you can focus on is creating good ad copy and landing pages. Compelling ad copy will catch consumers' eyes and entice them to visit your website. 

That is where a strong landing page comes into play. You want to greet potential customers with a page that explains the benefits of collaborating with you and encourages them to take the next step.

Optimize Your CTAs

Calls to action (CTAs) are an indirect but obvious approach to generating leads. By using CTAs, you practically ask the lead to make a purchasing decision. For this reason, CTAs are most effective for prospects further down the sales funnel.

That said, you can optimize your call to action to make it more “clickable” and noticeable. Calls to action usually consist of a button with a specific message, such as “buy now,” or “call now,” etc. They should be unambiguous but not too flashy.

Build Social Proof

Social proof is necessary for lead generation because it establishes trust and credibility. The most common ways of building social proof are through testimonials and case studies.

If you have satisfied customers, asking them to write a testimonial can do wonders for your B2B lead generation effort. Potential customers don’t want to hear how good your product is from you; they want to hear it from someone who has used a product or service and doesn’t have skin in the game.

Take Care of Q&As

A Q&A page on your website effectively answers the most common questions you get about your product or service. It is also a great place to share specific information on the value you can provide to your customers.

Having a Q&A page is also convenient. People can quickly skimp through the page to find questions and answers they are interested in. 

Additionally, you can attach a link to the Q&A page when you send out cold emails. This way, you don’t have to overload your message with information and risk landing in the spam inbox. 

Publish Case Studies and Original Research

If you have few customers or none are willing to give a testimonial, a case study will suffice. Case studies examine how your product or service successfully solved a real-world problem. 

They are usually step-by-step documents that describe the process of using your service or product and its performance. For this reason, creating a few case studies is a brilliant idea, even if you have testimonials.

On the other hand, you can look into publishing original research. Publishing has several benefits. First, it shows that you are an expert in your field. Second, it shows that you are actively looking for new ways to test out your product/service, which indicates a commitment to growth.

Test Creative Outreach Methods

There are endless Creative outreach methods, and which one you choose will depend on the type of business you run. However, a personalized video is one of the more creative ways that most companies can take advantage of.

Personalized videos can be a less formal way of introducing yourself to audiences. Still, they are also one of the better tactics for getting results with visitors who don’t respond to typical email marketing. 

Target Leads on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the best resource for outbound lead generation. On LinkedIn, you’ll find many people interested in what you have to say and what you have to sell. Businesses that offer something valuable can quickly make a name for themselves.

To maximize lead generation on LinkedIn, share tips and tricks for success in your niche and advice and resources that people can use to improve their roles. LinkedIn is the perfect place to promote your services, and it’s easy to get engagement. 

However, LinkedIn has almost 1 billion users, so there is much competition. Therefore, you need to be consistent to see results. You won’t see conversions if you don’t commit to regular blog posts and content creation that resonates with people.

Use Alternative Social Media Platforms

While Facebook and Twitter may be the first platforms that come to mind when discussing social media, many more options exist for effectively connecting with your target audience. One example is Tumblr, which continues to attract a younger audience and has over 500 million blogs.

Another alternative social media platform you can use to generate B2B leads is Reddit. You’ll find countless subreddits dedicated to specific niches and industries on Reddit. And while outright promotion is frowned upon on Reddit, it is an excellent place to understand what potential clients may be looking for.

Increase Your Social Shares

Social shares are significant because they drive organic traffic and generate leads. However, to develop social shares, you must first create shareable content. Blog posts are the most common type of shareable content. 

As a result, it is critical to include a dedicated blog page on your website. You can then use this blog page to cover various industry topics. For instance, you can share data and insights about your niche or discuss different problems and their solutions.

It is critical to include a dedicated share button on each post. This button functions similarly to a Call-to-Action (CTA). Nonetheless, the goal will be to encourage readers to share the post on their social media profiles.

Optimize for Long-Tail Keywords

Optimizing for long-tail keywords is essential for lead generation and content marketing. Long-tail keywords are often queries that users type into Google when searching for specific things.

Long-tail keywords are much more specific and targeted than short-tail ones, which tend to cover a broader range of topics. Because of this, long-tail keywords are easier to rank for in some respects than short-tail keywords due to lower competition.

That said, to effectively optimize for long-tail keywords, you should try to predict what a potential lead will type into Google and incorporate that query into your content in some form.

Start a Referral Program

A referral program is one of the most effective ways of generating B2B leads. These programs are built on the same philosophy that makes word-of-mouth so effective. To be more specific, the belief that people are more likely to buy a product or service if a trusted source or a third party recommends it. 

However, if you’ve just started a referral program, you must advertise it to get the ball rolling. Make sure to announce the launch of your referral program by:

  • Announcing it on your website homepage.
  • Sharing the news on social media platforms like Facebook.
  • Ending direct messages to your existing customers. 
  • Use a promotional video to introduce your referral program and its advantages.

Email Sign-Ups

Email sign-ups are a proven and effective method for generating B2B leads. They help build and populate mailing lists through strategically placed email sign-up forms. To make the most of this strategy, you only need to create a form and offer something in return for the people filling it out.

Businesses often offer incentives for signing up for their email lists, such as whitepapers, ebooks, exclusive deals, and promotions. Furthermore, you can share helpful content, such as industry-specific podcasts, webinars, and informative blogs, to keep your audience engaged.

Create Target Audience Profiles

As mentioned, creating target audience profiles is necessary to maximize lead generation. Targeting the right customer personas will simplify your marketing and advertising efforts. To create a solid customer persona, try asking the following questions:

  • Who is visiting my website?
  • How did they come across my company?
  • What are their main interest?
  • Which demographic are they a part of?
  • What are their purchasing habits?

Answering these questions will give you a general idea of your target audience. However, if this is insufficient, you can consider implementing a customer relationship management system (CRM). A CRM can help track customer activity, segmentation, and behavior analysis.

Build a Social Media Community

A strong social media community behind you can serve as an endless well of possible B2B leads. However, there are so many different social media platforms out there, and it is impossible to have a large presence on all of them. For this reason, you should choose the right platforms for your business.

We suggest you make a business-focused platform like LinkedIn, which is the base of your community. 

However, Facebook is also a platform where you can develop a following. On Facebook, It’s easy to make new contacts, communicate with customers, and make announcements. Furthermore, the Facebook marketplace can significantly increase your revenue and sales opportunities. 

Make Use of Video Marketing

One underutilized resource for generating leads is YouTube. Many business owners believe that YouTube is just a content creation platform. They don’t realize the potential YouTube has for improving the company's overall visibility on the Internet. 

Video marketing works similarly to content marketing on your blog. You can create a channel and then produce informative, educational, or promotional videos showcasing your skills or field experience. 

The benefit of video marketing is that it scales extremely well. Out of one YouTube video, you can create multiple “shorts” that you can then upload on Facebook, Instagram, or even TikTok if your audience is there.

Collaborate With Micro-Influencers

Micro-influencers have taken the marketing world by storm in the last ten years. Successful businesses worldwide are implementing some form of influencer marketing, and for good reason.

Collaborating with well-known individuals can help you reach both businesses and individuals. These influencers use viral marketing to promote what you have to offer to thousands or sometimes millions of people online.

Moreover, micro-influencers abound, and you can be sure that no matter which industry or niche you are in, you’ll be able to find an influencer ready to promote your business. 

However, if you cannot find an influencer, you’ll surely be able to find an enthusiast with a YouTube channel or a large following on Facebook. You can contact these individuals and offer them your product/service in exchange for a shoutout.

Make Use of Cold Emails

Sending cold emails is a great way to reach potential B2B leads if you are on a budget. It doesn’t take a lot of resources to send cold emails, but it does take a lot of time and research. For a cold email to work, you must tailor it to the person or business you are contacting.

You must ensure that the cold email is personalized, concise, and conveys the value you offer. Moreover, the subject line must be direct and intriguing. Without a good subject line, most people will ignore your message or flag it as spam.

Finally, it’s a good idea to ensure that the businesses you are trying to contact have deliverable addresses. That’s why using something like BookYourData’s real-time email verification can be very helpful. Using this service can save you a lot of time and money while increasing the success rate of your cold email campaigns.

You can boost your cold emails with verified leads from BookYourData.

Offer Free Incentives

Offering a free trial or a product demo is a direct way to engage potential B2B leads. Most people are hesitant to try out new services or products because they are unwilling to pay the upfront cost for something they are not certain will work. 

This is why trials and demos are so effective. It allows your potential customers to experience the value of the offer firsthand. Moreover, if you can improve this strategy by adding in limited-time trials, or if you have the budget for it, create a personalized demo.

Lastly, free incentives are helpful because they allow you to qualify your leads further. If they accept your free trial, you can place them at the bottom of your funnel. If they refuse your free offer, you can either remove them from the funnel or just put them on a different level if you believe it is worthwhile.

The Most Important B2B Lead Generation Facts to Keep In Mind

Practical strategies and tools are necessary to identify and target potential B2B buyers. If the marketing and sales teams work together, they can quickly bring new leads to the pipeline through content and email marketing.

The best B2B lead generation strategies include leveraging LinkedIn and building a solid community, optimizing your Calls to action for maximum engagement, getting social share, doing original research, and providing extensive case studies.

That said, the lead generation process can be exhausting and overwhelming. This is why platforms such as BookYourData exist. With BookYourData, you have access to a plethora of resources that can help you make the process of reaching new customers easier and more successful.

Feel free to visit BookYourData today and find out everything it can do for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Most Effective B2B Lead Generation Channels?

The most effective B2B lead generation channels are LinkedIn, content marketing, organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and Google Ads. These channels will help you reach the majority of possible leads.

How Do You Measure the Success of a B2B Lead Generation Campaign?

To measure the success of a B2B lead generation campaign, you need to follow several Key performance indicators (KPIs). These include Average Lead Value (ALV), Cost Per Lead (CPL), Lead Conversion Rate (LCR), and Return on Ad Spend(ROAS). 

How Can B2B Companies Improve Lead Quality?

B2B companies can improve lead quality in several ways. These include creating a customer persona, implementing a lead-scoring system, and ensuring collaboration between the marketing and sales teams.

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