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One aspect of business that we may never fully comprehend is lead generation. Once a lead is found, there are hundreds of successful lead nurturing and sales plan templates, but even the most successful companies struggle with lead generation in the first place.

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Though there will never be a single foolproof formula for generating leads for your business, there are certainly tried-and-true strategies you can employ in the 2023 market. This article will provide you with 15 B2B lead generation strategies that you can begin implementing right away.Lead generation may not be easy, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be simplified.

What is B2B lead generation?

B2B lead generation is the process of identifying and enticing ideal potential buyers for your product or service. To pique the interest of this target audience and guide prospects through the sales funnel, sales and marketing teams employ a variety of lead generation strategies. Because future success is dependent on generating interest from the right sources, generating B2B leads is an important first step.

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Although traditionally considered a component of a company’s advertising efforts, lead generation is not restricted to paid advertising channels. Most businesses use a combination of the following:

Types of B2B leads

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People, organizations, or businesses that have the potential to become customers for B2B (business-to-business) products or services are referred to as B2B leads. Unlike business-to-consumer (B2C) sales, these leads are typically from other businesses rather than individuals. However, certain personal contacts and self-led small businesses can occasionally be B2B buyers.

B2B sales leads aren’t always more difficult to find than B2C leads, but they can be much more difficult to qualify and convert. While B2C leads will always be unique individuals, B2B leads can be a bit of a mystery. Most traditional B2B lead generation tactics only result in general contact emails, and let’s be honest: no one responds to anything sent to info@company.com.

Only B2B leads with a person on the other end of the line can be worked with by your sales team. That is why generating leads is insufficient—you need qualified leads from promising sources.

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Marketing qualified leads

Marketing qualified leads (MQLs) are prospective customers identified by the marketing team as being likely to buy a product or service based on key target criteria. They are usually not quite ready to buy but have expressed interest in the company. They may have subscribed to your website or downloaded restricted content.

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MQLs are passive leads (or outbound leads) that should be nurtured before being passed down the lead funnel to see if they’re prepared to receive a sales representative.

Sales-qualified leads

A sales qualified lead (or SQL) is an active lead (or inbound lead) who has had some direct interaction with your company and sales team. They may have requested a demo, contacted your sales department, or sent an email or message expressing an interest in a specific product or service.

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These leads are critical for B2B lead generation and must be pursued. Any lead who contacts you before you contact them should be moved quickly through your sales funnel. If you prioritize your SQLs, your sales figures will skyrocket.

Why is B2B lead generation important?

On a fundamental level, B2B lead generation is important for both sales and marketing teams, as well as the business. There are no leads to flow through the sales pipeline, no conversions, no customers, and no new business without lead generation.

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The generation of business-to-business leads not only serves as the beating heart of a company, but it also provides critical information to marketing reps, sales reps, and—deep behind the scenes—sales development reps (SDRs). Focusing on a solid lead generation strategy can benefit your company in the following ways:

  1. Identify ideal customers
  2. Provide guidance on content creation
  3. Build brand awareness and visibility
  4. Cultivate solid marketing practices and strategy
  5. Discover a broader addressable market
  6. Provide accurate, up-to-date contact info for leads
  7. Increase conversion rates
  8. Optimize your sales cadence
  9. Improve sales pipeline flow
  10. Generate higher revenues

B2B lead generation process

Ultimately, the process of generating leads begins with marketing channels—how your potential audience can find you and vice versa. These channels are divided into two types: inbound marketing and outbound marketing.

Inbound marketing platforms generate leads that contact the company, typically via social media, online advertising, or search engines. Inbound leads have a shorter sales cycle and higher conversion rates than outbound leads.

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Outbound marketing generates leads through outreach methods such as cold calling, email prospecting, and social media prospecting. These leads typically necessitate more nurturing and engagement, as well as longer sales cycles.

Because generating B2B leads is always a puzzle, we’ve broken it down into three easy steps.

Step 1: Identify your ideal buyer

Finding sales leads is as simple as locating contact information for a specific prospect—but who is that prospect you want to contact?

Begin by developing a buyer’s persona. This is an excellent client for your service or product. What industry do they work in? What is their title? Where do they go to get their news and information? And, perhaps most importantly, what are their concerns or pain points that you can address?

To identify the most effective buyer persona, consider the following:

Company characteristics (for example, size, location, and organizational structure)
Job title and authority to make decisions
Problem areas
Doing Business Obstacles
Purchase requirements
You’ll frequently need to create multiple personas, especially if your products or services are aimed at different types of buyers. Once you’ve identified your ideal buyers, you can start creating tailored content for each one.

Step 2: Choose strategy

Now that you’ve defined your ideal customer, it’s time to figure out how to find the real-life version. For B2B sales leads, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Instead, you’ll pick from a menu of tools and strategies (we’ve compiled 15 of them below) to pique the interest of your ideal customer.

SEO and content marketing, paid advertising, cold calls and emails, community building, and social media can all be used to generate interest. Consider using landing page builders to quickly create new website pages that can capture leads and transport their information directly into your CRM.

There are numerous sales enablement and lead generation software tools on the market. These include tools for email discovery, cold calling, email marketing, and sales engagement. Maintain your strategies’ focus on the persona(s) you’ve created, and be ready to refine and tweak as you go.

Step 3: Qualifying and prospecting

As you start interacting with leads, it’s critical to determine how likely they are to buy. This is determined by determining where the lead is in their purchasing process: awareness, consideration, or decision.

A potential buyer recognizes they have a problem that needs to be solved during the awareness stage. They could be reading blog posts, downloading white papers, or conducting web searches. They may be discovering your brand for the first time.

When a buyer reaches the consideration stage, they have a better understanding of their problem and the solution. They are beginning to evaluate potential products or services but are not yet ready to make a purchase decision.

A customer in the decision phase has completed the majority of their research and is on the verge of conversion. They are most likely meeting with vendors, scheduling demos, and communicating with key decision-makers within their organization.

You will direct your efforts differently depending on the stage of a project. Creating targeted content, such as a social media campaign or blog post, is beneficial for buyers in the awareness phase, but it will not assist prospects who are about to make a decision. For those prospects, a product demo or free trial will be far more effective.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the number of leads pouring into your funnel (which is a wonderful problem to have), you can focus your efforts by assigning values to each lead. Concentrate on the highest-value prospects who are most likely to convert.

B2B lead generation strategies

MQLs and SQLs are fantastic, but they do not appear out of nowhere. Sure, traditional methods of door-to-door sales or cold calling can generate B2B sales leads, but there are strategic ways to find the same people more efficiently in 2022. Below, we share 15 tried-and-true B2B lead generation techniques as well as prospecting tools that will give your sales team a serious boost.

1. Use ongoing content campaigns to outperform your competitors.

Your outbound lead generation content marketing campaigns are only as good as their practical search value. You might rank first on Google for “super special ooey gooey cheese fries” when typed in that exact order, but if your target audience and competitors are searching for “best french fry creations,” you’re not really winning.

Invest in optimizing your content about general French fry creations, even if your company only sells cheese fries. Create white papers as a lead magnet, videos, and blogs, and then track clicks and optimize accordingly. You do not need to have the most unique content among your competitors; you simply need to be the most clicked on.

2. Run an A/B test

You don’t have to get the right marketing and outreach the first time. Most businesses do not. A/B tests are useful in this situation. Experiment with various formats, colors, and messages on your website and marketing materials to see what gets the most attention.

B2B contacts may be looking for the best products, but they’re also people with specific (if sometimes strange) preferences. Even a simple button change can have a significant impact on visitor engagement and, as a result, increase your B2B lead generation rates. Simply track the numbers and see what sticks.

There are numerous examples: in 2007, an A/B test increased the Obama campaign’s donation rate by 18.6 percent simply by changing the “Sign Up Now” button to “Learn More.” Examine the data. Small changes can have a big impact.

3. Collect buyer reviews

Buyers will always trust fellow buyers before they trust you, no matter how honest your marketing department is. B2B lead generation is still based on finding influential people, and those people are reading buyer reviews. 95 percent of consumers say they read reviews before purchasing anything, and 94 percent have avoided businesses because of negative reviews.

Because reviews have such a large impact on lead engagement, you must ensure that they are present in the first place. No reviews can be just as damaging as negative reviews these days. Soliciting feedback, reviews, and testimonials should be a regular part of your sales process.
If you’ve had a long-term relationship with a client, they’ll usually gladly give you a testimonial. Take those positive reviews and put them front and center on your marketing materials to attract new customers.

4. Get survey results

Most businesses use surveys to assess current customer satisfaction, but they’re also essential tools for B2B lead generation. If your customers complain that it takes too long to reach a representative, you shouldn’t just address the issue in your customer service department.

Examine other areas where you can improve communication so that leads are never left waiting. There are numerous ways to improve: install a chat bot, increase email automation, or simply increase your staff. When you look at your company as a whole, you can solve problems for both current and future clients.

5. Embrace case studies

Case studies are becoming more popular in B2B marketing and lead generation. Case studies, which were once relegated to the back corners of company websites, now rank third in the top-used content types in B2B sales (behind email newsletters and blog posts and tied with pre-produced short videos).

Investigations are now the third-most popular type of B2B sales content.
Case studies are typically used at the middle and bottom of the funnel to persuade buyers to continue their journey, but the truth is that B2B buyers crave hard facts. B2B sales are designed to benefit an entire company rather than just one person. So, if you have hard evidence, make sure people see it.

6. Don’t let leads slip through the cracks on your landing page.

People are drawn to interactive content by nature. In fact, 81 percent of marketers agree that interactive content is more effective than static content at capturing people’s attention. So, why are the majority of landing pages still static?

81% of marketers agree that interactive content is more effective than static content at capturing people’s attention.

When leads click on your landing page, you must act quickly to capture their attention. Pop-up boxes are more effective than catchy headlines, clear CTAs, and large-font statistics.

When you place a contact pop-up box at the top of your landing page, you force your prospect to interact with your content. Even if they simply close the pop-up box, their attention is drawn to your website rather than whatever else is going on around them. That is, of course, the worst-case scenario.

The best-case scenario is that you simply create a box with a subscription entry form and collect an email from a lead.

7. Customize your website content for your B2B lead personas.

B2B sales and marketing cannot afford to be generalized any longer. While mass emails and marketing automation are both effective strategies, personalization is a hidden weapon. The tactics for generating B2B leads are constantly evolving, and 2022 is the year of ABM (account-based marketing). With ABM, you can personalize your website and marketing materials to appeal to specific leads or segments that you believe are the most promising.

You can also program your website to detect a visitor’s location based on their IP address, allowing you to create content tailored to different geographical demographics.

Personalization requires more effort, but with more than 70% of B2B marketers doing it, you can’t afford not to.

8.Learn the ins and outs of social selling.

Social media isn’t just for businesses that sell to consumers. As more businesses embrace social selling, B2B lead generation has expanded to include B2B connections available on various platforms.

You’re probably already posting and interacting on LinkedIn (if not, you should be; LinkedIn is used by 55% of decision-makers to vet other companies). However, don’t stop there. Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook all offer your team unique and casual B2B lead generation and interaction opportunities. Making your business appealing on social media not only attracts amused scrollers but also other businesses who see that you know how to market.

9. Try your hand at video content

To make lead-generating videos, you don’t have to be an expert editor. Even if all you create is a video of various marketing graphics with a bit of smooth jazz backing it up, you’ll have video content to share online. That is critical.

YouTube is the second-largest search engine on the internet, after Google. Depending on the demographics of the companies you want to work with, it may be the first place they look.

YouTube video content can influence B2B lead generation in a variety of ways. YouTube is a popular platform for detailed product criticism and analysis videos uploaded by individual users. However, you will also find detailed product videos and instruction guides created by your competitors. You’re falling behind if your video content isn’t of the same caliber.

Assuming a potential client is interested in accounting software and wants to ensure the availability of an online tutorial, they will encounter a mixed bag of results when searching on Google. However, companies with filmed tutorials will be prioritized if the search is conducted on YouTube. Videos allow you to stay at the top of the search results, regardless of the platform your leads are using.

10. Optimize B2B lead generation through SEO

You’re probably considering SEO for your long-form written content, but did you know you can optimize any company content? SEO allows your company to jump to the front of the line for everything from your website to your press releases.

If you’re stuck for an SEO angle, examine your competitors’ websites and observe the words they frequently use.You can also reexamine your target personas and try to tailor your SEO to their specific interests.

In the case of accounting software, for example, one of your demographics could be independent small businesses. Crafting content with that group in mind may assist you in identifying more targeted SEO questions and keywords to focus on when implementing B2B lead generation strategies.

11. Entice B2B leads to click the subscribe button

A subscribe button on your website is a good start, but potential leads must actually click it. Adding incentives is one of the simplest ways to increase your subscriptions. Many B2C sites use discount offers, but B2B companies looking to up their lead generation game can try anything from a free consultation to a longer demo. Lead magnet strategies like this work well in the B2B arena.

Remember that your subscription button’s purpose is to collect lead emails, so making offers is merely a means to an end. It’s unlikely that you’ll be inundated with actual offers, but if you do, that’s a good thing. A qualified inbound lead is one who is interested in the product. Accept it.

12. Ensure that all of your content is compatible with mobile devices.

After a poor mobile experience, an alarming 40% of customers will visit a competitor’s website. That should be enough to persuade you to optimize your content for mobile viewing, but here are a few more statistics to convince you:

73% of mobile search devices prompt further action and conversation.
In 2021, mobile commerce will account for 23% of all online sales.
Only 35% of businesses have a mobile-friendly website.
That last figure is particularly significant. Customers are paying attention to companies that prioritize mobile optimization, and only 35% of businesses have optimized. This presents your company with a significant opportunity to influence traffic and B2B lead generation.

13. Don’t be nervous to ask for recommendations.

If you play your cards right and develop strong relationships with your clients, a steady stream of qualified leads should fall into your lap. Your leads, similar to reviews, show interest in the opinions of other buyers. Ninety-two percent of consumers trust recommendations from friends. Furthermore, customers referred by a friend have a 16% higher lifetime value than non-referred customers.

Despite this, only 11% of sales professionals request referrals. This frequently overlooked opportunity can have a significant impact on the quality and frequency of your leads. When you provide a high-quality product or service, you are likely to have a large number of repeat or favorite customers—don’t be afraid to reach out to them. Make your request specific and personal, and include detailed supplemental material for them to forward to the appropriate contacts. They’ll be willing to play if they truly value your services.

14.Invite visitors to assist you with your marketing materials.

Nothing distinguishes your company like expert testimony. Take advantage of this built-in demand generation potential if you have big names in your field or in your target audience who are willing to put their name on your marketing content.

Expert guests boost the credibility of your products and brand. They also increase your searchability significantly. Anyone in your target audience who searches for that expert’s recommendations will also find you. It’s the business-to-business equivalent of social media influence.

15. Organize times for dedicated lead gatherings.

One of the most common pitfalls in B2B lead generation is that businesses believe they must do it all year. Your company should always engage in advertising, but it should not dedicate every day to generating B2B leads. Some days are better than others for your sales team to contact leads.

If prospects are most receptive on Wednesdays and Thursdays, reserve those days for active sales. When your sales team doesn’t have other commitments, you have three other days of the week to look at B2B lead generation strategies.

If you’re not sure when your best sales days are, a sales tracker platform can help you pinpoint low productivity periods.

How to do B2B lead generation better than your competitors

The best way to get leads before your competitors is to use a quick B2B lead generation platform and an exceptional CRM strategy. With the award-winning Zendesk Sell, Zendesk provides a one-of-a-kind package of various sales software capabilities.

Zendesk Sell includes our cutting-edge CRM software as well as a plethora of features, such as:

  • Sales funnel software
  • Power dialer for sales
  • Sales engagement platform
  • SFA (sales force automation)
  • Mobile sales app
  • Creating leads is only half of the battle. Once found, you must employ smart segmentation strategies and align your sales and marketing tactics in order to convert prospects into customers. Zendesk is a powerful all-in-one tool that enables you to do all of this while providing all of the benefits of pipeline software: speed, efficiency, and a clear path.

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