With all the different communication platforms out there and the number of companies fighting for attention from potential buyers, it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd and reach prospects at the right place at the right time.
B2B lead generation is getting more complex these days, and figuring out a strategy that works best for your business and your target market is a handful. However, there are a number of B2B lead generation strategies—both outbound and inbound—that your sales, marketing, and sales development teams can implement to achieve maximum results and a more significant ROI.
In this blog, we’ll cover the following:
B2B lead generation refers to the process of identifying and attracting potential business-to-business (B2B) clients or customers who have shown interest in a product or service offered by a company.
The primary goal of B2B lead generation is to gather contact information and other relevant details from these potential clients, with the intention of nurturing and converting them into actual paying customers.
There are two categories to B2B lead generation: outbound and inbound lead generation.
Outbound Lead Generation
Outbound lead generation refers to the process of proactively reaching out to potential customers or clients, often through direct communication channels, in an effort to generate interest, create connections, and ultimately convert leads into customers.
This approach involves a company, sales team, or sales development team initiating contact with prospects, rather than waiting for potential customers to come to them, as is the case with inbound lead generation.
Common examples of outbound lead generation methods include:
- Cold calling: Sales development representatives (SDRs) initiate phone calls to potential leads with the aim of introducing the company’s products or services, identifying needs, and setting up further discussions.
- Cold emailing: SDR teams and/or outbound email marketing specialists send unsolicited emails to potential leads, often with personalized messaging and information about their offerings.
- Social media outreach: Companies use social media platforms to directly message or engage with potential leads, sharing relevant content and offers. More often than not, B2B social media outreach is performed through LinkedIn.
- B2B appointment setting: Using the methods above, SDRs aim to schedule sales meetings between sales team members and decision-makers. The goal here is to convert the leads generated into closed business.
- Direct mail: Physical mail, such as letters or promotional materials, is sent to potential leads to capture their attention and interest.
- Door-to-door sales: Some businesses employ door-to-door sales representatives to directly approach potential customers at their locations.
It’s important to note that outbound lead generation methods can be more challenging than inbound methods, as they may be seen as intrusive by some decision-makers. Effective outbound strategies require careful targeting, personalization, and respect for the recipient’s preferences. Combining outbound and inbound lead generation approaches can create a well-rounded lead generation strategy that addresses a broader range of potential customers.
Inbound Lead Generation
Inbound lead generation refers to the process of attracting potential customers or clients to your business through valuable and relevant content, online presence, and engagement.
In this approach, potential leads discover your company naturally as they search for information, solutions, or products related to their needs and interests. The goal of inbound lead generation is to create a strong online presence that draws in potential customers and encourages them to engage with your brand.
Common examples of inbound lead generation methods include:
- Content marketing: Creating and sharing blog posts, articles, videos, infographics, and other types of content that provide useful information to your target audience.
- Search engine marketing (SEM): Using a company website, paid ads, and landing pages as a way to get in front of potential buyers and convert into sales.
- Search engine optimization (SEO): Optimizing your website and content to rank higher in organic search engine results, making it easier for potential leads to find you.
- Social media marketing: Engaging with your audience on social media platforms, sharing valuable content, and participating in conversations relevant to your industry.
- Email marketing: Sending targeted emails to your subscriber list with valuable content, offers, and updates.
- Webinars and online events: Hosting webinars, workshops, or online events to showcase your expertise and interact with potential leads.
- Lead magnets: Offering valuable resources such as ebooks, whitepapers, templates, or guides in exchange for a lead’s contact information.
Inbound lead generation aims to establish your brand as a helpful and trustworthy resource within your industry, attracting potential leads who are genuinely interested in your offerings. By providing value and building relationships, you can convert these leads into loyal customers over time.
If you don’t know which route to go with your messaging, A/B testing may be the way to go. A/B testing conversion pages and calls to action (CTAs) is a highly effective B2B lead generation strategy that allows businesses to optimize their online presence, increase customer engagement, and ideally, generate more leads.
A/B testing, also known as split testing, is a method used in marketing and website optimization to compare two or more variations of a digital asset with the aim of determining which version performs better in achieving a specific goal. In an A/B test, the audience is divided into different segments, and each segment is shown a different version of the asset being tested.
A/B testing provides data-driven insights to improve the overall user experience. By analyzing the performance of different layouts, content, designs, and CTAs, businesses can understand what resonates best with their target audience and make data-driven decisions to enhance conversions.
Sales and marketing teams can effectively conduct A/B testing by:
- Defining clear objectives
- Developing test variations
- Randomizing test distribution
- Analyzing results
- Implementing changes
Many content campaigns are starting to look the same these days, especially in similar industries. Creating unique content campaigns is a highly effective B2B lead generation strategy that sets a company apart from its competitors and attracts a more targeted audience.
Unique content tailored to specific niches allows businesses to showcase their expertise, address the pain points of their target customers, and build trust with potential clients. By focusing on niche markets, B2B companies can connect with prospects on a deeper level, demonstrating a clear understanding of their challenges and offering tailored solutions.
To ensure the creation of unique content that resonates with the target audience and drives higher engagement and conversion rates, B2B lead generation teams must do the following:
- Conduct in-depth market research and audience analysis
- Personalize content based on the buyer personas within your market
- Showcase thought leadership insights and innovative solutions to pain points
- Present a multimedia approach through various content marketing formats
- Share interactive content that encourages action from users
- Gather feedback and analyze data to see how users are responding
- Collaborate between both sales and marketing departments
If buyers aren’t driven by low price points, then they’re likely driven by results and proof of impact on businesses like theirs. Using social proof like customer reviews, testimonials, and case studies is a powerful B2B lead generation strategy that can significantly influence purchasing decisions.
In the B2B landscape where trust and credibility are paramount, social proof acts as evidence of a company’s capabilities and the positive impact they’ve had on previous clients. Social proof builds confidence in the brand and helps prospects visualize how the product or service can address their specific needs.
For example, if a prospect is on the fence about scheduling a sales meeting with one of your sales executives, a case study may be their turning point because it gives them the chance to put themselves in your previous customer’s shoes. This is because if the client in the case study had similar pain points to the prospect, they can explore how your business could also be that leading solution for them.
By leveraging social proof, B2B sales and marketing teams can build trust, credibility, and confidence in their products or services, making it easier to attract and convert leads. Authentic stories of success from satisfied customers serve as persuasive tools that highlight the brand’s ability to deliver on its promises and foster long-term business relationships.
At one point in time, companies had to rely on their sales and marketing experts to do everything manually. Whether it’s a reminder to call a prospect back or to distribute a follow-up email, it was up to the individual to stay organized and keep track of their B2B lead generation efforts. However, today, there are many B2B lead generation tools on the market that let sales and marketing experts save time and reduce the risk of forgetting important tasks.
Taking advantage of free or cost-effective sales tools allows businesses to streamline their sales processes, improve efficiency, and optimize customer interactions without breaking the bank. These tools provide valuable insights, automate tasks, and enhance communication, enabling sales teams to focus more on nurturing leads and closing deals.
Some of the most common free or cost-effective sales tools include:
- Customer relationship management (CRM) software like Salesforce and HubSpot
- Email marketing platforms like MailChimp and Brevo (formerly Sendinblue)
- Sales enablement platforms like ClearSlide and DocSend
- Sales prospecting tools like ZoomInfo and D&B Hoovers
- Communication tools likes Slack and Microsoft Teams
- Social media management tools like Buffer and Hootsuite
- Website analytics tools like Google Analytics and Hotjar
By leveraging these free or cost-effective sales tools, B2B businesses can operate more efficiently, gather actionable data, and improve their overall lead generation and sales performance without a significant financial investment. These tools contribute to a well-rounded and streamlined approach to B2B lead generation, giving companies a competitive edge in their industry.
Let’s face it, you’re more than likely scrolling through forums in your free time anyways—why not make it a part of your B2B lead generation strategy?
Visiting online forums is an effective B2B lead generation strategy as it provides valuable insights into the questions, challenges, and pain points of potential buyers. By actively engaging in forums like Quora, Reddit, or industry-specific platforms, businesses can understand their target audience’s needs and tailor their products or services to address those demands. Additionally, participating in discussions and offering helpful solutions establishes the brand as an authoritative resource, attracting potential leads and building credibility within the space.
For example, let’s say that you’re a commercial HVAC company looking to generate more leads for your sales pipeline. Searching forums for general HVAC-related questions, such as “why is my window unit leaking?” and providing the user with feedback is a great way to showcase you know why the problem is occurring, and what can be done to fix it. If the user sees the knowledge and expertise you had to provide them through your simple response, they can reach out and know they can trust you to provide them with excellent service.
These days, when we’re looking for an answer or a solution to a problem, the first place many of us go is search engines. The internet is an all-knowing platform to where even if you or your friends, family, or colleagues don’t have an answer, someone on the internet does. This is what makes sharing content and your own insights so impactful for B2B lead generation.
Sharing content that buyers are actively searching for is a highly effective B2B lead generation strategy because it meets the specific needs and interests of the target audience. By understanding the pain points and questions of potential buyers, businesses can create valuable and relevant content that addresses these concerns, positioning themselves as a trusted resource and thought leader in the industry. This approach increases the chances of attracting qualified leads who are actively seeking solutions that the company offers, thereby improving conversion rates and driving business growth.
Marketing teams can learn what prospects are wanting more information and content on by employing several tactics:
- Perform keyword research and use SEO to drive web traffic
- Explore website analytics and how users navigate your website
- Review customer surveys to learn what they like and dislike about your business
- Practice social media listening to see what users are saying about your industry
- Conduct a competitor analysis to discover their strengths and weaknesses
- Analyze customer support interactions to explore areas for improvement
By combining these methods, marketing teams can develop a comprehensive understanding of the content demands and preferences of potential buyers, allowing them to create and share content that aligns with those needs, driving better lead generation results and fostering stronger customer relationships.
Remember in English class, when teachers taught the key to persuasive writing and communication overall means using logic, credibility, and emotional appeal? Well, the key takeaway of this section is to emphasize the importance of using logic; in the B2B space, this would mean using statistics as a part of your B2B lead generation strategy, resulting in greater trust from prospects and therefore, more leads.
Discovering and sharing original research and statistics is a crucial addition to a B2B lead generation strategy because it positions a company as an authoritative and knowledgeable industry leader. Original research provides valuable insights and data-driven evidence, attracting potential buyers who seek credible information to make informed decisions.
The more user- and mobile-friendly your website is, the more likely potential buyers are to stay on your website and explore what you have to offer. Developing a user- and mobile-friendly website is a crucial component of a B2B lead generation strategy because it directly impacts the user experience and influences the decision-making process of potential buyers.
A user-friendly website ensures that visitors can easily find the information they seek, navigate through pages effortlessly, and interact easily with the site’s elements. With an increasing number of users accessing websites on mobile and tablet devices, optimizing for these platforms is essential to cater to the growing mobile audience and prevent potential leads from bouncing due to a poor mobile experience.
While making sure a company website is user- and mobile-friendly is important, so is the engagement ability and attractiveness of the website. For example, if you go to a website that’s user-friendly but looks cheaply made, it may not convince you to buy from them. If they don’t put money or time investment into their marketing efforts, whose to say they won’t treat your company the same way? A company website should be more than a single page and provide users with all the information they need to make a purchasing decision. Remember to make content on the web page catchy and align with your brand voice, giving your business more of a personality. This will encourage more potential buyers to trust you, and ideally, convert into customers.
Not every user who comes to your website is ready to convert into a sale; however, there are some ways that you can get them one step closer, and that’s promoting lead magnets and offering incentives. This is a powerful addition to your B2B lead generation strategy because it entices potential customers to provide their contact information in exchange for valuable and relevant resources.
Lead magnets act as a mutually beneficial exchange, offering prospects valuable content while allowing businesses to capture and nurture leads. Incentives such as discounts, free trials, or exclusive access further encourage prospects to take action, increasing lead conversion rates and driving customer engagement.
Marketing teams can use various types of lead magnets to attract new B2B leads. Here are some ways that B2B lead generation teams can present lead magnets to generate new leads:
- Gain exclusive access to ebooks and whitepapers
- Opportunity to attend webinars and online events
- Access gated templates and checklists
- Have free trials and demos of your product or service
- Get results from an assessment or quiz
- Win contests and giveaways
By leveraging these lead magnets and incentives, B2B marketing teams can attract high-quality leads and build relationships with potential customers. It provides an opportunity to showcase the brand’s value proposition and nurture leads through targeted and personalized content, leading to increased conversion rates and business growth.
Eye-catching marketing collateral is a valuable addition to a B2B lead generation strategy because it enhances brand visibility, captures attention, and effectively communicates key messages to potential customers.
Well-designed collateral and assets can leave a lasting impression, improving brand recall and influencing the decision-making process. They act as powerful tools in sales engagements, equipping sales teams with visually appealing resources that simplify complex ideas, making it easier for prospects to understand the value proposition.
For example, let’s say you’re a software company looking for a way to explain what your program does and why it’s beneficial for everyday business operations. Creating a “How To” video up to a minute in length can quickly spread your brand’s message with a reduced risk of confusion. This allows users to visually understand what your software does with fewer questions asked.
Additionally, marketing collateral can play a significant role in inbound B2B lead generation because they can be used in a variety of ways, such as through your website or social media as a lead magnet. For instance, let’s say that you create a guide for your IT company titled “Network Security Best Practices to Follow in 2024.” If you want to generate softer inbound leads and nurture a relationship with them over time, it’d be worth making it a piece of gated content, so users have to input their information to gain access to this exclusive guide.
By incorporating eye-catching collateral into your B2B lead generation strategy, your company can elevate brand image, enhance communication, and improve the overall sales process. Simplifying complex ideas through visually appealing materials allows businesses to engage prospects more effectively and stand out in a competitive market, ultimately leading to increased lead generation success and business growth.
While social media is traditionally thought of as an inbound lead generation strategy, it can also be used to generate leads through outreach efforts.
Social media can be used for outbound lead generation efforts by proactively reaching out to potential customers through direct messaging, commenting on relevant posts, or participating in industry-specific discussions. By leveraging social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook, businesses can identify and connect with prospects who fit their target audience criteria. Engaging with potential leads through personalized messages and content sharing can help initiate conversations, build relationships, and ultimately drive outbound leads.
Social media can be used for inbound B2B marketing efforts by creating and sharing valuable content that attracts and engages the target audience. By leveraging the use of social media platforms, businesses can share informative blog posts, industry insights, webinars, and case studies, drawing potential leads to their website.
Additionally, engaging with followers, responding to comments, and participating in relevant discussions foster a sense of community and trust. Social media’s viral nature can amplify content reach and attract prospects organically, making it a powerful tool for driving inbound B2B marketing and lead generation.
Many small to medium-sized businesses prefer to go the organic route with their B2B lead generation strategy; however, investing in social media ads are also beneficial for B2B lead generation as they offer highly targeted and cost-effective advertising options. LinkedIn Ads and Facebook Ads allow businesses to reach a specific audience based on job titles, industries, interests, and more, advancing your B2B lead generation efforts.
For more insight into how to use social media for B2B lead generation, read our blog here.
While you may have a single target market, it’s important to remember that there are more than likely a variety of buyer personas within that audience. Potential buyers can discover your business through a variety of ways that better align with their purchasing patterns, which is what makes implementing a variety of B2B lead generation strategies important for getting the most out of your business growth plan.
Implementing a variety of B2B lead generation strategies is essential for maximizing ROI because different tactics resonate with diverse audiences. By diversifying approaches like content marketing, email campaigns, social media, and events, businesses can reach a broader range of potential customers.
Each strategy has unique strengths and can cater to various stages of the buyer’s journey. This diversity reduces reliance on a single approach and increases the chances of capturing leads from different channels. A well-rounded lead generation strategy also helps adapt to changing market trends and customer preferences, ultimately leading to a more efficient and successful lead generation process with a higher return on investment.
B2B lead generation is complex and requires a lot of moving parts to work effectively and for the long-term. Today, more companies are starting to outsource B2B lead generation to:
- Leverage specialized expertise into their market and
- Save time from finding new sales opps
- Enhance sales and marketing team efficiency
Outsourced lead generation agencies possess advanced strategies, technology, and talent, optimizing lead identification and qualification. This allows businesses to focus on core operations while gaining access to a wider pool of potential clients.
Outsourcing mitigates resource and overhead costs, promoting scalable growth and higher ROI. Additionally, outsourcing provides objective insights, diversifies lead generation methods, and accelerates market entry, ultimately fostering sustainable business expansion.
B2B lead generation isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Selecting a B2B lead generation strategy is dependent on the buyer personas within your target market and understanding the buying process of potential buyers. When it comes down to it, it’s essential to incorporate a variety of B2B lead generation tactics—both outbound and inbound—to meet the right buyers at the right time.
At Abstrakt, we collaborate with growing B2B businesses across the nation to help them build and implement a B2B lead generation strategy that engages prospects and maximizes their ROI. If you need a highly skilled outsourced sales development and marketing team to help you fill your sales pipeline with qualified leads, contact the business growth experts at Abstrakt!