We’ve seen it one too many times… many small to medium-sized businesses only rely on word-of-mouth advertising as their only source of lead generation. And they wonder, “Why aren’t get getting more qualified sales leads?” Well… while referral marketing is impactful, it doesn’t generate consistent results that businesses need to succeed.
If you want to get more B2B sales leads for your pipeline, there’s only one solution—lead generation. There are many methods of lead generation to choose from. No matter what lead generation strategy you select, it’s important to have a solution that yields predictable and sustainable results. Because if you’re only relying on word-of-mouth, you’re going to fall behind competitors.
In this blog, we’ll cover how you can generate more B2B sales leads into your pipeline successfully and sustainably for long-term results. Let’s jump into it.
B2B (business-to-business) leads refer to potential customers or companies that have shown interest in a product or service offered by one business to another. These leads are typically other businesses or organizations that may require your products or services.
In the B2B context, leads can come in various forms, such as:
- Marketing qualified leads (MQLs): These are potential leads who have expressed some interest in a product or service, often by engaging with marketing content or showing interest in the company’s offerings.
- Sales qualified leads (SQLs): These leads were MQLs that have been further evaluated by the sales team and are deemed more likely to convert based on their readiness to buy. Additionally, they’re followed up by sales development representatives (SDRs) to verify that they meet your sales criteria.
- Cold leads: These are businesses or organizations that have not shown any previous interest in your product or service and are approached without prior engagement.
For more insight into the differences between MQLs and SQLs, read our blog here.
Generating B2B sales leads can be a challenging but essential task for companies that are looking to grow their book of business. Here are some proven-effective ways that you can acquire more B2B sales leads for your sales pipeline:
Actively Reach Out to Cold Leads
One of the most impactful ways to get more B2B sales leads is by getting in front of them head-on. This involves actively researching for prospects and using databases to help build your pipeline full of cold leads.
Once prospects are identified, the next step is to craft highly personalized and compelling outreach messages. Whether it’s through cold calling, email marketing, or social media outreach, tailoring your communication to address specific pain points and needs is essential for gaining and maintaining the interest of potential buyers.
Share Content Marketing Materials Online
Another common (and more modern) way to get B2B sales leads is through content marketing, specifically through your digital platforms.
Crafting marketing material should be high-quality, informative, and unique, directly addressing the pain points and needs of your target audience. Content marketing assets include blog posts, whitepapers, sell sheets, infographics, land pages, case studies, videos, and more. This content should be shared strategically across various platforms, such as through your company website and social media platforms.
When optimized correctly, these assets can be useful for boosting the SEO (search engine marketing) value of your website, driving more traffic, and ideally converting them into customers. And when content marketing materials are cross-shared from your website to your social media profiles (or other digital channels), you can increase the SEO value to your website because it helps drive more potential buyers to your platform. This approach not only positions your brand as an authority in the field but also attracts and engages prospective B2B leads, nurturing them through the marketing and lead generation funnel effectively.
To learn how you can optimize content for search engines, read our blog here.
Market Your Business on Relevant Social Media Platforms
More and more businesses are using social media to get more B2B leads in their pipeline. Platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook provide a dynamic environment to connect with and captivate your desired audience.
As we mentioned above, social media can be a great platform to share content marketing materials. These platforms can also be used to share valuable industry insights, actively participate in relevant discussions, and showcase your expertise through thought-provoking, positioning your brand as a trusted authority and cultivating interest among potential leads.
Complementing social media lead generation efforts, and running precisely targeted advertising campaigns ensures that your message reaches the right audience, magnifying your B2B lead generation endeavors by leveraging the broad reach and engagement potential of social media.
Use Conversion-Driven Landing Pages and Forms
As mentioned in the section above, landing pages play an important role in getting more leads in your pipeline. These assets should be more conversion-driven and encourage the potential buyer to take action.
Landing pages should include user-friendly forms that prompt visitors to share their information in exchange for access to valuable resources or exclusive gated content. This strategic approach not only enhances user engagement but also enables you to collect vital lead data. It establishes a clear path for lead nurturing, allowing you to tailor subsequent interactions based on their preferences and interests.
When used for paid search and social media efforts, these landing pages should be sales-focused and encourage users to learn more about your product or service offerings. While paid advertising is a great way to get more B2B leads, it’s important to remember that the quality of leads may not be as high compared to organic SEO efforts. Therefore, SDRs must follow up with these leads to ensure they meet your company’s sales qualifications.
Engage With Decision-Makers via Email
Email marketing is a great way to interact with potential buyers, especially when used for both outbound and inbound lead generation efforts. These email marketing campaigns serve as a vital tool for lead nurturing and sustained engagement with decision-makers.
Email marketing is versatile for both outbound and inbound lead generation. Outbound involves sending targeted messages to a purchased or cold audience, while inbound attracts leads through content and opt-ins. Email nurtures relationships, educates, and converts, making it an effective tool for engaging and acquiring leads in various stages of the sales funnel.
However you decide to use email marketing for your growth efforts, each email sent to decision-makers should be personalized to resonate with the specific needs and interests of each lead. This level of customization not only establishes rapport but also positions your brand as a trusted source, fostering stronger connections and enhancing the likelihood of conversions in the competitive B2B landscape.
Implement Client Referral Programs
Word-of-mouth remains one of the most impactful ways to get more leads in your pipeline. Therefore, it’s important to use client referral programs in your growth efforts.
While customers can just willingly refer your business from the kindness of their hearts, referral programs give them an incentive to share what your company has to offer. This can include giving them free or discounted products or services, adding free or discounted services to their program which fosters loyalty, and more.
When satisfied customers and dedicated associates advocate for your products or services, it not only expands your reach but also brings in leads that often come with a built-in level of trust.
While referrals are a great way to generate more B2B sales leads, they definitely shouldn’t be relied on for long-term growth. They’re not predictable nor sustainable and result in fewer leads consistently being filtered through your pipeline. Therefore, it’s important to include other strategies in your marketing mix.
For more insight on how you can get more referrals for your business, read our blog here.
Host Webinars and Workshops
If you have a complex product or service that may require more demonstrations on how to use it effectively, webinars and workshops are a good way for decision-makers to learn about your offerings before they choose to invest.
Additionally, hosting webinars or workshops provide valuable insights and solutions related to your industry for potential buyers to discover, and position your business as a knowledge leader to attract a relevant audience.
During webinar or workshop registration, collect participant information, including contact details and preferences. This creates a valuable database of potential leads that you can follow up with post-event to nurture with targeted content, offers, and personalized communication. This strategy not only cultivates relationships but also keeps your brand top-of-mind, enhancing the likelihood of converting these engaged participants into valuable B2B leads.
Attend Networking and Industry Events
Face-to-face interactions like attending conferences, trade shows, and networking events provide opportunities to connect with potential leads in a more personal context. By engaging in panel discussions, workshops, or presentations, you demonstrate expertise and authority within your industry, attracting prospects interested in your insights.
Collecting contact information during these events is crucial. Post-event, follow up with leads to reinforce connections, share valuable content, and explore collaboration opportunities. This proactive approach transforms event interactions into meaningful relationships and nurtures prospects into qualified B2B leads.
If you want to get more B2B sales leads in your pipeline for a fraction of the price, outsourced lead generation services may be your answer. Learn how Abstrakt can be your leading partner in business development.
Some companies may not have a problem with generating sales leads, but they struggle with having a streamlined lead handoff process or effectively nurturing leads. And if they do nurture leads, they may not have been verified to meet your sales criteria.
Ensuring that qualified B2B sales leads don’t fall through the cracks requires effective communication and collaboration between sales and marketing teams. Here are some strategies to help both teams work together to manage leads effectively:
Define Lead Qualification Criteria
Aligning sales and marketing by defining and communicating lead qualification criteria is vital. Establishing clear parameters, such as BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, Timeline), ensures that both teams understand the ideal lead profile. This shared understanding reduces ambiguity and improves the chances of effectively nurturing and converting leads, preventing them from slipping through the cracks.
Implement a Lead Scoring System
Lead scoring helps sales, marketing, and lead generation teams know which qualified prospects and MQLs are ready to take the next step in their buyer’s journey. Therefore, you must implement a lead scoring system that quantifies lead quality based on factors like fit and engagement.
Using a lead management system or CRM (Customer Relationship Management software) is a great tool to help growth teams prioritize leads effectively. This alignment ensures that high-potential leads are promptly identified and pursued, minimizing the risk of valuable opportunities being overlooked.
Regularly Review and Update Lead Qualifying Criteria
To stay in line with evolving markets and to ensure you’re aligned with your business objectives, you must regularly revisit and enhance your lead qualification criteria. Engage both sales and marketing teams in this process to leverage their firsthand experiences and insights. This collaborative approach ensures that your lead qualification standards remain effective and adaptable, reducing the risk of losing valuable leads.
Even if leads aren’t completely qualified for your product or service offerings, you may not want to remove them from the sales pipeline in case they qualify in the future. For example, many companies require their B2B clients to acquire a certain amount of annual revenue to invest in their products or services. While they may not have that revenue now, as they continue to grow and expand their business, they may be able to meet those qualifiers.
Establish Service Level Agreements (SLAs)
Service Level Agreements (SLAs) help streamline lead management responsibilities for both sales and marketing departments. They should include clear and detailed lead handoff procedures and set guidelines for response time expectations. Accountability on both sides ensures that leads are seamlessly transitioned, and addressed promptly, and reduces the chances of qualified leads being neglected.
Use a CRM System to Unify Processes
As we mentioned earlier, a CRM system can be used to streamline processes such as lead tracking and management. It’s important to make the CRM accessible to both sales and marketing teams to foster collaboration because they can help increase efficiencies for your company while also handling many other features depending on the software you have available. Making regular updates and data maintenance within the CRM ensures that lead information is current and easily accessible, reducing the risk of overlooking potential opportunities.
Read our blog here to explore how your CRM can be integrated with lead management software.
Automate Lead Routing
In addition to lead tracking, a CRM can also be used to automate and streamline lead distribution to the most suitable sales representatives. Having an effective lead handoff requires marketing to furnish sales with all relevant lead information, facilitating seamless follow-up and reducing the chances of qualified leads slipping through the cracks.
Foster Open Communication
Sales, marketing, and lead generation teams should have frequent meetings and open dialogue to evaluate lead performance and address challenges proactively. A culture of communication ensures swift issue resolution. Therefore, teams should implement a feedback loop where sales share insights on lead quality and conversion, guiding marketing’s strategy refinement for more effective lead generation, improving lead management, and preventing lead losses.
Implement Lead Nurturing Programs
Lead nurturing campaigns are essential to sustain engagement with leads not yet ready for sales. Marketing delivers valuable content to educate and cultivate relationships, keeping leads engaged until they reach a higher level of qualification. This ensures that potential opportunities are not overlooked and are guided through the conversion process effectively.
Use Regular Reporting and Analytics
Continuous monitoring and analysis of the entire lead journey, from initial acquisition to conversion, is crucial. Leverage analytics to pinpoint bottlenecks or areas needing enhancement. Data-driven insights empower you to make informed decisions, optimize processes, and ensure that leads progress smoothly through the funnel without being overlooked.
Cross-Train Sales and Marketing Roles
Cross-training team members from sales and marketing promotes a deeper understanding of each other’s roles, challenges, and processes. This mutual comprehension fosters empathy and strengthens collaboration between the two teams, reducing misunderstandings and improving coordination in lead management to prevent qualified leads from being overlooked.
Revive Old Sales Leads
Introducing lead revival strategies is important for rekindling engagement with older, potentially overlooked leads that have matured over time. These leads may have developed a stronger interest or urgency. Reaching out with tailored content and personalized communication can resurrect their potential, preventing valuable opportunities from slipping away.
As promising as referral marketing is for short-term impact, it’s not sustainable or predictable for long-term business growth. If you want to get more B2B sales leads in your pipeline, you must implement at least one (ideally more) of the lead generation strategies above. The more of these strategies you practice, the more leads you’re able to integrate into your pipeline to secure more sales.
These sales lead generation strategies are incredibly impactful, but it’s important to consider that they are time-consuming and costly if you want to do them effectively. And as a growing small to medium-sized business, you probably don’t have the resources to handle it internally. That’s when you can look for help from an outsourced sales and marketing company to take the load off.
At Abstrakt, we work with growing businesses across the company to help them get more B2B sales leads in their pipeline that are qualified for their product and service offerings. With the lead generation tools, technology, and expertise, we have a growth solution that empowers companies like yours to spend more time selling and less time finding their next customers.
When you’re ready to put your lead generation efforts into the hands of highly skilled growth experts, talk to a rep at Abstrakt.