While the phrase B2B lead generation is thrown around a lot, there tends to be a lot of confusion about what it is and what it entails. Before you consider implementing a B2B lead generation strategy for your small to medium-sized company, it’s essential that you understand the basics and how it generates business growth.
In this B2B lead generation guide, we’ll cover the following topics:
Business-to-business (B2B) lead generation is a business growth strategy that enables B2B companies to grow their business at a predictable (yet sustainable) rate. This business growth method requires a comprehensive understanding of both your B2B marketing and sales goals.
To have a successful B2B lead generation strategy, your marketing and sales teams must align their efforts to ensure they’re working together and aiming to achieve the same results. When you align your sales and marketing team efforts, you boost a lead’s experience in the sales pipeline and increase the likelihood of converting them from a lead into a customer.
Every small to medium-sized business is different, which means their approach to generating leads must be unique to their needs and target market. B2B lead generation isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, so it’s essential to consider your options. When it comes down to it, there are two ways companies can practice lead generation—and that’s through outbound and inbound marketing.
Outbound marketing is a lead generation strategy where sales development teams actively contact prospects, promote their company’s product and service offerings, and aim to schedule a sales appointment between the key decision-maker (KDM) and a member of your internal sales team. While a prospect may not be actively looking for a new B2B product or service solution, this lead generation strategy increases awareness of your business and encourages prospects to learn more about your company’s product and service offerings.
Even if a qualified lead isn’t ready to make a purchase yet, a sales development representative (SDR) can qualify the lead and nurture the relationship until they’re ready to set a sales appointment. Here are some of the best outbound marketing techniques your sales reps can follow to schedule more sales appointments with qualified leads:
While it may sound a bit old school, believe it or not, cold calling is still one of the most effective outbound marketing techniques. Cold calling enables businesses to generate qualified leads, set sales appointments, and close business deals with high-quality leads.
It’s important to remember that there are right and wrong ways to approach leads with cold calling. As your appointment setters cold call potential business opportunities, it’s essential that they have a streamlined process in place that doesn’t turn the prospect off from your business or leave them in a lurch to be swayed by a competitor.
Cold calling is a sales artform that requires a well-thought-out strategy to be successful. Read our blog to discover how you can build a successful cold calling strategy for sustainable business growth.
Cold sales emailing is another lead generation approach that many B2B sales and marketing teams take to reach the right leads at the right time. Since you don’t want to overwhelm leads in the sales pipeline, cold emailing gives sales reps another platform to deliver content to leads, thus nurturing the relationship and catching them when they’re ready to buy.
With cold emailing, your sales reps have the opportunity to send leads relevant content marketing collateral, including:
- Sell sheets
- Case studies
- And more
Adding these sales enablement assets to your email marketing strategy supports your relationship with the leads without being too “salesy.” This content gives them information to look over between your conversations and helps you establish your company as a leader in the industry.
Connecting on LinkedIn
We all know social media is a great avenue to bring awareness to your product and service offerings. However, it’s so much more than that. Luckily, with business-focused social media platforms like LinkedIn, sales development reps have the opportunity to connect with high-quality leads and send them personal InMail messages that align with their business’s wants and needs. This could include sending high-converting marketing collateral or relevant blog posts that direct leads to your company’s website.
A sustainable appointment setting process is no easy gig and requires consistent action from sales teams to be successful. Read our blog to explore how your business can generate a predictable appointment setting process from beginning to end.
Inbound marketing is a B2B lead generation idea that aims to attract potential buyers to your product and service offerings. Rather than reaching out to prospects directly, they find your company’s information online and contact you when they’re ready to buy.
While outbound marketing takes a more proactive sales approach, inbound marketing optimizes digital platforms to bring buyers to you. Effective inbound marketing starts with a team of specialists who understand a buyer’s mindset from a digital perspective.
Here are some of the most common ways that marketing specialists and sales teams practice inbound marketing:
As cold calling is to outbound appointment setting, website design and development is to inbound marketing. An effective website design for both mobile and desktop use is essential because a website is the digital foundation of a potential customer’s experience with your company.
With user-friendly website development, you bring potential buyers to your website to learn about your business and why it’s important to their company’s operations. When potential buyers have a positive first experience with your company’s website, they’re more likely to navigate through your website and convert users into leads.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
While having a website is the first step to generating inbound leads, there needs to be a way for potential buyers to find it in the first place. Without using SEO best practices, you risk having a fully functional website that gains little to no traction. The only way for potential buyers to find your website is by directly entering your company’s URL—and customers rarely do that, unless it’s referred their way by word of mouth through friends, family, or trade shows and networking events.
Search engine optimization is an inbound lead generation practice that B2B companies follow so interested buyers can easily find what they’re looking for online. Ideally, your website is one of the first options (if not the top) that pops up on the top of search results. Since there are many businesses in the world similar to yours, there’s a lot of competition out there, meaning you need a strategic SEO plan to stand out among competitors.
Now that we understand what SEO is, how can B2B companies achieve it? To boost SEO rankings for your company website, it’s essential that you:
- Implement high-volume keywords into your website copy. Using high-volume keywords in your website copy is essential for bringing intended users to your website. Users type these keywords into search bars to find what they’re looking for. If your content matches the keywords they’re looking for, you’re more likely to rank toward the top of the search engine results page.
- Anchor link text to relevant content. Internal and external linking to relevant content can boost your SEO efforts. Internal linking from one site page to another increases your site health and encourages the navigational flow of a user’s journey throughout your website.
- Match your content with the user’s intent. While keywords are important, so is the intent of the content you’re writing. Do you want this blog post to inform readers of a product, service, or concept? Or do you want this to be the piece that converts them from a user into a lead? By matching the content intent with the user intent, you increase the SEO value of your website.
B2B companies can also pay for targeted ads to boost Search Engine Marketing (SEM) value and attract conversation-focused users to their content. A targeted ad pops up and directs users to landing pages as they input keywords in the search bar. Landing pages are designed to provide a quick overview of a product or service your company offers, encouraging them to submit their contact information so they can make their way to the end of the sales funnel.
Social media has become one of the most popular ways to generate inbound leads. However, it’s important to understand the role of social media in your inbound marketing strategy and how much you’re willing to spend and implement it into your lead generation efforts.
When you integrate social media into your lead generation strategy, you have the opportunity to build brand awareness and retain customer satisfaction for the long term. As you develop social media content, it’s important to make it relevant to current trends in your industry and what most potential buyers are looking for in a B2B product or service provider.
To measure your social media marketing efforts, review and analyze the following social media metrics:
- Reach: This metric focuses on the potential of how many users have the opportunity to view your social media content.
- Impressions: This metric highlights the actual number of times your social post has reached the home page of a social media user.
- Engagement: This metric encompasses how many times a user interacts with your content. This includes “likes,” comments, and shares.
Following these metrics gives you the opportunity to analyze your impact and explore how your inbound marketing strategy accelerates over time. While many companies like to create and distribute organic social media content, it’s also essential to promote ads to your target audience. Promoting social media ads allows you to reach your target audience. Targeting ads can direct users to landing pages and encourage them to become leads and be implemented into your sales pipeline.
No matter how great your sales and marketing team is at developing an inbound and outbound marketing strategy, it can’t be done by sales reps alone. To streamline your sales processes, it’s essential that you have all the B2B lead generation tools to find prospects, nurture relationships, and close deals.
Here are some of the best B2B lead generation tools your team can use to advance your business growth efforts:
Customer Relationship Management Software
A customer relationship management (CRM) platform is one of the best B2B lead generation tools for your lead generation efforts. With a CRM, your sales reps and marketing specialists have the opportunity to streamline communications from one department to another and actively follow up with qualified leads in the sales pipeline.
A CRM is more than a customer relationship management platform—it’s a lead generation tool that enables sales reps to actively engage with leads and marketing experts to send out the right sales enablement assets to the right leads in the sales pipeline. CRMs like Salesforce allow your lead generation efforts to accelerate and advance to new heights.
With Salesforce products like Salesforce Sales Cloud, Marketing Cloud, and Pardot, your sales reps have the opportunity to connect and build relationships with leads through every stage of the buyer’s journey.
Data Enrichment Technology
If you’re not sure where to begin with your outbound B2B lead generation efforts, data enrichment technology would be a good place to start. While many B2B companies may generate business through client referrals, that alone is not an entirely sustainable way to build a sales pipeline.
With data enrichment technology like ZoomInfo and D&B Hoovers, you have the opportunity to find prospects for the sales pipeline. This strategic prospecting process is crucial because data enrichment technology enables data analysts to find prospects that meet your ideal customer criteria and pitch them until they’re converted into leads.
Through these technologies, you have the opportunity to find prospects in your target market that align with your qualifications, along with a key decision-maker name, job title, email address, and direct phone line if applicable. Even if this individual is not the best point of contact, at least it’s a good start to point your sales reps in the right direction.
Lead generation is built on communicating with leads in the sales pipeline. To communicate effectively, you need to make sure you have all the most advanced communication platforms available to have a compelling cold call or send the perfect cold email.
Communication platforms like Zoom or CloudCall are essential for connecting with potential and current customers because they provide a clear call every time so you can get business done. Luckily, many internal and external communication platforms are easily integrable with CRM like Salesforce, so everything you need to access to advance your lead generation efforts can be done from a single platform.
Sales outsourcing may get a bad rap, but it provides significant benefits for small to medium-sized companies looking to grow their business. Many companies decide to outsource operations to a sales and marketing firm because it enables them to:
- Save a significant amount of time and money
- Work with high-performing sales reps
- Have access to the latest B2B lead generation tools
If you’re wondering if outsourcing lead generation is best for your business, here are some questions to consider before making the investment.
B2B lead generation is a complex process that requires a significant amount of sales and marketing experts to do effectively. You may not have the time, money, resources, or internal B2B lead generation team, but there are capable third-party sales and marketing companies that can help you grow your business.
At Abstrakt Marketing Group, our sales and marketing specialists are trained to deliver qualified sales appointments and high-converting marketing collateral for our clients. If you need a boost with your company’s lead generation efforts, contact the sales reps at Abstrakt Marketing Group!