Only 44% of B2B marketers rate their lead generation efforts as mildly efficient.
This poses a major challenge for businesses since the quality of leads is the most important metric for business success, according to Copper and Outfunnel’s 2021 Revenue Marketing Report.
Content Marketing Institute’s own research also implies this by stating that lead generation is a top priority for 85% of B2B marketers.
Therefore, making your B2B lead generation more effective is a key element of your revenue, sales and overall business growth.
In this article, we will go over the 7 most efficient B2B lead generation strategies that will help you attract, retain and nurture your most qualified prospects.
Know how and when to capture your market at every stage of the funnel, until they are ready to commit and convert into a customer.
B2B (business-to-business) lead generation is the process of identifying and attracting potential buyers of a product or a service.
It involves an interaction between a business that markets its products/services and another business that is interested in buying them. It is different from B2C lead generation which attracts consumers and sells products/services directly to them.
An effective B2B lead generation strategy creates a consistent sales pipeline of high-value prospects that eventually convert into customers.
The strategy must cover the awareness, consideration and decision stages of the prospect’s buyer journey, addressing their needs at each specific stage.
For example, having a website copy that talks about their pain points and offers solutions, blog articles that showcase in-depth expertise that can help them and whitepapers/eBooks that differentiate you from your competitors will likely nudge them towards conversion.
Before delving deeper into improving your sales pipeline and attracting the most valuable prospects, let's first discuss the four essential stages every B2B lead generation process must undergo.
B2B lead generation is essentially a marketing activity that results in acquiring contact information and building a list of potential customers.
Sales and marketing teams source this information:
Sales and marketing reps reach out to the list of leads through email marketing’s cold outreach, targeted PPC and social media campaigns, or replying to inquiries.
Your sales and marketing reps interact with leads and evaluate their buyer journey stage to measure how likely they are to buy from you.
Your sales, marketing, content and other relevant teams should consider these stages in order to move the lead towards the purchase decision.
At this point, congratulations are in order! However, the journey doesn’t end here. Once the lead decides they should pick you over your competitors, they are transferred to the sales or customer success team for onboarding.
Now that you know the basics in generating leads, let’s look into the specific strategies you should apply to effectively capture and nurture qualified B2B leads.
B2B companies have a much higher cost per lead ($43) compared to B2C companies ($15).
That’s why it is crucial to get the lead generation tactics right from the beginning because you might end up incurring costs for nothing.
Before attracting more prospects and leads to your website and other marketing platforms, you should look for any “leaks” in your marketing funnel “bucket” and, if they exist, fix them.
Driving traffic to a non-optimized funnel that loses prospects results in inflated acquisition costs and poor lead generation results.
The two most common funnel elements that leak leads are landing pages and lead generation forms (we will address the landing page optimization soon in this article.).
Forms separate your leads from your prospects. They contribute massively to your overall lead generation results and conversion rates.
Using tools like Typeform or Leadformly can help ensure you’re not losing leads during the form procedures. You can also optimize your lead generation forms yourself by making sure they are simple as possible, with only one or a couple of required fields at most.
Other common causes of leaking leads that you should check and improve on include:
Once you’re certain that there are no more opportunities to optimize your marketing funnel, it’s time to capture and retain leads.
Publishing industry-relevant content valuable to your prospects helps build your credibility as an expert and authority in your field.
Well-researched and well-optimized content increases your reach and brand exposure. It also earns the audience’s trust: capturing leads and converting them is easier when you have their trust.
The content you create should use simple language to articulate your offerings and expertise. It is vital that it addresses your prospects’ pain points and offers specific solutions for them.
Depending on your industry and expertise, your content marketing may consist of:
Blogging is especially effective in capturing leads for B2B service businesses:
While the quality of your blog articles is the most critical consideration, the frequency of posting is also important. Businesses that publish at least 16 blog posts per month generate 4.5 times more leads than those who publish only 0-4 posts per month.
A well-balanced mix of evergreen and current topics in your niche is the preferred blogging strategy.
Evergreen content is shareable, helpful and informative for clients in any stage of their user journey, while articles that address the topics your audience is searching for right now help you stay relevant and possibly go viral.
Here are the two main benefits of B2B content marketing, especially blogging:
To take your content marketing strategy to the next level and fully exploit its lead generation potential, identify and create exclusive bits of content that you will present to your prospects in exchange for their info.
For example, you can tease the audience with an exclusive eBook on a niche topic with just a few paragraphs before requesting them to download the full version in exchange for their email addresses.
Putting your most valuable content behind the subscription form’s “gate” is one of the most effective ways of attracting and identifying leads who really are interested in what you have to offer.
Gated content increases leads and conversions significantly: finance website Trading Strategy Guides gained almost 11,000 targeted email subscribers in just one month using this method.
However, when using gated content, do so strategically. Locking too much content behind forms may repulse some of your prospects. Offering plenty of valuable content for free, without requesting the readers’ contact info, should be the norm.
Only make your most exclusive and most valuable content gated if you’ve already created an impressive library of content your audience enjoys for free.
To optimize your product or service landing pages means to
Your landing pages should focus on a single offer and a single goal. Having multiple offers on one landing page may overwhelm and confuse visitors and this can decrease conversion rates up to 266%.
When you define the goal you want your landing page visitors to reach, make it clear and noticeable with your CTA’s messaging.
Distinctive call-to-action button design and text should be enticing and convincing, as your primary goal on a landing page is to convert your prospects into leads (or leads into customers).
Other ways in which you can optimize your landing page(s) for better lead generation include:
Email marketing can generate an average ROI of 4,200%, making it one of the favorite and most efficient marketing channels for B2B ventures.
It is also the most popular lead generation tool, as 77% of B2B marketers use email campaigns to send personalized cold outreach emails to drive qualified leads.
Strangely – considering these perks – email marketing is also quite underused. 59% of B2B companies do not use any type of email marketing.
Two major benefits of using email marketing to generate B2B leads include:
To boost the lead-gen effectiveness of your emails:
If you need some more convincing that email is capable of generating big amounts of leads, consider these stats:
As stated before, B2B companies make financially larger investments than B2C brands. For them, an unbiased review is invaluable during their buyer’s journey.
That is why 92% of B2B buyers read online reviews to get information and recommendations to support their purchase decisions.
By adding and managing a review section on your product/service pages and encouraging customers to leave their reviews, you are increasing the level of trust in your services.
This also boosts your business reputation as reviews provide an essential element to your lead generation tactics – social proof.
Besides building customer trust, authentic reviews can also help improve your local search rankings, which may contribute to higher conversion rates.
Managing reviews is also a great way to capitalize on your competitors: only 20% of B2B companies use reviews as part of their lead generation strategy.
Publishing client reviews on your website is a must, but you should also consider submitting your company to business ranking platforms like DesignRush where you can set up a profile, garner reviews to attract valuable leads and gain industry recognition.
Over 75% of Fortune 500 executives watch video content and two-thirds of that number visit the vendor’s website after that.
Video B2B marketing is extremely beneficial in capturing valuable leads because it:
Beyond 2021, videos will be the preferred way of learning about products or services for 68% of users. Because of this, explainer videos will gain in popularity and become the most sought-after type of video.
In the context of B2B lead generation, explainer and demo videos are very suitable for:
Furthermore, the demand for live videos will increase drastically. Live streams, webinars, virtual events – especially in Covid-19 and post-Covid-19 era – will become a common type of content that provides value to businesses and generates leads.
In developing and implementing any of these B2B lead generation strategies, consider the following aspects of your business.
Set realistic, measurable, short and long-term goals for each aspect of your day-to-day operations and business growth: sales targets, marketing campaigns and lead generation.
For example, do you currently aim to increase direct sales revenue or the number of subscribers? Are you looking to boost trust with your clients and improve your reputation or do you plan an all-out marketing campaign?
Knowing your specific business goals will give you an idea of which lead generation strategies will help you achieve them.
Acquire insight into your industry’s and market’s changing trends. It may help you respond efficiently and promptly to the shifts in your immediate business environment and match or surpass your competitors’ performance.
Defining your target audience and creating buyer personas – representations of your ideal customers – will provide you with a thorough understanding of their pain points, issues, beliefs and behaviors.
Knowing your market and your audience will help you sharpen your lead generation strategies and messaging to target the most valuable prospects, encouraging them to choose you over your competitors.
Finally, you must establish
Specifying conversion goals and assigning specific values to track the lead gen success will help you determine both.
For example, your conversion goals may be capturing the prospect’s contact info and email address through a form. A specific value for lead generation would be the number of qualified leads gained through a particular strategy (e.g., the number of users that signed up for your product’s free trial).
Each lead generation channel or source will work differently for different businesses. Each enterprise has its own challenges, weaknesses, strengths and opportunities which makes it more or less suited for a specific lead gen strategy.
However, according to research by HubSpot, the three most effective sources of leads for B2B companies are:
The essential stages of each B2B lead generation process are:
Specific B2B lead generation strategies you should employ during the prospects’ user journey include: