Salespeople would agree that it isn’t easy to perform B2B lead generation. The buyers are well-aware and well-informed thanks to the Internet. If that was not enough, you have to deal with the cut-throat competition that keeps shaking the foundation of every business. That is why you have to keep trying new ways to generate leads.
B2B lead generation refers to identifying potential customers and attracting them to make a purchase. This activity is crucial for sales and marketing teams in B2B organizations.
You must be aware that here B2B refers to business-to-business. It means businesses that sell to other businesses. This is different from B2C or business-to-consumer lead generation, where businesses sell their products/services directly to consumers.
Coming back to B2B lead generation, the fact is that a business can flourish when you get more leads which is why lead generation is an inseparable part of any business.
Lead generation involves both sales and marketing teams. Before reaching the sales team, the marketing lead has to go through a qualification process to get the label for sales-qualified leads. However, a sales lead will get an entry straightaway.
The marketing team’s job is to generate leads, and the responsibility of the sales team is to pick leads of high quality and convert them.
Let’s take a closer look at the benefits lead generation has to offer.
Lead generation helps sales and marketing teams in,
1. Identifying the target market and determining the positive response a sales pitch will get. It lets teams know their potential customers and see whether the sales pitch aligns with their interests.
2. Providing the latest customer data to help get in touch and engage with the right prospects.
3. Creating more targeted content that is both useful and relevant to prospects as teams know the interests and preferences of prospects better. It makes the business’s online presence felt and builds brand awareness.
4. Tracking and analyzing marketing activities.
Take a look at the different lead sources and the percentage of leads from each of them.
While you need to scale up your business, you must focus on their quality. It is useless to have 100 leads when only 10 of them convert to paying customers. You can improve the quality of leads using the following ways,
When you use keywords in your content on the web, it signals search engines that you can help internet users solve specific problems. Your ranking in search results depends on the keywords. It is preferable to give importance to long-tail keywords as they resemble the search queries of leads.
Segment your target audience and try to create separate landing pages for every segment. This will make them more likely to turn into leads. Mention what your company can offer and try to educate the visitors about your website.
Gather information like company name, job role, and industry from sales leads by designing forms. It will help you know the kind of audience your website is attracting.
Ideal customer profile and buyer persona are two components of B2B lead generation, without which you cannot build the right strategies for generating leads. While an ICP (ideal customer profile) guides you towards the types of companies you must target, a buyer persona helps you know the people you should target.
An ideal customer profile helps you choose your customers. It helps you pursue leads that have a higher likelihood of turning into paying customers and have a high probability of remaining happy with your product or service. Having a clearly defined ideal customer profile will prevent issues like customer churn.
While it is beneficial to have a well-defined ICP, it can be a challenge for businesses, especially those that have just started. Usually, new businesses sell to anyone who wishes to purchase their product or service. But with a clear ICP, they have to concentrate on a specific type of customer and exclude others. Another reason that makes it challenging to identify an ICP is that most businesses feel they have intuitive answers.
It would be best if you had a framework to choose the right customer profile and focus on it. Here is one that would help you build a clear lead generation process.
In the first step, you have to glance through your existing customers and pick those in the ideal customer list.
Score your customers based on the following filters,
A product aims at meeting specific needs and solving a purpose. It can help customers to increase their profit, write better blogs or reach out to prospects easily. It is often easy to find whether the customers are getting results by using your product or not.
For instance, if your product is an email signature generating tool, it has to help the user generate high-quality email signatures quickly in a short period.
You have to study the existing customers and find out if your product can deliver what it promises. You have to see what benefits the customers can enjoy and find out who enjoys more benefits than the rest. Also, note that if a customer is happy with your product, it doesn’t mean they can succeed by using it. It is more important for the product to help them succeed rather than make them happy.
You can gauge the above question by asking yourself how many of the existing customers will choose to remain with you if you increase the price of your product by 2 -3 times. These customers are the ones who get the maximum value from your product. When you focus on this segment of customers, you can scale up faster.
After finding customers who can achieve success with your product, you have to find those who are happy with you. Usually, the customers are happy with your product because of various reasons. It can be because they find your product’s features useful and are satisfied with your support team.
After you have a list of customers who are happy with your product and have achieved success, you need to do further filtering.
Find who in your happy customer list has the maximum potential to expand revenue. They will consume your product more than others, and you must place such customers on top of the ideal customer list.
See who on your list are the easiest to support i.e., how much assistance they need. The customers who need the minimum support are ideal for you.
It is better to pursue customers with higher ACV or annual contract value than smaller customers if you want to grow your business.
A shorter sales cycle is always better for you. Small businesses tend to close a deal faster than larger enterprises. This makes the former more beneficial as far as custom acquisition cost is involved.
In this step, you would study more about your ideal customers and find common patterns.
Add company-specific details to the customer list such as the industry, number of employees, growth rate, target market, etc.
Doing so will help you pick the common threads among the successful customers. Find whether they come from the same industry or have the same employee strength etc.
Use proxy metrics relevant to your product to understand customers better. For instance, if you are selling an SEO tool, your customer’s website traffic can be a proxy metric.
Find out what the customers used to do before using your product. Were they doing tasks manually or using another product? If most of your customers made a switch to your product from another one, it would be a good idea to pursue that competitor’s customers.
It will be helpful for you to know which technology or software your customers are using. For example, when you sell a sales automation tool, it will be good to know which CRM most of your customers are using. If you find that most of your customers use one particular CRM software, it can help you add that information to your ideal customer profile.
The JTBD or jobs-to-be-done framework helps understand the customer’s motivations. It provides triggers that help understand when a prospect starts looking for a solution to their problem. Approaching the prospect during this trigger event increases the likelihood of making a sale.
After being ready with a well-defined ideal customer profile that will help you target the right companies, you would need to deal with several people in those companies, and for that, a buyer persona would help you.
Let’s find out who is a part of the sales process by revisiting the ideal customer list,
Look at each company in the ideal customer list and see who all were a part of the purchase process. Who was the person you first met when you approached the company? Who were the final decision-makers and the stakeholders in the purchasing process? Find out how all of them benefit by using your product and how they can help you grow your business.
This is basic research you can do on networking sites like LinkedIn, which will help you identify whether the decision-makers of every ideal customer have a similar job title. You can find out if they are directors, VPs or CXOs.
Once you know what the person is trying to find a solution for, you can find out what kind of an approach will be suitable to reach out to them.
It will be easier to present your product when you know the decision maker’s main constraint. It can be anything from lack of funds to less workforce.
Find out who the person reports to and who reports to them, the seniority, their access to the budget, and other related details.
The person’s age, qualification, skills, background, and much more fall in the demographic category while the personality traits comprise the person’s interests, whether they are data-driven or a value seeker and so on.
Find out which blogs, publications they read most often. Take a look at their favorite influencers and from where they get to know about new ideas and trends. Get to know which communication channel they use and how they research for new products.
Where does the person stand as far as the awareness level is concerned? It is much easier to convince someone who is aware of the problem and knows that there is a solution to it than an unaware person. Based on the person’s level of awareness, you can decide to keep the sales pitch educational or transactional.
All the above data is enough to build buyer personas.
With the Ideal Customer Profile and buyer persona in place, you can choose the best approach to find customers who match them. You can use any strategy to generate leads once you know who you want to target.
A good B2B lead generation strategy can go a long way in helping your sales pipeline grow at a steady pace. Here is a list of some B2B lead generation ideas that work,
At present, half of the businesses are using tools to automate email marketing. With email marketing automation, when a lead takes a particular action, a targeted email gets triggered and hits their inbox automatically.
Let’s say a lead downloads an ebook; they become a part of the sales funnel and automatically receive an email with additional information about the products and services the company offers.
It is essential to send welcome emails for each milestone the lead accomplishes to stay upbeat. An email marketing tool would help you save a lot of time for the marketing and sales team. It is also possible to hire an email marketing agency if you wish to.
One of the most essential B2B lead generation tactics is creating high-quality content for blogs. The content you publish in the company’s blogs goes a long way in helping you generate leads. Most companies spend more time writing blogs than writing emails. It is better to write blogs to answer the questions your target audience has in their minds. You can ask salespeople to share questions that prospects put up most often. In addition to that, prospects ask questions through email and social media as well. The answers that require a detailed explanation can become a blog post. So, whenever you think about topics for your blog, choose topics that will attract more leads.
Keep in mind that you have to publish blogs regularly if you want to build credibility and increase the reach and exposure of your content. Make sure that it provides value to the reader to make them trust you and turn into loyal customers. As per a study, 51 percent of B2B buyers depend on content (blog posts) to make buying decisions.
Here is another tactic related to content marketing called guest blogging. Guest blogging is by far one of the most impactful B2B lead generation strategies. It is fruitful to write guest posts for websites with high search rankings and many website visitors who would find your product or service helpful. It works well from the SEO point of view too. Write well-researched blog posts and send them to websites that publish guest posts. As soon as your blog goes live, promote it on social media to reach the maximum number of people.
Cold emailing is one way to generate leads effectively, but the issue is getting prospects’ attention in cluttered inboxes. The first thumb rule is that your cold email should not look like it is automated. Nothing is more disappointing for a prospect than to see a template-like message probably sent to hundred other people. You have to personalize the message, for which you have to do some research. If you want to make an impact and get a positive response from a prospect, you have to put in the effort to make the recipient feel important.
A large number of B2B buyers use mobile devices for most of their tasks. Also, those who give them a great mobile experience are their favorites for future purchases. This indicates that you have to optimize your website for mobile devices when you want to close more deals.
It shouldn’t look disproportionate when opened on a tab or smartphone. The text, buttons, menu, and images should not look out of place.
LinkedIn is one of the most popular professional networking sites that is suitable for B2B businesses. Therefore, marketers rely the most on this platform to distribute content. If you want to reap the maximum benefits from LinkedIn, create a complete profile and write about what your company has to offer. Use keywords to find your page and add user reviews and testimonials to find your page to be trustworthy to the readers. You can also add the achievements of the company to make a positive impact on the reader.
Make sure you create engaging content on LinkedIn for prospects to read. Bear in mind that you shouldn’t publish it elsewhere. Keep it unique and add images, videos, infographics, pie charts, and graphs so that the content looks informative and complete.
Create a group relevant to your niche on LinkedIn and stay active. Initiate conversations and add content to it periodically and share it with people in your industry.
Webinars are the in-thing these days as buyers don’t have a lot of time at hand to read pages of text. You can host a webinar not beyond 30-40 minutes in the morning hours and have a Q n A session at the end to answer the attendees’ questions. Don’t forget to make a note of the email addresses and other details of the attendees so that you can stay in touch with them in the future. You never know they may get so impressed by your webinar that they may close the deal the very next day!
While you carry out most of the lead generation strategies online, you still need to step out and put in some efforts offline as well. Organizing live events or attending them is a great way to interact with prospects. They can be anything from conferences to corporate lunches. While hosting an event, ensure that the topic is interesting enough to get influencers to share their thoughts. Collect details of the attendees with the help of sign-up forms and ask them how they liked the event and what improvements they would like to see the next time.
Having testimonials on your website works as social proof. People tend to judge our product or service based on other people’s experiences. So, when they find out that another person was happy with your solution, they feel that they too will find it helpful and therefore take the plunge. So, user reviews and testimonials are an easy and cost-effective way to draw the attention of potential buyers.
When a buyer successfully purchases from you, request them to leave a review about your product or service on your website. Use all those reviews in emails, ebooks, and the like.
One of the best ways of generating leads in the B2B world is through referrals. A person would prefer to go by a recommendation from someone they know rather than a perfect-sounding sales pitch. Therefore, ask your customers to refer you to people in their circle. Try to send them details of your products or services that they can easily forward to those interested. For the effort they take, you can consider rewarding them with a special discount.
So, these were some of the B2B lead generation ideas and strategies that deliver great results when implemented.
Certain tools can help you with lead generation. Let’s take a look at them,
Quora – It helps prospects know about your business and your areas of expertise.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator – With this lead capturing tool, you get recommendations and discover who visited your profile.
You need to find leads and reach out to them through multiple channels like phone, email, and LinkedIn for outbound lead generation. SalesBlink is a full-stack cold outreach automation tool that takes you from prospecting to outreach to closing at lightning-fast speed.
For on-page lead generation, you require tools that can catch leads on your company’s website. It is Unbounce for building attractive landing pages and Intercom to facilitate direct interaction with website visitors.
Some tools help bring traffic to your website through organic and paid search. There are tools like SEMRush for the upkeep of the health of your website.
For any business to grow, you have to generate leads. That requires you to reach out to a target audience. The step-by-step lead generation process and the strategies to generate leads you just read above are effective and can fetch you excellent results. The list is not exhaustive, and there are many other B2B sales lead generation strategies that work well. Feel free to try out what works the best for you.
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