9 top-performing tactics for B2B lead generation

Michael Maximoff
AuthorMichael Maximoff
Reading time:10m

Effective lead generation is a nonnegotiable for successful B2B businesses. It’s the fuel that keeps your business engine running.

But here’s the kicker: Collecting quality leads is the biggest challenge for 41% of B2B marketers. And unsurprisingly so. There’s no magic formula for lead generation. B2B marketers and sales reps need an iterative approach to consistently try and measure the impact of various B2B lead generation tactics to create a strong lead pipeline.

Thankfully, you don’t have to look far. We’ve done the legwork and gathered the 9 top-performing lead generation tactics for B2B companies. Let’s break them down.

1. Create top-tier content to attract organic traffic

Owned by: Marketing

Picture this: You run a B2B business and know the biggest problem keeping your customers up at night. So you roll out an e-book with expert-backed insights on solving that one challenge. You also repurpose this e-book into a series of blogs and social media posts.

When your customers search for ways to solve this pain point, they land on your blogs, download the e-book, and voila! They’re part of your lead database.

That’s why 62% of B2B marketers focus on improving their content as their No. 1 strategy to generate quality leads. This research explains why content is one of the biggest levers of lead generation for B2B sales.

B2B content is oriented toward individuals who are well versed in a certain domain. Its key purpose is to deliver enough value for the decision-makers at the companies you’re targeting. It should offer:

  • Original insights
  • Descriptive examples
  • Actionable business secrets.

It means B2B content should offer your readers enough incentive to subscribe, download, sign up, or take other actions that place them in your lead database.

You can drive leads through top-tier content by creating:

  • Case studies: B2B buyers are risk averse and spend the majority of their time analyzing the pros and cons of a potential deal. Plus, they have to follow lengthy approval cycles within the internal hierarchy. Make a strong case for yourself to skip past these hurdles with ROI-backed case studies.
  • SEO content: Gaining your buyers’ trust is a piecemeal process — one that often takes months or years. Reach the right audience and position yourself as a trusted resource for them with a strong SEO content strategy. Solve their pain points with this content and optimize it for higher visibility.
  • Original research: 48% of B2B decision-makers consider thought leadership a decisive factor in purchase decisions. Become a trusted voice in the industry and a thought leader with original research in the form of white papers, survey reports, and more. This gives you a competitive edge to win more leads based on your original insights.
  • Webinars: Establishing rapport and nurturing meaningful relationships with prospective buyers are more effective than pushy sales. With value-packed webinars, you can collect more leads and kick-start healthy relationships with them.
  • Videos: With the increasing consumption of video content, it’s no surprise that 86% of businesses use video as a marketing tool. For a B2B audience, videos deliver the message quickly and make an instant impact. Create video content — like explanations, product demos, testimonials, and brand stories — to better engage your audience, capture their attention, and add them to the lead pipeline.
  • Podcasts: You can turn a podcast into an easy way to engage a potential customer. Sharing valuable knowledge for free encourages B2B buyers to learn more about your business, visit your landing page, or test drive your product.

To learn how to build a full-fledged content strategy to make this tactic work for your lead generation goals, read a more detailed guide: How To Create a Content Marketing Strategy for B2B.

Note: if you're short on time and can't afford to wait for your content strategy to yield results, you can delegate your lead generation to trusted B2B outsourcing companies.

2. Leverage referral selling to incentivize lead generation

Owned by: Sales and customer success

Referrals are a surefire way to get more leads from your existing customers. Referral selling relies on customer advocacy to generate positive interest in your business and bring high-value leads.

These leads have a higher conversion potential because:

  • They already know how you can help them
  • They trust you based on their friends’ referrals.

Referral selling stabilizes your lead pipeline and creates a steady flow of leads when you make referrals a part of every new deal. Even though this is still a form of outbound lead generation, it targets the warmest leads on the verge of converting. Design incentives for customers bringing referrals and templatize your strategy for approaching these leads. This will speed up the process and reduce your heavy lifting.

To learn more, read how our team leveraged referral selling to create a steady flow of new appointments for a global telecom company.

3. Build social proof and authority with reviews

Owned by: Customer success

B2B buyers want to learn more about your business from trusted sources: communities, review platforms, and reports. User reviews, in particular, have become a decisive factor in purchasing decisions.

A TrustRadius study reveals that buyers increasingly rely on user reviews to research and weigh different options before making their final decisions. Only 23% connect with a sales representative to continue the conversation.

Usage of User Reviews Research by Trust Radius

Positive reviews make a solid case for you and drive more inbound leads, so building social proof through user reviews should be a top priority in your lead generation strategy.

Here’s how you can maximize social proof for your business:

  • Collect testimonials from your customers
  • Create in-depth case studies on successful projects
  • Collaborate with industry experts to get their endorsements
  • Work with media partners to increase brand mentions on social media.

Your buyers are too savvy to fall for pushy sales and lead-gen tactics. So shift your focus to establishing your authority and win their trust organically.

At Belkins, we’ve placed this idea at the core of our service framework to build the strongest argument for our services and drive more conversions. Our reviews on platforms like G2 and Clutch are enough to convince prospects of the ROI we can deliver.

Belkins Review Clutch

4. Tap into event marketing to network with your buyers

Owned by: Marketing and sales

Event marketing is one of the most promising B2B marketing lead generation tactics that allows you to speak directly to your target buyers and strike a connection. For 31% of B2B marketers, event registration is the best B2B lead generation tactic.

Hosting and attending industry events — such as conferences, seminars, and community meet-ups — helps you:

  • Generate warm leads
  • Maximize brand awareness
  • Nurture high-value prospects
  • Personalize your B2B sales process
  • Build a community of target buyers.

To succeed at event marketing as an attendee, put your sales and marketing teams on duty to prospect potential leads participating in an event. Your top decision-makers can connect with these prospects at the event to create momentum.

Once the event is over, run outreach campaigns to reconnect with these prospects. Our team at Belkins calls them conference campaigns. We source quality leads from industry events and tailor our outreach by mentioning the events to get more appointments. This worked exceptionally well to secure a stream of new appointments for one of our clients.

If you’re hosting an event, outline a robust outreach strategy to invite business leaders and decision-makers from your lead database.

To learn how to leverage this tactic, read a more detailed guide: How to Generate B2B Leads at Events

5. Reduce friction in the lead capture process

Owned by: Marketing

You’ve worked hard to create inbound interest and maximize traffic to generate solid leads. But you might’ve dropped the ball in the final stage with a complicated, lengthy lead capture form.

Let’s face it: Nobody likes filling out a 25-field form just to download a free report or register for a webinar. It creates friction, lengthens the process, and often scares away your leads.

Simplify your lead capture process and let visitors share their credentials as quickly as possible. Here’s how:

  • Stick to a maximum of 5 fields in the form
  • Run A/B tests to optimize every element of the form
  • Use welcome or exit-intent pop-ups to capture leads
  • Add only the most relevant questions to qualify your leads
  • Decide a strategic placement for your form on landing pages
  • Include microcopy to explain your stance on privacy to reassure leads.

Here’s a great lead capture form example by HubSpot. This form displays the number of steps a visitor has to complete before submitting the form. It also highlights HubSpot’s privacy statement to tell users their data is safe.

Lead Capture Form Example by HubSpot

6. Build thought leadership on social media

Owned by: Marketing

Until a few years ago, social media platforms had no value for B2B marketers. But the tables have turned, and 51% of B2B marketers claim to generate quality leads from social media.

So, how exactly can you use this underrated tactic and skyrocket your lead generation efforts? By building thought leadership.

Thought leadership equals audience trust. The more buyers trust your brand, the more interested they’ll be in buying from you. This automatically increases your inbound leads and boosts your bottom line.

Here’s how you can position your business as a thought leader on social media and gain more leads:

  • Build a personal brand and engage your community of followers
  • Define your areas of expertise and content pillars for your strategy
  • Identify customer pain points and expectations to deliver meaningful solutions.

LinkedIn is one of the best platforms to build your thought leadership and create a lead-generating machine. It can give you much-needed visibility to drive brand awareness and get more prospects into your B2B sales funnel.

At Belkins, we followed a 3-pronged content strategy to build a client’s personal brand and achieved great ROI. Our strategy for the company CEO’s account focused on sharing:

  • Personal stories
  • Business insights
  • Brand-focused content.

These posts racked up 434,000 views, increased our client’s social selling index to 85, and led to 53 appointments with interested buyers. More importantly, we positioned the company’s CEO as a well-known, trusted expert in their industry, creating a long-term ROI.

Relevant reading: How To Effectively Use LinkedIn for B2B Lead Generation

7. Offer a meaningful giveaway

Owned by: Marketing

Another promising tactic to generate B2B leads is giving away a valuable resource for free. Interested prospects readily share their information and reveal their interest in your brand when you offer them a meaningful resource.

This tactic plays on your prospects’ psychology to get what they want for no fee. But the only catch is that you have to make the giveaway compelling and valuable enough for them to go for it.

Here are a few free giveaway ideas:

Create a free tool: Give prospects a quick fix for their problems with a free tool, like this cost calculator by Whatfix.

Onboarding Cost Calculator by Whatfix

Design a lead magnet: Share downloadable assets like industry insights, actionable playbooks, ready-made templates, or any useful guides, like this industry benchmark report by Later.

Later benchmark report

Share webinar recordings: Deliver free knowledge to your prospective customers with readily available webinar recordings, like this one by Cognism.

Cognism webinar recordings

8. Retarget website visitors who showed interest

Owned by: Marketing

Your target buyers responded to your campaigns, browsed your website, and left, forgetting about you then and there. How do you turn them into leads instead of filing them as lost opportunities? Through retargeting.

Retargeting includes highly targeted ads reaching only those who interacted with your marketing touchpoints, like visiting your website or clicking on an ad.

As the name suggests, this strategy focuses on reminding these users about your brand to nudge them further down the funnel. Follow these proven tips to get the most out of your retargeting campaigns:

  • Identify the buyer intent and send relevant resources to catch their attention
  • Create custom retargeting lists and ads based on different action-based triggers
  • Map your sales funnel and design unique landing pages for retargeting leads in various stages.

Retargeting can bring you already warmed-up leads with a greater interest in your business.

9. Make your cold outreach stand out

Owned by: Sales

B2B sales reps swear by cold outreach for lead generation, but not everyone knows how to do it right. With response rates going only as high as 10%, cold outreach can be a painstakingly complex process.

B2B emails vs B2C emails

But you can make it one of your best B2B lead-gen tactics by giving prospects something unique. Our team specializes in cold outreach via email and LinkedIn. Here are a few of our best tried-and-tested tips to nail your campaigns:

  • Create a personalized video. Show your leads you’ve done your homework and stand out in their crowded inboxes with a personalized, laser-focused video. A video pitch is easy to consume, shows effort, and captures their attention quickly — it’s a win all the way around.
  • Infuse personality into your messaging. Don’t follow mainstream rules of email conversations and go for something relatable to add some character to your message. For example, we achieved a great response rate for a quirky and cute subject line “{{FirstName}} + me + coffee = new customers.” in one of our clients’ outreach campaigns.
  • Be on brand always. Use this cold outreach opportunity to show your brand values and convince leads to do business with you. Throw in some brand-aligned visuals and let the copy reflect your brand personality.
  • Add a note to connection requests. Send a note with your request to quickly get to the point and tell prospects why you’re approaching them without sounding too abrupt. Make this small note intriguing enough for them to continue the discussion.
  • Use sales triggers in your message. Approach prospects on LinkedIn based on a sales trigger — any company update or event that creates an opportunity for a sale, like change in leadership or new round of funding. Personalize your cold message to show them you’ve done your homework and start on a strong note.

Remember not to be boring in your outreach; watch your response rates soar!

Relevant reading: How to Run Effective B2B Cold Outreach to Generate ROI

Outsource lead generation to professionals and make it a breeze

B2B lead generation isn’t the easiest road to walk. You need consistent strategizing, implementation, and assessment to progress in the right direction.

But if you don’t have the bandwidth to create a fully fledged lead generation setup in-house, the safest (and most effective) option is to outsource. Lead generation outsourcing can streamline your lead gen process and focus your efforts on closing and retaining more deals.

The good news? It doesn’t have to be difficult. With a lead generation agency like Belkins, you’re in safe hands. We work with a dedicated team of account managers, business development reps, and other members either as an extension of your team or as a part of it to implement our strategy.

From advanced lead research to optimizing your marketing campaigns, we can take over your end-to-end lead generation efforts.

Michael Maximoff
Michael Maximoff
Co-founder and Managing Partner at Belkins
Michael is the Co-founder of Belkins, serial entrepreneur, and investor. With a decade of experience in B2B Sales and Marketing, he has a passion for building world-class teams and implementing efficient processes to drive the success of his ventures and clients.
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