How to generate leads for B2B tech companies

Precious Oboidhe
Author
Precious Oboidhe
Published:2024-04-01
Reading time:14 m
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Successful lead generation for technology companies in software, fintech, healthtech, and computer manufacturing industries is often a tough grind.

Why? 

The tech industry is facing an inundation of competitors. Creating a competitive edge is increasingly difficult. Some tech products are quite unsexy to sell. Attracting key decision-makers is a hassle, and buyers have several vendors to choose from. 

At Belkins, we’ve helped 300+ tech sector clients to hop over these lead generation challenges.

For instance:

  • Mini PC manufacturing company booked 109 appointments in 21 months (read Simply NUC case study). 
  • Software development company generated 30+ appointments and over $150K in revenue in 5 months (read BioSistemika case study).
  • Cybersecurity firm secured 1,000 MQLs, 10 booked appointments, and $200K in new revenue in 1 month (read Whitespots case study).

Drawing from our experiences, you’ll learn how to populate your depleting pipeline with quality leads. You’ll find tactics you can start using, including tips and resources for executing them.

Quick note: If you’d like to outsource lead generation to an experienced lead generation company, to get up to 300 new opportunities yearly.

Before doing lead generation for your tech brand

Effective lead generation begins with a strategy, i.e., a robust framework your lead generation tactics will build upon. These are the 3 foundational elements to establish when thinking about your strategy.

Define and refine your target audience

Most B2B companies usually have an idea of their target buyers. But “an idea” is typically broad, and it makes companies aim for poor-fit leads. To generate quality leads, you need to define your ideal customer profile (ICP) and create accurate buyer personas. Doing this well helps you narrow your target audience and improve the quality of your lead generation campaigns. 

Often, companies define their target audience once and call it a day. That’s a mistake! 

You refine your ICP and buyer personas through constant testing.

🎥 Related video: Deep dive into B2B ICPs

Set your lead generation goals

Define what you aim to achieve using the SMART framework. That means your goals must be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.

Lion Energy is one technology brand that uses this framework. When they came to us, their specific goal was to close deals totaling $10,000,000.

Here are other examples of SMART lead generation goals:

  • Add 3,000 marketing-qualified leads to the pipeline monthly
  • Increase QoQ revenue by 20% by a certain date
  • Generate 10 appointments with decision-makers monthly

Consider using lead generation tactics that provide quick wins 

Many sales teams aim for short-term sales activation. This means they want fast and measurable results through targeted and time-sensitive campaigns. Three outbound lead generation tactics that provide such results are cold emailing, cold calling, and LinkedIn outreach. Let’s explore each one.  

Outbound lead generation tactics for technology companies

Cold emailing

If you sell medium- to high-ticket products of over $3,000, you should use cold emails to get some quick wins. At Belkins, we consider cold emails the best lead generation tactic for technology companies. Cold emails let you speak to decision-makers without lengthy, complex funnels and thousands spent on ads. We also like cold emails because they are great for selling “uninteresting” products directly to the audience that needs them.

With cold emails, you:

  • Filter leads to nurture or sell to right away
  • Have the flexibility to target specific people in an industry
  • Bypass the competition to gain the attention of decision-makers
  • Can state why your product is different and how it can ease the unique challenges of leads

And contrary to popular belief, cold emails do not turn off B2B buyers. 

In The State of Prospecting report by Sopro, 77% of B2B buyers say they prefer email communication. This means with proper optimization, you can have good open and response rates to your cold emails. 

Take our work with Grafi, an AI-powered startup, for instance. When we started working with them, we tested outreach to different industries to find the right audience. Afterward, we narrowed the ICP to focus on healthcare leads. This effort helped us craft tailored templates specifically for this industry, targeting healthcare companies, medical centers, and hospitals. The outcome? An email open rate of 90% and response rate reaching 50%.

Here’s the email example for targeting healthcare institutions we designed for Grafi:

Subject line A: You or {{Referral_Name}}?
Subject line B: {{First_Name}}, are you accountable for content at {{Company}}?
Subject line C: The World’s First AI-Powered Copywriter for Healthcare

Hi {{First_Name}},

I hope you are doing well!

I was looking to reach out to the person responsible for {{Company}}’s B2C content writing efforts. Would you or {{Referral_Name}} be the right one to address?

My name’s Sean, founder and CEO of Grafi AI. I’d like to introduce {{Company}} to an AI platform built specifically for healthcare writers. Grafi can help you craft accurate and cohesive content for your audience within minutes.

It leverages credible healthcare databases, so your team will not need to worry about factual accuracy or relevance.

Would you or {{Referral_Name}} have 30 mins this upcoming {{available_day}} for a demo? I’d love to show how Grafi can write healthcare-specific blog posts for {{Company}} within a few minutes.

Best,

Sean

Tips for successful cold email outreach

  • Narrow your ICPs to personalize your emails. Personalization goes beyond using a recipient’s name. To personalize your email, narrow your ICPs as we did with Grafi and segment leads based on shared characteristics. Use properties like industry, annual revenue, titles, and number of employees. A narrowed focus lets you personalize emails and achieve higher open and reply rates.

Here is an example of a personalized email that helped us land a six-figure client:

Subject: New clients for {{company}}

Hi {{{First_Name}},

I’m just wondering — how does {{Company}} chase new clients?

Belkins takes care of all top-of-the-funnel sales tasks: prospect identifying, target research and list building, database enrichment, initial outreach, and appointment scheduling.

The resources below cover our general overview, third-party review sites, and our use cases. These should help with your evaluation.

Case studies -> https://belkins.io/case-studies

Clients Testimonials on Clutch -> https://clutch.co/profile/belkins

Folderly case studies -> https://folderly.com/case-studies

I’ll be happy to arrange a Zoom meeting to share best practices. Perhaps next Tuesday will work?

Cheers,

  • Do A/B testing. A/B testing uncovers insights that let you optimize your cold email outreaches for maximum conversion. When working with Arizona-based software development company Andersen, we tested emails written in German and English for prospects in Germany and Austria. The German emails had a 43% higher open rate and a 63% higher reply rate. We recommend you A/B test elements like subject line, email body, from name, CTA, and email send time.
  • Write a click-worthy subject line. Your subject line largely determines if prospects read or ignore your email. To learn how to write compelling subject lines, watch this video where Joshua Pratt, our outreach expert, reviews 25 email subject lines. Here are some of them:
Best email subject lines Worst email subject lines
Need your feedback, {{First_Name}} New swag alert: Can I send you a “make it rain” umbrella and YETI?
Did I lose you, {{First_Name}}? Can I sign you up for this sales management bootcamp?
Are you still with {{Company}}? {{First_Name}}, join, grow, and get rewarded with Tagger
You or {{Referral_Name}}? You have to act now
{{Company 1}} x {{Company 2}} See what’s new this {{month}}

📚 Related post: 8-Step Sales Outreach Strategy for B2B (Using Cold Emails) 

LinkedIn outreach

The audience of most technology companies uses this social network. According to LinkedIn, their platform has over 65 million users who are decision-makers. To reach them, we advise you to combine LinkedIn with cold email outreach to build connections with prospects. 

As Jerrod Bailey, CEO at Medplace, says:

“LinkedIn gives your prospective buyer context to ask themselves, ’Do I want to connect to this person?’”

Once prospective buyers find you great to connect with, you’ve made yourself more approachable as a seller. How? You’ve put a face to the cold (or now warm) emails you’d send. This helps increase your email open rates and strengthen relationships with leads. 

Sometimes, you may find that your audience does not engage much with your LinkedIn posts. LinkedIn outreach can help in such situations when you combine it with content creation. Paul Dickau, a sales expert who made $40K in 3 months from LinkedIn, says:

“I posted 100 days in a row. I also did cold outreach via LinkedIn DM. 90% of the people I got on a call said, ’I love your content!’ But I never saw them in my feed ONCE! But it makes sense: My audience doesn’t have time to consume stuff on LinkedIn endlessly. Lesson learned: Outreach + Content = Quick Results.”

The takeaway from Paul’s story is this: If you don’t go to your audience on LinkedIn, they may never become clients.

To learn more about using LinkedIn to get clients, watch the video below where Michael Maximoff explains Belkins’ approach.

Tips for successful LinkedIn outreach

  • Don’t pitch too soon. Nobody likes spam. Instead of pitch-slapping your prospects, aim to build an authentic relationship. Compliment their posts. Share a perspective. After doing this a few times, send a personalized invite to connect. Consider interacting more and waiting for about a month before sending a personalized pitch. This approach has higher success chances. Plus, it’s less likely to infuriate leads.
  • Use creative outreaches. A creative pitch is irresistible to prospects and cuts through the noise. One of such is from Jc Pollard (an account executive at Gong), who noticed that his prospect named Kyle Willis was on a mission to complete a 10-minute plank. So Jc made a LinkedIn video telling Kyle he’d do a 10-minute elbow plank, and if he completed it, Kyle had to take a meeting with him. Jc could only hold the plank for 6 minutes and 45 seconds, but that was long enough to win a meeting with Kyle. Here’s how Kyle responded:

Kyle Willis advising sellers to learn from Jc’s approach

  • Create LinkedIn content. Smart brands like Gong and Outreach share and empower their teams to publish content on LinkedIn. But based on our experience, the best LinkedIn content is founder-led, which educates, shares a story, and shows results. Such content humanizes a company, grows a community, and generates leads.

📚 Related Post: How to use LinkedIn for B2B Lead Generation

Cold calling

Cold calling is the third lead generation approach that can get you quick wins. Though 1 in 2 B2B sales reps fear making cold calls, this tactic still works. 

Yes, cold calling is time-intensive and difficult to scale. Plus, its average conversion rate of 2% is underwhelming. But, as Jc Pollard says, “You only need a few wins to change your year.” 

For context, Jc made 2,572 cold calls in 2022. Most were dead ends. But the few that clicked helped him close deals worth about $1 million.

Tips for making successful cold calls

  • Know the proper response to common situations. Every sales call is unique, but they follow similar patterns. For instance, prospects often ask, “Can you send an email?” Don’t respond with “Can I call you back tomorrow?” Instead, Cognism recommends replying, “Can I explain why I’m calling, and then you can tell me if it makes sense to send that email?” Such a tactical reply can boost your chances of handling common objections and moving the conversation forward.
  • Conduct research. According to LinkedIn’s Global State of Sales report, 76% of salespeople who exceed their quota always research before contacting prospects (compared to only 47% for other sellers). Before calling, learn as much as possible about your prospect — their pain points, frustrations, goals, etc. That way, you can align their goals with your value proposition and deliver a pitch that resonates.
  • Use a cold call script. We get it. You don’t want to sound like a robot. But that only happens if you follow scripts verbatim. You should adapt your scripts to every conversation. When used properly, cold call scripts can help you reduce anxiety, get more leads, and reach your sales goals. And if you need to spice your calls a bit, take a cue from the cold call intro of Jeremy Miner.

Inbound lead generation tactics for technology companies

Inbound lead generation comes with a few challenges. 

First, it takes time to get results. Your SEO article won’t instantly rank on search engines, and your podcast won’t attract droves of listeners from its first episode. Second, they could be expensive like Google ads and have longer sales cycles. A Dreamdata benchmark report says it takes 4 months minimum to close a deal regardless of your industry, company size, or location.

Does this mean you should avoid inbound lead gen tactics? No. We use and recommend them. For one, you can mitigate many of its challenges. Plus, implementing it properly helps grow your site traffic, lets you drive higher-quality leads, and achieves a lower cost per lead. Below are 7 inbound tactics to consider.

Google Ads

Many technology companies we know use Google Ads to generate leads and sales. Here are some examples according to SpyFu:

Company name Industry Estimated monthly Google Ads spend
DocuSign E-signature $1,686,000
Talkdesk Cloud contact center $263,000
PatientPop Healthtech $19,527
Supernova Companies Fintech $16,180
MachineMetrics Manufacturing $3,488

Spending these amounts suggests Google Ads works for technology companies. 

Technology companies can also part with these amounts for several reasons. Some have funding and want to drive brand awareness. Others want to generate leads for keywords they can’t create content on. Irrespective of the rationale, the best part is that Google Ads lets you target leads with a transactional intent. 

While ads are great for reaching high-intent leads, they can also be expensive. For this reason, we highly recommend you take the Google Ads tips below seriously to maximize every cent of your ad spend. 

Tips for running successful Google Ads campaigns

  • Get expert help. Our first attempt with Google Ads was unsuccessful. Though we invested over $200K in ads, we earned little ROI. But in 2023, we brought in 4 ad experts. They ran multiple experiments, optimized our campaigns, and turned Google Ads into our second most effective lead generation channel. To sidestep our mistakes, we recommend working with ClickRoads.

  • Keep ads running in the summer. After the 25th of each month, particularly in summer, the cost per click (CPC) typically decreases by about 50%. This decline stems from companies scaling back their Google Ads spend. To leverage this favorable situation, we boost our ad spend starting from the 25th. The outcome? New deals at reduced costs.

Blog content creation

Lots of technology companies, especially those in manufacturing and healthcare, don’t focus on blogging. That’s a missed lead generation opportunity. 

A recent study by Wynter shows 54% of some C-level executives begin their buying journey by Googling the category name. Alternatively, they look up vendors from G2 or TrustRadius. Attract this high-intent traffic by controlling how you want them to perceive your brand by creating relevant blog content.

An example of a technology company whose blog approach is worth modeling is our client ValueLabs. They specialize in software product development, data technology, digital enablement, and consulting. According to Semrush, the ValueLabs blog attracts 13,000+ visitors per month by publishing top- and middle-of-funnel content. To make the most of this traffic, they could also create the bottom-of-funnel content

Value Labs Organic Traffic Data

Tips for successful blog content creation

  • Focus on money keywords. Publishing random blog posts won’t help. Always ask yourself, “What does our audience want?” This question will help you create relatable content. An example is a post by ValueLabs titled: Your IoT Roadmap: Steps for Implementation. This post teaches the ValueLabs audience how to execute their IoT roadmap. What happens to those who lack the time to execute their roadmap or require experts? They could contact ValueLabs for help and become leads. You can also publish content that focuses on comparing your solution with your competitors’.
  • Include content distribution in your content production plan. Don’t crank out content endlessly. Maximize the value of each piece of content by distributing it via email, industry communities, social media, forums like Reddit, etc. 
  • Prioritize SEO for distribution. According to a 2024 study by SparkToro, 63.41% of referral traffic comes from Google. To win from such traffic, ensure you develop an SEO content strategy to boost your blog’s visibility on search engines like Google.

Video marketing

2024 data from Wyzowl shows 44% of consumers prefer to learn about a product or service via a short video. Respondents also rate video as a more popular learning tool than e-books or manuals (16%), infographics (15%), text-based articles (13%), sales calls (6%), or webinars/presentations/pitches (5%).

Ninety percent of marketers also say video has given them a good ROI. Eighty-seven percent of video marketers say video has helped them generate leads and directly increased sales. Simply NUC, one of our clients, is one tech company that does video marketing well. Their YouTube channel has over 1,700,000 views and they have 10,500 YouTube subscribers. 

Tip for successful video marketing

  • Make it fun to watch. Potential leads will consume your video if it’s fun to watch yet packed with valuable content. If you need inspiration, then you’d like the videos created and distributed by some marketers I like. Below is one by Obaid Durrani, head of brand and content at HockeyStack, including two more (video 1, video 2) from Tim Davidson.

Webinars

Forty-five percent of B2B marketers say creating webinars is a potent lead generation tactic. Beyond lead generation for technology companies, webinars let you show expertise and build authority. They also strengthen your connection with your audience, as 67% of people want a live Q&A with speakers, according to a 2021 report by BrightTALK.

With webinars, you gain deeper insights into the frustrations of leads and capture ideas you can use in your messaging or product development. One brand with a super strong webinar game is Acumatica, an enterprise resource planning (ERP) software company. Based on Acumatica’s webinar page, we can tell that they do an average of 6 webinars per month in 2024. The best part? They’ve maintained this webinar event rate for at least 2 years.

Bottom line: Webinar works, hence Acumatica’s commitment to creating them. 

Tips for generating leads with webinars

  • A hot webinar topic is everything. The BrightTALK report I cited earlier says your webinar topic has the greatest impact on registration and attendance. So, how do you choose a winning webinar topic? Select one that addresses your ICP’s biggest pain points.
  • Repurpose webinar recordings. Consider repurposing your webinar content for other video-based platforms. For instance, we post our webinar recordings on our YouTube channel. We also cut out interesting snippets and share them on YouTube shorts. A good webinar can be a timeless asset. Milk it!
  • Bonus points if you can infuse some humor. The “Principles of B2B Marketing” Webinar by Peter Weinberg and John Lombardo is a masterclass on what a webinar presentation should look like — a great topic and a refreshing presentation loaded with humor.

In-depth case studies

Case studies are the most important sales enablement tool for sales teams in tech. They let you leverage social proof to eliminate objections and persuade customers. 

To craft winning case studies, be transparent and in-depth. Most case studies include the customer’s challenge, the solution the company provided, and the results achieved. But we like to go further by including details about the challenges we experienced.

For instance, while we eventually exceeded expectations when working with one software development company, we initially didn’t meet our KPIs. Including this information in our case study gives readers a more accurate understanding of what the partnership could entail, causing us to ‌earn extra trust points.

Tips for creating compelling case studies

  • Start with the end in mind: Let your goals inform the stories you tell. Joel Klettke, founder of Case Study Buddy, recommends using this framework to decide what stories you tell: “We want to {goal}, so we’ll tell stories about {topic} for {audience} so that they {outcome}.”
  • Infuse case studies in your sales and marketing processes. Many brands underutilize their case studies. They publish them, file them in their website’s “resources” or “case studies” section, and leave them there. At Belkins, we arm our sales team with case studies so they always have relevant ones to show potential customers. We also share case studies on our website home page and YouTube channel and strategically insert them in our blog posts.

Rich white papers and e-books

You can capture new leads by gating access to your white paper or e-book. 

A white paper solves a specific problem. It shares original insights, expertise, and data and is usually technical and information-dense. This makes them an excellent choice for establishing authority and attracting leads. In a 2022 report by the Content Marketing Institute, 27% of respondents said white papers were effective for generating an initial inquiry about a product or service. In the same report, 41% of respondents said e-books generate a similar outcome. 

Here’s an example of a white paper published by AMI:

AMI's white paper

📚 Learn more:  How to Write White Papers Customers Want [Templates + Examples]

Tips for producing compelling white papers and e-books

  • Choose a topic that intersects audience needs and business strengths. Think about the topics you know more about than your competition. Identify the information gaps around that topic and produce content that adds to the conversation. For instance, outbound marketing is our bread and butter at Belkins. So, creating a State of Outbound Report felt natural. Plus, researching this topic helped us gain insights into market trends.
  • Turn successful reports into an annual report: I can count on HubSpot to produce “state of” reports on marketing, sales, service, and AI almost every year. The implication? They become a go-to resource for marketers and salespeople seeking recent information. Consider producing your reports annually to solidify your topical authority. 

📚 Learn more:  How to Create an E-book From Start to Finish [Free E-book Templates] 

Reputation building

According to G2, 92.4% of B2B buyers are more likely to buy products or services with trusted reviews. Also, recall that the Wynter report cited earlier says 54% of B2B SaaS marketing leaders use third-party review sites like G2 or TrustRadius to create vendor short lists.

The point? “Reviews matter” and “reputation is everything,” as the Wynter report concludes. 

Aim to build a strong brand reputation by accumulating many positive reviews on third-party review sites relevant to your industry. Such sites include G2, Capterra, UpCity, Product Hunt, and many others.

Clutch is the largest online review site for service companies like us and tech service companies as well. In Belkins’ early days, we built a strong reputation there. We suspected that, besides growing our brand awareness, Clutch had the potential for lead generation. Before long, we became the number one lead generation agency in the U.S. and secured the coveted top spot on the Clutch Leaders Matrix.

Belkins as #1 on Clutch Leaders Matrix

The result? Our Clutch profile generates about 100 high-quality leads and 2–5 closed-won deals monthly.

📚 Related Post: Generating B2B Leads from Clutch: Belkins Case Study

Tips for reputation building

  • Accumulate lots of five-star reviews. We know this seems obvious. However, when we first joined Clutch, most brands had 30–40 reviews on average. This suggests that they weren’t focused on collecting customer reviews. We now have 200+ reviews on our Clutch profile. Recognize that even your most satisfied accounts may not leave you a review if you don’t ask. So, build a system for collecting customer feedback because the lead generation implications can be massive.
  • Incentivize customers. You’d expect customers to leave a review after a great experience, but that doesn’t happen all the time. To get such customers on board, you may need to incentivize them. Incentives like coupon codes and discounts can do the magic and entice customers to share genuine feedback about their experience.

🎥 Related video: How to generate 100 leads on Clutch monthly

Final words on lead generation for your tech company

Technology companies often struggle with lead generation because they lack the internal expertise to build or execute a lead generation strategy. Other times, they’re focused on product innovation and development, so lead generation takes the back seat. If we just described your situation, you need to consider outsourcing your lead generation.

At Belkins, we’ve worked with hundreds of tech companies to do research, cold outreach, appointment setting, and identifying ready-to-buy prospects. This gives our clients’ sales teams more time to focus on what they do best — closing deals. Contact us today to discuss how we can help fill your pipeline with qualified leads.

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Precious Oboidhe
Author
Precious Oboidhe
B2B Content Strategist & Writer
Precious develops content marketing strategies and frequently blogs for the well-known B2B players. HubSpot, CoSchedule, EngageBay, and Foundation Inc. — this is only a small part of the MarTech brands Precious collaborated with.