Author
Dmitry Chervonyi
Published
08/15/2022
Reading duration
12m
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A thought-out strategy and correct tactics for attracting customers are crucial for filling the marketing funnel of a B2B company, its successful operation, and business growth in general. But it’s not quite as simple as snapping your fingers and customers seeking you out; turning leads into buyers is a real art.

B2B lead generation allows you to provide a constant flow of new potential customers interested in your product or service. Ruler Analytics claims that 91% of marketers consider lead generation their most important goal, with 53% of them spending at least half of their budget on generating leads. However, many companies see the lead-generation process as one of their biggest challenges.

Lead generation includes a variety of methods, tools, and marketing channels that you can use to the fullest to achieve success. Now we’ll give you the best expert tips on how to generate leads in sales!

B2B Lead Generation Strategies and Common Mistakes

B2B lead generation is not only about creating attractive landing pages and making cold calls. First, it is a thoroughly thought-out process that guarantees an increase in closed sales deals. In recent years, it has evolved significantly, and there are now a bunch of advanced software tools available that allow companies to automate most processes and improve results.

But still, even the most advanced technologies and algorithms cannot completely eliminate the man-made strategic mistakes of the marketing process. For this reason, you should start with thoughtful, reliable lead generation strategies that can generate B2B leads and sales.

Pay attention to the most common mistakes made during the lead generation process and how to fix them:

  1. Lack of analytics on potential customers. Any sale should begin with creating accurate profiles of potential customers and studying their needs and goals.
  2. The offer is too general. If a company has several types of customers with different needs and pain points, then each type should receive personalized offers.
  3. Marketing and sales aren’t aligned. In this case, the marketing department regularly generates new leads, but they do not turn into deals.
  4. No customer scoring. The scoring model allows you to identify the most valuable sales leads, reduce the cost of your marketing strategies, and determine the right interaction scenario to convert leads into deals.
  5. Forcing the sales life cycle. Developing the needs of potential customers (or “nurturing”) and generating interest in the company’s products helps turn cold leads into warm leads, which are much more likely to close a deal.
  6. Lead generation by chance. Successful B2B lead generation strategies and tactics are the result of continuous analytics of the results obtained. Analytics can be compared to a guiding star that helps evaluate current results, plan future tasks and goals, and automate multiple functions of the process.
  7. Confusing website lead forms, complex procedures, and incomprehensible information. Before launching your lead generation campaign, you need to test various customer-company interaction scenarios using multiple communication channels — this is how you can capture leads more effectively!

Top 14 B2B Lead Generation Methods

1. Create relevant content

When developing your lead generation strategy, keep in mind that B2B content is brand- and company-oriented, and forget about the main challenge — creating content that immediately grabs the attention of your target audience.

How do you create content that is relevant to your B2B sales leads?

Analyzing your audience

The process of marketing a qualified lead starts from creating your target audience portrait: This will help you determine the essence, focus, and design of your content. Identifying prospects with high potential is the first stage in any sales cycle. Focus on leaders and decision-makers, and draw their attention with your content. You can create an accurate buyer persona based on the following factors:

  • Age;
  • Job position;
  • Preferred content channels;
  • Desired goals;
  • Pain points.

All these will help you reach your target market and find the perfect marketing channels for the most effective B2B lead generation.

Understanding the search intent of your customers

These customers may be looking for:

  • Information;
  • Places to make purchases;
  • Education.

Do extensive research before creating content. Identify relevant keywords; check Google, People Also Ask, and AnswerThePublic; and conduct surveys among your fellow marketers. Choose keywords and terms applicable to your audience as opposed to just basing them on search volume.

Keywords planning on AnswerThePublic

Using popular industry searches will attract more leads in B2C, while special keywords with higher value but lower search volume are usually more effective for B2B.

2. Align marketing and sales

Your marketing department and sales team can argue about things like who’s to blame for decreased sales. How do you know whether the marketing department has attracted low-potential sales leads or if the salespeople have failed to move leads through the sales funnel properly — and how can you stop this confrontation once and for all?

There is only one way out: You need to align your sales and marketing teams! There are many reasons to do that:

  1. Create more accurate buyer personas;
  2. Increase customer feedback;
  3. Implement customer feedback more effectively;
  4. Connect with qualified leads faster and generate more conversions;
  5. Gain better support from business experts;
  6. Develop clear-cut strategies;
  7. Have more defined customer journey mapping;
  8. Make your customers happier = acquiring more customers;
  9. Stay ahead of the competition;
  10. Increase revenue.

Here are some points that marketers and salespeople need to agree on. Consider the following questions:

  • Sales stages: Which channel do sales leads come from — a lead form, a chat, or a call? Can salespeople process this traffic? Which chain will leads be processed through?
  • Lead processing speed: How long does it take to process an incoming request? How can we influence this factor? What if we do not have enough time to process all sales leads? Are there any lead gen automation tools implied?
  • Traffic qualification: Which target audience segment does the lead belong to? Is the data saved in CRM?
  • Converting leads into buyers: How many leads reach the stage of purchasing a product or service? What are the reasons for refusals? How do sales reps work with these leads?

3. Create win-win content

Content is the “currency” of your site: It is extremely important for your business’s success. Regularly posting something new and relevant establishes you as a field expert, improves your reach, and increases visibility.

Marketing Charts shows that 52% of B2B buyers say they’re “definitely” more likely to buy from a brand once they’ve read their content.

Besides, by publishing valuable content that informs, educates, and entertains your target readers, you increase their loyalty, so it is much easier to convert B2B sales leads into customers.

5 Basics of Content Marketing

 

Following trends is a good way to stay up to date and possibly go viral. Another proven way to do that is to create evergreen content — ​​that is, content that remains relevant for a long time. It goes hand in hand with your SEO strategy and keeps your company at the top of the search results.

Here are some ideas on how to create evergreen, relevant content:

  1. Create content that your target readers will find interesting and educational.
  2. Write for people, not for experts;
  3. Try not to be tied to a specific time;
  4. Opt for “eternal” topics;
  5. Make headlines super-visible;
  6. Update content on time;
  7. Always remember quality (focus on accurately answering the questions/solving customers’ pain points).

4. Automate your email marketing efforts

Any professional marketing team can benefit from automation that provides smoother workflow, faster lead processing times, and more efficient sales lead generation to boost B2B sales. You may be thinking, “Oh, that’s exactly what we need!”

The most exciting part of email marketing automation is sending relevant emails to the right people at the right time. Modern email apps offer out-of-the-box automated campaign workflows known as email sequences. If you integrate your CRM with one of these modern tools, you will be able to nurture your subscribers more efficiently with accurate data on their purchases and behavior.

With email marketing automation, you will be able to do the following:

  • Confirm customer orders and shipments;
  • Congratulate them on their birthday;
  • Set up customized abandoned cart notifications;
  • Welcome new subscribers;
  • Report product rejection promptly.

For more effective email marketing campaigns, check out the tips below too.

To improve the open rate of your emails and, therefore, your B2B sales lead generation, try the following: You should also check to see if you need to improve the content of your emails:
  • Use your company employee’s corporate email address for sending emails instead of your company’s general email address, and enable the ability to reply to this address;
  • Don’t change the times you send emails too often, so your subscribers know when to expect your emails;
  • Check and clean your email lists regularly to ensure you don’t send emails to addresses that no longer exist.
  • Your content should match your brand — send emails about products, services, events, industry news, and your latest blog posts;
  • Create a unified design for your emails, including branding elements (logo, brand colors, and fonts);
  • Don’t stick to the hard sell approach! If every email is trying to sell products/services, your potential customers will be more likely to unsubscribe. To successfully generate leads, share news, updates, and stories with your potential customers that will enrich their lives!

5. Consider hybrid events

Do not forget hybrid events when choosing among the most effective B2B lead generation tactics — they always bring together people with similar interests. Combine physical and virtual elements, expand access to more industry professionals, and improve lead generation.

To start getting new customers effectively through these events, try to do one of the following:

  1. Register for hybrid events in your industry as a visitor and meet your potential customers;
  2. Participate and speak at conferences, turning your company into a well-known opinion leader in a specific field and thereby attracting more leads;
  3. Host events to connect face-to-face with experts in your field and build partnerships with potential clients.

6. Launch a referral program

Your potential customers trust colleagues who have already had a positive experience with your company, so their recommendations work much better than advertising. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that referral programs are one of the most powerful methods for generating B2B leads.

According to WhatDoIKnow, 78% of B2B recommendations result in acquiring new potential customers, and 65% of new opportunities for companies are generated via word-of-mouth. These are quality leads that buy four times more often than those not referred by a friend or a person from your network.

Referral marketing is a great way to generate leads, but you still need to motivate customers to participate. To do this, you can offer rewards (discounts, free workouts, and invites to events) or fascinating content that your target readers can share with their friends.

7. Use various content marketing channels

Believe us, instead of focusing on the channels you know best, it’s better to try to connect with your potential B2B sales leads in multiple places! For the most effective B2B lead generation, pay attention to the following channels:

  1. Blogs. You may not have staff writers, but since B2B blogs are still a huge source of leads, this is a channel worth investing in!
  2. Podcasts. Consider creating a podcast for your business. It takes time and money, but podcasts are now easier to launch and maintain than ever. Focus on thought leadership, industry news, or sharing your business secrets (for example, “How we managed to improve our sales process in two weeks”).
  3. Videos. Video marketing is another fantastic tool for B2B sales lead generation. It has gained momentum, especially in the last few years. HubSpotclaims that 83% of video marketers say video has helped them generate leads. Creating a YouTube channel of testimonials, business ideas, how-to guides, and problem-solving videos will attract potential customers who don’t have time to read blog posts.
  4. Forums. Look for B2B leads on Quora and Reddit — customers use these platforms to ask questions, so you can tailor content based on their requirements. But don’t use these channels to promote your company: Follow the same etiquette as when replying to a blog comment. Share your experience and use these channels for research and lead generation.

Also, we strongly recommend that you use modern lead generation tools that will help you to attract quality leads from multiple sources like landing pages, social media, etc.

If done right, these tools can give you some noticeable results. However, if you want a guaranteed effect, you should opt for a partner such as Belkins, a trusted B2B lead generation and appointment-scheduling agency that works worldwide. We offer an all-inclusive range of sales and business development processes, including company research, B2B outreach programs, and lead qualification, handling every aspect of our customers’ top sales funnel needs.

8. Try social selling

Social selling helps you to generate leads through communication on social networks.

According to SmallBizGenius, 78% of companies that use social selling achieve their annual goals. Social sellers also have a higher volume of new customers (65% vs. 47%) and higher conversion to customers (46% vs. 31%) than those who do not use this approach.

To make the most of social selling, pay attention to the following tips:

  1. Strengthen inbound marketing;
  2. Generate outbound leads;
  3. Give value through content marketing;
  4. Define the crucial metrics of your sales;
  5. Increase brand awareness to attract cold customers;
  6. Work with existing clients;
  7. Try to regain lapsed customers back;
  8. Follow the latest trends.

Lead generation ads (that target customers who are already interested in your offer) show good performance and help you collect names, email addresses, and contact numbers.

Social selling on Linkedin - Statistics

9. Use gated content

How to generate sales leads with helpful content even more efficiently? Consider eBooks, white papers, and webinars since they are great lead magnets. You can gate such content with a simple lead form and get much more contacts!

But remember: Using gated content is appropriate only if you’re sure that your audience will like these materials. In this case, your loyal readers will agree to provide you with their personal details to access your website content.

Here are some tips to increase the effectiveness of this method:

  • Proactively eliminate the pain points of your customers;
  • Troubleshoot and help customers gain access;
  • Include CTAs for your gated content in relevant blog posts;
  • Use more visual elements than text in your gated content — make it easier for customers to perceive information;
  • Provide a preview of your content to whet your customers’ appetites.
  • Be informative, inspire action, educate, be personable — and then promote.

Your gated content should provide obvious benefits for anyone who accesses it, so the content that is most useful for different audience segments is the best solution for this B2B lead generation strategy.

10. Optimize your landing page and CTA

Did you know that many landing pages are cluttered with offers? If your landing page falls into this category, then it’s time to rethink your conversion rate optimization (CRO) strategy!

ThriveMyWay found that multiple offers on the same page can reduce your conversions by 266%! Therefore, make sure that there is no more than one offer on your landing page.

If you want to generate high-quality leads, your call to action must be so convincing and clear that visitors are ready to share their personal details without a second’s hesitation. Also, make sure to place your single, strong CTA in the most prominent place!

11. Make your website mobile friendly

Taking care of your site visitors is half the success of attracting their attention to your offer. Today, most B2B companies’ requests are coming not from computers or laptops but from smartphones.

According to Statista research, in the second quarter of 2022, mobile devices (excluding tablets) generated 58.99% of global website traffic.

So ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Is there AMP implemented on your site?
  2. Are all pages optimized? Did they pass the Google Mobile-Friendly Test?
  3. Do search engines index your website content on mobile devices?

12. Collaborate with micro-influencers

Collaboration with influencers is one of the most reliable and proven B2B lead generation strategies out there. Today, influencer marketing is stronger than ever.

In fact, according to Influencer Marketing Hub, more than 75% of brand marketers intend to dedicate a budget to influencer marketing in 2022.

Since 2018, we’ve noticed brands giving preference to micro-influencers (people with authority in a specific field). Such opinion leaders may have fewer subscribers, but they have the same degree of influence on their audiences as the macro-influencers.

Influencer collaboration is a modern, effective way to increase sales leads, and the popularity of this tool is growing rapidly. Because of this, influencers’ price tags are pretty high today, and they are often selective when it comes to collaboration.

In this situation, brands are turning specifically to micro-influencers, who, despite their huge potential in the lead generation, often turn out to be untapped. Usually, their services cost less. They are less picky and get fewer offers from competing brands.

  • Influencers with at least 10,000 followers have 3.6% engagement
  • Influencers with 5,000-10,000 followers have 6.3% engagement 
  • Influencers with 1,000-5,000 followers have 8.8% engagement

You can work with influencers in many ways:

  • Reviews, testimonials, video reviews, interviews, and expert opinions;
  • Posts and discussions on social media platforms;
  • Guest blog posts;
  • Link sharing;
  • Paid ads;
  • Finding brand ambassadors.

13. Craft appealing cold emails

The way you use the cold email approach may be the reason you have low outreach rates. For example, a low open rate (the percentage rate at which emails are opened) can mean problems with an email’s subject line. In contrast, click-through and link-following rates will show your audience’s relevance and how well you communicate the value.

Check out these tips on how to write and send cold emails so that the recipient opens them:

  1. Create an ideal customer profile (ICP). Dig deeper, find out the size and structure of the sales department, the average age of the recipients and their level of education, and what problems they can solve using your products/services;
  2. Next, you need to build a recipient contact database: Using your ideal buyer’s criteria, find companies where your potential customers can work;
  3. Learn how to create catchy email subject lines. Clarity, conciseness, the ability to arouse curiosity — all these are the features of a good email subject line;
  4. Learn how to create good content and offer the recipients some value. As well as an effective way to solve their problem, create truly personalized letters, insert a link to custom videos, segment your contacts, etc.;
  5. Keep your letters short;
  6. Use strong CTAs: This is a powerful tool that allows you to generate sales leads;
  7. Use a series of letters (experts recommend limiting yourself to 3-4 letters as this allows you to get maximum responses and not bother the recipients);
  8. Use email marketing automation tools. They will help you to understand how well this or that letter worked and measure indicators such as delivery rate, open rate, CTR, etc.

Create an Effective Ideal Customer Profile - How-to Guide

14. Make warm calls

In this case, you call B2B customers that have already heard about your company. They may have seen an ad, attended a promotional event, purchased a product, etc., so at this point, they are high-quality B2B sales leads. To some extent, the recipients are interested in your offers. These warm calls aim to keep in touch or encourage cooperation by gently motivating them to make a new purchase.

Here are some tips that will help you:

  1. First, find the right customers in your database. Those who have something in common with your regular clients are the most promising ones.
  2. Then, conduct thorough lead research and learn more about the company. Figure out how many years it’s been in business, where it’s located, how many employees it has, and what makes it different from its competition. Collect information about company leaders by studying their social media profiles to understand what kind of people they are and what lives they live. This will help you find their pain points.
  3. Use CRM. It stores the entire history of interactions with all customers in your sales pipeline. Reviewing it before the call can prepare you for the conversation and then connect with the customer in one click. The system will automatically record and save the conversation; you can get back to it at any time to evaluate your manager’s performance.
  4. Work on your opening line. You have 15 seconds to grab attention.
  5. Prepare information in advance. Mention as many details as possible — this is a game-changing technique that helps to keep up the conversation using leading questions.
  6. Leave a voice message. If nobody answers the phone, then you can leave a voice message (give one short piece of advice, or name a helpful strategy, resource, or expert opinion you are going to cover in the letter), and you will have the opportunity to add value to your product and engage the customer.
  7. Send an email after the conversation. Try to get your customer’s email address during the call; email them later, thank them for their time, and provide additional ideas to solve their biggest business pain points. There is a high probability that they will open and read your email since they already know your name.
  8. Call again. The optimal number of calls is four times in 12 days. This tactic gives you a good chance to sell without seeming intrusive. Also, try to call your customers at different times.

Opt for Winning B2B Lead Generation Strategies

In this article, we gave you all the basic tips on how to generate B2B leads and sincerely hope that many of them will help you succeed!

Keep in mind that customers today can do their own online research and learn a lot about a product or service long before they contact your company, and you can start the sales process.

But a professional salesperson won’t sit back, right? Creating a solid lead generation strategy will help you build trust and start stirring up customers’ interest long before they are ready to contact you!

Dmitry Chervonyi

Chief Marketing Officer at Belkins
Since starting his career in sales & marketing 9 years ago, Dmitry never stopped searching for new opportunities that can turn the tables on sales development and the ways that shape B2B relationships. He is always eager to share his findings with the audience.