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Where to get leads for your business? 11 best sources

Jenny Romanchuk
Jenny Romanchuk
Margaret Lee
Reviewed by
Margaret Lee
Reading time:12 m

Who doesn’t crave finding good leads for one’s business? Every day, we at Belkins receive 50+ inbound inquiries from SMB and enterprise-level companies to help with lead generation.

Some look to get immediate leads and grow revenue (mainly startups), while mature businesses are eager to explore new lead generation tactics and put them on the rails.

Having accumulated data on best practices for sourcing B2B leads for 7 years, we packed this article with only proven methods. Moreover, each practice is illustrated with a case study.

Let’s dive deep.

Where and how to find leads for your business

There is no universal answer to “Where can I find leads?” because it depends on the specific business case. I could easily suggest, “Roll up your sleeves and use LinkedIn, Google’s tools, or leverage cold sales,” and these will be correct for one company but less effective for another.

So before jumping into lead generation channels, you’ve got to know where your target audience spends their time (i.e., create an ideal customer profile to avoid getting unqualified leads and spending the budget in vain).

Secondly, follow the rule of thumb, “Start small and iterate.” We recommend choosing 2–3 actionable lead generation tactics, testing them, analyzing results, and iterating based on what works best.

Now, explore different lead sources.

Quick note: Mastering lead generation is a must for business growth, but not everyone has enough time and resources for that. Outsource lead research and appointment setting to professionals — to get up to 200 new opportunities yearly.

1. Google

Thanks to its vast reach and sophisticated targeting capabilities, Google stands as an unparalleled source for generating B2B leads.

A B2B’s digitally driven revenue steadily increases, reaching 41% of a revenue share as traffic climbs with a purpose. Google becomes an even more valuable source, whether you’re seeking information, finding a service, solving a problem, or looking for leads.

There are 3 main channels for generating leads from Google:

Paid ads

Google Ads’ advantage is its ability to target ads based on keywords, location, previous interactions with your site, and even the type of device being used. This makes it a highly flexible option for B2B businesses aiming to reach their niche audience.

Moreover, Google Ads’s CTR for the first position for hardware manufacturers is 51%, with 60% for auto manufacturers, according to CXL research.

B2B CTRs by position in SERPs

Image source

Although it seems like a sweet spot for getting B2B leads online, it’s controversial. First of all, B2B niches are highly competitive, making the cost-per-click sky-high. For instance, the offshore accident lawyer keyword will cost you $815.00 on average (per one click!).

Below is a breakdown of the most expensive keywords in B2B for those who are curious.

Average CPC for B2B keywords

Image source

So, Google Ads is deemed to be an effective but too expensive means for B2B startups while a go-to tactic for mature businesses. 

📚 Recommended reading: How much does Google Ads really cost? 2024 CPC analysis

Organic search 

Organic search, driven by effective content marketing, is a long-term strategy that can yield significant results for B2B companies. 71% of B2B marketers have said that content marketing has become more important to their organization in the last year, with 80% of very successful content marketers spending more than 10% of their total marketing budgets on content.

“In our strategy of attracting organic leads via SEO, we mainly rely on the bottom-of-the-funnel content. It isn't just about answers, it's about conversions. It may not draw massive traffic, but its leads pack a punch. For example, one of our agencies review soared to the top spot in less than 4 months, netting us 19 solid leads. It’s more than all our top-of-the-funnel blogs brought all together. By diving deep into specific topics and covering them thoroughly, we establish authority with Google, driving high-quality leads to our doorstep and building authority.”

Margaret Lee, CMO at Belkins

Google Business Profile (former Google My Business) optimization 

A well-optimized Google Business Profile (GBP) page increases visibility in local searches, making it easier for nearby businesses to find your services. B2B niches profiting from GBP are:

  • Commercial cleaning services
  • Industrial equipment manufacturer
  • Commercial real estate agency
  • Business legal services

📚 Recommended reading: Guidelines for representing your business on Google

2. LinkedIn

Want to be amazed by the power of LinkedIn for networking and creating new B2B opportunities? I recently contacted the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany on LinkedIn, and the conversation moved further.

The same thing happened to me when I reached out to executives of The Howard G. Buffet Foundation. It took me one well-personalized connection request and a good deal of time studying the activities of both organizations.

For B2B businesses, LinkedIn is a silver bullet too. For example, Born & Bred, a brand agency, achieved a 297% year-over-year growth with our LinkedIn influencer and appointment setting services.

How to replicate the success?

If boiled down, LinkedIn’s growth rests on 3 pillars.

1. Networking 

Build a brand and grow followers to network with by participating in relevant discussions, supporting your community, and sharing your stories, actionable insights, successes, and failures. A meaningful, value-driven, regular activity shows LinkedIn algorithms that your content and profile are valuable, prompting your page to a broader audience.

2. Sales Navigator prospecting

This prospecting tool comes with 3 massive benefits to finding new business leads:

  • It allows you to send InMail messages or through Sales Navigator to leads requiring a first-degree connection. With a nice pitch, you shorten your way to start a discussion.
  • “Premium members get 4x more profile views on average,” claims LinkedIn.

LinkedIn prompts to activate Premium

📚 Recommended resources: 

3. LinkedIn Ads

To get the most out of LinkedIn advertising, make sure you’re targeting the right audience. That’s how you’ll reel in some really good business leads.

For instance, in January 2024, our ads were on fire, thanks to ClickRoads’ management. They became our top-performing channel after cold email. We generated 270 leads, converted 123 into deals, and achieved a sweet 43% conversion rate.

The best part? Our cost per deal was just $341, resulting in supereffective and cost-efficient campaigns.

3. Lead databases and tools 

Lead databases and tools can be a gold mine for finding business leads by helping you quickly get contact information and company details to enrich your sales pipeline for nurturing and cold sales campaigns. 

Here are the best ones to use.

Best for SMBs (value for money):

  • Hunter.io: Helps you find professional email addresses associated with a specific domain name
  • Lusha: Generates only accurate B2B email addresses and phone numbers through its Prospecting Platform

Best for middle- and enterprise-level businesses (advanced triggers and data quality):

  • UpLead: Uses over 50 search filters to offer a vast database of B2B leads to help you target your ICP
  • Leadfeeder: Identifies companies that have visited your website and allows you to follow up with potential leads
  • Cognism: Uses machine learning to update profiles daily and manually verifies contacts for accuracy
  • Salespanel.io: The largest database of verified contact numbers and emails with top-notch accuracy

📚 At Belkins, we’ve tried and tested over 30 B2B sales tools. Surprisingly, we use only the best 12 of them. Read on our “why and how”: The 12 Best B2B Sales Tools to Use in 2023 (+ Belkins Toolkit).

4. Online communities 

Online communities are great places to connect with potential leads and nurture those relationships. The guiding principle you should follow here is this: value first, convert later. Build trust through genuine engagement.

Here’s how you can make the most of online communities:

Active participation and thought leadership in groups and threads

Identify online communities focused on your industry’s niche — LinkedIn groups, Facebook groups, or Slack and WhatsApp communities.

For instance, our BLKNS Community for sales pros with over 3,000 members worldwide you’ll find on Slack. Joining it would give access to top industry voices and specialized channels to jump into different discussions and events.

Belkins post events breakdown

💡 Belkins advice: Once you join a desired community, don’t just be a lurker. Answer questions, comment on posts, and share useful insights, trends, and news.

And what will really set you apart? Your own experiences. 

Show off your company’s case studies and successful strategies with data-backed examples to establish yourself as a thought leader.

Check out upcoming webinars and master classes

Ask Me Anything (AMA) sessions

“Ask Me Anything” sessions are another fantastic way to showcase your expertise and network with potential leads. Offer to host an AMA in a relevant online community or participate in one hosted by an influencer in your field (you can find amazing industry-specific AMAs on Reddit).

Be ready to answer questions about your industry, your services, and the challenges faced by your target audience.

After the AMA, follow up with folks who expressed interest or asked insightful questions.

📚 Recommended reading: 

Advertising on community platforms

If the platform allows advertising, seize the opportunity to promote your services directly to a prequalified audience within the community.

Note: Always read the community rules to avoid being kicked out due to any missteps.

5. Webinars, podcasts, and trainings

All of these let you deliver laser-focused content that tackles your ideal customer’s challenges. Attract attendees who need your solutions and feature established figures in your field — it’s that simple.

We at Belkins also prioritize building community, so we offer regular free webinars with industry leaders and practitioners to discuss the latest trends in outreach, sales, and lead generation.

Attendees get quality, valuable information and a lot of juicy details while we increase the list of potential business leads. So, webinars are a win-win for both sides.

“Online events are great for lead gen. At Belkins, we get up to 300 registrations per webinar. But the real power lies in lead nurturing and generating leads in the long-term. The evergreen content showcases your expertise to potential clients for years to come.”

Margaret Lee, CMO at Belkins

Belkins sales webinars for sales pros

Another powerful example of integrating webinars into lead generation strategies is Wine & Web by Orbit Media.

The development company hosts webinars every month as part of their outreach strategy. By signing up for their events, attendees become potential leads, and the company has all their contact information for lead nurturing after the webinar.

I like their approach here because they put the main focus on meeting the Orbit team and becoming a part of the community, which feels inviting and not pushy at all.

Orbit Media announcing upcoming events

Image source

Apart from webinars, we also host the Growth Podcast with renowned B2B and B2C sales experts to uncover golden nuggets, bloopers, and inspirational learnings.

What’s interesting is that despite the overlap of webinars and podcast audiences and the fact that they target the same people, new leads coming from these 3 channels could have never visited a webinar page or vice versa. 

📚 Recommended reading: How to generate leads from webinars

6. Third-party listings and niche business directories

Third-party listings and niche business directories can help you identify potential leads that align with your ICP.

There are different types of third-party listings and directories, such as:

  • Supplier directories: Lists of suppliers and manufacturers by industry or product type (e.g., Thomasnet, Alibaba)
  • Business directories: Online listings of businesses by industry or location (e.g., Yellow Pages, Manta)
  • Trade show directories: Listings of upcoming industry events and trade shows (e.g., TSNN, Trade Show Directory)
  • B2B marketplaces: Platforms connecting businesses to buy and sell products or services (e.g., Shopify, Amazon Business)

Spot potential customers by looking for buying signals. Scan listings for the relevant keywords and prioritize recently active businesses.

If a third-party platform allows it, consider buying intent data to target businesses already researching solutions in your field. It might be expensive, but it’s definitely worth it.

📚 Recommended reading: Top 20 B2B directories to generate quality leads and increase business demands

7. Review platforms

Review sites act like word-of-mouth for online businesses. Positive reviews on trusted sites like Clutch, G2, and UpCity convince potential customers you’re reliable.

Badges bolstering the quality of Belkins’ lead generation services

The best part: Review sites often rank high in search engines, so if your business gets positive reviews, more potential leads might notice you.

But … getting good reviews when you’re new is tough.

Back in 2017, we were a young company, and building trust and brand awareness was quite challenging. To solve this, we chose the Clutch platform as part of our strategy.

First, we asked happy customers to leave positive reviews on Clutch. Then, we assigned someone to handle Clutch reviews every day and created a system to collect reviews from happy clients.

The outcome was great:

  • We generated up to 60 new Clutch reviews a year.
  • Clutch brought us a lot of traffic and leads, around 1,800 views, 1,600 website visits, and about 100 good leads every month.
  • About 3% of these leads turned into deals.

How to generate a great number of leads through Clutch

Once customers start noticing your quality, the reviews keep coming in on other platforms as well.

A review like this carries more weight and influence than any ad or marketing campaign:

Customer’s review about Belkins lead generation services

💡 Pro tip: If possible, take advantage of promotional opportunities offered by review platforms, such as premium placements and comparison pages.

8. Collaborations and partnerships

B2B companies can benefit greatly from working together and attract many business leads that way. Of course, only if those partnerships are built on clear communication, shared goals, and a win-win mentality.

Here’s how B2B companies can collaborate using specific tactics:

  • Email marketing campaigns: Craft co-branded email campaigns tailored to your partner’s audience. You’ll tap into their current email list and connect with very relevant potential customers. Offer valuable content like industry reports or case studies co-created with your partner.
  • Newsletter sponsorships or ads: Team up with industry newsletters to promote to your target audience. Newsletter sponsorships are great for brand awareness, while targeted ads can drive specific actions like website visits or sales. 
  • Collaborative content opportunities: Co-create informative content like white papers, e-books, or webinars. This showcases your combined knowledge and expertise and establishes you both as thought leaders. You can also collaborate on social media content, creating joint posts or live sessions to reach the right people at the right time.

9. Industry conferences and events

Industry conferences and events like Web Summit, local meetups, and exhibitions are great places to attract a concentrated group of people interested in your industry.

Unlike online interactions, conferences allow you to connect with potential clients in person. This lets you build rapport, understand their needs better, and make a stronger impression.

Many events also offer attendee lists or badges with information about their companies and titles. Use these to prequalify leads before approaching them so you can focus on those with the greatest potential for conversion.

The biggest advantage: People are ready to buy at industry conferences and events (or start a conversation). They’re there to find solutions and are open to learning about your offerings.

It’s also beneficial to host your own event if you have the means.

If you choose this route, pick some event management software to gather as much client info as you can from your event. When executed effectively, this strategy can yield fantastic results.

For instance, Growth Blazers used Accelevents for their Growth Innovate Conference and obtained over 900 leads!

📚 Recommended reading: Ultimate event lead generation guide: How to use events to get leads

10. Social media

LinkedIn is the first platform that comes to mind for B2B lead generation, but it’s not the only one that works. Other social media channels can be awesome for selling B2B products and services too.

Take Mailchimp, for example. They’ve been crushing it on TikTok recently with their creative video content. By using funny skits, step-by-step tutorials, and educational content with cool interactive graphics, they’re reaching a younger audience who might be interested in their products but haven’t seen them elsewhere.

This approach attracts, entertains, educates, and, most importantly — sells.

B2B companies on TikTok

Image source

Salesforce also uses a great approach to garner more leads through its YouTube channel. They primarily create educational videos about lead generation, email marketing, CRM, etc.

The number of views is the best proof that people actually love this — some videos have more than 5 million views! Even if only a tiny percentage of these viewers become leads, the number will still be huge!

Reach millions of views on YouTube to see new sales opportunities coming into your pipeline

Educational videos on social media work because they provide helpful info without being too salesy. They show expertise, build trust, and make people want to learn more.

📚 Recommended reading: How to generate leads on social media

11. Crowdfunding platforms

Crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo are great launchpads for new projects. Being on these platforms helps more people, who can become your customers, notice your project.  

Here’s how you can leverage them to generate more leads:

  1. Networking with project creators: Build relationships with other creators in your niche. You can offer support, share ideas, and potentially collaborate on projects. 
  2. Community engagement within the platform: Don’t just launch your campaign and hope for the best. Be active in the platform’s community forums and discussions. This builds trust and makes you recognizable when you launch your own project.
  3. Targeted outreach to backers of relevant projects: Crowdfunding platforms often allow you to see who’s backing projects similar to yours.  Reach out to these backers with a personalized message (not some boring, generic one) about your project.  Highlight why it would be of interest to them based on their past backing choices.

📚 Recommended reading: The essential guide to crowdfunding


How do I find startup leads?

Use social media platforms, business directories, and industry-specific communities. Also, attend industry events, conferences, and webinars.

How can I generate leads fast?

Paid LinkedIn Ads or Google Ads can help you with faster reach, but make sure to target strategically.

How do you generate free leads without advertising?

Create valuable content on social media; do cold outreach with personalized emails or LinkedIn messages; use directories, forums, and communities; and partner/collaborate with complementary businesses.

What is the best source for leads?

The “best” source depends on your industry, target audience, and budget. A strong strategy combines several methods, and it’s the only way to make it work.

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Jenny Romanchuk
Jenny Romanchuk
B2B Copywriter
Jenny is a freelance B2B writer with over 6 years of hands-on experience in content marketing & sales for B2B SaaS. Besides Belkins, she writes for HubSpot, MarTech, Smartlook, and Userpilot.
Margaret Lee
Margaret Lee
CMO at Belkins
Margaret is a seasoned professional with over 14 years of experience and a remarkable track record of managing marketing teams in both B2B and B2C. With expertise in strategy development, analytics-driven decision-making, and team management, she brings invaluable skills to drive growth and success.