What is B2B lead generation?

B2B lead generation is the lifeblood of any business selling to other businesses. It’s the process of identifying, attracting, and capturing the interest of potential customers (leads) who are a perfect fit for your products or services. In simpler terms, it’s like finding the right fishing spots to attract the most valuable fish to your boat.

In the competitive landscape of business, lead generation plays a critical role in driving growth and ensuring long-term success. But simply generating leads isn’t enough. You need a strategic and well-defined plan to ensure you’re attracting the right leads, nurturing them effectively, and ultimately converting them into loyal customers.

How to Create a Lead Generation Strategy from Scratch

Building a lead generation strategy for businesses selling to other businesses (B2B) can be tricky. This is because the way B2B buyers behave is constantly changing, and the methods that work well for businesses selling directly to consumers (B2C) don’t always translate.

For example, most B2B buyers use work emails that aren’t linked to their personal social media accounts. And even if you run search ads, they’ll only reach potential customers when they’re online during work hours. After work, they’re likely just browsing their personal accounts.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t find leads through these channels! You just need to use different methods than what works for B2C businesses.

Here are six steps to help you create an effective B2B lead generation strategy:

1. Conduct market research

The cornerstone of any winning lead generation strategy lies in understanding your ideal customer. This means getting to know their inside world: their needs, wants, and online behavior. The key to this understanding lies in crafting detailed profiles called buyer personas.

Building a Buyer Persona:

Who are they? This includes demographics like age, income, and location, as well as firmographic data such as company size and industry. Don’t forget their online behavior—where they hang out online and how they interact with different platforms.

What drives them? Understand their biggest challenges, goals, and aspirations. What are they looking to achieve, and what obstacles are holding them back?

Where do they spend their time online? Are they social media enthusiasts, avid blog readers, or traditional media consumers? Knowing their preferred channels helps you reach them effectively.

How do they learn best? Do they prefer informative ebooks, engaging podcasts, or visually appealing infographics? Tailor your content to their preferred learning style.

Tools for Effortless Research:

Marketers can use a variety of tools to streamline this research process. Tools like Google Trends and Ubersuggest help you uncover market trends, while SurveyMonkey and Typeform make conducting surveys and collecting feedback a breeze.

Benefits of Buyer Personas:

By delving into the minds of your ideal customers, you can develop a lead generation strategy that resonates with them on a personal level. This means addressing their specific needs, providing valuable information, and ultimately attracting more qualified leads. The result? Increased conversion rates and a thriving business.

2. Adapt lead generation strategies to your target market

Want to Generate High-Quality Leads? Adapt Your Strategy to Your Target Market!

In today’s competitive market, simply throwing spaghetti at the lead generation wall and hoping something sticks won’t cut it. To attract the right leads and convert them into loyal customers, you need a targeted and data-driven approach.

Here’s how to adapt your lead generation strategy to your specific target market:

  1. Know Your Audience:

Research your target market: Who are you trying to reach? What are their needs and challenges? What are their media consumption habits?

Develop buyer personas: Create detailed profiles of your ideal customers, including their demographics, psychographics, and buying behaviors.

  1. Create content that resonates:

Focus on value, not just selling: Offer educational content that solves your target audience’s problems and positions you as a trusted resource.

Use the right channels: Where does your target audience spend their time online? Are they active on social media, industry forums, or specific websites?

Experiment with different content formats: Consider blog posts, infographics, white papers, case studies, webinars, and even interactive quizzes.

  1. Keep it relevant:

Personalize your messaging: Address your leads by name and tailor your content to their specific needs and interests.

Leverage data and insights: Use marketing automation tools to track your results and identify the strategies that are working best.

Be mindful of the B2B context: Remember that you’re often dealing with knowledgeable, research-driven decision-makers. Categorize your content to meet their expectations and ensure it provides genuine value.

By adapting your lead generation strategy to your target market, you can attract high-quality leads, shorten your sales cycle, and increase your ROI.

3. Create relevant content

  • Effective content helps clients: Content that addresses their specific challenges and pain points is key. Avoid generic content – B2B audiences are savvy and see through it.
  • Tailored solutions: Ideally, content should be targeted towards each individual buyer persona for maximum relevance.
  • Data-driven approach: research trending keywords and competitor content, then use data insights to inform your content creation. This ensures accuracy, identifies trends, and helps you craft valuable content that drives engagement.
  • Competitor displacement: Create content targeted at your competitor’s clients, showcasing how your company can solve their challenges better. This isn’t about negativity, but about demonstrating your unique value proposition.

3.1. What channels and formats to use

Even the best content needs a solid distribution strategy to reach its full potential. That means delivering it where your target audience lives, in the formats they prefer. By matching your content distribution to your ideal customers’ habits, you’ll maximize its impact and achieve your goals.

Lead magnets and gated content: 

Lead magnets and gated content are valuable resources, such as complimentary tools or exclusive research data, that are secured behind a form. Prospects are required to complete the form with opt-in information to access these resources. This approach allows you to acquire visitors’ contact details and enables you to assess their interest (using lead scoring). Subsequently, you can engage them as leads in nurturing sequences.

Webinars: Utilize your leaders’ expertise by showcasing their insights in webinars covering topics, themes, and current trends your audience cares about. You can choose to restrict access to these webinars, but make sure they align with the purpose and value of your prospects. For instance, consider whether the webinar is geared towards attracting new leads at the top of the funnel (TOFU) or delving into exclusive market research. This strategic approach ensures that your webinars resonate with your target audience while serving your overall business goals.

Events: With the easing of the pandemic, live events are gaining popularity again. Having eye-catching booths, engaging speeches, and effective BDRs to connect with visitors in meaningful conversations is crucial for maximizing your event impact. Additionally, using tools like QR codes can smoothly direct visitors to specific content or your company’s website, helping you gather opt-in information.

Social media: In today’s interconnected world, social media is becoming increasingly integral to our daily lives, and it holds great promise for B2B lead generation. Leverage social media to showcase your content, events, and campaigns, fostering direct interaction with your audience. Employing responsive and high-quality strategies not only enhances engagement but also contributes to growing your follower base.

3.2. B2B paid media (advertising)

Ads boost your important content to a larger audience compared to doing it naturally. Once you’ve crafted your meaningful content, using ads ensures more people get to see it.

There are different ways to advertise. Paid media, social media, and targeted display ads work well.

Consider Google Ads—it helps your brand show up above others when people search for related terms. With pay-per-click (PPC) ads, you only pay when someone clicks.

Social media is great for ads too. Lots of marketers say they’ve gained new customers through social media ads.

Targeted display ads let you aim at specific groups, increasing the chance of turning them into customers.

These methods often give you useful insights, helping you make your ads more effective. It’s a good way to make sure your hard work gets noticed.

4. Distribute content to a wider audience

Relying solely on ads is not just costly but can be ineffective in the B2B world, where omnichannel marketing is becoming the standard for meeting buyer expectations. There are different ways to share content, including:

4.1. Content syndication

Sharing your content through content syndication with third-party publishers can help your business reach a wider audience. This approach not only boosts brand authority but also increases awareness, laying the foundation for long-term interest.

IT Curated, connected to over 30 publishers in various industries such as tech, media, healthcare, manufacturing, and finance, provides businesses the opportunity to showcase their content to a vast audience of over 138 million B2B decision-makers worldwide.

And it’s not just limited to articles—depending on the platform, businesses can share podcasts, videos, webinars, or use posts as teasers for whitepapers or case studies. Content syndication offers diverse ways to distribute and engage with your content.

4.2. Lookalike targeting

Expand your reach in B2B lead generation effortlessly! Platforms like LinkedIn and Google let you run ads for lookalike audiences, broadening your current audience. These platforms use filters and algorithms, considering demographics, behavior, job titles, age, interests, and more, to create these audiences.

If managing this seems daunting, consider hiring a demand generation partner. They can not only create lookalike audiences for you but also develop an engagement strategy, making the process smoother for your business.

5. Retargeting

Engaging in retargeting as part of your lead generation approach is a valuable strategy, allowing you to connect with potential leads who may not have initially considered your brand.

To optimize this strategy, it’s crucial to adopt the right approach, focusing on triggers that align with user preferences. For instance, bombarding users with retargeting ads immediately after they’ve visited a website can be counterproductive and disruptive to their experience.

Instead, design retargeting cadences that incorporate waiting periods, ensuring ads are displayed strategically when prospects visit the most relevant pages of your website. Recognize the distinction in buyer intent between actions like reading an article and downloading a case study. By implementing these thoughtful strategies, you can significantly enhance the effectiveness and reception of your retargeting campaigns.

B2B lead generation software

For businesses aiming to enhance campaign performance and meticulously track outcomes, leveraging software and lead generation tools emerges as a potent strategy. In the B2B landscape, the effective orchestration of data plays a pivotal role in showcasing and enhancing the ROI of campaigns and overall strategies.

The integration of B2B lead generation software and customer relationship management tools (CRMs) offers the capability to gauge the effectiveness of strategies like content marketing. These tools empower companies to conduct A/B or multivariate, tests and create tailored lead nurturing tracks for each distinct buyer persona.

Opting for collaboration with a B2B lead generation company presents a compelling option for those seeking to expedite high-quality lead generation without the necessity of investing in B2B lead generation software or maintaining a dedicated in-house team.

LinkedIn lead generation

LinkedIn stands out as the go-to social media platform for B2B marketing due to its widespread popularity.

Various strategies can be employed on the platform to enhance brand awareness and generate valuable leads.

LinkedIn AdsCreate engaging text, video, and carousel ads on LinkedIn to connect with your audience. Boost your outreach by sending personalized messages directly to the inboxes of potential prospects, tailoring your approach based on criteria like job title, age, skills, company size, and industry.Take advantage of LinkedIn’s versatile ad platform to align with your business goals, whether it’s generating leads, increasing website traffic, fostering engagement, or boosting video views. Keep a close eye on key metrics such as lead generation and website traffic to gauge the effectiveness of your LinkedIn advertising strategy.

LinkedIn Groups

Discover the vibrant world of LinkedIn groups, a dynamic space for Indian professionals to connect and share insights. Uncover relevant keywords tailored to your Indian target audience, refining your search to find groups with high popularity and active members.

Seize the opportunity within groups to share valuable content, spark meaningful discussions, and generate leads, all while adhering to group guidelines. Ponder the idea of establishing your own group—a powerful move that not only bolsters your brand authority but also provides flexibility within the guidelines set by third-party groups.

Elevate your LinkedIn presence in the Indian landscape by actively participating in groups, contributing thoughtfully, and creating meaningful connections. This strategic approach not only expands your network but also positions your brand as a trusted authority within the Indian professional community.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator

Imagine having a supercharged tool at your fingertips—the LinkedIn Sales Navigator. It’s like having a personal guide for tailored lead searches, allowing you to pinpoint professionals in specific groups, locations, or even those who’ve recently changed jobs.

Picture this: businesses armed with savvy automation tools like Phantombuster can seamlessly navigate the Sales Navigator. They can explore profiles, export searches, and even shoot off direct messages to potential leads.

Sure, there’s a price tag – $99 for a single professional (as of now), and enterprise plans are negotiable to fit your needs. But here’s the kicker – despite the cost, the Sales Navigator becomes a secret weapon for Sales Development Representatives (SDRs), transforming the lead generation game by ensuring those leads are not just leads but the right kind of qualified leads. It’s an investment that pays off in quality, not just quantity.

Outbound B2B lead generation

Outbound marketing is like taking the first step in business, where companies reach out to potential clients. It’s a bit different from inbound marketing, where clients come to you naturally.

Back in the day, before the internet era, outbound marketing was the norm. But now, with the digital shift, most businesses use a mix of both inbound and outbound strategies. This combo is smart because, while inbound is a smaller investment, it takes time to show results.

Outbound marketing is great for connecting with buyers, especially through channels like LinkedIn InMail. Methods include:

  1. Social Selling: Sales reps connect with prospects on social media, sharing interesting content.
  2. Cold Calling: When done right (informative, not pushy), it can be effective.
  3. Emails: Personalized messages focusing on education and value work better than sales pitches, but watch out for privacy laws.
  4. Ads: Online ads (display, search, and PPC) can promote engaging content like whitepapers and eBooks.

Finding the right mix of outbound and inbound strategies is key, especially when catering to the preferences of the Indian audience.

Lead generation services

A diverse range of companies, including marketing agencies and demand intelligence platforms, extend lead generation services. These specialized services focus on curating leads that precisely align with your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and meet specific qualification criteria.

To ensure the effectiveness of these services, it’s vital to establish a robust foundation in content marketing. Lead generation experts will then amplify your content across various channels. Some providers go the extra mile by offering content creation services, albeit at an additional cost.

Before entrusting your lead generation needs to a service, verify that the promised leads are not just numerous but also reliable, verifiable, and derived from identifiable sources. These leads should seamlessly align with your qualification criteria. Diligence in this regard is key to maximizing the benefits of lead generation services.

Buyer intent data

Think of buyer intent data like a spotlight for marketers. By the end of 2023, 70% of B2B marketers, according to Gartner, were using this tool in some way. It’s like having a magic lens that lets businesses understand what potential customers are interested in.

However, buyer intent doesn’t always shout your brand’s name. Picture someone searching for software to solve a problem—they seek a solution that fits their needs and budget, not necessarily a specific brand.

Yet, buyer intent data is pure gold. It signals a readiness to buy, prompting sales teams to deliver spot-on content. For those cautiously exploring, opt for softer content—whitepapers, reports, webinars, and case studies. When the interest is high, go direct with product demos, comparisons, features, and pricing pages, sprinkled with friendly CTAs.

Now, the art of collecting this magic data:

Product/Service Review Pages: Reviews are like honest coffee chats. A visit to a review site like G2 signals serious purchase contemplation.

Webinar Attendance: Attending a focused webinar is a strong buying signal. Tailor the content accordingly.

Website Visits: Specific page visits (pricing, case studies) are flags of interest. Metrics like time spent and keyword searches are intent signs.

First-Party Intent Data: Your personal notes—data from your websites and media, including analytics.

Second-Party Intent Data: Secret info from friends—data obtained through partnerships like content syndication.

Third-Party Intent Data: A detective agency at your service—specialized companies crunch numbers for detailed intent data from various sources beyond your website or social media.

In essence, buyer intent data is your marketing crystal ball, guiding you to offer just what potential customers truly need.

Managing buyer intent data

Once you’ve amassed buyer intent data, it’s crucial to analyze and leverage it effectively.

To optimize the management of buyer intent data:

  1. Diversify Signals: While a lead exhibiting one intent signal, like visiting a pricing page, is notable, it’s essential to continue lead nurturing. Wait for additional signals indicating genuine interest.
  2. Varying Intent Levels: Recognize different levels of buyer intent. For instance, reading a case study signifies higher intent than a brief blog post scroll. Tailor your approach with ‘soft-sell’ content for low intent and ‘hard-sell’ for high intent.
  3. Multifaceted Signals for Sales-Ready Leads: Although not a strict rule, sales-ready leads often display two or more signals of intent. It’s a practical benchmark, but individual cases may vary.
  4. Data Cleansing and Matching: When dealing with multiple intent data sources, ensure meticulous data cleansing and matching. Vendors may use diverse software and labels, requiring the removal of stale data, duplicates, and inconsistencies.
  5. Swift Action on Insights:Buyer intent data has a short shelf life. Act quickly on insights; otherwise, they may become outdated, no longer reflecting the current behavior of your prospects.  Time is critical in effectively leveraging intent data.

Optimize your approach by incorporating these strategies into your buyer intent data management.

Key Takeaways

Build your approach around diverse data sources, blending both information directly from your channels and insights from external sources.

  • Utilize Effective Software: Employ reliable software to nurture, score, and manage your leads efficiently.
  • Harness Content Marketing: Engage your leads by crafting content that directly speaks to their goals and challenges.
  • Understand Preferred Channels: Identify and use the channels your audience prefers for effective communication.
  • Explore Outreach Strategies: Boost your outreach through diverse avenues like content syndication, partnerships, social media, and more.
  • Exercise Caution with Lead Generation Services: If using external services or lead lists, be cautious. Ensure the quality of both the services and leads provided.
  • Qualify Leads Adequately: Before passing on leads to the sales team, ensure they meet the necessary criteria and are genuinely interested.

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