Five B2B Lead Generation Strategies

Mastering lead generation equates to more business.
B2B Lead Generation Cover Photo
In the world of sales, B2B refers to selling from business to business. For example, a designer sells their designs, in bulk, to the clothing shop that then sells them to customers.

The interaction between the designer and the clothing shop is a B2B sale.

In order to make a B2B sale, you need to have B2B lead generation.

Approaches to B2B lead generation vary in each case, and the strategies used should always reflect this difference.

At SalesPipe, our focus and specialty are B2B, and we are happy to share five great B2B lead generation strategies we recommend with real-world examples.

What Is B2B Lead Generation?

B2B lead generation refers to the processes associated with attracting other businesses to buy your product or service. Since you are selling to other businesses, you first have to define why they would want your product or service, then what niche in the market you occupy.

Once you've got that step out of the way, you figure out who would be the best customer for you. So a clothing design house would benefit from selling to a department store, and the creator of a time management software benefits from selling to several industries.

Your next step is to find the specific people within these places to sell to.

How are you going to make them aware and sell your product if you don't know who they are and why they should buy?

This is when you build your ideal customer profile. Your customer profile is the base from which you search for prospects that turn into actual leads. Prospects can be compiled from LinkedIn profiles, event or conference lists, organizations, or websites to check for the correct people to reach out to.

It's important to build a customer profile since you need to know who to attract. When building a customer profile, be sure to filter your list based on some of the parameters in the infographic below.
Customer profile infographic
Depending on the type of lead generation you are after, different teams in your company might take this on. For outbound lead generation, your sales team, mostly your sales or business development representatives, will compile lists and then reach out to prospects via a variety of methods we'll dig into in a bit.

For inbound lead generation, your sales team will be qualifying the leads that arrive through actions your customers take. This can be anything from asking to join your monthly newsletter to filling out a form on your website.

With inbound lead generation, your marketing team (or others in the business) creates content that draws attention to your website and product or service. The benefit of inbound lead generation is that people will find you because they are searching for what you're selling via platforms such as Google.

This is why content is king!

With leads coming to your site via your content, your sales team books meetings with them and tries to make a sale.

Without all these steps, B2B lead generation cannot happen.

For anyone that sells Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) or has a product that is uniquely suited for the business space, this is unthinkable. Not to mention, the profit and revenue generated in B2B far outweigh what is typically made in the B2C sector.

The business of lead generation, especially in B2B, itself is a business.

B2B lead generation is the fuel to your business's tank.

How to Make a B2B Lead Generation Strategy

Knowing the definition of B2B lead generation is one thing. But making a B2B lead generation strategy is a whole different game.

There are two different types of B2B lead generations and we already mentioned them: outbound and inbound. They are what they sound like: outbound is when you reach out to prospects, inbound is when prospects reach out to you!
Outbound vs inbound infographic
For outbound, contact is done via cold email sequencing, social selling, video messaging, and cold calling. Sometimes, a funny GIF is all it takes to get a chuckle from a prospect that interests them enough to turn them into a lead.

And sales development representatives are constantly re-inventing methods of contacting all potential customers. As they are doing this daily, they get instant feedback and can adjust strategies accordingly. Once your sales representative gets you a foot in the door, the lead has been generated and qualified, getting you ever closer to that final step in the process.

For inbound sales, it is a bit different.

Your customer has come to you and offered you their information in some way. The first thing to do here is to make sure that your inbound marketing strategy is in tip-top shape. Your blog posts should attract the correct searchers based on SEO. Your website needs to be user-friendly and easy to navigate to direct potential customers to a form.

If you are also doing any outbound paid marketing campaigns, your targeting should match the ideal customer profile as well, and always lead to you receiving their contact information.

Once the information is received, your inbound sales team will qualify each potential lead. This can be done via research or a quick initial meeting or call. Then they'll begin contacting them, in a similar manner to the outbound team but, as they have given you their information, they tend to be warmer leads, more open to buying faster.

Outbound and inbound as methods for B2B lead generation, therefore, require lots of synergy between marketing and sales in any organization.

Prospects you email to won't be attracted to your business if your site's UX is awful. Leads who come to your site won't be sold to if your SDRs don't reach out to them within a certain time frame.

B2B lead generation is all-encompassing, and everything related to it - both outbound and inbound - needs to be an A+.

Five B2B Lead Generation Strategies With Real-World Examples

Having covered all the ins and outs, it's time to look at B2B lead generation strategies that work and we heartily recommend. Each strategy comes with a real-world, B2B lead generation example.

Landing Page

One of the first things you want to do is create a landing page on your website and tie it to an information form.

Landing pages and forms are created specifically for the purpose of lead generation. It should have a brief description of your product or service, and a call-to-action (CTA) for them to volunteer at least an email address.

How do you get their information?

A form can be linked via a CTA like "Request Demo" or "Find Our More", or you can have the form embedded into the page itself, or just ask for an email. But your potential customer should always have to share something which you can use to then contact them.

An example of a great landing page is ActiveCampaign.
ActiveCampaign homepage
They offer a succinct description of their product: anyone purposefully looking for something similar will know they're in the right place.

They only ask for an email to get customer started on a free trial. Some forms will ask for more information depending on the industry or service, like this one by Salesforce. This type of approach also tends to help your inbound sales team qualify leads faster.

A landing page goes a long way in sending potential customers to a specific place where they can provide their information to become a lead. And it serves as a location to point all your prospects to your other strategies.

Social Media

Paid social media strategies are typically associated with B2C lead generation, but it is known to be just as effective in the B2B market, if used properly.

Whether done organically or paid for, social media campaigns have the potential to drive growth by 400%, as was the case with Airtable. A good chunk of their initial growth came from Instagram, with a combination of paid Instagram Ads and organic stories.

Another great example of the use of social media as a B2B lead generation strategy is 2018's Best Lead Generation (over 200 employees) winner at the LinkedIn Marketing Awards, Dropbox for Business. A dual effort by Dropbox and marketing agency Transmission, their use of social media as a way to appeal to marketers led to incredible success.

They were able to obtain a 29:1 return on investment and achieve 235% of their marketing qualified lead (MQL) targets, proving social media campaigns can definitely be used for B2B lead generation strategies.

If you're just starting out, a good idea is to use LinkedIn Lead Generation Ads or Facebook Lead Ads so that anyone clicking on your ads fills out their contact information right away.

In both cases, you can have it set up so it sends it to your CRM right away, for your inbound sales reps to start qualifying and adding to the pipeline.

Blogging

There are three major advantages to business blogging: driving traffic to your website, converting traffic to leads, bringing back old customers into the fold, or getting referrals.

Content marketing has grown by leaps and bounds in the last decade. When done right, it has resulted in more leads and higher conversion rates.

After all, if you place yourself as an expert and are able to walk the walk you're talking about, customers will recognize it.

Just as I'm doing right now writing this blog post ;)

A great example of the power of business blogging as a B2B lead generation strategy is HubSpot.

HubSpot is a popular CRM software option that has grown in renown thanks in a large part to their inbound marketing team: over 90% of their leads come from their blog posts. Their pieces even surpass Forbes or CNN on Google results depending on the search.

Lead Magnets

Another great B2B lead generation strategy is a lead magnet.

Lead magnets provide access to a free resource you provide in exchange for contact information to add to your email list as a lead. The offer of the free trial in exchange for your email seen in the ActiveCampaign landing page fits here.

But it doesn't always have to be a free trial - this is just the easiest way out. Other examples of lead magnets include:

  • Access to webinars or courses
  • Upgrades to the service or product
  • Quizzes and surveys
  • Free shipping or discounts
  • Case studies
  • eBooks or white papers

And many more.

For a lead magnet to work properly, it's not enough to simply offer anything. Companies have to know their audience and what works best for them.

Slack is a good B2B lead generation example. It can be used for free, but messages begin to get deleted in this version. Companies lean on the organization and chats of Slack for day-to-day operations, and anything that interferes with it could cause trouble.

Cold Emailing & Email Marketing

We can't ignore email when it comes to B2B lead generation strategies.

A lot of what we've covered is related to an inbound approach. But cold emailing is different.

As we saw previously, in cold emailing your outbound SDRs are out amongst the weeds telling everyone relevant about your product or service. From these initial prospecting emails you have your leads. But only if your cold email structure is right.

A good example here is ourselves at SalesPipe, as this is our primary offer for all companies looking to expand their outreach by outsourcing their outbound sales efforts.

Email marketing is like cold emailing minus the SDR.

A great way to approach warm prospects that have provided their information to you, email marketing can be used in a variety of ways depending on your goals.

A great example is Grammarly's Insight reports, where they show you how you're doing and promote healthy competition. It personalizes your experience, reminds you of the services, and incentivizes you to keep using it.

With email, in any instance, the key is to be continually experimenting with the messaging and trying new things. Give your team the space to do so and find their rhythm, and you're guaranteed to see results.

Conclusion

B2B lead generation is necessary for any business looking to succeed.

While there are several cogs in the machine that makes this process, when they all work together magic truly happens.

At SalesPipe, we specialize in B2B lead generation strategies and managing the cycle for businesses via our SDR as a Service offer. Get in touch with us to see how we can help you!

And yes, as you can now probably tell, this is part of our B2B lead generation strategy ;)
Post by Flor Fustinoni.
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