“No matter how great your marketing tactics seem to be, if they’re not generating quality leads, your business is bound for failure.”
Just like how humans need oxygen to live, businesses – whether offline or online – need quality leads to keep them going. If your marketing efforts are not attracting leads, it can contribute to your business’s downward spiral. If this is the case, you may want to change something in your marketing tactics and strategies.
B2B Lead generation is not only limited to acquiring potential audiences and customers for your business. It is also involved in a brand’s effort in increasing visibility, trust, traffic, and credibility for a brand. The more effective a lead generation tactic is, the more high-quality prospect a brand receives.
What are B2B businesses?
B2B businesses are businesses that sell products or services to other businesses. This can include anything from office supplies to software to manufacturing equipment. B2B businesses typically have longer sales cycles than B2C businesses, as they often need to build relationships with potential customers before closing a deal.
There are a few key things that make B2B businesses different from B2C businesses:
- They typically sell to other businesses, rather than directly to consumers.
- They usually have longer sales cycles, as they need to build relationships with potential customers before closing a deal.
- They often sell more expensive products or services than B2C businesses.
- Their customers are usually more loyal, as they are less likely to switch to a competitor.
Recommended for you: Top 11 B2B eCommerce Platforms for Multi-Vendor Marketplaces.
What is a “Lead”?
In the marketing context, a lead is a potential contact for sales who shows interest in your products or services. A lead can either be an individual or an organization who can possibly turn into a regular customer when nurtured well.
How critical is lead generation for B2B businesses?
Lead generation is critical for all businesses, but it is especially important for B2B businesses. This is because B2B businesses typically have longer sales cycles, and they need to generate a steady stream of leads in order to keep their sales pipeline full.
There are a few different ways to generate leads, but the most effective method will vary depending on the type of business you have.
Types of B2B businesses
There are a variety of different types of B2B businesses, but some of the most common include:
- Manufacturers: These businesses produce products that are sold to other businesses.
- Wholesalers: These businesses buy products in bulk from manufacturers and then sell them to other businesses.
- Distributors: These businesses distribute products from manufacturers to retailers.
- Suppliers: These businesses provide raw materials or other inputs that are used by manufacturers.
- Consultants: These businesses provide advice or services to other businesses.
- Service providers: These businesses provide services such as website design or IT support to other businesses.
Why lead generation is essential for your business
Without lead generation efforts, a business becomes stagnant. Increasing revenue and growth as a brand are not possible without a working and effective lead-generation strategy. Leads are essential for brands to survive. Here are specific reasons why brands should invest in lead generation efforts.
It helps expand your market
Always remember, your audience does not come to you. You make yourself available to your audience. When you start a business, your only target is a specific group of people. Now that you have managed to capture this audience, will you stop? You don’t. Lead generation makes it possible for brands to tap other demographics and audiences, creating a new source of opportunity and customers for your brand.
Provides customer reviews
Social proof is treated as very significant in the decision-making of today’s generation of consumers. Effective B2B lead generation strategies do not end with attracting the right audience for your business. It should always be followed up with customer reviews and testimonials that will help solidify who your brand is and what you can offer for your target market and your industry. Testimonials and reviews help convince prospects into customers.
Builds visibility and awareness
Establishing your start-up business in a highly-populated and competitive market is not easy. Some brands take years before they can establish a presence and followers. But once you do, you can focus on improving your products or launching new products for your audience. Through lead generation, a brand can create awareness and visibility. It helps people know who your brand is and what you can actually offer.
You may like: How Amazon Prep Services Can Streamline Your Business?
The B2B lead generation process
Because leads are the life support of every business, you have to discover and employ different lead generation strategies to generate high-quality leads faster. The process of B2B lead generation refers to the act of attracting the attention of qualified buyers which may eventually develop into an official sale.
The basic steps that are essential in any lead generation process are as follows:
- Your first goal is to engage your prospects with your business. Regardless of the strategies, you choose to do, the end goal must be to capture your prospects and create an opportunity to nurture them. To capture leads, you need to employ lead generators – any marketing activity designed to promote your products or services.
- Nurturing your leads is a critical part of the lead generation process. In this stage, you must anticipate your potential buyer’s needs and determine where they are in the buying process. You need to build your brand while keeping your prospects engaged until they are ready to make their purchase.
- Scoring leads are essential to determine the quality of the leads you have attracted. In generating leads, you need to focus both on quantity and quality. Lead scoring entails ranking prospects by attaching values to your leads based on different factors such as demographics, source data, behavior, etc. This methodology helps you see which leads show the most interest in your business. Lead scoring is a great way to segment your potential leads into a variety of sales funnels.
- To maintain the efficiency of your lead generation process, you need to evaluate your scoring algorithms once in a while for adjustments and further improvements.
B2B lead generation strategies approved by professional marketers
Now that you are aware of what lead generation is and what it can do for your business, let us go into the different types of B2B lead generation strategies that you can adapt for your business.
Here are the top 6 budget-friendly and expert-approved B2B lead generation tactics essential for your business.
1. Targeting mobile audiences
More than half of the world’s population uses mobile devices. In the United States alone, 50% of consumers use desktop devices while 46% go to mobile devices. Thus, if your lead generation strategies are not mobile-friendly, you are losing access to half of the world’s consumers that can be potentially converted into your customers.
Additionally, most of today’s consumers are part of the younger generation. The current technologies make it possible and very convenient to connect with brands through mobile devices. Thus, offering a smoother customer experience, through mobile optimization is a must.
With the rise of the mobile movement continuously progressing, you can include mobile lead generation strategies in your marketing plans. One way to do this is to make sure your website is responsive to browsers and mobile devices.
To maximize your mobile marketing campaign, follow these tips:
- Keep the forms simple to avoid frustrating your online visitors. Complicated forms, especially on mobile, often lead to abandonment and an increased bounce rate.
- Make data collection more convenient for your prospects. Find ways to reduce the form fields your customer needs to fill manually. For example, in filling up addresses, ask only for the zip code, and let the other slots be auto-filled such as the city and the state.
- Design and build smartphone applications to get specific data from your prospects with less hassle. As compared to desktop cookies, user data derived from mobile apps are richer and more detailed. This tactic can help you target your campaigns.
Since the majority of the online population is using mobile devices daily, you cannot miss the chance to reach out to your prospects by utilizing mobile-friendly sites and apps.
2. Content marketing
According to Neil Patel, a renowned expert in digital marketing, a well-thought-out content marketing strategy can turn on your circle of leverage and generate targeted leads of high quality. But, in creating content, you must first determine which topics interest people the most.
B2B marketing is all about removing a customer’s “unfamiliarity” with your brand. The best way to build awareness and introduce your brand to your audience is through content. Consumers arm themselves with data and knowledge before purchasing a product. The best way to provide them with the information that they need is through content.
Additionally, creating and building content for your brand, products, and services helps you get rank on search engines. Search engine optimization is your best way in generating leads organically. If you are offering skin care products, creating copy, pages, and blog posts related to skin care helps build your credibility as an authority in skin care. With the right choice of keywords and effective content writing, you can help people through your content and lead them into looking into what your brand offers. Get leads from people who are actually looking for information related to your product.
One way to figure out which topic resonates well with the audience is through YouTube. In YT’s search box, key in your main topic and look for the video results with the highest views. From there, you can create compelling content. More than that, you can contact the owner of the video you modeled and use this circle of leverage to generate more leads.
Another technique to create lead-generating content is competitive auditing. It’s getting to know your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses and discovering opportunities you can use to your advantage. Competitive auditing is not about competing with others; it’s more about complementing what they are doing – to your advantage.
There are various content marketing tactics you can try. Do not be afraid to experiment or limit your strategies. See what type of content or what type of strategy works best in generating leads for your business. Remember, content marketing is about storytelling. Be the one who tells great stories, and you’ll see leads and traffic come effortlessly.
Recommended for you: How Your Business Can Thrive by Using These 9 Product Launch Strategies?
3. Email marketing
According to statistics, email marketing is the most common lead-generation strategy employed by 78% of marketers. It’s also found to be the most effective. Besides generating leads, email can be utilized for various purposes such as selling, following up inquiries, sending newsletters, getting in touch with new and former customers, and so much more.
To generate leads through email marketing, you can use these techniques:
- Referral programs: Group your subscriber list and prepare multiple referral campaigns for distribution. Set clear goals and rewards to target different groups of your subscribers effectively.
- Sign-up forms: Through sign-up forms, you can gather email addresses and other data. Test different types of forms and determine which of them brought the highest conversion.
4. Social media integration
The popularity of social media is going strong with marketers because of its inexpensive yet interactive features. More so, ROI is measurable. When strategically employed, social media integration can help you establish your online reputation, build thought leadership, share valuable content, participate in community discussions, and much more.
So, how can you generate leads through different social media channels? Here are the ways:
- With Facebook’s 1.04 billion average daily active users, you can reach a worldwide audience. To engage your followers and convert them into email subscribers, you can put up a newsletter sign-up box, or host and run Facebook contests that offer rewards that will attract your prospects.
- Statistics report that Pinterest has 100+ million active users you can reach out to when you share valuable and engaging visual content. Link your pins to dedicated landing pages such as blog posts or contact forms where visitors can input their contact info in exchange for a reward.
- As the largest network of professionals with 400+ million registered members in 200+ countries around the world, LinkedIn is a great platform to build your professional network and establish networking relationships. Discover and connect with influencers and your prospects. Share expert comments.
But, what works for others may not work for you. So, you must determine which platforms are most effective in reaching your prospects and in representing your brand. Experiment.
If you are looking to create a professional network for your business, LinkedIn is your best bet.
From creating and sharing content to LinkedIn lead generation ads, you can explore this platform to target decision-makers from companies that fall under your brand’s target market.
The great thing about LinkedIn is that you can create a list of high-quality contacts, and professionals in their industry at a lower cost compared to other lead generation strategies or services.
Facebook ads and marketing
Facebook grew from a social media network to an avenue for brands and businesses to connect with their audience. Additionally, the younger generation, even some of the older ones are all on Facebook, making it an effective channel to build your presence.
Facebook lead ads are one of the most effective and profitable B2B lead generation strategies of today. Together with the use of social media content, written for a specific audience, brands can target custom audiences, based on their interest, needs, or buying capacities through Facebook advertisements.
Whether you are looking for your first 100 subscribers, building traffic to your website, or enticing audiences to visit your shop page, Facebook has a specific ad set ready for you to use.
Another great thing about Facebook ads is that you can extract data analysis reports. Thus, you can test your ads to see which converts best, allocating your resources more efficiently in the process.
Let others know your existence. Let authority blogs know that you’re “in.” Make your presence felt through outreaches and networking. You can reach out to your targets through paid social advertising. This way you can grow your email list easier. Set your budget and target audience, and create your ads to reach the right people.
Besides reaching out to your prospects, you must also reach influencers who share the same interest or vision as your products or services. Building a professional relationship with influencers is far greater than reaching a huge number of social media followers.
Who doesn’t love free stuff? Whether it’s free product samples, free subscriptions, or free downloadable content, consumers appreciate things that they can get for free.
Freebies are a great way to generate leads, especially if you offer something that is relevant to your target market. For example, if you sell software, you could offer a free trial of your product in exchange for an email address.
However, what makes this lead generation strategy effective for your brand is by offering something of real value, versus what your competitor might offer or charge for.
If you are selling a content automation tool, consider offering a one-month free subscription for new sign-ups, giving your audience the opportunity to test and experience your software. You are providing your target market with something valuable, for free. Interestingly, around 30% of people who sign-up for free software usually continue with their subscription, increasing your lead converts in the process.
But which strategy works for your brand?
Now that you understand what B2B businesses are and how important lead generation is for them, it’s time to start thinking about the best ways to generate leads for your own business.
There are a number of different lead generation strategies out there, but not all of them will be effective for every business. It’s important to choose the right mix of strategies based on your specific business goals and target market.
Today’s target market is craving more personalized experiences in buying a product or securing a service. Thus, investing in more holistic and cultivating connections with your consumer is essential in providing effective solutions for their problems and needs. Without these personalized efforts, your lead generation strategy will just be the same as the others – it will lack in quality.
There are many factors in play when executing lead-generation strategies. Some tactics may work for others brands while the same tactics may not work well with yours. Testing and evaluating which technique works for you is the key to determining the best lead-generation strategy for your brand.
You may also like: 7 Best On-Demand iOS App Ideas to Start Business.
As a merchant, sales are the primary goal. However, generating leads take an integral part in helping you achieve your business and marketing goals. When you capture and nurture the right leads, your chances of getting more customers will surely increase in due time.
Consider and employ the lead generation hacks listed above, generate quality leads, and achieve your marketing success faster!
We have written this article in association with Japs Buidon. Japs is a Social Media Specialist and SEO from a renowned Magento Developer in Florida Always Open Commerce. He loves hiking as well as electronics. Follow him on Twitter.