The ability to generate leads is vital for any business. In fact, 79% of marketers worldwide say generating more leads is their top priority goal. Lead generation is no easy task in today’s ever-changing digital landscape: 61% of marketers cite lead generation as their top challenge.
B2B (business-to-business) businesses are on the frontlines of adapting to these changes. According to Drift's 2021 Marketing Leadership Benchmark Report, some of the top hurdles B2B marketers face include content creation, continuing to digitize B2B marketing processes, understanding the customer journey, and attribution.
With more digitization comes more resources, tools, and information sources to help you stay up-to-date on the best B2B marketing tactics. This post covers the most effective B2B lead generation tactics, strategies you should try for your business, the best lead generation channels, and some lead generation examples. So let’s dive in.
What Is the Lead Generation Process in B2B?
Lead generation is the process of one business using various tactics to identify and cultivate potential customers for a product or service. If you're a business with a product or service, lead generation is how you find qualified candidates that will benefit from what you bring to the table.
In the B2B world, one business’s customer base is other businesses. This differs from the more commonly thought-of B2C (business-to-customer) model, where a business's primary revenue stream is from consumers.
Traditionally, the B2B lead generation process comprises the first few steps of the B2B sales cycle outlined below.
- Prospecting: The first step is identifying potential customers. This can be accomplished through either inbound or outbound prospecting. Inbound prospecting is when potential customers find your business via their own search. Outbound prospecting happens when you identify prospects who you believe need your product(s) or service(s).
- Researching: Once you have your prospects, you need to learn more about them. Marketers learn their prospects' needs, wants, and behaviors in the research phase.
- Approaching: Now that you have a pool of prospects, it's time to decide what approach will best capture them. This step is where online tools, social media, website content, software, etc., come into play.
After these first three steps, your leads are generated, and you’re ready to tackle the rest of the B2B sales cycle.
Which B2B Lead Generation Methods Work Best?
To ensure your lead generation tactics produce the desired results, let’s look at the best lead generation methods for 2022.
- Search marketing includes capturing leads online using either organic or paid search tools. With organic search marketing, companies use SEO (search engine optimization) tactics to appear near or at the top of SERPs (search engine result pages) for search terms and keywords related to their business. Paid search marketing, like Google Search Ads, allows B2B companies to use purchase clicks or leads on certain search terms.
- Content marketing includes exposure throughout the entire customer journey. Content marketing includes blogs, email campaigns, social media posts, case studies, surveys, newsletters, webinars, and more.
- Email marketing comes after you’ve already captured a lead's attention and drawn them to your website. You don’t want the relationship to stop there, so you might prompt the visitor to sign up for your email list. B2B companies can create a series of informative emails to share relevant content and spark more interest among leads over time, ensuring your qualified leads stay in touch with your business.
- Social media marketing is incredibly popular in the B2C world, but it lacks the same traction in the B2B arena. This is another reason why outsourcing your B2B lead generation, especially on social media B2B channels like LinkedIn, can be a good idea. LinkedIn is designed for professional networking and is the most effective social media channel for B2B lead generation. Better yet, 33% of B2B decision makers use LinkedIn for research purposes, making it the perfect place to share your B2B content and generate leads.
What Strategies Would You Use to Generate Leads for a B2B Business?
When implementing any of these lead-generation techniques, it’s essential to have a targeted strategy to ensure your efforts will produce a return.
Forbes lists seven B2B lead-generation strategies to keep in mind for 2022:
- Collaborate with other businesses. There are likely other businesses out there whose services complement your own. Build a relationship with these businesses to learn from them and possibly build a referral program.
- Provide valuable resources. This strategy is where quality content comes into play. You want to provide your audience with helpful information they can act on.
- Educate your leads. Offering free or inexpensive educational opportunities, such as webinars, can help generate more leads. Ask for users’ email addresses in return for educational content.
- Follow the data. No matter what lead generation technique you use, it's vital to stay informed about consumer buying and searching habits. You need to know the demographics of your current and desired audience. Understanding this data will help you maximize the effectiveness of your content and increase generated leads.
- Outsource lead generation. As previously mentioned, lead generation takes a lot of time and effort, so in many cases, it’s best to turn to experts to manage all that goes into successful B2B lead generation.
- Leverage automated tools. Tracking the performance of lead generation techniques involves a lot of data analytics that, again, takes a lot of time. Take advantage of CRM (customer relationship management) and sales performance software, as well as social media analytics tools to keep track of leads and performance automatically.
- Focus on continuous improvement. When it comes to lead generation, there's no end in sight; it's something your B2B company will always need to be working on and improving. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a race.
The truth is that many of today's B2B businesses don't have the resources, tools, time, or labor to perform effective lead generation in-house. In fact, 61% of B2B marketers say issues like lack of staff, funding, or time are the most significant hurdles they face when generating leads.
The good news is that outsourcing your lead generation tends to produce better results: 43% better to be exact. That's where Cleverly enters the equation.
Cleverly is a ready-made resource to help you with effective lead generation. Specializing in LinkedIn lead generation, recruiting, and paid advertising, Cleverly has helped numerous technology startups, software companies, and small businesses generate leads.
What Are the 3 Approaches to Lead Generation?
There are three common ways to use the B2B marketing techniques listed above for lead generation.
- Website and SEO lead generation: Using SEO search tools and terms, companies can rely on website traffic to generate leads. Keep in mind that website conversion rates drop by an average of 4.42% with each additional second of load time. This figure demonstrates that capturing leads with such high user expectations can be challenging.
- Email marketing lead generation: When talking about B2B businesses, 79% of B2B marketers think email marketing is the most effective lead generation tool.
- Social media lead generation: This type of lead generation is on the rise. Social media is a crowded medium, but LinkedIn is a channel designed specifically for businesses to engage with one another. Below, we’ll look at some examples of B2B lead generation on the platform.
B2B Lead Generation Examples
You can try several different types of B2B lead generation strategies. Pay-per-click (PPC) lead generation is considered a search marketing tactic. Common PPC campaign tools include Google Ads (formerly AdWords), Display Network, and LinkedIn Ads.
Another example of a popular lead generation tactic is blog lead generation. This is when a brand focuses on creating interesting and valuable content so potential customers are willing to share information, such as their email addresses, to access this content. Using this tactic, you can attract people to your website, qualify those users into leads, and work to retain repeat customers.
Although the previous examples are effective options for lead generation, social media leads the way in terms of preference among marketers today: 44% of marketers say social media is their top channel for acquiring new customers.
When it comes to B2B social media marketing, LinkedIn is the top social platform for lead generation. LinkedIn boasts 85% of the market share for B2B social media lead generation, with Facebook trailing behind at 71% and Twitter at 61%.
B2B Lead Generation on LinkedIn
There are many statistics proving that LinkedIn is the place to be for B2B marketing:
- LinkedIn has more than 850 million members, and in 2020, 95% of B2B marketers used LinkedIn, making it the top B2B social media channel.
- Since 2019, engagement on LinkedIn has been up 60%, with 40% of its users visiting the platform daily. Within this engaged audience, 65 million LinkedIn users are decision-makers at their companies.
- Specific to the B2B world, 77% of B2B marketers say that LinkedIn proves to be the best platform for organic content distribution. Better yet, 40% of B2B marketers say that LinkedIn is the most effective network for generating quality leads.
With its business-first platform and growing network of engaged B2B decision makers, LinkedIn offers B2B companies the ability to reach a highly engaged audience and cut through the noise found on traditional search engines.
B2B Lead Generation Case Studies
Recently, Bambee, a B2B human resource provider, generated 307 B2B leads in just 90 days with the help of Cleverly. Bambee’s goal was to book qualified meetings with the owners of small to mid-sized companies to share their human resource solutions.
Human resources is a highly competitive field with many available solutions, so the challenge with this lead generation campaign was to cut through the noise to reach Bambee’s ideal potential customers.
First, Cleverly used targeted filters to prospect owners of companies with five to 150 employees in industries that are active on LinkedIn. Then it was all about the content.
Cleverly created a concise messaging that highlighted Bambee’s unique offering to generate genuine responses and interest. Cleverly then used its proprietary software to connect with and message thousands of LinkedIn users via LinkedIn message marketing.
How did it all work out? After generating 307 leads in just 90 days, Bambee was able to close 49 deals, generating $100,000 in revenue. Jake Wilcox, Director of Sales at Bambee, said, “Cleverly is our top acquisition channel, delivering a lower CPA (cost per acquisition) than Google and more booked meetings than email.”
B2B Lead Generation Agency
Quality lead generation is one of the main challenges B2B marketers face today. Still, with the proper lead generation toolbox and help from a knowledgeable B2B lead generation agency, you can be ready to succeed in today’s ever changing digital landscape.
Remember to prioritize detailed prospecting, targeting, and research when starting your lead generation process. Then, focus on creating the right type of content on the most effective platform to reach and nurture those leads. Understanding these lead generation techniques is the first step to successful B2B lead generation.
If you’d rather not have to manage the research, tools, campaign generation, and tracking, consider outsourcing your lead generation with Cleverly. We’ll work with you to understand your needs, design a focused plan, and find qualified, relevant leads for you to start building relationships with.