Regardless of your industry, lead generation is one of the pivotal aspects of growth and success. While it’s an integral part of any marketing funnel, it is unique to each brand and involves a blend of strategies to pave the way for conversions and lasting customer relationships. Whether you’re a seasoned marketer or a rookie in the field, there’s a lot of knowledge to gain when it comes to understanding B2B lead generation.
Identifying B2B Leads
Before tackling the actual strategy, it’s important to understand the basics of a lead. This definition can also look a little different depending on your internal workflows. Two of the main types of leads that get defined are marketing-qualified leads (MQLs) and sales-qualified leads (SQLs). The specifics and the actual point where one becomes the other varies, but generally these are what we’re referring to when we mention each:
Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs): Prospects who have shown interest in a company’s marketing efforts. These leads are ready to be worked on by the marketing team and nurtured through the buyer journey. An MQL can be someone who has downloaded a guide, subscribed to emails, filled out a form, etc.
Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs): Prospects who have been vetted and identified as potential customers. They are a few steps beyond MQLs, meaning they’ve expressed an interest in purchasing the product or service. These leads are ready to be passed on to the sales team to guide them across the finish line.
Distinguishing between these two types of leads is crucial when setting up a successful lead generation campaign consisting of organic and paid media marketing efforts. Knowing the difference shapes the subsequent strategies and approaches for nurturing and converting.
Conducting B2B Lead Generation
Now that we have the definitions cleared up, we can jump into lead generation strategies. There are a variety of techniques that people employ, and all can bring about results as long as they are tailored to your brand.
This good old-fashioned way of reaching out to people may feel like something of the past but it is still built into marketing lead generation strategies. While it may feel daunting, it is still an effective tactic when done right.
The key to successful cold calling is understanding your target audience. Get solid research on your customer and build a compelling script based on what you learn. A good call feels genuine and focuses on building rapport while also sharing where you add value.
Email marketing is something many of us have built into our strategies already, but it’s important to call out anyways. Inbox messages can play a significant role in nurturing prospects who have shown interest but have not converted yet.
Understanding your target audience is also important here. Work on creating a personalized and targeted email that focuses on solving pain points with clear call-to-actions.
Leveraging social media platforms allows you to connect with prospects and build relationships with your target audience. This is one method that helps solidify your expertise and credibility.
Remember to engage with prospects and focus on creating content that adds value whether it is informative, educational, entertaining, etc.
This refers to sequences of touchpoints hat combine various strategies we’ve already mentioned. It all plays into the larger funnel, so structure your sequences according to how the prospect is being nurtured.
The best way to tackle this is to look at your lead gen strategies, from emails to calls to social media and organize them so they reach your prospect at strategic points throughout the marketing and sales process.
Growth hacking includes all sorts of techniques that involve being creative or unconventional to achieve rapid growth. This is why it can vary depending on who you are and what you’re doing. The goal is to go viral.
While it may seem random, there is logic behind growth hacking. Use your data to inform your next steps and to identify opportunities. Take these ideas and run with them to see where they land. Repeat as needed.
Valuable and relevant content is what attracts and engages potential leads. Having a solid content marketing plan in place will keep your prospects engaged throughout the funnel and get them primed and ready for conversion.
Start with a content strategy and branch out from there. Focus on high-quality content and be sure to promote it across all of your channels.
Account-Based Marketing (ABM)
ABM views each account as its own market and, as such, targets them with personalized marketing efforts. This involves extensive research into specific accounts and crafting messaging, content, and a funnel that speaks uniquely to them.
We’d recommend being conscious of your energy spent here. Identify high-value accounts first and deliver tailored messaging to address their needs. Since this requires more resources, ensure you have the bandwidth to tackle these before moving on to other accounts.
Technology’s Role in B2B Lead Generation
Technology, as we know, has a significant impact on today’s workforce. Not only are we capable of tackling tasks on a larger scale, but we’re also able to do so more efficiently and effectively. These tools are what can streamline our lead generation efforts. If you haven’t looked into the following, we’d recommend doing a bit of research to see where you can fit them into your strategy:
Automation: Gone are the days filled with repetitive, time-consuming tasks. Rather than doing something manually, we can automate the task and shift our focus to strategic activities. Right off the bat, consider automating email marketing and social media posting to save yourself some time. Check out our very own proprietary marketing automation tool here! It was built by marketers for marketers and allows teams to quickly create new automated messaging to their lead lists, prospects and new clients in an easy and streamlined manner.
Content Management Systems: Also known as CMS, these systems give marketers the ability to create, organize, and manage content efficiently. This can be a great tool in facilitating content marketing efforts, keeping everything easily accessible in one place, and streamlining workflows. WordPress is a commonly used CMS that is easy to manage and doesn’t require pulling in the IT team at every step.
Custom Relationship Management Systems (CRMs): CRMs are highly useful to marketers, especially regarding lead generation. These systems help track all interactions with leads, giving everyone from marketing to sales a clear idea of where a prospect is in the funnel. They ensure a smooth process for everyone involved and enhance customer relationships. The two most notable CRM options are Microsoft Dynamics and Salesforce.
Timeless B2B Lead Generation Strategies
There’s a lot of information to digest here, but we’ll leave you with some tips that have proven helpful to us throughout the years. While marketing trends are always evolving and marketers are constantly testing out new ideas, a couple of strategies remain tried and true.
For one, always prioritize quality over quantity. You want to attract and nurture leads that will actually convert and stick around as loyal customers down the line. This will lead to more long-term success and be more effective than chasing a large volume of leads with low conversion potential.
Secondly, remember that you’re marketing to a real, live person at the end of the day. This means tailoring your marketing efforts to the individual needs of a prospect will make them feel valued. This will get you further than generic messaging.
Lastly, there’s always room for improvement. Regularly keep tabs on your lead generation methods and results. Analyze and adjust as needed and tap into your data for insights.
Lead generation is essential for B2B success and sustainable growth. Have questions on adapting these ideas to your own plan? Contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org!