What is B2B Lead Generation?
Business to business, or B2B lead generation identifies customers (leads) for a business's products or services. Lead generation is typically the first step in the sales process, followed by pipeline management and prospecting.
B2B lead generation can be done through various means, including cold-calling, email marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), and content marketing. B2B lead generation aims to generate more sales leads for the sales team.
Additionally, lead generation can help to build brand awareness and create a pipeline of potential customers even if they don't convert immediately. Cold-calling, for example, can be an effective way to introduce potential customers to your products or services even if they're not ready to buy yet.
By staying top-of-mind, you increase the chances that they'll reach out when they are prepared to make a purchase.
Why is B2B Lead Generation so Critically Important?
Sales is a bit of a funny game. If you don't have any leads, you're not going to make any sales. It's as simple as that. But what exactly is a lead? A lead is simply someone who has somehow shown interest in your product or service. Maybe they've filled out a form on your landing page to grab a lead magnet or subscribed to your email list.
Perhaps they've even gone so far as to purchase something from you. Whatever the case may be, they've moved further down your sales funnel and become warmer to the idea of doing business with you.
That's why B2B lead generation is so important. To keep your sales pipeline full of prospects, you need to constantly generate high-quality leads. And not just any old leads, but high-quality leads that are likely to convert into customers.
There are several ways to generate leads, but content marketing, search engine optimization, digital advertising, and social media marketing are some of the most effective.
By creating helpful content and making it easy for potential customers to find you online, you can generate a steady stream of high-quality leads that will help keep your business booming.
What Does an Excellent B2B Lead Look Like?
Sales are the lifeblood of any business, but generating leads can be challenging, especially for companies that sell to other companies. So what does an excellent B2B lead look like? First and foremost, it should be relevant to your business.
That means it should come from a company that operates in the same industry and needs your product or service.
It's also essential that the lead be high up in the sales funnel. In other words, they should already be aware of your brand and be interested in learning more about what you have to offer.
Finally, an excellent B2B lead should be "cold." That is, they should not have any preexisting relationship with your company. If you can find leads that meet all of these criteria, you'll be well on your way to closing more sales and growing your business.
What is a Marketing-Qualified Lead?
Marketing-qualified leads (MQLs) are sales leads determined to be more likely to convert into customers than other leads. This determination is usually based on factors such as lead score, online behavior, and engagement with marketing collateral.
In most cases, MQLs are generated by marketing activities such as website visits, white paper downloads, or email opens. Once a lead has been identified as an MQL, it is passed on to the sales team for further nurturing and development.
The main difference between an MQL and a cold lead is that an MQL has already shown some interest in your product or service. This means they are more likely to convert into a customer than a cold lead who knows nothing about your brand. For this reason, MQLs are often referred to as "warm" leads.
While cold leads can be generated through various means, such as trade shows or list purchases, MQLs are typically generated through inbound marketing activities.
This could include website visits, organic search traffic, or social media interactions. For a lead to be considered an MQL, they must typically perform some action that indicates they are interested.
What is a Sales Qualified Lead?
A Sales-Qualified Lead (SQL) is a lead that has been vetted by the sales team and determined to be a good fit for the company's products or services. In other words, it's a lead that's worth taking the time to pursue.
SQLs usually come from Business to Business (B2B) companies, although they can also come from Business to Consumer (B2C) companies. These leads have been subjected to marketing, whether an ad, a website, or even just word-of-mouth.
The SQL then goes through a sales funnel designed to weed out the less interested leads. By the end of this process, the SQL should be excited about your company and ready to buy what you're selling.
If all goes well, the SQL becomes a paying customer. But if not, they become a cold lead, which is essentially a dead end. sales-qualified leads are essential for any business that wants to increase its sales and grow their brand
Who is Responsible to Generate Leads?
Sales representatives have traditionally been responsible for lead gen, but the process has become far more complex in the modern world of business-to-business (B2B) sales. No longer can sales simply make a few calls and hope for the best.
Instead, they must now work hand-in-hand with marketing teams to create a comprehensive lead generation strategy. The first step is to create awareness of the brand through various marketing channels.
Once potential customers know the company and its offerings, they can be funneled into the sales process through various lead generation activities. These may include attending trade shows, participating in webinars, or filling out online forms. The goal is to eventually land a meeting with a potential customer, at which point the sale can be made.
Thanks to the internet and other modern tools, B2B lead generation has become a far more complex process than it once was. However, by working closely with marketing, sales teams can still be highly successful in generating new leads and closing deals.
Sales teams are often split into two groups: those who focus on generating leads and those who focus on converting leads into customers. While both groups are essential to the success of a business, they operate in different ways.
Lead Generation Focused
Lead generation teams are responsible for generating interest in a company's products or services. They do this by creating brand awareness and driving traffic to the company's website. Cold calling is also often used to generate B2B leads.
Lead Conversion Focused
Once a lead has been developed, it is passed on to the lead conversion team. The lead conversion team then works on converting the lead into a paying customer. They move the lead through the sales funnel, from initial contact to closing the deal.
Sales and Marketing Teams
Marketing and sales are two essential pieces of the puzzle for growing a business. But while they are closely related, they are very different beasts.
Sales focus on generating leads and converting them into customers, while marketing teams focus on creating brand awareness and driving traffic to the company's website.
Both groups are essential to the success of a business, but they operate in different ways. Sales need to be able to sell sand in the desert, while marketing teams need to put butts in seats. It's a tough job.
Volume Focused Marketing
There are two types of marketers focused on B2B lead generation: those who see the process as a numbers game and those who see it as an opportunity to build relationships. Sales folk tend to fall into the former category.
They're often laser-focused on generating as many leads as possible, with little regard for quality or fit. To them, it's all about volume; the more leads they have, the better their chances of finding a few good ones.
By contrast, relationship-oriented marketers take a more long-term view. They know that generating leads is only part of the equation; it's also about nurturing those leads until they're ready to buy. They focus on building trust and establishing credibility so that when their leads are finally prepared to make a purchase, they'll think of the marketer's brand first.
In today's hypercompetitive landscape, both approaches have their merits. But if you ask us, we'll take the relationship-builder every time.
How is B2B Lead Generation Typically Done?
Cold calling is one of the essential skills for any sales professional. It can be a great way to reach your target market and build relationships with decision-makers.
However, it can also be challenging, especially if you're not prepared. Here are some tips to succeed at cold calling outreach:
Make sure you have a solid list of leads. This is the most crucial step in any cold call campaign. Without a good list of contacts, you're unlikely to get anywhere.
Craft a great script. This will be your roadmap for each call, so it's essential to take the time to write something that's both informative and engaging.
Don't be afraid to leave voicemails. Sometimes the best way to reach a decision-maker is by leaving them a well-crafted voicemail.
Be persistent. Cold calling can be a numbers game, so the more calls you make, the better your chances of success.
Keep track of your progress. Keep careful notes on who you've called and how the conversation went. This will help you improve your results over time.
Sales can be a tough gig. You make tons of calls, only to hear crickets on the other end. You leave voicemails that never get returned. It feels like you're constantly hitting a brick wall. But there's one sales tactic that can help you break through the noise and increase your close rate: outbound email outreach.
Email marketing is when you proactively reach out to target prospects via email instead of waiting for them to come to you. It's excellent at helping with the lead generation process and setting up initial conversations with target high-value leads with prospects. And when it comes to outbound email outreach, you should keep a few things in mind.
First, you need to have a strong Sales Development Representative (SDR) team. Your SDRs will be responsible for crafting and sending emails, so it's vital that they understand your brand voice and messaging.
Additionally, they should be experts in email sequencing, marketing automation, and campaign management for successful B2B lead generation.
Second, your outbound email campaigns should be well-thought-out and focused on your target audience to ensure you secure more leads. You don't want to blast generic emails to your entire database - that's a surefire way to get sent straight to the spam folder.
Sales has always been about relationships. In the olden days (aka, before social media, digital marketing, and search engines), salespeople would build relationships with potential paying customers by meeting them in person, shaking their hands, and buying them drinks before they started trying to pry out pain points.
These days, social media has changed the game, and your traditional marketing strategies are less effective at capturing leads. Most companies can now be found online. Thus, salespeople can now build relationships with their ideal customers by connecting with them on LinkedIn, commenting on their social media posts, and sending personal messages. This is what's known as "social selling." And it's a highly effective way to approach B2B lead generation. Here's how to do it to increase sales activities in your target audiences:
First, find your customer profiles on LinkedIn by levering powerful insights gained from looking through detailed search results. Sales Navigator is an excellent tool for this and will help you shorten the sales cycle and lower marketing expenses if done well.
Once you've found a few people in your target group who could be potential clients, begin the buyer's journey by engaging with their content. Take a few seconds and leave a thoughtful comment on their posts or send them a personal connection message. The goal is to build a relationship and become a trusted source of information.
Next, post your content on social media. Write a blog post, create infographics, and ad campaigns, share a real-life example of client success, or even shoot some videos... whatever you think will help you stand out from the competition and show clear business opportunities for your potential leads and sales opportunities for your pipeline. Post your content on LinkedIn and other social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook.
Finally, keep track of your interactions with potential clients.
Multi-Channel Sales Campaigns
Sales representatives are always looking for that magic bullet to help them with lead generation and close more deals. However, the reality is that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to successful selling. Instead, sales reps need to develop multi-faceted lead generation strategies that take advantage of different channels and touchpoints to generate more qualified leads.
One standard sales cadence is to start with a cold call, followed by an email and then a LinkedIn message. However, this approach can be spammy and annoying for prospects, particularly if they're not interested in your product. A better system uses social media to research your prospects and craft customized messages more likely to resonate.
For example, you might comment on one of their recent blog posts or share a relevant article. This shows that you're paying attention to their business and helps you start building a relationship. Only once you've established some rapport should you reach out via email or phone.
Of course, even the best sales cadence won't work if you're not providing value at each process step. Whether you're sending an email, leaving a voicemail, or connecting on LinkedIn, make sure you're giving something useful that will help your prospect in their business.
The marketing process of lead gen and demand is known as "demand generation." There are several tactics that marketers can leverage to produce qualified B2B prospects. These include:
We all know that content is king, right? Content marketing - where marketers create relevant and valuable content to promote them with a solid call to action. There are many different ways you can do it, too, like a blog post, lead magnet, landing page, or video.
This is a personalized marketing campaign designed to reach the decision-makers in your company. Account Based Marketing (ABM) allows you to identify your target audience better, then tailor messages and offers just for them! A very targeted approach is more time-consuming but will typically increase sales and lead generation significantly.
A term that tech companies often use, growth hacking aims to create demand and grow your business quickly by deploying unusual, unorthodox B2B lead generation techniques. These may include incentives or contests that give away free tools for marketers who want more information on how they can use these methods in their campaigns!
How Important is Quality Data in B2B Lead Generation?
The importance of data in B2B lead generation can hardly be overstated. Sales and marketing teams rely on data to track their performance against key benchmarks and KPIs and identify improvement areas for their lead generation campaigns.
Marketing teams use data to generate insights that help them better understand their target audience and craft more effective lead gen campaigns. And without data, it would be impossible to measure the ROI of lead generation efforts.
In short, data is essential to the success of any B2B lead generation program. Without it, businesses would be flying blind, and it would be impossible to make informed decisions about allocating resources.
So if you're not already focused on collecting and analyzing data, now is the time to start. It could be the key to unlocking your company's full sales potential.
Great news for you; there are many free tool options for effective lead generation data collection that even the smallest company need not worry about. For example, Buffer, a social media toolkit for small businesses, was kind enough to list 41 of the best sales and marketing tools for better together all in one place for you.
What are the Most Important KPIs to Measure for B2B Lead Generation?
If you're in the business of needing a constant flow of leads, then you're probably used to tracking a few key metrics. Things like cost per lead, conversion rates, MQLs, SQLs, and so forth. But if you really want to create a long-term lead generation strategy, you need to go beyond these basics metrics.
You need to measure the lifetime value of your leads. You need to track their customer journey from beginning to end. And you need to understand their buying behavior. Only then will you be able to generate the kind of leads that will stick around for the long haul. So if you're not sure which lead generation metrics to measure for your B2B business, this blog has got you covered.
We'll give you the lowdown on which metrics matter most and how to track them. So read on and learn more about creating a long-term lead generation strategy that actually works!
Total Number of Leads
The one metric that both sales and marketing focus on is the number of leads. The marketing team focuses on the MQLs (marketing qualified leads). To turn them in sales-ready leads through targeted nurturing. Once these leads are sales-ready, the leads are handed over to the sales team for further interaction.
Anyone who's ever done a job or task of any kind knows that not all leads are created equal. The same goes for those in the business-to-business world of marketing - lead quality is everything. Quality leads result in conversions, while poor quality leads are a big ol' time waster. It can be tough to generate leads, but it's even tougher to vet them and make sure they're actually worth your time.
That's where tracking lead quality comes in. By focusing on and investigating leads that show promise, you can save yourself a lot of time and energy wasted on bad eggs. So if you're ever feeling run down by too many leads, remember to stop and smell the roses... or in this case, the quality ones!
Time to Close
Time to close is an important metric that most marketers don't follow. If the lead is of high quality, it won't take much time to convert the leads. The time to move the lead from nurturing to sales should be minimum as possible. If the time is above average, you need to find the gaps in your marketing strategy and see what's making the customers take so long to trust your brand.
For example, if you're selling a high-end product, you need to make sure that your brand is well established before you start selling. Otherwise, it'll take much longer to close the deal. So, if you're looking to improve your sales and marketing results, keep an eye on your time to close stat.
Customer Lifetime Value
The never-ending quest of staying ahead of churn rate. But as the old saying goes, the customer is always right - and acquiring them can be easier said than done. Plus, once you finally get that new customer, how do you keep them?
One way to keep track of your progress - and prevent yourself from overspending on marketing - is to calculate your customer lifetime value. In short, customer lifetime value is how much revenue a customer will generate over the course of their relationship with your company.
By understanding your customer lifetime value, you can make informed decisions about your marketing budget and ensure that you're acquiring customers that are valuable to your business.
What is the Best Technology for B2B Lead Generation?
In the modern business world, technology is essential for growth. There are various ways to generate leads, but which is the best, and what sales tools should you consider first for maximum lead generation?
Sales and marketing teams have long relied on cold calling, traditional advertising, and mailing lists to produce sales leads, but these methods are becoming less effective.
Meanwhile, automated marketing tools show promise, but they can be expensive and challenging to implement in the full scope of your lead generation process. The answer may lie in a combination of old and new methods.
By using technology to automate repetitive tasks, sales and marketing teams can free up time to focus on more personal interactions with prospective customers, thus opening the door to better lead generation strategies.
This personal touch can make a difference in generating new leads and closing deals. At the same time, by monitoring data and using analytics, businesses can identify patterns and target their marketing efforts more effectively. There is no magic bullet for lead generation, but companies can stay ahead of the competition by combining traditional and modern methods.
What is the Benefit of Using a B2B Lead Generation Company?
If your B2B lead generation feels like more of an Easter egg hunt than a productive use of time, it might be time to outsource this vital task to achieve more leads. Sometimes you don't need to completely change your lead generation strategy but supplement your efforts. In the case of outsourcing, many organizations have found that they can save significant time but also a quick and immediate bump in sales.