Lead generation is the art of finding and nurturing members of your target audience until they become loyal customers. That's slightly oversimplified, of course: There are reams of studies and data supporting different ways to qualify leads, build lead generation strategy, and organize the efforts between sales and marketing staff.
Lead generation has been around since the barter system. If there's something to sell, you need to find the customer to make it happen. However, the methods used to make your B2B lead generation ideas yield fruit have changed dramatically, even over just the last few years.
B2B strategies are quickly evolving to resemble their B2C counterparts. That's largely because the target demographic in charge of purchasing at brands is more in tune with making their professional decisions in the same way they make their personal buying choices. There are still specific marketing differences, of course, because the purchasing power for a business is often weighted more seriously. A B2B purchase may impact profits and other expenditures in the office.
The first step to building your lead generation strategy is to find your qualified leads. Your team should also understand that this buyer actively researches your offerings and your competitors.
Your work here doesn't stop with a great strategy. Every time you launch a new lead generation idea, you should monitor its progress. Your campaigns yield valuable data that will help you determine whether the strategy takes hold and offers significant ROI. When you find that a campaign doesn’t reach your predetermined benchmarks, your follow-up questions must determine why it missed the mark. It might be that the lead wasn't qualified, and perhaps your metrics need to be rethought. The beautiful thing about a campaign that doesn't deliver the desired result is that it will still produce valuable data to help you improve future efforts and decision-making.
Below are eight B2B lead generation ideas that every marketing and sales team should collaboratively try.
A lead hook is something you offer in exchange for contact information. This might be a giveaway tool or tip audiences can access in exchange for their email address. This lead generation idea works on two levels.
First, you get their contact information, and you can add them to your mailing list.
Second, they receive something of value that helps build loyalty.
Be thoughtful when you craft your free offer. It should be something that is useful to your buyer persona and it should deliver on whatever it promises. For instance, if you title an ebook, "10 Never-Before-Used Marketing Tactics for Real Estate Agents," make sure to only include information that is genuinely unique, valuable, actionable, and unlikely to be found elsewhere.
Webinars give you a chance to offer in-depth advice for your audience and market yourself as an expert. This lead generation tool creates value three different ways.
A free consultation is an excellent way to assess leads.
Through the consultation process, you gather insight into a prospect’s business and pain points. This puts you in a position to offer action-oriented solutions, which builds rapport with the potential customer, too. Even when this lead generation tool doesn't reap immediate conversion, it still offers insightful data that will help you continue the conversation with the prospect.
Consider automating all email campaigns targeting unqualified leads. While you can and should automate even more touchpoints throughout the customer journey, starting with the top of the funnel will save you time and energy as you filter more qualified leads through your pipeline. This enables you to focus more resources on crafting personalized communication for leads further down your sales funnel.
For some businesses, their current newsletter is ineffective at engaging prospects. For others, their newsletter is nonexistent. In any case, whether you have to tweak it, overhaul it, or create your first newsletter, remember that an effective one accomplishes the following:
Earns a consistently high open rate
Reinforces brand loyalty
Delivers unique and timely information to the customer
Encourages them to take a favorable action
For instance, you may offer your audience tips monthly or quarterly that may help them minimize some aspect of loss in their business. As long as the information is something they weren’t already aware of, your leads will continue to open your newsletter and think favorably of your company. Also, remember to include a call to action that prompts them to reach out for help.
In most industries, case studies can facilitate effective B2B lead generation. They showcase the tangible impact and ROI you’ve delivered to other clients with your services. That way, prospects can imagine what the possibilities are when they enlist your help. A case study also acts as an endorsement from your current and past clients.
In B2B lead generation today, prospects are increasingly likely to find you, rather than respond to your targeted ads and campaigns. When they search for the solutions your business offers, the first places they'll turn to are search engines and then your website. Blogging, page layouts, and educational content are all important aspects of your content marketing strategy that drive effective lead generation.
There are several ways to enhance your website to generate more leads, such as opt-in pages and exit-intent pop-ups as the visitor moves to leave the site. Unlike opt-in lead hooks, you can provide free and ungated content that serves as a valuable reference point for your audience. While there may not be an immediate incentive for them to subscribe to your mailing list, such as with an ebook offer, they may still want updates on any new articles you release based on the value they’ve received already from your blog posts.
Social media isn't high up on the list of B2B lead generation tools in most studies because it hasn't traditionally performed well. However, with the changes in demographics for individuals at companies with high purchasing power, it may be time to redevelop a solid strategy for your social media content.
Another reason that social media marketing may not have performed well for companies in the past is because it was poorly done. Memes, witty content, and eye-catching visuals might be strong facilitators of likes and comments among general audiences; yet, they might not resonate well with your B2B customer who expects a more sophisticated brand voice.
These are only eight B2B lead generation ideas, but you can come up with hundreds of new strategies when you apply a bit of creativity and innovation. The key to making any of your lead generation campaigns pay off is in your ability to assess progress and change directions as needed. By taking an agile and data-driven approach to your B2B lead generation initiatives, you will inbound higher quality prospects that are more likely to convert through each stage of the sales funnel.