New year, new challenges!
That's not true for B2B lead generation companies. Lead generation continues to be marketers' primary task, but also a constant challenge. According to HubSpot, generating traffic and leads was a major challenge for 63% of marketers in 2019. Now, if you're one of the marketers, you don't want to enter the new year with the same problems. And we are here to help.
Over the last decade, B2B lead generation strategies have witnessed a paradigm shift from being company-centric to consumer-centric, customer information to customer intelligence, and finding a customer to being found. Marketers too, need to devise new B2B lead generation strategies to stay relevant. Given the changing landscape of B2B lead generation, it pays to stay agile.
It's 2020 and the buying process has changed. Consumers are no longer stuck with limited buying options at their neighborhood retail stores. They spend a lot of time investigating their next buy on the internet with multiple options available. Tweet This! The goal is to make them stick with your product. That goes as much for B2B as for B2C lead generation companies.
What Is B2B Lead Generation?
B2B lead generation is the process of acquiring new leads or prospects for your business. It is one of the first steps in a marketing funnel or a sales process. We start by gathering a potential customer’s information, for example, their – name, email, company, and job title, which would be useful in making a sale.
These prospects are then nurtured by marketing automation until they are qualified to be handed over to the sales team. The objective of B2B lead generation is to create a consistent pipeline of high-quality leads that can be turned into customers to generate revenue.
Popular wisdom dictates that a combination of inbound and outbound strategies do best in establishing your pipeline. While outbound lead generation strategies yield more immediate results in connecting with leads, inbound lead generation strategies can help establish your credibility and draw more qualified leads to your business.
Thankfully, this is an era of big data. With new-age technologies, insightful consumer data can be made readily available, and the only task that now remains in our hands is to cleverly optimize the lead generation process. Let's dig into it right away:
1. Lead Generation Without Email Forms
It's the modern marketers’ way. When it comes to scaling your lead generation, it should not matter where you find them. There are a dozen ways to generate quality leads - social media, paid search, SEO, and downloadable content to name a few. What's common between all those? Almost all of them redirect leads to fill up a subscription form.
Forms aren't the best customer experience. The best customer experience would be simple and interactive. Think of all the success that Mailchimp and Slack have achieved, and it isn't because they were good at generating leads but because they offered a free, simple, and interactive experience even before the customer was thinking about making a purchase. Therefore, offering a free tool or trial is an ideal way to generate quality leads without having to put out email forms.
2. Content Syndication
It is futile to think that customers’ journeys will always begin on your website.
Content syndication is when your web content is published by a third-party website. It involves all types of digital content like articles, whitepapers, e-books, guides, videos, and infographics. It is a win-win: the third-party receives free relevant content, while you get a broader audience reach. Content syndication is the barter system in B2B lead generation, where most of the content syndicators drop leads on your website.
In case you’re well aware of your target audience and want to see faster results, there’s no better way to do it other than Pay-Per-Click advertising. Depending on your goals you can post ads in a variety of ways; the most common platform for advertising online being Google AdWords. You can choose from the three different ways to go about PPC advertising:
These are the adverts that appear on top of a search results page when you google a product. The great thing about search network is that the intent is already present. As opposed to social media advertising, if someone searches for “managed WordPress hosting” the prospect is either close to buying or doing their research.
These are the ads that appear on different websites and agree to allow Google to serve them to visitors. Created with Google automated visual ad generator, it makes it easier to create multiple ads in different sizes. These ads typically have lower CPC but are lower in terms of conversions.
Sometimes also known as remarketing, this is one aspect of display network. However instead of showing up on the search results page, these type of ads are served to those audiences who’ve already visited your website.
The benefit of having retargeted ads lie in their efficiency to give you better conversions as the prospect who has been to your website earlier is more likely to purchase. You can create the retargeted ads via Google AdWords or use third-party platforms like AdRoll or Perfect Audience. Typically wait till 2-3 months when you first start to retarget or remarket. This will give you enough time to gather a decent list of people who have visited your site.
Caveat: Be sure to remember that most people are using Adblock or other programs to block ads nowadays. So, there may be a possibility that people don’t get to see your marketing banners or targeted/clickable ads, or it could be simply because of the GDPR laws in that place and people chose to opt out of your list.
4. Interviewing Specialists and Partners
Companies, especially small businesses, use content as one of their main lead generation strategies. And it is a proven way to generate leads, as each time a blog goes on the internet, there is a possibility that a prospect might be reading it.
But it makes a great deal of difference to have a fresh perspective from industry experts. Instead of hogging the audience with just another blog, insights from C-level industry experts might work in bringing greater website traffic.
5. Videos for Engagement and Embedding Forms in Videos
YouTube is the second most popular search engine and you can use that to your advantage. Blogs and articles are good, but videos have emerged as the most engaging content formats. Incorporating videos to your content marketing program is one of the best organic lead generating strategies there is.
Instead of gating your entire content library, a few video guides or info videos can be created out of them to attract organic traffic. An optional lead generation form can be embedded into these videos.
Zaius, for example, created a few videos for its Marketing Unboxed series where it has embedded a non-obligatory lead generation form, which appears if the cursor is moved over the video. Altogether, this is a subtle approach to make a sales pitch and still drive some serious results.
6. Using Direct Mails
Using direct mails may not make sense to many B2B marketers but it is recommended especially for small businesses who are working on a small and well-defined target audience. A well-defined and personalized offer through direct mails will work wonders for small business B2B marketers.
Direct mails can also be a viable option for marketers who have exhausted their email list or for those who are working with email lists of their vendors or partners. Though emails have a bigger advantage of economies of scale over direct mail, such businesses should plan to use hard-hitting, personalized direct mails as their lead generation strategy after carefully scrutinizing the variables costs and success of direct mail.
7. Tracking Social Mentions
And we're not talking just about replying to tags, mentions, and comments on your social channels, but also tracking your competitors. Tracking social mentions of your competitors is a gold mine for valuable insights and also for a prospective lead. One can find how different competitors are cooking their marketing strategy and also gain from their disgruntled customers.
For instance, a social media user enquires about "Who's better: Salesforce or NetSuite?" Such users instantly become a potential lead for marketers. There are dozens of social media monitoring tools that can be used to scale your lead generation process.
We hope you found these techniques for B2B lead generation insightful. Remember that not all strategies work the same way, and it is best to utilize some form of content to engage your prospects. Also, be sure to respect the privacy of others in your lead generation efforts, especially in a tumultuous time like this. Understand your prospects, acknowledge the current situation, and always be appropriate with your messaging to constantly build trust and credibility.
Now, it is time for you to apply these clever techniques to successfully skyrocket your lead generation in 2020.