Generating leads has never been easy for a B2B marketer and the year 2020 is trying one’s patience. According to HubSpot, 61% of marketers say generating traffic and leads is their top challenge. Since there is a huge expansion of various digital marketing methods, a marketing team uses all possible processes for approaching a prospective customer and then generate leads further.
As a matter of fact, lead generation does not and will never have a set formula. This is one of the main reasons why it is considered a dead process in most IT companies. It’s a highly subjective part of the customer journey which differs irrespective of your company being a B2B or B2C. But with business plans being modified to fit the current market situation it is fair to realize the endless possibilities that a great lead generation process can bring to a company.
Potential of B2B Lead Generation in 2021
A report suggests that the quality and conversion of audience for B2B business is of utmost importance for years to come. This advocates that using any random marketing technique to generate a B2B lead won’t be enough. The quality of leads and the possibility of conversion matters more than anything else.
Hence, to ensure your business acquires the most qualified leads, we have come up with a list of lead generation trends that are forecasted to lead the way in 2021.
- Content is going to be the currency of the web
- Social media will be equivalent to advertisement and sales
- There will be an upsurge in influencer marketing
- Chatbots will act as a crucial lead gen tool
- Data insights and analytics would showcase the DNA of a lead
Now that you know what lead generation could achieve for your business, we bring to you a detailed guide to help your business stay ahead of the curve.
We always need to be searching for that next idea, that next channel, and that next message that will help us stay ahead of the market and build trust with our audiences.
Tyler Lessard, VP Marketing – Vidyard
What Problems Can Lead Generation Solve?
Sales and marketing teams often get caught in the most common yet complicated situations when undertaking B2B lead generation activities. Some of these exhausting instances include, constantly coming up with new ways of keeping a potential customer engaged. Another one being, finding the most ideal way of dealing with poor sales performance. Amongst this rut, teams miss out on finalizing a lead generation process that is a proper fit for their B2B company needs as well as guarantees them qualified leads. To make this simpler, we have laid out a list that mentions how lead generation helps.
- A lead generation process increases brand awareness. It lets you select the target audience of your choice, put out content that they prefer and thus attract them towards your product/service.
- Lead generation is a cost saver. When compared to other digital methods, lead gen definitely saves a lot of extra costs when it comes to running constant ad campaigns, hiring people to promote your brand.
- The sales and profit ratios are extremely high in B2B lead generation. Since the techniques involved in this process attracts customers who pay, it makes it obvious that the profits go up when the sales increase.
What Does the Lead Generation Process Involve?
B2B Lead generation is a tough job, we agree!
But, are there ways to go about with this technique and make it one of your most profitable B2B marketing processes? Definitely yes!
Now you may ask, how! The answer to this is simple, using demand generation as the first step to attract leads is a tried and tested formula that has worked for some of the massive brands in the market followed by analysis, lead nurturing, and more.
We have broken down the process into simple steps that a typical B2B lead generation activity should include to suit your sales funnel.
- Understand your audience – Realizing who is your target audience is the first step in lead generation. It helps you focus your efforts on the people who are your potential buyers.
- Create various types of content – The essence lies in variety. Hence, create as many different types of content possible. Explore blog posts, videos, banner images while using social media as the main medium for promotions.
- Promote your content through various channels – The marketing reps should use various channels like email, web, social, voice, display, search, and mobile to advertise and promote their content. Multichannel promotion increases reach and generates more leads.
- Propel your prospects through gated content – There’s nothing more important in lead generation than data. Hence, start creating gated content for acquiring quality leads. Present your content in a manner that your audience receives the required information and so do you.
- Nurture your leads – Lead gen has much more to do than just generate leads. It’s about surprising your leads with discounts, offers, and many other activities. This nurturing is crucial and required.
- Rank your leads – Your strategy should also involve ranking your leads. This means you need to segregate your leads and give them a lead score based on their stage in the buying process, an MQL, or SQL.
- Use the available material to close the sale – This final step in B2B lead generation involves you to close a deal with whatever little information you have got. Your demand generation is a reflection of this stage.
What Are the Important Components of a Lead Generation Strategy?
More than 79% of marketing leads don’t convert into sales with the lack of lead nurturing as the leading cause. This proves that having the best B2B lead generation strategy is just not enough to move ahead in the sales funnel. Acknowledging every component of it is equally important to reach your target audience and convert them into qualified leads with various marketing efforts. Listed below are some of the most important components that should be a part of your B2B lead gen strategy.
Your B2B lead generation marketing activities will only be lucrative if you manage to gather quality leads. Having just a database of leads who would not invest in your product / service is not your ideal customer database. This component is essential for your success since you will be able to grow only if you have high paying, quality customers. The two main types of leads that are most prominent in a lead cycle are:
- Marketing qualified lead (MQL) - This is a lead that is more likely to convert to a customer as compared to other leads. The judgment if this lead would invest in your product /service is done by the interaction it has with your content, how many times does it visit your webpage, and other such instances.
- Sales qualified lead (SQL) - An SQL is a prospective customer that has been considered fit according to the ideal customer profile by your organization. It is a lead that has gone beyond the engagement stage, has also interacted with your company's representative showing interest in your product /service.
Ever since digital marketing has developed, paid advertising has become a fundamental part of it. Lead generation efforts done through this medium helps you reach your potential leads at the right time. Some of the requisites of this marketing activity include:
- using the right target keywords
- putting out ads in different formats
- including a call-to-action (CTA) in all your ads
The content marketing component is one of the most important parts of your B2B lead generation activity. As a part of this inbound marketing strategy, you need to put out content that is informative for your potential leads. This content should be diversified as it should include, blog posts, landing pages, videos, social media posts, and emails.
In the entire history of media, with the exception of feature movies, no media brand becomes successful with one magazine issue, one radio show, one article, or one of anything.
David Spark, Managing Editor – Spark Media Solutions
Pop-up Forms and Landing Pages
One of the best ways to direct a qualified lead towards you is through a lead capture form and pop-up forms. Generating leads through this component becomes easier as you are able to collect the required information and convey your message to the audience in a short and simpler manner.
Analytics and Reporting
Analyzing and reporting the health of your potential lead is a major part of the sales funnel. This stage casts the progress of all your outbound lead generation activities and guides you in a direction of lead qualification.
This is the last yet an important component for gaining quality B2B leads. This stage involves keeping your audience engaged through various activities. While discounts and offers are a good way to nurture your qualified leads, social media engagement activities are also a growing trend that could come in handy.
Which Lead Generation Strategies Can Help Gain Maximum B2B Leads?
As a marketer you would want to broaden your horizon of lead generation. You would also want to reach your target audience in the most convenient manner. While social media lead generation is one of the trending methods, we have come up with five most scalable strategies that will help you advance.
Email marketing is one of the most expanding outbound marketing activities. This lead gen strategy helps you reach your target audience just like the traditional cold calling does. But in reality, it is still the most valuable and reliable form of getting quality leads. This outbound strategy will involve sending out interesting emails regularly to your potential leads.
From promotional to triggered emails, from welcome messages to cart abandonment, any kind of email message you can think needs to have a strategy, a "why" behind it.
Ryan Phelan, Marketing Chief/Fractional CMO & Co-Founder – Origin
There are no two ways to accept that content marketing is booming with a greater reason. Content has actually become the king as your audience lives on informative content and the internet is the go-to medium for seeking legitimate news. As a result, when you make this inbound lead generation technique as a part of your lead gen strategy, you are able to present information in different forms that keep your audience engaged.
Interview an Expert
You probably use all your marketing automation tools wisely, but do you know what’s a better way of giving insights to your audience? Interview an industry expert. The kind of content that you will be able to create through this activity will not only be thought leadership material, but also help you gain the trust of your audience. A thought leader’s perspective will give a push to your lead generation campaign like nothing else.
Indulge in Cross-promotion
Cross-promotion isn’t new, but it is definitely less explored than other strategies. With this technique, your aim should be to gain customers from a brand that is similar to yours, but the kind of margins it will help you gain is highly substantial.
Not limiting your strategy to just one channel of marketing is one of the greatest rules of lead generation. We say this because the internet has become a playground for all. There are numerous tools and strategies constantly coming into the market that you will be able to include in your B2B lead generation strategy.
Which Are the Top Lead Generation Tools?
You have your strategy in place so now is the time to track those potential customers. We know there are too many lead generation tools in the market hence we present to you our favorites. Pick what suits you best from the following lead generation software.
Leadfeeder is a lead generation tool that every B2B marketer should include in their marketing automation strategy. The quality of leads generated through this software is a class apart due to its integration with tools likes Mailchimp, HubSpot, and ZOHO to name a few.
This multichannel B2B sales and marketing automation platform closes deals like an expert. Prospect.io primarily boosts your outbound sales team productivity with its variety of features. It does everything, right from building the lists of your target audience to analyzing and improving your strategies in order to polish your marketing schemes.
There’s nothing that this lead generation tool cannot do. It starts with finding official email IDs, business phone numbers to locations, and addresses, AeroLeads does it all. The best part about this tool is that it works on a variety of websites so you are not limited when it comes to options. If you want to increase your conversion rate, AeroLeads is the place!
What Are the Pros and Cons of Lead Generation?
Every process has two sides to it. Hence it is safe to know what the proceeding has to offer, and how you can use it for your benefit. Let’s get into the pros and cons of lead generation.
- Hastens information procurement – The landing page that you create for promoting your product/service organically speeds up the process of collecting potential customers.
- Speeds up online sales – The traditional sales process is now bygone. You can now sell your services/products to global customers using modern sales methodologies.
- Recognizes target audience – The lead generation strategies that you use clearly defines the buyer persona and vice versa thus making it easy for you to target your offerings to the right audience.
- Low ROI – This method of marketing is a matter of risk when it comes to finances. One calculation gone wrong can affect your investments to a large extent.
- Possibility of misjudging leads – Your conversion rate won’t ever go up if you misjudge customers. You need to have the right tools and experiences to judge who is a potential sale, and whom you can let go.
Lead Generation Checklist
The entire process of generating leads can be daunting especially if you are new to the industry. Thus, we bring you the flow of the lead generation procedure in the form of a checklist.
Start with classifying your leads. No matter how time-consuming this process is, it's extremely essential to put your leads into categories. When categorizing your qualified lead there are certain essentials to consider:
- is the lead from your ideal customer list?
- is the customer sale ready?
- does it fall in sales and marketing?
These pointers should form the outline while putting your leads into different lists.
Aim and Test
Once you have categorized your leads, it’s now time to target them with an excellent content marketing strategy. This stage will involve trying different types of content be it written, visual, podcasts, email marketing, and other such formats. This will help you gauge which type of content your audience is interested in, and thus you can continue to produce what they want.
Through content, you find new leads. Now is the time to reach out to them for a potential sale that suits their requirements. Researching about the pain points of your prospects is a rule of thumb. If your services could solve their most pressing problems, you have a strong basis for a partnership.
You are bound to reach your ideal customer profile only if you use the multichannel marketing approach. This not only widens your possibility of reaching your leads, but your leads are also able to notice you through different campaigns.
The last yet a crucial part of this checklist is nurturing. Nurturing activities decide if your leads would eventually convert into sales, and this makes a huge difference to your overall conversion rate. Social media engagement and follow-up emails should be a part of your lead generation program.
Great customer service: prompt support, regular email check-ins to see how your customer is doing, offer deals and promotions - all of these things keep a customer coming back for more.
Olivia Taylor, Director of CRO – Directive Consulting
Lead generation will always be the fundamental activity of B2B companies for increasing their conversion rates. While we have mentioned all the possible implications in this blog to help you kick-start your lead gen process, there are some more insights explaining our outbound lead generation services that have come in handy for companies from a variety of verticals including leading webinar platforms, SaaS companies, to name a few. The techniques suggested by us in this blog will definitely show positive results for you too. For more details, contact a Deck 7 representative today!