June 23, 2020
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B2B Lead Generation: The Ultimate Guide

When it comes to lead generation for any B2B business, what works for one might not work for another. For instance, the strategies used to generate leads for a SaaS company might not be effective for a digital marketing agency. One thing that is common for all though, is that when marketing for B2B, you should turn to where your ideal customers are.

If you’re new to B2B lead generation and have questions, here is all that you need to know.

What is B2B lead generation?

Lead generation is basically the process of first identifying, filtering, and then screening out prospective users for your product’s service or buyers. The process also involves campaigns and activities that capture the interest of customers.

Generally, B2B lead generation is one of the first stages in a sales process or a marketing funnel. You first collect the customers’ information such as name, occupation, company name, and email to help you make a sale. The next step is nurturing these people using marketing automation and passing those leads to sales once they qualify. The basic purpose of this whole process is to create a continuous flow of possible leads you can convert to customers.

B2B lead generation with organic content

Value-added content is essential for the end-user when it comes to B2B lead generation. Content that provides value creates trust in them and moves them along the sales funnel, allowing you to naturally engage your prospects instead of turning to expensive and exhausting sales pitches.  

Here are some tips on how to use organic content to generate more leads:

1. Personalize content

A general landing page hardly adds to conversions as it is too broad. To increase prospects driven by your website, you need to offer personalized content. In other words, you must personalize lead magnets, emails, and landscapes for end-users, keeping in mind their interests.

Think about it this way: you can’t show the marketing manager and the CFO of a company the same content. Each individual has its own interests and expectations, and when you speak to them directly, there’s a higher chance of lead generation.

2. Make yourself prominent on Quora

Quora is a Q&A website with over 100 million visitors a month, and it’s a great platform that you can use to establish yourself as an expert in your niche. However, you need to be careful about how you use it.

Just dropping in your contact and business won’t generate any leads; in fact, it will annoy people and drive them away. To generate leads, however, use Quora as a communication tool to engage those looking for answers or help in certain subjects. Once people know what you’re talking about, people will reach out to you.

3. Guest blogs

First, make a list of non-competing sites featuring blogs; they should be relevant to your industry, though. Next, research the audience of the sites, come up with relevant blog topics, and then pitch them to the site’s editor or owner. Tools such as Hunter.io can help you find the email of the website owner. Send them an email and ask them if they require guest bloggers.

To ensure that the owner accepts your pitch, pitch ideas relevant to the site’s audience. Also, never undermine the audience. If they are not likely to use your services or products, then guest blogging is of no use.

If the site’s owner loves your pitch and wants you to blog, then the next step is to write a short 1000-word article that offers exceptional value to the reader. It’s important to note here that you should stay far away from self-serving blog posts. Instead, show readers that you’re an expert on the subject. Once they start seeing you as one, they’ll get in touch with you.

4. Use a microsite

While the term might seem new to you, a microsite is a stand-alone version of your own website, but it tackles a specific niche or topic. For instance, if you are a software house, you can create a small site about an industry, such as banking, that solves its problems using your software.

Generally, microsites rank quite well for long-tail keywords and let your target a particular niche, ultimately contributing to lead building. 

5. Write a book

Believe it or not, an ebook can serve as a powerful sale tool. It can not only be used as a guide, but it can also show readers that you’re one of the best in the field.

Plus, you can accelerate lead generation with an ebook by linking back to landing pages on your site where forms are used to collect user information. You can send the ebook via email, or you can use it to generate leads in exchange for the contact information of people who downloaded it.

6. Make an infographic

Infographics are essentially long-form content only in a visually stunning layout making the information easy to read and comprehend. While they used to be designed by graphic designers previously, you can now make them on your own with tools such as Snappa. You won’t have to pay a large sum for graphic design when you can do it yourself just within an hour.

Role of SEO in B2B lead generation

While most B2B marketers know that SEO is important, they fail to completely utilize it because of budget and time constraints and often due to lack of knowledge.

However, for B2B lead generation, SEO should not be skipped out on because:

  • B2B businesses with an active blog generate 67% more lead monthly as compared to those who don’t
  • 77% of B2B buyers do not prefer speaking with a salesperson until they research the business first
  • For 61% of B2B decision-makers, decision-making starts off with a web search.

SEO can have a great impact on lead generation, and it can even be the most cost-effective strategy for lead acquisition.

How SEO can help with B2B lead generation:

1. There are fewer search results for many B2B terms

When it comes to consumer marketing, SEO competition is quite high. However, B2B marketers often hesitate when using SEO, which is why brands that make use of it have an advantage. Another factor is most big B2B companies don’t rigorously utilize SEO, but if they pair it up with their content, they can enjoy more brand visibility on the search engines.

2. It increases customers’ brand trust

If done right, SEO can drastically increase the value of your content efforts and ultimately build the users’ confidence and trust in your business. In particular, when it comes to B2B, buyers want to be assured that their chosen vendors are knowledgeable, trustworthy, and reliable.

Whether you’re creating new content or have some already on your site, SEO can increase its value by helping businesses focus on keywords or topics that people are actually searching for. Without combining the two, SEO and content, you will have a harder time being found online.

3. You can target long-tail search terms on mobile

With the spike in mobile traffic and voice search, there is now more than ever an opportunity to target spoken search queries which can contribute greatly to conversion. In fact, buyers have even started to use mobile more than they use computers or laptops at their workplace placing the importance of considering the users search behavior on mobile.

How keyword intent helps with B2B lead generation

Recently, Google’s algorithms have advanced so much that keywords won’t produce any fruitful results unless they take into account the user’s intent.

By finding and optimizing such long-tail keywords (keywords that are very specific and more than three words long) that keep in mind user intent, you can rank for keywords your competitors aren’t, even in organic search. While long-tail keywords have low search volume, they convert well only due to the intent.  

Several tools can help you find the right keywords. For instance, you can use Google Analytics to find hidden keywords that drive traffic to your site. Similarly, you can use tools such as Ahrefs to find keywords your competitors are ranking for.

How to measure B2B lead generation

Ultimately, the goal of any marketing team is to generate leads.

After prospects are identified, the next step is interacting with them in different ways. For example, the sales team could follow up with potential prospects with periodic calls, and the marketing team could conduct an email drip campaign. After being touched or contacted over an extended time period, prospects turn into leads either via phone, email, or forms.  

The issue with accurately measuring lead generation is to total up the lead counts across the different acquisition channels or sources. So while you can express lead conversion in a simple equation involving leads and prospects, various factors can be used to optimize and segment the lead conversion rate. These factors include the quality and quantity of touches and the channels used.

Therefore, there are different ways to measure lead generation, and there is no one right method. However, one way to do so is to establish the average quality and number of touches that convert a prospective customer into a lead. Then, figure out a hypothesis about the two factors and then design an A/B test that uses both online and offline means to test the hypothesis.

Is B2B lead generation important?

The greatest benefit of B2B lead generation is that it is great for sales leads. More than 55% of B2B marketers allocate over half of their marketing budget just on lead generation. This is because lead generation leads to an increase in your sales.

Businesses with lead generation programs have a higher chance of increasing sales by converting leads into consumers. In turn, this can also lead to increased profits. So overall, lead generation is essential for succeeding in this competitive industry.

What matters more – quality or quantity of leads?

Simply put, a high-quality lead is a prospect that surfs the internet and interacts with businesses with the intention of buying the service or product provided by that business.

The quality of leads is determined with lead scoring, and leads are ranked upon their perceived value. This score also determines the engagement strategies ideal for each lead.

Quantity vs. Quality

Most companies focus on getting more leads. In other words, they get paid leads that won’t contribute to their sales at any point in time. But many companies do so to attract enough leads and then vet them to find the high-quality ones. In particular, this strategy is adopted by new businesses looking to create brand awareness and those with short marketing budgets or cheaper products to sell.

While going for quantity doesn’t seem to be the best strategy for a business, there is one major advantage. It allows companies to collect customer data that can be used to learn about their motivations, behavior, and interests. This way, brands can learn how to target them in the right manner.

On the other hand, quality leads are those that conform to your customer profile and have, at one point, already expressed a buying signal. By prioritizing quality, there’s a greater chance of a conversion. In addition, the customers’ lifetime value increases as a result of nurtured relationships, which also increases loyalty. Quality leads, who convert to paying customers, also serve as brand ambassadors, and can effectively market your brand. Lastly, since the lead eventually turns into a consumer, there is a better return on investment.

Verdict

Both quantity and quality contribute to successful B2B lead generation. The trick is to get the sales and marketing teams to work together and find the best balance between the two.

As mentioned earlier, finding and nurturing high-quality leads improves the chances of conversion and converts loyal customers into brand advocates. In addition, they ensure a steady revenue stream for a considerable amount of time. Meanwhile, quantity helps to determine your customer profile and come up with strategies to target them. So, both tactics need to be taken hand in hand.

Conclusion

Lead generation is crucial for the success of B2B businesses. The key is to leverage organic content with SEO, use the right keywords, and find a balance between the quality and quantity of leads. All these efforts will only lead to success as you go down your sales funnel.