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B2B Lead Generation: The Whats, Whys & Hows

A B2B marketing lead generation strategy is all you need to drive potential leads to your brand. Learn more in this space & attract the right kind of audience.

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Sadly, 62% of B2B companies struggle with lead generation. Are you one of them?

This post is for you if you’re nodding your head right now. 

B2B lead generation may be challenging but possible. So, why not learn more about it and create a solid strategy?

This post has B2B lead generation strategies, best practices, and many examples for deeper understanding. Let’s dive right in and find out more!

What is B2B Lead Generation?

A B2B lead generation strategy involves identifying potential customers and attracting them to make a purchase. 

B2B companies use several tactics and strategies to generate quality leads. Look at these numbers to know what B2B lead gen tactics work well for marketers. 

  • 88% of B2B marketers use content marketing as a lead generation tactic.
  • 61% of video marketers consider lead generation to be their top priority.
  • 46% of marketers with well-planned lead strategies have sales teams tracked over 75% of new leads. 

Here’s a B2B lead generation strategy example for better understanding.

Cornerstone OnDemand, a SaaS-based talent management solutions company, partnered with Llama Lead Gen to assess their digital marketing needs and drive significant outcomes. 

Llama Lead Gen ran digital marketing activities like display ads, marketing campaigns, automation, etc., across Google, Drift, Demandbase, and LinkedIn. These lead generation efforts resulted in 2837 total leads (LinkedIn campaigns alone produced 937 qualified leads). The company also achieved 189 closed-won leads. 

Read the full winning story here

Types of B2B Leads

One lead can fit into multiple categories. Now that you know B2B lead generation, let’s look at all types of B2B leads so that you can categorize your leads well. 

Information Qualified Leads (IQL)

These leads have little to no knowledge about your business. Hence, they are unlikely to take any action. IQLs generally appear at the top of the funnel. 

Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL)

MQLs are leads identified by the marketing team as interested in buying your product/ service based on certain key target criteria. These leads aren’t ready to buy but show interest in a business. They may take some action to indicate interest, like downloading content or signing up for emails.

Sales Qualified Leads (SQL)

These leads are the ones that progress from MQL and are ready to make a decision. SQLs are most likely to have conversations with salespeople, and there is a high potential for SQLs to convert into customers successfully.

Inbound Leads vs. Outbound Leads 

Inbound leads are the ones who initiate contact with your brand. For instance, someone reaches you via email or LinkedIn. On the other hand, outbound leads are the ones you reach out to. These are generally cold leads who haven’t opted for your marketing communications. 

Warm Leads vs. Cold Leads

Warm and cold leads are generic terms for any business type (B2B or B2C). Warm leads are people already interested in your product or service. They may also take action to engage with your brand, like visiting your website or signing up for your newsletter. On the other hand, cold leads are the ones unaware of your brand whom you contact proactively.

Why is B2B Lead Generation Important?

85% of B2B companies name lead generation the most important marketing goal. But why? 

B2B lead generation is the core of sales development. Without leads, you cannot fathom closing deals; without a solid B2B lead generation strategy, you cannot generate leads. Hence, the result is an empty pipeline and no sales. 

In addition to its core role, B2B lead gen provides key information to marketing and sales teams. So, if you have a B2b lead generation strategy in place, it can help you,

  • Identify ideal customer profiles
  • Build brand awareness
  • Plan and create content
  • Improve sales pipeline
  • Provide important lead data like contact info
  • Scale customer acquisition program
  • Improve conversion rates and bottom-line ROI
  • Shorten sales cycle
  • Build trustworthy relationships with the target audience.

Benefits of B2B Lead Generation

According to Teemu Raitaluoto, CEO & Founder at Markettailor, “by focusing on lead generation, businesses can build strong relationships with potential clients, establish themselves as experts in their field, and ultimately increase their chances of closing a sale.”

But there’s more to business-to-business lead generation. Here are a few benefits. 

Expand your market. B2B lead gen helps you grow your market. You may get engagement from job roles you do not consider in your campaigns; lead generation can bring them to your notice. Hence, with B2B lead generation strategies, you can tap the unexplored target markets.  

Talk to quality leads. B2B lead generation strategies help you attract quality leads by targeting specific consumers. Though you may have all the website traffic you want when it comes to sales, lead-generation strategies help you focus on potential customers. 

Grow your social media following. Crafting quality content and connecting with leads on social channels is a significant part of B2b lead generation. Once you start sharing valuable content and build your brand awareness, more prospects engage with your content. Also, more professionals connect with you, forming a strong community of followers. 

Generate business opportunities. B2B lead generation helps you find prospects and opens up new business opportunities. For example, a non-competing B2B brand may propose collaborating with you for a webinar. This can benefit both brands and help you reach a wider audience.

Examples of B2B Lead Generation

Looking for some B2B lead generation inspiration? Check out these B2B lead gen ideas (with examples) for inspiration.  

Free Trials or Freemium

Nobody can resist free goods. Free stuff motivates customers, encourages them to take action, increases loyalty, and adds a positive sentiment to your brand image.  

“The easiest way to get 1 million people paying is to get 1 billion people using". This quote by Evernote’s CEO Phil Libin highlights what freemium products/services do. 

Free trials stat

Here are three companies that use freemiums or free trials for their B2B lead generation. 

Evernote – Evernote has a freemium plan where users can try to organize their notes in one place and use the tool for everyday business operations. Later, users can upgrade the freemium plan to a paid one to use the team collaboration feature and integrations. 

Trello – Trello’s free plan does not limit the number of tasks you can track using the project management platform. Instead, it limits the number of other platforms you can integrate with Trello. Hence, users can understand the tool well before integrating it with other platforms to make the most out of Trello. 

Zapier – Zapier, in its free plan, offers a limited number of free zaps. The tool allows businesses to automate a few parts of the business processes, demonstrating the product value and benefits. If users need whole-scale automation, they must upgrade to the paid plan. 

Customer Success Stories

Talking about what you do and how beneficial your product is, works but not more than real-world proofs. 

A more effective B2B lead generation approach is to show your target audience how your existing customers have benefitted from your solution. 

Importance of case study

Case studies are a growing priority for businesses. For SaaS companies, there was an average of 61% increase in the number of new case studies in 2022 compared to 2021. Moreover, 77% of SaaS companies have a case study section on their website. 

Customer success stories or case studies also help to build trust and generate high-quality B2B leads. For example, Drip has a customer success stories section where the brand highlights how it helped clients grow their businesses.

Free Webinars

Organizing webinars is another great B2B lead gen idea. Here are a few statistics that highlight the popularity and effectiveness of webinars.

Outfunnel offers free webinars. The SaaS brand used webinars to introduce users to the product and help them make the most of its features. The goal of the webinar was to generate leads through,

  • Providing insightful lessons about the customer problem they address.
  • Educating the audience on replicating Outfunnel’s success
  • Introduce the solution and guide the target audience. 
Free webinars example Outfunnel

How Do You Use LinkedIn for B2B Lead Generation?

According to B2B News Network, 80% of the B2B marketers rely on LinkedIn for B2B sales lead generation.

Stefan Smulders, Founder of ExpandiA cloud-based LinkedIn automation tool, in his article, says that LinkedIn is for B2B marketing. He considers LinkedIn as the social media platform that connects the world’s professionals. Hence, he says, “if you want to generate valuable B2B leads for your business, you need to put in the work.” Further, he has also shared “some tried and tested ways to use LinkedIn for B2B lead generation”.

Here's how you can use LinkedIn for B2B sales lead generation. 

B2B lead generation on LinkedIn can happen via a company profile and a personal sales rep or SDR profile. I will consider both to tell you about the process in detail. 

1. Create a Profile

First things first. Set up a solid LinkedIn profile to make a lasting impression on your target audience. 

  • Company profile – Set up a powerful corporate profile, almost like a landing page that talks about business. State what you do about your product or service in the profile summary. Fill in all the fields and use images that align with your brand. 
  • SDR profile – State your job role at the company and fill in all relevant fields like work experience, education, and communities that interest you. This information primarily works to connect with the audiences.  

2. Network with Quality Potential Clients

The next step is getting quality connections and forming a LinkedIn network. Build a buyer persona or ideal customer profile to target your connections accurately.

  • Company profile – Think of your corporate LinkedIn profile as a website for B2B sales lead generation. Capture your audience’s interest by posting relevant and insightful content. 
  • SDR profile – Connect with leads as you do via emails. State your name, the recipient's name, and the reason for connecting. 

3. Bring your Value to the Limelight

Showcase what you bring to the table. 

Regardless of your B2B lead generation strategy, focus on value proposition when talking to prospects. 

  • Company profile – Post relatable, action-oriented content on your corporate profile feed. Offer the audiences valuable insights and tips that they can learn from. Also, use interactive elements and a conversational tone for your copies. Allow the prospects to interact. With more interactions, you can get more followers and higher brand awareness.  
Use all the possible formats
  • SDR profile – Sending a personalized professional note with connection requests helps showcase your value. Use your creativity and personalization skills to create the messages. This will increase the chances of your invitation getting accepted. 

4. Leverage LinkedIn Contact Targeting

Though this step is optional, investing in ads can greatly contribute to your B2B sales lead generation. Ads can boost brand awareness and help attract more prospects. Be it for outbound campaigns or general company ads; they can be a plus to your LinkedIn B2B lead generation strategy.

5. Join LinkedIn Groups

Join the LinkedIn communities where most of your target audience is. Use these community or group posts to add to your learnings. Gather lead data, industry updates, market trends, and other insights from these groups. Also, post your opinions and perspectives to grab eyeballs. 

6. Analyze and Optimize

The B2B marketing lead generation process on LinkedIn is data-driven. So, while posting content on one side, keep tracking profile analytics on the other. That’s what will help you improve your posts and optimize your profile for the better. 

Check your company profile analytics to see which posts have worked better than others, and experiment with different content types. Also, A/B test different factors of your SDR profile, change invitation messages, timing, etc., and see what works best. 

Best B2B Lead Generation Tools 

If you’re thinking about how to do B2B lead generation, let me tell you that several tools help you generate quality leads. Here are the top five B2B lead gen tools you can rely on. 

1. Drift

This B2B lead generation tool helps you with inbound leads. Drift uses conversational marketing to prequalify leads with the help of AI chatbots and live chats. These bots and live chat pop-ups do most of your lead qualification work, making the sales process easier.


2. SalesBlink

A comprehensive sales automation tool, you can use SalesBlink to find prospect’s email addresses and contact numbers to reach them. The tool offers advanced people and company search features that make the entire process – from prospecting to outreach to sales – faster. 


3. Unbounce

An on-page B2B lead generation tool, Unbounce helps you to build landing pages effortlessly. The drag-and-drop builder makes the tool user-friendly. This robust B2B lead gen tool has advanced features to help you create highly-converting landing pages. 


4. RevenueHero 

If you aim to increase leads at the bottom of your sales funnel through solid lead-generation strategies, this tool is for you. RevenueHero makes your sales process more efficient and helps you with B2B lead management. It ensures doubling your form fill to scheduling meeting conversion rates through instant lead qualification, routing, and demo bookings. The tool's instant scheduling and distribution feature makes it a significant part of the sales process. 


5. OptinMonster

Want to add pop-ups to enhance your marketing strategy? OptinMonster can help you out. This on-page lead generation tool easily adds pop-ups to any page you want. Also, it offers A/B testing to improve the performance of your pop-ups. 


Need more options? Check out this post on the top-performing B2B lead generation tools. 

B2B Lead Generation Strategies That Work Well

According to Terrill Christians, a business consultant, your lead generation strategy needs to do three things:

“You should contain your strategy on three different levels. The first is viral, the second should build an emotional bond with a company, and then, of course, something that’s quite educational and evergreen.”

Here are a few B2B lead generation strategies that can improve your business growth metrics. 

Content Marketing

Tony Mastri, Digital Marketing Manager at B2B Agency Marion Integrated Marketing, said “nothing beats an ongoing SEO campaign with B2B content marketing support in generating leads.”

85% of B2B marketers use content to generate leads. So, creating high-quality content is something you cannot miss out on when planning your B2B lead generation strategies. 

Optimized blogs for your company go a long way in helping you get leads. Hence, create blogs around the questions your target audience asks about. Conduct customer interviews, ask your salespeople, and use keyword planning tools, and SEO tools to find out the most-used search terms and questions. Then create content that addresses those questions and your target market’s pain points. 

Since 67% of B2B buyers rely on content to research and make informed purchase decisions, ensure producing valuable, insightful, and optimized content that shows up every time your target audience uses search terms you optimized for.

Leverage Social Proof

Another great B2B lead generation strategy is using social proof on your website to win over visitors and establish brand credibility. Social proof clears the doubts in prospects’ minds, and they are encouraged to take the next step down the sales funnel. 

Social proof through reviews, video testimonials, success stories, or case studies strengthen a prospect’s trust in a brand. Hence, the chances of closing more sales successfully increase.

Here’s a social proof example from SalesBlink. 

sales blink review

Email Marketing Automation

You will agree with me that cold calling is difficult and time-consuming. You reach out to people, not knowing if they’ll respond. With cold email marketing automation, your work gets a lot easier. Cold email automation automatically sends a targeted email to the lead when they take a specific action. 

For instance, say, a lead downloads a checklist. They enter the sales funnel, and an automated email hits their inbox with relevant product information and other offers. 

Also, email automation ensures that you do not miss sending welcome emails for each milestone a lead achieves. So, all in all, email automation reduces your workload and saves time. While you automate your emails, you can focus on other things while maintaining contact with your leads. 

Active Guest Blogging

Write guest posts for websites that have high search rankings. It is one of the most impactful b2B lead generation strategies I have come across. Here are a few guest blogging statistics that you must know about. 

  • Guest blogging strategies that helped grow 36,733 email subscribers.
  • It can bring 3x more leads close to conversion.
  • Guest posting influences a 75% increase in direct sales thanks to the hot leads.
  • Guest blogging allows a 174% audience extension and brand awareness growth.

As you can see, guest blogging not only helps with lead generation, it also increases brand awareness and works well from the SEO point of view too. 


Personalization for B2B buyers

Nothing can ever go wrong with personalization, especially when it comes to B2B lead generation. 

One of the best ways to avoid getting lost in the prospect’s inbox is to personalize your cold outreach emails. Though your email may be automated, it shouldn’t look like one. Personalize the message and aim to create a lasting impression to get a positive response from the prospect.

Further, use personalization in your website and marketing materials too. Tailoring your campaigns will connect better with individual prospects and appeal to them. Collect lead data like demographics, location, name, etc., and utilize the details for personalization. 

90% of leading marketers say personalization significantly contributes to business profitability. So, regardless of the extra effort you need to put into personalization, you cannot ignore its significance.

Social Media Marketing

Social channels are only for B2C businesses. They have become popular platforms for B2B sales lead generation as well. As more businesses get into social selling, B2b lead generation has extended to B2B connections across different platforms.

While LinkedIn is the best-known social media platform for B2B marketing lead generation, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook are behind. Each of these social platforms provides unique B2B lead generation opportunities. 

Hence, if you think social media is just for casual scrollers, you haven’t really explored it. Once you learn social selling tactics, you can also attract companies that mean business. 

Lead Generation Best Practices

Now that you have a few solid B2B lead generation strategies up your sleeve, it’s time to give you a few best practices or tips 📝

Consistency matters. Be consistent with the content you publish. Actively post blogs, share them across social media channels, and create engaging posts for your social media platforms. Ensure to be present on your follower’s feed every day.

Make your website mobile-friendly. Most buyers use mobile devices for most of their daily tasks. Be it checking social media or tracking reports, or making purchases. So, optimize your website for mobile devices to generate more leads and close more deals.

Ask for referrals. For B2B lead generation, referrals work great. So, don’t miss the opportunity to ask customers for referrals. Build a trustworthy relationship and send a personal request for referrals. 

Use lead magnets. Lead magnets are a must for B2B sales lead generation. Offer prospects something valuable – an eBook, checklists, template, and more. Effective lead magnets entice prospects to opt into your CTA.

Run A/B tests. To get your outreach and marketing perfect, run A/B tests. These tests tell you what’s working well and what needs improvement. Therefore, keep experimenting and testing to impact your target audience significantly. 

Build an Efficient B2B Lead Management Process with RevenueHero

Is planning and executing a B2B lead generation strategy enough? No.

Generating leads is only half (or even less) the battle. Making them stay is where the real game begins. 

Once you capture leads, you must qualify them, route them to the right sales reps, and schedule meetings. And all of these need to be done within the minimum possible time. Here’s where you need RevenueHero

The instant lead qualification and scheduling platform can increase your demo bookings. The software automatically qualifies form submissions and routes the lead to the right sales rep, making the process seamless, fast, and efficient.

Sounds interesting? Schedule a demo now!

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