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Most buyers utilize digital channels when they start researching upcoming purchases. This presents unique challenges for B2B marketers tasked with sifting through millions of views and conversions to find highly qualified leads. Choosing the wrong marketing strategies results in wasted time and money. Our guide on the best lead generation strategies will show you how to efficiently find new B2B customers.
What is a B2B lead?
The goal of any B2B lead generation strategy is to secure marketing qualified leads (MQLs). These are contacts who are just starting through your buyer journey and may not be quite ready to talk to a sales rep.
MQLs enter the top of the marketing funnel (or sales funnel, depending on your organization’s structure) by filling out a contact form on landing pages, webinar signups, ebook downloads, and demo requests. By implementing the right lead generation strategies, marketers can target their ideal customer based on industry, location, job role, seniority, and a number of other qualifiers. These leads then pass to the sales team who helps complete their journey through the funnel.
Determine what a qualified B2B lead looks like to define your strategy
Before creating any new marketing collateral, identify your ICP (ideal customer profile). Make sure to detail individual qualifiers, such as minimum budget, minimum company size, geography, etc. These specifics should play a large role in determining who is the right fit for your business and the best strategies to generate workable leads.
Does your content provide answers to their specific pain points? Do your target customers prefer blog articles, webinars, videos, or case studies? Should your content lean towards a technical or a conversational language?
Set up a system to track B2B lead metrics
Before you deploy any significant B2B campaigns, make sure to have mechanisms in place to measure and improve lead acquisition strategies over time. Examples of crucial KPIs to track include cost per lead, lead conversion rate, and lead-time. Such data is essential for justifying budgetary increases, comparing acquisition channels, and auditing the health of your sales funnel.
You may need to utilize multiple tools when measuring B2B lead metrics, including a PRM, CRM, Google Adwords, and other third-party software. Work with internal teams and platform providers to integrate data-sets as much as possible for comprehensive (and efficient) views of your customer acquisition efforts.
B2B lead generation strategies that work
When it comes to marketing, content is king. Buyers go online to find vendors that can solve their problems, and companies with original content on the front page of Google search results reap the benefits.
Don’t create copy just for the sake of capturing keywords. Instead, timely and engaging content guides your audience towards making their purchase and establishes your company as a potential partner in that journey. To keep your insights fresh, update your blog posts regularly. If you published an article on the top 10 industry blogs of 2020, refresh your article for 2021 readers.
Include a variety of content types, including:
• Lead magnets – Offer your prospects high-value content in exchange for contact information. Valuable content includes detailed guides, how-to documents, and case studies that show how your product can address complicated problems or requirements.
• Guest blog posts – Collaborate with relevant industry publications by publishing guest posts. This opens up your marketing pipeline to a whole new audience across multiple channels. Also consider hosting guest blog posts by well-known industry thought leaders on your own website.
• Co-host webinars or podcasts with your partner network.
• Publish research: Everyone is looking for statistics to help them make business decisions. Pull from your existing customers and industry connections to craft your own research paired with insights from prominent subject matter experts. By presenting fresh statistics, you may earn inbound links from other websites as well as elevated attention across social media.
No matter how good your content is, it won’t matter if your website is not optimized. Companies should ensure that their website and landing pages minimize any barriers to conversion by utilizing clear language, strong CTAs, and limiting friction caused by long sign-up forms. A/B test landing pages, study onsite behavioral flows, and perhaps collect feedback from a sample of site visitors.
Email marketing is NOT dead. No one wants spammy sales pitches landing in their inbox, but they do want thoughtfully curated news and up-to-date industry information. Email marketing is cost-effective, and B2B buyers often forward content they like to other decision-makers in their company.
When creating your email drip campaigns, customize content for each of your buyer personas and guide readers through all three stages of your funnel:
• Awareness – blog posts, education pieces, infographics
• Consideration – case studies, white papers, ebooks, webinars
• Decision – demos, trials, pricing guidance
Social media marketing
To engage your audience on social media channels, post story-based content. For example, share how your product solved a particularly frustrating problem for a customer or improved a broken process. Use a friendly, conversational voice instead of a more formal approach like you would use for a white paper or blog post.
For B2B marketing, prioritize Twitter and Linkedin to target professional audiences and buyers. Here you can build relationships with those in your industry by commenting on related posts and answering questions from your audience. Try to engage in helpful discussions with people seeking solutions and advice instead of only pitching your product.
Carefully consider every post and comment before you hit enter. Take a moment to review your content to make sure it won’t offend your audience or be interpreted incorrectly. Be sure to always stay on-brand with your messaging and provide consistent support across all marketing channels.
Using paid advertisements helps you grow more quickly and generate quality B2B leads. Paid promotions include:
• Sponsored podcasts – Choose shows and thought leaders that are directly related to your product and industry and tap into their audiences.
• Display ads – Provide text, image, video, and interactive ads on websites that target your ideal buyer.
• LinkedIn ads – Leverage native LinkedIn ads that show up in the newsfeed and target to your ideal customer based on location, industry, role, seniority, etc.
• Sponsored messaging – send highly personalized messages to your target audience through the LinkedIn messaging functionality.
• PPC (pay-per-click) – Ads on search engine results pages (SERPs) are very effective for lead generation campaigns. Costs can vary depending on which keywords you want to target and your budget, so start with smaller campaigns to determine which are most fruitful and worth further investment.
• Events – Host or participate in industry events, both digital and in-person.
How partners can amplify your B2B lead generation strategies
Partners are a valuable marketing channel. They can open doors to new regions and countries, industries, and buyers who haven’t engaged with your direct marketing. In turn, they can provide fresh viewpoints on how to reach untapped audiences.
Work together and co-create your content marketing campaigns. This can include co-hosting webinars and podcasts or publishing guest blogs with your partners on topics relevant to their ideal customer. Use channel marketing software like Allbound to make it easy for partners to access the right content marketing materials. To further elevate their promotional efforts, distribute MDFs to fund paid campaigns or similar expenses.
If a partner creates their own original content, share it on LinkedIn and Twitter; work together to answer questions in the comment section. Finally, ask partners to send relevant case studies in their own email communication.
B2B lead generation takeaways
B2B lead generation strategies should never stagnate; rather, they must evolve based on new opportunities and performance insights.. Focus on how your marketing dollars will make the biggest impact, including thought leadership content, email campaigns, paid ads, website optimization, and relevant social media. Continually experiment, measure, and learn to build your strategies (and pipeline) from one year to the next.