The internet is full of lead generation tutorials, strategies and tips. However, the main challenge that modern marketers are facing is not generating more leads, but generating higher quality leads. Lead generation sounds simple enough, but it involves a lot of knowledge and skills. Obviously, this concept is different for B2C and B2B marketing, so we are going to take them one at a time. Today we will break down the process of generating business to business sales leads. We will cover everything that matters, from defining the process and the types of leads, all the way to the most lucrative lead generation strategies.
Understanding lead generation
Wikipedia defines lead generation as the process through which a company draws the audience’s interest towards their products or services. So basically, every action that you take in promoting your product/services, counts as lead generation. This includes everything from SEO to email marketing campaigns and even good old networking.
Not all leads are sales leads
So far, things should be pretty easy to understand, but this is where it gets a little tricky. There are two main types of leads: marketing leads and sales leads.
This type of lead is a person or a company, which has shown an interest in your products/services, and who has the potential to become a customer. Simply put, a marketing qualified lead is a lead who is just starting their buyer’s journey. They are not ready to buy yet, but they are more than ready to be nurtured.
This type of lead has shown an interest in your product/services and they have, in one way or another, expressed their interest to make a purchase. This lead is further along in their buyer’s journey, and have higher chances of becoming a customer. They might even be ready to talk to a sales agent.
When does a marketing lead become a sales lead?
There is no universally true answer to this question, as each company has their own standards for classifying sales leads. It depends on the products/services offered by each company, but also on their marketing strategies. For example, if a website visitor signs up for a newsletter, they should be classified as a marketing lead, but if they request a quote, then they are definitely a sales lead. However, if a visitor wants to buy a product/service that is currently unavailable, and they request to be notified when the requested product/service becomes available, this becomes a gray situation. Some companies may classify this as a sales lead, while others may classify it as a marketing lead. It is important to determine from the start what classifies a lead as a sales lead, because you don’t want to waste the time of your sales team with cold leads.
The most lucrative strategies for generating business to business sales leads
Now that you have understood the basics of lead generation, it is time to dive into what really matters: generating those precious business to business sales leads. We don’t want to take you through the pros and cons of each possible lead generation strategy, because that would we counterproductive. Instead, we want to highlight the most lucrative strategies for generating quality leads. According to a study conducted by IDG, the biggest challenge for B2B marketers is not generating leads in general, but generating quality leads. Without further ado, here are the best b2b lead generating strategies:
1. Optimizing your website
A website is like a business card, but only better. It allows you to tell the story of your company, to advertise your products, to nurture your potential customers and much more. When it comes to generating sales leads through your website, there are 3 main elements that should concern you: the visitors, your call to action button and the landing page. So, you want to get as many targeted visitors to your website as possible, convince them to respond to your call to action (which can be a request for a quote or a demo) and get them to fill out the form on the landing page.
2. Lead list providers
This is where we steal the spotlight. You see, there are a lot of list providers on the market, and due to the disputable quality of their services, buying leads had become a taboo subject for most marketers, that is until SalesRipe came along. Unlike other sales lead providers, we deliver targeted lead list. Our tool gives you access to over 15 million business leads, which come with precious details that can help you close the deal, such as the title of the contact person, the company’s number of employees, their sales volume and much more. Some leads even come with insights on the company’s tech preferences. And since we are so sure of the quality of our lead lists, we even offer you a 7-day free trial.
Industry conference and tradeshows are great ways to get in direct contact with potential customers. The sheer participation in such an event shows a strong interest in your industry. While a visitor that subscribes to your newsletter can be qualified as a warm lead, a person that participates in an event in your industry is definitely a hot lead. If there aren’t a lot of tradeshows in your industry, you can try setting up some live webinars.
4. Email Marketing
Contrary to popular belief, good old email marketing is still an efficient solution for generating sales leads. However, there is a trick to making this work. Instead of blindly sending out e-mails to all the email addresses that you can get your hands on, you need to use a marketing automation tool, that allows you to measure and optimize your email marketing efforts.
5. SEO and PPC
These are two different strategies, but they have the same purpose: to make you visible on the search engines. Ideally, you should be using both strategies, but if you only have the budget for one, you should consider your goals. If you need a quick boost of sales, then you should use PPC, but be aware that you will only see results for as long as you are paying. SEO on the other hand might not show any results for a long time, but once you manage to increase your site’s rankings, you will see continuous results, even if you stop investing in SEO.
6. Content Marketing
In the last decade the buyer’s journey has changed a lot. Nowadays, buyers do a lot of research before making a purchase, especially in the B2B field. As such, it is essential to become an authority in your industry and provide your potential buyers with a wide variety of content that addresses different stages of the buying journey.
While most people tend to throw all social media channels in the same category, this is not the case for B2B lead generation. You see, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest can be great tools for B2C lead generation because these social networks have a very casual vibe, but they are not very productive for the business to business commerce. Very few people go on Facebook to do business, but everyone who is on LinkedIn is there for business purposes.
Once you get the most of the 7 strategies presented above, there are a few more lead generation solutions that can provide quality leads, without requiring a high budget.
- Customer referrals – give your customers an incentive to promote you to their contacts
- Co-marketing – collaborate with your partners to share your leads and advertise each other
- Live-chat – give your visitors the opportunity to have their questions answered immediately.