B2B Lead Generation
Your guide to B2B lead generation and growing your business using digital marketing tactics. At the heart of B2B marketing activity is the need to fill the pipeline with high-quality leads, but what works and how can you create your own B2B lead generation engine?
One of the primary responsibilities of the marketing function within a business-to-business company is B2B lead generation. It’s the responsibility of marketing to generate awareness and transition this into interest and ultimately demand. The many digital marketing tactics that can be deployed by marketers ultimately aim to produce high-quality B2B leads, that become revenue-generating opportunities and can be closed by sales. In this section of Tactics For Growth, we look at B2B lead generation tactics and B2B growth hacking opportunities.
Where do B2B leads come from?
Every B2B organization attempts to deliver on closed loop reporting. Marketing automation is where the marketing organization can attribute a sale all the way back to the source of the lead. The reality is that this has been an unachievable nirvana for the majority of organizations with sophisticated marketing efforts. In the B2B buying journey, there are many touch points that a prospect goes through even before they become a lead.
The growing trend in all B2B purchases is that buyers contact vendors later in the buying journey. The longer buyer journey adds multiple new touch points that also need to be attributed. The result is that it’s unlikely you’ll find the one tactic that works in all scenarios for B2B lead generation. B2B lead generation is about using the multitude of opportunities available to establish and develop relationships with an audience.
Online and offline B2B lead generation tactics
There are dozens of online and offline B2B lead generation tactics. As B2B marketers we shouldn’t think of any tactic as working in isolation. Offline events, for example, are a traditional staple of business-to-business lead generation and they have a track record of delivering positive results. However, offline events need to be supported by online promotion through things like social media and online data capture. The time of differentiating between online and off-line tactics is over. Even the most traditional of offline tactics, now have an online element.
Which B2B lead generation tactics work best?
Hundreds of research documents, articles and infographics come out each year trying to identify the B2B lead generation tactics that work best. Oddly enough, these are usually prepared by companies with a vested interest in their platform/channel coming out on top. The channels that are likely to generate the most leads for your business can only be determined by you and your business.
As marketers we try to differentiate our products and services from the competition, we develop USP’s that add value. Your proposition to the customer should be unique; this means this means that what works for one business may not deliver results for your business. Looking at what tactics work for others can, of course, guide us in determining what tactics we should pursue.
How do I decide which B2B lead generation tactics to pursue?
Almost any B2B lead generation tactic can generate results however which of these will be most effective and deliver the best ROI usually depends on a similar set of factors.
Go where your B2B audience hangs out
Start by figuring out where the majority of your audience spends their time and target those channels. This could be their professional presence, such as linked in, or even a personal one. After all, behind every B2B buyer is a person. There is no point investing time in building a Pinterest profile if, like many B2B audiences, your target customer is more likely to be on LinkedIn.
Tailor your content to the channel
Whether you are posting on social media or running a direct mail campaign, you need to match your message and content to the channel.
Think about the customer buying journey
The B2B buying journey is complex and takes many weeks if not months. Throughout the buying journey, you will need to deploy different tactics to engage your audience. For example at the very outset of the buying journey, social media can help to build awareness, and strong search presence may help generate leads when the research phase of the buying journey begins.
Be useful and informative
Business-to-business buyers are information hungry. A large part of the buying journey is doing research. To generate leads, you must provide content that your audience will find valuable, content that they want to access so much that they’re willing to give you their contact details.
Point to a gated landing page
It’s amazing how many B2B marketers fail at this fundamental hurdle. You must point traffic at a page that will capture visitor data. Unless there is a data capture step, in your activity, then you aren’t going to generate leads, regardless of channel.