What is B2B Lead Generation?
B2B lead generation, or business-to-business lead generation, is an umbrella term describing a multitude of marketing tactics used to identify and attract clients that are other businesses.
In both B2C (business-to-customer) and B2B environments, lead generation usually serves as the first step in the marketing funnel and sales process.
How B2B lead generation works
The process starts with obtaining contact information of potential leads, such as their name, email, phone number, and job title. The next step involves doing what is known as "cold outreach", or sending messages to the prospective leads via email or social media to outline your offer offer and gauge if there's any interest.
In case the lead has shown interest, the pipeline generally moves towards more detailed interaction with said lead — calls, presentations, or demos. Keep in mind that your prospective businesses will be looking at as many available options as possible, so make sure to nurture the lead by, for example, following up some time after your meeting or offering some extra benefits (like an extended free trial). Finally, the lead will make a decision on vendor they'd go with, which is hopefully you!
B2B lead generation best practices
In broad sense, the very best practice is to keep your niche, product, and customer in mind when making a b2b lead generation strategy. There's next to nothing cookie-cutter about lead generation, meaning you will need flexibility, time, and resources to experiment before you arrive on something that actually works for you.
- Always research and test — even if you believe your pitch to be impeccable, it's smart to regularly tinker away at your approach. The content form, the text alignment, the font, the colour palette you use for images, everything can have an impact on your success. Just remember to test 1 thing at a time if you want to accurately measure the impact of each individual component;
- Be active online — in B2B world, most potential buyers will search for product/service information on their own. By being active in the online spaces, like social media, you make chances that your brand will be seen and remembered that much higher;
- Make well-optimized, attention-grabbing content — there's very little time to catch the eye of a potential buyer, making it paramount for the potential lead to be able to see the meat of things ASAP. This can be achieved, among other things, by ensuring your web-page runs as smoothly as possible or writing a short, sweet, and concise decription of your product/service;
- Add personal touch — don't put all your eggs in the strict-business-talk basket. Adding a bit of personality to your messages is an immensely effective tactic to grab the attention of a potential lead, compelling them to share their contact information.
4 tools to jumpstart B2B lead generation
Generating leads is a stressful, complex, and time-consuming process for any business. Therefore, it's best to give a shot to some of the tools available on the market. Even if they don't help you manage your sales pipeline, their usage can highlight the problematic areas for you to look at. Here're a few examples of what you can try:
- Awario — a social listening tool by trade, Awario's integrated Leads module can help you discover prospects that are actively seeking a product/service just like yours. For example, let's imagine you're an HR company — Awario's Leads module can help you discover posts where people are asking to be recommended people to fill in certain vacancies. A perfect opportunity for you to pounce and offer your services;
- HubSpot Sales Hub — a powerful one-in-all CRM platform for your sales needs, the greatest advantage of HubSpot's Sales Hub is that you can start using it for free. The platform offers a wide variety of sales tools, such as pipeline management, conversational bots, email templates, automated follow-ups, scheduling, automated data entry, and more;
- LinkedIn Sales Navigator — being a network for professionals, LinkedIn is naturally inclined for any B2B-related work. The Sales Navigator will enable you to easily target and reach out to specific businesses and people, recommend leads based on your filters, and get insights on your prospects (e.g. when they switch jobs). The Sales Navigator has a month-long free trial as well;
- Leadfeeder — a great prospecting tool, Leadfeeder offers both first-party information on businesses and helps you see which companies frequent your website even if they don't make contact with you. It is entirely possible to discover that businesses from a niche you haven't considered are interested in your product/service, and start working on that right away. Leadfeeder features a free, albeit limited, 2-week trial.