How to Generate B2B Sales Leads

Why Your Company Needs a B2B Lead Generation Strategy

Leads are the lifeblood of your sales team. When your business development pipeline is dry, you stand to lose more than revenue—you may also lose your top salespeople. It stands to reason then, that you would look to generate leads quickly. Buying a list of targets is one option, but the more complex your solution the more important it is that you focus on quality (not quantity) when it comes to generating prospects for your sales team.

A handful of prospects who are qualified and actively searching for a solution like yours are more valuable than a database of people who are unlikely to ever become customers. So how do you generate quality B2B sales leads before your pipeline completely dries up?

Your B2B marketing strategy should include several considerations:

  • Digital marketing – efforts that are online.
  • Traditional marketing – efforts that are offline or in-person.
  • Outbound marketing – efforts that are consistent and persistent outreach actions.
  • Inbound marketing – efforts that encourage prospects to reach out to your company as a first contact.
  • Technology – marketing automation and CRM platforms that help you manage leads.

Digital Marketing Strategies:

Leverage the Power of Social Media

A study from the International Data Corporation (IDC) found that 75 percent of B2B buyers and 84 percent of C-level executives use social media to support purchase decisions. In other words, high-level decision-makers are on social media, so you should be too. B2B buyers are willing to hear from sales reps and listen to expert opinions when they are active on social media channels. Keep in mind that a high percentage of buyers, 94%, do some level of research before engaging with a company like yours. Twitter and LinkedIn make it easy to find people by job title or organization. Of course, cold contacting prospects on social media may not always result in a meeting or demo, but if you find your sales pipeline is thin and you need to replenish it with leads, this is one way to engage with B2B buyers who may be interested in your solution. Although this is an effort that is a high level in the sales funnel, build your brand awareness now and it may lead to new leads later in the sales cycle.

Be where your target audience goes when they do their due diligence research into companies who provide solutions to their business problems and challenges. Content marketing and social media marketing work hand-in-hand with each other. Social media platforms provide an effective distribution channel for the quality content you produce that help educate potential customers.  For B2B prospecting, use LinkedIn and other appropriate social media platforms if your ideal customer utilizes these channels. Your marketing efforts will pay off in this area if you can answer the questions of your potential customers before they ever engage with anyone from your company.

Leverage Available Digital Tools to Help Generate Leads

There are many tools available today that give sales professionals many options for prospecting and lead generation. In the digital world we now live in, these tools don’t lead with picking up the phone as a majority of their outreach efforts. These efforts work well to complement your social media selling efforts.

  • Email marketing – Reach out to prospects on a regular schedule and keep your brand top-of-mind. Share much of the content, when appropriate, that was distributed in your social channels.
  • SEO – Much of what you do in multiple channels, like social media, blogging, backlinks, and developing a content-rich your website, contribute to your organic SEO. You can complement these effort with paid SEO. The key goal with all these associated efforts is to be found on the search engines.
  • Website – It is the hub of everything you do and all the content your create. Every effort, whether it be social media, SEO, or any other electronic initiative, it all leads back to your website – the hub of your digital presence.
  • Webinars – This is a great opportunity to educate prospects and gather contact information, all without any travel expenses, time, and effort.
  • Podcasts – This is a medium that has gained great popularity the past few years. It is a great way to change up your content.
  • Videos – As the old saying goes, pictures are worth a thousand words. Statistics show that human brains process visuals 60,000 x faster than text.
  • Electronic collateral – While trade shows have tremendous value, attendees tend to enjoy not carrying home full bags of printed collateral. Providing an electronic content piece also allows you another touch point with the prospect. 

Traditional Marketing Strategies:

Go Where B2B Buyers Go

Trade shows can provide a wealth of B2B leads and are great for building face-to-face relationships with buyers you might not meet otherwise. Exhibiting and/or presenting is the best way to generate B2B leads at a trade show, but simply attending gives you the opportunity to mingle with buyers and decision-makers who may be interested in your solution.

While some of your inbound marketing is designed to acquire contact information, trade shows create a relationship while simultaneously gaining phone numbers. This is also a huge opportunity for brand awareness as you are searching for your ideal customers in a large sea of prospects. Importantly, as you start to build relationships in these face-to-face communications, your leads are become warm leads, which makes a follow-up phone call a much easier task. You can use LinkedIn to stay connected, call the new connection by phone, and add them to your email list to help build your sales pipeline.

If you need help convincing your boss to allocate the budget for exhibiting at a trade show to help you secure more B2B leads, these statistics from the Center for Exhibition Industry Research are a good place to start:

  • 91% of attendees say that trade shows impact their buying decisions
  • 82% of trade show attendees have buying authority
  • 79% of attendees say that attending trade shows helps them decide on what products to buy

Tried and True Methods Still Work Across a Variety Industries

Marketing campaigns are most effective when marketers and sales reps work together towards a common goal. The sales team needs high-quality leads and a strategic marketing team works within multiple channels to deliver successful lead generation campaigns. Some traditional lead generation strategies include:

  • Appointment setting
  • Lead generation
  • Cold calling
  • Telephone follow-up
  • Customer retention
  • Customer reactivation
  • Telemarketing
  • Referrals

Outbound Marketing Strategies:

Consistent and persistent outreach marketing activities can fall under both traditional and outbound categories. These initiatives push a company’s messaging out to potential customers. There are multiple channels to execute the lead generation campaigns:

  • TV
  • Radio
  • Billboards
  • Digital ads
  • Magazines (print and digital)
  • Appointment setting
  • Lead generation
  • Cold calling
  • Telephone follow-up
  • Customer retention
  • Customer reactivation
  • Telemarketing
  • Email marketing
  • Cold emails
  • Referrals

Inbound Strategies:

Entice Prospects to Give You Their Information

This statistic is worth repeating. According to an Accenture study of 500 procurement officers with annual purchasing budgets in excess of $100,000 (in other words, the types of prospects many companies want to speak with), 94% of B2B buyers report that they conduct some form of online research before purchasing a business product. Accenture also notes that companies who provide the type of information B2B buyers are looking for “will realize an increase in customer engagement and revenue, and a faster return on digital investments.” This is what inbound marketing is all about—enticing prospects to come to you instead of the other way around. In terms of leads, this means providing valuable information in exchange for contact information (name and email address, at minimum).

While this exchange of valuable content and contact information is an important goal and focus of inbound marketing for B2B companies, it is even more important that your part of the exchange is information that answers the potential customer’s questions and helps them understand that your product or service resolves their pain points. The conversion rate of new leads is much higher when your content communicates the true solution to the prospect’s daily business challenges.

Your marketing strategy should include some great pieces of “gated” content:

  • How-to guides
  • Templates/checklists
  • Calculators
  • Whitepapers
  • Webinars
  • Spec sheets
  • Market reports
  • Expert roundups
  • Infographics
  • Podcasts
  • Case studies
  • Videos
  • Newsletters
  • eBooks

Content marketing is the core of inbound marketing and utilizing both traditional and digital marketing channels to distribute high quality content is a key focus of this strategy. The purpose of this strategy is to educate customers and prospects.

Technology:

B2B marketers discovered long ago that technology is great at leveling the playing field between smaller organizations with those who have big budgets and even bigger revenues. Technology helps your sales team manage prospects within your target audience and qualified leads properly and efficiently.

Smart strategies for B2B marketing include utilizing the right technology to always properly manage the sales pipeline and qualified leads:

  • CRM platforms – HubSpot and Salesforce, to name two that cover a wide spectrum of companies’ needs.
  • Marketing automation – Marketo, Eloqua, and HubSpot, are a very short list of a large number of available platforms.

Outsource to Experienced Appointment Setters

Outsourcing your B2B sales lead generation or appointment setting efforts, in part or in full, to experienced calling agents can provide your team with hot leads that lead to real revenue. That’s why Intelemark focuses on delivering leads and setting appointments with high-level decision-makers who are anxious and motivated to talk with you. Intelemark’s ability to create result-oriented relationships drives significant revenue for the clients we represent.

Intelemark has the people, processes and experience to put you in front of the buyers who matter most, decision-makers with the power and influence to drive serious results for your business! That makes us one of the best connections you’ll ever make, at least until we start making connections for you. Schedule a test campaign to see what kind of results are possible when you outsource your lead generation and appointment setting efforts with the “Business Connection Company.”