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Lead generation is probably one of the most important aspects of running a successful B2B company. It’s also probably one of the most frustrating and difficult aspects of it as well. Well, lead generation in itself is not exactly difficult, but what is difficult is ensuring that you’re generating high-quality leads that are genuinely relevant to your company.
This is why we’ve decided to give you a step-by-step process for B2B lead generation. We want you to be successful. We want the leads that you generate to help grow your business and make you stand out from your competitors. And in an industry where there is so much competition, a proper B2B lead generation process could make or break your business.
What Is B2B Lead Generation?
B2B lead generation consists of catching the attention of leads who have the intention to purchase a product or service like yours, in order to reach out to them and nurture them for sales. It begins with marketing activities that will generate interest from a specific population of potential buyers, who then convert into qualified leads based on a set of predetermined criteria based on your ideal customer profile (ICP).
Proper B2B lead generation processes help demand for your product or service to materialize by pushing potential clients to the top of your sales funnel through your client acquisition strategy. In the sales funnel, these leads become potential clients and opportunities for closure of sales. Because your outcomes are dependent on the success of your B2B lead generation process, that B2B lead generation is a critical initial step for your sales process.
When you generate leads through your B2B lead generation process, they are then classified into two categories: MQLs (Marketing Qualified Leads) and SQLs (Sales Qualified Leads). An MQL is a lead who, based on marketing activities, has expressed interest in what your company has to offer, and is more likely to purchase your product or service than other leads. An SQL, on the other hand, has already moved through your sales pipeline, through the MQL phase, and is ready to speak to your sales team.
Why Is B2B Lead Generation Important?
A business that does not have a proper B2B lead generation process is living dangerously. Its growth and revenue will be left to be determined by a target audience that may or may not even be aware of its existence. Without a proper lead generation strategy, you won’t have any leads for your sales team to follow up on.
The main importance of devising a proper B2B lead generation process is because it’s very difficult to maximize your revenue and growth without one. In simpler terms leads = money. No leads, no money.
B2B Lead generation is a strategy of increasing your company’s visibility, trustworthiness, and interest from a target audience made up of your consumers who fit your (potential leads). As a result, concentrating on lead generation can assist in driving traffic from high-quality prospects. This means increased revenue for your company. You can expand your business and increase the lifetime value of each customer by using an effective B2B lead generation process.
The Three Different Types Of Leads
In B2B lead generation, there are three different types of leads all businesses look for or receive. These three types of leads are Information Qualified Leads (IQLs), Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs), and Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs).
In this section, we’ll take a brief look at all three so that you can easily decipher which is which when funneling leads through your pipeline and figuring out what’s needed next to qualify those leads at each stage of the sales process.
Information Qualified Leads
An IQL is any lead that is generated through the provision of their contact information. Whether they signed up to receive a weekly or monthly newsletter from your website or clicked a link from an email outreach to attend a webinar, any lead that is garnered through contact information is considered an Information Qualified Lead. They are typically at the very beginning of their purchasing journey and therefore don’t know much about your company or its products or services, so are on the hunt for more information.
Marketing Qualified Leads
An MQL is any lead generated through your marketing efforts. This can be through clicking an ad on a social media site or another website, or through cold outreach or other marketing means. The marketing team has determined that they have the potential to become an SQL, and so they must nurture this lead through further marketing efforts in order to push them through the sales pipeline. They have taken that first step to becoming a potential client of yours and are ready to receive further contact from your marketing team.
Sales Qualified Lead
An SQL is a lead that has moved through the sales funnel and is just about at the purchasing stage of their buying journey. Your marketing department has researched and vetted them and determined that they were primed to be passed onto the sales team to close a deal. They have expressed enough interest, throughout their buying journey, for the different teams to decide that it’s the right time to pitch to them to get the sale.
B2B Lead Generation Process
There are a few steps involved in curating the best B2B lead generation process possible for your business. We’re going to walk you through them now to get you started off on the right foot and get those leads rolling in.
- Thought Leadership/Content Marketing/SEO: Thought leadership is when a person, team, or organization demonstrates expertise in a particular area or field and uses that expertise to share their knowledge with others. Using educational content and thought leadership to optimize your lead generation is a great first step for your B2B lead generation process. If you can tie that thought leadership into creating content that is maximized for SEO to get you to the highest rank on search engines, then you’re doing amazing.
- In order to optimize your use of thought leadership, content marketing, and SEO, the best way to do about it is through posting thought leadership pieces on LinkedIn, using blogs on your website for content marketing and SEO, and producing YouTube Videos, podcasts, and webinars to not only get your name out there, but let to world at large know that you’re a leader in your field. Doing this will bring a lot of leads to your company. In fact, according to Learn Hub, SEO brings about 29% of organic traffic to your website.
- Paid Ads (Search And Social Media): Unlike organic inbound routes, paid advertising lets you boost visitors and produce leads almost instantaneously. Adding paid advertising to your B2B lead generation process comes with an acquisition cost for each lead you create, of course. But when done right, the results from paid ads are more than worth the cost to run them.
This is why, in order to operate successful marketing campaigns, budgeting is critical. Consider your CLV (customer lifetime value), traffic conversion rates, and existing product margins. You should also be factoring in your expected cost per lead (CPL). If your acquisition costs exceed these parameters, you’ll end up losing money, which isn’t exactly sustainable. Given the popularity of social media and search engines, using these avenues to run paid ads is usually your best course of action.
- Lead Magnets and Lead Nurturing: A lead magnet is a term used in marketing for a free item or service that a business offers in exchange for contact information. Examples of lead magnets include trial subscriptions, white papers, samples, free consultations, and e-newsletters.
When a lead comes through a lead magnet, they are already familiar with your organization and have decided to trust your company. As you begin with warm leads, this gives you an advantage. Lead magnets are an effective technique B2B marketers can use in order to connect with potential clients and collect their contact information.
Lead nurturing is the practise of establishing and strengthening relationships with customers at each level of your sales funnel. A good lead nurturing programme concentrates communication and marketing efforts on listening to prospects’ needs and giving the information and answers they seek in order to build trust, raise brand awareness, and sustain a connection with them until they are ready to buy.
- Community Building: Interest-based communities centered on products and challenges have increased in popularity in recent years because they serve as an excellent support channel and peer network. These types of groups are founded on the notion of resolving problems for their members, which is an excellent criterion for product fit.
According to MarketingMag, “A community, or audience, in B2B, is a space where your customers come together to learn, share and interact with your brand. The more value you provide to your community in terms of educational content, experiences and personal interaction, the more likely your community will grow organically.”
Some of the reasons to build a community in order to expand your B2B lead generation process include:
○ It positions you as an authority that can be trusted in your particular space.
○ It provides your customers and potential clients with experience beyond your product.
○ It provides you an opportunity to be innovative in your marketing and research.
○ It helps to build brand loyalty.
○ And it can help to cut down on ad spend.
- Referral/Affiliate Programs: Your potential clients are considerably more likely to listen to and trust in peers who’ve already had a great experience with you than they are to believe commercials and other marketing efforts that come directly from your company. As a result, it’s no wonder that B2B referral programmes are one of the most effective means of B2B lead generation and sales.
B2B referral programmes rely on direct recommendations from existing customers to generate leads who are more inclined to buy from you. According to Influitive, 84% of B2B buyers begin their buying process after receiving a referral, and leads gained through referrals close faster than those generated through other avenues.
Affiliate marketing for B2B lead generation is when a third party advertises your company on your behalf. You pay them a certain amount for each lead sent your way through their program in exchange. This method has long been implemented by B2C businesses, but it has recently gained popularity among the B2B crowd.
The biggest benefit of adopting an affiliate programme for your B2B lead generation process is that it is totally dependent on performance. Affiliates are more driven to promote the conversion you’re seeking because they’re only paid their commission if the desired action has occurred.
- Partnerships For Co-Marketing: It’s difficult to build an audience from scratch, especially when you’re just getting started. A great way to tap into the consumer bases of other businesses and partner with them in order to generate leads for your own company. Agencies, influencers, affiliates, service providers, and distributors all have target markets that match your ICP.
When you happen upon a company with whom you would like to collaborate, it’s important to first make sure they are a good fit for your target demographic. their audience is engaged and that your offering is relevant to them.
When forming a partnership, be sure the details are structured to benefit both parties involved without posing any risks or upfront expenses.The barter system was made for just such partnerships, in which both parties gain access to each other’s customer base in order to generate leads without incurring any material costs.
- Outbound Marketing: Outbound marketing entails reaching out to customers in order to pique their interest in a product or service. There are a few ways to conduct outbound marketing, but we’ll cover the two most popular ways here.
- Email Outreach: Both lead creation and lead nurturing rely heavily on email marketing. Customer relationship software allows you to collect information about consumers, analyze their behavior, and send effective tailored emails to influence them. You can also send cold emails to potential clients without spamming them, as long as you use the correct pitch.
- Cold Calling/Prospecting: When you contact a potential lead who has yet to interact with your company or product, you are performing cold outreach. And, since the time when phone numbers first became easily accessible, cold calling has become one of the most popular techniques to prospect for B2B lead generation.
The majority of C-level and VP executives actually prefer to be contacted via phone over other means, says Rain Group. If you’re offering enterprise products, this makes it one of the strongest avenues for connecting with decision-makers. If you’re looking to get into cold outreach, but don’t want to hire someone new, consider Wingmate, who offer Outsourced Sales Teams to do your cold outreach for you.
- Field Force Prospecting: A Field Force are the individuals in a company who are in charge of sales and lead generation. They are the team who work in the “field” to generate leads and profits for the company. These are the individuals who go out into the field and generate sales from there. The definition of “field” can vary depending on the organization. For example, a field could be the internet for some companies, while for others, it’s an actual physical marketplace where leads and sales can be generated.
Wingmate can help your Field Force through our Field Reporting App, which allows your field workers to actively report, in real-time, any potential leads they see or hear about while going about their day.
It may seem like adopting a proper B2B lead generation process is a lengthy or intimidating strategy to put in place, but it’s the best way for you to generate quality leads that will end in sales. There are numerous ways to go about creating your lead generation process, and that can be a daunting task in and of itself, which is why we created this handy step-by-step guide to your B2B lead generation process.
Follow our tips, and you’ll be on your way to rolling in leads before you know it.
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