Different business types require different methods of identifying, attracting, serving and retaining customers. But how do you find those leads? Lead generation for B2B is very different than B2C.
For instance, businesses on the business-to-customer (B2C) model attract visitors by running ads targeting people in specific demographics with similar interests. Targeted individuals know what they want and probably have money to buy impulsively.
But there’s a sharp contrast with how B2B works. For most B2B purchases, larger dollar amounts are involved, specific deadlines are often required and there may be a bid process. It’s more complicated.
B2B customers have to take their time to weigh their options. This requires B2B businesses to have efficient and effective lead-generation strategies to attract and convert customers instead of relying on casting a wide net as B2C often does.
We’ve analyzed common B2B strategies and identified the strongest to help your sales and marketing teams attract high-quality leads that convert.
What is B2B lead generation?
B2B lead generation is identifying and finding your potential customers. It’s the starting action in B2B lead generation strategies.
Once your preferred target customer base is identified, the main goal is to collect contact information for companies in that target and individuals within those companies with the authority to make purchasing decisions.
While some of the strategies for generating leads — like social media — look similar for B2B and B2C on the surface, there are marked differences in implementation.
But why is that?
For B2C business, the customer is usually a single end-user. If you sell an umbrella, the buyer is the single decision-maker.
However, in B2B you must consider a group of individuals who all influence the final purchase decision. You effectively must sell the same product to multiple people to get that single sale.
This is why you need B2B lead generation strategies to help you sell to other businesses.
Benefits of B2B lead generation
B2B lead generation catalyzes revenue growth through continuous customer acquisition. However, there are other powerful benefits as well.
Brand visibility is the extent of a brand’s recognition from its target audience.
B2B lead generation creates brand awareness when the sales and marketing teams constantly reach out to new businesses. Every ad, social media message, email, newsletter and other outreach efforts increases your brand visibility.
Lead gen efforts collect a lot of information that is useful for far more than sales pitches. This information helps you by:
- Providing priceless insights into customer preferences, behavior and significant pain points, helping you understand your target audience.
- Helping you make better decisions on what marketing channels to focus on, how to communicate your brand message and optimize customer experience.
- Giving you insights into what customers need so you can adjust your product development plans.
High-quality leads fit your ideal customer profile (ICP). They are more valuable because they are more likely to convert than other leads.
Using information collected from initial lead generation efforts, you can refine leads so you reach the right people using the right message at the right time for them to buy. With frequent execution, this results in a higher conversion rate.
A strong B2B lead generation program provides insights into previously unknown customer pain points. This can lead to untapped business opportunities and client collaborations to resolve those pain points.
Additional companies with products that pair well with your offerings are often identified, so you can create collaborations with those companies to present stronger offerings to your shared clients or create a referral program.
B2B lead generation helps you discover sales qualified leads (SQLs), those ready to quickly turn into paying customers. SQLs help to cut your marketing costs and reduce the effort your sales reps have to expend. It also leads to continuing cost savings as you adjust your target audience to more closely emulate your SQLs.
How to generate B2B leads
Lead generation for B2B is challenging. Using these B2B marketing strategies helps you consistently generate lead prospects for your business.
A website is one of the most powerful tools in your B2B lead generation arsenal. Your website is the primary way most potential leads will search for the products or services you offer and lets you implement several B2B lead generation strategies. These include a strong landing page, a blog of optimized content and data collection.
Build a high-converting landing page
For a landing page to create high conversion rates, it must:
- Be visually pleasing.
- Have a compelling headline and persuasive copy.
- Include lead capture forms to collect lead information.
- Use responsive design and load quickly on all devices.
- Offer social proof like reviews and testimonials. PowerReviews found that 97% of consumers read reviews before purchasing.
- Clearly state your value proposition.
- Have a strong call to action (CTA).
Conduct A/B tests for different headlines, copy and images to help dial in exactly what resonates with your target audience.
Create a blog and publish new content frequently
A blog provides an excellent opportunity to inform and educate prospects about your products. It also provides a way for you to keep the website fresh, and with strong search engine optimization (SEO), it can increase your brand’s visibility.
A webinar lets you bolster your authority as an expert in your niche. Asking participants to register for webinars allows you to collect lead information as well.
Launch retargeting ad campaigns for previous website visitors
A prospect leaving without buying doesn’t mean you’ve lost a B2B sale. Use retargeting ads with Facebook Pixel and Google Site Tag or Measurement ID to help build interest and return a prospect to your website.
Review website analytics
Website analytics provide invaluable insight into the performance of your marketing efforts. You can study user behavior and engagement by reviewing key performance indicators like session duration, bounce rate and website traffic.
Use a strong website builder
A website is a sure way to generate B2B leads, but building one and achieving everything we’ve discussed can pose a challenge. Building a website without the right technical skills is even more challenging.
The suite includes:
- WonderStart: A personalized onboarding experience.
- WonderTheme: A professionally created theme set.
- WonderBlocks: A simple interface for deep theme customization.
- WonderCart: Customizable eCommerce tools.
- WonderHelp: Actionable step-by-step help.
2. Create high-quality content
Content uses information as marketing. It exists in various formats, like text, video and infographics. 97% of respondents in a Semrush state-of-content marketing survey said they experienced some degree of success with content marketing. For content to generate B2B leads effectively, it must:
- Be relevant to your prospects’ needs.
- Be clear. Great content is concise; it doesn’t confuse prospects or raise more questions.
- Be accurate. Source all your data from credible sources. If you make any statistical claims, ensure you back them up with valid sources.
- Have a clear CTA. Your CTA drives the conversion. Make it concise and actionable.
How does high-quality content support lead generation for B2B businesses?
- It establishes authority and expertise by fully addressing a prospect’s pain points. This inspires trust and improves the odds of engagement and conversion.
- It nurtures leads and guides them through your sales funnel with relevant information and encourages prospects to convert.
- It enhances SEO, increasing the online visibility of your website. Consistently producing high-quality content helps increase search engine results page (SERP) placement, improving the odds of being discovered by new prospects.
- It encourages social sharing, which increases engagement among similar leads you might not have otherwise reached.
3. Launch an email marketing campaign
If you have an email address, you’ve probably received an email from a salesperson for a company you’ve never heard of before. That’s considered a cold email in email marketing.
Up to 64% of small businesses used email campaigns to reach potential customers in 2023, and 57% reported plans to increase their spending on email marketing.
Email is popular in B2B lead generation because:
- It allows you to segment an audience for highly personalized lead generation campaigns.
- It’s low-cost and highly effective. Sending thousands of emails costs less than running ads and can generate a significant number of B2B leads. More than half of email marketers reported making an average of $21 to $40 return on investment (ROI) for every dollar they spend on email marketing campaigns.
- Since you’re directly communicating with prospects, you can form personal relationships that increase customer loyalty.
- Email analytics make it possible to track the success of your campaigns by analyzing metrics like open rate, response rate and conversion rate.
You can improve your chances of email success by:
Building an email list using website traffic
Avoid cold emails by using lead magnets (freebies) like eBooks to collect emails.
Knowing your target audience
Analyze your data to ensure you email decision-makers.
Segmenting your list
Tailor your emails for different prospect categories. Segmenting lets you use the right messaging on the right people.
A catchy subject line determines if your email is read or deleted without being opened.
Choosing the best time
Pick the best time for your customers. A 2023 survey by HubSpot found that emails sent between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. and 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. received the highest engagement.
Include a reason for them to read the email. Don’t waste their time.
Using a compelling CTA
What do you want your prospects to do after reading your email? This must be clear to ensure your emails generate leads.
Developing an email marketing plan in the early stages of your business sets you up for success later. Email automation providers like Mailchimp and customer relationship management (CRM) tools like HubSpot can help you create lead-nurturing processes.
4. Run pay-per-click (PPC) ad campaigns
A PPC ad campaign is built to hone in on specific targets with maximum accuracy. PPC is one of the quickest ways to generate B2B leads. Compared to the other strategies, PPC campaigns are faster, more effective and scalable.
However, your attention to detail and continuous testing will significantly contribute to a great outcome. Following these steps will help improve your results.
Clearly define your objectives
What is your goal for the campaign? Do you want conversions, website visitors or someone to contact you?
What does the audience need? What are the main pain points and preferences? You can also identify their behaviors, interests, locations, job titles and industries.
Keywords are vital. Some keywords have purchase intent, while others focus on information and some may have mixed messages for prospects. You’ll also need to filter negative keywords.
Write compelling ad copy
Communicate your value proposition concisely and clearly.
Use multiple formats
Create a variety of formats like text, video, audio and combinations to test which performs better.
Monitor and test
Monitoring your ad analytics will help calculate key ad metrics like cost per acquisition (CPA) and return on ad spend (ROAS). These metrics show whether your ads are running sustainably.
If your CPA is too high, adjust one variable — like ad copy or creative — and run a variant alongside the original ad. This A/B testing helps you create ads that resonate with your audience.
One ad view isn’t enough. Most prospects need to see an ad more than once to convert.
5. Use social media
Channel diversification is important in lead generation for B2B companies. Social media is a powerful channel you can add to your B2B lead generation efforts.
However, unlike B2C, where most lead generation happens on social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook, 96% of B2B content marketers use LinkedIn to generate B2B leads. These tips will help you successfully use social media for lead generation.
Understand your target audience
Start by developing buyer personas. A buyer persona represents the ideal customer of your products or services. It provides reliable insights into the type of content your audience needs and their preferences.
Choose the right platform
While most B2B lead generation happens on LinkedIn, it might not fit your audience. The key is to use the platform your target buyers are using.
Working with other businesses or influencers is also an excellent way to generate B2B leads. By sponsoring influencers, participating in feed takeovers, creating guest posts and hosting guest posters, you can help build community and social proof.
For instance, if you own a company that makes productivity software, you could pay a popular productivity enthusiast with a large social media presence to discuss how your productivity software is great for teams.
The key is to stay within your niche. An influencer who has a huge audience but doesn’t connect with your industry might provide a million views and no leads. Conversely, a smaller influencer might only provide a few hundred thousand views but reach your audience and result in hundreds of leads.
Share valuable content
Infographics, whitepapers, case studies and original research provide value to customers.
While a photo of your morning coffee may seem trendy, it’s probably not what your customers are looking for unless you are in the coffee business. LinkedIn allows users to publish articles.
Review other popular posts by leaders in your industry along with your data on the ideal customer to get an idea of what customers consider valuable posts.
The B2B lead generation process is a challenging one. Although it can be approached from different angles, one thing stands out: your website is the central core of your efforts when working to capture marketing-qualified leads (MQLs).
Your website is your virtual location, where a global audience can reach it. It provides visibility, a central location to send leads from channels like PPC ads and social media and gives you the capability of an ecommerce presence.
Bluehost makes it easy for you to create and run a website by offering affordable hosting plans like shared hosting and dedicated hosting and including our free WonderSuite website builder with our plans.