Lead generation is more complicated for B2B companies. The sales cycle is longer and more complicated. In order to convert leads to customers, you have to build trust and credibility. Generating leads is far from easy, but that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible or not worth the effort.
Some lead generation strategies B2B are more effective than others. Using the best strategies will help you get the results you want.
Difference Between B2B Lead Generation and B2C
The main difference between B2B lead generation and B2C is the audience. B2B caters to businesses, while B2C caters to consumers.
B2B lead generation is usually more complex and elaborate because contracts with business are larger and potentially long-term.
The sales cycle for B2B can take months or years. The B2C sales cycle, on the other hand, is much shorter.
B2B customers are more knowledgeable and do more research. They look for more valuable content, like case studies, white papers and infographics, to sway their decision. This is another reason why lead generation is more complex compared to B2C.
With lead generation tactics B2B, the audience is much narrower. To succeed, you have to target the decision-makers. To get their attention and nudge them along, your approach must be proactive and personalized. B2B marketers may deal with several teams before having the chance to deal with the real decision-makers.
Another difference between B2B and B2C lead generation is social media. Consumers can be on any one of the major social platforms. Business executives and decision-makers are primarily on LinkedIn. They can be on other social networks, but the focus is generally on LinkedIn.
With B2B lead generation strategies, the end goal is to forge long-term relationships with clients and to foster trust. B2C, on the other hand, is more focused on attracting customers in saturated markets.
Which B2B Lead Generation Strategies Work Best?
There are many business to business lead generation strategies out there, but some are more effective than others.
Some of the most effective tactics include:
Remember – B2B customers want valuable content. They need to see facts, figures and statistics to build trust and sway their decision.
Content marketing provides you with an opportunity to do this. Some argue that content is the best B2B marketing strategy for this very reason.
However, to succeed with generating leads through content marketing, you must take a strategic approach.
Know Your Audience
The first and most important step in any content marketing plan is knowing your audience. This requires research to understand a few key things:
- What language to use
- The type of content your audience prefers
- Who they follow, etc.
The goal is to create content that drives traffic to your website and followers to your social media accounts. Quality, valuable content is great for search engine optimization (SEO). SEO helps sites appear in the search results for search terms related to their industry and service.
If your content ranks high in the search results, this will drive free traffic to your website. These visitors are targeted and already interested in the products or services you offer.
With the right content marketing strategy, you can:
- Provide valuable content your audience wants to see or read.
- Build trust and establish your brand as an authority.
- Educate your audience, giving your brand credibility.
- Drum up interest in your products and services.
- Build brand awareness.
- Attract backlinks that give your website credibility among search engines.
There are several tools that you can use to build your content marketing strategy for B2B lead generation. Look for tools that can help with:
- Identifying keywords (or search terms) to target in your content
- Backlink research to see what you’re up against
- Competitor research to see what you can do better
- Keyword rank tracking to see if your efforts are paying off
In many cases, content marketing is the most effective lead generation strategy for B2B companies. To maximize your lead generation and succeed with your strategy, make sure that you’re investing in quality, original content.
Social Media Marketing
In 2020, more than 3.6 billion people were using social media across the world. That figure is projected to reach 4.41 billion by 2025.
It makes sense for B2B companies to use social media to generate leads, especially since LinkedIn (the platform of choice for businesses) has more than 760 million users.
There are two effective ways to generate B2B leads through social media:
- Posting content and building a following
Social media advertising can be especially effective at generating leads for B2B companies. There’s a very good chance that your audience is on social media. There’s also a good chance that individual decision makers at the companies you’re targeting are on social media.
Posting valuable content and building a following can also help you generate targeted leads. To succeed, you’ll need a well thought out strategy.
Successful social media marketing requires:
- Consistency. You must post regularly and maintain an active presence on your accounts.
- Engagement. It is crucial to engage with your followers, particularly in the B2B sector. Like and respond to comments. Share ideas. Start conversations. Failure to engage will cost you followers and potential leads.
- Valuable content. Posts should be engaging, unique and valuable to your followers.
To maximize B2B lead generation, it is crucial to leverage the power of social media. Combining social ads with building a following will help you generate the most leads.
Businesses have been using email marketing to generate leads for more than two decades. It’s one of the oldest online marketing strategies, and it’s still highly effective. For B2B buyers, email is also one of the most trusted sources of information.
Like other lead generation techniques for B2B, email marketing requires strategic planning.
Today’s B2B customers demand personalized, targeted messages. Cookie-cutter messages sent to your entire list won’t generate the results you want.
Begin by creating lists of your tagged data, so you can determine where subscribers are coming from and whether they’ve been in your sales pipeline before. It’s also important verify your data to ensure that email addresses are accurate and that accompanying information (such as names, locations and businesses) are proper.
The next stage is segmentation. Segment your data in ways that allow you to send targeted, personalized messages to certain groups of followers. Data can be segmented however makes sense for your business:
- By job title
- By industry
- By where they are in the sales pipeline
Most B2B customers prefer rich text emails with valuable and useful content. Share customer testimonials, or talk about upcoming webinars. On average, buyers need to consume 3-5 pieces of content before they take the next step. Lead them along the path by delivering great email content.
Also, make sure that your emails are mobile-friendly. More than 80% of business professionals use their phones to access emails.
Make use of tools that help automate the email marketing process as much as possible. Automation can help you generate more leads while saving you time.
Having different workflows for different actions will allow you to automatically send out personalized emails.
Although it takes time to set up, automation tools are worth the effort.
It’s important to remember that email marketing is a long game. Expect to put time and effort into nurturing leads, building trust and forming relationships.
With a live chat system, you can turn your visitors into B2B leads. Live chat gives you an opportunity to interact with visitors at just the right time – when they are browsing your site. Live chat allows you to capture visitor contact information, answer questions and get visitors in touch with the right people.
Data shows that customers who use live chat prior to making a purchase spend 10% more on orders and have a 40% conversion rate.
There are several ways to use live chat for B2B lead generation:
- Proactive messages. Ask visitors if they need assistance when they land on your home page, checkout page or pricing page. Giving visitors a little nudge to contact your business can move things in the right direction.
- Pre-chat forms. These allow you to collect the names, email addresses and other relevant information of visitors who interact with your live chat.
- Chatbots. These can perform some basic pre-qualification, gather contact information and answer common questions.
- Offline forms. Similar to pre-chat forms, but these forms are only available when your team is offline.
Live chat doesn’t have to be complicated or feature-rich to be effective. Just being there to answer questions at just the right moment can help convert a visitor into a lead or even a buyer.
Build a Strong Presence on Review Websites
Another effective way to generate B2B leads is to focus on obtaining positive reviews. Reviews are just as powerful as personal recommendations. In fact, 92% of B2B leads are more likely to purchase after reading trusted reviews.
Collecting reliable reviews from actual users can be challenging for some businesses, but the solution is really simple: ask for them. The best way to get real reviews from your users is to ask for them. If a customer has a great experience and is happy with your product or service, ask them to share their experience.
There are several review sites for B2B companies. Gathering reviews on these platforms can help build the trust and credibility needed to get decision-makers on board.
Some B2B review platforms also allow you to advertise on their comparison pages, which gives you another opportunity for exposure and to gather more leads.
Use Quora for B2B Lead Generation
Quora is a question-and-answer website that companies can use to generate B2B leads. With more than 300 million unique visitors each month, Quora has a vast audience of users asking questions that you can answer.
Taking the time to answer questions related to your industry and niche can help you generate leads in several ways:
- Build credibility and trust in your brand
- Build brand awareness
- Drive traffic to your website
To succeed with lead generation on Quora, it’s important to be honest and transparent in your bio page and the answers that you give.
Start with less popular questions that may have less strict moderation rules. You may be able to recommend your B2B company in your answers. Eventually, as you answer more questions and gain more authority, you can start answering more popular questions with hundreds of followers.
Quora is an effective and simple way to generate B2B leads. Those who are asking questions on the site are already looking for what you’re offering. They may already be in the buying mindset.
PPC, or pay-per-click, is one of the quickest and easiest ways to get B2B leads. To maximize its effectiveness, you need to know your target audience and where they are online.
Although a simple and quick solution, PPC can be expensive in some industries. Many Internet users are also using Adblock programs, which means that they may not see your banners or ads. Google Adwords is one of the most popular platforms for PPC, but ads can also be placed on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
With PPC, your ads are displayed on websites and/or in the search results. Each time a user clicks on your ad, you pay a fee. Depending on the industry or search term, the cost per click can be high.
To maximize the results of your PPC campaign, it’s important to direct clicks to strategically crafty landing pages that are aligned with the user’s intent. Doing so will ensure that your pages will appeal to their current state of mind and pain points. This will increase the likelihood of generating leads.
B2B lead generation is no walk in the park. It takes time, consistency and effort. Results can take a while, and it’s important to nurture any leads that you generate. The strategies listed above are the best and most effective, based on research and data, to help you get more B2B leads.