B2B lead generation is the process of identifying and starting the interest of prospective customers. In other words, every business must go through the process of B2B lead generation before making a sale. Finding prospective customers means identifying businesses that might have an interest in the service or product you are offering.
Initiating interest is all about getting information from your contacts and nurturing the information through the sales funnel. And, a sale must happen to convert a lead to a customer.
Traditionally, B2B lead generally falls under the advertising segment of a business. However, it’s not limited to paid-for tactics and channels. Any method or channel that generates interest in your business or website can be categorized as a lead generation—be it offline or online. The most common channels for B2B lead generation include event marketing, email, social media, content marketing, cold calling, PPC advertising, and email marketing.
Two types of B2B leads
Also known as MQLs, marketing-qualified leads are leads who are considered very likely to convert to a paying customer. The qualification for marketing-qualified leads depends on the engagement that the lead has had with the marketing efforts of your business.
- Frequently visiting a certain page on your website
- Filling a form or different forms on your website
- Registering to attend your webinars or events
- Downloading certain content that your business has produces
Also known as SQLs, sales-qualified leads are marketing-qualified leads who have advanced along the sales funnel, and are now considered ready to engage with your sales team. To earn the SQL title, a lead must show the intention to purchase your service or product.
Generally, sales-qualified leads can express the intent in these ways:
- During a phone call with someone from your sales team
- By showing their interest through LinkedIn message or email
- By requesting a demo of your service or product
- By requesting extra information about your business and what you offer
Allows you to provide valuable information about how B2B customers start their buying journey
A few years ago, lead generation was all about marketing teams getting names of prospective customers, and passing these names to the sales department. The buyers, on the other hand, would expect the sales team to give them detailed information about the service or product. The sales team, on the other hand, was responsible for contacting buyers in the early-stage, and they haven’t yet qualified.
However, today’s consumer is directly opposite to this, since they can get the required information from different resources. Therefore, the customer already has information about what you offer before your sales team contacts them.
With a good B2B lead generation program, you become a respected resource to your prospects during their buying journey. At the end of the day, you align yourself as a professional who can assist customers solve their challenges. This includes providing expert advice, as well as answering any questions along the buying process.
Makes it easier for one to scale or refocus their customer acquisition strategies
An effective B2B lead generation strategy can be measured using KPIs. The criteria that you use to measure your KPI depend on your target audience, business goal, and process. This will allow you to know the effectiveness of your strategy before determining how to scale or refocus your customer acquisition strategies.
Allows you to build trust and relationships
Content marketing is an integral part of a good B2B lead generation process. This channel allows you to not only position yourself as an expert but also as a person who provides solutions via quality content. When you consistently provide relevant content, you easily earn the trust of your prospects and customers. Therefore, it’s not hard to build relationships after trust is established between these parties.
Boosts the returns on your marketing investment
A clear process leads to clear objectives and goals. When your sales and marketing team knows what to look for, they become more productive and effective in their jobs. And, when everything aligns itself in place, you will be assured of a positive ROI.
B2B lead generation is all about quality—not quantity. It’s not about reaching many clients, but getting the ideal clients. Please note that better leads will always outdo many leads. Having information about prospect leads is an indication that you are one step ahead of your competitors. And, to ensure that you are way ahead, your business must adopt a lead generation strategy.
When starting a business, you must first determine what you need to achieve. Also, you need to clarify your end goal. At the end of the day, there are two ways to create an effective strategy for B2B lead generation—hiring professionals to do the job for you or relying on your in-house team.