Landing prospects or customers is one of the most important parts of doing business. It doesn’t matter how good your product or service is, lead generation is a crucial factor in whether your company is successful in the long term.
Some common questions we're tackling in this article:
- What is B2B lead generation?
- What are the benefits of online lead generation in B2B?
- How do I start online lead generation?
Let’s start at the beginning.
Online Lead Generation in B2B: What is it Exactly?
Online generation involves the strategies that lead to you getting contact data from people interested in your product, services, and brand. That happens when they visit your website or company blog. Your prospects become aware of you through an interesting blog article you’ve published or through your enticing landing page. You may have a form on one of those pages where they can fill out their business contact information to demo your product.
Online lead generation is all about attracting the attention of your target audience. Design your website or blog to appeal to the customers you want and offer them added value in the form of content. When you’ve done everything right, your prospects will stay there long enough to book a product demo or download something. In return, they’ve left you their business email.
After you’ve successfully generated those online leads, you can enrich and qualify the B2B leads that you capture and hand them over to your sales team!
Online vs. Offline Lead Generation
We can’t talk about online lead generation without briefly talking about offline lead generation. Apart from online marketing and inbound sales, there are other ways to generate offline leads in B2B.
Before Covid 19, trade shows were a popular way to drive offline lead generation. You were able to exchange ideas with other experts in your field and address your target audience directly. It was a great place to gain contacts because you were already in an environment teeming with your ideal prospects. Many business cards were handed out so if you networked right, those turned into leads.
Events are another great way to exchange information and cultivate relationships. When you invite contacts and decision-makers, it’s the perfect opportunity for you to prove your industry knowledge. Organize training sessions, or workshops focused on your area of expertise. Even an after-work party is a great way to “talk shop” in a more relaxed atmosphere.
Ah, cold calling, the old classic when it comes to B2B lead gen. Whether by phone, a knock on your door or by snail mail, it all depends on the right sales pitch and sometimes also on the mood of your prospect. Although there’s a lot of room for rejection with cold calling, you’re also given direct feedback on whether your pitch landed or not.
Benefits of B2B Online Lead Generation
Over the last few years, customer expectations have changed. A significant driver of this change is our ability to quickly and easily access vast amounts of information at any given time. Many of the decision-makers within their companies now begin their purchasing process with a search engine query via Google.
These changes can be a bit scary but also bring opportunities! Many organizations have begun to realize that online lead gen in B2B can be a key driver of success, but what’s really in it for you?
With online lead generation, your prospects become aware of you and your company through various marketing activities online. They engage with your content even before there’s any kind of personal interaction. Through online lead generation, you make it easier for your sales department and provide information to your potential customers before the first sales contact.
At this point, you can assume they have a need. Your prospects want to know more and to download a white paper or book a demo of your product they have to fill in an online form with their business information. The information you’ve collected can now be handed off to Sales as a lead.
Researching suitable target companies and contacts usually take up a lot of time, especially in B2B sales. This results in your sales team spending time elsewhere instead of on the actual work of having conversations with your prospects. Research time can be drastically reduced or even eliminated with online lead generation because the pre-selection of suitable contacts has already happened.
Tip: There are some handy digital tools out there that can help you with online lead generation in B2B! From prospecting software to list generation and data management, there’s a tool for every process to ease the workload. But more on that later.
Data-Driven B2B Sales
Don't base sales in B2B on assumptions or gut feelings. A smoothly running sales process is data-driven because that’s the only way you can be sure you’re on target and scaling.
Tighter Alignment Between Sales and Marketing
Online lead generation is an important part of aligning the tasks of your sales and marketing teams. The customer journey is becoming increasingly complex and it’s all the more important to provide structure to all activities.
B2B Marketing takes on the task of generating leads (e.g. via the website) and ramping up their quality. To make this happen, your marketing team can use various measures and strategies such as Account Based Marketing (ABM). These measures can come in the form of precisely targeted ads, newsletters, white papers, webinars, and more.
After that, it becomes the responsibility of a presales team to sift through the incoming B2B leads, enriching them and handing them off to Sales. These leads have passed the critical stage and are allowed to be handed off to the sales team as Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs).
Online Lead Generation Strategies in B2B
There are advantages to B2B online lead generation that outweigh those of pure offline measures. Adapting digital marketing processes for companies in B2B is an essential part of creating future success. There are several strategies that you can execute to make your online lead-generation activities successful.
Content marketing is a very popular way to support online visibility and provide entry points for your lead generation. In B2B content marketing, you publish high-quality content in the form of landing pages or your company blog. The content is usually optimized for search engines with keyword SEO.
Having a good ranking that catapults your company to the top of the search results helps to gain awareness for your organization.
Did You Know?
SEO and Lead Generation
If you want to be found in search engines, you need an SEO strategy. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and covers all measures that lead to higher rankings of your website in the search engine results. This can include content or technical optimization, or link building.
The goal is to increase your visibility in the organic search results. So, if someone searches for “best marketing tools for a software company”, and your page comes up, that person is more likely to engage with your solution and wants to take a closer look.
An engaging call-to-action (CTA) serves to move visitors to leave their email addresses for a product demo which ultimately brings you a lead. [/box]
You can even collect B2B leads via your blog! You’ll often find more relevant content that’s only accessible if you submit your contact information. This can include things like using case studies, white papers, checklists, and other things that offer more value to your readers.
Email remains to be one of the most important B2B communication channels. With email marketing, you can reach out and maintain relationships with your prospects. One of the most common ways is to create a newsletter. Online lead generation isn’t the only place that email marketing plays an important role, but also in the context of lead qualification.
Did You Know?
Data Protection-Compliant Marketing
Be sure to keep in mind that mass emails are neither nice to look at nor GDPR or UWG-compliant. You run the risk of being penalized if you don’t provide the option of a double opt-in. This means that someone has to first confirm their email address again when they’ve signed up for your newsletter.
Analyzing how your visitors behave on your website, you’ll be able to better estimate which of them have an acute need for your product or services. This is something that you would need to address in the next step in sales. Other leads may just be more in the discovery phase and just want to take a look at your solution.
Social Media Marketing
In the context of B2B, the LinkedIn business network has emerged as an important player. Your target audience, in particular important decision makers and contacts, are on LinkedIn looking for information and inspiration. By working on your own brand presence on LinkedIn, you’ll optimize your online lead generation and make exciting connections.
On the one hand, you have the opportunity to create a profile of your company to bring awareness to you and your products. On the other hand, you can use LinkedIn to build your personal brand, making social media an important instrument in sustainably strengthening the online lead generation of your company.
6 Tips on How You Can Start With Online Lead Generation
As you’ve learned, there are many ways that online lead generation can help boost the sales success of your organization. To get you started on the right path, here are 6 valuable tips that we put together for you:
Tip 1: Know Your Audience
Getting to know your target audience before you begin is critical. Find out what their most pressing challenges are and ask yourself how you and your product or service can solve those challenges.
Be sure to define your ICP and Buyer Persona, and carry out audits regularly to make sure they are still current. Don’t forget to document your processes, it would be a shame to miss out on learning experiences! Documenting will also help you tune more finely for the future. The more precisely you know how to help your target audience, the more success you’ll see in your B2B online lead gen.
Tip 2: Quality Before Quantity
Success is often measured by the number of contacts and leads generated. But are you also measuring the quality? Lead quality qualification is so important because if those leads better fit your requirements, you’ll have a better chance of converting them. Losing leads because they’re unsuitable doesn’t have to happen!
Let’s say your landing page pulls around 100 B2B leads per week. Your marketing and presales team has screened them and deemed only 60 of them to be qualified. These leads are then passed on to your sales team who then reaches out to 48 of them. If things are running smoothly, you may end up with 15 leads that result in a closed deal.
Is that a good result? That depends entirely on your prices, margins, and much more.
The thing is, deals should be the outcome. It’s no use for Marketing to generate 1 million leads when none of them end up signing up with you. So, the better your B2B leads are, the greater your sales success will be!
Tip 3: Aligned Goals for Sales and Marketing in B2B
Measuring success based on the number of leads is usually justified by the fact that Sales and Marketing work on different goals. Quite simply, Marketing wants to generate a certain amount of leads and Sales wants to win customers.
Developing and aligning common goals will make your lead campaigns much more successful in the long run. The key here is sales and marketing alignment!
Tip 4: Give More Than You Take
When talking about online lead generation in B2B, what you should be aiming for is to provide value. When you focus on giving more than you take, you’re laying the foundation of a long-term customer relationship. Put your customers first!
Tip 5: Concentrate on Analysis and Optimization
Online lead generation is an ongoing process that should be optimized regularly. It’s important to use the data you have to further refine and improve your methods and strategies.
Tip 6: Be Creative Even in B2B
In fast-paced and complex times, organizations need creativity to successfully generate online leads. Offering the right, high-quality content is helpful and will ensure that Sales and Marketing are successful in the long term.
The 5 Best Tools for Online Lead Generation in B2B
Online lead generation in B2B only reaches its full superpowers when you automate as much as possible. Processes like data maintenance, lead qualification, and even address acquisition can be automated or at the very least, simplified with practical, digital tools.
Here are some tools to help you get there!
With Echobot you have 300 filter options at your fingertips to finely tune your searches to find your ideal customers. This means your marketing or presales team can hand off higher-quality leads to your sales department.
Sales trigger events mean you’ll be able to find the ideal time to reach out, and you even get a conversation starter! The best part is that Echobot is the number one solution for GDPR-compliant, online lead generation in B2B.
Remember how we mentioned before that a successful website is vital to online lead generation in B2B? Well, Leadfeeder is the icing on the cake of your website as a lead generation machine. Why? Leadfeeder not only shows you which companies visit your website, but also the pages they visited, and for how long. It then prioritizes these leads accordingly for you. Integrate Leadfeeder into your existing sales tools or CRM for fresh sales opportunities!
Their name is pretty much self-explanatory. Leadquizzes creates quizzes to engage your target audience in a fun way to get targeted information about your prospects. Depending on the questions you ask, you can also collect business email addresses (aka. B2B leads) at the same time essentially gamifying your online lead generation.
With Unbounce you can create high-conversion landing pages in no time! With their drag-and-drop functionality, you can build your landing page to suit you and your product. A/B testing and pop-ups are also included. This is how you boost online lead generation!
Hunter helps you find email addresses by entering a person’s name and company. The basic level allows you up to 25 email searches and 50 email checks per month. Paid plans start at $49/month for 500 searches and 1000 checks.
Successful businesses take advantage of the benefits and opportunities presented through online lead generation. Develop scalable processes and connect your B2B sales and marketing teams. There are many different ways to generate prospects, leads, and contact data.
The thing is, your online presence in the form of a website, blog, or social media is the key to online lead generation in B2B. Before you test other methods, optimize these parameters and then deal with the details.
From content marketing to email marketing to social media marketing, you will have the option to generate new, and most importantly, high-quality leads. Be sure to provide your prospects with value to make it worth their while when filling out a lead form. Show them how you can solve their problems, and your B2B online lead generation will boom!