In this article we’re going to be delving deep into the world of B2B lead generation. We’ll explore what B2B lead generation is, how B2B and B2C lead generation differ, and how you can get started with B2B lead generation yourself.
Table of contents:
What Is Lead Generation?
A lead is defined as a party who indicates they have interest in your company’s services or products and are in the market to make a purchase. So then lead generation can be defined as the process of attracting prospective clients and turning them into someone who has interest in your company or product.
There are many strategies that modern brands and marketers take advantage of in their combined lead generation efforts.
- Email Marketing – Some people consider email newsletters and the like to be a thing of the past, however some studies have found that email marketing is still up to 40% more effective than social media marketing.
- Social Media Marketing – Many companies find that social media marketing can help boost their sales over time, social media marketing is also highly important when it comes to your brands awareness, something we’ll be chatting about later on in this article.
- Blogging – Still a highly effective form of lead generation. Blogging is a great aid, it lets your prospective customers know that you’ve got a great knowledge base when it comes to your chosen field. Blogging also helps when it comes to keywords and ranking on google.
- Networking – You may well have heard the old adage ‘It’s not what you know, but, who you know’ Although networking isn’t the be all and end of lead generation, building a network around yourself is helpful from many stand points not just lead generation. A little factoid to bear in mind, is that around 80% of jobs are filled via networking, makes you think.
- Giveaways and Coupons – People love free stuff, so having giveaways is a great way of generating new leads. Coupons are an effective way of getting new customers to your business too.
- Live Events and Webinars – A slight extension of the last point, here you’d be hosting events ,doing live webinars or possibly making instructional content for youtube. This will aid in your brand awareness and customer trust moving forward.
This is a brief overview of the most common B2B marketing strategies businesses use to generate leads.
If you’d like to check out our full guide on lead generation, read this: The Ultimate Guide To Lead Generation
What Is B2B Lead Generation?
The B2B, in B2B lead generation stands for business to business, so at its core now when we’re talking B2B2 lead generation we are just talking about lead generation that is focused on leads from other businesses, these can be for profit or non- profit.
There are four different B2B markets they are as follows :
- Producers – Producers can be defined as a company that purchases goods from other companies and in turn transforms those goods into other products. All food chains, car manufacturers and many other industries can be attached to the producers market.
- Resellers – As the name suggests this market is solely for those who buy products to resell them without change or modification. So shops like Tescos and Sainsburys can be placed into this market, because they gather lots of products from separate producers and sell them, unmodified.
- Institutions – These can be mostly summed up as non- profit organisations such as churches or charities, In general they purchase a great deal of products/service.
- Government – The government or B2G as it’s sometimes referred to by those in the know. Governments as you can imagine are the biggest purchaser of goods and services in the world, if you can imagine it they probably need it for something from paper to nuclear missiles the governments are buying.
How is B2C Lead Generation and B2B Lead Generation Different?
B2C stands for business to customer and a customer is defined as somebody who isn’t affiliated with a specific business or brand. Essentially businesses whose sole purpose is to sell products to customers companies such as Amazon, Tesco, Ebay and Netflix.
In general the B2B market is more concerned with saving money as their main objective is to make money, however B2C customers are generally more open to spending larger amounts of money. B2B models also have the added advantage of having less customers with more revenue. This also means that your sales cycle is longer in B2B transactions.
Another key difference between the B2C and B2B markets is that generally the presentation of products is more a key purchasing factor for the B2C market. Most B2B companies will look at the price and functionality of a product or service before the presentation of the product or packaging.
However the packaging and presentation of the product is one of the key purchasing factors for those in the B2C marketplace.
Some companies have strictly B2B business models while some have A B2C, hybrid B2B and B2C business models are often seen today, especially with larger B2C companies who have separate departments for B2B activities.
When it comes to your efforts for lead generation there are some minor differences in the approach marketeers will need to take. Many of these aspects are aesthetic choices or choices that are informed about what previous knowledge you have about your ‘target audience’ or Perfect Customers’
When looking at the differences between B2C and B2B lead generation another place when there’s a large difference is the use of social media.
Many B2C leads are generated for companies’ B2C efforts in contrast to B2B lead generation where the only real platform that has any use is Linkedin.
How Does B2B Lead Generation Work?
To reduce things down into a simple process, there are four main steps to B2B Lead Generation. You may hear this being called a ‘B2B sales funnel’ and they work as follows:
- Find The Leads – The first step of B2B lead generation is finding the potential leads contact information. This information is either sourced in house or by a third party lead generation company.
- First Contact – Now you have a database of potential high quality leads to contact it’s time to start some cold contacting. This can either be an email or a social media posting of some kind. The whole point here is to put your business or product in front of the eyes of the people who will be more likely to enjoy your product or service.
- Searching and Qualifying Leads- This stage is about research, is your customer aware of your brand? Do they trust your brand? Are they already considering making a purchase? These are the main contributing factors many B2B customers will be asking themselves before they make a purchase.
- Close The Lead – Purchase! Success! Triumph! Victory! Hasta La Vista Baby! The lead has picked your brand and made the purchase.
There are many different strategies companies use for B2B lead generation, don’t worry we’ll go into them in more depth later in this article when we cover the best B2B lead generation strategies for beginners.
Why Is B2B Lead Generation Important To My Business?
When it comes to business being static isn’t a good thing. A day without growth is essentially a day wasted. I think essentially what i’m struggling to say here is B2B lead generation is important because it’ll make your business grow.
Knowing your target audience is key so you don’t waste your efforts advertising to those who wouldn’t be interested in your brand in the first place. However advertising or making content for your target demographic will help increase your brand awareness which in turn will have a knock on effect to your lead generation capabilities.
In today’s internet focused society B2B lead generation has become more and more important, as lead generation generates traffic to companies websites where they can convert those leads into sales.
Having a nicely designed engaging website that’s mobile ready for your leads to land on has become increasingly more important too and this is an aspect of lead generation that is also highly important. The look and feel of your website will set the tone for how your potential customer feels about your brand.
If the website is slow and clunky the chances are that prospective customers B2B or B2C become slimmer and slimmer.
What Are The Different Types Of B2B Lead Generation Leads?
Now we’re going to break down the three main types of B2B leads. Every lead is a potential new paying customer but unfortunately all leads were not created equal.
A cold lead is essentially a company that has been deemed like a good fit for your brand from either purchase of a third party lead from a lead generation company or a lead you’ve generated yourself in-house. Generally speaking these have a lower conversion rate than the other methods of B2B lead generation primarily because the prospective lead has no prior knowledge of the brand. The general aim with cold leads is to cast a big net as this method doesn’t nurture many opportunities.
Warm leads are essentially businesses who have interacted with your brand before, by either filling in an email form, visiting a website multiple times or by watching or downloading some form of free content you have available online.
These actions indicate that the prospective lead is interested in your company therefore they may be more likely to want to engage with your site and make a purchase.
As you may well have guessed, a hot lead or a qualified lead is a business who have shown they have a strong intent to make a purchase and are already interested in your company or brand. They may have arrived at your website from targeted advertising or as a result of a warm lead being followed up on whatever the case hot leads are ready to make a purchase.
What Are The Different Types Of B2B Lead Generation?
There are eight major categories when it comes to lead generation strategies hey are as follows:
- Outbound – With outbound efforts you’ll be using prospecting tools & databases, outbound emails, phone prospecting and lead nurturing. The goal here is to coax your cold leads into warm and hot leads.
- Online- This category includes content creation and distribution, web design, lead capture, social media marketing, email marketing, webinars, ppc advertising efforts. A large part of B2B lead generation lies in this category. Content creation just by itself takes time to be made; this means you will have to outsource some aspects of the operation to others who are skilled in that area.
- Paid – these include all leads that are generated by third party lead generation companies.
- Events – Attending trade shows, doing online webinars and other forms of B2B networking are included in his category.
- Branding and Advertising – Using sponsorships or advertising in general to increase your brand awareness.
- Direct Mail – Not such a hot choice for those who are in the B2C sector but for B2B businesses good old fashioned mail is another great way to get your brand in front of eyes.
- Referrals – Referrals from previous happy customers or general ‘word of mouth’ scenarios in this category. Making sure your customers have an excellent customer experience on your website or in store is vital for referrals to happen.
- PR – The final type of lead generation is doing press releases, appearing on the news or in general having some sort of media attention that you didn’t ‘pay for’ . A great example would be holding some sort of charity auction and the local news turning up to report on the event.
What Are The 6 Stages Of The B2B Buying Process?
Now we’re going to outline the 6 stages of the B2B buying process to help you understand your clients steps through from awareness to final final purchase.
The first stage of the B2B buying process is the customer realising that they need a product or service to fix a problem or fill a need their company has. To make an example that is relevant to this situation, if there was a marketing director who realised that to gain the market recognition the company needs it would need to hire a third party to generate leads for them.
2. Commitment To Fixing The Problem
The next stage of the B2B buying process is the customer making a commitment to fixing the problem or filling the need. It’ll be at this point that the lead will start to address their budget and assess how their purchase may impact the business at large.
3. Considering Buying Options
At this point the lead will then begin to research what the available solutions are on the market. Making sure that your website stands out from the pack will be key within this stage.
4. Commitment to The Solution
After considering all of the available options on the market, or not of course, the lead then resolves on the best solution for their business.
Now at this point the lead will have decided on what the purchase will be and now they’ll need to justify that decision to any members of management that need to have input. This will be the stage where all of the final questions will be addressed and the details hammered out.
6. Final Sale
At this stage the lead has been given the go ahead to purchase the product or service and they do so. Ensuring that they have an excellent customer experience in your store front or website will ensure that they use your brand next time they need to purchase a similar item. This is also excellent when it comes to driving up the number referrals you obtain overtime.
These are the six stages of the B2B buying process depending on exactly what your service or product your business offers you may well be able to skip a step or two here and there.
The overall goal is to create happy customers, happy customers talk about good experiences this will lead to referrals. A point to remember is that this road runs both ways, bad customers talk too. Customer service should be the highest on your priorities list.
Can I Do B2B Lead Generation By Myself?
As you may well have gathered by the two thousand odd words I’ve already written today, B2B lead generation is actually quite a complex subject. It’s quite easy to say ‘well write some blogs, make a few videos, throw up a website and you’ll have the customers rolling in before you know it’ but it isn’t as simple as that, if it were everybody would be doing it right?
The simple answer is, yes, you can do B2B lead generation by yourself BUT you have to do all that by yourself. It may well be more cost and time effective for you to outsource this activity to a third party company who can generate leads on your behalf.
However, if you still want to begin to learn how to generate leads yourself, we’ve got you covered in the next chapter.
How To Get Started With B2B Lead Generation?
Okay so we’re now going to break down how to get started with your own B2B lead generation.
Make A Website/ Storefront – Before you start to think about driving your sales you need to have a place for your sales to happen, this will either be a website or a store front or both! Having a nicely designed website is without a doubt one of the top things you need to ensure you have if you conduct your business online, you need to have an excellent engaging website that works on all platforms.
- Identify Prospects – Now you need to start doing some research, find companies who may well need the product or service that you supply, build a database you can refer to over time.
- Set Up Automated Email List – The B2B market is still very active when it comes to email lists and the like, setting up an automated email list can help you stand out from the crowd if you’re saying something interesting.
- Cold Prospecting – Now you can use your database to start cold prospecting your leads. This can be achieved by either calling the company or emailing them.
- Create Content – So creating content is one of the key elements to generating leads, the content lets your prospective leads know that you’ve got a great knowledge base and the better it is the higher it will rank. This will give your brand better recognition and make leads more like;ly to choose you over your competitor.
- Hold Events Or Webinars – We’ve touched on this already, but holding events or webinars are an excellent way of driving potential leads to your website and by catering your content to your pacific audience you’ll make it more likely that once they are there, they’ll make a purchase.
- Offer Free Content – Offering a free download or coupon can help drive more potential leads to your website. Again the main key here is to ensure that you’re offering something that would be applicable to your key demographic.
- Use Linkedin – As we mentioned before Linkedin is the only social platform that is really relevant for B2B lead generation. Ultimately Linkedin is a networking website and a great deal of lead generation is networking with other companies.
- Be Prepared To Spend Time – One of the largest costs when it comes to B2B lead generation is the amount of time it takes to start producing leads that are of quality. Be prepared to spend a lot of time organising all the separate gears that go with the world of lead generation.
What Are The Best B2B Lead Generation Strategies For Beginners?
So, you’re ready to start your new journey into the world of B2B lead generation, but you don’t know where to start? Don’t worry, the team over at Lead Genera put their heads together and came up with some of the best, tried and tested strategies to improve your B2B lead generation skills for beginners.
Free Giveaways/Gated Content
Many companies and online retailers often run free giveaways or contests to drive up leads. Free software, video tutorials in general the idea would be to offer a product that is applicable for your brand, in much the same way as you’d gear your advertising and content creation efforts at a target audience you give aways should also be catered to that group as well.
A free giveaway also gives you an opportunity to add some new contacts to your email list, as you can ask for an email in order to receive the free product. As an alternative or addition to your cold contacting efforts creating gated content is a fantastic idea that is proven to help drive lead generation over multiple platforms.
Automate Lead Generation and Email Campaigns
Marketing softwares can be used to automate your email campaigns and lead generation efforts. ( Don’t worry we’ll go through some of the most common tools marketers use in the next chapter) essentially this saves you time and is an excellent way to build relationships by drip feeding emails to your subscribers over a period of time with useful, helpful and engaging blogs. These days email automation is pretty sophisticated and there’s actually lots of ways you can personalise the automated email experience.
Call To Action
A call to action is essentially when the brand asks the lead to contact them by using such language as ‘Visit Today’ or ‘Click Here To Find Out More’ these days on the internet these phrases will usually come along with some kind of button or widget that is easily accessible to the lead and will redirect the lead to your landing page. Another Common type of Call to action that is regularly seen and commonly used to generate prospective B2B leads is time limited CTAs’ such as ‘While Stocks Last’ or ‘Limited Time Only’ this type of language let’s the prospect know that this offer is time sensitive and they must act now if they wish to take advantage of the offer.
Finally the last type of CTA are ones with an actual time constraint such as ‘Order before 2am and get a FREE gift’. Ultimately here there’s one goal: get new leads to your website or store front.
We’ve briefly touched on referrals in general but not actual referral campaigns. This is when you incentivise your current happy customers to recommend your business to their friends and family and by doing so they receive something in return such as ‘10% off your next order’
In Depth Blog Posts
Whatever content you’re putting out it needs to say good things about your company and your knowledge of your chosen field. Writing in depth blog posts (bit like this one here) shows your prospective leads that your brand knows exactly what they’re talking about and it also aids in ranking your website higher on the search results with various search engines.
Top B2B Lead Generation Tools 2021
Now we’ve highlighted some of the top B2B lead generation strategies for beginners. We thought it would be a great idea to give you guys an idea of what sort of tools can be helpful when you’re first starting out with B2B lead generation in 2021.
- Rating – 4/5
- Cost – Starter packages start at £42 per month. Billed annually at £504 per year.
Hubspot is one of the biggest all in one lead generation tools on the market. Their features are pretty unrivalled but this would be a pretty expensive tool for those beginners out there as the starter packages billed at £504 per year. You can manage your contacts, post to a blog, create landing pages, find new leads and a whole lot more, very usable and easy to get started with.
- Rating – 4/5
- Cost – Plans starting at £76.70 per month. (annual)
Prospecti.io is an automation platform that’s currently integrated to work with Salesforce, Pipedrive, Close.io and Hubspot. There’s a handy little chrome extension that lets you find brand new cold leads at the click of a button, it’s pretty snazzy like the cool kids say.
Propecti.io takes a lot of the time and hassle out of generating B2B leads, a really handy tool for those looking to get into lead generation in B2B lead generation in 2021.
- Rating – 4/5
- Cost – Packages start at £34.56 per month.
Reply.io does have a FREE package that’s definitely worth a look if you’re wanting to try it out. Reply.io helps you find prospects’ Linkedin email addresses in seconds and now there’s a handy Chrome browser extension that can be added free for all Reply.io users.
- Rating – 3/5
- Cost – Prices start at 3.52 per month for a personal account.
Boomerang is a fantastic little chrome extension that lets you schedule your emails. It lets you keep on top of whether people are reading your mails or not and will email you, after a period of time, if the prospect doesn’t open the mail.
- Rating – 3.5/5
- Cost – Prices start at £20.46 per month.
As we said earlier in this article, having contests and giveaways are a fantastic way to draw new prospective leads into your digital storefront. Vyper helps you do just that, with the aim of creating ‘viral’ contests Vyper gives you many of the tools you need to make that happen easily.
- Rating – 4.5/5
- Cost – Free
For the last entry we thought we’d give you a free tool! Everybody loves a free tool after all! Google forms is a free tool that you can use to build your surveys, it’s easy to use and did we mention it’s completely free!
How To Generate B2B Leads For Your Small Business?
As we come into the final couple of chapters of this article the team here at Lead Genera thought it would be a fantastic way to top the article off by outlining the strategies and tactics you should be using to generate your own B2B leads. All of the points below have been proven to work in the ‘real world’ with results.
In fact, here at Lead Genera we utilise many of these strategies as we believe them to be the basis of any good B2B Lead Generation Campaign.
- Identify Your ‘Target Audience’ – So we’ve talked about a target audience or demographic a fair bit in this article, but exactly what is that. Well to put it in layman’s terms a is your perfect customer. Paint a picture of the sort of person you can see purchasing your products or using your service, who is your product or service for? This can be done by brainstorming and looking at the sort of customers who use similar brands to yours. Once you’ve answered these questions it’ll be much easier to reach the people who may be interested in your brand. Here’s a great opportunity for you to start to figure out a road map of what strategies you may want to use moving forward with your promotional efforts.
- Pick Promotional Methods – We’ve outlined earlier in the article many different ways you can promote your brand such as writing blogs and making content, doing giveaways and contests or by utilising social media platforms to your best abilities. You need to make a plan of how you’ll approach the promotional efforts. Be prepared to change things as you move along, don’t waste too much time with avenues that aren’t producing any meaningful leads.
- Create A Sales Funnel – In essence the sales funnel is just a plan. We’ve picked our target audience, we know our promotional methods now we need to create a plan for collecting contact information. Firstly you’ll need to funnel all of your prospects from a landing page or form that encourages them to fill in the contact information. In return a coupon, sample or something other of value can be used to incentivise your prospects. Ensure that you update your database regularly to keep on top of your relationships with your various leads.
- Email Newsletters to Build Relationships – We highlighted earlier in this article how emails and newsletter can be automated to save time. However, they’re still a fantastic way to build relationships, when it comes to B2B lead generation and cultivating leads into returning customers. Make sure you make your newsletter useful, engaging and not regular enough to be considered spam.
- Use Social Media Platforms To Connect With Your Audience – Social media is all about getting to know people, so it only makes sense that your customers will want to get to know your brand. By doing regular posts on social media you can keep up to date with all of your prospects and current customer base.
Many people actually prefer to talk to business over social media platforms so if your small business doesn’t have any social media accounts it’s probably time you fixed it, you could be missing out on potential sales!
Don’t forget as far as B2B lead generation goes the best social network you need to be signed up to is Linkedin, however it doesn’t hurt to have accounts in other places especially if you do have B2C sales in your business too.
Now if you don’t have the time or resources to currently start doing your own B2B lead generation it could be time for you to call in the professionals.
Best B2B Lead Generation Company?
Here at Lead Genera we only offer quality B2B leads for our clients. We treat each of our clients as if they were our own business and we take the time to understand exactly what needs to be done for your website to receive a measurable impact of leads within days.
We offer Lead generation, web development, design, animation and market consultancy service to our clients at competitive rates.
Here at Lead Genera we consider lead generation to be a fundamental part of growing any business. That is why plan out and execute the most effective strategies catered to your business.
We pride ourselves on not being ‘okay’ with modest growth, we expect results, so should you. If you’d like to speak to us and discover how we can utilise the most important 20% of work to achieve 80% of your brand’s exponential growth. Then visit our Homepage and click Request a Proposal. Click Here to Request A Proposal.
Conclusion: A Complete Guide To Lead Generation
In this article we’ve aided you in your discovery of ‘What is Lead Generation’, ‘What is B2B lead generation’ and discovered exactly ‘How is B2C and B2B Lead Generation Different?’ .
Then we found out ‘How Does B2B Lead Generation Work’, ‘Why Is B2B Lead Generation Important To My Business?’ and ‘What Are The Different Types Of B2B Lead Generation’.
We studied ‘The 6 Stages Of The B2B Buying Process’, took you through ‘How to Get Started with B2B Lead Generation’ , showed you some the ‘Best B2B strategies For Beginners’ and the ‘Top B2B Lead Generation Tools In 2021’.
Finally we laid out ‘How To Generate B2B Leads For Your Small Business’ and then we took a look at us, Lead Genera and we explained how we are without a doubt the ‘Best B2B lead Generation Company’ as we offer solutions to your B2B lead generation woes that can see your website having a measurable impact in the amount of leads it’s receives in just days!
We hope you’ve enjoyed the article and that you’ve found it helpful. The Team here at Lead Genera wish you all the best on your voyage to B2B lead generation success.
If you’ve enjoyed this article why not check out these articles from our Knowledge Hub?