Lead generation is highly important to the growth of any business and its revenue. 56% of companies exceed their revenue goals because of effective lead generation efforts. Furthermore, B2B organizations with mature lead generation processes earn 133% more revenue than average companies.
B2B lead generation is basically a program where you attract potential customers or leads to your business and increase their interest in your product or service using nurturing techniques. It is implemented to fill your sales pipeline with leads and eventually convert them into buyers.
You obviously know the goal of developing a B2B lead generation process: to generate high-quality leads. But how do you set up a lead generation process that works or brings the results you want? Well, here are five steps you need to follow:
Step 1: Create and agree upon lead definitions with sales
Start your B2B lead generation process by establishing what defines a “good lead”. Be sure to involve sales in creating and agreeing upon a lead definition. Did you know sales reps ignore half of all marketing leads? Ask the sales team what types of leads they’d prefer to work on or what kinds of leads are not worth their time.
Besides, see to it that your marketing and sales teams agree upon what qualifies a lead. This is where the definitions of marketing qualified lead (MQL) and sales qualified lead (MQL) come in. Align your marketers and salespeople to define MQLs and SQLs and establish how and when should a lead be transferred from marketing to sales.
Don’t forget to develop an ideal client profile (ICP). It’ll better equip your go-to-market team to define and qualify leads more accurately. You can also implement the BANT (budget, authority, need, and time) system along with firmographics, technographics, and demographics to score and qualify leads.
Step 2: Understand your target buyers to better generate ideal leads
The next step is to gain intimate knowledge of your target audience, so you could effectively generate and convert leads that actually matter to your business. Again, your ICP or buyer persona is essential to know what leads to pursue and what your ideal leads look like.
However, if you are to understand your target audience in a deeper way, it’s important to conduct exhaustive research or even better, use B2B sales intelligence. This also informs your content marketing or messaging strategy, which is crucial to the success of your B2B lead generation campaign. Moreover, you can know which specific channels to target to generate leads.
For example, you can leverage intent data to know who is actively looking for you online, who is ready to make a purchase, and who is searching for your competitor’s solution. Importantly, intent data helps you identify such “in-market” leads and understand their:
- Buying triggers
- Purchase intent
- Pain points
- Online behavior
Statistics reveal intent data can deliver up to 4X pipeline expansion. You can also take advantage of website visitor intelligence, psychographics, account-based data, and other types of B2B sales intelligence to closely understand and target ideal leads. Sales intelligence also improves your lead generation by helping you:
- Increase relevance
- Get your timing right
- Create context-based, resonating messages
Step 3: Run your inbound or outbound lead generation campaign
Implement a B2B inbound or outbound lead generation program or both, depending on your business needs, goals, budget, preference, and previous lead generation experience or outcome. Whichever type of lead generation campaign you choose to run, see to it that you first use least expensive tactics like social media, email, or content marketing.
This will help you generate leads at a minimum cost or improve your B2B lead generation ROI. Did you know inbound leads cost 61% less on average than outbound leads? If the inexpensive lead generation techniques don’t yield the outcome you’re looking for, you can always work your way to expensive tactics like paid ads, webinars, or in-person events.
Some of the popular inbound lead generation tactics are:
- Search engine optimization
- Content marketing (ebooks, blogs, videos, podcasts, etc.)
- Social media marketing
- Programmatic advertising
- Website optimization and retargeting
Some of the common outbound lead generation techniques are:
- Cold calling and cold emailing
- Direct mail marketing
- TV and print advertising
- Trade shows and networking
- Word of mouth marketing
Step 4: Use a powerful CTA and build a process to direct leads
This step is actually part of your B2B inbound or outbound lead generation. When looking to attract leads in your lead generation campaign, use tailored and clear CTAs to encourage leads to take a specific or desired action. As per statistics, personalized CTAs perform 202% better than non-personalized CTAs.
After a lead takes an action or clicks on your CTA, it needs to be directed to a customized landing page to capture its information. A landing page welcomes leads that have responded to your marketing efforts like paid ads, social media, SEO, event invitations, email, blogging, etc. Your high-converting landing page should ideally include:
- A problem
- A solution to it
- A valuable offer
- Another CTA
- A webform or opt-in form to capture lead data
If you’re implementing outbound lead generation, you can include the link to your landing page in your outbound emails, or direct your outbound leads to a phone number, email address, or web page.
Step 5: Nurture qualified leads to move them down the sales funnel
Once you’ve implemented your B2B inbound or outbound lead generation, be proactive to segment and qualify the leads you’ve generated. Use your ICP or buyer persona, the agreed upon qualified lead definition, B2B sales intelligence, B2B company and contact data, and the BANT system to direct your lead segmentation and qualification efforts.
Now, new or qualified leads don’t automatically turn into customers. You need to nurture them. Statistics show 80% of new leads never translate into sales. Nurturing is a critical part of the lead generation process. Furthermore, organizations excelling at lead nurturing produce 50% more sales-ready leads and that too at a 33% lower cost.
Don’t limit your B2B lead generation to only generating top of the funnel leads, because they may not be ready to buy yet. Look to convert those leads into bottom of the funnel leads, which are likely to become your customers.
Here’s what you need to focus on in your lead nurturing program:
- Score leads to determine which ones are worth nurturing, depending on the perceived value they represent to your business
- Use targeted, personalized content and messaging to engage leads and keep your solution top of mind with them
- Take a multi-channel approach to lead nurturing and deliver consistent messaging across the board
- Deliver multiple touches and use a mix of content to nurture leads at each stage of their buyer’s journey
- Align sales and marketing, use retargeting, create customized web experiences, ensure timely follow-ups, and stay connected on social media to nurture leads
A Final Word
You’re sure to develop a result-oriented, profitable B2B lead generation process once you follow the step-by-step guide provided here. As a final step, make sure you measure and evaluate your lead generation process from time to time. This will help you identify bottlenecks, optimize, and improve your lead generation process to achieve even greater success.
Use A/B or multivariate testing to evaluate or optimize your B2B lead generation process. Lastly, don’t forget to track these metrics: MQL to SQL and SQL to opportunity conversion, cost per lead, leads generated per offer, content conversion, ROI, time to conversion, and click-through rate.