The question, “how do I find new business leads?” is one that many companies grapple with. In fact, the 2017 state of b2b digital marketing report found that while 47% of marketers say that their biggest priority is generating quality leads, 32% of them said that it’s also the area that poses the most challenge.
This shows that getting more b2b sales leads is not an easy task. Most of the time, it doesn’t matter whether you have the best product in the market. You simply will not make any sales if people don’t know about what you have to offer.
In this post, we will discuss strategies that will put your product in front of as many prospects as possible, and how those strategies can help you to generate sales leads for your product. And we aren’t just talking about leads that no one can reach, but quality leads that are contactable and closable. But first, let’s define a b2b lead and what “b2b” means.
What b2b means in sales B2b stands for “business to business”. It is a term used to define transactions that take place between businesses.
What is a B2B Lead? This is a company that has the potential to be nurtured into a customer. Lead generation and lead nurturing can be done through a combination of outbound and inbound marketing tactics.
How Do B2B Generate Sales Leads?
In 2020, you can use the following proven techniques to generate more leads:
1. Increase Your Engagement with Your Customers
Relationships are everything in sales and talking to people who reach out to you in a great way to do so. As such, when people reach out to you with questions about your product or company, instead of just referring them to your blog, you can ask to if they would mind having a quick call with you.
Granted, there are customers who want to just receive a link, click on it and find out everything for themselves. But do you really want to take this risk? A direct call with a client is more memorable and more likely to result in a sale.
2. Refresh Your Email Lists Constantly
It is impossible to generate leads from an email list that is outdated, contains incorrect information or that doesn’t match the parameters for your target persona. If you haven’t sanitized your email list for a while, you could even be cold-emailing people who are already your customers.
You can fix this by updating your lists regularly. There are companies that sell leads and you can contact any of the reputable ones if you wish to expand your lists. Ensure that the list you buy is relevant to your target market. Such lists should also be easy to filter, identify and eliminate leads already in your database or CRM.
3. Send Customized Cold Emails
Email is still a relevant part of lead generation. In fact, 59% of marketers consider email their most effective channel for generating b2b leads. when you send cold emails, make sure to personalize them. Research shows that personalized emails are 75% more likely to be clicked on by their recipients. They are also more likely to elicit a response than emails that are not personalized.
4. Call Your Warm Leads
If you have been nurturing your leads for a while but haven’t managed to convert them, it’s time to start making some calls. You can call a warm lead
- A few days following a pdf download,
- At the end of a free trial,
- Or if you don’t hear from them after a webinar.
Their last action should be the opening line for your conversation. For instance:
- If they downloaded: Find out if the download was helpful. Do they need more reading material? In what other way you can be of help?
- If they just completed a trial: Do they need an extended trial period?
- After a webinar: Can you visit their office, or are they open to a one on one demo online?
The point of calling your warm leads is that they are a lot closer to a purchase decision than anyone who hasn’t had contact with your brand before. A call might be what’s needed to propel them to finally buy.
5. Use Marketing Automation Tools
Your lead generation process should be automated. Automation will help you to:
- Segment your email list and target them with relevant content
- Send emails at scale
- Move sales qualified leads over to the sales team for conversion
- Provide better alignment between sales and marketing.
- Notify you when your leads perform an intended action.
Automation will make your campaigns less tedious to manage and give you accurate results.
6. Use Chatbots On Your Website
Customers want to do business with companies that respond urgently to queries. Although companies respond in 12 hours on average, research shows that customers expect a response within 1 hour. You might think, “well, but they know we are not working right now”, or, “surely they’ll understand we’re on a different time zone”. While customers may understand and call later, there are thousands of businesses out there, offering services just like yours, so you don’t want to take that chance.
Chatbots are the answer to your problem if you have been losing leads when not online. Chat tools will engage your customers without any delay, and they can even collect email addresses.
7. Generate Leads Through Your Email Signature
You no doubt put a lot of thought into your emails. But if your email signature looks like the example shown above, you are wasting a lot of marketing potential. You can do the following to turn your email signature into a lead generation tool:
- Add a url to a lead magnet, such as a white paper
- Promote product offers. E.g a banner reading, “60% off on product Y”
- Include a banner promoting an event or webinar
- Add your social media buttons with a clear call to action
8. Join And Participate In Social Media Groups
LinkedIn and Facebook are great places to engage with other professionals, share your expertise and find leads. Once you join a group, don’t start off by pitching to members as this may put people off. Instead, do the following to establish rapport:
- Start conversations
- Engage in other people’s conversations
- Commend people on their content and events they held or plan to hold
Once group members get to know you, you can use the platform to generate interest in your products.
9. List in Online Directories
There are so many products and solutions online that people don’t always know which companies to trust. This is what makes directories important. When you list on directories, anyone looking for software will find you product, read reviews about it and learn more about your company.
Online directories will also put your business on a lot of people’s radar. Examples of directories include:
- LinkedIn company directory
- Google my business
If you sell software, you should be on directories like Capterra and SaaS Genius.
10. Share Your Knowledge On Q&A Websites
Q&A websites can be a great source of referral traffic. All you need to do is join one, find questions that are relevant to your company’s subject matter and provide authoritative answers to those questions.
Quora would be a great place to start. There have been instances where websites have generated more than 23,000 views in referral traffic simply by answering a question on Quora.
11. Ask For Reviews
Customers trust reviews. 92% B2b decision makers are likely to buy based on reviews.
Offering great service to existing customers is the key to getting online reviews. If you don’t have any reviews, get your old customers to publish a few sentences about you. Video testimonials are even more powerful, so make use of them where you can.
12. Use Facebook Lead-Gen Forms
Lead generation ads on Facebook are a great way to build your email list. Most lead gen forms, particularly those on websites, require people to spend some time filling in information. This can result in lead drop off as the process can be time consuming and sometimes tiring.
This is what makes lead-gen forms on Facebook so useful.
- The forms pre-fill, reducing instances of lead drop offs
- Pre-filled forms are also ideal to use on small screens. This means you can generate leads by targeting mobile audiences
- You can customize your ads to suit your offer
- Optimize your ads to suit your audience or product
13. Complement Organic Search Efforts with Paid Ads
Google ads can complement your organic traffic generation efforts by ensuring that your content, company or product reaches more people. Google ads work better when optimized for keywords, goals and audience. Google ds also offers retargeting options, a strategy for reengaging any leads that may not convert.
Working with google ads takes some expertise, hence it’s always worth it to trust the process to someone who is google-ad certified.
14. Warm Your Leads with Remarketing Ads
Remarketing tools allow you to show ads to past visitors whenever they visit another website.
- Visitors may leave your website because they want to conduct further research. Remarketing reminds such web browsers of your brand and attempts to make them change their mind.
- Other web visitors may simply run out of time and could even bookmark your site with the intention to visit later. Targeting them with your ads next time they are online could remind them to go back to your page.
If you have automated your lead generation campaigns, you can customize your remarketing ads to suit your marketing funnel.
15. Use SEO to Increase Website Traffic
Getting your website ranked higher in the search results will increase your website traffic. To rank better, you must perform search engine optimization on your website. Some basics of SEO include:
- Keyword optimization, both on landing pages and blog content
- Consistently posting great content
- Link building
Again, it’s important to point out that SEO and content generation can be technical and time consuming. It’s always best to outsource these tasks and instead focus your time and energy on business strategy.
16. Use Landing Pages
Have you ever clicked on a google ad or Facebook ad that you were excited about, only to be led to a web page that doesn’t even contain the advertised product? You probably looked around the page a bit and then closed the page, disappointed.
The scenario described here is a good example of what happens when you create a good advert but forget to create a landing page where customers will be directed to after they click on the advert.
Building a landing page for your campaign will keep your leads focused on the specific action listed on the landing page. Without a landing page, leads are likely to get distracted by whatever else is on the website, or, as in our example above, leave disappointed.
17. Boost Your Content Marketing
Content is the cornerstone of any digital marketing strategy. Content:
- Educates people, aids their research and makes them comfortable about their purchasing decisions
- Increases brand visibility on search engines and social media
- Provides backlinking opportunities, which can increase your referrals and allow you to tap into traffic from other websites
- Content is also a great way to stay in touch with current customers and ensure their loyalty and increase their life time value
Given the above, to improve your lead generation efforts, your company’s blog and monthly newsletters should not only have content, but it should also be content that people are looking for.
18. Generate More Leads With Webinars
Webinars give you a forum not only to educate participants but to also share your expertise and connect.
Leads generated through webinar signups are usually higher quality than those generated through other gated offers. This is because people who attend webinars are usually in advanced stages of information gathering. They are looking for in-depth information that will enlighten them more and help decide on a deal.
As such, use webinars to convert leads that are closer to a buying decision.
19. Use E-Books and White Papers as Gated Content
White papers and eBooks are time consuming to write. But they can help you to build your email list if their content is relevant, valuable, unique and detailed. eBooks and whitepapers are useful especially when used as gated content. In fact, 63% of customers say they would share their personal information for an eBook, and 76% for white papers.(source: The 2017 Content Preferences Survey Report)
So, if you have a lot of expertise to share, publish an eBook or whitepaper, offer it as gated content and use it to capture new leads.
20. Interview Key Decision-Makers Within Companies
There are a lot of successful business people out there who have a lot of knowledge that you could harness and turn into a podcast, eBook or blog post. Interviewing key decision makers in a company will also raise your profile, increase your credibility and offer backlinking opportunities.
If your brand’s lead generation activities have been dwindling, line up some interviews with a few top company executives and open the door to more traffic.
21. Use the Power of Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is a collaboration, especially one between brands and personalities, where brands seek to leverage the endorsement of a person with influence. You can use the endorsement of an influencer to
- Build your social media following,
- Drive visits to your website or
- Increase sales for a newly launched product.
To generate a significant number of leads through influencer marketing, the influencer you choose must have a large following on social media or their content must have wide readership. It’s also important to choose an influencer who is easily recognized by the audience you want to tap into.
22. Look for Guest Posting Opportunities
Guest blogging involves writing and posting content on other websites. It is a great way to find and connect with new audiences. You might not like the idea of guest blogging because of all the time you have to invest in creating great posts. As well, websites that allow guest bloggers have strict guidelines and may not always be receptive to the idea of backlinking.
But you can solve these challenges by hiring ghost writers who will not only write great posts for you, but also find guest blogging opportunities that can increase traffic to your website and generate more leads.
23. Issue Press Releases
While social media and content marketing are powerful lead generation tools, combining the two with traditional press releases can propel your lead generation efforts to new heights. If your company has noteworthy news to share, you can issue a press release which can reach a lot of people if it’s shared by bloggers, influencers, news media houses and your followers.
Some items worth issuing a press release for include:
- New product launches
- Industry recognition or award
- New publication, such as a white paper, case study, eBook or research journal
- Mergers, expansions and partnerships
24. Look for New Networking Opportunities
B2b sales success relies heavily on relationship building. Every event, exhibition or product launch, is a platform through which you can connect with people who can be your future customers. You can also network during social events such as a charity gala, sports tournaments, the golf course, your club or at your kids’ school event.
You should also network on social media, particularly LinkedIn. In a study by hubspot, LinkedIn generated lead conversions up to 277% higher than FaceBook and twitter. As such, as you work out a networking strategy for your social media platforms, LinkedIn should feature prominently.
25. Use Current Customers to Generate Referrals
Referrals from satisfied customers can bring in significant new business. Up to 82% of business owners say that they get most of their business from referrals.
Before you start asking for referrals, you should work on building a strong relationship with your existing customers. You should also make the referral process easy and painless for your customers. Rather than leave them to figure out how to draft a referral email, create a template, send it to your existing customers and point out that it will only take a minute for them to refer some new prospects they know.
26. Be More Visible on Social Media
As mentioned earlier, social media platforms, particularly LinkedIn, provide an excellent avenue for lead generation. Here’s why you should invest in social media:
- Social media is an ideal space to find your target audience. In the US, 73% of adults use YouTube and 68% use Facebook. 76% of Facebook users log in daily. (source :Smartinsights)
- LinkedIn now has more than 300 million active users. (source: we are social). It is also the number 1 channel for b2b lead generation. (source: omnicoreagency)
- The buying decisions of 75% of b2b buyers are informed by social media. (source: marketing insider group)
- Twitter ads are 11% more effective than tv for live event advertising. (source: Hootsuite)
27. Reach Out to Customers Who Are Dissatisfied With Your Competitors
Your competitors probably offer products that are like yours. But that does not mean that you can’t outsell them.
If you run competitor intelligence reports, you can find out details about what they sell, how much the sell it for and who they sell to.
A quick search on social media will also tell you whether your competitors’ customers are happy with the level of customer service they receive. Are they complaining about pricing, poor after-sales, prolonged downtimes, or solutions not performing as they should?
Reach out to such disgruntled customers and offer them a better service. You will also get some great referrals by solving their problems.
28. Social Listening
In addition to monitoring your competitors on social media, it is important to practice social listening, to monitor sentiment for your own brand. Social listening is important in two ways:
- On the one hand you can monitor and react to negative remarks that could ruin your brand reputation. Finding opportunities in negative feedback is a great way to please existing customers and let prospects know that you listen and care.
- On the other hand, positive mentions about your content, staff or products can generate interest from new leads.
29. Guest-Speak at Events
Guest speaking at events is a great way to stay top of mind among your audience and generate more word of mouth marketing. If your presentation or product stands out, you are likely to have people reaching out to you to connect and do business.
Guest-speaking is an art and knowing how to do it right can be the difference between generating leads or not. It is always best to avoid giving salesy speeches or long boring talks that have nothing to do with your audience.
A great tactic to use as a guest speaker is to highlight case studies that showcase your expertise. If your audience have similar pain points as those highlighted in your case study, they are likely to reach out to you.
30. Generate Leads Through Channel Partners
No matter how dedicated your sales and marketing team is, their revenue-generating capacity will plateau at some point. At such a point, rather than hire more sales people which will cost you money and time needed to ramp up a new team, it might be more cost-effective to invest in new b2b sales channels.
For channel partners, partnering with you is for their benefit as much as yours. More so, channel partners already have their own strategies for generating sales and will require very little input from you to get started.
When choosing channels channel partners:
- Ensure they serve a similar customer base or another customer base that you would like to tap into
- They should be able to bundle your product with theirs and generate more revenue for you
That’s it! You have probably been using some of the lead generation tactics above for some time now. Some of them might also be new to you. Every year represents a new opportunity to improve on past performance. As we go into 2020, take some time to evaluate the performance of the strategies you already use and to figure out how to increase b2b sales by incorporating new strategies.
That said, do not over-extend yourself by investing in too many strategies. If your evaluation reveals strategies that don’t work, drop them in favor of new ones that work for your industry or target group.