Successful 7-Lead Generation Strategies From The B2B Experts
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A lot of times what gets passed off as b2b lead generation strategies are peoples’ best guesses or hopes of what might work. But that won’t make your business money. Here we’ll be exploring expert-backed lead generation strategies that are working for real business leaders.
Let’s talk about it:
What Is B2B Lead Generation?
B2B lead generation is all about getting leads for businesses that sell to other businesses. While some argue there isn’t much difference between it and typical consumer-based lead generation, B2B lead gen involves getting in touch with the right people in the right organization at the right time.
I’ll be borrowing from my simple definition for LinkedIn lead generation here and say B2B lead generation is all about:
- Finding the right people
- Connecting with the right people
- Pitching the right people
Finding the right people
When it comes to finding the right people with lead generation, some of the main things to keep in mind are:
- The decision-making power a specific person has.
- The best title for this person. Are they likely to be a vice-president or manager?
- Their level of seniority.
- If a specific person is in the right geographic location.
Connecting with the right people
Connecting with the right people can happen in a variety of ways, as it regards B2B lead generation these tend to be through activities such as
- Personalized videos
- Content marketing
- Website communications
The biggest difference to consider is whether these are types of sales communication where we reach out to prospects (outbound) or whether they are reaching out to us (inbound)
Pitching the right people
Pitching the right people during the B2B lead generation process often comes in the form of of a lead magnet offer, they tend to be free and include resources such as
- Email courses
- White papers of interest
The goal of this activity is to capture the contact information of your best sales leads.
Now, let’s explore the best-proven ways for doing B2B lead generation.
What Are The Best Ways For Doing B2B Lead Generation?
Getting beyond the hype, most B2B lead generation programs ask you to have blind faith, as in, they are asking you to invest money in something that has not been proven to create a heavy flow of B2B sales leads.
There are only a number of tried-and-true ways to generate leads for business-to-business companies in this current era, they include but are not limited to
- Webinar lead generation
- Linkedin lead generation ads
- Content marketing and automation
- SEO and Advertising
- Generating website leads
Webinar Lead Generation
Webinars are the virtual event of choice and they easily pack-in and impact more people than many in-person events can. A good webinar can easily help hundreds to thousands of potential buyers and sales leads while positioning you as a business leader in your field.
While I admit webinars have occupied a limited space in my own B2B lead generation strategies, I have noticed there are a few things you want to look out for as you attempt to create your own webinars B2B sales purposes:
- Don’t get swallowed up by the concept that you must spend the most money possible on webinar /video-hosting software
- Focus on delivering value instead of following some magical sales formula
- Be yourself, and not the professional person you think you should be
Don’t go crazy on webinar software spending
Webinar software can easily drain thousands of dollars from you and your business. I get the appeal and I had made the investment in the past.
The allure of evergreen webinars, automated scheduling, optimized registration pages and technology integrations had me drooling in the beginning–but the reality of what I actually got never lived up to the hype of their promotions.
If your business is already drawing in thousands of online registrations already, then switching to a more comprehensive system makes sense. This another example of allowing your revenue to justify your expenses.
Focus on delivering value
I’ve attended webinar programs that cost under $3000 just to learn how to run webinars from the ‘best-in-the-industry.’ They gave me worksheets, outlines and playbooks to follow in order to generate the largest sales possible.
The result? I looked, acted, and sounded like a phony, a cheap get-rich-quick huckster. The lesson I learned from people walking out on my webinar, complaining about how I wasted their time, was that you have to focus on the value you’re offering.
The webinar lead generation leaders I’ve met who sell predictably and easily know the sales will come and don’t try to force people into a standoff with their credit cards in hand.
Be yourself on your webinars
I just got off a webinar where the host was completely himself. He asked us all to pause and take a few deep breaths, so we could all be in a calm state before his presentation.
He didn’t care if came off cheesy. He just focused on being himself no matter the cost.
We grow up thinking that the best way to persuade people is to “go along to get along” but that doesn’t work on ‘the street.’ We tend to validate people who don’t need our validation. Just think of how little the top leaders seem to care about how people receive them. Watch their faces. They know they’re awesome.
And those that know they’re awesome are not afraid to be their slightly weird original selves.
I explored some of these ideas while recently chatting with an expert webinar lead generator. Here are some gold nuggets from my talk with Chris Raulf, International SEO Expert, Trainer, and Founder of Boulder SEO Marketing:
- Webinars are great tools for expert positioning.
- Start all your actions with your buyer persona in mind.
- Instead of aiming for conversion over a webinar, aim for capturing emails and converting later.
- Use webinars to build a bigger email list.
- No one wants to be sold to, so don’t sell.
- Run a press release for your webinar.
- Promote your webinar on LinkedIn and social media.
- Stay in touch with attendees over the long term with email marketing.
- Use content marketing to promote your webinar and plan to create:
-A few blog posts.
-2 press releases.
-A few social media posts.
In a freemium world, you need to prove your value. Webinars help you do that.
Share any webinar slides via SlideShare for more exposure
Linkedin Lead Generation Ads
What are LinkedIn lead generation ads?
LinkedIn lead generation ads or lead generation form ads are LinkedIn ads that use a user’s LinkedIn profile to capture their contact information. This is what many attribute to its effectiveness.
Why use LinkedIn lead generation ads?
According to their case studies, among those that sing the praises of LinkedIn lead generation ads are:
- A European tech company in brand communications that converted 20% of marketing qualified leads into advanced sales opportunities.
- A financial institution that dropped its cost-per-lead by 46% by using LinkedIn lead gen forms.
- An innovative HR solutions company that added over 6000 leads to their databases in one year, at a net increase of 75%.
What makes LinkedIn lead gen forms different from other ads?
Firstly, they are not the same as typical ads because of the targeting capabilities of LinkedIn, which allows you to target people by:
- Vocation/ Job Title
- Time at current company
- And more
This makes LinkedIn lead gen forms a highly targeted form of advertising more appropriate for B2B.
But that is not all, LinkedIn‘s lead gen forms also take away an excuse, rather, an issue that B2B marketers often have, low form completion (or high form abandonment), depending on how you look at it.
Podcasting is all about bringing the magic of radio to our digital on-demand present. It all allows business owners, executives, and entrepreneurs to communicate ideas that matter to people who care.
While often touted as some sort of advanced marketing trend, what’s funny is that the podcasting lead generation expert I recently talked to says that anyone who can talk into a microphone is ready to do podcasts.
Here are my big takeaways from my talking with Ryan Estes, Founder of Kitcaster, a podcast booking agency that helps entrepreneurs build authentic connections:
- Podcasts are natural places for entrepreneurs to share the story of their business.
- It is especially helpful for entrepreneurs looking to raise money.
- Building relationships with podcasting hosts is a profitable side benefit of doing podcasts.
- Podcasting is an evergreen way for investors to learn about new businesses.
- Podcasting is an effective way to sell your product or to really describe the problem your sales leads are facing.
- The best way to get leads with podcasts is inadvertently.
- If your customer lifetime value is significant, podcasting is worth your time.
- To generate the best sales leads for your business with podcasting, make sure your ideal customer and the ideal listener for the podcast overlap.
- You can use podcasts as a way to validate your audience, idea, or test the market.
- Everybody’s ready for podcasting. Podcasting is just talking with a microphone.
Content Marketing And Automation
Content marketing is the real lever of B2B lead generation that most people fail to mention. Many marketing channels and tools depend upon it, including marketing automation.
When it comes to the importance of content marketing for lead generation, the automation expert I recently interviewed was bullish on content’s importance in the sales process.
Here are the notes I gathered talking with DJ Francis, CEO at Hub and Spoke Marketing and a marketing automation expert:
- Marketing automation depends on content creation.
- Marketing automation can be defined as a systemized way of communicating with your customers.
- The cost of marketing automation is minimal compared to the great outcome it creates.
- The key to winning people with content is delivering value.
- Marketing automation can help you step-in to educate your customers and keep them engaged during a long sales process.
- Use industry research and experience to guide you on the communication frequency for sales leads.
- Salespeople are hired to close. Do not expect them to effectively nurture prospects as well. That’s the content’s job.
- For a better idea of the sort of marketing automation happening in your industry, sign up for competitors’ newsletters and lead magnets.
SEO And Advertising
SEO or search engine optimization is the way people can find you while they’re searching for a specific solution or problem. Advertising, as far as pay-per-click advertising is concerned, is not far removed from SEO because these ads often sit next to organic search results.
Knowing when to invest in either of these strategies can create profitable lead generation opportunities.
In fact, a successful agency founder shared with me that it was one of their main ways of grabbing new clients, outside of good ole’ human relationships.
Here are the notes I took after my talk with Tyler Horsley, Angel Investor and Founder and CEO of Nuclear Networking, a $1M+ marketing agency:
- The ROI on investing in organic search for your web presence is high.
- Google ads and other PPC or pay-per-click advertising is helpful for people who would like to be searched for a specific type of service.
- Building trusted relationships into a network that supports your business is a good place to start your lead generation strategy.
- To get referrals, it helps to become a trusted advisor to a specific industry.
- Efficiency is a key business metric.
- It helps to have realistic expectations whenever seeking marketing help.
- Don’t just look at the price tag of the marketing you’re investing in. That’s the most dangerous thing in the world to do.
- To get a glimpse into a company’s character or culture, look at the negative ratings they’ve gotten and notice how they’ve handled them.
Generating Website Leads
Recent research shows that website leads, like those delivered by Drift chatbots, are 3X more valuable than social media leads.
While I often want to ignore this fact (given my affinity for LinkedIn and all), I recognize that people who engage with you on your website versus social media typically have different value-mindsets.
Someone who visits your website has likely read-up on your company, learned a bit about your history, the essence of your offering and might be interested in further contact. Meanwhile someone who runs into your post on social channels may just be looking to waste a few minutes mindlessly.
Both these strategies have their place and thanks to the power of technology, they are no longer mutually exclusive.
I like using these, as you might see.
While I was initially resistant to the idea of chatbots due to mental pictures of the long-past static “How can I help?” blocky image orbs on the lower part of web browser screens during earlier versions of the internet, the chatbots of today are sooo much cooler and effective.
Chatbots like the ones available with Intercom or Drift can easily be triggered by a link to set off a specific chat flow.
You can also use chat flows to capture information visitors enter as well. That means that you can use chatbots instead of forms in several instances.
That said, the ultimate power of chatbots is their ability to engage leads anytime a new customer is available. For some potential customers, that has meant 12 AM Saturday.
While you may understand why I was certainly unavailable to explain my unique value proposition at that time, the chatbot I left behind handled the conversation beautifully. And I awoke to a sales meeting on my calendar first thing Monday.
They can also connect to LinkedIn if you need to continue the conversation via social media.
Website visitor trackers
Speaking of website visitors, there’s another way to interact with people coming to your site and that is via visitor tracking technology such as the kind made by Leadfeeder.
Leadfeeder takes note of the visitors to your site, will let you know the companies that drop-by, and where they are located.
They also have a nifty connection to LinkedIn’s search function that gives you a list of possible people that might have visited your site, based upon your level of connection with them on Linkedin.
You can also use this piece of software to continue the conversation on LinkedIn when you’re able.
Make Lead Generation Profitable
With lead generation strategies for B2B, the best trick is to make it profitable, that means:
Keeping lead generation costs as low as possible
It might seem obvious but don’t spend money on things that do not obviously drive the needle forward sales lead-wise.
There are a number of cute tools on the market that seem as though they might work well–but you’ve never heard of people using them successfully for lead generation.
There is a reason for this: they are more flash than substance. You will find that you can often skip the cost of a flashy money-waster by simply tapping into some creative thinking.
Offsetting the cost of B2B lead generation
Do this with affiliate or referral deals if you can. This is always an option worth exploring if you are a regular user of a specific type of lead generation software.
Search for any affiliate programs the company may have. And if you regularly post content, sign up for their program to see if you might attract people to use their tools in order to offset some costs associate with your lead generation strategies.
Remembering to leverage your current relationships for lead generation opportunities.
The common rule of network science says that weak ties are often the most helpful to us. These are people in our networks that we know of but might not have deep relationships with. Reach out to these people when possible, using 1-to-1 messaging via LinkedIn.
You can expect an insane ROI from just using this activity.
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