According to a recent HubSpot report, the top marketing priority for businesses over the next 12 months is generating more leads.
But it is not just about generating more leads, is it? It is about generating QUALITY leads that can be converted into sales, which is why marketing strategies that focus on scaling are on the rise.
This is also true for B2B marketing and lead gen.
But how do you generate more quality leads?
Over the next few sections, we will briefly unpack B2B marketing, its unique sales cycle and challenges, and look at some clever ways to effectively leverage marketing campaigns to generate sales-ready leads with 10 clever B2B lead generation tips and tricks.
What is B2B Marketing and Lead Generation?
B2B marketing can be described as business-to-business marketing activities and method(s) marketers use to drive prospects (in other words, other businesses) to their services and/or products.
These methods are all centred around the first step – or the Awareness stage – in the buyer’s journey (a buyer’s path to purchase) and focus on building visibility, awareness and interest via inbound marketing strategies geared towards a specific target audience.
The buyer’s journey for a B2B prospect looks a little different than the B2C (business-to-consumer) journey, though.
This is the B2C (business-to-customer) buyer’s journey ...
And this is a B2B prospect’s buyer’s journey ...
See how the Awareness stage is subdivided into various levels?
- U: Those unaware that they have a problem.
- P: Those aware that they have a problem but unaware that there is a solution.
- S: Those aware that they have a problem and that a solution exists.
- Y: Those aware that your product/service may be the solution to their problem.
- D: Those who desire your product/service as a solution to their problem.
This revised awareness funnel, UPSYDME, adapted from a Perpetual Traffic podcast, takes a far more granular approach to the awareness stage of the buyer’s cycle as marketing whiz Jennifer Montague explains in her research paper Reframing the awareness funnel and lead nurturing strategies to increase B2B brand awareness and quality lead generation. This means that to really target prospects successfully, your B2B strategy has to speak to prospects at every level of the Awareness stage. That also means more specific, targeted content and messaging.
You need to create and manage a ton of useful, informative and level-specific content to win a quality lead. Not only because there are more stages of awareness but also because the B2B sales cycle is significantly longer than the B2C cycle and because there are more decision-makers involved. Your content needs to speak to each of these personas at each stage.
Your content may look something like this:
And include blogs, videos, reviews, reports, social media, demos and more.
This, of course, brings us to one of the main challenges of B2B lead gen: it needs resources; budget, time and the right people.
Other challenges of B2B lead gen include:
- Unsuccessful endeavours can cause emotional burnout.
- Generating quality leads at volume.
- Tracking conversions and correlating marketing efforts with ROI.
- Generating traffic.
- Identifying market demands.
- A disconnect between sales and marketing teams.
To be successful at B2B lead gen, you need a strategy that can increase and, ideally, automate, the number of quality leads you’re generating.
But how do you do this?
Here are 10 lead gen tips and tricks we know for a fact will boost desired results.
10 B2B Lead Generation Tips and Tricks
1. Get to Know Your Audience
We all know how difficult it can be to buy a gift for someone we don’t know ... the same is true of trying to create content for someone you don’t know.
This is why researching your audience is so important. After all, the better you know someone, the more thoughtful your gift (or content in this case) can be.
To do so, you will have to study your targeted customers’ habits and online behaviour, etc and create content (including blogs, offers, emails, ads and social media posts), that directly speaks to your target market.
The more you know about them, the more you can customise your messaging. Not only will this allow you to tailor content but you will also better understand their decision-making process and purchasing behaviour.
Not understanding buyer motivations were identified as the largest challenge B2B marketers in the US face when it comes to nurturing leads, which is crucial for turning a prospect into a paying customer. And yet another reason why knowing your audience is so important.
2. Create a Well Researched Content Strategy
Content is king, especially in B2B marketing, which is why aligning your content and audience is so important for generating quality leads.
A well researched and considered content strategy will help you create content that resonates with your audience. It should include lead magnets that answer specific questions they may have to help them solve their problem or reach their goal.
If you’ve researched your target audience and created buyer personas, you should have enough information and insight to come up with effective lead magnets that are mapped to your sales funnel.
In other words, each of your content offerings should speak to your customer’s state of mind at a specific stage in the buyer’s journey.
You can start by identifying a problem your target audience may have. Then offer a solution to attract them to your business and engage with them by offering more practical information and other resources.
Don’t forget to conduct A/B testing to identify which of your content offers will deliver the best results.
3. Create a Strong Lead Nurturing Strategy
It’s one thing to attract leads, it is another to get them over the purchasing line. For this, you need a robust lead nurturing strategy.
Defined as a “strategy that businesses use to maintain and grow relationships with potential customers”, lead nurturing is a way to not only build trust with potential clients but also inform them about your products and services, all while offering helpful, informative content.
“As a B2B professional, you may or may not be aware that educating your audience is a definitive way to gain more leads and conversions compared to flashy marketing techniques often associated with B2C strategies” – HubSpot
To create a winning lead nurturing strategy, you need to:
- Set clear goals.
- Segment your audience.
- Personalise and map your content to prospects in their buyer’s journey
- Launch your lead nurturing strategy.
Lead nurturing helps businesses build relationships with prospects. In fact, research by Forrester shows that companies that are successful at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads at a 33% lower cost. In addition, Marketing Sherpa found that nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads.
So, once you’ve set your goals, and defined your strategy, implementing lead nurturing can be configured easily through your CRM.
The HubSpot CRM for instance houses a workflow tool, which can be used to set up automated email workflows that can be used to send a welcome email series to new leads or to set up content workflows that offer leads different types of content to help nurture leads further down the funnel.
If you don’t know where to start creating such a strategy, check out these 7 lead nurturing tactics from HubSpot.
4. Use Behavioural Targeting to Your Advantage
Behavioural targeting is a tactic that targets users based on data about their buying (previously bought products or abandoned cart activity) and/or browsing history (engagement, likes, views, etc) on a company’s website or social media platforms.
For instance, if a customer bought running shoes from you, had entered a 5K sponsored by your company through your FB page and read an article on your blog that provided running tips, it’s logical to assume they’re interested in running and would like to hear more about running and running gear from you.
*See how a customer’s previous engagement with your company can be used to predict what content they will find interesting?*
The most common example of behavioural targeting is triggered emails. You may set up your CRM to trigger an email that suggests a fun run in their area when they’ve just checked out with a pair of running shoes or offer them a 10% discount with their next purchase.
This is an easy and effective way to instantly satisfy leads by providing them with more of the information they crave. That said, according to eConsultancy, only 20% of businesses are actually doing this effectively, which means there’s a huge opportunity for businesses to take advantage of this tactic.
5. Send Personalised Emails
Personalised email marketing has seen an upswing over the past year or so, with 77% of marketers reporting more customer engagement with personalised emails in 2021 and an average increase of 20% in sales when personalisation is used.
Even better, email marketing is 40 times more effective at drumming up new business than social media platforms such as FB and Twitter. And an email with a personalised subject line is 26% more likely to be opened.
That said, it seems marketers have also changed tactics when it comes to email marketing, with most saying that they send no more than 2 personalised emails per week.
When it comes to email marketing, keep the following in mind:
- Segment your lists and be sure to not duplicate leads onto multiple lists.
- Consider the frequency of emails, especially if you are in a longer sales cycle.
- Remember to always test email campaigns. You can run A/B tests with most CRMs.
- Personalise the content not only to the customer.
- Use automated software to manage email campaigns and scale your marketing (and sales) efforts.
How to write emails that convert! Plus, a free template.
6. Provide Complimentary Supplementary Content
This might seem like a no-brainer but compounding your content offer with other relevant information and/or resources is a great way to not only solve a problem for a prospect but keep them engaged and coming back for more.
In addition, it’s a great way to build a relationship with a prospective customer by showing them you really care.
For instance, if you run a marketing company you might, write a blog titled “The Ultimate Guide to Content Marketing” and follow that with another listicle on “5 Foolproof Ways to Increase Conversions with Your Content”, which offers even more tips, and then follow that with a downloadable template for creating content marketing strategies.
Just like this one ...
Download: The Content Marketing Strategy Template to help you generate the right traffic and convert the right leads.
See what I did there 😉
7. Respond IRT
No one likes to hang around waiting. In fact, a HubSpot study found that customers have not only become more impatient but that 82% want an answer STAT.
In fact, they lose patience after just 30 minutes.
If you consider that a Harvard Business study found that the average time for businesses to respond to leads was 42 hours, it is clear that there is a major disconnect.
By simply automating certain marketing and sales messages or adding a chatbot function to your website to respond to customer queries in real time, you can minimise annoying or losing a prospect.
As Uku CEO, Nathan van Zyl, notes:
“From a customer acquisition and lead nurturing standpoint, chatbots close the gap between your business and your customers. Providing additional instantaneous touchpoints for your potential customers along their journey.”
In fact, the same study showed that contacting a lead within 5 minutes increases your chance to turn a lead into a sale by 21 times.
8. Encourage Your Lead to Take Action
The importance and impact of a strong call-to-action (CTA) cannot be overstated.
Good call-to-actions should provide leads with clear instructions on what to do next (“sign up”, “download”, “click here”) and effectively help move them further down the sales funnel. Short, sweet and enticing, it should pack a punch and motivate leads to take the next step.
Remember, a campaign can have multiple CTAs depending on the content and what stage of the buyer’s journey it’s targeting. It can, for instance, ask individuals to sign up, try something or learn more.
It can also take multiple forms, including pop-ups, slide-ins, side panels, persistent headers, in-page ads and at the end of articles.
It is important to also A/B test these to see which work best.
9. Create Multiple Touches
Multi touches refer to campaigns with more than one touchpoint or contact with a lead. Multi-touch campaigns will help dive your message home and keep your brand top of mind through different formats and platforms.
The more touches you can create in a B2B lead gen campaign, the more awareness you can create and, ultimately, increase marketing ROI and sales.
For instance, a campaign for a new product may include email marketing, paid ads on FB and Insta, a video highlighting product features and print material, such as a brochure, delivered to the client’s door.
Depending on the channels you choose to utilise, your strat could take one of these shapes:
10. Publish Case Studies
Publishing case studies of recent projects or clients you worked with, is not just about name dropping. It is about showcasing what you can do and building a network that you can tap into to generate more leads.
What’s more, it’s GREAT content that should be relatively easy to generate FOR FREE. In fact, your paying customers can even generate it for you via testimonials that you can also use as case studies.
Research shows that publishing case studies are a great way to convert leads into paying customers. Autogrow found that case studies can increase sales by 185% and that 62.6% of marketers found them effective for lead gen.
You can use a case study as the focus of an email newsletter, create a dedicated case study (and testimonial) page on your website, write blog posts about it, create videos or share them on social media.
For more ideas, check out these 16 ways you can use case studies in your B2B marketing.
B2B lead generation is no easy task and has its own unique set of challenges. But by creating helpful, interesting lead campaigns centred around your prospects buying journey you can – and will – upscale leads and sales.
Remember, it all starts with really getting to know your target audience and their specific needs, and then delivering very specifically (and strategically) on those needs.
Ready to talk? Let’s schedule a call and take a closer look at your business’s unique needs and how Uku can help you grow.