B2B Lead Generation: How to Generate High-Quality Leads for Your Business

Captain Obvious Alert: B2B lead generation is tough.

You know this, I know this, we all know this. But that doesn't make generating leads any less important. In fact, lead gen is probably more important now than it's ever been.

Why? Because the deck is stacked against you. Research shows that there are three million B2B companies in the U.S. alone. And each is looking for qualified leads to buy their products and/or services. To close deals, your sales team has to cut through a lot of noise.

Don't worry, it's not impossible. Once you incorporate top lead generation strategies into your sales process, you'll be able to connect with red-hot buyers and make more sales.

So that's what I'll cover in this article. Keep reading to learn what B2B lead generation is, why it's so beneficial, and eight proven techniques you can use to generate more leads. Let's go!

What Is B2B Lead Generation?

B2B Lead Generation is what happens when B2B companies attract and qualify potential customers, so that they can (hopefully!) sell products and/or services to them in the future.

The whole process starts when B2B marketing teams execute their promotional strategies. The goal? To attract qualified buyers and secure their contact information.

Once they've accomplished this task, B2B salespeople usually join the party. These professionals reach out to the leads in their sales funnel, engage them in conversation, and if there seems to be mutual interest, sell them a product or service.

Make sense? Cool, now let's talk about the two different kinds of leads your B2B lead generation process will generate: MQLs and SQLs.

Two Different Kinds of B2B Leads: MQLs Vs. SQLs

Here's the skinny on the whole MQL vs SQL thing:

  • MQLs: Marketing qualified leads, MQLs for short, are leads that fit your company's ideal customer profile, based on their reaction to your company's marketing efforts.
  • SQLs: Sales qualified leads, SQLs for short, are MQLs that your company's sales team believes will convert into paying customers at some point down the road. A sales rep has already had a discovery call with them and asked qualifying questions to make sure this lead is the right fit for the solution you’re selling.

I know what you're thinking: "MQLs… SQLs… Why does the distinction even matter?"

It matters because each acronym represents a different stage in the buyer's journey. MQLs live at the top of the sales funnel, while SQLs live in the middle.

If your company's sales reps spend all of their time talking to MQLs, they won't make many sales. These folks haven't been thoroughly qualified yet. By focusing their efforts on SQLs, they give themselves a better chance to close deals at a consistent pace. Win!

The Difference Between B2B Lead Gen and B2C Lead Gen

Not all lead generation is created equal. Before we talk about the benefits of B2B lead generation, I need to answer one more question. So, how does B2B lead gen differ from B2C lead gen?

B2B lead generation strategies attempt to produce leads for B2B companies, AKA businesses that sell to other businesses. B2C lead generation strategies, on the other hand, attempt to produce leads for B2C companies, AKA businesses that sell directly to consumers.

In other words, the target audience is different. As such, the techniques your company uses to produce quality B2B leads will be different from the techniques used by a B2C company.

The Benefits of B2B Lead Generation

So, why is B2B lead generation so important? Because it will benefit your startup, small business, or enterprise organization in a multitude of ways. Here are my three favorite ones:

Understand Your Target Audience

Your B2B lead generation campaigns will teach you about your target audience.

You can learn a lot about their content preferences, for example, by analyzing the blogs, videos, whitepapers, etc. that they respond to. You can learn about their pain points as well, by studying the products/services they show the most interest in.

Your findings can then be used to craft richer buyer personas that help your company prospect more effectively. When this happens, your sales numbers will rise.

(Note: detailed buyer personas are especially useful for account based marketing, or ABM, strategies. For more information on this topic, check out this blog post.)

Build Relationships with Potential Customers

The right B2B lead generation strategies will help you meet potential leads, get to know them on a deeper level, and build lasting relationships with these people that lead to more revenue.

Relationships matter in sales. If you can build rapport with your prospects and make them feel like you understand their needs, you'll close more deals. I guarantee it.

Not only that, but the customers you help will try to return the favor by sending you referrals. Every salesperson knows that referred prospects are the best prospects.

B2B lead generation is the first step towards acquiring these highly valuable individuals.

Make More Sales—Now and in the Future

Brand awareness is important. Prospects have to know about your company before they can buy from your company. But your B2B lead generation efforts need to do more than raise awareness. They need to help turn potential customers into paying customers—consistently.

That's exactly what the eight strategies below will help you do. Implement them and you'll connect with better prospects, build meaningful relationships, and drive more revenue.

Top 8 Lead Generation Strategies for B2B

You know you need to generate quality leads for your B2B business. The question is, how do you do it? The eight strategies below will supercharge your lead gen efforts.

1. Build a Cold Outreach Strategy

You're a sales rep, so you're intimately familiar with cold outreach. You've probably spent countless hours calling strangers on the phone, or blowing up their email inboxes.

Used correctly, these outbound communication strategies can produce amazing leads.

Don't believe me? Try this statistic on for size: 57 percent of C-Level and VP buyers prefer to be contacted by phone. And email marketing produces an average ROI of 3,600 percent.

Cold Calling Tips

To implement an effective cold calling strategy, keep these four tips in mind:

  • Research your prospects: Who are you going to call? Learn everything you can about this person, like their phone number, company, job title, pain points, etc. LinkedIn and a quality sales prospecting tool will simplify this process.
  • Use a cold calling script: Repeat after me, "I will not improvise my cold calls." This is a recipe for disaster. Instead, create a cold calling script. Better yet, download a few proven cold calling scripts, then personalize them to suit your specific needs.
  • Remember your objective: Don't try to sell products/services during cold calls. Try to qualify prospects and build relationships. If you determine that a person is a good fit for your company's offerings, you can sell to them at a later date.
  • Follow up multiple times: Finally, don't forget to follow up. Studies show it can take eight or more calls to reach a prospect. If you stop calling after initial contact, you'll leave a lot of money on the table, which is the exact opposite of what you want to do.

B2B Lead Generation - Cold Calling

Cold Email Tips

Cold emailing is similar to cold calling, except you contact prospects via email instead of the phone. To supercharge your cold email efforts, implement these four best practices:

  • Contact decision-makers: If possible, email folks who actually have the power to buy from you. That way you don't have to message a second or third person, too.
  • Use a cold email template: Why type the same message over and over again? Use a proven template to boost productivity and to ensure your time is well spent.
  • Personalize your approach: Templates are good. Generic messages are bad. Research your prospects before you contact them. Then update your cold email template to reflect a few of the personal details you've uncovered.
  • End with a valuable CTA: If you want your prospects to email you back, you have to give them an enticing reason, which you can do in your call-to-action (CTA). Offer to help them solve a problem. Or give them something for free. Make it worth their while.

Seeking to establish meaningful B2B connections? Check out our article on 12 B2B Cold Email Templates and learn how a well-structured b2b cold email template can make a difference.

2. Optimize Your Website for SEO

Is your company's website optimized for search engines? It definitely should be!

A solid search engine optimization (SEO) strategy will allow your website to show up in Google search results, which will help introduce potential customers to your brand.

Even better, the potential customers you connect with via SEO will probably convert at a higher rate than the potential customers you connect with via cold calling and email. Why? Because SEO leads are already looking for what you offer. You don't have to convince them to buy your stuff. You just have to show them that your stuff is the best available.

If you're not familiar with SEO, you're probably wondering how to optimize your site.

I can't give you a complete SEO crash course. There's not enough room in this article. So I'll just say this instead: choose the keywords you want to target, then add them to specific areas of your site, like your page titles, URLs, body copy, and meta descriptions.

Once you update your website, test it to see if you can boost your conversion rates. The easiest way to do this is to run A/B tests, sometimes referred to as split tests.

Simply create two versions of the web page you want to test: the original version and the altered version in which one variable, such as the location of your CTA, is changed. Then drive a similar amount of traffic to each page to see which performs best.

(FYI, the SEO tips I shared above can be applied to your company's landing pages, too, not just its main website. Optimize each page to book more meetings, sell more products, etc.)

3. Take Advantage of Lead Gen Forms

Once your B2B website is optimized and gaining traffic, it’s time to add lead gen forms to it.

A lead gen form is exactly what you'd think it would be: a short form that website visitors use to share their contact information, often in exchange for some kind of incentive.

Lead gen forms come in all shapes and sizes. The most common ones are sidebar forms, which live in the sidebars of websites; and pop-ups, which automatically appear when certain criteria are met, such as when a website visitor tries to leave the web page they're browsing.

Like everything else, website forms can—and should—be optimized to capture new leads consistently. Here are a few best practices you can use to make that happen:

  • Check form placement: Where are your forms located? If your sidebar forms aren't working, try experimenting with different kinds of pop-ups instead.
  • Adjust number of fields: How many details do you ask website visitors to submit? Generally speaking, short forms, i.e., those with few fields, will generate more leads, while extensive forms, i.e., those with lots of fields, will generate higher quality leads.
  • Offer an enticing incentive: Your forms won't convert if you don't offer your website visitors something they want. What you offer will depend on who your audience is. Some ideas include discount coupons, a free trial, and premium content.

4. Buy Into the Content Marketing Craze

Just about every company creates content. There's a good reason for this: quality content will help build brand awareness, earn your audience's respect, and crucially, generate leads.

So what kind of content should you create? The kind your target audience wants to consume.

This is one reason why you must know who your customers are. This knowledge will make it much easier to build an effective sales and marketing strategy.

Here are a few popular content types you can experiment with:

  • Blogs: Teach your audience how to do something that pertains to their careers. Well-written, SEO optimized blogs can generate a ton of website traffic.
  • Videos: 89 percent of people say watching a video has convinced them to buy a product or service, and 79 percent say they were convinced to buy a software or app. 72 percent of consumers prefer video to text. So step in front of the camera to grab your target market's attention and generate quality B2B leads.
  • Webinars: 45 percent of B2B marketers say that webinars are their favorite demand generation tactic. It makes sense. Webinars allow brands to showcase their expertise, promote their email lists, and even sell products to their ideal customers.
  • Testimonials: When was the last time you bought a product on Amazon without reading reviews? Probably never. Collect testimonials to earn your prospect's trust. Once you have it, you'll probably be able to collect their contact information, too.
  • Case studies: Testimonials are awesome, but case studies are even better. Interview your top customers, then write about their experiences. Case studies are especially useful at the bottom of the sales funnel, when prospects are ready to make purchases. (Bonus tip: Turn your case studies into videos for a double whammy!)
  • Whitepapers: Do you have any talented writers on your staff? Ask them to write a whitepaper or ebook. Then give it to prospects in exchange for their email addresses.
  • Templates: Last but not least, create a few templates. At Close, we offer sales deck templates, spreadsheet CRM templates, coaching templates, cold calling templates—just a whole bunch of templates. And we give them away to our audience when they join our email list. You can try a similar tactic.

Revolutionize your content marketing process with the help of AI – learn more here.

Pro tip: you can combine various forms of content with other B2B lead generation strategies to help you capture more leads for your company. For example, you could write SEO optimized blogs to drive traffic to your website, then offer visitors a free lead magnet if they sign up for your email list via the lead gen form at the bottom of the post.

5. Get Active on Social Media Networks

Social media sites like LinkedIn and Twitter will help you connect with B2B buyers, too. And you don't even have to pay to use them. You simply sign up and start publishing content.

But you already knew that, right? Every inbound marketing strategy includes social media. What you really need to learn is how to cut through the avalanche of noise on these platforms. That way, you can meet quality leads and nurture them into paying customers.

Here are three ninja-level hacks to help you elevate your social media game:

  • Publish content consistently: Guess how many leads you'll generate if you post once a month on social media. Zero. You need to publish amazing content on a regular basis. It's the only way to build real relationships with your target audience.
  • Showcase your brand's personality: Just because you're in the B2B space, doesn't mean you have to bore your followers to death. Showcase your brand's unique personality. Crack a joke every now and again. Make your profile a fun place to be.
  • Experiment with alternative platforms: Almost every B2B professional is on LinkedIn, which makes it a highly competitive environment. Try reaching your audience on the other platforms they use, too, like TikTok, Pinterest, and Instagram.

B2B Lead Generation - Get Active on Social Media

Discover the power of LinkedIn for lead generation with our comprehensive guide.

6. Participate in Online Communities

The internet is full of online communities. You can find them on Facebook, Reddit, Quora—and use them for B2B lead generation purposes. All you have to do is join industry-specific groups, then actively participate in the conversations that take place.

For example, you could join a Facebook group and ask members questions that relate to your field. Or take an opposite approach and answer other people's questions on Reddit. Both strategies will help you connect with potential customers and earn their respect.

When it comes to online communities, pay special attention to Quora. This social Q&A site has the potential to explode your lead nurturing efforts. Seek out questions that pertain to your industry, then answer them in thoughtful ways that display your expertise.

Just make sure to link back to your company's website or a specific piece of content in every answer you give. That way, people can connect with you at a later date, should they so desire.

I know this lead gen tip isn't as sexy as the other ones I've shared. But if you want to build an effective digital marketing strategy that produces quality leads, you should give it a try.

Psst! Want to revolutionize your B2B sales? Uncover the power of the B2B Sales Funnel.

7. Run Digital Advertising Campaigns

All of the B2B lead generation tips above are budget-friendly. You don't need a pile of cash to cold call prospects, write blog posts, or answer questions on Quora. Just a lot of free time.

So, let's talk about a different kind of strategy—one that requires a financial investment, but can generate quality leads in a flash. That's right, I'm talking about paid ad campaigns.

The Facebooks and Googles of the world will happily promote your company to your target audience. You just have to pay them for the privilege, of course. Don't worry, as long as you know what you're doing, a little green can produce highly effective marketing campaigns.

This begs the question, how do you craft baller campaigns? These best practices will help:

  • Know your audience: When you understand who your ideal customer is, you can target these kinds of people/companies with your ads. This will help you generate higher quality leads that produce a much greater return on investment (ROI).
  • Get a handle on your numbers: As we've already discussed, paid ads cost money. To succeed with this strategy, you need to develop a sustainable budget, then track key metrics like conversion rate, cost per lead (CPL), and customer lifetime value (CLV). This will help you maintain profitability during the lead gen process.
  • Experiment with different ad formats: Also, know that there are many different ads types you can purchase. Google and Bing are known for pay-per-click (PPC) ads. Facebook will help you run effective retargeting ads. And YouTube will let you publish video ads, if that's your thing. Try different ad types to see which ones your audience responds to. Then work to optimize said ads to generate the best results.

8. Invest in the Right Software Platforms

Finally, use modern technology to connect with more buyers.

Lead generation tools like Semrush will help you implement a stellar SEO strategy. Leadpages will help you craft high-converting landing pages. OptinMonster will help you build effective web forms. And Leadfeeder will help you source B2B contact information.

Marketing automation platforms like Mailchimp will help you send emails to your company's subscribers. And Hootsuite will help you implement an effective social strategy.

CRM solutions like Close and HubSpot will help you manage, communicate with, and nurture leads into making purchasing decisions—among many other things. (If you're in sales and don't have a CRM yet, check out this article that covers the best B2B CRMs on the market.)

There are a ton of apps your company can use to generate and manage leads. You just need to decide which SaaS solutions fit your needs and budget. Once you do, don't hesitate to buy!

Master B2B Lead Generation

If you want your B2B business to succeed, you have to generate quality leads. To generate quality leads, you need a plan. Then you need to execute that plan effectively.

Guess what, after reading this article, you have the knowledge you need to implement an effective B2B lead generation strategy All you have to do now is, you know, do it. Choose a few of the lead gen ideas above and release your inner Nike. You'll be glad you did.

The indie stack, consisting of a collection of independent tools and platforms, has revolutionized B2B lead generation by empowering businesses to take a more targeted and personalized approach to reaching their prospects

Looking for ways to streamline the entire B2B sales process, from lead generation to customer support? Start your free 14-day trial of Close today—no credit card required!


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