Generating leads for business-to-business (B2B) companies is different from business to consumer (B2C) companies—in B2B, your lead generation efforts should have more focused messaging, more targeted audiences and a solid strategy.
Today, we’re diving into B2B lead generation ideas that you can rely on to move mountains in 2018.
If you’re not yet familiar with lead generation, it’s the method or strategy used to attract target customers and collect their information in order to provide leads to sales.
It’s not just about the leads—you’ll learn how to go from deploying B2B lead generation strategies to achieving actual sales with them, even considering all the variables outside the marketer’s control in the B2B arena.
An important first step is deciding on whether your lead generation efforts should focus on quality or quantity (of leads).
1) Understand lead generation: quality vs quantity
An important first step is deciding on whether or not your lead generation efforts should focus on quality or quantity (of leads).
Quality leads: leads you generate because they show interest in buying your product and are currently capable of doing so. They’re most likely to buy.
Lead quantity: how much you scale the number of your leads, or simply, the sheer number of leads you wind up with.
Every lead generation strategy will generate leads in some quantity, but you decide whether or not the quantity or quality of those leads is top of mind. Your decision here influences your lead generation strategy.
In the beginning, you’ll likely have to sacrifice one for the other—either you collect every lead that comes through the door and pass them onto sales, or you employ scrutiny measures to improve lead quality—which will lower your quantity.
For example, 2,000 visitors (potential leads) visit your landing page to download your whitepaper. They thought—as most people do—that they’ll only have to click download, or at most fill out a 3-field form to get your paper. Instead, your form is 6-fields — requiring a lot of personal information like phone number, company name, and role.
Of those 2,000 people were planning on downloading the paper, you’ll likely get more of them to download your whitepaper with a shorter form, but you’ll have less information to qualify those leads later. Online form builder Formstack once found that reducing the number of form fields to four or under increases conversions by 160 percent. That’s huge.
To improve lead quality, you’d often have to employ scrutiny measures (like using more form fields).
These measures enhance lead quality, because you get to understand your leads more and know how to better to sell them, but then, lead quantity suffers. You’d often have to let some potential leads go to improve lead quality.
Each of these two lead generation perspectives can be useful.
Where should you focus?—on generating more leads or more quality leads—especially for B2B compared to B2C?
2) B2B Marketers should focus on lead quality, first.
Both B2C and B2B clearly need lead quality.
Since we’re talking trade-offs (between lead quantity and quality), b2b marketers will need lead quality more than quantity in the beginning.
70 percent of B2B marketers say improving the quality of leads is the most critical goal in their lead generation strategies. This makes sense because B2B leads have longer sales cycles than those in B2C. They have to consult with their teams before making purchase decisions. Hence, B2B marketers can’t just let any “lead” into their database. They need them qualified and might have to sacrifice quantity.
Conversely, B2C leads usually have shorter sales cycles. If you’re targeting them, you don’t need as many lead qualification processes here as for B2Bs.
Sometimes you just need their emails and first names, and that’s all you need to nurture them. It doesn’t mean you don’t care about lead quality, but that volume is more effective for B2C at the outset.
While both B2B and B2C marketers need lead quality, when it comes to trading one for the other, B2B marketers often need to trade quality for quantity. And from the stat I mentioned earlier, they already are.
If you’re going to qualify your B2B leads, you need to generate them first.
So, what are the best tactics to generate B2B leads?
3) Recommended strategies for B2B lead generation
Gated content + paid promotion:
Gated content is any content online that requires you to submit your information before you can consume it.
Gated content works like a charm for capturing leads—consumers want to see what you’ve got to offer.
Where many companies miss their potential is they the combination of gated content with paid promotion and quality audience targeting. Paid promotion amplifies the reach of your gated content, and quality targeting measures ensure you’re reaching your target customers.
Basic Bananas, for example, increased enrollment for their courses by 20 percent when they began promoting their gated editorial content and implementing quality audience targeting with Taboola.
“Gate” case studies and promote them:
Many businesses still create case studies and hide them in their resources pages. Yet, in the 2018 B2B content marketing benchmark report, marketers say case studies are the second most effective type of content in their content marketing arsenal. Also, 62.6 percent of US agency execs say case studies are effective in generating leads.
The numbers tell us businesses are out there generating more leads with their case studies. You can, too. Get more out of your case studies by promoting them and gating them.
No lead generation guide is complete without a blog. Blogging as a channel to scale your lead generation has been crowded (perhaps overcrowded) for the past few years, but truth is: people still pay attention to blogs that feed them quality content.
If you set up your blog as a resource for in-depth and high quality content, potential customers will be happy to always visit to learn and get inspired.
Just pushing out high quality content won’t cut it—you’ve got to be strategic about converting readers into leads. Use CTAs around your content to encourage readers who like your content to sign up for more.
You’ll collect their emails, turning them into tangible prospects you can nurture.
Search and social media
These two are oldies (even older than virtually every strategy in this post), but they’re still very effective today. Businesses are still reporting how they’re gaining high ROIs via these channels, so they aren’t showing signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Next, content discovery platforms.
Leverage content discovery platforms
You can also speed up your lead generation success with content discovery platforms. Taboola, for example, is a great option. It can help create awareness for your brand using popular publications your ideal leads read.
Since we’re talking lead generation strategies that will keep working in 2018, I’ll be expanding more on content discovery—it’s a distribution channel that is picking up momentum.
Below is how some B2B businesses are generating significant leads via content discovery.
Examples of B2B businesses that have generated thousands of quality leads using content discovery.
Again, it’s one thing to generate leads in quantity, it’s another to generate quality leads. These companies were able to build their brand awareness and generate quality leads via content discovery:
Boomerang generated over 3,500 quality new leads using content discovery
Boomerang had always been getting new users mostly via search advertising, but they needed another channel through which to generate high quality leads.
They turned to Taboola for a content discovery solution that would put Boomerang on popular publications that their target customers were already reading.
Taboola’s team of content strategists recommended that Boomerang created another landing page for users coming from the discovery channel because these users are different from Boomerang’s original paid search referrals.
Most visitors from paid search already have the intent to just install the Boomerang plugin—they already know what it does. Users from discovery want to learn more about the tool before deciding to install it or not, further qualifying them as leads.
Boomerang ended up generating 3500 new quality leads with Taboola and its team of expert content strategists
Discovery Tops AdWords as Most Effective Lead-Gen Channel for Grou
Grou started a company blog, and like every other business, they needed the blog to become a powerful lead generation tool.
They needed a better distribution channel.
During their search they found Taboola’s content discovery tool. Long story short, their results looked like this:
- Discovery generated more high-quality leads, more quickly, than any other promotion channel (including LinkedIn, Twitter and AdWords)
- Taboola’s contextual targeting boosted Grou’s average conversion rate to nearly 10 percent, reaching as high as 30-70 percent on select days
- Grou plans to recommend discovery to its roster of clients throughout Latin America
What’s most interesting about content discovery is the lead quality it generates. Sr. Account Manager at Grou, Gabriel Ponzo Madero, put it this way:
“When looking for prospective customers across the web, it’s vital to engage with them at just the right time, when they’re open to learning more about a product or service. Taboola empowers us to reach audiences at precisely this moment, on top sites where people are consuming content relevant to our business.”
In the end, you need lead generation strategies that will pull leads for your business not only in quantity, but also in quality.
Gate attractive content so that potential leads will sign up to view it. And leverage content discovery platforms like Taboola. Utilize the ideas above to stay ahead of pack in 2018. They can be a great help for you as you grow your business, helping you gain the visibility you deserve this coming year.