generate leads b2b

How Do You Generate Leads in B2B?

By: Frank DePino | November 19, 2020

The most difficult part of business-to-business sales, hands down, is generating leads. Things like Facebook ads, phonebook ads, and email campaigns that are effective at generating leads in business-to-consumer sales just don’t work in the B2B world. 

This article is here to make your life a little easier. 

How do you generate leads in B2B? Here’s how: 

  1. Follow up with soft leads – a personal call or email can go a long way
  2. Don’t be afraid to go “soft.” Utilize soft-sells to get a foot in the door
  3. Stay active on LinkedIn by sharing useful, high-quality content
  4. Become a leader in the industry and a trusted source of content and knowledge
  5. Invest in digital marketing techniques like SEO and Google Ads
  6. Hire a lead generation agency.

The Power of Soft: How to Utilize Soft Leads

What is a hard lead in B2B marketing?

The term “hard lead” can be defined two different ways.

In some industries, it is referred to as a customer or business that is already knowledgeable about your product or service, did their research, and “abandoned their shopping cart” so to speak before a conversion was made.

Hard lead can also refer to a customer or business that paid for a service one, but has yet to re-commit to continuing that service.

In either case, hard leads are very important for making conversions and they are what is counted for ROI calculations.

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How can you generate sales for your brand?

  1. Go far and wide for soft leads. This type of lead is a numbers game. Through social media marketing, SEO, and Google ads, it can be very cost effective in B2B to advertise to a wide range of potential businesses.

    Starting with big numbers can help boost the pool of soft leads that go through with the conversion or that turn into hard leads 
  1. Exposure. Exposure. Exposure. Soft leads have already given you their contact information, this gives your business a way to reach them. Whether it is with individual consumers or with business, repeated exposure often prods soft leads to make the leap and buy your company’s goods or services.

    This means utilizing email campaigns to provide soft leads with more information and an explanation of your product’s value to them.
  1. Follow up personally. Don’t underestimate the power of a personal touch. A call or email to the lead can be enough to seal the deal and make the conversion. Unlike with other potential leads, these are not necessarily cold calls because the person or business already has some familiarity with your company and what you offer.

    A quick “lukewarm” call can give you the opportunity to answer some questions and elaborate on what your company can do for them.

Why Soft-Sells are Important for B2B Sales

If you are wondering “how do you generate leads in B2B?” then soft-sells are a great avenue to explore.  

Soft-sells are ideal for B2B because they provide more than awareness; they provide the lead with the knowledge of how your company’s services can make their company run more smoothly.

Once a lead is exposed to the value that your company can offer them, they will be more likely to make a conversion.

There are many scenarios where a soft-sell can turn a potential lead into a loyal customer and partner.

The trick to soft-sells is to make it cost-effective for your company. Smart soft-sells are offering cheap, yet useful items that don’t cost you too much money but that provide the lead with adequate information to consider something long-term. 

Mediaboom shows how it has optimized its Linkedin profile to increase leads in its B2B business

How Do You Generate Leads in B2B Using LinkedIn?

Whereas Facebook and Instagram are hot spots for B2C marketing, LinkedIn is the place to be for B2B lead generation. Between Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, these three sites generate 90% of social traffic, and half of that traffic comes from LinkedIn.

It’s a B2B goldmine.

The best part is that company executives and decision makers don’t spend their spare time scrolling mindlessly through the site. Rather, they are usually actively looking for valuable content and seeking to make useful connections. 

The first step is to make a thorough company page that includes your basic information, services, a description of what you do, your mission statement, a CTA to visit your website, and you should post company blogs to the page. If a business owner is scrolling through their feed, sees one of your company blog posts and finds it helpful, they might navigate to the company page to learn more. 

Use Linkedin in the right way

When they get to your company LinkedIn page, you want them to learn something about your business. 

Another useful tool is showcase pages or affiliated pages. 

These are separate but connected LinkedIn pages that advertise your company’s different products and services. This allows you to target different industries with your different offerings. 

The last tip for generating leads in B2B on LinkedIn is: publish content daily. There are a couple of things to remember with this one: 

  • LinkedIn is a professional site, so your content needs to match that tone and be innovative. Focus on providing companies with useful information, not on entertaining people. 
  • Sharing other people’s content is a great way to stay active on the site without running out of content. However, sharing isn’t always enough. Make sure to add your own commentary or opinion to shared content. This is also a place to reaffirm the values and opinions of your company.
  • Make sure to share your own original content. Re-sharing is not enough to generate B2B leads. This content should be unique to your company and provide tips & tricks that have not been written about before. 
  • Your content should establish yourself and your company as a leader in the field. It should show that you are highly knowledgeable about your industry. Posting frequently can help with this, as can utilizing data and research to support your arguments.

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Why Content Matters: Becoming a Trusted Source in Your Industry

Becoming a leader on LinkedIn isn’t enough to generate leads in B2B. 

You have to consistently create content across all your digital channels, including social media, email campaigns, your website, and in real-world advertising. 

It’s like that saying goes: if it was easy, everyone would do it. 

Boosting your industry profile to generate B2B leads is hard. This is why the most cost-effective way to accomplish your company’s goals is to hire a marketing agency that specializes in B2B marketing. 

A digital marketing agency like Mediaboom has the resources and expertise to take over the job of content creation for you, so you can focus on your company.

Digital marketing agencies have copywriters, web developers, photographers, designers, and SEO experts on staff. If you attempt all the content creation yourself, your company would have to hire an entire team of talent to do the job. Working with an agency gives you quality content made by experts and allows you to focus on the business side of things. 

Generating B2B Leads with Google Ads and SEO

Google Ads and SEO are forms of digital marketing that work in both B2B and B2C contexts. For generating leads in B2B, SEO is useful for boosting your online profile and establishing your company as an industry leader.

Not only does it make it easier for customers to find products, but it can help executives find new tools to streamline their company’s workflow.

SEO is especially important because company decision-makers and executives are not going to scroll through 12 pages of Google to find what they need. No, they are going to draw upon the first few results and see what products and services in their field come most highly recommended. 

Google Ads can be a great way to get their attention. SEO is what will keep your website near the top of the Google search.

Another way to get the attention of executives is with backlinks.

A backlink is created when one website links to another website. However, it is not enough for these backlinks to just exist, they are most effective if a highly-esteemed website links back to your website. 

The owner of a B2B business has increased his leads after hiring a specialized web agency

How Do I Generate Leads in B2B? By Hiring a Lead Generation Agency

A lead generation agency works with your company to design personalized campaigns that are designed to increase your conversions, make more sales, generate clicks, and more. An agency will have the expertise to lure in lead using several different methods: 

  1. Analyze your target audience – Having a buyer persona can help make targeted ads as effective as possible. An agency will identify the average age, income level, location, and other traits of your target demographic that will most benefit from your product or service.
  1. Build your brand’s image – A strong brand image can increase customer trust, which helps generate leads and make conversions. Once a lead generation agency has identified your target audience, they can match your brand’s image to what that demographic will best respond to.
  1. Content creation – One of the most important – and daunting – ways of generating leads is creating consistent, quality content. Most business owners are not equipped for the planning, writing, designing, and researching that is required to make content. This is why you need an agency to create on-brand content consistently. 
  1. Utilize paid ads and retargeted ads – Pay-per-click advertising is worth the investment because it places your products or services directly in front of potential leads, which encourages awareness and later conversions.

Similarly, retarget ads are essentially reminders to bring leads back to a page or product that they have already viewed. This pushes them to make the conversion by finally following through to make a purchase.

The B2B company has just concluded a contract with a new lead obtained thanks to digital marketing

You Got the Leads, Now What?

If your soft-sells, connections with soft-leads, LinkedIn activity, industry standing, ads, and your lead generation agency are working, here is what you can do next: 

Nurture Leads with Marketing Automations:

Stay in contact using automated email marketing. This can mean sending out newsletters, sharing your company’s blog posts, or just sharing tips and tricks. By sharing useful information, you can maintain contact with leads.

For products, this nurturing can encourage leads to invest in the product again, recommend it to others, and provide positive reviews For services, this continued contact can ensure that companies continue to utilize your services. 

Optimize Your Sales Process:

Once you have successfully generated some leads, it is important to analyze your sales funnel and identify what was effective for making conversions and what was not. 

If most of your leads came from LinkedIn connections, then it could be a smart marketing choice to put more time and money into LinkedIn. If soft-sells are not generating leads effectively, your company could consider diverting resources to other forms of lead generation. 

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By: Frank DePino

Frank DePino is Principal and Founder of Mediaboom. Since 2002, Frank has led Mediaboom’s award-winning staff of creative and technical professionals, building the most effective marketing and advertising solutions for its clients.


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