B2B Lead Generation: The Ultimate Guide 2023
July 7, 2023
In the aftermath of 2020, more and more buyers have turned to digital channels. Self-serve is continually rising, with 81% of buyers looking for more digital self-serve options.
But even though it's popular doesn't mean self-serve is more effective. As much as 43% of buyers regret purchasing through digital self-serve.
So, what's the best way to go?
Why, of course, infuse that human magic into the digital experience by using B2B lead generation strategies that direct buyers from digital channels to your sales team.
In this blog, we're checking out what B2B lead generation is, why your strategies need to evolve, and what tactical changes you can make.
B2B lead generation: Where it all begins
B2B lead generation attracts businesses (not individuals) within your ideal customer profile (ICP) to your product or service. Its ultimate goal is to convert these leads into customers.
You can consider a B2B lead generated when a business within your ICP shows interest in your solution.
Today, more leads can be brought in through multiple channels via different campaigns. The modern B2B buyer uses up to ten channels in their buying journey. But why exactly do buyers display this behaviour?
“Buyers have access to several channels (like Google search or LinkedIn) to browse products. Also, competition is steadily increasing and usually these players are present on multiple channels. It further pushes B2B buyers to research about you and your competitors across different channels.”
— Shivani Khokhani, Growth Marketer, Driftrock on using multiple channels for B2B lead generation in the sales process
It makes sense that multiple channels are where potential customers start because B2B lead generation is generally the first step in the sales process.
This is where you first acquire information like email IDs, company names, locations and more for nurturing your leads down the sales funnel.
The need for evolved B2B lead generation strategies
Given the significant change in the last few years, it only makes sense for B2B lead generation strategies to evolve. Here are 4 reasons to consider levelling up your B2B lead generation practices.
- Deeper understanding of the ICP
Evolved B2B lead generation focuses heavily on understanding your ideal customer. This gives you deeper insights into your target audience. You start identifying their behaviours, interests and pain points better.
With modern lead generation practices, you can use these learnings to build a richer ICP with time, attracting more high-quality leads.
- Richer relationships with prospects
You can build longer-lasting relationships with prospects by understanding your target audience better. Relationships are such a key ingredient to generate sales deals successfully. They continue bringing in more benefits in the long term.
Richer relationships with your buyers can play out in three more ways:
Your prospects refer your solution to others. Remember, since prospects fall within your ICP and know your solution well, their referrals are mainly high-quality leads.
Your post-sales relationship with the buyer is much better, improving the customer experience and creating opportunities for upsells and cross-sells.
c) Product testing
Loyal customers are more willing to try out newer features. They can act as your testing group whose insights you can trust. You can then improve your solution using their valuable feedback.
- Increased sales
Naturally, if you reach out to the right customer, you can convince them faster, shorten your sales cycle and generate leads faster.
Plus, you create enough brand awareness amongst your ICP so they know you well before purchasing from you. As a result, more consistent lead generation efforts increase your sales.
- Tiding over downturns
Instead of slowing down during a downturn, evolved B2B lead generation focuses on amplifying your brand awareness effectively, to the right audience.
In the context of the current situation, there's no threat of a recession even as global economies have slowed down. It means that commercial spending may be lower, but it hasn't stopped completely.
"Modern B2B lead generation shows businesses to focus on getting the most ROI of their spend and being really efficient. It's all about being innovative with your marketing strategies."
— Shivani Khokhani, Growth Marketer, Driftrock on modern B2B lead generation strategies
You can use this period to get ahead with certain activities requiring less monetary investment. For example, use social media and emails to build brand awareness and nurture leads that are already in your pipeline.
B2B lead generation strategies that actually work in 2023
It's important to remember that sales teams are no longer the sole drivers of the b2b lead generation process. They are one of the channels, not the only channel to reach customers.
While the sales team still plays a key role in the selling process, adding new digital strategies to your marketing arsenal is increasingly important. 2023 is all about that digital plus rep-led buying experience.
Below, we've given you 5 B2B lead generation strategies for 2023.
- Fortify your website for SEO
Your website is one of the first channels a lead finds you. If it's not built and optimised for SEO, chances are you're missing out on a huge chunk of quality leads.
An effective SEO strategy gets customers to notice you faster by ranking you higher on search engines. Moreover, SEO leads are looking for what you offer already, which increases the chances of conversion.
Now, for the most important tool in your SEO arsenal - keywords. Keywords are target topics that your leads are searching for. And they still play a very critical role in modern B2B lead generation.
“Before buying a product, buyers undertake research. Keywords (which are search terms for them) are where they begin. To provide value, build trust and increase brand awareness, use the set of keywords that positions your brand as a trustworthy market leader and solution for their pain points.”
— Shivani Khokhani, Growth Marketer, Driftrock on using keywords for generating leads through search engine optimization
How to include SEO in your game plan:
a) Choose specific short and long-tail keywords to include in your content. Add them to blogs, landing pages and other elements on your website, like page titles, URLs and meta descriptions.
b) Ensure that the content you're uploading on the website matches the buyer's search intent. For example, if your buyer is looking for information related to an email marketing product, talk about the problems that users face and how your tool solves them.
c) Make it easier for the lead to reach out to you by always keeping the CTA visible. The placement may differ, but it should be easily accessible to the user.
d) Another item in your SEO checklist should be to optimise your website for mobile. To do that, check the following:
- Are your landing pages responsive on the mobile screen?
- Do they load quickly?
- Is your content easily readable on mobile?
- Are visitors still engaging with the mobile version of your website as compared to other devices?
e) Lastly, earn more qualitative backlinks by having external websites or pages link to yours. It boosts your domain authority which improves SERP ranking.
💡 Tools that can help:
Semrush and Ahrefs for comprehensive SEO research
- Up your content marketing game
71% of B2B marketers say content marketing is more important in 2023 than last year. If you haven't joined this league yet, now's the time.
Here are two content formats you can use for B2B lead generation.
At a time when generative AI is all the rage, avoid falling for the generic content trap. Create content that serves and features your product. Your blogs should reflect buyer pain points and how you can solve them. Sharing authentic and purposeful content gives you more credibility, establishing you as a thought leader.
You can also build content clusters around your core competencies so it's easier for buyers to switch between topics.
For 86% of people, watching a video convinced them to buy a product or service. Whereas 96% of video marketers have increased user understanding of their product or service using videos.
It just shows the power of video content marketing in influencing the buying journey.
Some video content types you can explore include case studies, testimonials, product walkthroughs, explainers and gated webinars.
How to include Content Marketing in your game plan:
a) Map your content to the buyer's journey, even if you're just in the generation stage, to push potential leads through the sales process and convert them.
“Mapping your content to your buyer's journey gives you greater visibility at every stage of their purchase process. You cover all bases at the top, middle and bottom of the sales funnel which increases your chances of conversion.”
— Shivani Khokhani, Growth Marketer, Driftrock on mapping content to the buyer's journey for generating leads
b) For instance, you don't need to restrict content on core competencies to a blog. You can repurpose and further develop it into videos, guides, eBooks, additional services pages, case studies and press articles.
Gartner does this well. It repurposes content from gated webinars into blogs, social media posts, services, guides and even guest posts.
c) An underrated tactic is influencer marketing in B2B lead generation. You can partner with key leaders or senior B2B executives in your industry or leverage employee advocacy.
💡 Tools that can help:
- Grammarly for crafting error-free copy
- Canva for creating stunning graphics
- Braze for omnichannel communication
- Optimise presence on social media platforms
You don't need to be present on all social media platforms for effective lead generation; just on those platforms where your audience is.
Some trusted sites you can use are LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook. Most B2B buyers use these platforms, so it makes sense to stay active here.
But explore a few alternative platforms, too. These include Quora, Reddit, Instagram, Pinterest and TikTok.
How to include Social media marketing in your game plan:
a) Activate your social media pages by publishing content regularly. The more timely you are, the more reach you get.
b) You're a B2B brand, yes. However, your posts can be something other than technical or formal. Let your brand's personality shine through your social media pages. It's one online channel where you can be distinctive and fun.
c) Take inspiration from B2B brands like Mailchimp and HubSpot. They've aced alternative social media platforms like Instagram and amplified their reach. Their content is B2B-led but follows a less formal approach.
d) You can also amplify gated content like reports, product guides and eBooks through organic and paid social media posts. LinkedIn is particularly useful for this.
e) Use native lead gen ads. These paid ads minimise friction in user experience, resulting in a higher conversion rate.
f) On community-style platforms like Quora, Reddit and Facebook groups, you can answer user questions for your product or customer queries about the industries in which you operate. Since communities drive these platforms, remember to be thoughtful with your answers while simultaneously showcasing your expertise.
g) If you're a B2B brand in the creative space, like a business event organiser, you can post on Pinterest (popularly used as a visual search engine).
💡 Tools that can help:
Hootsuite, Sprout and Buffer for social media content management and analytics.
- Forge ahead using lead generation forms
You can use lead generation forms to capture lead information seamlessly and quickly on any device. You can also personalise lead gen forms with a headline, copy and qualifying questions.
To learn more about lead gen forms, head over to our guide.
How to include Lead Generation Forms in your game plan:
a) Place them on your website ('contact us' page) or use them as CTAs on social media posts, blogs, gated case studies or reports. You can also simply use them as dynamic landing pages for specific campaigns.
b) Amplify your lead gen forms with paid ads to capture more leads. Place these ads on social media, display, search and video.
c) Lead forms work best when you offer value in exchange for lead information. The content attached to your form must be educational, entertaining, problem-solving, or all of the above.
For instance, if a lead subscribes to your newsletter, you can send them an exclusive, free, personalised template as Shopify does.
Or you can share super-informative guides as we do. Take a look at the example below.
Similarly, you can use lead gen forms for webinar sign-ups.
d) If you're going for a higher quantity marketing qualified leads, use a limited number of fields which more leads can fill quickly.
But if quality is more important, add fields of qualifying questions. Only leads with high purchase intent will fill out a lengthier lead form.
💡 Tools that can help:
- Driftrock for comprehensive lead management
- Close or HubSpot CRM to store lead information and nurture them
- Old is gold with email marketing automation
One of the oldest digital marketing tactics, emails, is still alive and kicking today. In fact, 59% of B2B marketers consider email marketing as the most effective revenue-generating channel.
Still not a believer? Let us convert you!
Here's a cold email Dhruv Ghulati, founder of Factmata, sent to Mark Cuban.
Not only did he get a reply from Mark, but he also received a cool investment of $250,000 to be followed by another $250,000 in 6 months. You can read the full breakdown of his cold email here.
In the meanwhile, here are a few tips.
How to include Email marketing automation in your game plan:
a) Be creative with your emails, particularly if you're a fun and young brand attracting a similar audience profile. You can use light humour in your copy, designs and videos attached to the email.
b) When sending a cold email, remember:
- The buyer doesn't know you yet. So, make your email memorable.
- Validate yourself with credentials or what you have in common with the recipient.
- Keep your email copy short and natural. Avoid promoting yourself with generic language.
- Highlight your offerings clearly.
💡 Tools that can help:
ActiveCampaign and Mailchimp
Best practices for successful B2B lead generation
You have the reasons for levelling up your B2B lead generation, and you have the strategies. We're rounding up the guide with a few best practices so you can go about lead generation campaigns better.
- Stay on point with your campaign objectives
Even though lead generation primarily involves sales and marketing teams, you're not fulfilling sales objectives alone.
Keep a wider perspective and pay attention to the other business goals—customer, strategic, operational, spending and communication.
- Define the buyer journey’s stages
Figure out how your buyer moves through the sales funnel by answering these questions:
- Where do buyers gather information about you?
- When does a buyer decide to engage with you?
- When do marketing teams pass on a lead to the sales team?
- At what point are you generating sales qualified leads?
- When do qualified leads need more nurturing?
- When do qualified leads become prospects?
- How do you track your lead generation progress?
- Use content deliverables that bring in maximum ROI
That means creating tailored content for your ICP. You can't sell a product using content unrelated to your solution and can't show your target audience how it solves their problems.
Take your potential customers through the buyer journey, from one stage to the next, with content. Also, use their preferred channels to communicate.
Remember to repurpose content into a lead magnet, specifically the pieces that work really well.
- Pay close attention to enterprise personas
In B2B lead generation, you'll interact with key stakeholders from the buyer's organisation. And so, you'll need to understand their profiles.
But alongside individual stakeholder profiles, also develop an enterprise persona. This will tell you which company falls within your ICP and which doesn't at the larger level.
- CTAs must serve value
Always keep your CTAs tied to an effective value proposition and rich incentives like gated content. This could include comprehensive guides, how-tos, case studies, templates and roadmaps.
Finally, step out on your B2B lead generation journey
Lead generation for B2B may still be evolving, but we've got your back. The strategies we discussed above include some of the latest tips so you can hit the ground running.
Don't end with lead generation strategies; they're only a starting point for your lead management journey. You don't want leads coming in and drifting out of your system because you didn't pay attention to nurturing and managing them.
Still browsing for more information? Check out our other resources here.