B2B lead generation has changed exponentially today and is very different from what it used to be even a five years back. The rise of social media and digital channels have replaced interruptive marketing strategies of yesterday. Since access to information is at everyone’s fingertips owing to the growing smartphone proliferation and increased internet access, B2B marketers today have to take a more guided approach towards lead generation. B2B marketers have to work much harder and take a strategic approach to lead generation to ensure that their marketing efforts generate quantifiable leads that can generate revenue for the business.
Over 61% of B2B marketers lament that generating high-quality leads is their biggest challenge. A significant number also agree that owing to the growth of social media, it has become a very important part of their marketing plan for lead generation. At the same time, cold calling cannot be entirely taken off the lead generation book since human interaction is essential to warm up the leads that can eventually lead to a face to face interaction.
In this blog, we attempt to talk about five lead generation techniques that B2B marketers should look at to deliver profitable leads.
A B2B Lead Generation Trend Report report states that email marketing is one of the top three preferred B2B lead generation tactics. Email is undoubtedly important. However, considering the overload of information flow, it only makes sense to deliver the targeted information via email. Generic automated emails without creative content, without any call to action, and without any thought to personalization and segmentation do not work. With proper email marketing strategy, segmentation and follow-up plan, email marketing can deliver the desired results. Email marketing shows the maximum impact when the campaigns are followed up with phone calls with a razor-sharp pitch.
Marketing Automation is not just a buzzword anymore. It also cannot be qualified as a lead generation strategy alone. Marketing automation is a part of a digital marketing strategy that also includes lead generation. In order to leverage this well, marketers need to understand the subtle nuances of marketing automation. It’s not about stuffing the software with a list of purchased email ids. Marketing automation works by understanding user behavior on digital platforms, whether it is social media or on websites. Marketers need to analyze these behaviors, send targeted messages via email marketing and then follow these qualified leads with calls to warm up. Only through such structured approach, the warm leads can then result in business meetings and interactions.
According to the 2014 State of B2B Procurement study, 94% of B2B buyers conduct an online research before making a purchasing decision. Thus, in order to make an impression on the prospective client, B2B companies need to create compelling content that focuses on providing information and addressing the potential customers’ questions and queries. For content marketing to be an effective lead generation technique, content should not be promotional – it should, instead, generate interest when promoted on the right channels. Well thought out content marketing strategies can help establish thought leadership and increase trust. Content marketing initiatives such as blogs and whitepapers also increase the search engine ranking of companies which help in increasing the recall factor during the tele-calling exercises.
Webinars are often overlooked in B2B lead generation strategies. However, B2B marketers need to understand that webinars are a great way to attract qualified and invested audiences. People who sign-up for a webinar are doing so as they have an active interest in the said business and hence, it becomes easier to convert this interested audience into qualified leads. As webinars are educational in nature, they can be used to address questions that the interested audience might be looking answers for. Such qualified leads can then be spoken to on one-on-one basis through phone calls for answering any specific questions or taking the conversation to the next level.
Cold Calling 2.0
Cold calling, even in today’s age, cannot be overlooked as a good lead generation strategy for B2B companies. However, today is also the age of Cold Calling 2.0. Simply calling with a blanket message in an attempt to find qualified leads will hardly yield positive results. Identifying people who are interested in your product or service via the above mentioned channels, identifying what their requirements are before you make the call, connecting with them on social networks to establish familiarity, inviting them for a webinar, starting a conversation with them on their LinkedIn company page etc. are just a few ways to make cold calling warm and increasing your chances of generating a qualified lead that can be nurtured to an organic face-to-face interaction.
Given that today is the digital age, B2B marketers have to gear up their marketing strategies to facilitate warm calling and aid conversions. In order to do so, instead of focusing on a single silver bullet, marketers have to utilize all available channels to increase interactions that can facilitate warmer conversations and create lead momentum.
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