10 B2B Lead Generation Strategies for 2016
April 11, 2016
This is an old post. See our updated list of B2B lead generation strategies for 2017.
There are just so many ways for a business to acquire new leads. It seems like every other promotional email and Twitter direct message I get is from someone who claims to know the “ultimate hack” to generate leads.
Let me be the one to tell you that there is NO single lead acquisition strategy that works across all industries and business types.
The challenge in planning a lead generation strategy arises from the fact that there is so much information out there, it’s hard to know what the best strategy is. It doesn’t help either that people seek one killer lead tactic that is all-encompassing while failing to realize that a good B2B lead generation is made up of many activities, which must be measured and tested to find out what’s working best.
Marketing executives are reporting that lead quality is a top priority for lead generation—and ironically, the biggest challenge they face. In Marketo’s study, 61 percent of marketers reported that generating high-quality leads was problematic for their organizations.
Given such crystal clear data, B2B marketing professionals must gear up their marketing campaigns and map out strong lead generation strategies for the coming year.
In helping you generate new lead ideas, here are some B2B lead generation tactics and strategies to fill in the lead gaps for 2016:
1. Build social media relationships.
There’s no denying that social media as a lead generation tool is a powerful way of building and nurturing relationships. Stop using it mainly as a broadcast tool, and instead, rethink influencing and provide value to your prospects by reaching out to and engaging various communities.
LinkedIn is known to be the most effective social media platform for B2B businesses today. The key is to find 2 or 3 groups where your actual prospects hang out and start making yourself heard.
Start asking and answering questions in these groups. Start building trusted relationships based on your expertise and your network. Start referring others and connecting these people to the tools, answers, and resources they need, and you’ll begin to attract the right sort of attention in social media.
2. Seminars and webinars.
For most B2B lead generation environments, one of the most effective tactics involves face-to-face education through seminars and webinars. When prospects get to see and hear that you provide valuable advice, instant affinity usually follows. If you manage to provide a solution for the particular challenges they are struggling with, you’ll be sure to build strong relationships with your audience and position your brand as a thought-leader and an industry expert.
Plus, from a content creation standpoint, the ongoing seminar or webinar series you create can also be turned into a powerful trust-building asset or even a product in itself.
3. Make lead scoring dynamic and behavioral.
Consider what makes a lead qualified, and work on enhancing lead scores with information beyond demographics. Focus on how the individual reached your website and other actions they’ve taken, as you calculate your lead scores.
This way, you’ll have a much better understanding of where they are in the buyer’s journey and what the most effective activities would be to help convert them into customers.
4. Supplement inbound tactics with outbound.
Look for a point of diminishing returns where your campaign investments provide the greatest value.
Inbound strategies like content marketing are strong channels and should be maximized. But, beyond that, inbound tactics need to be supplemented with outbound and other paid channels to create sustainable demand and growth. Diversify your lead generation techniques to maximize your reach and exposure across multiple channels.
5. Collaborate with sales.
Engage early with your sales teams and continuously seek their qualitative feedback—combining it with your own quantitative analysis will determine how you should adjust your investments and targeting efforts to generate the most dynamic mix to fuel sales.
Aligning your sales efforts with your marketing activities can drastically improve marketing ROI, sales productivity and most importantly, top-line growth.
6. Optimize website conversions for lead generation.
A well-performing website converts 7% to 14% of visitors and is optimized for this goal. Most people think that beautiful websites are better, but studies show that even less attractive yet functional websites can be just as successful—if not more successful at converting leads.
That said, it is important to limit the amount of options a person has to explore your website. The more incomprehensible and overwhelming it is, the greater the chance an audience will lose interest and leave.
Additionally, it is important to place CTAs in every section of your website to drive visitors to web forms and gated content. The idea is to make use of as many opportunities as possible to direct prospects towards your sales funnel.
7. Guest blogging.
An effective tactic for generating leads for small businesses, in particular, is guest blogging on popular industry-related websites.
Though guest blogging can help direct additional sources of traffic to your website, it is mainly a tool for increasing exposure and building authority for your brand. A bonus of guest blogging is the opportunity to gain relevant backlinks but this should never be your primary goal, or you might just be profiled as a spammer.
Though it can help with your site’s SEO, content quality should never be compromised. The most successful guest blog posts are always well-written and relevant to the audience of that particular site.
8. Mobile is the place to be.
In 2015, Mobile surpassed desktop in terms of global usage. People are spending 3 hours more per day on their mobile phones, to the point where time spent on mobile is about to beat time spent watching TV.
There is absolutely no doubt that marketers need to invest in the mobile space. Consumers now rely on their mobile devices for entertainment, research, e-commerce, social engagement, or simply to pass the time.
This year (2017) it’s predicted that Facebook ’s revenue from mobile ads will grow to nearly 30 billion dollars. This is incredible growth considering the fact that Facebook only launched mobile ads a few years back. An obvious reason for this growth is the increase in mobile advertising budgets, consistent with the rise in mobile usage.
9. Understand buyers’ needs.
In 2017, companies that are actively focusing on their specific buyer personas will be most likely to win.
Building and understanding these personas ensure that the efforts of marketing and sales are not just focused on the customer, but are focused on the “right” customer.
A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal client. Although they require a lot of work to develop, putting in the effort will vastly improve your efforts when engaging with customers at various brand touchpoints.
10. Earn an audience with content marketing.
There are 75 billion pieces of content, 8 billion photos uploaded and shared, and 500 million Tweets posted each day. This is a clear sign that we live in a world that consumes a vast amount of digital content. This also implies that content marketing is undoubtedly a great way to grow brands.
However, with productions numbers this big, it’s no surprise that 60 to 70 percent of content marketing goes unnoticed, as they don’t serve the needs of their audiences. Unfortunately, this means missed opportunities for brand exposure, leads, and conversions. To make content useful, it is important to create content that has a specific goal or objective. Content must serve a distinct purpose or else it’s not content marketing—it’s just content.
Lastly, ensure that your content is valuable to your audience. The provision of unique value is a key factor in your content marketing success. You either have to be educating, entertaining or helping your audience solve a problem.
What to Takeaway
Implementing these strategies without the support of a sizable team can be a pretty daunting task, but with the help of various online tools, marketing activities can be a whole lot more manageable.
The digital age has certainly opened up various channels and different ways of generating leads. Leveraging a B2B lead generation company can help you take advantage of all the opportunities that technology has to offer.