B2B lead generation is an array of tactics and strategies deployed by enterprises to fill their pipeline with qualified leads. It is one of the primary objectives of an enterprise’s demand generation activities. A core component of any marketing strategy, lead generation must be planned and well thought out to bring about the best results. However, in an era of quickly changing consumer habits, trends, and buzzwords, enterprises s
Enterprises often fail to iron out their digital lead generation process that generates poor quality leads, leading to an increased invalid lead ratio. Some key challenges include creating relevant content and selecting the right communication channel to connect and engage with the target audience. Another crucial bottleneck is the lack of proper lead nurturing processes that strangle the ROI of modern B2B enterprises.
Companied must begin with creating relevant criteria for lead search and identifying the right mediums where they can find more qualified and targeted leads. They must also leverage AI/ML-led tools to filter, process, and qualify their leads. This will improve the quality of their lead pipeline and boost the productivity of sales reps. It is also crucial for top leadership to ensure sales and marketing alignment for improved lead filtering and nurturing activities. Inputs from sales reps about consumer pain points, preferred communication channels, etc., can help marketers augment their B2B lead generation campaigns and make them more personalized.
Creating a lead generation strategy from scratch
Creating a B2B lead generation strategy from scratch is quite complex. This is primarily because there is a larger team of buying decision-makers in the B2B segment. Also, common lead gen strategies like social media and search ads work differently with B2B audiences. For starters, most B2B customers use corporate email to interact with vendors and are less active on their social media accounts. This also reduces the effectiveness and ROI of paid advertising campaigns as the buyers may or may not be active on their social networks during work hours.
Here are five steps that will help create a result-driven B2B lead generation strategy in 2022 and beyond:
The first and the foremost step to creating a successful lead gen program is to thoroughly research the market. Marketers need to evaluate: • Buyer personas, including firmographics, technographics, demographics, and financial information. • The goals, challenges, and pain points of the ideal buyer personas. • Preferred communication channels of the target audience, including email, social media, blogs, and/or offline mediums. • Preferred content formats such as eBooks, video content, downloadable content, or on-demand content like webinars, and more.
Once these data about the target audience is compiled, marketers must brainstorm what type of content is needed to consistently engage people.
Create content and execute ads
As a prerequisite to extracting high-quality leads, businesses must first engage and grab the attention of their target audience. They must create personalized, relevant content that addresses specific needs and pain points of their ideal customer ecosystem. Marketers must be able to relay through their content how exactly their products/services will resolve the issues faced by their prospects. It is also noteworthy that buyers have become more sensitive to ads and marketing communication. Therefore, it is important that marketers don’t bombard their prospects with content marketing and/or ads.
How to create relevant content?
To create engaging and relevant content, marketers must first align themselves with the goals and challenges of their buyer personas. B2B buyers are more self-servicing and highly trained in their respective domains. Hence, generic content will likely go unnoticed, rendering it irrelevant.
Content marketers must identify trending topics, analyze common searches, and deep dive into the challenges of their target list to make their content topical, relevant, and personalized. Problem-solving guides, brand advocacy content, and informative webinar sessions can help drive highly filtered, and sales-ready leads. Another option is competitor displacement, where marketers create content to attract and engage competitors’ clients in a bid to win them over.
Selecting the correct channels and formats
Market research conducted at the beginning of the b2b lead generation strategy will reveal the media preferences of the firm’s target audience. Armed with this data, marketers can customize their content marketing efforts to these preferences. Creating content in a format that is popular but not desired by a firm’s target audience will result in content being ignored.
Marketers must curate content in the right formats and promote them on preferred platforms. A prospective lead could be actively engaging on Instagram, but if they use the platform in their free time at home, then they probably won’t appreciate being contacted through it for work. Thus, choosing the right channel and content format is of utmost importance to get optimum results at higher ROI.
Distribute content to a wider audience
As the marketplace becomes more and more digitized, digital marketers have to adopt an inclusive and omnichannel approach to distribute content and promote their products & services. Marketers can also try offline mediums depending on their audience. Some of the popular ways to distribute content include:Content syndication:
In this approach, marketers provide content to third-party publishers or influencers, sharing similar target audiences and reach. They can also publish their content on paid platforms like blogs, where affiliates can write an article and get it published in return for precious backlinks to their website and increased brand awareness. Additionally, businesses can also syndicate podcasts, webinars, video content, and more.LinkedIn lead generation:
Among all the social media platforms, LinkedIn is the most preferred channel for B2B marketing. With a huge, active database of professionals and business leaders, it can prove to be a goldmine for b2b marketers if pursued correctly. There are multiple ways that LinkedIn can be used to create brand awareness and execute online lead generation, including LinkedIn ads, LinkedIn sales navigator, content syndication through industry leaders, and more.Look-alike targeting:
Using this method, b2b enterprises can tap into a similar but wider audience than their existing one. Different platforms like LinkedIn and Google allow companies to create ads for look-alike audiences. It works through a blend of machine learning algorithms, combining the selected audience data and an intelligent look-alike modeling algorithm. This yields a user behavioral pattern that increases CTR by five times and reduces the expense of non-target clicks and visits.
Leverage B2B database provider
Modern enterprises need a smart mix of digital strategies and a b2b database provider to fuel their lead pipeline. After identifying their ideal customer profile, companies can directly buy database from a reliable b2b database provider matching their target customer profiles. A complete set of database includes insights such as contact information, technographic, firmographic, demographic, buyer intent, and financial information. These data points enable marketers to customize their communication, content and nurturing strategies to meet individual buyer requirements. In addition, having standardized, accurate, and updated data helps enrich the lead quality.
Retargeting the potential target audience is an underutilized b2b lead generation strategy that, if executed properly, will scoop up leads that otherwise might not have been considered by the company. Retargeting campaigns have a higher rate of effectiveness because it targets prospects who are already familiar and engaged with the brand. When visitors leave the website without converting, remarketing opens the door to re-engaging them across different web platforms.
A typical b2b retargeting campaign must engage customers at each stage of the sales funnel for better results. However, companies should avoid the trap of remarketing right after a prospect has visited their website. Instead, they should wait before retargeting a prospect or configure ads to appear when the prospect visits similar websites. This will help enhance the reception of remarketing campaigns.
Successful b2b lead generation requires marketing and sales teams to adopt an omnichannel approach fed from rich data sources. Businesses must deploy a value-based lead gen process to generate high-quality leads. Beginning with in-depth market research, marketers must leverage b2b demand generation tools like content marketing, paid ad campaigns, and retargeting campaigns to drive lead generation in the new normal.
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