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7 Tips for Automating B2B Lead Generation

 

With all the events that took place during 2020, the digitalization of business has increased significantly. Businesses in all niches were forced to reconsider their models and seek additional profit streams online.

While it is a difficult situation for an economy, it is a digital market shift that was not seen before. In the past, many were using digital tools to improve their business and be more efficient. Now, it is increasingly difficult to conduct “business as usual”. This digital shift presents a lot of opportunities that may be converted into sales.

In some cases, we can even talk about market divisions that will last for many years to come. Just read a bit on the raise of Zoom which managed to grow its stock price 7x during the crisis.

This post will highlight some of the ways in which you can take charge of this change and use it to the advantage of your business.

Tips for B2B Lead Generation

1. Strategize your marketing efforts

Yes, internet lead generation strategy lists and tips are all convenient and fun. But, for them to also be valuable, you must be able to understand how they are relevant to your business and take some actional tips from them.

So, before you jump into action, it’s always a good idea to spend some time and effort to make an action plan. Going blindly into a random course of action is not likely to generate any real results. However, knowing what to do and, why you’re doing it is much more likely to translate into lead generation and conversion results.

Start with an analysis

First off, you’ll need to do some analyzing:

  • What are your strengths?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • What resources do you have available?
  • How hard would it be to acquire the resources you need for these strategies but don’t have?
  • What are the results you are after?
  • How soon do you want or need them?

And, out of all of them, there are no questions more important than:

  • What is your audience?
  • What do they want?
  • What makes them react?

When you’re trying to create a marketing plan or a successful sales campaign, your audience must be your main focus. Finding out what makes them tick is the one thing that will help you reach and exceed your B2B lead generation goals.

Luckily, there are tools that can help with that so you won’t be shooting in the dark. Plus, the data you already have can actually give you more answers than you think.

Carefully organize and analyze your customer and sales data. This way, you will get valuable insights into what your customers need, want, and react to. It’s a constant process you will need to do over and over again and it all starts with proper organization.

Do some planning

Once you get your answers to the questions above, you’ will need to start properly planning your B2B lead generation strategy. Your sales results will only start showing if you adapt your strategies to your audience and market and you are consistent in applying them.

For the planning part, you’ll need to:

  • Organize your lead data for analysis. This way you will be able to not only better plan your lead generation strategies, but scale their results.
  • Decide on an action plan and its steps and stay consistent. Choose the type of B2B lead generation strategies that are relevant to your audience and carefully plan each stage.
  • Include steps for before, during, and after. The best B2B lead generation strategies comprise plans for attracting leads, nurturing, and converting them. Make sure you cover all your bases and don’t leave your potential customers unattended anywhere along their journey through your sales funnel.
  • Map out a few milestones for your B2B lead generation strategy. Once you reach a milestone, look back. Analyze what actions you took, what results they generated, and what you can improve in the future.
  • Organize your B2B lead generation processes according to your desired results and prioritize them.

Use marketing automation tools

To help you stay consistent and on track and nurture your relationship with your leads, there are several marketing automation tools that have proven great value and time-saving benefits. They can help simplify and streamline some or all of your marketing efforts. Not to mention they’ll allow you time to focus on other aspects of your marketing strategies or your business.

You can choose a more moderate automation solution such as marketing email automation. Or, go for a multi-channel marketing automation solution that can cover anything from your digital advertising to your social media accounts.

2. Put your content to work

Content marketing is gaining more and more traction as an essential component of a successful B2B marketing strategy. It allows you to generate, attract, and nurture leads and express your brand’s unique voice and identity in the process.

Content marketing is a good tool for building trust and gaining more visibility. It establishes your brand as an authority in your field and cultivates B2B lead generation.

Your content marketing strategies need to be built around your customer profile and align with your overall lead generation strategies. The best B2B content marketing strategies are coherent, engaging, and offer added value to leads, nurturing them, and leading them through the sales funnel.

Your B2B content marketing strategies must be outlined similarly to your overall lead generation strategies and comprise before, during, and after stages that cater to all your leads’ needs.

Let’s take a closer look at what kind of content would be relevant to each of these stages.

TOFU (top-of-the-funnel) –- awareness and connection content

This type of B2B lead generation content aims to increase your brand’s visibility and raise awareness. It sets the foundation for the relationship you are trying to build with your leads. The conversion rates related to this type of content won’t be astonishing. but, focus here is to attract and gain your audience’s attention.

Popular awareness content marketing strategies include:

  • Blog posts
  • Educational videos
  • Infographics
  • Free eB-books or guides
  • Podcasts.

These types of content can be broader, have a more general feel and essence. They don’t need to be targeted as specifically as the other types of content. Their main focus is to offer informative and educational material and insights to your audience, building their trust in your expertise and brand.

MOFU (middle-of-the-funnel) – industry-specific content

The next step in your content marketing strategy should be to cement your visibility and authority and become a trusted source of information. In this stage, your content will be more specifically targeted to your B2B audience and more detailed.

Popular MOFU content marketing strategies include:

  • Industry-specific blog posts targeted at industry experts
  • Educational content such as comparison charts
  • Newsletters
  • Industry-specific e-bBooks and guides
  • Email marketing
  • Webinars.

BOFU (bottom-of-the-funnel) – decision-making content

The last step of the buyer journey you should cover with your content marketing strategy is the bottom of the funnel. By this step, your leads have been engaged, nurtured, and are showing interest in your product or service. The best B2B lead generation strategies are particularly focused on this stage, as it is where most conversions will happen.

High-quality BOFU content is targeted at industry specialists and must provide real value. Industry specialists will not be wowed by generic things they already know. They will be attracted by high-value content that can deliver results.

Popular BOFU content marketing strategies include:

  • Dedicated and highly-engaging landing pages
  • Free trial offers
  • Case studies
  • Customized discount offers
  • Free or discounted consultations
  • Free or paid webinars.

Making the most out of your content

Yes, content marketing is a long-term commitment and not an easy feat. Still, to make sure you cover all the sales funnel stages and appeal to your audience and leads as efficiently as possible, you won’t always have to start from scratch.

You may already have content that is high -potential and can be updated or tweaked and converted into B2B lead generating material. For instance, you may already have a set of blog posts on a certain topic. You can create a bundle or even an eBook or guide from these blog posts.

You can also add optimizing features to your existing content. For instance, add powerful CTAs on your blog pages, add opt-in forms, or create dedicated landing pages.

Once you have these steps figured out, use every relevant channel you can to promote your B2B lead-generating content:

  • Share it on your social media.
  • Use it to gain email subscribers with opt-in forms.
  • Advertise it on industry platforms and online communities.
  • Create dedicated landing pages for it.
  • Use it for your PPC campaigns.

Whatever you choose, focus on quality over quantity. Instead of producing 100 blog posts with no real value, your B2B lead generation strategies should include educational and shareable content that is well structured and brings real value to the reader.

Plus, focus on keeping your content strategies cohesive and consistent to properly attract and nurture leads.

Webinars

Gaining significant popularity lately, webinars are here to stay. There are several reasons for it. The costs of running a webinar are very low and there are many webinar software tools to choose from.

Webinars give you a unique opportunity to talk to tens, hundreds, or even more potential customers. You can invite speakers from all over the world and re-use your content in every stage of your further marketing promotion.

While a personal approach will provide higher conversions, it is very time-consuming. Webinars can solve this by allowing you to talk to a group of prospects in person, while they feel it is individual.

Search engine optimization

It is a long-run game, but if Canva was able to acquire 15 million users and 300k paying customers, you can definitely find the right approach for the B2B niche.

Do your research and concentrate on the keywords that convert for your business. If you are looking for a couple of quick wins, have a look at the Keyword Golden Ratio strategy. While the volume of visits that you can get is quite limited, the focus on the long tail keyword will make sure that you will attract only the most interested leads.

3. Get more shares

Ideally, your content strategies and your content itself will be so good that they will go viral. That will skyrocket your B2B lead generation efforts and bring you loads of eager customers.

In the real world, that’s a little harder to achieve. To give your content maximum chances of coming close to becoming viral, you will need to invest in making it not only high in quality, but also visually appealing and easy to share.

It would be a shame to spend a lot of time gathering and summarizing valuable information just to have it wait for readers on your blog. Great content was made to be shared. First by you, then by others.

To do this, you will need to optimize your content and add share options. Then, put work in – don’t leave things to chance. A great B2B lead generation tactic you can use is to offer incentives for social shares. For instance, offer your leads a special discount or a bonus if they share your content or your brand’s page.

Contests and giveaways

While many will connect this strategy with decision-makers in B2C businesses, there are many opportunities to leverage it for B2B.

This strategy is very simple, you choose a prize: – free one year access to your service, free access to a private webinar, three hours of consultation calls, free product of yours –- anything that makes sense in terms of your niche will work. The audience is then asked to take an action in the form of email subscriptions, following your official Twitter or LinkedIn or something else.

With such referral contests, you’ will be able to attract new leads, get a chance of becoming semi-viral, and also extending your audience.

Infographics and case studies

While hard to prepare and execute, the potential is significant enough to invest a bit of resource in it.

When your potential customers are searching for the information, they want it quick and in a simple, coherent form, so they can complete their task. Create such material for them and see how it is saved and shared.

For example, Ahrefs published a list of 63 SEO statistics in which, they:

  • Created a YouTube case study about building links with this material
  • They actually built links for that page, ranking higher in SERP
  • It became popular amongst individuals and businesses
  • They ignited interesting discussions about that on all of their social media channels

This all just from one post that compiles updated SEO statistics.

4. Optimize your landing pages

A landing page for B2B sales will need to take into account specific B2B optimization tactics. The bottom line is the same and you are still targeting a potential buyer. But, in the case of B2B sales, there may be more than one decision-maker you will need to convince.

Shift your landing pages’ focus on the product’s benefits. Display information in an easy-to-read manner, and keep things concise. You’ll want the information on your landing page to be easy to reiterate and explain. For instance, one decision-maker that sees your product can convince other decision-makers why they should buy it.

The best way to do this is to get to know your audience and their specific problems. Then, address them in your landing page copy and offer a simple solution.

Your landing page design is also best kept simple for B2B lead generation. It has to be good enough to be functional. Add as few form lines as possible, craft a great call-to-action, and add in some social proof. With all the drag and drop landing page builders that are around, not-evolving is not an option.

Here are two examples of one of the biggest B2B companies in different niches: Maersk and Salesforce.

You can see that in both cases the change is drastic with a stronger focus on the product rather than various information about the services or the company.

If those companies found the time to do a landing page redesign, – so should you.

5. Join or start a community

Social media is a great tool for engaging with customers and leads. There are more ways than one that you can use social media for your B2B lead generation goals

First of all, once you craft the lead generating content discussed in detail above, use social media to promote it. Post it, run referral campaigns, organize giveaways, and offer incentives for those who share your page and your content forward.

Second, use social media as a way to engage with industry specialists. Join or even create an industry-specific group. Use social platforms to become a thought leader. Organize discussions about industry-related issues or news, invite the audience to your online course platform, host webinars, or create private groups.

Cultivate a professional following. It will allow you to test new products and by discussing specific niche topics, grow the group even more, and convert them to customers later.

6. Use the right social media channels

While we are on the subject of using social media platforms for creating communities around your brand, we should touch on the fact that not all platforms are the same.

The best B2B lead generation strategies have to take into account which social media platforms can generate the most leads. While everyone seems to be on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram nowadays, they may not be the ideal platforms for B2B sales. This will also depend on your industry and specific audience.

If based on choosing top priority platforms, it would be:

  • LinkedIin: because 79% of B2B marketers think of LinkedIn as a valuable source.
  • Twitter: a short message sent to a wide audience.

Your time and resources are limited. So you have to be more like a B2B sniper (going where the decision-makers are) rather than running around with shotgun hoping to get something (Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram).

You can set up B2B lead gen on those three platforms too, but considering the audience that goes there, – it’ is just not an efficient environment for B2B.

LinkedIn

Some of the B2B lead generation strategies you can use on Linkedin are:

  • Set up a clear and clean profile, complete with information about your product or service and contact info.
  • Be active, connect, and engage with professionals from your industry or relevant industries.
  • Become a part of the conversation or start it yourself. Set up a group or a topic of conversation and build from there.

Do not forget about LinkedIn Ads. The main advantage is that you can precisely target your audience, paying only for the clicks that really matter to you.

Twitter

Here are a couple of tips for Twitter:

  • Post updates frequently, and do not be afraid to reschedule them. Tweets don’t last long.
  • Use appropriate hashtags.
  • Use Twitter polls.

As in the previous point, go for ads. You can go for promoted accounts, promoted tweets (the middle golden ground) and the most expensive of them all promoted trends.

7. Reach out and automate it

Many people make a mistake not knowing in which business they are. Let’s assume you are responsible for getting clients for B2B SaaS and let’s ignore those 6 strategies above for a minute.

What do you do?

  • Start making an excel table and go on researching companies in your industry that would be potentially interested in your service.
  • When you find the company, you look for the responsible person on Google and LinkedIn for their email.
  • After you have a list of emails, you send them a message.
  • When there’ is no reply, you send a follow-up.

In case you have seen the movie “The Founder” you will know what will follow next. Ask yourself a question: “In which business am I?”

  • Am I in the lead research business? No.
  • Maybe I am in an email finding business? No.
  • Or possibly I am in the emailing business? No.

So why are you doing all these things by hand?

  • Company research: Find freelancers that will prepare you lists of webpages with emails.
  • Can’t get emails? Use services like hunter.io to get them for you.
  • Set up an outreach campaign and automate the emails and the follow-ups.

The efficiency of your work will be through the roof.

Conclusion

In our day and age, time is the main currency. If the salesperson in 1990 heard about all the possibilities that we have now, they might not have believed you. The speed of communication and the tools that we have at our disposal allow us to do things quickly and on a great scale.

That on the other hand also increases the level of competition that we are facing, creating a metaphorical Ouroboros, as in order to stay on the competitive edge we must become more efficient than the competition. And so on…

There are many variables in the sales industry, but one variable is constant: change. In order to stay on the market, we must not only follow the change but take charge of it.

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    • 0
      Profile picture of Roman Berezhnoi
      @roman_b
      ( 240 POINTS )
      7 months, 2 weeks ago

      Our web agency specializes in business sites building. So, I want to say, that is a usefull article that explaines the main principles of business presence in the Web.
      Unfortunately, there is a few companies which have a holistic marketing strategy. Many copmanies face issues because they have no experience to make money in the Internet. I think this article will help business owners and managers.
      Also, let me add a few remarks to those statements.
      How to provide target audience research? In practice it is a complex task and many companies don’t understand their clients.We start our website development process from target audience research. We use the combination of traditional marketing audit with Value Proposition Canvas approach to get useful information about a target audience. Then we provide UX research. It allows us to create a good business site.
      Many business owners ask us, does this appriach make a website development more expensive? It is a connon question because many businees owners care about income and want to save some money. But this approach doesn’t make a business site more expensive. It saves money because web designers create a design in short term. In other words a business owner will get a quality, professional, custom business site in short terms.
      Well, I don’t want share information because it doesn’t relate to this article. Thank you!

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