5 Step process for B2B Lead Generation
B2B Lead Generation: truth or myth? In today’s fast-paced digital era, many business’ marketing activities get lost in the online shuffle. As a result, many businesses struggle with staying fresh and relevant, and at the forefront of customers’ minds.
Businesses that struggle with generating leads and increasing customer conversion rates need a lead generation process. Most lead generation processes involve content creation. In fact, 55 percent of businesses combine content in their lead generation strategies.
So, what does a solid lead generation process look like? How do you build one? Read on to learn about some of the best B2B lead generation practices.
What is Lead Generation?
Before we jump into best B2B lead generation practices, let’s first take a look at what lead generation actually is and how it works.
Lead generation is any marketing activity that businesses do to attract awareness from potential qualified customers. The overarching goal of lead generation is to get customers to reach out or respond to a call to action and say, “Yes, I’m interested”, “Yes, I want to learn more”, or “Yes, I want free quote.”
From there, businesses begin the nurturing process. This involves cultivating relationships with these new leads until they are ready to make purchase decisions.
This is one of the tried and true ways to get leads into the sales pipeline or sales funnel. By generating qualified leads, you are increasing the likelihood of those leads becoming paying customers and generating revenue that much faster.
What is The Difference Between Lead Generation and Demand Generation?
Many businesses often confuse lead generation and demand generation. But, yes, there is a difference.
Lead Generation vs. Demand Generation
Demand generation is step one. It drives awareness and interest to your business as well as your product(s) and/ or service(s). Demand generation involves generating awareness from customers who have never heard of your business before.
Lead generation is step two. It takes the process one step further by capturing a lead’s contact information, such as names, email addresses, and phone numbers.
Then, the marketing team vets these new leads, ensuring that they are a good fit for a business. If they are qualified leads, then they move into the sales pipeline.
Best B2B Lead Generation Practice Process
Now that you know more about what lead generation is and what it involves, as well as the key differences between lead generation and demand generation, here are some best-practice B2B lead generation tips to follow when building your own lead generation process:
Here are the five crucial stages of what an effective lead generation process looks like:
- Attract – capturing new leads
- Qualification and scoring – assessing or vetting new leads to determine if they are ready to move into the sales funnel
- Nurture – starting conversations with qualified leads, carefully urging them towards making a purchase decision
- Lead hand-off – move leads that are ready to buy into the proposal process
- Reporting – closing the loop between sales and marketing
Let’s break them down a bit further.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when building a B2B lead generation process:
- Identify Your Target Audience – You can’t very well create an effective lead generation process without knowing your target audience. A solid lead generation strategy should be tailored to your target users. It should involve content that appeals to them. This could include a series of ads, blog posts, eBooks or white papers. The idea is to create and deliver creative content that provides potential customers with solutions or solves challenges.If you are unsure of who your target audience is, then your first step is to do your homework. Spend some time researching your market. You can also build buyer personas so that you can provide a clear picture of your target customer. This can help sales teams hone in on qualified leads that have a high potential of converting into loyal, paying customers.
- Use a Database. Before you can begin attracting leads, you need a system in place. A system or database, such as a CRM can help you collect and organize names and contact information for key decision makers.Many automated systems and CRMs are designed to also track the buyer stage of each contact that is entered into your database. This allows sales teams to begin the nurturing process and start conversations with qualified leads that are ready to make a purchase decision.
- Put Your System on Autopilot. Once you have set up and organized a system to store leads, contact information, and other key customer data, you can then put your system on autopilot. Any new leads that enter a database are automatically assigned a predetermined lead score.For example, leads that receive a predetermined score could be automatically assigned to an email marketing campaign or receive a phone call from a sales rep—or both. An effective automation system will also track the buyer journey for each individual contact or lead.
- Asking the Right Questions: The Power of Open-Ended Questions. Part of the success of any lead generation or marketing campaign, or any project involves knowing what questions to ask.Sales professionals should focus on asking potential customers open-ended questions related to their goals, challenges, pain points and interests. This will ensure that sales professionals accurately align the best product and/ or service or solution with the particular customer.Not only will customers feel like they are being heard, it will also lead to higher customer retention and satisfaction rates, and therefore, higher sales and profits.
- Track Data. Finally, your lead generation process is only as effective as the data and key performance indicators (KPIs) or metrics that you track. For example, if you set up what you believe is an effective lead generation process, but the number of leads and/ or customer conversion rates are low, then having a performance tracking process will help you finetune your lead generation strategy and your sales tactics accordingly. Having access to real-time data and analytics enables sales professionals and businesses to make more informed decisions related to their strategies, allowing them to make quick adjustments and improvements.
Additionally, businesses and teams are encouraged to run periodic lead generation reports to assess what is working and what isn’t.
Lead Your Business to Success
Regardless of whether your business focuses on an outbound marketing or inbound B2B marketing approach, having a system and process in place that best works for your business and your sales team is key.