A feature of good B2B marketing is the winning of promising leads in a way that is suitable for the target group. This, in turn, is based on the right strategy. Here is where managers and marketers can find tips for planning and executing leads campaigns.
Digital and analogue channels for generating B2B leads
The technological change that has been taking place over the past years in B2B marketing has focused more and more on moving from analogue to digital leads generation. The reason is clear: today, buyers and sellers are informing themselves mainly via the Internet about relevant offers of the respective other player. To achieve this, the following digital touchpoints for B2B leads have proven to be particularly effective:
- Social networks are perfectly suitable for contacting potential new customers. Established and popular channels include, for instance, Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn. There and on comparable platforms is where you can find nearly every kind of B2B target group.
- Well-made content marketing designed to meet the needs of the clientele also harbours several opportunities for generating B2B leads. The suitable tools for this range from white papers and e-books to blogs that offer added value and touch on the industry-relevant questions and interests in a targeted way.
- Webinars are particularly recommended for selling products and services which require a high level of consulting. Taking the shape of virtual seminars and talks, they are frequently streamed live on predefined dates and times. Similar tools are case studies, fact sheets and info graphics made available online.
- Newsletters are a traditional marketing tool. Nearly all companies benefit from offering interested individuals a subscription service. Newsletters introduce, for instance, innovative services and goods, share important internal and external dates and developments, and/or spread other news concerning the company’s portfolio.
- Native advertising is suitable for advertising with a journalistic tone of voice in the relevant blogs, newsletters or specialist articles from third parties. A high-quality environment as well as sophisticated content and advertorials are essential here for success.
Despite growing digitalisation, B2B leads can continue to be won on an analogue level depending on the target group and portfolio. In this discipline, too, there are a number of tried-and-tested methods:
- Trade fair booths offer the chance to immediately get to know interested individuals. Questions regarding services or product on offer can be answered more directly, quicker and in a more flexible manner during a person talk. At the same time, a personal impression is gained. For in-depth contact later on, the previous meet-up is a good starting point. However, a trade fair booth can be relatively expensive and result in a high cost per lead.
- Networking events also bring potential business partners together. The advantages of this kind of personal meeting are similar to those of a trade fair booth in principle.
- Ads in newspapers and special interest publications continue to find an audience. Ideally, they animate the reader today to find out more information about the advertised products or services and the offering online. This is why at least one digital contact option should be provided in the printed ad.
- Competitions and coupons are the classics among lead generation methods – also for B2B business. They allow you to share bonus programmes or discounts. All the channels mentioned here are suitable.
Which contact data is important
Digital or analogue – regardless of the way in which B2B leads are generated, it is always about winning contact data. The interested individuals must provide their data in order to use the respective offers. This covers, for instance, the subscription to a newsletter or playing along in a competition. The respective data set for generating leads can contain the following information:
- Company’s Internet address
- Business email address
- Business telephone number
However, the organisation of most of the digital and analogue channels requires a very high amount of effort. White papers, for example, assume good authors with the right know-how, while social media appearances must be frequently maintained. If you don’t want to make this effort, or cannot, you have the option of hiring a specialised service provider and buying B2B leads from them. This saves both time and money. What’s more, experienced providers usually offer high-quality leads which are tailored to the individual needs of their customers.
Strategically developing lead generation in the B2B segment
B2B leads generation is initially a task for managers. They have to develop strategic concepts and free up personnel and technical resources for executing them. The following aspects should be taken into account:
Isolate the target group, develop buyer personas
The main purpose of leads generation in B2B is to interest high-quality new customers for your company and then, ultimately, win them over. This only works when the right people are addressed. Therefore, if you want to generate B2B leads, you have to know and isolate your target groups. A step-by-step process makes sense to achieve this:
In the first step, the potential buyers should be identified. The result is usually abstract contact persons who are defined solely through their function within the company (e.g. department head, manager). This makes the people to address and their needs difficult to grasp. After all, individual people should be reached and not the positions within a buying centre.
It is therefore advisable to divide the roughly structured target group into buyer personas in a second step. They stand for fictitious figures with characteristics considered typical of potential customers. (Head) marketers develop quasi profiles for one or several persons of the target group to gain buyer persons.
The desired direction of B2B leads generation must already be integrated in this stage. Is it about supporting sales? Or is the optimisation of the customer journey the main focus? Depending on the strategic purpose, various priorities can be determined. This affects, for instance, the desired number of leads generated. The quality standards also play a role here.
Select the tools for leads generation
The suitable options for making contact should be based on the finely honed target group. The more precise the analysis in advance, the more effective this can be. For instance, you can determine which channels should contain which content with the aim of achieving the desired conversion rate. These touchpoints can be, for instance:
- Company Websites
- Landing pages
- Social media
- Professional Networks
A must-have factor of many touchpoints is a good ranking in the results list of Internet search engines. This requires, amongst others, the selection of the right keywords. The name of the game here is search engine optimisation.
Besides, you can also increase your online visibility among professional purchasers through B2B platforms such as Europages to promote your business.
As a result, a more and more detailed roadmap for B2B leads is slowly developed which, in the end, becomes a concrete campaign. But the work for the marketing team does not end here. The launch must be followed up by the continual monitoring of success. In this way, you can find out how well a campaign is functioning and where a bit of fine-tuning is required.
Typical mistakes when generating B2B leads
The more thorough the preparation and the execution for B2B leads, the bigger your chances of success will be. However, the same mistakes frequently pop up time and time again which diminish any positive result. Here is an overview of the five most frequent mistakes when generating B2B leads:
1. Inappropriate communication
Content should be tailored to the needs of the target group. And not just in terms of its topics, but also the content itself. Which is why the form and language must match. Often, a presentation at the touchpoints is not enough to meet needs and demands. A professional appearance, however, is the prerequisite for high-quality leads.
2. Too much information
If a company provides too much information about its business and its offers at the very first point of contact, this can have negative consequences. On the one hand, the amount of information overwhelms the interested persons. On the other hand, problems and their solutions are communicated with so much detail that the recipient does not have to continue to search. In both cases, further contact is not made.
3. Unclear promises
The same effect occurs when solutions are explained in a wishy-washy way or contradict one another. In both cases, the contact person is confused. And on top of that, the company appears to not be very competent.
4. Technical problems
Defective forms and dead links cause frustration and lead to a bad image. To avoid this, content should be frequently checked for its functionality and be updated as the need arises.
5. Lack of reporting
Which effect should the leads generation achieve? This fundamental question can only be answered via thorough reporting. If you do not perform this, mistakes made can neither be identified nor learnt from.