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The Best B2B Lead Generation Strategies for Growth

Jacob Brain

Author

The primary metric of interest in any meaningful B2B marketing strategy effort will always be generating leads. This is a pretty hard-and-fast rule. 

But many B2B businesses struggle to find their momentum when it comes to successful lead generation via digital marketing. As a B2B marketing agency, we know the uphill battle many businesses face when identifying their target audience members and strategically connecting with them.  

While there are many approaches to consider, we find there are five high-impact B2B lead generation strategies that most businesses could lean into more deeply:

  • Hyper-targeting the ideal customer via an omni-channel approach,
  • Offering high-quality content that directly speaks to painpoints 
  • Automating email messages that offer conversion points
  • Taking advantage of referral marketing
  • Outsourcing B2B lead generation

As you experiment with your B2B lead generation strategies and tailor them to your industry or buyer, it won’t take long to see patterns that indicate some strategies work better than others.

We find this is especially apparent in our B2B tech marketing agency space, as members of our audience have limited time to browse and research, and each niche business has unique selling propositions that meet unique challenges and opportunities in its industry. 

Let’s jump in with the first strategy: defining and targeting your best-fit audience. 

If you’re an MSP in the early stages of defining a lead gen strategy? Start with our Lead Generation Quick Start Guide for MSPs.

Hyper-targeting the ideal customer via an omni-channel approach

Perhaps the most important strategy of all is defining your ideal customer profile, or your ICP. 

Correctly defining and targeting your ICP is more than just logic or guesswork, though. It’s also about data analysis. By leveraging data you already have and collecting the right data moving forward, you can make sure your marketing efforts aren’t wasted on the wrong audience.

Start collecting data through customer feedback, email reports, website analytics, market research, and so on. (Not sure what data you should be collecting, or how to get it? Let’s chat.)

Performing analytics on the captured data will quickly help you uncover overlaps and group your customers into segments based on their shared attributes. Once you understand who your ideal customers are and what they have in common, you’ll be able to find more potential customers that share those same needs, characteristics, and preferences.

Over time, your approach will evolve and become even more personalized to potential buyers. Equipped with highly effective and tailored messages, you can use social media, email marketing (more on this later), and various types of digital ads to reach highly targeted segments with high-impact messaging.

Offering high-quality content that directly speaks to painpoints 

In B2B sales, content is king. (And we’re not just saying that because we create it!)

One recent industry survey found that most B2B buyers, when making a purchasing decision,  consume three to five pieces of content before engaging with a salesperson.

For brands producing valuable, high-quality content, that content is likely the customer’s gateway to the brand or its products and services.

And there’s good news for businesses on a budget: Content is also relatively inexpensive to produce with a high ROI, making it a no-brainer for any growth marketing strategy.

In general, each piece of content you produce (whether it’s a blog post, a landing page, or even a social media ad) should aim to boost brand awareness, educate your customer, and drive conversions.

Here are a few examples of ways to utilize content creation to generate and nurture B2B leads:

  • Optimize your landing pages with SEO keywords, internal website links (see what we did there?), and irresistible calls to action
  • Produce engaging downloadable content in exchange for a potential buyer’s email address (for example: can we interest you in our B2B Lead Generation Playbook? It’s a free ebook—in exchange for your business contact information.)
  • Develop email campaigns that remind potential customers or your product
  • Write helpful blog posts that educate visitors and offer solutions to their pain points
  • Push social media posts that followers can engage with and share to expand your reach

There’s so much more we could say about content (and we have). We’re not even discussing SEO strategy, SEM, or paid ad campaigns here — but all of those are content, too.

To sum up, there are a myriad of ways to use content to help potential buyers find your company and keep them engaged all the way through the sales funnel. 

Automating email messages that offer conversion points

Even with so much advancement in technology and marketing tools in recent years, email marketing remains one of the most effective tactics for B2B lead generation strategies. Email marketing opens a direct line of communication with potential customers who are already in the market for your product or service.

Email marketing works, but it works best when you do it right, following industry best practices. Here are a few of those best practices:

  • Write captivating headlines, usually around seven or eight words long
  • Personalize and segment content: send the right message to the right part of your audience.
  • Establish an effective cadence: don’t be that clothing retailer that sends multiple emails every day.
  • Track key performance indicators: it’s not as simple as tracking open rate anymore (thanks, Apple), but you still want to track the performance of your campaigns using business email tools.
  • Test emails for working hyperlinks and data: No one likes an email that starts “Hello $|~FIRST_name” but we’ve all seen broken emails like that in the wild. Never push to your list until you’ve thoroughly tested internally.

One company that does a great job using email marketing as a growth marketing strategy is Salesforce (the company earned two separate spots in this list).

Their emails are minimal, well-cadenced, and feature new or popular informative blogs with several clear CTA triggers. The other highlighted series pumps up their long-form value-add content, like ebooks and white papers. 

Whether you’re a long-term customer or merely gearing up for business, Salesforce serves up bite-sized, personalized content to keep users engaged with their products.

Taking advantage of referral marketing

Referral marketing, or the word-of-mouth initiative, is another great B2B lead generation strategy that allows you to leverage your current customer base and tap into their social networks.

It’s tempting to think of referral marketing as a consumer-focused strategy, one that doesn’t have much use in serious business. But the truth is at every level (from SMB to the enterprise) properly executed B2B referral marketing turns your best customers into your best advertisers—usually with zero or minimal costs.

Getting started with a referral program can be surprisingly simple. You can even launch one without ever telling your customers! To achieve referrals organically, focus on providing superior customer service and creating fun, easily shareable content. If your content is worth sharing on LinkedIn, your customers may help spread your message for free.

Looking beyond organic, you can also ask your customers for direct referrals or to share your content—or you could sweeten the pot with incentives or rewards for referrals.

Depending on your business and target market, you might even officially partner with brand ambassadors and influencers.

Here’s one example of a successful B2B referral marketing effort: MainStreet.

This SaaS company helps startups identify advance tax credits. Tapping into the passion and drive of founders and startup leaders, MainStreet makes it easy for happy customers to refer their friends.

MainStreet provides an easy-to-use interface where users are able to share a unique referral URL to multiple social platforms in one click. To incentivize customers to participate, MainStreet rewards them with a $200 Visa gift card for each referred customer acquired through the referral link.

Outsourcing B2B lead generation

When your company has limited resources, outsourced B2B lead generation agency can be a powerful tactic for generating qualified leads. Working with a digital marketing agency (ahem… like us!) that focuses on B2B lead generation and growth marketing can make an outsized difference with a surprisingly potent ROI. The tech stack alone can often make an agency worth every penny.

Outsourced B2B lead generation has advantages and disadvantages. On the plus side, you’ll free up your sales team to focus on what they’re good at—closing deals. When you partner with an expert marketing firm, you’ll also see results more quickly and enjoy lower costs per acquisition than what’s usually possible without an experienced in-house marketing division.

Just make sure to choose the right partner: outsourced B2B lead generation can also backfire if your outsourcing partner does not fully understand your ideal customers or your industry, or if you choose a marketing firm that tries to shove all its clients into a one-size-fits-all approach.

No one understands your company and what it has to offer better than you. This is where your data collection, analysis, and ideal customer research really come into play. When you arm your digital marketing partner with that information, you’ll get the best results: more, better qualified leads.

Supercharge your B2B lead generation Strategies with New North

If your company is pursuing a growth marketing strategy, then solidifying your lead generation approach is one of the first and most important steps.

We’ve covered some of the best and most widely useful B2B lead generation strategies here: targeting your ideal customer, creating high-quality content, leveraging email marketing and referral marketing, and outsourcing B2B lead generation.

So what are your next steps? First, consider how well each lead gen method aligns with your industry, business model, and company resources.

Next, as you begin to test different approaches, track your results! The continual refining and balancing of your growth marketing efforts will help you achieve more quality sales leads.

Last, consider whether outsourcing your B2B lead generation is the right approach for your business.

Interested in exploring a partnership with New North? We’ll be your guide as you reshape and reimagine your lead gen process.

Take the first step of your marketing journey today and schedule a free 30-minute consultation with one of our marketing experts. Together we’ll sketch out a B2B lead generation plan that drives powerful growth for your company.

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