“B2B lead generation is easy.”
Said no one ever, right?
If you’ve ever tried to increase B2B sales by generating more leads, you know it’s tough 💆.
Like swimming without your hands or your feet tough. Or being asked to solve the Diophantine Equation when you barely passed Algebra tough.
Not only do you have to navigate a minefield of shrewd buyers and battle hordes of hungry competitors, but you’re also bombarded with tons of misinformation like:
👉 Conflicting research about the best ways to generate leads.
👉 Overhyped case studies from giant corporations that could increase sales by tweeting a picture of their lunch.
It doesn’t help that every expert is adamant that their lead generation tactic or strategy is the best way to get leads. The “ugly” truth is:
You have to tailor your approach to organization, industry, product/service, and audience.
Which often means ignoring self-tooting horns and trialing new ways to generate leads that work for you.
More leads = more sales. To drive growth, you need more leads.
Ready to find the right B2B lead generation strategies for your business? First, let's cover some basics.
Note: Leadfeeder helps B2B businesses generate more leads by identifying site visitors. Sign up now for a free 14-day trial.
What is B2B lead generation, and what makes it different?
B2B lead generation is short for business-to-business lead generation, which describes businesses that primarily sell to (*drumroll please*) other businesses.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. And in a typical marketing funnel or sales process, B2B lead generation is that step.
Lead gen involves collecting a potential customer’s information — such as name, email, company name, and job title — and using that information to target them with customized sales pitches or ad campaigns.
B2B is different from business-to-consumer (B2C) lead generation, where products and services are sold directly to consumers.
B2C and B2B businesses also find leads in different places — which means if you’re trying to find potential customers with the same strategies as a B2C e company, you’re going to fail.
According to Hubspot, the three best lead sources for B2B companies are SEO (14%), email marketing (13%), and social media (12%).
B2C, on the other hand, gets more leads from traditional advertising, social media, and email.
It's not just where leads come from — the nurturing process between B2B and B2C is also quite different, which is why marketers have to start on the right foot.
The B2B lead generation process
Learning how to get leads is just one part of the process.
If you’re serious about increasing sales, you’ll need an intense lead generation process. Processes align marketing and sales teams and give reps a proven framework to follow.
We know that B2B lead generation describes the process used by sales/marketing teams to turn prospects into paying customers. But what do these steps entail?
Step 1: Find B2B leads
The first step towards generating B2B leads is finding the contact information of potential buyers. (Luckily, that’s what we’re covering 😏)
Contact information is often sourced in-house, generated by a third-party “lead gen” company, or bought from a lead database (not advisable for B2B lead generation).
Step 2: Reaching out to leads
Step 3: Qualifying & prospecting high-quality leads
While interacting with leads, reps measure how likely leads are to buy.
They’ll do this by gauging the stage leads are at during the buying process. These stages include:
1. Research & awareness: The customer is aware of a solution they need or problem they face, and they begin to learn more about it.
The awareness stage is where they’ll consume content like blogs, whitepapers, and case studies.
2. Consideration: The lead knows the exact service/product that’s needed. They’ll detail their specific needs before researching and “opening up” to vendors.
3. Decision: Filtering through vendors that best suit their needs, the buyer will have multiple meetings and check-in with other decision-makers to complete a purchase.
Depending on what stage a lead is at, reps will initiate nurturing campaigns or focus on getting the prospect to book a call or demo.
Step 4: Close leads by making a sale
Success! After multiple meetings with different vendors, the prospect picks you, and the deal is done. They’ll now be transferred to customer success for onboarding. Woot!
How to generate leads: B2B lead generation strategies that actually work
The best way to generate more sales is to tailor your B2B lead strategy around your industry, product, and buyer.
This is why I can't give you just one or two strategies and call it a day.
Your sales and marketing teams must be willing to experiment, learn, and implement new ways to get B2B leads. This means testing multiple strategies until you find what works.
Ready to try something new? Here are 19 B2B lead generation ideas to test.
1. Run A/B tests on key pages
With thousands of visitors browsing their site for office wallpapers, WallMonkeys used a heat map tool to see where visitor's eyes landed first on their website. After receiving the results, the WallMonkey team was confident that they could increase B2B sales leads by tweaking their homepage.
Putting their theory to the test, they split tested a new background image and search bar and boosted conversions by 550 percent. Not too shabby.
When WorkZone, a project management software, changed their testimonial bar from black to white, they got 34 percent more sign-ups on their submission form.
Here's the control:
Here's the variation they tested:
Not a huge change, but changing the colors to black and white (vs color) made a huge difference in leads.
Will changing your landing page image increase conversions?
Will a homepage redesign convert more visitors into leads?
A/B split testing is the only way to find out.
2. Use epic content campaigns to (continuously) generate leads
With less than 100 monthly searches for its target keyword, Snack Nation, an office snack supplier, struggled to increase B2B leads through its SEO efforts.
Going after a bigger audience that would include their ideal B2B leads, they created an epic post on “employee wellness” — a broader search term that their target buyers use.
While producing the post, they took extra care to ensure that it was actually “epic” enough to generate leads.
Results of the “employee wellness” post:
Snack Nation outdid competitors by featuring 121 ideas on “employee wellness.”
They included a large number of contributions from other authorities in the industry.
They also utilized an aggressive outreach strategy to get influencers to share their posts.
The post propelled Snack Nation to the # 1 spot on Google for their keyword.
Despite being over three years old, this post generates tons of traffic and leads for them to this day.
As Snack Nation’s story shows, evergreen content can lead to evergreen lead generation.
So if you can create content that outperforms your competitors, do it.
3. Earn your buyers' trust with social proof
Social proof is a powerful tool for B2B sales lead generation.
Because buyers may doubt claims about your product/service, but they’ll look for social proof to make a more thoughtful purchasing decision.
The more social proof you can gather on your site, the easier it is to build trust and increase sales.
Consider adding social proof to your landing pages and homepage, sharing reviews on social media, and creating case studies — collecting positive reviews on G2 Crowd is another excellent way to build trust.
4. Build a free tool to generate leads
HubSpot offers a free CRM.
Crazy Egg gives a free Heatmap tool.
Ubersuggest offers free SEO analytics reports.
Notice a pattern?
For SaaS and tech companies, one of the best lead generation strategies I’ve witnessed is a free tool.
Offering a free tool works for lead generation because:
It allows leads to “try before they buy.”
It gives you a solid opt-in offer that attracts high-quality leads into your sales funnel.
In our early days, we used this exact tactic at Leadfeeder to get users to find and refer leads to us. It’s worked so well that we still offer free trials today!
5. Use Quora Q&As to generate more B2B leads
Using content to educate buyers and answer burning questions is nothing new.
The challenge that most B2B marketers face is:
Getting content in front of buyers.
And finding questions that buyers are asking.
Quora solves both of these problems.
As a social Q&A site, Quora is an underestimated platform for B2B lead generation.
Writer Nicolas Cole, for example, built a loyal following and a solid reputation on Quora by answering questions with detailed and occasionally personal answers.
Thanks to his answers on Quora, he skyrocketed the growth of his 7-figure content agency, Digital Press, within a few years.
Find your buyers on Quora, answer their questions, link back to your content, and profit.
6. Use Leadfeeder to power up B2B social sales
AlertOps was struggling to identify the company visiting their website. They knew that “warm” leads were leaving without giving contact information.
Integrating Leadfeeder into their sales process helped them identify which companies visited their site — even if they didn't download a lead magnet or fill out a form.
Within a month, they boosted their sales demo rates by 700 percent. They even landed a sales demo with a Fortune 500 company. 💪🏼
“Leadfeeder plays a huge role in the [sales] system we built to qualify sales leads and schedule demo calls,” says Nathan Rofkahr, Director of Growth for AlertOps.
You can start following or retarget cold visitors as warm connections on LinkedIn and personalize your approach.
And if these visitors return to your site, Leadfeeder will let you know they’re from LinkedIn.
7. Publish and promote more case studies
B2B buyers are highly analytical, risk-averse, and often need the approval of multiple ROI-minded decision-makers before purchasing.
And — as many buyers have admitted — this makes case studies actual sales enablement content for the middle-to-end stages of the lead generation process.
Don’t just let case studies sit idle on your website. Shamelessly promote them to skyrocket your credibility.
8. Publish original research to generate sales from savvy buyers
When High-Speed Training published an in-depth report for buyers in the hospitality industry, they saw massive ROI.
Not only did the report position them as the leader in their field, but it also boosted their site’s visibility and earned coverage from 38 different media outlets.
On average, B2B buyers encounter 13 content pieces before purchasing. Content includes information on a vendor’s website, in-depth reports, and third-party reviews.
You can use this reverence for data to radically transform your inbound lead generation. How?
Become a source for industry-related information, trends, and data. Thought-leadership will help you:
Become a respected authority in your industry.
Generate strong SEO backlinks and PR coverage.
Deliver value to your potential leads.
9. Generate quick wins from landing page tweaks
Everybody loves ripe, low-hanging fruit.
When it comes to increasing B2B sales, your landing pages — the most transformative points in the buyer journey — are bountiful trees to source fruit.
Get quick lead generation wins on your landing page by following these steps:
Back up your copy with social proof (say it louder for the people in the back 📢).
Make your call-to-action (CTA) copy more relevant.
Upgrade your headline to catch the attention of buyers.
Use a live chat feature on your page to educate and overcome objections.
10. Personalize your website with dynamic web pages
Website personalization is no longer a bonus in B2B lead generation. It’s a must.
To personalize the buying experience on your site, use dynamic pages and content that adapt to your visitor’s:
ABM efforts add an intimate touch to the buyer's journey that creates a powerfully personal experience.
11. Create hard-hitting lead magnets and incentives
Lead magnets are the bread to your B2B lead generating butter.
Richard Wood, Managing Director at Six & Flow, describes it as, "A lead magnet is anything that you can offer a prospect that has enough perceived value in exchange for their contact information, like an email address. If you want to create an effective lead magnet, you need to focus on your buyer personas and a specific challenge that they have and that you can address."
But most companies get the whole lead magnet thing wrong. They offer surface-level content that’s already available on a typical blog post. That’s not really “magnetic,” is it?
Don’t make the same mistake.
Unless you’re confident it’s valuable, scrap the high-level content and instead share your detailed, real-world experience in the format of:
Detailed case studies
Workbooks or checklists
12. Cater to a visual B2B audience with in-depth YouTube videos
If you aren’t using videos in your lead generation campaigns, here are two reasons why you should:
Ninety percent of marketers agree that video is the best way to repurpose B2B content.
YouTube is also the second-largest search engine on the web.
The math is both easy and appealing:
You don’t need blockbuster videos. You can simply turn your existing content into informative videos that generate leads, just like I did with the example below.
We wrote a guide on selling with video, which prompted the panel discussion — who doesn’t love a theme?
"As humans we are all drawn to video because of the connections that video allows us to make with buyers. And when we can do that we win more business."
- Robert Weiss, President at MultiVision Digital
13. Experiment with creative outreach
Sales rep Jeremy Leveille rapped a B2B song in his emails to get replies from his leads.
With your competitors sticking to boring email scripts, a little bit of creativity in your outreach will go a long way to generate B2B leads.
14. Target high-value leads on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is the place to be for “big deal,” high-value B2B lead generation. Advertising on the platform:
Templafy generated 25 marketing qualified leads in a week with a 475 percent ROI.
Reed Exhibitions generated 20 percent of all revenue for its SNSR risk and security expo.
Mismatch grew its pipeline of suppliers 10x for its engineering materials platform.
While competition is rife and cost-per-click is higher than other platforms, the tradeoff is the ability to hyper-target your audience.
If you’re going to advertise on LinkedIn, make sure you offer:
A premium B2B product or service. Larger lifetime value (LTV) usually allows for the large budget you need to play on LinkedIn
Unique, high-level education. LinkedIn members are known for being career and skill-minded. If you’re offering content that will help them, you’re likely to see better returns from your ads.
15. Experiment with alternative social media platforms
Robin, a workplace platform, took a risk by directing their lead generation towards platforms where B2B leads are tougher to find — and it paid off.
Instead of doubling down on conventional channels like LinkedIn or Twitter, they posted user-generated content on Instagram and Pinterest.
To Robin’s surprise, it paid off. The company’s web traffic increased by 50 percent and brought 20 percent more leads to their door.
As Robin’s story shows, even if you’re B2B, that doesn’t mean you can't generate sales from B2C social channels.
Don't be afraid to test out new platforms like TikTok, Clubhouse, and Vero. By getting there first, you might just find a diamond in the rough.
16. Cast a wider B2B lead generation “net” with guest posts
There’s a reason why Inbound lead generation pros like Hubspot still use guest posting to increase B2B sales:
It’s an underused (and misunderstood) strategy that works.
According to a survey by Aira, 42 percent of digital marketers they polled use guest posting:
Even though it has a controversial past, guest posting is still the number one link-building strategy SEOs recommend.
As a way to enhance your overall SEO, and present you as an authority to a fresh audience of new B2B leads, guest posting is far from “dead.”
17. Cater to new B2B buyers on mobile
As mobile traffic continues to grow, optimizing for mobile is becoming an increasingly important part of an effective B2B lead generation strategy.
According to DemandGenReport:
91% of B2B buyer searches occur on a mobile device.
74% of B2B buyers research half or more of their purchases online before making a decision.
They also found that B2B marketers already optimizing for mobile are experiencing “reduced purchasing time and higher customer loyalty.”
Given that it takes seconds to check your site’s compatibility with mobile devices, there’s no excuse for not being mobile-friendly.
18. Optimize for long-tail keywords to get more qualified leads
A long-tail keyword is three or more words long and is very specific. And yes, it usually gets a very low search volume.
But target the right long-tail keyword, and you trade off search volume for extremely high purchase intent that increases sales with very little SEO effort.
19. Run campaigns based on competitor keywords
If you’re Nike, one of your many strategies might be to check out what’s going on behind the scenes with Adidas. The screenshot below shows an overview of the adidas.com/us domain, but Nike would also click around in their organic and paid keywords.
If your competitors flock to certain sites for backlinks or seem to favor optimizing a noticeable group of keywords, that’s a pretty big deal.
It means they’ve found winning keywords that generate leads.
Using SEO research tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush, you can take advantage of this by targeting the same sites and keywords to drive more sales-ready traffic to your site.
A quick tip: Before you spend time and money optimizing for a particular keyword, run a small paid ads campaign to see if it actually attracts and converts your ideal B2B leads.
B2B lead generation tools to get more leads
As any sales rep will tell you, the more time you can devote to making sales, the more sales you'll make. Shocking revelation, we know. 🤯
Unfortunately, reps usually find themselves sinking in a quicksand of increasingly time-consuming manual tasks.
In fact, research shows that they only spend a third of their day making sales.
Emails, prospecting leads, data entry, and meetings eat up most of their working hours.
With the right B2B lead generation tool, reps can automate manual tasks and spend more time closing leads.
While there are a ton of sales tools on the market, listed below are the bare-bones essentials to beef up the entire B2B lead generation process:
Lead generation tool #1: Leadfeeder
Leadfeeder shows you what companies visit your website, even if they never interact with your page, or contact you.
The tracking information is enriched with the contact info of employees from the visiting company. You can follow up with buyers during the research phase, kickstart social selling campaigns, or time your outreach perfectly — all with behind-the-scenes insight that you wouldn’t otherwise have access to.
Lead generation tool #2: Hubspot Sales Hub
From email templates, follow-up automation, and scheduling, to automated data entry, Sales Hub is designed with salesforce productivity in mind.
Lead generation tool #3: Reply.io
Reply.io helps you find prospect emails on LinkedIn in a few seconds. You can also automate LinkedIn email searches, personal email outreach, calls, and tasks.
Lead generation tool #4: Hunter.io
Hunter.io lets you find emails by typing in a lead’s name and the company they work at. You can also browse all emails at a specific company. The first 100 email searches are free.
Lead generation tool #5: Bombora
Bombara analyzes content consumption by millions of companies to show the topics your leads are searching for.
It’s a great lead generation tool to help you catch B2B leads during their research phase.
I’ll repeat: This is a bare-bones list that will help you increase B2B leads, regardless of the lead generation strategy or tactics you use. Check out this lead generation tools post for advanced recommendations.
The key to B2B lead generation: Find what works for you
Generating B2B leads and increasing sales is challenging, but it’s not impossible.
It’s easy to get tangled in the web of different lead generation strategies and tactics, isn’t it? You’re often grappling questions like:
👉 What’s the best B2B lead generation strategy?
👉 Will this tactic actually increase sales?
👉 What will drive the best results?
Overthinking and over-optimizing your lead generation doesn’t drive results.
Instead, speak to your team, shake hands on a few strategies and tactics that you all agree might work, then get busy taking action.
Figure out what works, discard what doesn’t, and increase sales without stressing over missed opportunities.
Instead, find out:
👉Where your buyers hang out.
👉Who they turn to for research.
👉How they make purchase decisions.
👉What their biggest concerns are.
This information will help you zero in on the B2B lead generations strategies that work for you — and your customers.
Note: Generate more leads by identifying your anonymous website traffic with Leadfeeder, sign up, and try for free for 14 days.
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