The Top B2B Lead Generation Trends in 2020, According to 90 Experts

The Future of Lead Generation in 2021: 5 Lead Generation Trends to Pay Attention To

04 June 2021 by

It's 2021. We made it.

big bang theory reaction

There aren't jet packs or robot butlers (yet), but there is an ever-evolving list of technological advancements like smart sun visors, robotic sous-chefs, and a headless cat pillow that wags its tail

(I'm not even sure what to do with that one.) 

Besides the weird technological advances, there's also been an increase in tools that make our work lives easier. Areas like sales, marketing, and customer service are benefiting from the rise of technological advances like AI, machine learning, and automation. 

At Leadfeeder, our goal is to make it easier for B2B companies to find and convert leads. So, let's take a look at some of the top lead generation technology trends you need to be paying attention to in 2021. 

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Note: Want to generate more leads in 2021? Sign up for Leadfeeder’s free 14-day free trial and start uncovering anonymous website visitors in an hour or less. 

Lead generation trends to keep your 👀 eyes on in 2021

1. More personalized outreach with buyer intent data 

Buyer intent data is aggregated data that provides insight into where people (and companies) are in their buying cycle. 

It's like getting a bird's eye view of where your prospects are going and what they are doing. 

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Buyer intent data can super-charge the sales process by providing detailed information about what prospects are looking for so you can personalize your outreach efforts. 

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For example, Leadfeeder gathers data about who visits your website and what actions they take once they get there. 

You might see that a company has visited your website five times in the last few weeks and read a blog post about enterprise tips, took a look at your service page, and viewed your pricing page for enterprise companies. 

That's a pretty strong indication they are an enterprise company and are interested in your product. Sales can then use that information to create a highly-personalized outreach plan. 

(P.S. There's a ton of buyer intent out there, but the data from your own website tend to be the most powerful.)

2. Better alignment between sales and marketing 

Do you know what one of the largest revenue killers is? 

It's not meetings that totally could have been emailed (sorry), but rather the lack of alignment between sales and marketing. 

SuperOffice recently saw a 34% increase in revenue by doing nothing more than better aligning sales and marketing. 

Sounds great, but what does that have to do with lead generation? Everything. 

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The number one thing sales reps say they need from marketing? Higher lead quality. 

Better sales and marketing alignment starts with better communication, ensuring similar metrics are used, and helping each team understand the challenges the other faces. 

When sales and marketing are aligned, everyone's happier — including your customers — and revenue goes up. 

3. Improved customer retention with customer-centric marketing 

Customer-centric marketing sounds like another buzzword, right?  

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It's not. Companies like Zappos have been using customer-centric marketing for years. 

Customer-centric marketing means focusing on the customer's wants and needs over everything else. It's not new, but it is seeing some renewed interest. 

Here's why —- competition is getting fierce and the internet is getting louder. 

The average online user sees around 5,000 ads a day. They are in our YouTube videos, our email, our social media, even some of our friends have turned into walking, talking ads. 

How does customer-centric marketing impact lead generation? 

Well, it's given rise to strategies like Account-Based Marketing, which flips the sales funnel on its head — rather than targeting everyone, companies are targeting specific companies they want to convert. 

Brands that focus on customer needs will be more dedicated to the right leads than the sheer number of leads. Lead qualification and personalized marketing (and sales) strategies will become more crucial than ever. 

4. Video sells 

Video killed the radio star, but could it also kill the blog post? 

Experts predict by 2022, 82% of all internet traffic will be dedicated to video content. But, video isn't just for cat videos and recipes. 

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Marketers are already using video marketing to increase engagement, share testimonials, and provide detailed product demonstrations. The consumption of video is only going to increase — and the sales industry is noticing.   

In the lead generation world, videos can be used to build a personal brand, send personalized follow-ups, and sales follow-ups. 

Combine the growth of video consumption with the lack of in-person meetings, and you have the perfect recipe to see video usage for lead generation explode in 2021. For example, videos could increase the efficacy of landing pages and lead forms.  

5. Automation is still winning

Lead generation used to be a pretty formulaic process — offer a white paper or another downloadable resource, create an email funnel, and then pass the best leads off to sales. 

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In 2021, automation is likely to drive lead generating efforts to new heights. 

Tim Keen, Co-founder of Club, shares his predictions, “A Harvard study from 2019 anticipated that 10% of all jobs would be automated before 2020. While 2020 brought other surprises instead, many of the day-to-day tasks involved in lead generation can be (and probably should be) automated. The question is which tasks. Good salespeople will leverage automation for the tasks that are easily automated, and spend more time focused on high-value tasks: listening intently and curiously to their prospects, identifying their pain points, and working together to solve their business problems. No chatbot will ever be able to build trust & camaraderie like a good sales rep - that’s your secret weapon. SDRs should try to be “citizen automators” whenever possible. Figure out which parts of your workflow could be automated, and learn how to do it yourself. Then use that time to connect with more prospects.”

In the beginning, automation was a clunky process that felt robotic.

However, AI and machine learning are making automation more useful and, in some cases, much more human. 

Here are a few ways automation will drive lead generation efforts in the coming year. 

  • Chatbots: AI-powered chatbots can answer questions, share resources, and even qualify leads by asking prospects about the company they work for, their job title, and what pain points they are looking to solve. 

  • Tool integrations: The days of manually entering data into your CRM may soon be gone. Through integrations, tools like Leadfeeder can push leads right into your CRM — and even assign them to a salesperson. That means sales has more time to focus on closing. 

  • Nurturing leads: Automation can make it easier than ever to nurture leads through strategies like retargeting and email drip campaigns. 

Automation is growing fast. By 2021, the automation industry is expected to be worth more than $83 billion dollars. If automation isn't already part of your lead gen process, it's time to get on board. 

lead generation guide

B2B Lead Generation Guide

Marketers — need some fresh ideas to hit your MQL targets? Download this guide and fill up your pipeline now!

DOWNLOAD

These are the lead generation trends to invest in 

If your business relies on tried and true lead generation tactics, 2021 presents a fantastic opportunity to try new tools and leverage new technology.

In addition to being more effective at driving leads, trends like automation, personalization, video, and sales and marketing alignment can improve the quality of leads, too. 

And that is a win for sales, marketing, and your customers. 

Note: Want to generate more leads in 2021? Sign up for Leadfeeder’s free 14-day free trial and start uncovering anonymous website visitors in an hour or less.


Anna Crowe
By Anna Crowe

Anna is the Assistant Editor for Search Engine Journal and Content Strategy Lead at Leadfeeder. Over the last 9 years, Anna has successfully developed and implemented online marketing strategies, SEO, and conversion campaigns for 100+ businesses of all sizes; from the Fortune 500, to startups, and nonprofits. She enjoys burritos and puppies (in that order).


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