There are many signs that we’re transitioning to 2020.
The calendar telling you is a big one.
But it’s 2020 now.
And, you were promised leads flying in on jetpacks.
And, better customer retention because you’ve replaced humans with cyborgs.
As you wait for lead generation to get its act together, allow me to share these B2B lead generation trends for 2020 from these 91 experts.
I asked them:
What lead generation strategies and tactics will drive more leads and revenue in 2020?
I received responses from CMOs, Sales Managers, CEOs, Content Strategists, and every other title that goes along with sales and marketing.
So, use this as a source to learn from other marketing experts that most people will never get to meet.
Unless, of course, they’re also reading this article.
In which case, tell them I say hi. 👋
Here are the top 10 lead generation trends you need to know in 2020, according to the experts.
Note: Want to stay ahead of the lead generation trends? Try Leadfeeder free for 14 days to see which companies visit your website, the pages they visit, whether or not they’re in your CRM, and more.
Special thanks to all the authors who contributed. 🙏
Here are the hot B2B lead generation trends in 2020
Trend 1: Content
Aggelos Mouzakitis, Growth Product Manager, Growth Sandwich
With an explosive rise in CACs across channels and competition, effective use of words will become a necessary skill in every B2B marketer or sales expert. The need for customer research-driven copywriting is definitely, in my point of view, one of the biggest trends companies should care about in 2020 if they want to see their lead generation efforts paying off.
Johannes Puro, Co-Founder & Editor-In-Chief, Ite wiki
Surprisingly many B2B companies still lack the most basic quality content on their websites, like offer descriptions, references, and recommendations. I forecast that marketing teams will start to understand better the meaning and the usage of these contents and become also better at turning website visitors into leads.
After the content is done, they will turn their eyes to link building in different platforms to increase their traffic by lifted position at the search engine results.
Jonas Sickler, SEO Manager, Terakeet
High-performance content will be a major source of leads for B2B brands in 2020. According to B2B Content Marketing 2020: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends - North America by Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, 83% of the most successful content marketers use KPIs to measure their content initiatives, whereas merely 30% of the least successful do in comparison.
Content for the sake of content will not get your brand very far in 2020. The bottom line is that if you want content success, it’s critical to focus on performance, including traffic, engagement, the voice of the customer (VoC) capture, backlinks, online sharing, and conversions.
I believe high-performance brands in 2020 will be relying on content that’s tightly aligned with segments and personas, that ranks well organically and that behaves more like a conversion platform than an individual, rudderless content piece.
Want to share this on Twitter? Click the tweet below. “Content for the sake of content will not get your brand very far in 2020.” by @JonasSickler from @Terakeet More #leadgen trends for 2020 on @Leadfeeder here 👉http://bit.ly/lead-gen-2020
Ashish Singh, Digital Marketing, Manager, Asset Infinity
The most significant trends in the coming year 2020, which will help in greater B2B lead generation are:
High-Quality Content – Nowadays, the content has become the currency of the web, therefore, content needs to be published on a regular basis. There is no such definition to describe the quality of the content, but there are certain features that are a must in the quality of a content piece. These are:
These all are important. If these all attributes are present in your content, it is said to be high-quality content. High-quality content is a successful content, when it achieves a goal i.e., driving traffic, Google search ranking, engagement, conversations, etc. Consistent high-quality content engages the impact on audience decision-making more than any technique could achieve.
High-quality content is also an asset that has the ability to drive you a positive experience, potential customers, and an increased audience. Gathering audience attention through your quality content strengthens your brand impression.
Evergreen Content – Your quality content increases your reach and exposure. When you publish a great quality content it provides information, education, and entertainment to your audience (target audience). Which gives you an easy way to gain trust and convert the lead. Evergreen content is a type of content that always remain useful to the audience even after years of writing and publishing. It has nothing to do with the latest trends and news. It is kind of a bookmark post for you, to which people come back time and again, as it is valuable. It consists of that much good and relative information that is timeless and won’t fade off. You need to publish some of the evergreen content, for the following reasons: -High Search Engine Rankings
Lead Generation over Time
Generate more Traffic
Final Thoughts: High-quality content, to your brand, is setting a benchmark for you and itself, with the knowledge of your customers’ expectations and demands. Your customer-specific content will help you grow easily. In the long run, you need to publish more high quality as well as evergreen content. To be a timeless resource, you need the content that will bring you an audience for years.
Megan Meade, Marketing Specialist, Prospect Path
In 2020 I believe we’ll see a stronger push to diversify marketing budgets to focus on the middle of funnel content. By focusing on optimized content, specifically for those who are already considering solutions in your space, this allows marketers to become more targeted and segment audiences based on their engagement with existing content. Leads who are at the middle of the funnel stage provide stronger buyer intent signals which provide more accurate lead data meaning we can pass prospects over to our sales teams exactly when they’re ready to have that conversation. Holding leads in the middle of the funnel and running them through a content nurturing campaign will allow us, as marketers, to send off leads that are likely to convert into actual sales and reduce friction during the purchasing process.
Mike Zima, Chief Growth Officer, Zima Media
The most significant trends we see for SaaS sites are content mastery on the objective your saas solves and the value of using influencers in your written communication. Building content that addresses the right pain-points in your industry helps your saas win at SEO.
The next step is to drive your content with influencer insights in your space. Get to know everyone and build relationships to circulate ideas and what you are working on, give influencers access to your tool, and in exchange, have them mention your saas. It might seem counter-intuitive, but working with influencers is happening all over the internet, and your product should not be an exception.
Jose Gomez CTO & CoFounder, Evinex
Long-form content: 71% of B2B consumers engage with blogs during the shopping process. So, if you don’t have one already, you should consider it. According to HubSpot, B2B enterprises that publish more than 16 blog posts per month get 3.5 times more traffic than those which don’t. 47% of consumers are likely to read between 3 to 5 pieces of content before they talk to a sales rep. That’s why any B2B company should have a blog and some case studies on its official web page. These days, long-form content is becoming more and more popular among marketers. Customers prefer this type of content because it’s educational. And for B2B marketers, it’s proved to be worth the effort because it gets better ranking in Google. So, investing a part of your budget in creating long-form quality content is not only a tendency but also a necessity nowadays. By doing so, you’ll get better brand awareness, develop a long-term relationship with your customers, and attract new ones. According to Orbit Media, longer content performs a lot better by 40%. So, you’ll get more traffic if you provide quality content in an extended format.
Personalization: Personalization is no longer only valid for B2C marketing. Currently, it’s also applied to B2B marketing. B2B customers prefer more detailed, specific, and personalized content that matches their needs. So, no matter the channel you use, you should try to create customized content.
Account-based marketing: Account-based marketing (ABM) is on the rise as most of the B2B marketers use it to get higher ROI. ABM focuses on quality, using specific and personalized initiatives. Hence, you will be targeting a particular group of your audience and reduce your expenses.
Voice search: Most of the time, the words used are not only natural but straightforward language. When people use voice searchers, they use more keywords. And searches, most of the time, take the form of a question. The use of voice search is increasing. Experts believe that half of the online searches will be voice search by 2020. Not to mention the fact that more than half of households are supposed to own a smart speaker device by 2022. Thanks to voice assistants such as Siri, Amazon Alexa, and Google Home, consumers no longer need to type keywords in search engines. So, B2B marketers need to adapt themselves to appear in these voice searches.
Jon Bauer, Marketing Director, Risdall Marketing
The biggest trend moving into 2020 is going to be creating content and outbound language that actually resonates with your audience. I can’t tell you how many blog posts and sales emails I receive that are generic, bland, and hold absolutely no interest for me. If you want to connect with the right prospects, you have to create the right content; whether it’s a blog, email, or billboard!
Want to share this on Twitter? Click the tweet below. “If you want to connect with the right prospects, you have to create the right content.” Well said @jonmbauer at @Risdall. 🙌Check out more #leadgen trends for 2020 on @leadfeeder’s blog post: http://bit.ly/lead-gen-2020
Prafull Sharma, Chief Conversation Starter, LeadsPanda
Today there is a high demand for content–a way to generate more leads. In 2020, B2B marketers should focus on repurposing, because an effective repurposing strategy will help them to generate more leads from multiple platforms. It will not only save marketers time and effort but also deliver a greater success rate.
At LeadsPanda, we developed a 4-step strategy to make repurposing easy and effective. We call it the ABC (All Bases Covered) Method. It’s a strategy that allows you to 4x your reach, without the 4x effort. The formula is designed to turn blogs into graphics, presentations, videos, and podcasts, then strategically publish them in platforms that specialize in this kind of content. >This way, we have reached more people on different platforms only by repurposing a blog post. As you reach more audiences with this method, you’re also increasing your success rate to get more leads.
Paul Ince, Director, LikeMind Media
We’re in a period where there is far too much content for anyone to possibly consume. This overload means that attention is scant and businesses have to work even harder to get noticed. Because of this, it’s easy for those coming across the content to swipe past or not even see it before. They are more discerning, and rightly so. Your content needs to be much more high quality than ever. Spending time crafting longer, more detailed content that people are willing to save and read in their own time will generate better results. By giving more value in a piece of content, the consumer will understand how valuable you are as the creator. This could be a blog post on your website (handy if you’re using something like Leadfeeder), a podcast or a video. The content-type arguably doesn’t matter as much as the quality of it.
Quentin Aisbett, Director & Digital Strategist, OnQ Marketing
I think one of the biggest trends we’ll see in B2B for the coming year will be a stronger commitment to demonstrating expertise and authority. This will be a broad strategy that will include a few key tactics. The first of such tactics will involve doubling-down on producing quality content, the type that is truly 10X better than what else is available and culling anything that isn’t. The second will be searching for guest posting and podcast guest opportunities, not for the link opportunity primarily but for the ability to gain exposure and demonstrate expertise (Yes the way we should have been doing it all along). Thirdly, I think B2B marketers will also seek out more industry awards and recognition from 3rd party websites.
Ademola Abimbola, Digital Marketer, Mauco Enterprises
Consumers demand real-time, on-demand, direct answers to their questions. In 2020, smart B2B marketers/brands must focus on providing the right answers at the right moment. Doing so will lead to greater B2B lead generation success.
Ruxandra Mesteru, Digital Transformation Specialist, CustomSoft
I think the biggest trend that smart B2B marketing and sales professionals should focus on in 2020 is storytelling. A great story captivates any audience, no matter the industry. In the end, we are all humans, and we are naturally drawn towards awesome stories, as they appeal to our emotions.
Storytelling is an undervalued skill in business. B2B marketers and sales professionals should know that the best stories are simple and focused, tailored to their audience. B2B buyers are more prone to buy if they form an emotional connection, they don’t base their decisions only on numbers and technical processes. In reality, stories give concepts a shape, which makes the brand look more real to the B2B audience. Science has explained why we, as people, love stories: our oxytocin level rises when we hear a story that we resonate with. Oxytocin positively influences our interactions. Storytellers should be able to create a connection with the audience from the beginning by finding a common point with them.
The power of stories is universally accepted and applicable to any field, including business. Also, stories can be told in any form of communication (verbal, written, non-verbal) and their purpose is to inspire the audience to act. The stories should be customer-focused instead of product-focused. B2B marketers and professionals that want to be one step ahead of competition understand all of these things, and act accordingly, first of all by working on themselves to improve their storytelling skills.
Charlie Brook, Head of Content Marketing, Photoslurp
Putting a focus on higher quality content that can be done in collaboration with other companies that is easily accessible to the public, for example, Virtual Summit activations, should be a focus in 2020 for generating better leads. We always find that we generate the best leads and at a high quantity when we collaborate with a partner with a similar target customer as ourselves, so that both of our databases of customers, potential leads, and subscribers are interesting across both partners.
Mohammed Abuzar, Digital Marketing Specialist, Siva Solutions Inc.
Marketing is The Next Biggest Trend in 2020 Did you know? According to the Content Marketing Institute, 58% of marketers use webinars for promotion. Webinars are a different kind of lead magnet, with the potential to offer even more value and better leads. Webinars usually consist of a presentation followed by a Q&A session which can be a great way to keep your audience engaged. Because they are a visual medium, webinars can help presenters connect quickly with participants. Most people will also grasp the information faster than if it’s just written down.
Put your Email Marketing List to Good Use with Webinars Reach your target audience through email and schedule a webinar so they can make time to connect with you. It can be a great way to showcase your expertise and provide value for the participants. Webinars build trust with your participants as you look straight at the camera. This makes each attendee feel you’re presenting straight at them, which is great for starting to build a connection with them.
Christopher James Foust, Director of Marketing, SpecialtyCare
Want to make serious waves in B2B lead gen in 2020? Start podcasting! Podcasting will give you the opportunity to produce an insane amount of branded content, cement your authority, provide value to your audience, and most importantly, it’s an opportunity to introduce yourself to the clients you want. Make the podcast not about your business, but about telling the story and promoting the brand of your ideal customers. Invite that CEO you’ve been dying to get a meeting with and talk about the industry, what made an impact in their life, and how their brand positively affects the lives of their customers. Podcasting is a great way in the door for new leads but also can fill up your content calendar with content that’s easily shared. It’s cost-effective, time-efficient, and will place you ahead of your competitors in meeting clients where they are.
Trend 2: Video
Haley Zerwas, CMO, XY01
One of the biggest trends for B2B marketing and sales in 2020 will be the use of videos. Too easy, right? Well, statistics show that video content will account for 82% of total internet traffic by 2022 (Facebook and LinkedIn being the top two platforms for video marketing currently, ahead of YouTube now). This doesn’t appear to be slowing down either! If your content marketing plan/budget today doesn’t include videos, then you better start getting creative about how to do this or else you will be left in the cold!
Robert Weiss, Vice President Sales & Marketing, MultiVision Digital
The super-use of video is in the sales process. Buyers want information early in the sales process and giving them this info will allow buyers to qualify themselves. B2B marketers should be asking their sales teams “what are the top questions that keep coming up” and then getting the technical/operations/support team in their company to answer these on camera.
Get these up on the firm’s website on product/service pages, create blogs (for SEO ranking) for each video, send them via email and spin them into social media posts. We call this a Video 1st Strategy.
Yaniv Masjedi, CMO, Nextiva
Video isn’t a new trend, but the way people are getting results from it is changing. In B2B, we’ve traditionally thought of videos as being highly-produced by marketing teams. There’s a place for those, but there’s also a huge opportunity for marketers and salespeople who are willing to use short, informal videos they take on their phone. These can be posted to social media to gain a following. We have several people doing that successfully at our company now. But perhaps the best way to use them is in one-to-one sales communications during an active sales cycle. It’s easy to ignore a standard sales outreach email. But if you make a personal video for someone, you’ll get a much better response rate. We’ll see more of it in the coming year.
Justin Summers, Business Development Strategist, Epicosity
I think the most notable trend in successful B2B marketing and sales in 2020 will be the use of video. It’s already a common best practice as video is the most consumed content type on the internet, it only makes sense that our marketing and sales professionals continue to leverage the power of video. Specifically on the marketing side, creating great, long-form video has the power to create BRAND AFFINITY - the feeling you get when you see a brand you care about, like or admire. Affinity-focused video, video for entertainment or education has the power to bring a customer or a lead into your funnel on their own accord - no pushy sales talk or product demos.
On the flip side, 1:1 video for prospecting and outreach on the sales side has been proven to improve email read rates, booked meetings and replies - leveraging video in outreach is the biggest opportunity in B2B sales in 2020. Using a video to introduce yourself, show your value and connect with a prospect or prospect group is essential in the sales toolbox. Your customers and prospects are people, and video allows them to understand you’re a person too, not just a salesman on the other end of a cold call. Video prospecting and video marketing aren’t necessary for success in 2020, but they do add a powerful opportunity to marketing and sales teams to leverage this coming year.
Want to share this on Twitter? Click the tweet below. “Leveraging video in outreach is the biggest opportunity in B2B sales in 2020,” says Justin Summers of @EpicosityAgency. Check out more #leadgen trends for 2020 right here: http://bit.ly/lead-gen-2020
Bryce Bowman, Founder, People First Planning
As the founder of a highly specialized consulting practice, I want my potential customers to understand my service offerings before they reach out to me. To help generate qualified leads, I record videos that highlight my process and recent successes. I always include a number of real-world examples, and I am very clear about the type of problems that I can solve. I include at least one of these videos in my digital outreach, which helps my leads become familiar with my capabilities before they even reach out to me. I could generate a larger number of leads with a more generic marketing message, but I would only be a match for a small portion of my pipeline. By utilizing video to generate qualified leads, I can spend more energy on clients who can truly benefit from my service.
As video platforms become even more popular, businesses will continue to adopt this type of targeted video messages in their lead generation campaigns. Specifically, we will see more service-based businesses use video to market their service offerings as a means to educate their audience and build a pipeline of qualified leads.
Trend 3: Customer retention
Paul Ashworth, Sales & Marketing Director, We Brand 4 You
Establishing effective relationships with your customers is crucial for any business. When you distribute your promotional items, people love receiving them, particularly items which are thoughtful and creative. One of the main ways to retain customers is to keep them happy. When customers are happy with what you provide, they are less likely to look elsewhere.
Decisions about branded merchandise should aim to build relationships and create a lasting impression. You can do this by making your customers feel valued. Make your promotional merchandise personal by adding the recipient’s name for example.
Another great way to build relationships is through giveaways bringing in your following on social media. Promote a giveaway that creates a buzz around your business. This will increase engagement with your brand and encourage existing followers to share your content which will not only distribute your message further but allows you to grow your network.
Customer retention should be the focus of every business owner because it is much more cost-effective to retain an existing customer than it is to find new ones.
Investing in your brand is therefore important and you can achieve this by delivering usable, personalized products that maintain interest in your business. Focusing on existing customers can significantly boost your ROI.
Anu-Maaria Sandmair, Head of International Relations, VibeVision
The most important factor behind the customer decision process is emotion. Decisions like: “Which product I buy?”, “Which company I recommend?” are based on emotions, not only on satisfaction or analytical thinking. The role of the emotions in marketing and sales is nothing new, but until now it has been only an opinion, not a fact. The biggest trend in 2020 will be to understand these factors, to be able to measure and analyze them and to change the emotional data to a digital form - easy to understand and to use, and to meet the consequences. Deeper and easily understandable data about customers’ feelings and decisions gives the companies a clear advantage to grow and succeed.
Dennis Sievers, Digital Strategist & Founder, Webiteers
Always be helping instead of always be closing is a trend that has been surging for a few years now. I still see too many companies only create content for the decision phase of the buyer journey, instead of helping potential clients forward with content that helps them make informed decisions in the awareness and consideration phases. Next to that, when sales are ready to pick up the SQL leads, they also need to be helping instead of closing. Invest in specific branch knowledge. Invest in becoming an expert in your ideal client’s branches. How can you help them see some light at the end of their tunnel? Or make them avoid risks they did not see themselves? What impact does it have on businesses? Help your prospects make informed decisions and then move them towards solutions you can offer them.
David LaVine, Founder, RocLogic Marketing, LLC
Digital empathy needs to increase drastically in 2020. Lots of websites, especially in the B2B engineering/tech world talk a lot about themselves, from their perspective. The sweet spot is the intersection of the problems you solve with how you can help. Get rid of the “come see us at booth 256” sort of blabbing on social media. Get rid of the “we hired a new employee”, and “we opened a new office” announcements on your site, and focus on the core problems you solve.
Some companies try to maintain a pace of X number of articles/papers/case studies per month. This is unsustainable and less effective in the long run. Much care needs to be placed in determining each piece of content to create. Ask yourself these questions for each piece of lead gen content you’re considering in 2020:
What’s my main reason for creating content on this topic? Reasonable answers are along the lines of (1) there are many potential customers asking for this and we’re well-positioned to help, or (2) we need this to support the domination of our niche. Any other reasons should be treated as suspect.
How will I measure success for this piece? This isn’t a black and white succeeded/failed threshold, but you should be measuring what you care about and comparing against other well-understood content. Focus on (1) engagement (2) conversion contribution and (3) fit metrics.
Another trend in 2020 will be agile marketing. There’s a lot of opportunities to take feedback from the market (in the form of analytics data) and develop a more adaptive mindset. Many companies lay out their marketing plan for the next year (or more) in a very command and control, top-down fashion. This is limiting. It offers a false sense of security that you can just come up with a plan and get to the end by following a pre-defined mechanical set of steps and activities. What you want to do is develop and optimize a small subset of content utilizing feedback from the market (analytics data) to iterate on the next step. You learn from the market what’s engaging, and what is not. What’s getting traction, and what is not. This guides your efforts adaptively. An agile methodology allows for this.
Brian Coulanges, President, Guerrilla Insights
Treat each person as an individual. Building strong relationships with your potential customers is the key to making them paid customers — people like being treated as an individual. You can be a business owner that everyone loves. Excellent customer service is always fashionable. Now you have the essential knowledge to generate leads. The next phase is up to you, so do not delay. Doing this immediately will help you achieve your objectives sooner.
Amanda Bausch, Technical & Customer Support Specialist, Leadfeeder
As services grow it seems that ‘service’ shrinks. In the end, the only real advantage that any SAS provider will be able to offer is genuine, empathetic customer support. As the technology begins to parallel what stands out is a CSM that listens and understands your business and doesn’t just try to shove you in a box or a support specialist on a live chat that goes the extra mile to help you out. These are the things that make a difference to your business.
Sean Maczko, Account Executive LifeSaver Mobile
To make customer satisfaction a priority after the sale as much as it is a goal to secure the sale. Through their experience with you and the service, you are offering you the opportunity to make a subscribed customer part of your marketing efforts. Case studies and direct quotes from current customers can reach prospective customers in a different, albeit great, manner.
Robin Larsen, Managing Director, Automation People ApS
The client experiences and the onboarding ramp for when converting new leads into sales. The better the B2B company knows how to onboard the customer the better experience, and thus better conversion. This will all in all bring the price of the new customer down. We are focusing more in 2020 than ever before to give quality to the customer, and quality is to give the customer what they expect. This can only be done with an excellent and congruent onboarding of the customer.
Janne Salmi, Business Development Director, Codemate Pte Ltd
Genuine personal connection with several key stakeholders within the target account, not just automatic nurturing. Authenticity and human-to-human interaction, when talking about high-value services. Digital tools like Leadfeeder and good CRM are essential in following the intents and reporting the needs and discussions.
Adam Zawel, Vice President of Strategy, Leader Networks
In September, we published The 2019 List of the Biggest and Best Online Customer Communities.
After going through the websites of the top 500 U.S. companies by revenues (the “Fortune 500”), we curated and scored those with prominent communities. One interesting finding: The largest firms (by revenue) on the Fortune 500 were much more likely to have active online communities than the smaller companies on that list; 32 companies ranked 1-100 on the Fortune 500 have online communities compared to only 1 corporation from companies ranked 401-500 by revenues.
What do the big companies know that others don’t? As companies increasingly capitalize on the benefits that customer communities bring, these communities will enable the firms that utilize them to engage with and understand more about their partners, clients, and their own products, paving a clear path for further success.
Trend 4: Personalization
Dave Thornton, Company Director, Thornton & Lowe
Personalization will be the key. Due to a mix of GDPR and generally being ‘over-marketed’, it takes an increasingly timely or specific/tailored message or contact to create a solid lead. A balance of marketing automation, followed by very specific and personal/ lead by lead contact is what I think will make a difference, which is, of course, time-consuming but will vastly increase ROI. A video demonstrating you have completed the research about their business, to show you understand what is required in their sector. Or an invite to a very specific event/webinar, which again is a chance to engage 1-2-1 or 1-few.
Jeff Sauer, Owner, Data-Driven
Personalization of messaging and offers based on your past interactions. Data is everywhere and it’s collected and stored for cheap. Use that data to better understand your audience and personalize the messages for your audience based on their behaviors and behaviors of similar users.
Michael Krusche, CEO, Krusche & Company GmbH
In B2B sales the most challenging part is to get the attention of the decision-makers. Therefore B2B trend for 2020 is to serve customers best by micro-targeting them with personalized information and services at the right time. For this, we need to understand their requirements and constraints, and then offer a tailored solution to them.
The best way of learning customers is to analyze their behavior with tools like Leadfeeder, questionnaires which gives them immediate benefits or social media interaction. This is then the starting point of a personalized dialogue, where we in each step of the customer journey offer the right piece of information or consultancy. Doing so we stand out of the mass, establish what’s most important - trust.
Cassandra Nordyke, Senior Digital Marketing Manager, Sagepath
Taking baby steps toward this type of leadership will be crucial for 2020. Starting with blog posts that have motion graphics that take you to the next section. If you are willing to make an even larger investment using video series that lead users to personalized demos or offers is your ticket to account-based marketing gold.
Interactive content trends include: -Investment in video -Short-form videos for website and social media -Live streaming events -Infographics with interactive components -Motion graphics and animation to explain complex products, processes, and data •-Quizzes and online assessments
Personalized marketing – The buzz word that has continued to either aid or haunt markets throughout the past couple of years. Personalized subject lines in emails or headlines on landing pages aren’t going to cut it anymore.
Companies pushing the envelope have started to invest in personalized website experiences, but it doesn’t just stop there. What if you could span this across omnichannel marketing from website pages to a paid advertisement all the way to an email. Ensuring the content, you are providing each user fits their needs and wants. Now that’s a way to generate some leads!
Position zero - With marketers continuing to fight tooth and nail for top positions on Google the new position zero is number one. With position zero being implemented to provide the user quick and easy answers using voice search this shows that you are truly a thought leader within your space.
AI & machine learning – According to research from Salesforce, B2B marketers list AI as the technology they are most likely to implement in 2020. Platforms such as 6sense, Mintigo and Infer harness AI to analyze vast amounts of data for things like predictive analytics, intelligent lead scoring, and campaign optimization. While these are only a few examples it seems that B2B is taking a beating from B2C as usual and spending the time to truly understand how AI platforms can help them deliver what customers and prospects are expecting.
Jeremy Woods, Co-Founder & President, FaithVenture Media
I personally think that the biggest trend will be, as in the recent past, getting clients through getting their contact information from things such as lead magnets (though they have to contain very helpful information) or monthly drawings for people on your newsletter list for something fairly significant value that costs you no money or little money to do for them. People rarely want to give out their information, unless they are going to get something in return.
Personalization on cold emails (with several sentences directly to the person being contacted) is another huge trend for 2020, as it shows them that it is from person to person, not from company to company. When you send emails with every word capitalized on the subject line, it’s like a salesy message, but when you only capitalize the first word and proper nouns in the subject line (and keep the subject line short and perhaps formed in a question such as “Are you in?”), your email is written more personalized and more likely to be opened.
Consistency in sales and marketing is another thing that should be trending in 2020. So many people start sales conversations, but they leave so many prospects behind that, if they had continued the process, perhaps they would have had more clients. If you start a sales conversation, it should be continued until one of two outcomes has happened: it has been clear that it’s a no, or they have shown interest in your company and have taken the next steps to become your next client. Dropping the ball on your prospects is not a good sign and could either show them two things: either you are so busy that they won’t be a good fit for your company anyways or you have no clear sales process. Either could be a warning sign to your prospect and should be fixed before you reach out to many more leads or prospects.
Polly Kay, Senior Marketing Manager, English Blinds
Smart B2B marketers looking to improve lead generation in 2020 and beyond have already moved on from seeing personalization (still the hottest topic for B2C marketers) as the be-all and end-all, and have begun to turn their focus towards enabling interactivity as the next step up.
Interactivity naturally relies upon personalization in order to identify what B2B prospects might want, what will catch the attention of their decisionmakers, and what will pique their attention enough to convince them to look more deeply. However, after that has been achieved (which really represents the hardest part of the task) enabling interactivity maintains attention, invests the prospect in the journey, and greatly enhances your chances of winning the account or making a sale.
How interactivity looks for any business or niche can, of course, be highly variable, and what might delight or intrigue the B2B buyer or prospect won’t look the same for every individual either; which is why it is so effective. Rather than second-guessing what a prospect might want with little information to go on to personalize the experience, interactivity enables you to essentially ask them and provides them with options that allow you to build up data and insights about them that help to direct your approach, package or offer. It simultaneously lays the groundwork to make the prospect receptive and invested in the journey as well – and so, makes them more likely to convert.
Daniel Abraham, Founder & Director of Business Development, Mogul Lead Generation
In 2020, the biggest trends in lead generation will be the need for more targeted, personalized, and data-driven campaigns. To run a successful lead generation campaign in 2020 sales reps will have to start putting thought into who they are reaching out to, why they are reaching out to them, and what messaging is to peak enough interest to book the next step.
Lead generation campaigns that are centered around these three trends will enable companies to convert prospects into opportunities at a much higher rate and it will also give the sales rep a much better chance to close the deal. Companies can this approach to not only book more leads but also significantly increase the quality. Providing real value and pitching in a way that resonates with the prospect will help sales teams book more decision-makers and senior executives which will help them shorten their sales cycle, increase contract values and boost revenue.
Over the past 7 weeks we have been working with a North American SaaS startup to help them transition to a more strategic approach and they have increase lead volume from 14 to 75 per month, increased close rate by 17%, shortened their sales cycle by 3 weeks and increased total revenue by 800%.
Amelia Whyman, Marketing Executive, Global App Testing
Personalization has already been a huge hit in B2C marketing for years. Personalized ads on social media, streaming sites, and more are always likely to get a great CTR and increase lead generation as a result. And, in 2020, B2B marketing will be no exception to this. With new contact tracking technologies, you can personalize your entire website to make it specific to industries, individuals and fields. Multi-channel campaigns can use personalized ads to catch users’ eyes and engage them. Chatbots can use personalized language to ensure a great customer experience from the word ‘go’. Make sure personalization is at the forefront of your 2020 B2B Lead Generation Strategy!
Trend 5: Social media
Arto Ahokas, Managing Director, Leinonen Norway
I believe the most crucial is to get traffic on your web page. Without traffic, it does not help to follow empty Leadfeeder reports. You have to be active in all channels, really all. On your web page, on social media, blog and everywhere which fits to your company profile. Note that today many companies have own search engine, like Youtube, Facebook, and Amazon. Different kinds of social media are important. I have chosen to be myself active in Linkedin, it fits best in our company’s target group, we have specialized to help companies who have business outside the home country. Do not forget the video, it is extremely important. We have tried animation a little bit, but we do not have the knowledge to make it inside our company.
Jesse Silkoff, Co-Founder and President, MyRoofingPal
LinkedIn has become one of our most successful channels for generating new leads, and ultimately selling new customers. The great thing about LinkedIn is that it is highly targeted and efficient. By using the LinkedIn “Sales Nav” tool you can search and build a targeted prospect list based on several different parameters including, location, job title, company size, etc. Our strategy is to try to connect with all of the potential targets that end up on our prospect list through Sales Nav. After that, we are able to send free messages via LinkedIn to all of the people that have successfully connected back with us. One amazing benefit that we have found about contacting prospects on LinkedIn is that they are 23% more likely to respond to our sales outreach than if we were to contact them via email. I’m not sure if this is because people have email fatigue, but regardless we are now generating hundreds of more leads per month than if we were more focused on email.
Randi Grant, Marketing & Communications Specialist, Perfect Patients
In 2020, two of the most important trends to focus on in B2B lead generation are creating exceptional landing pages and driving traffic to them with social media ads. These key components of lead generation aren’t going anywhere and, in fact, they seem to get harder every year with the amount of competition and online “noise” your leads have to sift through. In our B2B industry (website design and marketing for healthcare professionals), we find great success in promoting eBooks and other assets on Facebook. Facebook ads are still one of the best ways to target a specific audience but make sure you’re spending enough time and resources creating your ads/graphics/copy. Social media is FULL of advertisers trying to stand out, so you want to make sure you do. And then make sure you are sending that traffic to clear, concise, eye-catching landing pages that are consistent with your ads so the visitor actually wants to fill out your form. Study landing page conversion, attend webinars on the topic, run A/B tests… do all you can to find what works for your B2B audience and then replicate it and keep on testing. Data is your best friend.
Adam Guild, CEO, Placepull
There are a few specific trends that absolutely soared in 2019 and show no signs of slowing down in 2020. I’ve focused down on several of these within hundreds of my B2B restaurant owner clients’ businesses. Many of these clients ran with the techniques and built campaigns around them. Two main trends set to explode in 2020 are:
1) Video & upcoming social media platforms. There’s a reason Snapchat took off quickly after it was released and Instagram and Messenger stories were both on a MASSIVE upward trend. In a word? Connection. When we use video to connect to one another, we re-enforce social bonds. Skype, Google Hangouts and others provide live face-to-face chat. Barring that, when timezones are different, or people aren’t scheduled for a chat, social video and stories let us get closer than ever. TikTok is another example, having over half a BILLION monthly users. It was only released in 2017 but now is the #1 Apple App Store Download. It’s no secret video is not only here to stay, but will expand in unforeseen ways in 2020.
2) Longer-term relationship-building B2B content. The other trend catching more relevance as we close out the year, relationship-based B2B content. The business world is shifting to a connected, “P2P” (people-to-people) sphere. It’s always been built on relationships, but the divide is being broken down in terms of who’s accessible to whom. Everyone is online; everyone is more easily approachable IF you can provide value to them upfront, instead of trying to take, take, take. Therefore, if you can view your B2B relationships of pipeline leads and clients with a longer-term approach, using video content to attract them and provide ongoing value, you’re going to win in 2020. Bonus points if you can provide interactive video content and tell relatable stories to your prospects. View these two as integrated trends that will continue to complement each other. There are several other B2B trends I didn’t even touch upon, including artificial intelligence, automation, virtual reality, machine learning, website, and mobile optimization, and many, many more. I believe these two points are leading the race in B2B relationships and business development. I’ve sure seen them in the thousands of businesses of my clients, and have optimized for their delivery in my own B2B relationships.
Khris Steven, Owner and Content Editor, Khrisdigital Marketing
The biggest B2B lead generation trend and strategy I see that will make a great impact in 2020 is the utilization of Facebook groups for customer acquisition and retention. Facebook group is an amazing platform and tool you can use to get your products and services in front of people who have specific interest to engage them to buy from you over and over again without spending a penny on ads. Especially if you’re in the coaching and consulting industry.
It basically involves building, attracting, growing, serving, engaging and monetizing a Facebook group filled with potential customers. As it is in every other niche - lead generation for coaches and consultants is the lifeblood of their businesses. Without it, they’re going to find it very hard to get clients. The reason why you should focus on using a Facebook group for lead generation in 2020 is that it is the most-growing popular and profitable organic marketing tactic right now.
And it’ll continue to be - since Facebook announced a new focus on groups on their platform in May 2019. And Facebook is rewarding significant, free, organic traffic to groups that are hyper-engaged. Both brands, marketing/sales agencies, and professionals should diverse a means to create and grow their own Facebook group.
Apart from the fact that it’s a powerful marketing tool… -It’s the most perfect medium to build an engaged community of your target market. -It helps to build and place you as an authority in your niche. -Facebook group also serves as a research and survey tool. -You can build your email list automatically when accepting new members into your group. -You’ll have the ability to channel members to other of your online assets.
Michael Vuong, Digital Marketer, BVCM
In 2020 giving is much more important than ever before. The content will vary from written to visual content. In 2019 it was proven that podcasts have generated a lot of traction for entrepreneurs and marketers and many other professions. Since the content gets more or less the same (video or written form) marketers will invent new ways such as webinars or live shows through multiple social platforms such as LinkedIn Live, YouTube live and Facebook live.
With that, the distribution platform will no longer be the website. I already noticed a shift in the content being posted on LinkedIn. We used to see hard sales pitches and lots of promotions. Now we are seeing that people aim to provide value by giving stuff away. Besides making a new connection it also gives you the opportunity to gather data in a GDPR-friendly manner. As mentioned before we can also notice that ‘live’ and podcasts are increasingly growing. With more companies offering Webinars as well as doing LinkedIn Live we notice that content becomes more interactive. With LinkedIn introducing LinkedIn live and video format on their platform we can expect that brands are exploring these tools whilst LinkedIn will work on fine-tuning their new formats.
Automation is still a thing.
In 2020 automation will probably mature a lot which means we will see fewer and fewer mistakes or silly messages. The growth of an ‘automated’ answer after the initial message will make things more time-efficient for the average sales manager. However, with LinkedIn’s stricter policy on (automation) tools, it is just a matter of time before marketers are using different methods to reach out to their prospects.
Use of Social Advertising Whilst LinkedIn, amongst other relevant community platforms, are still trying to develop their products I also noticed the push for one specific B2B advertising option: lead generation forms. (Big) Data has been a trend for almost every year (if you are a fan of reading all those trend blogs). However, the ad products are still underused by most companies in Holland. Whilst there were many complaints about the high CPC from LinkedIn we have now seen that the products have been improved and CPC has since been lower than it used to be.
Ana Bertolucci, Director of Marketing, Salesfloor
B2B marketers should follow social media advertising channels that are not traditionally successful for B2B like Facebook and Instagram (and newer platforms like Tik Tok) closely. They will likely refine their targeting abilities by using technology like artificial intelligence to position themselves as a more reliable source of successful lead generation for B2B companies. Additionally, more interactive forms of advertising or outreach will be used more frequently. For example, sending a lead a visual, interactive representation of what the product/solution would like for their specific company, as well as allowing them to interact with it in the scope of the product’s capabilities.
Amazon advertising, and eventually “Search Engine Optimization for Amazon” will become an important part of the digital marketing strategy.
Eventually, when Generation Z makes up a large portion of manager-level (or higher) professionals, YouTube and other video platforms will be one of the most important types of advertising to reach this demographic in B2B.
Tim Hughes, CEO & Co-Founder, DLA Ignite
The biggest trend for 2020 will be the continued “flip” from interrupt and broadcast marketing (cold calling, email, and advertising) to the use of social media. In fact, we will see this year the adoption of social media across the whole of the enterprise (Sales, Marketing, Human Resources, Customer Care, Procurement, etc) and social media used strategically rather than tactically. This means that a business needs to motivate the business to change to this new approach, the good news is that business will be more efficient, more effective and at a lower cost.
Will Hankinson, Owner, IntroCave
This is pretty Twitter-specific advice, so it will really only work if your target leads are active on that platform. Start by figuring out where your target customers congregate: Reddit, forums, Facebook groups, conferences. If you can detect patterns to the types of things they talk about or ask questions about, try doing a Twitter search for similar terms. Most Twitter clients will save your search history, so you can revisit the same search from time to time to monitor it. Keep adding more keywords to your search until you’re getting a decent volume of recent replies (make sure to view the “Latest” and not “Top” tweets to get a sense of the volume). If your search yields a mixed bag of good/bad leads, it can be a bit exhausting to read through them. I built a little script that screens the firehose for the keywords I identified, filters out “bad” tweets, and puts the “good” tweets into Collections that I can review at my leisure.
Once you have a reliable search/collection of leads, you just need to start interacting. Like tweets that are relevant to your product. Follow people that seem like they might need your product at some point. Answer questions. If people are venting frustration with a competitor, reach out and offer to chat. The search and collection-filtering tools will help you identify potential customers, but then it’s up to you to interact in a way that feels authentic to the platform.
Trend 6: Automation
Mike Korba, Co-Founder, User.com
"Using automation in lead generation takes something that's otherwise messy and overly complex, then turns it into something manageable even for a single person or a small team that can be understood and woven into processes that enhance your possibilities to grow even exponentially.
With modern automation software, you're able to scoop all your potential clients and place them into a single source. Then you can then turn repeatable sales actions into flows and processes to enable the entire system to do the intricate work for you, making it easier to focus on building and growing relationships."
Alexa Lemzy, Customer Support & Content Manager, TextMagic
Looking ahead to 2020, I’m excited about the potential of using analytics software to identify possible leads from website visitors. I also see text message marketing growing among lead generation professionals.
As an SMS marketer, I see first-hand every day the benefits that text messaging can provide to lead generation and nurturing efforts, and how much potential there is for this to grow.
More and more marketers are realizing the benefits of SMS and global spending on SMS marketing is expected to grow from US$57 billion in 2015 to US$83 billion by 2024.
Text messages are a great way to cut through the clutter and get your message seen, as people always look at texts on their phones. Bulk SMS services make it easy and cost-effective to send out messages efficiently to your target lists.
Text messaging has incredible conversion numbers, with an average open rate of about 98% and click-through-rate of about 19%. With numbers like these, you have an excellent chance of getting your leads to convert.
SMS services can be used to create super-effective marketing campaigns with your messages guaranteed to be seen. Text messaging can also be used for efficient and instant customer service, using far less resources than traditional call centers. Keeping in contact with your customers via SMS is also a great way to build and maintain loyalty.
I expect to see smart lead generation professionals using SMS marketing in more and more creative ways in 2020, to assist in both lead creation and converting leads to sales.
Enrico Ouwehand, Founder, Salesrecruiters
Marketing automation and content creation. Marketing will more and more be integrated with sales, marketing will be measurable in terms of supplying qualitative leads for sales. Finally, they’ll understand and love each other.
Adeel Shabir, Content Marketing Executive, GigWorker
1) Artificial Intelligence or AI has been seen used in 2019, it will be more used in 2020 as the marketing goes. This really helps in maintaining the business and creating multiple opportunities for the company. Chatbots have been used creatively to market your business.
2) Interactive content is another trend that has been happening for the past some time but it took off in 2019. The audience loves to interact with content that has interest and value to it.
3) Video is something that everybody loves. YouTube has been there for some time now but marketers are using it to make valuable content on their channel and divert the audience to their businesses.
4) Influencer marketing and brand partnership is a creative way to market your business. These influencers have worked hard to make their brand. While your company just started and it only needs an influencer to be on board with their marketing.
Téa Liarokapi, Content Writer, Moosend
When it comes to B2B lead-gen trends, there will be a shift to one of the major B2C tactics, which B2B companies will start using to their advantage: AI and machine learning. Truly, AI and machine learning’s focus is on data and its detailed analysis. This tactic can prove to be beneficial in more than one way, as machine learning can give insights that won’t be based off some marketing persona, but will be created on a more detailed, one-on-one basis, leading to hyper-personalization, hyper-targeting and, eventually, more leads - both generating and retaining.
AI and machine learning have the added benefit of tracing patterns where a data analyst can’t, thus minimizing human errors and allowing marketers and data analysts to take initiative and complete tasks that are less menial and more on the brainstorming side of things, giving them much more space and time to prepare themselves and their teams for bigger, much more important projects and giving them all the data they need, in order to make sure said projects will be relevant down to a tee.
Oliver von der Lühe, Digital Management, Mankenberg GmbH
A big challenge in the B2B sector is to adapt the user habits of the B2C market. Especially in the industrial valves market, the customer journey must be optimally prepared. For our end users (e.g. the plant operators) we are only a tiny investment, a product you hardly want to deal with.
Getting the attention of the buying center and converting this awareness is hard. This is only possible with a customer-specific approach, content and precisely structured customer journeys.
I think that chatbots, marketing automation tools, content crawlers, and partly automated analysis tools will shape the digital marketing landscape in Germany in 2020. Of course, all this already exists, but I am convinced that the techniques will be optimized.
I also think that self-learning translation tools are becoming more and more important. Ideally, content is keyword optimized for the “normal” search, but also for the voice search. Additionally, there are different languages (individual approach) to handle. It is very difficult to manage all this with your own resources.
An external contract is usually expensive. Automation and software are therefore essential! Everyone who lives in Germany or works here knows how bad our internet connection in some parts of Germany is. So I don’t want to talk about 5G (6G) trends for nurturing B2B Leads :D haha. But I would like to talk about social ads.
Social advertisements are becoming more and more target group-oriented, which also makes budgets more justified. I think this is a relevant tool to further spread the trends of 2019: Videos, online tutorials, podcasts, webinars, etc.
And so I come to the last topic, which is actually more of a hope than an opinion. The investigation of the MRoI (marketing return on investment) is being driven further and further. I think that a huge industry is working to develop a cost-effective system solution that will enable a broad mass of B2B SMEs to run an MRoI analysis in the future. The result of this analysis is important to understand user behavior and customer needs. And this is needed for marketers to be able to address campaigns more targeted-oriented.
Michal Curidlo, CEO, iFocus
In our region central Europe, the trend is definitely automation combined with the personalization of the content. This will go in conjunction with mar-tech consolidation. Connectivity of all systems used within the company will be crucial to achieving data relevancy and accuracy.
Jeff Fuchs, Head of Business Development, Count It
I think that as AI complements more sales activities, making personal connections is going to become both more valuable and difficult. One trend that I have identified is what I call ‘Dynamic Selling’ which involves communicating in real-time with your prospects through mediums such as video, interactive content, or new technologies such as AMP emails. The idea is to infuse as much human interaction into your process as possible while still moving as fast as both your prospects and the automated systems already in place.
Stefano De Carlo, Founder &CEO, AutomatiKing
Surely there are many innovations nowadays that will bring advantages even in the world of lead generation. For example, the world of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual reality (VR) or the massive use of Big Data comes to my mind.
The masses need to be amazed. But certainly what will make the difference in the world of small businesses and professionals will be the introduction of daily automation. Too often I see small entrepreneurs rushing after a daily routine of repetitive tasks, cold sales and poor segmentation of potential customers.
All manual activities that today can be done automatically thanks to modern technologies. All manual activities that could be automated easily. There are, in fact, thousands of Saas, tools, and strategies that offer immense benefits in exchange for a very small investment. All manual activities that, once automated, allow those small entrepreneurs or professionals to focus on how their talent makes the difference for clients.
For example, for me, the introduction of automation in my business has allowed me to go from 14 hours of daily work to just four. Because, in the end, nobody creates a business to be a slave to work; we all want to be free, enjoy life and dedicate ourselves to our passions. Because money is a tool and not the purpose of our life. Because no one cares about being the richest in the cemetery… or am I wrong? This is why automation in the world of small businesses and professionals will be one of the biggest B2B trends of 2020 for lead generation.
Mike Walton, Director of Growth, Bloom
Focus. There are so many ways companies can generate leads. From webinars to emails to events, there are plenty! Companies typically feel the stress of trying them all during the year after reading a business blog or the top-selling book of the year. Unfortunately, what tends to happen is companies rush in and out of tactics without proper testing and consistency. In 2020, I predict companies are going to take a step back and select only a few strategies/tactics so they can fully implement them into a sustainable lead generator. The focus will allow teams to be more consistent and less stressed to be everywhere.
Smart automation. There are no shortages in automation for lead generation. It seemed to be the buzzword in 2019 along with “AI” and “Machine Learning”. Now in 2020, it’s about using automation smartly. Before teams and individuals would have their own automation all over the place but they would not be working together for the big picture. Things would get messy… Reps would be sending pitch emails to current clients or targeting the same companies over and over (not smart). Teams will need to take a step back and visualize what they want to achieve and how each member/technology can play a part in solving the issue to generate leads wisely.
Team collaborations. Teams need to work together, especially Marketing and Sales when it comes to generating leads. There need to be frequent brainstorming sessions and feedback loops to create the most sustainable plans to achieve growth. Both teams are amazing assets for each other if they work together. There is no use in marketing to create amazing content/white papers if no reps will actually use them.
Tomi Paajanen, Co-Founder & Chief Growth Officer, Valotalive
In my opinion, the biggest trend will be data-driven experimentation which means that marketing and sales leaders must experiment with new content/tools/processes to drive leads and convert leads to customers. Experiment ➡️ Analyse data ➡️ Repeat what works. A growth team should include product, marketing, sales, and data analyst. 🚀
Zohe Mustafa, Chief Growth Officer, Growth Hakka
I think there will be more automation and more features on your website to capture leads. By automation, I don’t mean email and Hubspot. I mean automating making connections on LinkedIn who can immediately become leads, automating social media posts and auto-publishing from your website. Using more marketing technology on your website will also become more prominent. Using capture and exit intent technology to capture leads to auto-generation of new content.
Isidoros Sideridis, CEO, Pobuca
The biggest trend that everybody should focus on in 2020 will be the customer journey automation. Generally, there is a huge evolution in customer engagement and most probably this has to do with the fact that consumers use digital devices and channels more and more in their lives.
Moreover, we should keep in mind that 90% of all decision-required purchases start with a google search. So, we need to empower all the 5 stages that consist of a successful customer journey: awareness, consideration, purchase, service, and loyalty. Today, 67% of the customer journey is digital and in the next 3 years will reach 80%, so its automation is more necessary than ever.
In other words, customers leveraging the digital touchpoints want to buy themselves, control the purchasing process and not having someone trying to sell them. They want to use the salespeople as confirmation that they did the right choice.
In order to set an effective customer journey, you need to know your customers and automate all the marketing-mapping tools with CRM and AI. In order to ensure the perfect function of this “machine”, we need to gather a massive amount of data- from demographics to psychographic and from behavioral to environmental. There is only one way to collect them…track every step of the customer journey with a CRM system.
The customer journey mapping tracks actions of strangers that turn progressively to visitors, leads, customers and finally to your brand promoters. It is a nonstop procedure which needs a continuous optimization of customer journey via A/B testing, through successes and errors. A marketer, a salesperson or anybody in a company should understand that their customers are different “personas” with different needs, wishes, budgets, behaviors, etc. So, they need to build different customer journeys for each client, a process that would be impossible to be set, tracked and automated without a CRM.
Huw Waters, Head of Marketing, Codehouse
Personalization is vital for brands in 2020. But it needs to be combined with the power of AI. More brands need to invest in digital platform technology that allows them to fully personalize the digital customer experience end-to-end, to deliver the right content, with the right message, on the right channel, at the right time. Having a digital experience platform with built-in AI will allow B2B marketers to automatically better spot patterns in behavior, based on various attributes and data-points, including inbound source (where your visitor came from to get to your website), digital fingerprint (where the visitor is located), and website activity (what pages they visit and what content they view or engage with). When combined with data from other systems, such as your CRM system or your call center, AI will deliver even deeper insight into your visitors, and automatically segment audiences, all of which means B2B brands can drive better personalized experiences to generate more leads.
**Adam Bell, Co-Owner, [MomentModern Marketing](https://momentagencies.com)**
The name of the game will be conversion rate optimization (CRO). At all stages of the customer lifecycle. How are companies targeting their marketing to most effectively to capture attention? How are they leveraging modern formats to turn that attention into an inquiry? How are they following-up on those inquiries to book quotations? And how are they maximizing those quotations to secure sales? Getting it right in each and every moment is a focus, especially online when according to Google, “67% of purchases for multiple industrial manufacturing and pack-and-ship industries were influenced by digital” (BCG/Google, U.S., Online to Offline (n=2083, customers of industrial manufacturing suppliers, industrial manufacturing B2C, industrial manufacturing B2B, pack-and-ship B2B, pack-and-ship B2C), Sept. 2017.)
It’s no longer enough to perform standard “business development” activities like networking, cold calling, and un-targeted outreach. If your Salesforce isn’t provided with adequate marketing material, backed by the ability for potential customers to find you online and have a great experience there, too - then you aren’t making the most of every opportunity. By focusing on the moment in which you can engage brands online: think search, social media, and email marketing - you’ll be able to measure which moments drive the great volume of leads for your sales team to convert.
Richard Devine, Veriphy Ltd
2020 will see chatbots driven by enough AI to make them capable of ultra-personalized communication; that means knowing your customers’ concerns & needs, which in turn means reaching out via surveys and SEO-driven soft interaction such as whitepaper download choice and its subsequent analysis. It’s a virtuous and necessary circle, which will lead ultimately to self-designing interface bots, with the odd human touch.
Abhijith HK, CEO, Codewave Technologies
Conversational AI Chatbots are here to stay. We still generate over 50% of leads via chatbots (Or lead bots as we call them). This along with Leadfeeder keeps our prospects pipeline healthy.
Trend 7: SEO
Shane Barker, CEO, Shane Barker Consulting
Email marketing and SEO are the top two lead generation sources for B2B marketers. These two have consistently remained at the top in different surveys, including the latest B2B Outlook Survey by Chief Marketer. Email marketing has evolved a lot over the years and no longer involves sending email blasts that spam people’s inboxes. It has become a lot more targeted, personalized, and relevant in recent times.
Marketers now pay a lot more attention to relevance and correct targeting than they did before. Moreover, email automation tools take this to another level by sending an email to the right people at exactly the right times with the right messages. Similarly, SEO has also evolved as a lead-generation strategy but is still the most important traffic source for most B2B companies. Organic search marketing is and will be an important long-term lead generation strategy for B2B marketers.
Charlotte Ang, M&P International Freights
SEO-focused content marketing refers to having valuable content online that ranks well in search engines. It is an extremely effective way to get B2B leads and will be the new trend moving forward.
Content marketing is never an old thing. Many companies engage in content marketing agencies or have their own in-house content team to publish content online. Often, the KPIs of these content marketing efforts are based on the number of articles published per week or per month. It seems like there is a misconception of “the more, the merrier”.
What is being neglected is the performance part of these content marketing. Many companies fail to analyze the data provided by their own articles because they do not realize the importance of it. Having data like the number of clicks, duration of each session or the demographics of your audience will enable content marketers to either improve, optimize and potentially bring in more leads to the business.
SEO-focused content marketing will be helpful for generating B2B leads once the content marketer understands the search intent of his audience. For example, B2B companies who are looking for a freight forwarder to partner with will search for keywords like “supply chain management, project freight forwarder, 4PL provider” whereas B2C leads will search for things like “shipping company”.. “furniture mover” etc.
By understanding the search intent of your audience, content marketing focused on SEO will go a long way and will be one of the biggest returns on your investment if done well.
Stephen Taylor, Director of Communications, WISER Systems, Inc.
I think that a lot of 2019’s tech advancements will actually require B2B marketers to simplify their leads generation strategies. For instance, Google’s BERT update – which refines how Google addresses search intent – will reward companies that can really focus their web marketing on solving customers’ real problems. Advances in voice search are similar. These tend to have less direct application for B2B leads generation since fewer customers conduct voice searches for B2B products and services, but they ensure that search engines will keep rewarding companies that can really hone in on the problems their customers face (and offer solutions to those problems).
This idea isn’t new or complex, but it is challenging to keep customer needs at the front of leads generation. That said, the tech environment in 2020 will almost certainly continue demanding better, more direct customer experiences across all industries, beginning right from the first points of marketing contact.
Avinash Chandra, Founder, and CEO, BrandLoom
By 2020, approximately half of searches will be voice-based, resulting in a decrease in “typed” searches. This would increase the number of long-tail keywords.
Reviews will be more relevant than ever, positive reviews will improve the profitability of companies.
High-quality content matching the user’s intent would become indispensable. To help promote conversion, it will remain important to include video content.
Rich snippets would continue playing an important role as they are more detailed. For example, a rich snippet for a recipe may also include calorie count and cooking time; it may include the genre and release date for music, and a price or star rating may be included for products.”
Elena Lundaeva, Sales and Marketing Manager, FA Solutions
When we analyze our lead sources, it is obvious that search engines are the #1 driving force in the game. So, in 2020, SEO will remain as powerful as ever - B2B marketers should focus on gaining higher positions in 2-3 relevant markets, esp. organically since it is the only way to make results last.
And speaking of the newer trends, content collaboration with quality third-party sites that can give exposure to the relevant audiences and redirect them back to your website is currently on the rise.
Of course, like anything else, you can do these partnerships right or wrong. The wrong way, in my opinion, is to spend thousands on sponsoring any publication that offers to talk about your business promising stunning results. A better way is to vet the third-party websites and carefully weigh the pros and cons before publishing anything outside your own channels - your brand image is at stake, after all.
If you hire a consultancy for selecting and managing such collaborations, it is crucial to first agree on the central message you want to put out there and get on the same page regarding comms strategy before starting any content distribution through agencies.
Richard DePaso, Managing Director, Aardvark Video
To start, I believe outbound marketing is not as effective as inbound marketing. What that means with an example is; don’t cast a line over the side of a boat and hope the fish are hungry; let the hungry fish come to you.
There are two trend areas:
The first is producing a video with appropriate SEO tagging, placement, and distribution that allows potential clients to find the product or service they are looking for and steering them to you. Mailings and texting were effective for a long time but today people get so much email they don’t bother to read all they receive. Plus people don’t want to read, they want to see and hear. There are numerous statistics that point to the video being used more and more effectively.
The second trend is engagement with potential customers; providing useful information and a more personal relationship than bulk mailings. Engagement can be through Social Media platforms or personal contact. Up to about 3 years ago, we were very successful with mailings but have seen that lose its effectiveness.
Kellis Landrum, Owner, True North Social
Because we sell digital marketing services, we’re always fighting to generate leads. Some big winners for us have been organic SEO and Facebook ads. We’re able to generate B2B leads via Facebook ads for around $8 per lead, so that has helped us scale quickly.
With organic SEO, we invest about $1000 every month into content creation. This has allowed us to rank at the top for competitive keywords and generates over 50 leads per month.”
We’ve had some decent success with cold email, but we found that those leads were not much better than just cold calling. The time investment to generate those leads was not worth it for us.
I’ve heard a lot of people using LinkedIn to generate leads for the digital agencies, but it’s not something we’ve ever tried. I think LinkedIn lead gen is a pretty hot trend right now, but it’s just not something that we’ve put any thought into. I personally get messages every day on LinkedIn from people offering to generate leads for my agency, but it all just seems a little spammy to me.
For 2020, we’re going to continue with Facebook ads and SEO, since those have been our bread and butter, but we’ll look into any other options that we hear about.
Bob Liddle, Owner, Kustom Koozies
Kustom Koozies is a company that does a lot of BTB (Business to Business) sales. Our largest customers are companies who use us for can coolers and apparel.
Consequently, we have been working on a methodology for a marketing plan for 2020. We will be implementing the following:
Direct mail to our largest customers. Keeping in touch with our largest customers is crucial, we feel that the referral opportunities are best with long term customers and putting a personalized marketing piece in their hands on a monthly basis will keep us top of mind.
Direct mail to our prospect list. We have fallen off of direct mail to our prospect list and will be implementing a targeted program to improve that.
Email marketing is a core component of what we do. Currently, our email program hits monthly, and that will be moved to bi-monthly. Our open rates are good enough. (15% on average) and the response rate is high. We provide an informative email.
SEO is our #1 goal. Our SERP’s have fallen off over time, and that is our top producer of new clients. We are actively working on a daily basis to produce better content.
Video production. Video is the wave of the future, and we will be producing video content regarding our products and our processes. Video is a time-consuming process, but statistics indicate the value is there.
Social media is a core component of what we do to stay in touch with our clients. We will be implementing a stronger Social Media program across 4 platforms. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Linked In. Evaluation is in the process to create high-end visual components and set a schedule of release of new posts on all platforms. Ultimately, our goal is to increase our awareness with our current customer base and target our prospective customers more efficiently.
Trend 8: ABM
Merle Vick, Growth Marketer, StyleShoots
Sales/Marketing Alignment! To gain from our great customer knowledge and transfer it to the digital age we need to make sure sales and marketing are better aligned, refine our lead scoring and automate our nurturing. All of this is based on data.
Caroline Topolovec, Account Executive, Iversoft
People already have an appetite for hyper-personalized content, and they’re going to expect more of it in 2020. Don’t forget, business executives are consumers too. They expect the level of hyper-personalized and targeted content they’re used to getting with giants like Amazon and Netflix. This tactic isn’t just for big industry players; lead generators can do this too by creating industry-specific landing pages to increase conversion rates. This is especially relevant in account-based marketing, which is going to continue to grow in 2020. Sales and marketing can really hone in on those landing pages with personalized videos, and repurpose that video content for social media in “bite-sized” pieces, as B2B video is likely to continue dominating in the upcoming year. These tactics, especially in conjunction with account-based marketing, makes generating, gathering, and leveraging data insights more effective in converting new clients.
Lead generation teams should also keep interactivity and memorable experiences at top of mind. Again, business executives are consumers too, so there’s a massive opportunity to use tactics that have been traditionally thought of as exclusively for B2C. Consumers are being exposed to new technologies and experiences like AR and VR and are having engaging and memorable experiences through these platforms. In the B2B world, these are great opportunities to turn complex topics into interactive and engaging assets. As this trend continues pushing to the forefront, it’s likely we’ll see less and less long-form content explaining technical and complex concepts. An overwhelming majority of B2B buyers say they prefer interactive and visual content over static content, and sales and marketing teams need to play to their buyer’s comfort zone.
Lastly, AI and marketing automation is the ultimate advantage for teams. It’s important to start by developing a complete technology and AI automation strategy, but teams reap the rewards by automating internal processes and external marketing communications with their consumers. Again, this helps with the hyper-personalization of content and offers greater insights about qualified leads with the highest probability of conversion.
Antti Turunen, CMO, Fluido
These do not specifically concern only lead generation but the whole sales-marketing alignment in general in a Leadfeeder context. Moreover, these concerns specifically organizations doing strategic sales efforts to larger target accounts.
Relevance and personalization of marketing efforts to focus accounts through ABM activities. Will sometimes require doing more to less but will generate far better results and generic campaigns to unprioritized accounts. A customer-centric view of providing value to the most important prospects. Customers doing their own research will require not only specific content to support their evaluation process but also the acknowledgment from sales that qualified leads are more mature and require answers more than generic qualification questions. Providing insight and value already in the first meeting is the key to success. Agility. Yesterday’s focus accounts might be different today. The ability to drive specific opportunity-driven campaigns to increase the reach to prospects we are not speaking with today and supporting sales to increase the win-rate of specific key opportunities.
Christoph Baier, Managing Director, Ambivation
Connecting sales and marketing in smarter and more convenient ways will be a driving force, especially for smaller companies. Besides that, I consider the connection of data to suggested actions an important growth area (where Leadfeeder might be helping us).
Mike Harmon, Director of Marketing, NuCurrent
1) Accelerating the pace of lead generation: we have access to a great deal of information and can develop efficient processes to move faster based on behaviors that we see. What took us a month this year should take us two weeks next year.
2) Accommodating account-based and segment-based approaches: For us, we have key accounts that we’re going after, but we are also looking to make inroads into specific segments. I suspect this is true for other B2B organizations, so it’s important to design your approach to accommodate those approaches.
3) Closing the loop, then refining the approach: It is so helpful to know when and why you won or lost, so taking the time to define criteria and having the discipline to review those details so future efforts are informed by that.
Sandy Williams, President & Founder, Access Biomedical Solutions
Savvy organizations are realizing that closing the gap between lead generation and revenue generation is going to be critical in 2020. Tools are now available that can help marketers not just show how many leads they have generated for their business but also ways to track leads from the very first click or visit to revenue. Fully integrated marketing tools that allow this kind of tracking and revenue reporting are going to spread across industries and empower marketers to make spending decisions better than ever before.
Steffen Horst, Co-Founder & CEO, Symphonic Digital
Companies need to make sure they sort out their sales funnel. We see day to day, that B2B focused companies, struggle to develop a clear sales funnel, in order to track the performance of a lead all the way to a sale. Without knowing conversion rates for each part of the funnel, e.g. from MQL to SQL to First Contact etc. it is hard to identify what part of the funnel needs to be optimized. Ultimately, this means leads are wasted and the outcome is not maximized.
Natalie Scherer, VP of Marketing, Rise Interactive
Focused and self-aware outbound efforts will be essential for driving B2B lead generation success in 2020. Brands that take the time to understand and clearly articulate 1.) their specific “sweet spot” services, 2.) the benefits of those services, and 3.) which types of companies will most benefit from those services will pull ahead. With that framework in place, B2B marketers can use highly focused messaging against a target list of brands that are identified as the most in need of the solutions that their company provides. Tools like Leadfeeder can help measure the progress of outbound efforts by tracking KPIs such as the frequency of target brands visiting the company’s website or the most engaging organic content driving the greatest activity from target accounts. Lead generation success can and should be measured throughout the customer journey, which includes activities that take place before a formal opportunity is identified. By remaining focused on their core message and core audience, B2B marketers have the tools to analyze the efficacy of their campaigns for very specific subsets of target accounts, which is ultimately the key to B2B lead generation success.
Megan Gupta, Founder, PayorCRM
1. Useful/Actionable content will continue to play a major role
2. Product lead growth is getting more attention due to all the noise
3. Targeted outbound outreach by understanding the personas of users interacting with your website via tools such as Leadfeeder
Kathy Mrozek, Principle, Windmill Strategy
ABM alignment will continue to grow, as marketing teams get more and more focused on reaching the specific audiences most likely to buy and become long-term great customers. A lot of the ABM conversation is currently focused around large ABM platforms that may be out of reach for small and mid-market companies, but additional data from tools like Leadfeeder will allow everyone to bring an ABM focus to their sales and marketing efforts.
Kaylei Atchley, B2B Marketing Manager, Adi
I think it’s going to be ABM via LinkedIn. Given that digital is saturated, LinkedIn is full of really good data. No one can buy that, and people maintain it like a resume, so it’s always kept up. Targeting is much easier and there’s always something new to tweak.
Robin Gray, Senior Digital Marketing Manager, Wandera
Marketing’s role is increasingly about gauging intent. We’ve done this (badly) for years by creating an endless pipeline of content and scoring prospects on internally biased assumptions. The problem is that unless this takes place on our website or an affiliate’s we have commercial relations with, we’re blind to a lot of the preliminary desk research of prospects.
People aren’t shopping around on vendor sites for impartial information, they need diversity in their content, to validate thoughts and opinions. It’s unlikely, particularly in B2B with long lead cycles and multiple decision-makers, that a prospect reads an article on our site and requests a demo that ever reaches opportunity.
We’ve seen demo requests come out of the blue, they’ve never been on our site and we’re left scratching our heads as to the why? What did we do right?
The application of intent data leads to more influential marketing, enabling contact earlier on in the buying cycle. For a company like ours, where there is confusion in the industry as what products do what as well as a lot of overlap, this is vital is nurturing prospects to our solution.
It also enables more informed marketing. Advertising, which can be scattergun if improperly planned out, can take more of an ABM approach on LinkedIn. If you know what people are looking for, it makes the process of advertising a lot easier. It’s always tricky to get people to events, but with intent data, if you know people are interested in your product area, it improves registrations and attendees.
Intent data enables companies to overcome content deficit and saturation. Rather than having to produce a full portfolio of content, we can now create assets that help persuade and convert.
Damien Martin, Marketing Executive, Shufti Pro
For our B2B marketing strategy, the biggest trend we are looking out for in 2020 is account-based selling. It is expected that this new strategy will easily become a must-have for B2B marketers by next year, especially for service providers with complex sales cycles and high-value transactions.
As a more proactive and collaborative marketing technique, ABM brings together key teams in a company such as sales, support and solutions. A single sales lead is no longer responsible for following up with prospective clients and closing deals. In contrast, an entire team is entrusted with the task of identifying influencers and end-users.
I believe this combined effort of sales and marketing is going to yield more efficient results and takes into account the entire client lifecycle. The right message for the right audience just makes the process more productive and appears to be a relatively smarter form of closing a deal.
Trend 9: Email marketing
Rohan Mendiratta, Marketer, SendX
For me, email marketing has always been the perfect method for lead generation. It is something of a slow burn. It takes time to generate leads through email marketing. But the leads you get are a lot more valuable than the leads generated through other resources. Every time you are trying for leads through email marketing, there are specific methods to follow.
Having the permission of the receiver is always important (if you are sending emails with permission, you will most certainly get something valuable from that person. ) The next most important aspect of lead generation through email marketing is the personalization of emails, the person should feel like we are writing specific emails for them, even though they are automated.
The final focus should be on giving them an offer that feels really personal. These offers can move a prospective lead to a real lead. Every human loves offers when they are specific to their habits and can have a really big impact on them.
Alexander Kesler, CEO, INFUSEmedia
INFUSEmedia has been incorporating direct mail into our ABM campaigns for about a year, and we’ve seen positive results.
We think the opportunity to revive direct mail stems in part from it being a largely forgotten B2B medium in today’s hyper-digitized world. Once considered low tech and antiquated, direct mail is now (ironically) a novel tactic.
Inboxes are extremely competitive, to say the least. All salespeople email their target accounts, but only a small number send mail, whether a letter or a creative gift. That’s why direct mail can be a sale’s professionals strongest brand differentiator. And since personalization is the bedrock of any winning ABM strategy, direct mail is the perfect opportunity to take personalization to a higher level.
Raven Beria, Brand Strategist, Brandalaxy
After all, getting leads is weird when you think about it. We’re literally strangers trying to get business from people who don’t know us. That’s why, in my opinion (and experience in watching Hawkins get saved several times), the biggest trend in lead generation? should be the biggest trend in your audience’s life.
Because here’s the thing I think we all forget: business-to-consumer, business-to-business, it doesn’t matter. At the end of the day, it’s ALWAYS human to human. (Unless you’re some Demogorgon) And the best way to be human is to simply have one-on-one conversations and engage with people.
I contacted an author in my first month of business, sending the longest cold email in history (1,744 words), explaining how his books have helped me. As a result, he referred me to a $1,500/mo retainer client. If I listened to all the other “make sure your email is only 2 words long to get attention,” advice, I doubt that would have happened. By focusing on individual engagement, we can get the highest qualified leads there are.
Extra thoughts: Find your ideal client and truly identify what their aspirations and challenges are (through research and listening) Contact them individually (YES, individually), and be INTERESTED, not interesting (yes, it will take longer, but it’s the rare thing that few businesses do nowadays) Always be personal. Be human.
Bottom line: If the goal of lead generation is to just get your customers to be aware of your product/service, then Stephen Covey’s habit, “Seek first to understand before trying to be understood” should always be considered. Write content and deliver value that shows you’re listening and reflecting your customers’ challenges/aspirations. Show ‘em you’re binge-listening as much as people like you binge-watch good TV shows.
Trend 10: Partnerships
Zach Grove, Director of Marketing, Single Grain
In 2020 and beyond, B2B marketers will triple down on content partnerships and co-marketing.
CPMs on paid ad platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn continue to rise, making the math on paid ads increasingly tough to crack. And SEO is only getting harder.
The best B2B marketing teams will collaborate to reach their ideal users through partner webinars, partner ebooks, and joint research pieces – without having to battle it out in the SERPs or spend a fortune on ads.
Stacy Caprio, Founder, Growth Marketing
A B2B lead generation trend that will continue to gain momentum in 2020 is the ‘audience swap’ trend. The ‘audience swap’ trend is where two people or brands give each other access to their followers or email list. This can take several forms. One way to do this is simply for each person to give the other a shoutout in their social media or email. Another way is for one person to promote the other person’s product or service in exchange for an affiliate commission. Other agreements can be made as well, but the audience swap method can be effective, lucrative and have an audience-building effect for both parties.
Nikki Bisel, Owner & Founder, Seafoam Media
Our core focus is to be a resource. We build relationships through conversations, both personal and professional. When speaking to businesses, whether it be during our sales process or our lead generation process, it’s my goal to be a resource. That can be as simple as shooting a quick email with an article related to their business or industry with “Hey, I thought this might interest you!” or shooting them an email with some quick tips and tricks for an area of marketing that they’ve explained has been a pain point. There’s no hard sell involved in that and it’s building a more personal relationship.
Matt Erickson, Marketing Director, National Positions
I truly feel that real-world networking will be stepping up in 2020: events, social DM, email, whatever the vertical is - too many have leaned too much on automation tools to do the heavy lifting. Automation is fantastic if it is being used programmatically and intelligently to simply open the door and build the relationship first. Blasting the same “Would love to schedule you in for coffee next week,” message out to everyone has a built-in problem - everyone else is doing it. So, spending more time nurturing and cultivating the relationship is going to become much more important in finding success in 2020. Solve a problem first, provide value first, give something worth their time - even if this is sending a direct compliment to a prospect regarding an article they wrote or a video they posted. Yes, compliments are valuable. Your goal is not to “make a sale” your goal should be to have an opportunity to listen so you can effectively solve their problem in the best way possible.”
So, what do you think is next for lead generation in 2020?
As the major lead generation tools continue to grow and introduce new technology, the lead generation landscape will only get more interesting.
I hope by sharing these ten current lead generation trends, you can stay ahead of the curve and increase revenue.
Have you spotted any other lead generation trends that I’ve missed? Hit me up on Twitter.
If you’d like to participate in next year’s lead generation trends survey, please send your response here.
Note: Want to stay ahead of the lead generation trends? Try Leadfeeder free for 14 days to see which companies visit your website, the pages they visit, whether or not they’re in your CRM, and more.
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