B2B Lead Generation Strategies and Tactics for 2019
by Mike Khorev
For most B2B businesses, lead generation is often the most challenging aspect, and yet also the most important factor in driving growth. The more leads we can generate, the more we can expect conversions, and thus the more we can expect growth.
However, in this competitive marketplace, B2B lead generation has never been this difficult. We face numerous challenges from the difficulty in qualifying leads to creating high-quality content consistently to monitoring the performance of your lead sources, among others. That is why, to start this 2019, we will need to update our lead generation skillset to ensure our success.
In this roundup, we will cover tips, actionable tactics, and strategic implementation shared by these digital marketing and lead generation experts below.
Let us begin with the first one.
The Right Customer: Build a relationship with everyone involved in the Buying decision: Extend your marketing to reach not just your primary buyer, but influencers and users. B2B buying is a business decision, but it is after all made by people: Get to know your buyers at a personal level with deep profile insights from social media and understand what matters to them most.
The Right Time: Gather customer intelligence from social media, websites and other big data sources to determine a customers stage in the buying journey.
The Right Message: Persona Based Campaigns: Creating tailored campaigns that have content within a context that resonates with your Buyer Persona.
The Right Place Omni Channel Campaigns: Email, Phone, Social, Events, Direct Mail all of them play a role. Choose the channels that are most likely to reach your buyer.
What I did in 2018 and that worked really well for me is very easy to do. With all the attention for funnels and email marketing it is easily overlooked.
- Create a list of all your contacts and add their email address and phone number (I had a list of 200 contacts)
- Schedule 2 massive action days and call the people on the list. That’s all you do these 2 days. No computer, no social media, just keep on calling. Spend no more than 5 minutes per call. The objective of the call is to schedule an appointment to meet in person. Since these all are people that know me, 95% of the people that I reached said yes to the meeting.
- During the meeting with your contact ask questions to learn what the developments are in their lives and business. Than give a short update on the developments in your live. Than I ask 2 questions: 1. “How can I help you?” before I end the meeting I ask my last question “Do you know an entrepreneur that needs my help?”
The calls were scheduled beginning July and the meetings were scheduled during the months July, August and September. For entrepreneurs in B2B it means it is less busy during these months. I had about 100 meetings during these months. The meetings last about one hour.
It was great to catch up with my contacts. They now understand what I do at this moment. I got some orders directly from the meetings and I got new referrals that became clients later. This was the springboard for a new direction in my business in 2018.
Leads are not generated. Leads are real people working at real companies and their needs, goals and wishes are already there. Be there where your audience is and make a great impact. You don’t want a list of leads, you want to be on the shortlist of your leads. How? Serve the best content you are able to generate and be the lighthouse for your audience! And the best part is: b2b marketing is much more fun if you connect with your potential buyers with 10x-content!
Segment your prospects by target industries and other filtering criteria. Conduct your research to identify challenges and opportunities in those segments. Craft your sales and marketing messaging to align with each other and create a campaign that addresses the challenges you’ve identified in a personalized manner.
The most effective B2B lead generation tip out there is to work on extending your funnel. Too often I see marketers taking a B2C mindset when approaching B2B marketing. While the end goal is the same (a lead/sale) the way you go about marketing is much different. The B2B buying cycle is much longer and requires more research. Thus, invest in “top of funnel” tactics such as content marketing to get prospects in the door.
- Focus on the right target accounts and personas. By narrowing down to a small list you can spend much more time and budget on each account.
- Experiment constantly. By trying out many different combinations of collateral, creative, channel, campaign type and persona, you can find your optimal marketing mix to generate the most leads and pipeline.
- Start manual, automate at scale. I execute every campaign manually (simple emails from my inbox or a super small recipient list) until I get to nice vanity metrics (open rate, click rate) and only then do I “blast” it in production.
Before we jump into the case studies and discuss specific strategies, it’s important that you get the foundations right and ensure that you’re able to capture and convert a large percentage of leads from your campaigns.
I’d like to focus on just one tip: Avoiding the leaky bucket effect Many B2B marketers spend a lot of time, metaphorically, pouring water into leaky buckets. Rather than fixing the bucket (the marketing funnel), they pour more water (traffic) into the bucket to keep it full.
This is a recipe for inflated acquisition costs and below-average results. The biggest culprit here are landing pages (appeal, content and structure) and, in particular, your forms. Forms separate your leads from non-leads, and have a huge impact on your conversion rates and overall lead generation results.
- When selling to businesses you are still dealing with real people and it’s important to remember that people prefer to deal with who they know and like. Because B2B deals often involve larger $ values, building personal relationships and trust is very important. That’s why regardless of the lead generation method, it’s always advantageous to have a human interaction at some stage. It could be as simple as a quick introductory phone call.
- Achieve better results by targeting companies which are the best fit with your ideal client. Take time to define who your ideal client is and where to find them.
- Stop wasting time on activities that seem to be important, but don’t bring result. That includes
– Searching for a list – most lists already exist and you can save a lot of time and frustration by investing in a list
– overthinking results of every conversation, especially unsuccessful ones – sales is known to be a numbers game, so success is about going through numbers
– choosing a CRM – there are many great options, start from one and if needed you can always change later on
- Above all – take massive action. If you start from aiming for 10% success rate that means you have to approach / speak to 10 people to get one successful conversation or it could mean speaking to 18 with no results and then having 2 really good conversations. So when you approach 3-5 people and have no result that means absolutely nothing except that you are not taking enough action.
- Utilizing LiveChat to capture leads immediately from the website.
- Utilizing Lead Forensics to follow up on visitors who do not initially convert.
- The use of ad retargeting tools to recapture visitors with thought leadership content–it typically takes 4-6 visits to a website before a B2B prospect initially converts.