Lead Generation
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What Is B2B Lead Generation: Everything You Need to Know

2 / 2 Blog post covers B2B lead generation, a process to attract customers through inbound and outbound methods. It outlines benefits, strategy steps including targeting audience, lead discovery, contact, qualification, nurturing, and closing. Benefits include increased sales and brand awareness.
Kevin Warner
Founder & CEO
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What Is B2B Lead Generation: Everything You Need to Know

Now what? Your revenue is on a downward spiral, and your sales team has lost its confidence. Business is not doing great, and your oldest client just canceled the renewal contract. If this is your situation right now, maybe you should consider starting on B2B lead generation.

But what exactly is B2B lead generation? 

This mini-guide takes you through all you need to know about B2B lead generation, the benefits, and how to get started. 

What is B2B Lead Generation?

We cannot understand lead generation without knowing what a lead is. A lead is a business or individual that may be a good fit for your products. This can be an ideal buyer, as seen in your buyer persona or companies that may benefit from your product.

B2B lead generation is, therefore, the process of attracting the ideal customers to your business through inbound and outbound lead generation methods. (More on this to come later. ) The objective of lead generation is to create a consistent pipeline of leads who are likely to convert. 

Lead generation is usually the first step in the sales funnel and starts with collecting critical information about a business lead. The  information may include:

  • The name of a contact
  • The company they represent
  • Their job title

Sales teams can now use this information to contact leads for qualifying or gathering more input. 

While lead generation is a 'sales thing,' it takes both marketing and sales teams' effort. The two teams need to work together, each playing a role in identifying needs and gathering the required data. 

Why Is B2B Lead Generation Important To Your Business?

B2B lead generation may just be the most critical aspect of sales in a business. It gives your sales team access to valuable data they can use to push customer acquisition and growth forward. The sales team can benefit from B2B lead generation in several ways.

  • Understanding the addressable market— how many people show an interest in your product? Their positions, companies, and industries can help you know which businesses to approach.
  • Gives your sales team access to the current, up to date and accurate data. This data helps speed up the sales cycle.

But lead generation is not only beneficial to the sales team. It also comes in handy for the marketing team by helping them uncover:

  • The target customers and where to find them
  • Know the type of content to create in terms of relevance
  • Increase brand awareness and interest among qualified leads  
  • Help create a trackable and predictable marketing strategy with compound KPIs

How Does B2B Lead Generation Work?

According to a study by Demand base, 79% of B2B purchases will involve anywhere from 1— 6 people. That's why it's crucial to see the lead generation process as a step-by-step strategy compared to a one-off event.  Ideally, the lead generation process happens in 5 stages, as you'll see below.

It begins with identifying your target audience

Identifying the market segment you want to approach is usually the first step. This will involve working with marketing teams to create buyer personas. Buyer personas are the people you approach to raise awareness of your product. 

In creating a buyer persona, you need to know your persona's information at a personal level. Remember, although B2B entails selling to businesses, it's actual people with personalities you are selling to. For instance, you need to have data about their roles, position, and if they manage any teams. Most importantly, you need to uncover if they have decision-making power and their team structures. Likewise, you'll need to research their products and clients to discover the pain points they face when delivering services.

Next, discover your leads and gather necessary data 

With the buyer personas in place, you can easily find where they are most active to engage them. This stage will also involve sourcing their contacts and names. 

Now, make the first contact

The first contact in B2B lead generation can be a cold call, a message through social media, or email. What's important is to craft precise, compelling, and easy-to-understand messages that boost your brand's awareness. 

Qualify the leads

Qualifying leads is a technique used to determine if a lead meets the requirements to purchase from your business. You can use the BANT technique to qualify leads by asking the questions below.

BANT— Budget, Authority, Need, and Time frame

Is the lead a decision-maker? Do they require your product at the moment? Do they have a budget to make a purchase? Where a lead ticks all four categories, they are most likely worth pursuing.

A sales development representative may start booking a meeting or demo day if a lead qualifies, depending on the agreement. If not, then the lead generation process continues.

Nurturing prospects

Sometimes a business is not there yet in making a purchasing decision. This is where relevant content like case studies, white papers, free demos, and white papers come in. The marketing team continues to serve warm leads with content to generate interest.

Close The Lead

In this stage, the lead is ready to make a purchasing decision. They have an interest in your products and the budget to cater for them. An account executive may take up the lead to move them through to the bottom line sales funnel.

What Are The Benefits Of B2B Lead Generation?

Lead generation is the best technique to create a constant pipeline of businesses likely to convert into clients. This means more sales, revenue, and growth for your business, among these other benefits.

  • Increased brand awareness among your leads, elevating your chances of converting them.
  • Leads to an increase in sales and conversions since you are targeting ideal customers
  • Lead generation can also be a tool to improve your products. For instance, if there's a common pain point across leads you have yet to address, now would be a good time.
  • A cost-effective way to attract targeted customers who are more likely to convert.

What Are The Different Types Of B2B Lead Generation?

Outbound— This B2B lead generation channel focuses on direct mail, cold calling, and social selling. In outbound lead generation, you take your products to customers to educate them on your solution. 

  • Online— Online lead generation is a form of inbound lead generation since you focus on creating content to pull customers towards your business. The channels will include blog posts, website forms, PPC ads, emailing marketing, and even webinars. 
  • Paid— Paid lead generation can include using 3rd party data to generate leads.
  • Branding and Advertising— Working with 3rd parties to sponsor blog posts, videos, or events to create brand awareness.
  • Referrals— Word of mouth clients from past or present happy customers.
  • PR— Getting earned mentions from online and broadcast media without paying for it.
  • Events— Such as attending webinars or real-life trade shows to connect with likely business clients.

How are B2B Lead Generation and B2C Lead Generation Different?

1) Sales Cycle length – B2B sales cycles can be much longer than B2C. Hence, B2B lead generation teams have to focus on building relationships and trust with leads first. Also, B2C marketers will get instant feedback from their ads, compared to B2B leads who need to consult multiple stakeholders. 

2) Decision makers – B2B companies consist of many departmental buyers to make the final decision rather than one person. These stakeholders may include key decision-makers as well as influencers along with technicians and managers that provide input. On the B2C side, only the decision of one person is expected.

3)Platforms the leads use- While B2B clients mostly use Linkedin, B2C audiences will be a little bit everywhere. They'll be on Facebook, Twitter, tiktok, and Instagram. This makes the strategies of B2C lead generation quite different from those of a B2B audience. However, this doesn't mean B2B audiences are only found on Linkedin. Or that B2C never uses LinkedIn. It's all about striking the right balance in your lead generation strategy.

4)Attitude towards cold calls- For B2B audiences, unexpected cold calls are part of the process. They are expected and seen as the norm. However, for B2C, this may be an invasion of privacy. B2C consumers respond better to permission marketing, such as having the option to subscribe or not.

Can You Do B2B Lead Generation By Yourself?

While it's possible to do lead generation by yourself, you need to consider if you have the workforce, technology, data, and expertise? If not, then it's better to consider a lead generation company. They have the manpower, data, technology, and expertise to speed up the process and create effective results.

Identify Your 'Target Audience'

As we outlined earlier, make sure you have a defined target audience, as this will play a massive role in the content and messaging you use.

Pick Outreach Methods

Whether through social, website, or email, you need to choose a method that gives you the most qualified leads. If an outreach channel is not working, try out a new one. Remember to measure KPIs to estimate the kind of leads you get.

Create A Sales Funnel

Your sales funnel will depend on the channel you use for lead generation. If you rely on your website, the first step may be to create a landing page and a form to collect leads' information. Next is to set up a lead magnet for leads to receive after signing up. After that follows a nurturing period where you serve prospects with valuable content—and finally, nudging clients towards buying through demos and free trials. Of course, it doesn't stop there. Businesses have to invest in constant communication and feedback gathering.

One-Stop-Shop For Outbound Lead Generation Teams 

Leadium is a leader in digital-first outbound sales, and we offer a variety of solutions to help your team hit the ground running. Contact us today to find out more.

"B2B lead generation is the process of attracting the ideal customers to your business through inbound and outbound lead generation methods. [...] Lead generation is usually the first step in the sales funnel and starts with collecting critical information about a business lead."