Generating new, high-quality leads is probably one of the key growth & digital marketing activities for B2B companies. With a successful lead generation strategy, you can ensure that your sales team is continuously supplied with qualified contacts so they can turn them into happy customers.
What is a lead?
The term “lead” is used both in marketing and in sales and describes the contact details of a potential prospect. Typically, a lead includes information such as an email address and name. This lead can then be enriched with additional information such as a telephone number, company name, and other data through lead nurturing.
In short, a lead describes a prospect or potential customer who became aware of your company’s services or products.
What is lead generation?
Lead generation (in short often called lead gen) is a discipline of growth & digital marketing, which has the goal to attract and generate new leads. Naturally, those leads should be of the best quality possible. The sales team can then start working with these leads directly (those are also called Sales Qualified Leads, or SQLs). Additionally, you can and should use these leads in email marketing.
Inbound or content marketing can be used to get potential new customers from the target audience to provide their contact information. These leads are then “nurtured” with additional information and services in order to qualify them for the sales team.
Our five best tactics for B2B lead generation
Based on our experience in working with companies in the B2B space, we came up with five tactics for sustainable and effective lead generation. Most of these tips are still not used by many companies – especially in a B2B context. Ultimately, with these tips you will educe the costs per newly generated lead (also known as CPL or Cost per Lead).
1. Leverage the bandwagon effect
The bandwagon effect is also known as the follower effect. It describes the natural tendency of people to copy one another without even realizing it. Deep down, we humans want to be part of a social community. Consequently, if we notice that our “social bubble” is acting in a certain way, we tend to follow them.
This effect can be easily used in B2B lead generation by trying to make a lead magnet (or content offer) more valuable by showing that other people are also using or have used this content offer.
The easiest way to do this is with the help of a proof in (verifiable) numbers. For example, you can specify the number of people who have already downloaded your content offer. For a webinar, you could also indicate how many people have already signed up.
Be careful though; the bandwagon effect can be very manipulative. It can (at least in a B2C context) even lead to customers overlooking price information and buying products or services unintentionally. Therefore, it’s crucial to make sure that your claims are credible and trustworthy.
2. Offer lead magnets for different phases
Many B2B companies still make a common mistake because they only use one lead magnet. This offer is then usually targeted towards some kind of consideration-phase. Prospects who are already in a later stage of the funnel (middle of the funnel) are not considered.
By following this approach, a lot of potential is lost because your leads need information along the different phases of their buying cycle. For example, a lead who is seeking information on how to solve their problem won’t be attracted to a very detailed white paper or case study. On the other hand, someone who is ready to make a decision would probably appreciate such detailed content.
For this reason, you should definitely adapt your lead magnets to the different phases along with the buyer’s journey of your prospects. In the best case, you offer several different lead magnets for the respective phases so that you can address every prospect in the best possible way.
3. Optimize landing pages
Landing pages are one of the most essential elements of lead generation. They are the central core of every lead generation campaign. With the help of landing pages, you can offer your lead magnets and thus motivate your target audience to leave their contact details.
The prerequisite for this, however, is that the landing page is perfectly tailored to:
- the content offer (lead magnet),
- the target group,
- and the current phase of the lead along the buyer’s journey.
If you promote your landing page, your ads should also be perfectly coordinated with the landing page as well. Once your prospects enter your landing page, it’s your job to keep them on the landing page and get them to leave their contact details.
Make sure that the landing page is perfectly tailored to your brand, your target group and your message. Also keep in mind that one landing page should always pursue one distinct goal, i.e. to direct your visitors to a certain offer. Therefore, your visitors should not be distracted by other elements of your website.
4. Radically shorten forms
An essential part of every landing page is a form through which your leads can (or must) leave their contact details in order to receive the lead magnet. There is no general answer to the question of how many fields such a form should contain.
However, there is some proof from user research that you should rather use fewer form fields to motivate users to sign up. Therefore, you should only collect the information that is essential to you. Also, match the form fields to the current phase along the buyer’s journey in which your lead is currently.
Avoid asking for too much details such as a phone number in the awareness-phase. The closer your leads get to the decision-phase, the more details you can request from them.
Often it is also enough to shorten a form in a visual way. The longer the form looks, the more work the visitor expects. Using a marketing automation platform such as HubSpot allows you to dynamically adapt the forms to the visitor and fill in already known lead data in advance.
5. Use recommendations
One simple tactic that is often overlooked is the use of simple recommendation functions for the lead magnets. Share buttons for social networks can be integrated with minimal effort. You can also offer your leads the opportunity to share your lead magnets with other colleagues via email or WhatsApp. Recommendations are already being used successfully in B2C marketing, but they can also be an effective channel for lead generation in a B2B context.