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The Beginner’s Guide to Effective B2B Lead Generation and Strategy

If you’re wondering what lead generation is, the answer is that it’s anything that makes potential customers interested in the products or services you offer. Thus, in order to run a successful business, lead generation is essential. All business owners use lead generation strategies, and this is true even if they don’t call them that. However, lead generation nowadays is a bit different than the lead generation of the past due to advances in technology and user expectations.

B2B vs B2C Lead Generation

If you own a business that caters to other business owners, your method of marketing will be far different than if you’re marketing to a more general population. If you’re marketing to a general customer base, it is important to avoid using lingo specific to your business that a majority of people might not understand. However, this is less of a concern if you’re marketing to other business owners as opposed to the general public. This article will provide information that you need to know if your company primarily does business to business (b2b) marketing as opposed to business to customer b2c marketing.

The Biggest Lead Generation Challenges

There are several priorities that are often considered to be the most important by CMOs, such as; creating the best possible sales marketing funnel, creating effective digital marketing strategies, and implementing effective offline marketing techniques.

In order to develop an effective lead generation strategy, there are a few challenges that you must be able to overcome successfully. These are five of the most important challenges that you’ll need to deal with when you’re generating leads:

Channel Budget Allocation

Certain aspects of lead generation are likely to require a larger budget than in the past, but other areas of marketing are less likely to see a change. For instance, SEO website optimization, social media marketing, content marketing, and email marketing are likely to require a substantially increased budget. However, print advertising, trade shows, and direct mail marketing are not likely to require an increased budget.

Information Abundance and Attention Economics

In the past, it used to be quite difficult for customers to find enough information about a company, but the internet has led to the opposite problem. There’s abundant information, but the attention of buyers is in short supply. In other words, the problem is that information abundance equals attention scarcity. This is known as attention economics. This means that the content you put on the web needs to be as engaging as possible in order to attract the attention of potential buyers.

Attention is a resource — a person has only so much of it.” — Matthew B. Crawford

The New Buying Process

Today’s B2B buyers no longer fit into the outdated sales models and buying processes that dominated sales for decades. In order to compete in today’s shifting sales landscape, your team needs to understand these four major shifts in the modern buying process.

  1. New Complex Needs – Buyers don’t simply want cut-and-paste products, they’re interested in solutions, strategies, and philosophies that drive growth for years, not just the current quarter.
  2. Wealth of Information – In fact, according to Forrester, buyers might be anywhere from two-thirds to 90% of the way through their buying journey before they even reach the vendor.
  3. Control Of The Sales Process – While most people bought their merchandise at brick and mortar stores, where the sales rep controlled the buying path and information they presented, the internet has allowed buyers to take back control by doing much more research.
  4. Multiple Buyers – According to CEB, 5.4 people now have to formally sign off on each purchase.

Challenge Of Rented Attention vs. Owned Attention

Rented attention is gaining the attention that other people have built. For instance, setting up a booth at a fair would be an example of rented attention, or even using websites such as Youtube, or many social media platforms. The challenge with rented attention is that it’s temporary.

Owned attention is attention to your business that’s driven by circumstances where you created the platform. Such as your website, your blog content – basically anything you have complete control over. The challenge with owned attention is that it takes time and budget to build the quality needed.

Leaky Bucket Syndrome

Many B2B marketers spend time, metaphorically, pouring water into leaky buckets (marketing channels), rather than fixing the bucket (the marketing funnel) and addressing the core issue to help increase conversion rate.

To over come this, you must focus on not only driving traffic and attention, but also having a user focused sales funnel to capitalize on the traffic increase.

What is Lead Scoring?

Lead scoring allows you to keep track of leads that you get in terms of their combined value to your company. Depending on a company’s marketing and business goals, lead scoring can be done in a variety of ways and can utilized many different types of success metrics.

Lead Generation Success Metrics

(SQL= Sales Qualified Leads, MQL= Marketing Qualified Leads, SAL = Sales Accepted Lead)

  • Marketing % of contribution to sales pipeline: The % of revenue opportunities in the sales pipeline that originated from marketing efforts. This should be segmented by channel to help define.
  • Marketing % of contribution to closed revenue: The % of revenue in closed won deals that originated from marketing efforts
  • Quantity of Sales Qualified Leads: The amount of SQLs sent over to your sales teams
  • Quality of SQLs: The % of SQLs not rejected by sales
  • Cost per inquiry: Total lead acquisition cost/ the total number of inquiries
  • Cost per lead: Total campaign costs/quantity of leads
  • Inquiry to Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL): Conversion of initial inquiry to Marketing Qualified Lead
  • MQL to Sales Accepted Lead (SAL): Conversion from MQL to Sales Accepted Lead
  • SAL to Sales Qualified Lead (SQL): Conversion from SAL to Sales Qualified Lead
  • SQL to Opportunity: Conversion from SQL to Opportunity

Lead Generation Research and Stats

  • 53% of marketers say half or more of their budget is allocated to lead generation (source).
  • Strategic landing pages are used by 68% of B2B businesses to acquire leads (source).
  • For B2B software marketers, the top sources of new business are organic search, PPC advertising, and word of mouth referrals (source).
  • 85% of B2B marketers say lead generation is their most important content marketing goal (source).
  • The average cost of a B2B lead varies. Healthcare leads rank highest ($60) and technology ($31) rank as the least expensive.
  • 22% of B2B businesses reach out to prospects with lead nurturing on a weekly basis (source).
  • 37% of B2B marketers are using marketing automation to generate leads (source).
  • By spending as little as six hours per week, 66% of marketers see lead generation benefits with social media (source).
  • 70% of B2B marketers claim that videos are more effective than other content when converting users to qualified leads (source).
  • 93% of B2B companies say content marketing generates more leads than traditional marketing strategies (source).
  • Content marketing generates three times as many prospects as outbound marketing but costs 62% less (source).
  • 42% of organizations believe email is one of their most effective lead generation channels (source).
  • 81% of businesses report that their blog is important or critical in generating leads (source).
  • Businesses who nurture leads make 50% more sales at a cost 33% less than non-nurtured prospects (source).
  • Organizations with websites of 401-1000 pages get 6 times more leads than sites with 51-100 pages (source).
  • 49% of B2B marketers are heavily engaged in mobile marketing for generating leads (source).
  • 63% of marketers say generating traffic and leads is their top challenge (source).
  • Only 16% of marketers say outbound practices provide the highest quality leads for sales (source).
  • 42% of B2B marketing professionals state that a lack of quality data is their biggest barrier to lead generation – source.

Here are some additional B2B marketing trends for 2020.

Thanks for reading "The Beginner’s Guide to Effective B2B Lead Generation and Strategy", by the Linchpin Team in Chicago, Raleigh, and Wake Forest.

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