Today 78% of marketers prioritize new customer acquisition in their strategy, compared to only 46% in 2020.
For many companies, the marketing activity is entirely geared towards this objective which allows the increase of the customer portfolio and therefore the commercial development of the company.
For this, there are many methods, some of which are more suited to the specificities of the B2B market. You probably already apply it. However, with the development of digital practices, lead generation methods are constantly evolving. It is therefore important to regularly update yourself on new practices.
Here is an overview of B2B lead generation and how to apply it most effectively within your business.
What is Lead Generation or lead generation?
What is a lead?
First let’s see what a lead is. A lead is someone who shows interest in a SEO Company product or service.
Lead generation can be spontaneous or the result of commercial canvassing. A lead is distinguished from a prospect by his degree of maturity in the purchasing process, of which there are generally four levels:
- The suspect: this is a contact whose needs we do not yet know and who is most often at the discovery stage. He is not considered “qualified”.
- The lead: he shows interest in one of the services or products of a company and seeks information.
- The prospect: his needs are clearly identified. He is considered “qualified”. The prospect is in the evaluation or decision phase of the purchasing process.
- The customer: this is the highest degree of maturity in the buying process. The individual or the client structure maintains a commercial relationship with the company.
Definition of lead generation
Lead generation brings together all the techniques that consist in creating contact, whatever it may be, between a potential customer and a company.
Lead generation is one of the main objectives of the marketing strategy of companies, in B2B as in B2C. The structure must both give a positive image of its organization, its services but also that it meets the needs of its targets. In this way, it can arouse curiosity and provoke, in the individual, the desire to be contacted by a sales representative to find out more.
There are several methods to arouse the interest of its targets:
- Inbound marketing,
- Outbound marketing,
- Commercial prospecting.
These methods are complementary and are used according to the sector of activity, the profile and the needs of the B2B audience targeted by the company.
The different types of leads
There are 4 main categories of leads depending on the method of acquisition.
Marketing qualified lead or MQL: these are leads who have initiated contact with the company, by leaving, for example, their contact details for downloading a brochure, a white paper or to register for an event. They are at the first level of the conversion funnel because they are not yet in a decision-making process but rather information and information.
Sales qualified lead or SQL: Located at the second level, SQL is actually an MQL whose needs, motivations, etc. are known. We then say that he is “qualified”. This step is often carried out through an exchange with a salesperson who has had the opportunity to deepen the person’s profile and offer him the most suitable offer.
Product-Qualified Leads or PQL: PQL is a lead specific to companies that offer products and services in SaaS mode with trial or demonstration offers. The Product-Qualified lead is therefore a person who has performed a demonstration, downloaded or tried a freemium product without going to the transaction stage.
Conversation-qualified leads or CQLs: CQLs are leads generated via online conversational tools such as chatbots or social networks (Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, etc.). These leads engaged in a conversation with the business through one of these tools to get more information about the business.
It is essential to take these typologies into account in your lead generation strategy. By finely categorizing your leads, taking into account how they contacted your company and their level of maturity, you can adopt a more personalized approach by intervening at the right time, on the right channel and with the right message.
Why is it so important to implement a Lead Generation strategy in B2B?
Having a lead generation strategy makes it possible not to carry out blind marketing actions. Thus, it is important to take the time to determine your targets, objectives, channels, etc. to improve performance and increase your return on investment. The lead acquisition approach also allows you to choose the method or methods to adopt to reach your targets in the most effective way possible, between inbound and outbound marketing and prospecting.
To build your lead acquisition strategy, it is nevertheless essential to follow several steps that we will detail in the rest of the article.
The key steps to generate qualified leads
1- Define your targets
To develop an effective strategy, the first step is to know your targets well. For this, you can, if it is not already done, design or update your buyer persona. Expectations, needs, problems encountered, you must know as much as possible to determine the most effective actions to generate leads. Do not hesitate to adapt your strategy to each of your targets.
2- Define your objectives
Once the buyer personas have been completed, define the objectives for each. Do you need to make your company known to managers, to encourage HR managers to subscribe to your training courses or even to encourage experts to download your white papers?
You can also set yourself quantified objectives: number of leads generated, number of qualified prospects, click or download rate for a page or document, etc.
To define your objectives, think of the SMART method your objectives must be:
- and temporally defined.
3- Optimize your call to action, form and landing page on your website
These three elements are key to lead generation and should be carefully crafted.
The landing page is a web page specifically intended to generate leads. All the elements that compose it are intended to encourage visitors to carry out a targeted action: complete a form to be called back or request a quote, download a white paper, request a demonstration, etc.
It is therefore presented a little differently from the other pages of a website and most often includes a catchy title, targeted content (catch phase, argument, etc.) which responds to a particular problem, call-to- specific actions.
The form is the key to lead generation. It is he who provides essential information to salespeople to contact leads and qualify them.
It is therefore essential to think carefully about the information you want to obtain from your leads (surname, first name, company, e-mail, telephone, etc.). The form must also be of interest to the Internet user. It may be the condition for downloading a document of interest to the visitor, for example.
Finally, think about creating questionnaires based on your call-to-action. The latter will not collect the same information for a quote request, a demo request or to download a white paper. Note that the less mature a lead is, the more fragile it is. This is why the form must be as short as possible so as not to discourage your targets.
Calls-to-action, or CTAs, are essential to encourage your visitors to take actions on your pages. They are generally presented in the form of contextualized buttons. Sample CTA for a white paper download: “Check out our tips for optimizing your supply chain.”
They are located in different places, most often in hot areas, where the visual attention of the visitor is the strongest. The optimization of the text, the graphics and the location of the button have a very strong influence on the conversion rate.
4- Define your promotion channels and lead nurturing campaigns
You may be wondering where to go to find leads? You just have to go where they are, where they are looking for answers. This may be on search engines, forums between professionals or social networks. The development of buyer personas will allow you to determine the preferred channels for each of your targets and therefore to implement the most appropriate marketing strategy.
Here are some of the channels where you can find leads:
Natural referencing: it is by creating articles and informative content that you will be able to capture the interest of your audience on search engines. By targeting long-tail expressions, you are guaranteed to reach a specific audience looking for specific information. Be careful though, the results of SEO optimization are only really visible after 3 to 6 months.
Ads on search engines: during SEO for Interior Designers, SEA (Search Engine Advertising) makes it possible to quickly reach one or more targets on specific queries. Once the search expressions and profiles of individuals have been selected, your site appears on the results pages in the “advertisement” section.
Social networks: certain networks such as LinkedIn are particularly appreciated by professionals. Whether on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, you can very precisely select the audience that will see your content (by age, profession, gender, interests, geographical area, etc.).
E-mailing: e-mailing campaigns are part of the preferred actions by companies to get in touch and build lasting relationships with their prospects and customers. According to a Hubspot study, 79% of B2B marketers believe that email is the most effective lead generation channel.
Once the channels have been chosen, you can set up lead nurturing actions to help your leads mature and turn them into customers. For a lead nurturing campaign to be effective, it is essential to adapt to the level of maturity of leads and prospects but also to regularly offer them high value-added content that will keep their interest and build trust in them. Your business.
5- Create content
60% of B2B marketers believe that in 2021 content creation enabled them to generate leads.
Once these first four steps have been completed, you now have all the information in hand to create the content you need. These are decisive for lead generation. For example, 60% of BtoB marketers believe that in 2021 content creation allowed them to generate leads.
In order to reach all your targets, remember to offer content corresponding to each stage of the conversion funnel. These can take different forms:
- Blog articles: qualitative articles that meet the needs and questions of your targets.
- Lead magnet: very attractive content that meets the needs of your targets. Ex. white paper, webinar, e-book, templates, sample, free trial, etc.
- Advertising: ultra-incentive and personalized content that helps to arouse the interest of an audience that is still uninformed about your offer.
6- Set up your campaigns from your marketing automation tool
To effectively carry out a lead generation strategy, we strongly recommend that you equip yourself with a marketing automation tool with which you can:
- Define your scoring rules for your leads: lead scoring allows you to automatically allocate a score for each of your leads according to criteria defined upstream. This method makes it possible to identify qualified contacts very quickly and pass them on to the sales team. Thus, you gain in efficiency by prioritizing prospects and maximizing lead-customer conversion rates.
- Define your handover rules to salespeople: you must define the qualification criteria upstream that will automatically trigger the alert to customer managers. Information concerning the maturity of the latter must be included so that the salesperson can adapt his speech and meet the expectations of the lead.
- Create your scenarios and your e-mails: thanks to the development of scenarios, marketing automation is the ideal method to contact your leads at the best time. Frames can range from the simplest to the most complex configuration. For example, in the event of downloading a white paper, an e-mail can be sent a few minutes later to the person to discover a complete and paid version of the same white paper. There are many examples of marketing automation scenarios today.
7- Measure and analyze using key KPIs for lead generation
Once all of these actions have been implemented, it will be important to measure their impact. To do this, you can rely on several key indicators (KPIs) such as the number of:
- Sales qualified Leads (SQL)
- Marketing qualified Leads (MQL)
- Leads per campaign
- Request contact
- Demo request
- Free trials
- Download white papers
You can also estimate cost per lead, or CPL, by dividing the cost of your marketing spend by the number of new leads.
In any case, remember to take stock of these indicators before launching your lead generation actions.
What budget to allocate to lead generation?
The budget envelope remains the most delicate part to determine within the framework of an acquisition strategy. In fact, according to a Hubspot study, 36% of marketers say getting enough budget is their biggest challenge and 35% of marketers say determining the ROI of their activities is their biggest marketing challenge.
First, take stock of your current strategy. How much do you spend on lead acquisition marketing? How many are you currently getting and how much are you earning?
The most effective way to determine the budget for your lead generation actions is to calculate the cost of customer acquisition, or CAC, and the Customer Lifetime Value, or CLV. The first indicator identifies the expenses generated for each signed customer while the second represents the average amount of earnings generated by your customers throughout the duration of the commercial relationship.
It is the CAC/CLV ratio that will really determine the budget to invest in lead generation.