You’re probably familiar with lead generation in a B2C (or business-to-consumer) capacity. Essentially, you get the lead to opt in, you engage with and nurture them, and then you present your offer. Hopefully, they become long-term buying customers.
B2B lead generation is a little different. You’re working with other businesses, sometimes influencing CEOs and company owners to try your product or service. The buying cycle often stretches out much more than a typical B2C one does. You’ll also rely more on projections and industry trends.
If this is your first time gathering leads outside of a B2C sphere, then check out these 10 expert lead gen rules for B2B companies.
1. Present a High-Value Offer Before the Lead Opts In
Even in B2B applications, the lead generation process still usually begins with opting in. In a B2C lead gen situation, what you might do is give your lead a sample of an eBook or a blog list resource for their reading pleasure. All they then have to do is give you their email address in return. After that, you can begin engaging them and building the relationship.
With B2B lead gen, the steps aren’t always the same. You still want to collect their email address through an opt-in. You just may present your offer first. Why is this? Your goal is the same no matter if it’s B2B or B2C: to present value to the lead. Once you show them that your solutions are valuable, they may consider you a viable answer to their business needs.
In many B2B applications, said high-value content may be a full white paper instead of a blog post or a chapter of an eBook.
2. Create Your Unique Selling Proposition Early On
Also known as a unique selling point, the unique selling proposition has existed in marketing since the 1940s. While lots of marketing tactics and methods have changed since then, the unique selling proposition has stuck around for a reason.
As the name suggests, a unique selling proposition is what makes your product, service, or even your company special. Maybe you’re family-owned. You may be a startup with an international staff. When it comes to your products or services, you may be known for your top quality or affordable prices. You may have even struck gold and created a brand new product or service that never existed before.
Once you know what your unique selling proposition is, use it often. It should come up in your website copy, including your landing pages, as well as social media. Your leads are already wondering what differentiates you from the competition. If you can answer that question for them without being too in-your-face about it, they may be ready to convert faster.
3. Implement Exit Pop-Ups
Pop-ups are a valuable tool in any marketer’s arsenal. These well-timed, perfectly-placed messages may appear on your blog content or even a landing page. Exit pop-ups are among the most valuable, as these can potentially draw back in a lead who’s about to leave your site.
There are countless reasons a lead might leave without opting in. You might never know why, but you can do your best to recover their interest before you lose it for good. Your exit pop-up may present a great offer for free or cheap just to get the lead to opt in.
Now, some marketers have denounced exit pop-ups. They find these pop-ups a little too intrusive and yes, maybe a touch too desperate. If you’re afraid of coming across as too intense, watch your wording. Don’t denounce exit pop-ups without trying them, though. Data from ConversionXL has found that it’s possible to see a 600-percent conversion boost from using exit pop-ups.
4. Track Leads’ Pain Points
Pain points are a fancier term for your customers’ needs and problems. What is this company lacking that you can provide them with? By identifying pain points, you can answer that question.
A company’s needs are always changing. Said company should experience growth in spurts. The issues they have at the beginning of their journey won’t be the same as those they have as they mature into a larger company. You should anticipate then that, for B2B lead gen, pain points will change over time.
That’s why some experts recommend combing through social media to get hints on these new pain points. If a lead company posts about their issues and growth regularly on social media, this can be a huge clue. Alternately, you might want to read a lead company’s blog to get an idea for what their needs may currently be.
5. Create Targeted Landing Pages
Whether B2B or B2C, the next step for lead generation will be familiar: the creation of landing pages. Now that you know more about your B2C lead’s pain points, it’s tie to show off your knowledge.
You want to create a landing page to highlight each product or service in your arsenal. Each of these pages must be highly targeted. Now you can introduce the pain points you gleamed from the lead’s blog/social media. Present your product or service as the solution. Short videos, bullet points, benefits-centric copy, and testimonials all spruce up your landing page.
The call to action is the icing on the cake, so to speak. If it’s a button, then make sure it’s prominently positioned. It should also be an appealing color. Whether you’re trying to get the lead to buy or schedule a consultation, your CTA should be short, sweet, but effective.
6. Do Some Guest Blogging
This is a guest blog post that you’re reading right now. Why do so many companies populate their blogs with guest posts? There are a few reasons. First, it’s always nice to read other viewpoints. Second, all that link-building can boost both companies’ SEO.
Guest blogging is also a stellar tactic for B2B lead generation. When you post on another company’s blog, a whole new set of eyes is reading your content. They’re learning about your company for the first time. They may click your website or social links and opt in.
If you want to work on your B2B lead gen but you don’t have a huge budget, do some guest blogging. Let the guest blogger write a post for your website so they can reap the lead gen benefits, too. Guest blogging is an inexpensive win for both parties.
7. Let Leads Try a Demo
According to Optimizely, B2B vendors only earned a “very trusting” rating from other business owners six percent of the time. That’s extraordinarily low. How can your company increase that stat? One way is through presenting a trial service or demo of your product or service.
This trial or demo should always be free. You may give leads seven days or more to use said product/service. Be sure to offer the whole product or service so they can get a feel for how it works and if it serves their needs.
By the time the free trial expires, the lead should know for certain whether they want to proceed with your business or not. They will be positive whether your product/service can solve their problems. The leads who convert to customers will be high-quality leads. They know your product/service is useful to them, so they might be willing to buy related products/services in the future.
8. Keep Your Opt-In Forms Short
Privacy is a key concern for Internet users today more than ever. With the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulations or GDPR affecting the European Union and customers/vendors the world over, privacy is again on many people’s minds.
The more questions you ask in your opt-in form, the more uncomfortable your lead may be. You just need a little information from a prospective lead: their name, company name, job title, and a phone number and/or email address. That’s it. You might ask about pain points/needs, but don’t go further than that.
If you want to quiz your lead on whether you’d be a good fit, you can create a short survey form. This is separate from your opt-in form. Generally, once the lead opts in, you can explain more about your company, what they do, and why the lead might want to work with them in your welcome email. Don’t cram too much into the opt-in form or a lead may not bother.
9. Use Marketing Automation Tools
Whether it’s B2B or B2C lead generation, if you have a healthy amount of leads coming in, it can be tough to manage them all. You just might not have the time or the manpower to do so. This is where marketing automation tools come in handy. These may be automated email templates that are sent out at certain times to reach the max number of leads. You could rely on a software for segmenting leads and arranging them in certain buckets. You may segment them according to their job titles or pain points.
Those are just several examples out of countless solutions out there. Automating your marketing can save you a lot of time. It might be more of an upfront investment for software and solutions now, but it will pay off later as you don’t have to spend as much time in front of your computer.
Of course, just because your process is semi-automated (or perhaps even fully automated) doesn’t mean that it’s completely hands-off. You will still have to prune your contacts list, fill in personalized email information, and make other changes and tweaks to your automation from time to time.
10. A/B Test Often
Our last rule is most paramount. No matter what changes you’re implementing, be that rolling out a new website design, making landing pages, or unveiling a new opt-in form, A/B test often. Even small things like the color and placement of your CTA button can make a big difference in terms of lead conversions. You see companies saying that all the time.
Don’t stop A/B testing, either. Just because you’re happy with your homepage or landing pages doesn’t mean you should keep them forever. Keep making small improvements and A/B testing those. This way, your website will always be a well-performing machine that looks and converts its best.
If your leads are B2B companies rather than B2C consumers, your lead generation tactics will be a little different. You must present your value early, keep opt-in forms simple, understand pain points, and maybe even offer a free demo. Some general lead gen tips, such as having targeted landing pages and A/B testing, do still apply.
Now that you’ve read these handy rules, you’re ready to see more B2B leads trickle in for your business.