What is lead?
In marketing and sales language, a lead implies a data set, and the term also means leading and leading. In marketing, a lead is understood to be a person who can be attributed interest in the product offered and whose contact details are available. However, the interpretation of the term lead can vary from a person who is interested in the WhitePaper offered to a person who asks for specific product advice. Classically, leads are generated through marketing measures such as campaigns, content on demand or webinars and then passed on to sales. It is the task of marketing with qualitative content to draw the interest of potential customers to your own brand and to collect the contact details. The sales department then receives the data and tries to transform the lead to the customer.
A lead is a qualified contact with a prospect who is on the one hand interested in a company or a product and on the other hand gives the advertiser his address data (lead = dataset) for further dialogue and therefore with a high probability of becoming a customer. Generating leads with high data quality is a fundamental task in acquiring new customers, one of the most important goals of any company. In order to build up their own prospect databases of a significant size, more and more companies are using the lead generation method.Source: Wikipedia
In contrast to the B2C environment, it is important for a "B2B lead" that this lead does not represent a private person, but rather acts on behalf of a company. There are different approaches to lead generation and not every contact is immediately passed on to sales. Below we have listed some recommendations for lead generation in B2B.
The four stages of B2B lead generation
B2B lead generation can be broken down into four stages. Lead magnet, lead nurturing, lead scoring and lead handover.
1. Lead magnets (Enrichment of leads)
The first step is to provide quality content. But that's not enough, because a lead is also a data set. After all, you want to be able to call the prospect back at the end of the day. How can you achieve this with your high-quality content? The lead form, which must always be GDPR-compliant, is very important with lead magnets. Possible digital touchpoints for lead generation in B2B can be the website, social media channels or event platforms. There you can, for example, advertise a white paper or an online seminar on demand. To get access to the content you have produced, you can use a form to ask the interested party for their contact details. The more specific the content of the content and the more tailored it is to your product, the more qualified your lead will be in the end.
2. Lead nurturing (qualification of leads)
The second step is to reach the next level of the lead management funnel. The successfully generated lead and the entry in the database do not mean that you will soon be able to speak of a new customer. The aim at this stage is for the prospect to contact sales by himself because he is interested in the product. First of all, the interested party will therefore be provided with further suitable information. It is important to adapt the content to the respective customer journey in which the customer is in order to arouse interest. A mix of pull and push.
3. Lead scoring (evaluating the behavior of the lead)
The third stage of the sales funnel is lead scoring. Marketing is now trying to find out how much potential lies behind the data set and whether the person could be really interested in the product. In the scoring process, reactions and behavior towards marketing activities are measured. To put it simply, anyone who shows no reaction at all will most likely be removed from the lead funnel. However, in order to be able to evaluate leads at all, appropriate data must be collected. This can be done via the website and corresponding tracking functions or an email marketing tool, provided that the persons agree to the data policy.
4. Handover to sales (from MQL to SQL)
Now that leads have been filtered and rated, the good ones are passed on to sales. The good ones in the potty, the bad ones in the crop, so to speak. In the best case scenario, sales can then convert these leads into customers. In B2B, certain additional factors play an important role, such as the function of the contact in the company. Especially in B2B you want to win the decision-makers as leads.
Digital tools and software can be used to support B2B lead generation. So a software for digital product advice For example, pre-qualify leads automatically and pass them on to sales.
Marketing measures for lead generation: A mix of pull and push
Pull marketing: In pull marketing, the potential customer researches and searches independently on the World Wide Web for products or services. Interest comes from people and not from the company. A major difference to push marketing! It is therefore all the more important for companies to be visible on the Internet and to offer informative and target group-specific content on their own website. But even with the pull approach, marketing is allowed to lead and direct, for example with the help of digital product advice, so that the relevant information can be found quickly and easily.
Push marketing: The push strategy essentially focuses on encouraging the target group to buy. Well-established measures for this are, for example, flyers, catalogs or advertising on the radio, television or campaigns on social media. With the help of these measures, the potential customer should be informed and get to know the products or services.
The trend towards pull activities is currently increasing, because that Shopping behavior of customers has changed in recent years due to digitization. Marketing measures are now more geared towards creating content in order to achieve greater reach - an example of this are activities aimed at improving the SEO rankings. Only after the customer has shown that he is interested in topics related to the product does the sales department contact you.
7 ways to generate leads in B2B
The following options are available for generating and qualifying new contacts, which have already proven themselves in B2B companies in 2021:
1. Search engine marketing (SEO and SEA)
Visibility on Google is extremely important to attract potential customers to you. A blog can provide more reach here. Leads that come through the website are usually very promising
2. Educational and further landing pages
Landing pages, which are geared towards the individual target groups, give users a better overview of the extent to which the product or offer can solve their problems. Further landing pages offer the possibility to show target group-specific information, while the company website tries to collect everyone.
3. Checklists, white papers, e-books, webinars, case studies
Content deluxe. With a white paper, webinar or case study, interested parties receive really exciting content for which they do not have to pay anything, but leave their contact details, which can also be called back at any time. The more specific the topic, the more exciting the leads will be.
4. Free tools and free trials
This is certainly one of the most exciting options for software providers. Test access offers potential customers a very detailed insight into the product and reaching for the ballpoint pen for the final signature is usually not far afterwards.
5. Email marketing, newsletters
Updates, personal stories and informative content can be shared perfectly via the newsletter. In the last few years in particular, the topic of email marketing has experienced a real boom. It is quick and easy to implement and provides exciting data.
6. Social networks such as Xing and LinkedIn
Social networks also play a major role in B2B. This is not only a great way to advertise products or, for example, a white paper. No, potential customers can also be written to directly via LinkedIn & Co. Information such as company, function and activity can be viewed by everyone
Also interesting in B2B: competitions. Exciting profits could be, for example, a workshop or coaching for advanced training, but also products from your own range. Who doesn't like to win something for free?
Yes, lead generation in B2B takes longer than in B2C. In B2B, however, both sides - customer and company - want to find the best product in the shortest possible time. In the end, B2B lead generation also means quality, not quantity. Companies can contribute by guiding prospective customers through your offer and playing out information that is of interest to the individual, similar to the case with Guided Selling Approach. So what counts in B2B is quality, but also time savings, because who wants to research products and services all day long when there are other, more exciting things to do?