The B2B sales process is the “long haul” with the end goal of acquiring a new customer. It requires being able to answer the question: “What drives customers to buy?”
Effective B2B lead generation can fill your sales pipeline with prospects poised to hear your message at the right time. Finding that key moment involves understanding the customer and the right strategies to nurture the lead.
Understanding the B2B Customer
Unlike the quick sales of B2C, B2B is about establishing a relationship. Part of building that relationship is aligning yourself with the customer’s needs.
Knowing When the Customer Will Buy
Do your customers have a cycle to their business? Is it based on time of year or other known factors?
If you know when your customers are likely to look for a solution, you can align your lead generation efforts. Busy times of year may mean that potential customers are too swamped to focus on looking for a solution.
You will want to align your messaging so that it hits your customer at the “right time.” Showing that you are in tune with their business needs will begin to form that relationship that B2B customers are seeking.
You should also plan for the length of your sales cycle. While there may be a lot of variation, you may know that your typical prospects begin looking in the Spring, and the process can take six months. This knowledge should drive your marketing strategies.
Offer a Solution to a Problem
Repetition, repetition, repetition. Even though prospects may come onto your radar, they may not be ready to buy at that exact moment.
By consistently reminding the prospect of the solution you offer, you keep your company’s name in front of the prospect. When the time comes to move forward, your company is an obvious contender.
Without knowing exactly when your leads will reach the point of looking for a solution, you want them to know that you have a solution for them.
Establishing a Value-Based Proposition
Your B2B solution is more than just a sticker price. Your potential customers need to understand the value that your solution will bring to their business.
No matter your revenue model, your messaging should be clear: you bring value. You are doing more than simply offering a solution to a specific problem. Your value-based proposition is why you are the right solution for their needs.
By positioning your company correctly, your potential customers will begin to see you as experts in the field and their partner in their own success.
B2B Lead Generation Strategies
Understanding your customer will help you effectively strategize reaching your leads. Leveraging multiple channels will get the broadest range of prospects.
You may find that certain strategies produce a greater response, depending on your target market and type of customer. Monitoring metrics from the different channels will help you focus your energy on what produces the best results.
1. Search Engine Optimization
When searching for a solution, the first natural step is to do a search. You want your potential leads to be able to find you by being included near the top of the search results.
SEO involves everything that drives organic traffic to your website. This may sound straightforward, but optimizing your website for SEO takes some planning. An effective strategy will pull together your individual pages, blog posts, keywords, and more.
For B2B lead generation, PPC marketing can force potential buyers to find your company. B2B often involves Google Ads, since it is a natural extension from buyers doing a search.
PPC might seem like treading water in the beginning. Finding the right combination of keywords and target audience can involve a lot of trial and error.
By watching your activity, you can begin to hone in on the right PPC strategy to turn into a lead conversion. Getting traffic to your website is half the battle, but then capturing information that will allow you to reach the lead is the next step.
As you gain a list of email addresses through your lead generation and marketing efforts, now you have the opportunity to reach the prospects at the right time. You can use the email addresses to remind the leads that you offer a solution, even before they recognize a problem.
Automated emails on a regular basis will keep you on the minds of your leads. Personalized emails can boost relationship building.
Your sales pipeline likely identifies the potential of the lead. Is it a “hot lead,” or has the lead never engaged with you directly? By segmenting your email list, you can target your campaigns to be more effective.
4. Content Marketing
The content that you generate is a direct reflection of your company’s brand. You want to show prospective customers that you are relevant to your industry.
Content marketing can cover a variety of tactics, including:
Content marketing is about providing education. By producing consistent content, you will establish your company as a trusted source for information.
5. Word of Mouth
Word of mouth is an invaluable tool in growing your business.
A satisfied customer will let their peers know. Those peers may then seek out your company when they are looking for the same type of solution.
The testimonials that your existing customers can provide and strong references will fuel your sales cycle. They will assure your prospects that your solution can bring them success.
Another form of word of mouth is through networking. Networking builds trust among professionals, even if they are not in the same industry.
How Networking Can Boost Your Lead Generation
By growing your network with other professionals, you can then and make introductions. Instead of being a cold lead, the referral has an immediate connection.
A good way to start is to join a network in your area, such as Introducing Me. Introducing Me focuses on business connections that can open the door to new opportunities in your B2B lead generation.