In 2019, a B2B lead generation strategy is an absolute must.
According to the 2019 LeadsCouncil Benchmark Report, the number one challenge facing B2B marketers is attracting better leads.
This comes as no surprise as B2B markets are more crowded than ever before. Due to increased competition, B2B marketing has gone through a significant shift. No longer is it enough to rely on word of mouth or banner ads.
The industry has been trending this way for the last several years. In 2014 Eric Gagnon of the Business Marketing Institute stated in a journal article about B2B lead generation, “content-based marketing programs will be the key to lead generation and lead development.”
The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as, “…a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
Content marketing covers channels like blogs, email, and social media. The argument for a content marketing oriented strategy is persuasive. According to Hubspot, B2B companies that blog generate 67% more leads than those who don’t.
But without a strategy, your lead gen efforts can quickly waste time and money. Use these 3 simple steps to create your B2B lead generation strategy.
1. Define Your Leads
The ultimate goal of any lead generation strategy is to provide leads to the sales department, but what constitutes a lead for your company?
It sounds like an unnecessary question, but the definition of a lead is hotly debated.
Marketers tend to define a lead as someone who signed up for the lead magnet, while sales professionals define a lead as someone who signed up, and is qualified for your product or service.
Either definition is acceptable, but everybody on your marketing team and your sales team need to understand what definition you are using. Your sales team needs to know if they have to qualify every lead who comes into the pipeline, or if that has already been done by the marketing team.
You also need to understand what the perfect lead looks like in the AIDA model. AIDA is an acronym that stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action. A hierarchical model, AIDA is built on the presumption that people move through a linear cognitive and emotional process when they make a purchase.
Is your perfect lead in…
- The attention stage where they’re aware of the product?
- The interest stage where they’re interested in learning more?
- The desire stage where they want your product?
- The action stage where they’re ready to buy?
You may define an ideal lead as one that meets the qualifications to be a client, and is at the action stage (ready to buy). But if one of your company’s strengths is educating people about your product, you may wish to target those who are at the interest stage so you can deepen the relationship as you guide them to action.
2. Define Your Lead Strategy Goals
Once you understand what constitutes an ideal lead, you have to establish how many leads you need to hit your sales goals. To do so, you need to know your lead conversion rate and the value of a lead.
Let’s say you’re trying to increase sales by $1,000,000. Your sales team converts leads at 30%, and the average customer spends $10,000. At a 30% conversion rate, you need 333 new leads to hit your goal of $1,000,000.
With this number established, you can determine how much traffic you need to send your website.
Look at your website’s analytics to find your website’s conversion rate. If 1% of website visitors convert to leads, and you need 333 leads, you know you need to get 33,300 visitors to your website.
From there, you can determine what mix of tactics you need to use in your strategy.
3. Define Your B2B Lead Generation Tactics
The data about which tactics work best is inconclusive. According to the LeadsCouncil report, email marketing is best. According to HubSpot, SEO wins. The data likely varies due to audience biases. Regardless, email marketing and SEO routinely top lists of best B2B lead generation tactics.
Other tactics to consider including are PPC advertising, online events (like webinars), and media mentions.
Paid advertisements, webinars, and media mentions can make it easier to attract those 33,300 website visitors than relying on SEO or your email list, but they’re not for everybody.
To decide which tactics to employ consider:
- Do you have in house resources to execute the tactic, or do you need to outsource to an agency?
- How much will it cost to execute the tactic? Account for fixed costs such as employee salaries, and variable costs such as advertising fees and commissions.
The tactics you employ this year may not work in the years to come. Your B2B lead generation strategy must evolve with the efficacy of your tactics. As you develop your strategy, decide when and how you’re going to measure key performance indicators for each tactic so you can pivot as things shift.