The biggest challenge and #1 priority for every business is: finding new customers. B2B lead generation techniques can help you drum up new business and keep your sales pipeline full. Along with finding adequate capital and managing employees and suppliers, finding the right prospects who are a good fit to buy your products and services is one of the biggest tasks that every business leader must face.
Choosing the right lead generation techniques can support your business by attracting and identifying the right target audience and finding highly qualified prospective buyers. Better lead generation techniques will ultimately help you save money, save time, and drive increased revenues.
Let’s see why lead generation is so important to your business – and how to do it right.
What is B2B Lead Generation?
Lead generation is an art and a science; it’s the process of building relationships with prospective customers, building credibility, earning their trust, and opening a conversation that can eventually lead to closing a sale.
Think of lead generation as a proactive, applied form of marketing – where the creativity and business strategy of marketing combine with the real-world work of contacting customers and starting conversations.
What is Appointment Setting?
Appointment setting is one area of B2B lead generation that is particularly important, and more challenging than it sounds. Appointment setters work to contact prospective buyers and invite them to book sales appointments: sales meetings, online demos, video calls. The goal of an appointment setter is to contact business executives, introduce them to the company’s product/service or solution, and ask them to take the next step to agree to a meeting.
Appointment setters often use phone calls, emails, and personalized social media outreach to contact their sales prospects. The goal of the appointment setter is simple (book a meeting), but the process can be complex and time-consuming. High-quality appointment setters can be a huge asset to the sales team.
A good lead generation program can help support the work of your sales and marketing teams. Lead generation is a way to bridge the gap between marketing (the work of generating customer awareness about your product and finding product-market fit) and sales (the work of identifying customer needs and closing deals).
Without a formal lead generation effort, your company might miss out on valuable business opportunities. Your marketing team might need some extra help to drum up business leads with lead generation techniques that are outside of their usual marketing skill sets. Your sales team might want help with the early stages of identifying prospects, finding decision makers, and booking initial sales meetings and product demos.
Lead generation companies offer a variety of services to help you find your next sales prospects and to keep filling your sales pipeline. Just as companies hire consultants, freelancers, or temporary employees when they need to boost capacity and improve their business results, lead generation firms can help your business drive better outcomes from your sales and marketing.
Some of the most common types of lead generation involve “outbound” lead generation. This is a type of marketing activity where the lead generation team does outreach to your prospective customers – such as email marketing, cold calling, social media messaging, direct mail, or traditional advertising.
Outbound lead generation is important and powerful, because it involves directly contacting your customers to start conversations. Depending on your marketing strategy, your industry, and your company’s strengths in your market, outbound lead generation might be an ideal strategy.
To get the best results from your outbound lead generation, it’s important to:
Along with outbound lead generation, there is “inbound.” This is a type of marketing activity where, instead of doing outreach to customers, your lead generation team will try to attract customers “in” to your company. There are several types of inbound lead generation, such as website marketing, content marketing, search engine marketing (SEM), social media ads, Pay Per Click (PPC) ads, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), a lead generation referral program, and more.
Inbound lead generation can be powerful because it lets you create an ongoing source of new business opportunities – such as a website with great blog articles and other content, targeted Pay Per Click ads, or an active social media presence that leads to inbound traffic to your website.
Another type of inbound activity that is important for lead generation – especially once you actually start to receive some new customer inquiries or incoming phone calls from prospects – is inbound lead qualification. Inbound lead qualification is the process of analyzing and assessing your new sales leads to determine which ones are “good” prospects, and which ones might need more time – or which ones are not a good fit at all.
Not every sales prospect is actually the right fit for your business, and not every potential buyer is really serious and ready to buy. Inbound lead qualification helps you sort and rank your business leads so you can identify which ones are the highest-profile, hottest sales opportunities, and which ones might need longer-term lead nurturing.
No matter which lead generation techniques you choose, it’s important to remember the fundamentals of B2B marketing: building credibility, creating relationships with prospects, and gradually leading your buyer through their journey. So much of B2B lead generation is really about educating and helping the prospect: showing them how your solution will drive results for their business. Whether your role is as an appointment setter in the early stages, or a salesperson closing a deal, most of the work of B2B marketing and lead generation is ultimately about answering questions, showing how you can solve the customer’s problems, and earning the customer’s trust along the way.