Clearing the Fog: A No Frills Mini-Guide to B2B Lead Generation

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Where do business leads come from? According to Hubspot, no one knows – no, seriously, a huge bulk of B2B leads seems to materialize out of the ether. But, even if you don’t know the specific source of your leads, that doesn’t mean you can’t market and get them. Here’s how to cut through the clutter and ramp up your inbound calls.

 

How To Use Social Media

 

Most businesses are still using social media as a lead source. Wrong. 99.9 percent of the time, this is not going to work, especially with Twitter. In 2013, Forbes ran a piece about how Twitter is the strongest social media channel in existence for generating B2B leads, but what proof did they provide? None. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

 

They mentioned “a study” in passing, but that was it. Meanwhile, InsideSales.com did a real study, and found that social media was not very effective for generating leads. It is effective as a “water cooler” or place to relax and chat. You can even get people off sites like Facebook and Twitter and onto your site to read things, and then share them.

 

But, they may not buy anything. So, if you’re going to use social media, use it to share content. And, figure out a way to use that content to earn email signups, which should eventually turn into leads for your product or service.

 

How To Put Together a Consistent Content Marketing Plan

 

Content marketing is huge. It always has been. But, most businesses don’t have a consistent content marketing strategy. They almost treat it as an afterthought, outsourcing content creation to the lowest bidder. This is never a winning long-term strategy.

 

In fact, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. When crappy content makes its way out on to the net, and it doesn’t work (as it shouldn’t), then businesses give up on it, declaring it “useless.” The best companies using content marketing publish research reports, videos, have a blog with long and detail-rich posts, and they host webinars.

 

Give Away Free Tools

 

This mortgage software makes a great giveaway. And, if you want to have a great marketing strategy for B2B leads, giving away great tools is probably one of the best ways to introduce them to your brand and get them to warm up to you. You could also create an eBook that your target market wants, a financial calc that helps them solve some simple problem that’s widespread in your target lead’s industry, or put together some other piece of content that’s incredibly valuable.

 

How To Automate Processes

 

Marketing automation is the holy grail of business marketing. But, it’s actually pretty difficult to pull off. You need to have a lot of preparation and there needs to be someone dedicated to managing it because, even though the day-today marketing is automated, much of the behind-the-scenes long-term planning is not.

 

Marketing automation is usually accomplished with advanced autoresponder and email systems like InfusionSoft and Saleforce, so get ready for a steep learning curve. But, if you can pull it off, it’s one of the most powerful tools your business has for creating a steady stream of high-quality referrals and leads.

 

Robert Holmes is an experienced sales and marketing consultant for small businesses. With over 10 years under his belt, he has much to share when he posts online. Look for his articles mainly on business and marketing websites.

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