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How does Lead Generation work in the B2B sector?

  • How do you gain the interest of potential customers for your company already some time in advance of the purchase decision?
  • What do the processes in your company look like before a customer enquires?

In many SMEs, the processes run smoothly as soon as there is an enquiry from a contact. The enquiries are processed, offers are made, the offered service is carried out or the offered product is sent.
For most companies, the pre-sales processes consist of investments in advertising such as Google Ads, Social Media Ads or other advertisements to build up a certain awareness for the company. This also works in most companies.

In other words, the processes around generating awareness work. And the lead processing works.

But what happens in between? In our experience, for many companies, the design of lead generation and lead qualification is often the challenge. The good thing about this challenge is that both processes lend themselves very well to automation and a tool can support you in the associated steps.

Step by step procedure for lead generation

1. Define the lead and determine the required information

As is often the case with new strategies and campaigns, you as a company must decide where you want to go:

It is best to first define 3-7 criteria that must characterise a lead for your company. You can use the BANT criteria as a framework for these criteria. With these you can better assess how well your offered service or product fits to a customer. However, it is important to keep in mind that these only serve as a basic framework and must be adapted to the respective customer.

  • Budget: What is the budget available for this customer?
  • Authority: Does the customer have the authority to make decisions?
  • Need: Does the customer have a need or a problem that he can solve with your service or product?
  • Timing: In what time frame should the investment take place?
The next consideration is what data you need from your leads to offer them relevant content.
  • Name, first name
  • Email address (business or private)
  • Company
  • Position in the company
  • Size of the company
  • Current status / current challenge in the subject of your service or product
  • The goal, where the customer want to go

It is important to make it as easy as possible for potential customers to submit their data. Make sure that there are as few hurdles as possible.

We not only recommend the tips, but of course also apply them ourselves...
Would you like to learn more about Marketing Automation? Download our free handbook here!

2. Lead generation and lead nurturing

Through the various advertising channels, you can generate traffic on your website or landing page. With SEO strategies or Social Media campaigns, you can draw attention to the content on your website or landing page. Ads on Facebook or Linkedin are also possible, in which a lead form is opened after a click.

An example:
You have compiled a whitepaper with tips on a problem that occurs very often with your potential customers. On Linkedin, you can send this whitepaper to exactly this target group with a placed Ad. As soon as a customer of your target group is interested in the whitepaper and clicks on it, a lead form opens. The customer only has to enter her email address and the whitepaper flutters into her inbox. And your company has just generated a B2B lead.

Lead generation with content on your website

As long as you have little or no data about your customers, you need ways to collect it. According to studies, most people are willing to exchange their email address for added value and a clear benefit for them. This creates a win-win situation for both parties:

  • You offer potential customers a free download of a whitepaper on the website or Linkedin.
  • On your website, prospects can sign up for the newsletter to receive content that is relevant to them.
  • You have a tailored landing page for a webinar, an event, a course subscription or a specific offer. A form is integrated on the landing page for the respective registration.
  • If a customer has visited a product page 3 times, for example, a 10% discount voucher appears. If the customer is interested, the voucher can be sent to his email address.

As soon as the reader recognises a sufficiently high added value, he will exchange the data. And your company has gained a lead.
It is important to always observe the current legal basis for data protection in these strategies (DSGVO law).

Lead generation with email marketing

If you have certain data, including the email address, you can send your prospects content tailored to them:

  • Automation with a welcome series
  • Automation of a campaign that guides your lead through the different stages of the customer journey.
  • Automation with announcement emails, information emails and a reminder email a few days before a webinar or an event
  • Thank-you-emails after a product purchase
  • To implement automated workflows, for example in email marketing: This allows you to save time & costs on repetitive tasks.
  • Support through artificial intelligence integrated in the tool: The software can make predictions for recommendations for dispatch times or recommendations for follow-up offers.
  • Personalise your emails with dynamic content: Send the most appropriate content to the different target groups at the moment.
  • Segmentation: A tool supports the segmentation of the different groups.
Once you have some information from your lead, it's about adding value to the prospect.

The strategy of inbound marketing is often used for this. Potential customers get in touch with your company on their own through the content that is relevant to them. This is the big difference to traditional outbound marketing such as distributing flyers, placing advertisements in newspapers or playing TV commercials. In classical marketing theory, this dividing line is also drawn between pull marketing (=inbound marketing) and push marketing (=outbound marketing).

Inbound marketing is about the fact that the content for lead generation should be geared as much as possible to the benefit of the reader. Informative content that does not directly push the reader to buy your product or service is particularly effective. Possibilities here are e-books, checklists, whitepapers, instructions or how-to descriptions.

Basically, the more helpful content a potential customer consumes, the more likely he is to respond positively to a personal contact request from your company. Think about which companies you like to use for services or products and why they can inspire you to make a purchase.

Lead evaluation and lead qualification

Determine which criteria a lead must fulfil in order to be evaluated as a qualified lead. The criteria should indicate that this lead is ready for your products or services.
When you consider a lead to be qualified depends on these criteria. From these criteria, you can then set up an evaluation system with a lead scoring.
  • How complete is the lead's profile?
    Many prospects are willing to trade their data for information that is useful to them. It is important to have as few hurdles as possible here.
  • How many and which interactions exist between the lead and your company?

Possibilities for awarding points are:

    • Visit the price list or product page on the website.
    • Email opens
    • Click on links in an email
    • Download of various whitepapers
    • Registering for a webinar
    • Purchase of a product
    • Completion of an automation
As soon as a lead exceeds the previously defined threshold value, this is an indication that this lead is ready for a concrete offer. The lead is transferred from the marketing team to the sales team. This is also referred as a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL). If this lead is transferred to the sales team, it becomes a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL).

A lead (= a customer contact) who has shown interest in the products or services of a brand or company through his behaviour. His interest was promoted by the marketing measures. These leads are more likely to become customers.

The lead (= a customer contact) is passed on from the marketing team to the sales team. This stage of the customer journey is extremely important, as it is here that a purchase is made. The big challenge for a company is to find the right time for the forwarding. The requirement for this is a good understanding of the potential customer. A Marketing Automation tool and lead scoring with clearly defined criteria can support this.

In this transfer, it is important that sales knows all the relevant interactions that have already taken place between the lead and the company. The cooperation between Marketing and Sales is essential to get a 360-degree view of your own customers. This handover becomes much easier for both teams if the CRM system is connected to the Marketing Automation system. This also makes it possible to maintain an overview.

Conclusion

There are various options on how you can structure the points for yourself. However, it is certain that many companies can exploit the potential of these steps between "placing an advertisement" and "processing an enquiry" even more. Is that also the case for you?

If you have tried out one of the examples and it worked well, we would be happy if you told us about it on Social Media or via email.

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