B2B sales lead generation is the most important function that sales and marketing teams undertake. This is because in any business, the more leads you generate, the more sales revenue you’re likely to generate and grow. In a highly dynamic and competitive business environment, companies are constantly faced with the challenge of finding new ways to generate quality leads.
It’s no wonder 68% of companies agree that they struggle to generate leads and 61% of B2B marketers consider quality lead generation as their greatest challenge. With this kind of statistics, the need for B2B marketers and sales reps to keep up with emerging trends, technologies and tactics in lead generation has never been greater.
If you are looking to boost lead generation for your company, here are top 30 proven techniques to get more B2B sales leads in 2021:
#1. Add Chatbots to Your Communication Channels
A lead response report shows that responding to new leads within 5 minutes is important, but only 10% of B2B companies are able to do so. People want to get quick responses to their requests or questions. Powered by artificial intelligence technology, chatbots provide a fast and easy way for B2B companies to interact with their target audiences.
They can be automated and used to greet as well as guide leads instantly. As prospects interact with your chatbots, you’ll be able to gather lead data including names of leads, their email addresses, phone numbers, pain points, feedback and even their style preferences.
#2. Personalize Cold Emails
For B2B demand generation, emails are still an effective tool for generating and nurturing sales leads. As a matter of fact, 59% of marketers consider emails an important channel for generating B2B sales leads. The beauty of emails is that you can use them to engage cold leads. With statistics showing that personalized emails are 75% more likely to be clicked by recipients, personalize the emails you send to cold leads. This will elicit a response and boost your lead generation efforts.
#3. Optimize Your Content for Organic Search
According to Google, an average B2B buyer conducts 12 online searches prior to interacting with a website. Further, 94% of B2B buyers conduct online research prior to making a purchase. These statistics make organic search an important tool for generating B2B sales leads in 2021. The best way to achieve this is to publish long form articles and research keywords and use them naturally. Also, include relevant keywords in URLs, link to relevant high authority sites , create compelling meta descriptions and optimize title tags. Doing this correctly will enhance the visibility of your content and website on search engines. This will drive traffic to your website as well as generate and nurture top-of-funnel leads for your company.
#4. Add Signatures to Your Emails
Emails provide B2B marketers with a very unique opportunity to generate sales leads. Since they are among the communication channels that businesses use to interact with customers and prospects, adding signatures to emails is a great way to attract prospects and turn them into leads.
Some of the things that B2B marketers can do to turn email signatures into lead generation tools include placing links to lead magnets like white papers on email signatures. You can also add a banner to promote a product offer, event or webinar as well as include social media buttons with a strong call-to-action to the signature.
#5. Leverage Social Media Engagements
Social media platforms are powerful spaces that B2B marketers use to generate sales leads. The best strategy to achieve this is to join social media groups to engage professionals, share expertise, and identify leads. The key to succeeding in this to avoid pitching your offerings to the people in the group. Rather, build rapport with them and get them to know you. There are several things you can do to achieve this including:
- Initiating conversations in the group
- Engaging in conversations that other group members start
- Commending people for the content they share or events that they hold or plan to hold.
- Respond to questions that people ask in the group
After members of the group get to know you, leverage that connection to interest them in your product or service offerings.
#6. Host Webinars
Statistics show that 73% of B2B marketers consider webinars as a highly effective tool for generating quality leads. This is because webinars provide B2B companies with the unique opportunity to educate their target audiences, connect with them and position themselves as industry experts. In 2021, the need for B2B marketers to make webinars an integral part of their marketing strategy is even bigger.
With the restrictions brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic companies can leverage these online events to reach larger audiences, engage interested participants and run product demonstrations. Companies can also use webinars to nurture relations and partnerships with other companies, connect with prospects and generate leads by hosting webinars.
#7. Answer Questions on Q&A Sites
Q&A sites like Quora are great spaces for B2B companies to demonstrate thought leadership and drive traffic to their website and social media pages. To generate sales leads and 2021, B2B marketers and sales reps can join such sites, identify questions that relate to their industry and are relevant to their company’s focus and respond to them authoritatively. Also, optimize your profile on Q&A sites, engage your followers, use specific topics or questions to target users, retarget your visitors with ads and promote popular responses that are related to your business.
#8. Get Customer Reviews
B2B buyers rely on reviews to make purchase decisions – which makes them extremely useful in generating B2B sales leads. As a matter of fact, 67% of them consider online reviews by their peers extremely important. Further, 92% of buyers are likely to buy after reading a review from a trusted source. This is precisely why you should ask your customers to leave a review after completing the purchase process. You can publish written reviews from your customers, but also consider using video testimonials that are extremely powerful.
#9. Capitalize on Inside Sales
Also referred to as remote or virtual selling, inside selling is a highly effective strategy for generating B2B leads. It involves reaching prospective customers virtually or though phones as opposed to travelling to meet them in person. To apply this technique, you’ll need a team of highly trained inside sales reps who can respond to technical, industry-specific questions about your products and solve customer pain points. Generally, inside selling requires high-touch sales and following prospects up throughout the sales cycle.
#10. List Your Products on Online Directories
In this digital era, directories have changed and are now hosted online. With so many companies offering similar services, B2B buyers are always for credible, highly effective solutions online. Listing your products or services on an online directory increases visibility and attracts leads to your business. For instance, if your company offers a software solution, ensure that it’s listed on Capterra. That way, B2B buyers who search for such a product will be able to find it, read reviews and learn more about your company. Other online directories where you B2B companies should consider listing their products include Yelp, Bing, LinkedIn Directory, Google My Business and SaaS Genius.
#11. Automate Your Marketing Process
Automating your marketing process can go a long way in generating quality leads for your company. The easiest way to do this is to get a marketing automation system. With such a system, you’ll be able to segment your email lists so that you can target each segment with relevant content. A marketing automation system also makes it easy for B2B marketers and sales reps to run marketing campaigns and track results. It also enables companies to provide better alignment between sales and marketing teams. This makes it easier for B2B marketers to score leads based on their actions and move sales qualified leads over to sales teams for conversion.
#12. Boost Your Website’s Performance
The performance of your website can determine how successful your business in generating leads. If you drive organic traffic to your site, but have a slow loading website, you won’t be able to convert that traffic into leads. No B2B prospect wants to sit there and wait for minutes for your site to load. To avoid this, ensure that your website opens fast, is responsive on mobile devices and that it’s easy to navigate.
#13. Run Email Campaigns
Email marketing remains a powerful strategy for generating B2B leads in 2021. The 2016 State of B2B Digital Marketing Report showed that email marketing is right at the top of digital channels when it comes to generating leads for B2B marketers. To successfully generate B2B leads with email campaigns in 2021, ensure that you have a lead magnet to appeal to prospects. Create landing pages that have appealing visuals, segment your audience, and regularly clean and update your email lists based on your target’s actions.
#14. Issue Press Releases
Press releases are powerful tools for creating brand awareness and reaching your target with new information about B2B companies. Written in news styles, press releases can help B2B marketers in sales lead generation by reaching a wide audience when it is shared with media houses, influencers and social media followers. If you decide to use this technique in 2021, consider issuing press releases when you:
- Launch a new product
- Get an industry award or recognition
- Release a new publication like a research report, white paper, case study or eBook, or
- Enter into a merger, partnership or expand to a new location
#15. Publish Blogs and Articles
When it comes to digital marketing for B2B, content plays a critical role in attracting, generating and nurturing leads down the sales funnel. To generate B2B sales in 2021, create and publish blog or article content that educates and informs your target audience. Optimize your content for search engines. Since 94% of B2B buyers conduct online research before making a purchase, increasing your content’s visibility on search engines makes it easy to find, drives organic traffic to your site and generates more leads for your company.
#16. Call Warm Leads
If you have warm leads that you have been nurturing for some time and haven’t converted them yet, consider giving them a call. Calling warm leads can help you push such leads closer to a purchase decision. The best time to call warm leads is at the end of a free trial, a few days after downloading a content asset, or when you don’t hear from them after a webinar.
Ideally, your call should open a conversation with them. For instance, if they downloaded a content asset, find out how helpful it was and whether they need more reading material. If they’ve just completed a free trial, check how their experience was and whether they would like an extension. After a webinar, check whether you can visit their office or create a one-on-one demo online.
#17. Guest Post on High Level Sites
Guest blogging is an old but proven technique of generating quality B2B sales leads. In 2021, identify high level websites in your industry that are visited by your target audience and find opportunities to guest post there. This not only places your company in front of prospects who haven’t discovered you yet, but it also enables you to backlink to your company website and drive traffic there. If you decide to use this strategy to generate B2B sales leads this year, ensure that you develop valuable content that your audience will want to read.
#18. Publish Gated Content
With 63% and 76% of customers saying they would share personal information to get an eBook and white papers respectively, gated content can serve as an effective sales lead generation tool for B2B companies in 2021. They can do this by generating premium content such as eBooks, industry reports and white papers and requiring visitors to fill lead capture forms in order to access it. The key to generating quality leads using gated content is to ensure that the content is relevant, unique, detailed and valuable to the target audience.
#19. Interview Industry Leaders
There are numerous successful business people who are knowledgeable about your industry that your audience would love to hear from. Harness that knowledge and use it to generate leads by interviewing them and turning their insights into podcasts, eBooks, articles or blog posts. This will help raise your company profile, boost your credibility and provide you with backlinking opportunities. This is a great strategy to apply when your lead generation activities start to dwindle and you need to boost traffic to your site.
#20. Run Remarketing Campaigns
Remarketing campaigns are great tools for targeting people who have already been to your website. It involves displaying ads to them to remind them of your brand and convert them into leads. People will visit and leave your website without converting for various reasons – they may want to do more research, or they may simply run out of time and decide to return later. Retargeting them with display ads is a great way to encourage them to get back to the website and convert them into leads.
#21. Be More Visible on Social Media
With billions of people now using social media platforms on a daily basis, B2B marketers can leverage this space to generate quality sales leads by creating accounts on platforms that their target audience use. Some tactics that B2B marketers can use to generate leads on social media include:
- Promoting blogs or articles on social media platforms
- Repurposing content and sharing it in formats such as videos, images and infographics
- Responding to their requests or questions
- Engaging followers on social media by running social media contests or competitions
#22. Embrace Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing involves leveraging the endorsement of individuals who have influence and huge following on social media. B2B marketers can use endorsement from such personalities to drive traffic to their websites, build their social media following and boost sales for newly launched products. To generate quality B2B sales leads through influencer marketing, B2B companies should identify influencers who have wide content readership on social media and people who can be recognized by their target audience easily.
Source: Influencer Marketing Hub
#23. Power Display Ads with Intent Data
Paid ads are a great way for B2B companies to drive organic traffic to their websites. However, to generate quality sales leads in 2021, B2B marketers have to go beyond clickthrough rates and use intent data to attract the right prospects to their sites. To do this, they’ll need to use intent data to develop display ads and optimize their demographic filters to ensure that they reach ideal leverage intent data and use it to power Google ads.
#24. Develop Powerful Landing Pages
To generate B2B sales leads in 2021, you’ll need to include high-converting landing pages to your website. Landing pages enable you to capture lead data so you can nurture the leads into paying customers. There are several things you can do to ensure your landing pages are effective. These include:
- Using killer headlines and subheadings
- Including a photo
- Explaining what you’re offering and the problem that your offering solves
- Adding a data capture form and a strong call to action
#25. Use LinkedIn Sales Navigator
While social media platforms are generally great places to generate leads, LinkedIn Sales Navigator is particularly powerful when it comes to researching decision makers in companies that you consider a good fit for your products. Use LinkedIn Sales Navigator to understand the interests of decision makers and network with them before you can pitch to them.
#26. Leverage Customer Referrals
Statistics show that 82% of businesses generate most of their sales from referrals. When handled well, referrals from satisfied customers can be converted into leads, and ultimately buying customers with relative ease. To succeed with this technique in 2021, consider making the referral process seamless for your customers. You can do this by eliminating barriers like drafting referral emails by creating templates that they can use.
#27. Practise Social Listening
Besides enhancing visibility on social media, companies can generate leads by monitoring the sentiments of their target audience about their brands. Practising social listening enables them to address any negative remarks that have the potential to ruin their brand reputation. By doing this, companies please existing customers and send a positive message to prospects that they are listening and do care. This, coupled with positive mentions by followers captures the interest of new leads.
#28. Guest-Speak at Events
Guest speaking at events is a great way to stay on the minds of your audience and generate leads. If your presentation or product stands out, people will start reaching out to connect with your company. Guest-speaking is an art. Knowing how to do it right can be the difference between generating leads or not. When you get a chance to speak in an event, avoid giving a salesy or long boring speech that your audience isn’t interested in. Instead, use the opportunity to showcase your expertise by highlighting case studies.
#29. Work with Channel Partners
No matter how dedicated your sales and marketing team is, their revenue-generating capacity will plateau at some point. As such, expand your lead generation options by investing in B2B sales channels. Channel partners have their own strategies to generate leads and sales. As such, they will require very little input from you to get started. When choosing channels channel partners, ensure they serve a similar customer base or another customer base that you’re interested in tapping. Also, ensure that they can bundle your product with theirs to generate more leads and revenue for your company.
#30. Host or Attend Expos, Trade Shows or Conferences
Trade shows and conferences are the other top-tier platforms that B2B marketers can use to generate B2B leads. While these events may be challenging to hold during the Covid-19 pandemic, companies can host them virtually. Whether you participate virtually or physically, ensure that you interact with people actively, exchange contacts, capture leads, and follow them up immediately after the event.
Generating quality leads is the priority of every B2B marketer. While there are numerous techniques that marketers can use to generate such leads, every year presents new opportunities to improve past performance. Increase your lead generation performance in 2021 by identifying the techniques that fit your business and implementing them well.