A few months ago, I had the pleasure of meeting with Amir Reiter, the CEO of CloudTask, to chat about the power of outbound B2B lead generation.
Beyond covering some “top hacks” for achieving the organization’s revenue goals, we also covered why many B2B leads reject sales meetings altogether.
Through this conversation (and many like it), I have come to learn what makes a successful B2B lead generation strategy — and what doesn’t. There are so many “top tips” out there, but very few frame up how to deliver true value to your customers.
In this guide, I’m sharing the top B2B sales lead generation strategies to have prospects start seeing you more as a partner and less as an agency or service provider.
What is B2B Lead Generation?
Business-to-business (B2b) lead generation (as the name implies) is the process and strategies by which you generate leads or prospects for a business that sells to other businesses. B2B lead generation is applicable to all companies that offer products or services to businesses.
The general process of B2B lead generation includes 1) identifying your ideal customer profile, 2) reaching out to leads and telling them about your product or service, and 3) qualifying your leads based on who would make a great customer for your business.
While there are many types of B2B lead generation (for example, Inbound Lead Generation, Outbound Lead Generation, etc.) the philosophy tends to remain the same:
To have clear and consistent messaging and attract leads with the goal of building long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with other businesses.
B2B lead generation is all about starting high-quality sales conversations.
The primary goal of B2B lead generation is to capture the interest of your ideal customers to the point of them wanting to schedule a conversation with you. After this point, the objective then becomes to move them along the buying process until they become a customer.
At Superhuman Prospecting, my job is to help businesses identify and connect with potential customers just like this. And I can’t over-emphasize how important it is to facilitate high-quality sales conversations!
I remember one particular case that stands out in my mind. I was working with an education analytics software company, but they didn’t have a well-defined strategy for lead generation.
We started by looking at their target audience and analyzing their behavior online and making a few hundred cold calls. We found that many of their potential customers were using a competitor’s software, which had a few limitations, so we decided to focus our efforts there. We created a cold calling script and strategy focused on highlighting the benefits our software provided over the main competition.
Very quickly, we started to generate more and more leads. We continued to refine our script, value proposition, target market, decision-maker profile, and best outreach times.
Eventually, our efforts paid off. The company was able to generate more opportunities, leads, demos and, eventually sales.
Looking back on that project, I’m reminded of just how important it is to have a solid B2B lead generation strategy in place.
It’s not enough to simply put your product out there and hope that people will find it. You need to be proactive in identifying and engaging with potential customers. With the right approach, you can connect with the right people and land meaningful sales conversations that turn into long-term partnerships.
10 Proven Ways to Generate More B2B Sales Leads
Once you master the B2B lead gen philosophy, you can use any one (or several) of the following strategies to build your B2B sales lead engine.
Ultimately, you will want to test different strategies to determine what works best for your particular business, audience, and offer. But these 34 strategies are proven to work, as long as you have the right message and tenacity.
So, let’s get into the good stuff.
1. Grow your client referral base
One of the best ways to generate new sales leads is to tap into your existing customer base – not for recurring business, but for referrals.
The goal here is to encourage your customers to refer friends, business contacts, and colleagues who may be looking for your services.
To generate more referrals, start with offering stellar customer service. This will provide a positive experience to your customers, which will encourage them to want to refer people to you in the future.
You can then follow up with past and existing customers asking for referrals. A few options are to request referrals via social media, ask for referrals via email campaigns, and/or offer incentives (for example, % commission) for referred customers.
2. Subscribe to appointment-setting services
Appointment setting services allow you to expand your client base and accelerate your sales growth for less than the cost to hire a full-time sales team. You can use outsourced partners, like Superhuman Prospecting, to build a lead database, set appointments for you, and even automate outreach.
Studies show that it takes a sales development representative an average of 3 months to get onboarded and ramp up to full productivity. Hiring an appointment setting company could save you a ton of time (and money) when it comes to your B2B sales lead generating efforts.
3. Re-engage your email list
Do you have an email list (of old prospects or customers) that could use a nudge? Sometimes our best sales leads are within reach – we only need to remind them of our services!
You can use creative email campaigns to re-engage your existing list, reach out to potential customers, and drum up engagement with your subscribers. Or, if you want to take it a step further, conduct email outreach to grow your list and generate new leads.
Remember, targeting is the most important aspect of any email marketing strategy. So, make sure your email copy that speaks to the needs and interests of your ideal customers.
Email marketing campaigns can include:
- Weekly or monthly newsletters
- Content or event promotions
- Automated drip sequences for a specific offering
- Special offers or discounts
- Courses, webinars, or videos
4. Try your hand at LinkedIn outreach
LinkedIn is one of the best-known platforms for B2B marketing given that the primary demographic is business professionals. LinkedIn is a great place to connect with potential customers, start conversations, grow your network, and sell your services.
LinkedIn’s organic capabilities (e.g. posts, videos, articles, etc.) allow you to generate inbound leads through content. If you’re posting valuable, engaging content, you’re likely to drive new leads to your inbox.
Of course, LinkedIn Ads is an effective tool as well, allowing you to “bid” on your target audience and generate more leads that way. LinkedIn is truly one of the best B2B prospecting tools.
5. Publish authority-building content
You’ve likely heard it time and time before, but “Content is (still) king”. Content Marketing (including articles, posts, videos, and whitepapers) works well to generate inbound B2B sales leads.
When it comes to your website, this can include SEO blog posts, expert interviews, and e-books. You can also create video content to share on YouTube and social media. The key is to post content that highlights the value of your services, brings something unique to the market, and connects your audience to helpful information.
And with SEO content, you can increase the organic traffic to your website, which can further drive targeted B2B sales leads to your brand.
6. Reach quality sales leads through cold calling
Cold calling is the act of reaching out to potential customers (“fresh” leads) via the phone. And in order for this to work, you need a solid list of potential contacts and a well-written calling script.
First, conduct some pre-call research. This may involve checking out companies’ websites and creating a list of decision-makers and their phone numbers. Consider what needs they might have, what challenges they are likely struggling with, etc., and include these talking points in your call script.
Next, write your script. This may include something like:
“Hi my name is [YOUR NAME] with [COMPANY NAME], we simplify the process of administering and integrating different publishers’ textbooks into your Student Information System (S.I.S).Do you currently use multiple platforms from multiple publishers for your ebook solutions? (Or) What are you currently doing for digital content? ”
The goal is to customize your script to fit the company and their struggles, so don’t be afraid to veer off your script. Keep it conversational and listen to their needs.
Finally, find a time to call your list. If someone is interested in your services, add them to your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system and send them a follow-up message. If you don’t hear back right away, give them a friendly nudge that you’d like to connect again so
7. Build your Partner Marketing network
Partner Marketing, similar to Referral Marketing, involves leveraging your existing contacts (in this case, other businesses) to generate more leads for your company. The goal here is to build a network of professional partners who can drive potential customers to you.
Consider reaching out (via phone, social media, or email) to your existing network. This could include other companies, publications, blogs, influencers, etc. Then, ask if they could send potential customers your way, perhaps in exchange for a commission.
You can even return the favor by sending business their way, too. The key is to nurture genuine relationships with your partners in order to build a mutually beneficial Partner Marketing network.
8. Generate organic website leads with SEO
SEO involves optimizing your website (and online platforms) to generate organic traffic via search engines (namely, Google). This is a smart and effective lead generation strategy, as it capitalizes on people who are already searching for your services.
In order to optimize your website, you will need to identify which keywords your target audience is using to find services or products like yours. Tools like Semrush.com allow you to see the search volume and competition of these keywords for your SEO strategy.
Then, you will incorporate these keywords into your site content. For example, if you are an invoicing software company, you might add a landing page that’s optimized for “Small Business Invoicing Software” and a blog article targeting “How to Create an Invoice”. These are topics your audience may be searching for, and this content can attract them to your site.
This just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to SEO, so be sure to check out resources like Search Engine Journal, Semrush, and Ahrefs.com for more tips.
9. Hire an experience SDR
A sales development representative (SDR) is someone who is hired specifically to conduct sales outreach, qualify new leads, and prospect for your company.
Hiring an SDR can be a huge benefit because this person will likely have more extensive experience when it comes to prospecting and selling (compared to your usual Marketing team). You can even find specialists who have experience in your particular industry and with the companies you aim to work with.
When hiring an SDR, search for someone with well-documented Lead Generation experience and Sales experience. Or, consider outsourcing to a lead generation company that has a team of SDRs on staff.
10. Invest in sales enablement materials
Sales materials like prospecting lists, case studies, brochures, tutorials, and presentations can help your sales team identify better leads and close more deals.
The more detailed, the better. You might consider creating a “guidebook” on where to find leads, how to qualify leads, how to write a sales script, and more. This will equip your team with the tools they need to do their best selling ever.
What’s more, some of these materials can be shared with prospects to educate them about your service or product. For example, user interviews, client reviews, how-to videos, and product guides can help prospects understand your offer and how it might apply to their business.
Even More B2B Lead Generation Ideas
There are many more, creative ways to generate B2B sales leads – limited only by the imagination! The more you come to understand your audience, the more you will think of innovative ways to generate fresh leads.
We have described some of the best, tried and tested B2B sales lead generation tactics above, but here are some more common strategies to generate leads:
- Social Media Marketing: A popular approach, many B2B companies use social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to drum up more visibility, boost engagement, and promote services.
- Pay Per Click Advertising: Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising involves running paid ads that generate “clicks” through to your website, inbox, or contact form. PPC ads are a great way to reach users who are searching for your products or services.
- Trade shows: Depending on your niche, you can attend trade shows and conferences where your target audience is likely to be present (e.g. business conferences, showrooms, etc.)
- Webinars: Webinars typically consist of instructive content, educating your customers about your product or service. These can be a great way to drum up more business by promoting your webinar on social media, via email, with paid ads, etc.
- Direct mail: A more traditional method, direct mail involves generating a list of prospects (with their contact information) and mailing them sales material. This can include special offers, flyers, coupons, etc.
- Podcasts: Podcasting is a great way to build authority in your space, promote your services, and provide helpful content to potential customers. You can host your podcast on Spotify, Apple, Google, and the like.
- Guest blogs: Become a guest contributor to other industry blogs and online publications to improve your thought leadership and drive more traffic to your own website. Guest blogging is a great way to reach new audiences and establish yourself as an authority in your industry.
- Virtual Events: Similar to webinars, you can host live, virtual events (like conferences) to reach a wider audience, gain social media followers, grow your email list, and generate new leads.
- Employee referral programs: Encourage your employees to refer potential customers to your business by offering them incentives or perks.
- Live chat: Enable live chat support on your website to engage potential customers, answer questions, and generate fresh leads.
- Free Trials: Give potential customers to try your product or service for free before they buy. This could be in the form of a free trial, demo, or limited offer.
- In-person events: Attend industry events and conferences to network with other industry professionals, showcase your services, hand out your business card, and generate leads.
Take the guesswork out of B2B sales lead generation
B2B lead generation shouldn’t be a constant struggle. The strategies described above are helpful to any healthy lead generation process, whether you are a new company or hoping to scale your lead generation efforts to new heights.
At Superhuman Prospecting, we offer B2B lead generation services focused on initiating high-quality lead conversations. We do this by building a targeted lead database, crafting the perfect outreach process, and setting appointments with your most qualified leads.
Contact us to learn more about B2B sales lead generation and how we can help your business grow.