What’s YOUR most effective B2B lead generation strategy?
Do you have one?
(Here’s an awkward pause where we hope that your answer is: yes)
Truth is, there’s no universal strategy that works every time and for all types of businesses.
In fact, here’s a funny thing. Some time ago Hubspot has created a chart that shows where leads are coming from. As you can see below, there are channels that most companies bet on: social media, email marketing, SEO or PPC.
But take a look at the highest blue bar on the far right (the one showing B2B leads).
Wouldn’t it be cool to know where these leads are from, right?
And here’s where my humor kicks in: it’s labeled as the mysterious “Other”, therefore giving us absolutely no idea what’s the most popular B2B lead generation channel really is.
Pretty interesting, huh?
Discovering what works for you and what doesn’t takes time, trials and errors.
But, hey! What’s the point of reinventing the wheel all over again?
There are tons of people who’ve been there and done that already.
That’s why we have asked 26 experts to share their best B2B lead generation strategies.
And that’s not all!
We also asked them to reveal their processes step-by-step so that you can replicate them in your own marketing strategy this year. All case studies are carefully explained and documented.
Who are they?
Founders, managers, senior marketers, and CEOs who’ve been successfully running online businesses long enough to experiment with various ways of generating leads.
The strategies they agreed to reveal to you are no rocket-science. So whether you’re a budding entrepreneur, someone who’s been in business for a while or has just started thinking about setting up their own company — all of you can get some interesting ideas on proven ways to generate leads.
So, without any further ado, let’s get down to the gist.
Best B2B lead generation strategies for 2022 — according to experts.
- Pawel Lawrowski (Tidio)
- Steli Efti (Close)
- Shawn Finder (Autoklose)
- Dario Supan (Point Visible)
- Hunter Branch (Rank Tree)
- Nigel Lindemann (SurveyAnyplace)
- David Cacik (CloudTalk)
- Jonas Sickler (Terakeet)
- Nick Malekos (LearnWorlds)
- Michal Suski (SurferSEO)
- Nico Prins (Launch Space)
- Jeremiah Smith (Startup Tracker)
- Michal Leszczynski (GetResponse)
- Glen Allsop (Detailed)
- Brittany Ryan (Pointed Copywriting)
- Giles Thomas (Whole Design Studios)
- Raul Galera (CandyBar)
- Jack Paxton (VYPER)
- Sujan Patel (Mailshake)
- Nick Greene (ApolloDigital)
- Steven van Vessum (ContentKing)
- Victor Ijidola (Premium Content Shop)
- Shane Barker (Shane Barker)
- Carsten Schaefer (crowdy.ai)
- Alexandra Tachalova (Digital Olympus)
- Rikke Thomsen (Sleeknote)
eBooks: Tailor You eBooks to Match Customer Segments and Dedicate a Simple Landing Page to Each of Them
Since we are a SaaS company, the main goal of our resources was to educate our current and potential customers about our services (live chat and chatbots). We wanted to showcase the features of our services and “what’s in it” for the customers who run different types of businesses.
So we released a few versions of our ebooks to target different customer segments (in our case, the differentiation is based on platforms our customers chose to run their online businesses on).
Additionally, we created a separate landing page for each ebook dedicated to an individual customer segment, i.e., one ebook and landing page for the general audience (non-eCommerce, i.e, bloggers, restaurants, SaaS companies, etc), one for Shopify store owners, and one for WordPress users.
Apart from targeting individual segments of customers with our ebooks, we also made sure that we have a separate landing page for each resource. Although the difference between them is quite subtle and the design very simple, the number of leads we get from these pages is really good.
As a result, we continue to observe a growing amount of traffic and leads that convert from these “tailored” landing pages and ebooks.
In total, all three eBooks combined, we generate over 100 leads each week (which gives ~60-70 percent conversion rate from each ebook).
Note: If your website runs on WordPress, decide which WordPress live chat plugin has all the features you need.
Free Resources: Offer a Solution Your Audience Needs
In January, we released a free spreadsheet CRM template. We chose this because plenty of very early-stage companies don’t yet have a mature sales process, nor the resources to pay for a full-fledged CRM software solution. A free spreadsheet might just be the thing they need to get started, and it generated a good amount of interest.
Results: 207 upvotes and 2637 signups.
In November 2019, we launched the Sales Success Kit, which was a collection of templates and checklists for sales teams.
Results: 322 upvotes and 5452 signups.
eBooks: Regularly Deliver Help and Value to Your Audience
Last week, we released our ebook called “The Ultimate Sales Outreach Playbook” and it generated us over 2,000 leads in less than a week.
We chose this title as people are just starting out 2022, and we wanted to provide a 150+ page read on how they can crush their quota this year.
- 2,000 leads
- #4 product of the day on Product Hunt
- 29 new clients
- 54 demos booked
Ultimate Guides: Add Lead Magnets, Promote, and Nurture the Leads
Most of our lead generation strategies focus on the tried and tested approach:
- Publish and promote ultimate guides
- Offer useful lead magnets inside those guides
- Set-up an automated email sequence to nurture new leads
For reference, you can see that the PM checklist actually gathered around 700 leads over the one year it was active, which is not bad for a narrow B2B niche.
While offering a PDF version of an in-depth blog post continues to be a good strategy, the downside of those lead magnets and accompanying email sequences is that they often do not convert leads into customers as well as other types of lead magnets (like checklists or calculators).
If you go down this route, your best bet is to offer PDFs of ultimate guides that revolve around your core business. Otherwise, you will just pick up a lot of irrelevant leads that want to save the guide and have zero interest in your product/service.
As you can imagine, for all of this to work, you have to satisfy the following criteria:
- publish relevant content that solves an identified pain point your target audience has (and preferably the one you directly can help remedy)
- do a link building campaign to ensure this resource gets steady organic traffic
- have a convincing value proposition to actually get that contact info
Client-Bait SEO: Target the Right Keywords
I worked with a new marketing agency to help them lay their Client-Bait SEO foundation. After heavily researching their target market, we confirmed our hypothesis that these people frequently search Google for answers about building their personal brand (so searches including the phrase “personal brand”) and creating and selling digital products.
We then did in-depth keyword research to find long-tail terms that were specific enough that we knew with certainty the people searching for them were authors, speakers, or bloggers looking for problems we solved with our services.
So, instead of targeting something like “personal branding” that’s incredibly competitive and too broad, we targeted keywords like “personal brand coach” and “how to create a digital product.”
These keywords have lower search volume, but also have lower competition and are specific enough that we knew most people searching for them would be our target clients.
And within a few months, they started getting a stream of qualified leads. This foundation helped this brand-new agency generate 429 qualified leads last year.
Landing Pages: Pages Built Around High-Intent Keywords
At the end of 2018, we started creating numerous landing pages, specifically based on high-intent keywords around “assessments.”
We had the features necessary to build powerful assessments, but a lot of traffic came to us looking for a survey tool. So in order to drive more traffic interested in the assessment type of questionnaire and not just the classic survey, we decided to build a whole set of landing pages, one per assessment-related keyword.
About one year since we started this campaign, we see a growing amount of traffic and leads come in from these pages. A nice bonus is that these pages have double (+97.67 percent) the conversion rate compared to our other pages.
Landing Pages: Compare and Offer an Alternative
A typical comparison landing page would include your competitor’s brand name + alternative in the URL, title, H1, etc., and would help you rank both organically or you could use it for PPC campaigns as well. We’ve been able to grow this strategy to get 150+ highly qualified leads/month and still growing.
One of the main benefits of targeting users who are looking for an alternative to your competitor is that these leads don’t need a lot of nurturing – they usually are ready to purchase as they are dissatisfied with their current solution and want to migrate to a new one.
Also, once you have a template landing page for a competitor, you can duplicate it and use it for other competitors as well – just make sure to adapt to each one and use unique content.
When doing comparison marketing, make sure to follow all ethical and legal guidelines and rather focus on what your customers are saying than direct comparisons.
Here are some great examples of doing competitor marketing:
Keyword Buckets: Focus on the Buyer’s Journey
At ReputationManagement, we decided to focus our lead generation efforts on organic search.
What was our strategy?
We targeted specific keywords throughout the buyer’s journey in the following buckets:
- Product / Service
Across a three month period, we boosted our monthly organic search traffic from 3,200 to more than 12,600 sessions. That’s a fourfold increase in just 90 days. During that same period, our leads increased three times from 50 per month to more than 150 per month.
That strategy ensured that our content addressed customer concerns at each stage of the funnel, whether they were seeking a solution to their problem, comparing various options or making a final decision.
Online Courses: Lead Generation Through Education
Here at LearnWorlds, we had spent quite some time investing in high-quality lead captures such as ebooks, checklists, quizzes, etc. But, the truest and most useful lead capture mechanism is our academy.
As an EdTech company, we used our own course platform to create and publish online courses teaching our users how to use our product, how to create their first course and also how to sell it.
In 1.5 years, since the launch of our academy, we generated more than 3000 leads which are the highest quality leads we currently have. In sheer numbers, anyone taking a trial of our software and had registered to our academy was 4 times more likely to convert to paying customers.
Webinars: Education (& Lead Generation) With a Personal Touch
Scaling up the education that has a personal touch and covers specific needs for a particular client is not easy. So we ran another test – the walk-through webinar for potential and existing clients.
I spent 10 hours in total on preparing examples, planning, and hosting a 2-hour event. Then, we used all the channels we had to promote the (webinar) landing page.
And the results were amazing.
- The video got 3000 views on YouTube within a month.
- I received dozens of positive comments on PM, email, and in the comments section on YouTube.
- We achieved better retention (based on messages like “Hey, thanks for the webinar, now I know how to use it and will keep the subscription!)
- We acquired 667 new contacts in the database
- XX38 new subscriptions that make extra $2122 in MRR
Moreover, we added a free Surfer report giveaway for everyone who asks for it on the webinar. As a result, we generated 39 signups within the first 24hours.
Email and LinkedIn: Two Marketing Channels Combined
The initial step is to connect with the person who fits your ideal customer persona on LinkedIn. This provides the first touchpoint.
Following on from this, I pitch my services by direct message through LinkedIn. It’s essential to get the value proposition correct.
There are two elements you need to keep in mind:
- You have to break through skepticism. People get pitched all the time, and often, it’s by people who would be unable to deliver the service.
- Just because you are looking for customers does not mean they are ready to make a purchase.
You can get the same results using an email finder and pitching via email. However, I prefer using LinkedIn.
LinkedIn: Effortless and Effective Strategy with Long-Lasting Benefits
A few people know that once you’re connected with someone on LinkedIn, you can see the email address they’ve signed up with (unless they changed their default settings) — just click on ‘Contact info’ on their profile as pictured below.
Of course, some contacts will have changed their settings but most people don’t know or bother. My last contact export showed 97 percent of 5,000+ contacts had an email visible and 26 percent also had a phone number listed.
Many, if not most contact requests, will accept your invitation and you can then put them in an email and/or LinkedIn-based funnel.
A nice side-effect of this strategy is that you will also grow your LinkedIn network, a great way to get your product in front of influential people in your sector through your posts (loads of professionals still actively check their LinkedIn feed unlike on Facebook and there is still much less noise/competition on LinkedIn than Twitter).
Opt-In Form: It Works in Places You Least Expect
We’ve written a robust Email Marketing Benchmarks report and pledged to never put an opt-in form. The aim of this report was to help us increase authority in our industry, drive organic traffic, and attract links.
After a while, we’ve noticed that there are people who spend at least 10 minutes on the report page and afterward, often reach out to us to ask for newer data. So we’ve decided to add an opt-in form that would be non-intrusive and would be displayed only to people who’ve stayed on the page long enough for us to think they’d be interested in receiving future updates.
Over 5 percent opt-in rate on a page that was never developed to drive leads and only offers a non-intrusive webform. Even more important is that the quality of leads surpassed the types of prospects we’ve attracted with other our content.
Opt-In Focused Homepage: Don’t Assume Your Visitors Will Subscribe Later
Like many bloggers, I had been so focused on showing my latest articles that my initial opt-in rate from the first visit wasn’t great. I had assumed that people would check out my articles, decide if they like my work or not, and then hopefully subscribe later.
For many possible reasons (short on time, articles being too enticing people don’t see the opt-in buttons, etc.) my opt-in rate was much lower than when I took the plunge and essentially made my homepage a “squeeze page.”
Such a page allows you to test what the most compelling message is that might bring people into your community.
At the same time, you can still provide a ton of value if your email follow-ups are good.
Cold Emailing: Choose Your Partner Brands Wisely
We only work with companies who want rich, messaging-focused content (no formulaic SEO fluff) and this approach lets us cherry-pick B2B brands who have something real to say.
Here’s how our process breaks down, step by step:
Step 1: Read TechCrunch, Wired, VentureBeat, etc. and look for leads that are doing something awesome (bonus points if they have recently closed a round of funding)
Step 2: Add them to your pitch list along with a unique angle about the work they’re doing plus any visible gaps in their content marketing
Step 3: Draft and send a personalized email introducing yourself and casually asking for a phone call
Step 4: Always follow up
The beauty of this process is that if you’re someone who regularly reads relevant B2B publications in your niche, this fits right into your current workflow.
You can reach out to any B2B brand you want to work with at the very same moment the inspiration hits, which in turn, leads to a much better first contact and increases your chances of getting a reply.
Read more: Discover the best lead qualification tools for your business.
Cold Emailing: Identify and Segment Potential Customers
We’re a design and marketing agency focused on Shopify fashion businesses. At Whole Design Studios, we download lists of software users from Datanyze, a tool used to identify potential customers. We segment them by industry and use Clearbit to find decision maker email addresses. This is all compiled in a custom database (Google sheet).
We then craft a cold email pitch to help them use that software better to make more profit. Eg “Use Klaviyo flows to make more revenue while you sleep for your Shopify store.” We then use Mailshake to send cold emails to roughly 25k companies a year. We typically see a 7 percent reply rate and a 1 percent call booking rate.
Our inboxes are managed by remote VAs who follow SOPs and email templates powered by Gorgias and Boomerang. Here is a screenshot of a reset campaign sent to Mailchimp users on the Shopify platform. We see 59 leads and 61 replies from 1k emails outreached.
Cold Emailing: Ask Directly Who Would Be the Best Person to Contact
I have used cold emailing for years and I have always seen great results from all the companies I’ve worked with.
We all know the drill: go for the decision-maker, keep it short, have a clear call-to-action, etc. However, when GDPR came into effect in 2018, I thought it meant the end of cold email as we know it. Back then we were looking for companies that could integrate with our newborn software CandyBar as a way to get in front of new customers.
I had a list of EU-based companies I wanted to work with, but I was afraid of reaching out directly to the decision-maker and using my traditional pitch:
we solve X problem, and we can help you by doing Y, can we chat?
Instead, I gathered “general” email addresses (info@, sales@, etc.) and basically asked them for help:
I’m looking for the person at [company] in charge of X. We are a company that does Y and I’d like to see if we can work together.
I didn’t have high expectations about this since I wasn’t targeting the right person and I honestly thought nobody actually monitored those inboxes. To my surprise, the campaign ended with a 65 percent open rate, a 17 percent response rate, and a 4.6 percent meeting rate.
Chatbots: Place Them on the Most Crucial Pages
Also, a B2B lead that chats with you about pricing is someone that is highly interested in your product and can be considered as a high-quality lead. We allow our pricing chatbot to get the conversation started so we can take over later and try to close the deal.
Our chatbots also have the option to ask users to subscribe to our email and chat newsletters. We use this opportunity to build our email and chat subscribers so we can further nurture these leads towards using our products.
Would you like to succeed like VYPER did? Give chatbots a try for free with Tidio.
Case Studies: Show How Others Succeeded by Using Your Service
Another crucial part of our B2B lead generation strategy is creating case studies of clients who have successfully used our service.
We use our case studies to show clients how our service works in real-world use. This way, our leads will have a more in-depth idea of how they can use our service to grow their businesses.
Our case studies are made up of blog posts and social media graphics that are easily shareable. We approach B2B clients on social media and through cold emails that include links to our case studies.
Chatbots: Great Copy + Flow = ROI
It takes about 30 seconds to run through the flow and the conversion rate from ‘conversations started’ to ‘conversations completed’ is between 15% and 20%.
We’ve iterated a lot on our copy to drive the most conversations and prevent drop-off, but there’s a balance; it was tempting to just ask a few questions and quickly get them to a demo, but this backfired.
We scheduled a lot of demos with unqualified customers and wasted our sales team’s time with unproductive conversations that took them away from focusing on the highest-value customers that required more development.
Now, we have a flow that gets their email quickly, so we can follow-up if they drop off, but qualifies them with what type of sales they’re doing, and how big their team is. Depending on their answers, they’re funneled to the right salesperson who now has some context about the lead before the conversation.
Writing and testing copy for the chatbot wasn’t easy, but the ROI on the investment is the biggest of any project we’ve undertaken.
Result: 150 – 200 demos per month.
Blog Post: Epic Writing Brings Epic Results
We’ve recently launched our blog and wanted to do some content marketing to get some new leads.
Here’s the idea about what we did:
- We created content that’s based on our target audience’s needs and fears. In our case, we were looking to work with SaaS businesses, hence educating them on marketing seemed like a good idea.
- By doing some basic Google searches, we found out that a lot of the ranking articles are way more theoretical (how to validate an MVP) than practical (how to get more users).
- We wrote The SaaS Marketing Bible and promoted the hell out of it. We posted it in FB groups, repurposed the content for Reddit, submitted it on HackerNews, and a ton of other stuff (as seen on the promotion checklist). We got a ton of love from this – hundreds of likes on FB groups + comments, 600+ upvotes on Reddit, 200+ upvotes on hacker news, 7k+ traffic, and around 15 leads.
- We used a single sidebar CTA to capture the leads. Now, given, we could’ve stuffed the article with a LOT more CTAs, but we thought this didn’t make sense. We want people who are ACTIVELY looking for help w/ their marketing. This helps us get only the most qualified leads (without having to spend an eternity on qualifying sales calls).
2.5 months after publishing this article, it currently ranks on position #37 for the keyword. We’re expecting the top 5 results within the year.
Now, to prove that we’re not a one-trick pony, we replicated this EXACT process 2 weeks later, leading to around 3-5x results. If you’re curious, here’s what we did, read on!
We wanted to get some SEO clients. We have a TON of experience scaling client websites from 0 to 200K+ traffic, so we wanted to capitalize on that.
Accordingly, we created a step-by-step SEO case study on how we worked on one of our clients. The idea here was also two-fold: the article is optimized for “SEO case study” as a keyword, and at the same time, created w/ content promotion in mind.
We went through the same promotion process as w/ SaaS marketing, and we got: 25k sessions/19k unique visits. We also get 121 upvotes on Reddit, 270+ 161 comments on a single post in a single SEO FB Group. 460 upvotes from HackerNews and a ton of traffic.
We got 35 leads just from the SEO case study marketing.
Overall, with both of these marketing initiatives, we had both a ton of people filling in the contact form on the website or reaching out on Facebook or Reddit, directly asking for help and services.
Content: Show Your Expertise to Get New Leads
All of that hard work is rewarded with leads.
Our content marketing efforts drive around 40K-50K visitors a month, leading to 1,200-1,500 leads a month.
One caveat though: the content you create needs to “hook” into the product or service you’re offering, so pick your content topics carefully. The sweet spot is where the content topic has a high search volume and is core to your product or service.
Content: Targeted Content for Two Types of Conversion
We use our content to generate two types of conversions:
- Sales leads
- Email subscribers
In both cases, we give our readers a compelling reason to sign up.
So far, we get 5 to 20 sales leads and our email subscription forms convert at over 2 percent.
For example, our last article on our blog was converting at 2.76% (not a lot, but impressive for us) in the week we published and started promoting it:
What’s even better here is these subscribers were our target buyers – B2B and SaaS companies. And they’re opening our emails at pretty good rates — for example, open rates for our welcome email is almost 60%.
Content and Podcasts: Produce Longer Content and Improve What You Have Already Written
We’ve been making some major changes to our content and marketing strategies to boost our brand awareness and visibility. It took a lot of hard work, consistency, and discipline but the effort eventually did pay off — we managed to increase our organic traffic by 5 times in just 3 months!
Here is what I did:
I Wrote More Long-Form Content
I think marketers have been saying this for a while now: produce more long-form content to boost your SEO. And I can totally vouch for this strategy. After I started posting more long-form content on my blog, I saw my organic traffic increase.
For instance, my 4000+ word article on social media marketing tools received more than 191K impressions in just a three month time period (January-2019 to March 2019).
I Enhanced My Old Content
I‘ve been publishing blog posts for a while now. So, I’ve got a whole repository of content that I have published in the past.
To make the most out of it, I started updating my old posts. I made changes to the content to improve readability, scannability, and to make sure it was up-to-date. I also optimized the content for keywords and added relevant internal links.
This turned out to be a game-changer.
After I updated a post on affiliate marketing in March 2019, the post saw a sharp increase in traffic.
I Started Appearing as a Guest on Podcasts
Like all other marketers, I was guest posting on other sites to get backlinks. That was working fine. But I also wanted to explore other avenues. So, I started appearing as a guest on podcasts.
Not only did it help to increase my visibility and enhance my personal brand, but it also helped me earn high-quality backlinks from websites that have high domain authority.
I Leveraged Content Syndication
To amplify my content, I started posting my content on syndication networks. It’s a brilliant way to reach out to a broad audience without spending any money.
I publish blog posts regularly on Medium and get more than 70K views every month from there.
The best part is none of these strategies were too complicated.
Copy: Attract Leads With Words, Not Just Pretty Design
We used to have a decent conversion rate on our home page, it was around 2 percent.
We added a video explainer just below the fold and it was just phenomenal, customers loved it. We decided to try something unusual – take the copy from the video explainer script and put it on our homepage.
We ran a split test and found out that the new copy (based on the video) converted cold traffic at 4 percent. We doubled our results by improving our homepage copy, which was written by an expert scriptwriter.
Guest Posts: Get Featured by Trustworthy Brands
I think the main problem with all kinds of B2B lead generation strategies is that they are bringing in quite cold leads.
However, I’ve noticed that traffic coming from guest posts that are written by industry influencers and that mentioning your tool or service can bring users who are ready to act.
Multistep Popup: Collect Leads Without Hurting Conversions
The most effective incentive is to offer readers valuable resources. In our case, we offer our readers full access to our resource library through a multistep popup.
When you collect email addresses through a popup, you shouldn’t add too many input fields. Adding more than two input fields can lower conversion rates significantly. But with a multistep popup, we can notify visitors of the offer and get the information we need from visitors in a non-intrusive way without hurting conversion rates.
Whenever a visitor opts in to get access, we follow up in the 2nd step of the popup and ask about their business. This helps us qualify potential prospects in our CRM.
What’s great about the multistep popup is that even if visitors only fill in the first step of the popup (where we ask only for their email address) and then drop off in the 2nd step, they’re registered as new signup and get access to the library.
After we implemented the multistep popup (we had a normal one-step popup before) our conversion rate from visitor to subscriber has increased by 32 percent. Plus, with multistep, we’re also enriching new leads with more data. Out of all the visitors who enter their email in the first step, 76 percent also fill in the 2nd step.
While B2B lead generation can be done in many ways, and the choice of the method will largely depend on your business, the key is to deliver some value to your potential customers.
So whether you choose to generate leads through cold emails, LinkedIn, online resources, or the perfectly cut-to-fit content, always keep in mind that if you want to get new customers, those customers need to first have their expectations satisfied.
Secondly, a huge part of a lead generation plays content and copy. Although they say it’s a picture that’s worth a thousand words, it’s the words that hook potential buyers and convince them to click the CTA button. Good writing goes a long way, whether it comes to articles, landing page copy, or chatbot messages.
And finally, opt-in forms are still a very useful method for lead capture. Observe your website traffic to find the best place and moment for the form to trigger. Keep them short and to the point. And in case you would like to elicit some more information from your visitor, utilize multi-step pop-up forms that will help you avoid adding any friction to the customer experience.