The B2B lead generation definitive guide

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This is the B2B lead generation guide based on what we learned from years of building campaigns for relevant brands and written by our consultants.

Nowadays, B2B lead generation is probably the most critical marketing strategy for any B2B business, as it allows to increase sales and expand the potential client’s portfolio. This is not an introductory guide; other ones explain the basics of lead generation, such as Salesforce guide and Callbox guide.  Our guide is aimed at those marketing professionals who seek useful information to build a complete strategy and launch effective campaigns.

Why this guide

Obtain more qualified leads with a powerful B2B lead gen strategy

Find useful information on how to manage and launch a B2B lead generation campaign

A B2B lead generation strategy is not only focused on generating leads, but it also takes into account the nurturing and scoring strategy. According to B2B Technology Marketing Community, increasing the quality of leads is the top priority for a vast majority of B2B professionals (68%), followed by increasing lead volume (55%).

In addition, you can hire a B2B lead generation software to buy B2B leads. LeadRebel software explains with this post its advantages and disadvantages!

Here’s what to expect from this guide:

  • Find high-quality information about B2B lead generation.
  • Learn essential tips and tricks to get qualified leads and retain them.
  • Download free templates to help you with your campaigns.

1. Buyer Persona

To launch a B2B lead generation campaign, you must first have a very clear understanding of your Buyer Persona or carry out a buyer persona analysis. Marketing teams should be obsessed with the answer to the following question: how can I get new potential contacts’ information? It’s essential to know what your target audience think and to deeply understand their needs. Your buyer persona analysis should include data such as age, location, interests, challenges, stage of life, business position, values, goals, needs and pain points. The pain points data are probably the most critical as they are key to understand what your prospects are suffering from.

Once the buyer persona analysis is created, it will be easier to define which solution (product or service) suits with your target audience pain points and needs. After that, you will be able to create the positioning strategy and, finally, determine the offer of your campaign.

To understand how to build a complete buyer persona analysis, you can check our definitive guide of B2B Inbound Marketing, where you’ll find the buyer persona development methodology, pain points analysis and examples.

Minimum Buyer Persona information:

Age, location, interests, challenges, role, values, goals, needs and pain points.

Key question: How can I get Buyer Persona information? In our B2B inbound marketing definitive guide we explain it!

2. B2B lead generation buyer journey

After analysing the buyer persona, you need to focus efforts on the buyer journey development to investigate which strategies and activities are better to develop in each stage. It’s important to understand that users can convert into qualified leads or know your company in any of the three stages. So, you need to focus the content on their current situation.

Here below, we’re going to classify each stage in order to beable to define and execute activities related to B2B lead generation:

Top of the Funnel or TOFU

Corresponding to the awareness phase. Here, users have identified the problem or need to solve. So, you should give content related to their needs and also some introductory information, such as who you are, what solutions you offer to your clients, the value you bring, among others. In TOFU stage, you can provide blog posts, infographics, best practices, eBooks, etc.

Middle of the Funnel or MOFU

Mapped with consideration stage.In this case, users start considering possible solutions to their problem. Consequently, you need to give information focused on your solutions.

Bottom of the Funnel or BOFU

Finally, in BOFU stage users decide which solution they prefer. So, it’s time to convince your target audience why they should choose your product or service.

The B2B lead generation definitive guide - funnel

B2B leads can be generated in TOFU, MOFU or BOFU stage.

3. ICP (Ideal Customer Profile) for B2B lead generation campaigns

The aim of building an Ideal Customer Profile is to represent the type of prospect to focus on. While the Buyer Persona building is useful to know how to communicate on an individual level, the ICP strategy is essential to understand how to deal with companies at a broader level. In order to create an Ideal Customer Profile, you first need to know how you can offer value to the business and understand their pain points to conclude how you can help them.

For B2B lead generation campaigns is essential to focus efforts on building the ICP strategy, as it will help you to increase the chances of generating more qualified leads. The more you know about how your customer profile is, the more you can focus on the solution to give, positioning and offer. Your team will be able to target more precisely so that it will be more opportunities for generating qualified leads and sales.

Build an Ideal Customer Profile to focus your efforts on targeting valuable companies for your business

In addition, it’s important to build both ICP and Buyer Persona strategies. As we mentioned before, the Ideal Customer Profile helps to know the type of company you want to arrive. However, you need to understand the users of the company individually in order to understand how to communicate them. For example, a B2B sales team find a new lead of a potential company. But they realise that new lead is not qualified because he / she is not a decision-maker. So, they would have had to carry out both strategies to avoid this kind of situations.

Comparative table: Differences between Buyer Persona and the Ideal Customer Profile

Ideal Customer Profile: List of key questions you need to answer

To create a complete ICP, you need to define necessary information like the industry they work, the company’s size, pain points and budget. But, to get all the key details, here we included a list of key questions you may need to answer to develop an optimal B2B lead generation strategy.

Company information:

  • What is the purpose of the organisation?
  • Where is the business located?
  • Which industry is the company working in?
  • What is the revenue of the company?
  • How many employees does the company have?
  • What is the history, culture and values of the company?
  • In which markets does the company operate?
  • What are the company’s strengths and weaknesses?
  • What are the company’s goals and challenges?
  • What are the involved departments in the decision-making process?
  • What job titles are the most relevant in the purchasing decision?
  • What is their communication strategy?

Pain points:

  • Which business needs are not covered?
  • Why are not those needs covered?
  • How can we cover them?
  • What is my key differentiator vs my competitors?
  • What are the managers’ or employees’ bigger pain points?

Decision-making process:

  • How does their decision-making process develop?
  • Which department or job titles are part of the decision-making process?
  • What factors can influence their decision-making process?
  • What kind of companies do they usually buy products or services to?
  • How long is the sales cycle for the company?
  • What are the entry barriers to get my product or service sold?
  • Why should they be interested in my company?
  • What are the common points of the purchases made by the company?
  • How will the company find your product or service?
  • How does the company prefer being contacted?

4. B2B lead generation campaign offers: Tips and tricks

As we mentioned before, for B2B lead generation campaigns, typically you probably think about decision stage activities, but lead generation can also include awareness & consideration stage activities. The offering must be adapted for each funnel stage. You can segment your content and offering by your target audience industry, company size, location and the stage of the buyer journey.

For example, for the awareness stage, it’s a good practice to offer infographics, best practice guides, blogging, eBooks and checklists. In case of the consideration stage, case studies, webinars and comparison guides are key offers. For the BOFU or decision stage, the offer must be stronger and more specific, such as consultancies, limited discounts, etc. A key point to consider is that offers of each phase must cover your target audience needs and pain points.

Below are the main offer types by stage:

TOFU stage

In the TOFU stage, we want to attract as many users as possible in order to convert them into new leads. In this case, companies offer their knowledge to demonstrate they’re the leaders of their corresponding industry. The more interested visitors we reach, the more possibilities you will have to generate leads.

Blog posts

The B2B Content Marketing report confirms79% of B2B marketers rate blogs as the most effective content marketing tactic for their businesses. Blog post can be cross-stage, including TOFU, MOFU and BOFU. You can share a post with specific content to educate your target audience, and at the end, add a CTA to redirect them to a landing page with another offer. So, blog posts are essential in B2B lead generation campaigns. As examples, you can check How to calculate the LinkedIn Ads ROI for lead generation and Key recommendations to make a good use of the different LinkedIn tools posts, where we introduce CTAs, also more than one internal link, etc.

Key recommendations

· Insert a CTA: In order to get new leads and increase your conversion rate, you need to add a CTA on your blog posts to redirect them to a landing page with a specific offer, for example, an eBook, consultancy, trial, among others. You can put CTAs like “Sign up”, “Get started, “Download now”, “Get a free quote”, etc.

· Put more than one offer: We recommend adding a minimum of two offers to redirect users to landing pages links. Consequently, it will increase the chances of getting new leads.

· Introduce backlinks: Adding backlinks in your blog posts will allow to increase your website’s authority in search engines. Each link helps to get your pages ranking for searches.

· Think about SEO: Blog posts allows to rank your articles in the search results. That’s why you have to write blog posts always considering SEO. In addition, long-tail keywords work better than single keywords. However, you need to analyse beforehand which keywords your target audience looks for. To do that, you can use platforms such as SEMrush, Google Trends, Google Keyword Planner, among others.

· Add external relevant links: Introducing websites’ links that have good ranking results, can give you opportunities to improve your ranking.

eBooks

EBooks are used to share more in-depth or more complex content. This type of offer is commonly used in the TOFU stage but also used to generate B2B leads. In addition, you can check our eBook related to 3 types of digital promotions for getting more sales in order to see how we carry out it.

Key recommendations

· Dedicate time to create the landing page: When users go to the landing page is key, because depending on the content of the landing, they will decide if they fill in the form or not. So, you need to dedicate time to create a landing with a good copy and attractive visuals too.

· Ask only the necessary information in the forms: Users want to provide as less as information as possible. So, try to avoid adding more than 5 questions. If members see that they have to fill more than 6 fields, they are probably not going to fulfill the form. To develop easier and faster forms, we recommend you checking the LeadGen App. It has many templates options to create customised forms.

· Consider creating interactive eBooks: Increasingly, interactive experiences are becoming more important. For example, when opening the link to the eBook, the user can decide which section prefers to check. This format is more attractive than the conventional PDF.

·Add a cross-offer: In order to get leads’ contact details, you need to give a specific cross-offer. For example, if you provide an eBook related to a topic, you can also offer a free consultancy related to that topic at the end of the eBook.

Infographic

This type of content is based on including both visuals and text content. Infographics are commonly used to show statistics, step-by-step content, etc. Here, you can check our landing page to download an infographic related to post-COVID-19 D Day and a blog post where we add another specific infographic.

Key recommendations

·Build an effective landing page: Here happens the same as in eBooks, you also need to focus efforts to create an optimal landing page in order to get qualified leads.  

· Develop a plan to increase the infographics’ visibility: To make your infographics visible, sharing only in one platform is not enough. For example, you can publish them on your social networks, blog posts, among others.

· Use infographics for topics that engage more visually: If you are able to explain content in a more attractive way with visuals, creating infographics will be a good option.

Social media posts

Social networks are a key tool to share your solutions, relevant information and offers. In our case, the social network we use most to share updates and relevant information is LinkedIn. You can visit our page to check the strategy we implement or Michael Page’s company profile, where a good content plan is also carried out.

Key recommendations:

· Share more than once your offers: When you publish a new post, it is not commonly seen by all the target audience you’re interested in impact. That’s why we recommend sharing your latest offers or solutions more than once over time to increase your conversion rate.

· Mix your offers’ posts with another type of content: It’s advisable not only posting offers. We recommend sharing videos, posts from other accounts, relevant news, etc.

· Analyse your metrics: It’s essential to know which content is working and not, in order to understand what kind of offers and solutions you should share.

MOFU stage

Here, you to provide valuable content, as users are looking for specific information. So, the offering must contain high value content.

Webinar

This type of offer allows you to communicate directly with your leads, as they can ask questions and you answer them in the moment. It’s a key strategy to consider getting qualified leads and also to build a long-term relationship with them. However, depending on the content, webinars can be regarded both as MOFU and BOFU strategy. For example, a webinar focused on a specific product or service it is a BOFU activity. On the other hand, those webinars that offer knowledge of a certain topic are considered a MOFU strategy.

For example, B2B marketing has a specific section on its website dedicated to webinars, classified by “upcoming” and “on-demand”.

Key recommendations:

· Include your target audience’s needs in the landing page: In order to get qualified leads and obtain an effective conversion rate, we recommend including your target audience’s challenges, pain points, needs, among others. Consequently, you will avoid not qualified users. 

· Send email reminders: One of the main webinars’ goals is to achieve a high attendance rate. To do that, it’s advisable to send email reminders because usually, users won’t remember the date of your webinar.

· Add value to your webinar: It’s essential to add value to the webinar that users don’t expect. For example, when the webinar is ending, you can give for free an eBook, infographic, etc.

Checklists

Checklists are high-value content. When users need to do a specific activity, they often prefer to work with this kind of content to help them to follow all the steps. Recently, we have posted a checklist related to how to create a LinkedIn Ad campaign step-by-step.

Key recommendations:

· Give cross-offers: This type of offer works with other ones. For example, it’s recommended to attach checklists to offers as blog posts, guides, eBooks, among others.

· Attach extra information: We recommend putting additional information. For example, if one of the steps are difficult to understand, you can add a link to a related post or eBook.

· Update your checklists: Over time, your checklists should be updated with new information or steps to take into account. In addition, this will allow you to share it more than once.

Online calculators

This tool helps users to make better decisions on their projects. Calculators can give a more dynamic and personalised content compared to other strategies. As an example, we have our calculator to estimate LinkedIn Ads ROI. In addition, Marketing Dive has its own calculator to estimate CPM rate.

Key recommendations:

· Offer a solution: Depending on the users’ results, you can give a specific solution to them that fits with their pain points and needs.

· Ask your leads’ feedback: In order to know if the calculator is useful, ask your leads. Maybe you can improve it by their recommendations.

· Share your calculator: It’s important to promote your calculators through different tools like social media, blog posts, landing pages, among others.

Surveys

It’s a good practise creating a survey to after developing a report with the analysis results. You can check this survey made by TNS BMRB (department for Business Innovation & Skills) to report business perceptions of economic and business conditions in each English region.

Key recommendations:

· Limit the number of questions: We recommend not asking more than 10 questions with specific choices (for example yes or no). As a result, it will be easier to build after the report.

· Explain what your surveys can provide to your target audience: Users need to understand what your survey is about and also why it will benefit them.

Podcasts

Nowadays, podcasts are becoming more and more popular, so, it’s a good strategy to consider in your B2B inbound marketing strategy. For example, Gary Vee’s publishes podcasts on a continuous basis related to social media and video to grow B2B business. Also, you can check Amy Porterfield’s podcasts portfolio.

Key recommendations:

· Boost your podcasts: In order to get your podcasts listened, it’s essential to promote them in your social networks, website, blog posts, guides, eBooks, etc.

· Include CTAs in each podcast: CTAs are essential to generate leads. We recommend creating CTAs related to podcasts’ content and provide value to the listeners.

Livestreams

This strategy can be focused also on educating. Live streams are free to access, and it can be replayed at any time. So, it’s a good practice to arrive for those users with a busy schedule to attend to this type of online events.

For example, Computing Technology Industry Association used LinkedIn live to show professionals advances in IT industry. As a result, they get a 95% of engagement.

Key recommendations:

· Improve response times: The faster the responses are, the better the user experience will be. It’s important to keep an eye on users’ comments to respond within a maximum of 5 minutes.

· Share your live streams more than once: You can introduce your live streams on your website, blog posts, social networks, among others, in order to arrive at more users.  

Demo units

This offer is focused on products. Users have the opportunity to try the product and evaluate if it really meets their expectations. Vinex offers a free demo unit related to their borescopes (optical instrument designed to assist visual inspection of narrow, difficult-to-reach cavities).

Key recommendations:

· Give customised demo units: In order to convince your target audience to try your products, it’s recommended offering customized demo units. For example, if you know they have a specific need, offer them a demo that meet it.

· Offer demos on a continuous basis: Some users may not be interested in your offer at first, but they may change their mind later.

BOFU stage

In the Bottom of the Funnel stage, members are searching specific solutions to solve their problem. So, in this case, you need to give a customised experience. Your content should be created based on your target audience needs and interests. To do this, you can segment your target audience in groups and develop the content topics.

Demo

Free demos are more focused on SaaS. It’s a good option to show your target audience how your solutions are, how they work, what are the advantages and answer possible questions. HubSpot, in order to get clients, offers demos of its marketing software. Also, Talkwalker, a social media analytics tool offers free personalised demos to show how the app works.

Key recommendations:

· Work with products that are difficult to understand and use: It’s possible users are not clear about what this solution can bring them. So, it’s an opportunity to demonstrate it to them. Also, we recommend offering demos with expensive products.

· Demonstrate how easy is to use: In contrast to the previous point, you can also show your target audience how easy is to use it.

· Focus on significant features: It’s essential to focus on the most important specifications of your solution. You need to understand what your target audience wants to know about. To do that, you can create an agenda with the topics to discuss. 

· Establish next steps: After the demo, you need to define which will be the next steps. We recommend scheduling meetings to do a follow-up, in order to know if your leads are interested or to clarify additional doubts.

Trials

This strategy is also focused for SaaS. Users can compare your software with other competitors. For example, B2B Wave, a B2B eCommerce platform, offers a free 30-day trial with a 50% discount for the first three months and they don’t request credit card information.

Key recommendations:

· Offer special discounts: To increase the conversions from lead to customer, it’s recommended giving special discounts for those users who tried the product or service.

· Make a simple form: It’s important asking only for the information needed. Users do not perceive well if they see more than 10 fields.

Recommended providing always value-added to your offers, as limited special discounts,
an eBook or guide with exclusive information related to the demo or trial.

Sales consultancy

1:1 meetings are key to have the first contact with the user before the purchase. As the main benefit of sales consultancies, you’re dedicating specific time to understand users’ needs and gaps in order to give them a possible solution. Also, they are a good way both for products and services. As an example, The Whole Brain Group has an available offer about an inbound marketing consultation. In the landing page, it is explained what the consultation will be about, and it’s also asked some personal data.

Key recommendations:

· Give unique information: It’s key to think which information you are going to share with the leads. Here, you can give some best practices of the service or product, explain how your clients succeed with your company and share some relevant data they won’t find on the internet.

· Assess their needs: In order to get leads to trust you, it’s important to give them a reason to do it. A good practice is to advise and help them disinterestedly.

· Offer free material: After the consultancy, it’s recommended to give some free material that they don’t expect. As a result, they will remember a good experience of your company, and in case they want to buy the service or product, your company will be more likely to be the first choice.

· Provide the consultancy through a landing page or via LinkedIn: You can create a landing page to users apply to your free consultancy, or you can also offer it through LinkedIn.

Quotation with discount

Offering a free quotation is a good way to make your service known to your target audience. Thus, they will know exactly how much the service costs. However, quotes usually are always free, but adding a discount will make the offer more valuable. In our case, we give this kind of offer with our B2B lead generation service and so with LinkedIn Ads service. Neither offer we don’t mention any discount, as we added it once we made the quotations.

Key recommendations:

· Add a time-limited discount: When you show and explain the quotation to the leads, it’s more attractive to mention that the discount is time-limited (for example, two weeks’ margin).

· Build a customised quote: It’s essential to understand what your leads need and build a quotation adapted to their goals.

Discounts

In order to increase purchasing opportunities, offering discounts is a good practice. Discounts have always been a very attractive offer to convince prospects to buy the product or service. For example, you can check Tulas platform that collects many B2B discounts.

Key recommendations:

· Offer a time-limited discount: To get users to hire your services or buy your products, it’s advisable adding a limited-time discount. Thus, you will force them to make a quick decision.

· Link your discounts to other offers: Discounts can be implemented in other offers as added value (e.g., in demos, trials and consultancies).

Finally, on the below there’s a summary table with all the strategies in each stage:

5. Key platforms to launch B2B lead generation campaigns

For B2B lead generation campaigns, there are key platforms to build optimal campaigns.

As a mention of blog posts, theyare a good way to amplify offers and also for SEO.However, we do not recommend focusing only on blogging for B2B lead generation campaigns, for several reasons:

  1. There’s no specific audience segmentation as there is no chance to target and control who visits your posts.
  2. As a result of the previous point, we are not able to know precisely in which funnel stage they are located.

Consequently, with blog posts it’s harder to generate B2B qualified leads.

So, after that mention, we are going to show the most useful platforms to launch B2B lead generation campaigns:

LinkedIn Ads

According to Business Insider, LinkedIn is the most trusted platform in 2017, 2018 and 2019. It is the most important B2B lead generation platform for professionals and companies. Currently, it has more than 675 million users and increasing. They invest their time looking for new jobs, current information related to their industry, among others.

Also, LinkedIn Ads is the number #1 platform for B2B lead generation campaigns because, according to LinkedIn, 4 out of 5 users are business decision-makers. So, it’s a platform to consider when building B2B lead generation campaigns.

LinkedIn members engage the platform with an investment mindset, as they check the box content, inform about updates on brands and current affairs. On the contrary, with personal networks, they have a spending mindset, as it’s considered entertainment platforms.

In order to understand how LinkedIn Ads can help your business, we have also built the LinkedIn Ads definitive guide with useful information to launch performant LinkedIn campaigns with a high conversion rate. On the bellow, there are some key tips and tricks to take into account in your B2B lead generation campaigns:

Understand whether it makes sense to build a LinkedIn Ads campaign:

The first thing you need to do is analyse if you meet the requirements to launch a campaign on LinkedIn. On the bellow, we explain which are the requirements:

  • · Have a B2B offer.
  • · Need leads on an ongoing basis.
  • · Confirm your client’s value is 4000 euros per year minimum.
  • · Know how your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and Buyer Persona Profile is.
  • · Verify your client is on LinkedIn and is an active user.
  • · Have an audience size between 40.000 to 400.000 members.

Choose the lead generation goal:

For B2B lead gen campaigns, lead generation goal option is the most effective to get qualified leads. After choosing the goal, we suggest using a single image ad, carousel image ad, message ad and conversation ad formats. But we don’t recommend choosing a video ad format, because it is more focused on brand awareness and consideration campaigns.

The B2B lead generation definitive guide

Implement a targeting strategy:

LinkedIn has the most complete segmentation tool, so it’s essential to use it correctly according to your target audience. There’re tips you won’t find on the internet, so let’s deep into it:

· Company: The most used attributes are company industry and size because they give necessary information to indicate. In addition, before choosing the industry, we recommend analysing some LinkedIn pages to know which industry your target audience selects. Finally, if you want to impact leading or most innovative companies, it’s a good option targeting by company category and job seniority.

· Demographics: We don’t recommend using member age and member gender attributes, as they have ethical limitation in terms of equal opportunities.

· Education: There’re many schools with more than one page on LinkedIn, so, you should not forget about the primary and all subsidiary schools. On the other hand, excluding members who did a degree is a good practise if your target audience is looking to do a specific degree.

· Job experience: Here, we recommend combining job function with seniority in order to optimise better your campaign once it is launched. Also, only for small companies’ audiences, entry-level seniority option is recommended as this seniority usually means that users are not decision-makers. In order to impact more relevant users, it’s advisable choosing skills with function and seniority.

· Interests: For the target audience with specific interests, we recommend selecting functions or seniorities with interests.·Interests: For the target audience with specific interests, we recommend selecting functions or seniorities with interests.

In our LinkedIn Ads definitive guide, we explain those tips & tricks in detail, check them!

The B2B lead generation definitive guide

Think about the LinkedIn Ads formats:

Depending on your offer and message to give, it will be more appropriate, choosing one or another format.

· First, the Single image ad, which is a sponsored content called “native ad” because they look like a native post. If your message is direct and concise, single image ad is a good option. Also, the copy needs to be accompanied by a strong visual.

· The Carousel ads are also sponsored content but with a carousel looking. This type of ad is recommended for complete offers or they are hard to explain, or also if your offer is composed of more than one product / service.

· For customised offers or experiences, the message ad is a key option to choose because they are sent directly to LinkedIn mailboxes.

· LinkedIn recently launched the conversation ad format, which allows having a conversation with your target audience. For lead generation campaigns, it’s recommended to share more than one offer in order to keep the conversation.

Use lead gen forms:

You can capture qualified leads using pre-filled forms with data provided from the profile members. Lead gen forms are more appropriate to get high conversion rate than a landing page because they don’t have to redirect to another platform, and fields are mostly pre-filled. It’s advisable to introduce less than 3 or 4 pre-filled fields. In addition, the content cannot be edited, in case you need to change some information you will have to re-create it.

Estimate the LinkedIn Ads costs:

It’s important to calculate LinkedIn Ads costs and investment to conclude if makes sense to launch the campaign. That’s why we offer you a free funnel template to calculate the costs easily and prevent sales pipeline. Also, for more detailed information, you can read this article.

Calculate the LinkedIn Ads budget:

When the campaign is launched, it is important to test for a few weeks to understand what audience is impacted and, if it’s necessary, finetune the campaign. Also, we recommend setting the automatic CPC when launching the campaign and then change it to the manual option.

Write killer copies with effective visuals:

Keeping users interested until the end of the buyer journey is essential. That’s why we recommend taking into account tips and tricks related to copies and visuals.

Launch retargeting campaigns:

Impact users who previously showed interest in your company. You can reach members that clicked your ad, but they didn’t submit, and also impact those ones that visit your LinkedIn company page. If you want target users who visited your website, you have to integrate a pixel on LinkedIn.

Calculate your active audience

Once your campaign is running for one month, calculate how many users of your target audience are active on LinkedIn. To do this, you can check our post, where we explain it step-by-step.

Understand if it’s feasible to launch a LinkedIn campaign, choose the optimal format, use lead gen forms,
prevent the sales pipeline and calculate the costs, set a good budget strategy and build qualified copies and visuals.

Google Ads

SEM campaigns are more recognised for B2C campaigns than B2B, but they are also a good option. According to Clutch, nearly 90% of B2B customers discovered new B2B products and services from search engines. Also, Google confirms that 90% of B2B researchers who are online use search specifically to research business purchases. Finally, another relevant information provided by Google is that B2B researchers do 12 searches on average prior to engaging on a specific brand’s site. However, before launching a SEM campaign, you need to take into account the following points:

· In some industries, there are highly competitive keywords, such as marketing and finance, where you need to set a CPC of 2€ to 3€, depending on the bid.

· As we mentioned before, SEM campaigns are more recognised for B2C than B2B campaigns. For example, according to Semrush, “women clothes” keyword has a global volume of 492.1k searches and “tourism software” 330. For B2B campaigns, you need to classify your campaigns by niche and choose the optimal keywords for each one. However, it’s a difficult task because sometimes you cannot segment accurately with keywords.

· Google Ads has a limited segmentation capacity as it’s mainly based on keywords. However, you can also target by the following attributes:

Google allows to impact users by demographics as locations, ages, genders and device types.

Also, you use In Market option, which searches users looking for products or services similars than yours.

Affinity audiences find users with specific preferences in related topics.

You can choose custom intent audiences to segment your ad groups for a specific vertical or landing page.

Apart from your segmentation, Google can also impact similar users to your target audience.

Finally, you can launch a remarketing campaign to reach users that have already interacted with your ads, but they didn’t take any action (for example, fil the form).

Despite the above-mentioned points, Google allows getting qualified leads. Also, in case you don’t get conversions on your campaigns, you can try launching new ads, optimise keywords and targeting. Finally, if that doesn’t work either, you can perform a retargeting campaign for those users who are interested, but they didn’t arrive until the final step of the journey.

In order to maximise qualified leads, here are some tips and tricks to follow:

  • · Carry out the keyword strategy: Firstly, it’s important to analyse which keywords are relevant to use for your campaigns. To do that, you must do a previous research to know what your target audience is searching for. Google Ads offers a free tool, which is called, Keyword Plannerthat allows to discover new keywords and get forecasted results. In your keywords strategy include generic keywords, related to services or products, branded keywords, competitor keywords and related keywords to competitors and companies of your industry.
  • · Use negative keywords to avoid unqualified clicks: Google allows to add negative keywords to get closer as much as possible to qualified users. There are some common keywords you probably need to add: job, employment, salary, example, research, and so on.
  • · Choose Search and Display ads formats: When creating Google Ads’ campaign, you need to choose Leads as agoal. Google allows you to choose between the following ad formats: search, display, shopping, video, smart and discovery. For B2B lead generation campaigns, it’s advisable to launch a search ad format to show your ads on search results, and also display ads to put your ads in other sites, videos and apps across the internet.
The B2B lead generation definitive guide
The B2B lead generation definitive guide

Direct your ad to a landing page or Leads extensions:

After clicking the ad, you have two options; direct it to a landing page or create a lead extension. Lead extensions are a form integrated into Beta offered by Google that allows generating leads directly from the ad. Consequently, it replaces the need to redirect users to your website. However, in most cases, we recommend using a landing page for the following reasons:

· The lead extensions are only available for mobile views. So, if a significant portion of the search volume is carried on desktop, then they are not a good option.

· When users click the ad, you should give the reason why they have to fill the form, so, the form’s description space is key.  As lead extensions only allow to add 200 characters, sometimes you might not be able to provide a full explanation.

· On the other hand, lead extensions allow to download leads as CSV and set up a webhook integration, which is an API that allows to send your lead data to your CRM system directly in real-time. Landing pages usually make optimal results than extensions provided by Google.

Write direct and clear copies aimed at your audience:

In a few words, you must achieve your qualified target audience to click the ad and fill the form. So, it’s important to dedicate time thinking about a creative message that emphasises the benefits of your products or services. Also, it’s essential to use the keywords chosen.

The B2B lead generation definitive guide

Concerning the landing page structure, here are some tips:

· Explain clearly your value proposition with an eye-catching title and text: In order to users understand quickly your value proposition, you should focus on writing a clear and concise headline as it’s the first thing they will read.

· Choose an image that fits with your offer: The image should represent your target audience and so the offer. It’s recommended illustrating how users will be after receiving the offer.

· Add a visible Call To Action: You should stand out your CTA. To do that you can use colours that contrast with the landing page. In addition, be clear about you want your target audience to do, so, use an action verb like “submit”, “download”, among others.

· Include the form above the fold: Your users must find the form immediately. It’s not a good practise keeping users searching the form within the landing.

· Insert relevant and short form fields: It’s important only asking what you need. Try to avoid unnecessary fields and focus on the most important ones.

· Confirm that your landing page copy is connected to ad’s copy: The ad and landing page must be related. Consequently, it’s advisable not thinking copies independently as this will cause users to misunderstand the message.

Lead extensions are recommended when the target audience uses mobile devices to search information.

If your target audience does searches equally with desktop and mobile devices, it’s advisable to use both Lead extensions and landing pages

· Monitor your campaigns: You need to check every day that the campaigns are performing well. As you are continuously spending money, you have to make sure you’re making the most of the budget. You mainly need to dedicate your efforts in increasing your Click-through rate (CTR) and conversion rate and decreasing as much as possible the cost per click and the cost per lead.

· Optimise your CPC bids: After launching the campaign, it’s important to analyse on a continuous basis your campaign data. Some keywords may show you a bid recommended because there are competitors with a higher CPC than yours. So, it’s essential to change CPC when this happens. In addition, here are few situations where you should change your bid:

– If a keyword shows a low average CPC but each click has an optimal conversion rate, you should consider increasing the bid.

– On the contrary, some keywords may show a high CPC but doesn’t generate qualified results. In these cases, we recommend reducing the bid.

– Sometimes, there’re specific hours with more traffic, so, you should increase bids in those hours.

Xing Ads

Xing is a networking platform operating in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. There are more than 15 million unique Xing visitors in those countries, specifically 13 million unique visitors in Germany, 1 million in Austria and 1 million in Switzerland. In September 2020, according to Xing results, it registered a total of 303 million impressions in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. In addition, Xing confirms that 47% of the members are decision-makers.

Regarding with member demographics, 47% of Xing users are experienced professionals, 18% managers, 16% executives and 12% senior executives. On the other hand, 35% of users have an university degree and 23% a vocational diploma. Finally, 48% of Xing members have a net monthly household income of 3.000€ or more.

Xing allows running lead generation campaigns with sponsored posts with a lead form (which is very similar to LinkedIn’s lead gen form). Here’s tips and tricks list of Xing Ads lead generation:

Make sure the advertiser has a registered company profile:

You can create it for free in four steps:

· Add the company name under your job experience in your personal Xing profile.

· Click on Companieson the left-hand navigator bar and apply for a free profile.

· Click on Create an employer profileon the top right in the green box.

· On the following page, scroll down to the box Get to know nowand click on Create a free profile.  

Develop the targeting strategy:

When creating a lead form, you first need to define your target audience segmentation strategy. Xing allows to segment through disciplines, career level, job titles, field of study, company size, company name, industries, among others. The Xing Ads targeting tool is quite similar with the LinkedIn Ads one, so, if you are more familiar with the LinkedIn’s one, you can run a similar segmentation strategy. Otherwise, here are all the options that Xing offers:

The B2B lead generation definitive guide

Build clear and strong copies:

In order to keep users reading your ad, it’s important to write an impacting first sentence. Also, you can include questions and data to increase users’ interest. Finally, you must be concise and give value by explaining your offer’s benefits.

Choose attractive images:

The images must fit your copy, it’s essential that your target audience understand at first look the ad and so the offer. That’s why pictures are key; they need to explain the offer, be creative and valuable.

Create lead ad forms:

After building the lead ad, it’s time to think about your form. First, you have to develop a form description to explain what your offer is about, and the benefits users are going to have if they decide to fill the form.

Choose a maximum of four fields:

In contrast with LinkedIn Ads, form fields on Xing are not pre-filled. So, as users don’t usually perceive positively many fields to field, it’s recommended to choose a maximum of four fields to get an optimal conversion rate.

Use a CTA that fits with the ad and form:  

For CTA’s form, Xing Ads Manager takes by default the same CTA selected in the lead ad. So, make sure the CTA matches the ad and the form.

Take into account Xing advertising specifications:

As with the other platforms, there’s a limited character number on copies and image’s specs. On the below we’re going to explain them briefly:

– Lead ad:

· Headline: It can include up to 60 characters.

· Description: You can add a maximum of 120 characters.

· Image: The minimum image size is 1.200 x 612 pix, the image ratio 1,96:1 with a maximum size of 10 MG, JPG or PNG.

– Lead form:

· Headline: The same as the lead ad, it allows to write up to 60 characters.


· Description: It can include up to 250 characters.


· Introductory line: You can insert a maximum of 90 characters.

· Image: The same specs as the lead ad’s image.

· Custom questions: You can add a maximum of 3 questions with 90 characters each.

· Privacy policy URL: It can be used up to 200 characters.

· Privacy policy addition: You can include a privacy policy description with 280 characters.

Implement A/B testing:

We recommend making an A/B testing to analyse which copy or image works better and gets better results.

Build campaigns considering CPA (Cost per Acquisition) in order to be able to manage the investment.
To get a good CPA, you can launch campaigns on different platforms to analyse which gives the best CPA.

6. Vertical platforms to generate B2B leads

After mentioning which platforms we recommend for launching B2B lead generation campaigns, below is a list of platforms for B2B lead generation by vertical. Typically, companies and clients register on these platforms to hire and sell their products or services. So, if you decide to log in, most clients you’ll contact are looking to buy products and services like yours. As a result, it will be easier to find qualified customers.

Sortlist:

This platform allows to marketing agencies get qualified leads. Companies that need marketing services go to Sortlist to find which agency fits their needs. So, if your company works in marketing or communication, we recommend considering this platform. On the below, we explain some best practices to consider when setting up your company profile.

  • · Choose precise services: Sortlist will give a better ranking to those agencies that specifies accurately their services. In addition, if you want to rank on a specific audience, we recommend analysing your competitors to know which services you need to select.

· Publish your works: In order to justify why companies should hire your services, it’s important to show your works. The more works you upload, the better rank you’ll get. Also, it’s advisable to share the following information of your works:

Context

Goals

Strategy

Execution

Results

Get customers’ reviews: Agencies with good reviews get better rank results. In addition, it’s a good way to achieve your target audience to trust you.

Wontech:

Wontech is a platform that helps companies to find the right IT provider for their projects or needs to solve. This platform allows to show the proposals in a neutral way to assure customers which company will cover their expectations. In addition, using the platform both parties can save time in the decision process. Having said that, we’re going to explain some best practices:

· Specify all your capabilities: As an IT company, it’s important to explain which services your company can provide and which not. In addition, consider writing your services in. colloquial language, as some clients may not have technical knowledge.

· Find differentiating features: As a company you should find the added value to offer and your competition does not.

Callbox:

Here, this platform works differently as the other ones mentioned above. Callbox has extensive contact databases from different industries. When they know which specific target of the industry you want to contact, they start connecting with them and setting appointments with you. They provide this service for telecommunication, IT, software products, medical & healthcare, marketing & advertising, business products & services, human resources, management consulting, financial services and manufacturing & distribution. Now, let’s see some best practices:

· Target your audience accurately: In order to get the most qualified leads, you must be precise when targeting your audience. The more accurate you are in your segmentation, the more likely you are to get B2B qualified leads.

· Optimise your targeting definition: It is essential to know the results continuously. As a result, if the leads obtained are not qualified, you can optimise your segmentation definition to get optimal results.

Demand Monster:

This platform works in the same way as Callbox. In this case, Demand Monster works with the following industries: telecommunication, advertising, consulting, education & training, financial services, healthcare, hospitality, IT, logistics, retail, merchant services, software, manufacturing & distribution, real estate and agriculture.

· Set a precise segmentation definition: As with Callbox, you need to develop an accurate target audience definition to get efficient results. In addition, remember to optimise your targeting too if it’s necessary!

Real Estate Leads:

In this case, the platform offers leads from the real estate industry. As the buying process is commonly harder and longer, they provide several services to accelerate the purchase.

· Analyse the service you need: The software provides four services. The more leads you want, the more expensive will be. That’s why you need to check how many leads you need for your business.

7. The importance of lead nurturing and lead scoring

After generating new leads, it’s important to keep developing strategies to maintain them and maximise sales opportunities, and also build a long-term relationship. In addition, it’s recommended to analyse how interested leads are and how they are likely to be ready to buy your product or service. It is important not to invest all your resources in acquiring leads and to focus on nurturing and scoring as well. We mention this because:

  • · Lead nurturing and lead scoring are less expensive.
  • · It’s even more important to turn your leads into customers than just getting new ones.

To do that, you must develop a lead nurturing & lead scoring strategy. Let’s see both activities and some key tips and tricks.

In order to understand both concepts and their differences, see on the below a comparative table between lead scoring and lead nurturing.

7.1. Lead nurturing: Tips and tricks

Before introducing lead nurturing activities and best practices, we need to understand why it’s important to consider lead nurturing to the campaign plan:

· According to Marketing Sherpa, 73% of leads are not ready to buy when they first give their contact details.

· Companies that implement lead nurturing make 50% more sales, according to Marketo.

· Marketo also states that nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than unnurtured leads.

· Nurtured leads experience a 23% shorter sales cycle, as reported by Market2Lead.

· Finally, Demand Gen Report confirms that only a 35% of B2B marketers have established a lead nurturing strategy, so if you decide to implement it, you gain a competitive advantage.

In order to nurture your generated leads, it’s advisable you follow these key recommendations:

Align your sales and marketing departments:

Marketing department takes care of generating new leads, and the sales one deals with them. That’s why it’s essential both departments are aligned as the leads’ flow between both departments will be faster. As a result, conversion opportunities will be higher.

Create leads groups:

You cannot give the same message to all your leads. So, it’s suggested to create different leads groups based on, for example, their industry, location, stage of the journey and problem they have.

Build an automated content plan:

You first need to analyse on which stage your leads are located to create the appropriate content and also plan which content you are going to give when leads move on the next stages of the journey. In addition, your team should classify the leads on which goals, interests and needs they have. As a result, the more automated and customised your content is, the more qualified result you are going to get. After explaining it, let’s see how to build an automated content plan step-by-step:

· Decide what you want to automate: You can use tools like Google Alerts to find content using your target audience keywords. In addition, check which content of your company has more traffic and engagement to include it on your plan.

· Define the workflow process: Here, you need to classify the content according to the leads’ stage. For example, for recent leads that don’t have a clear image of your company, offer more educational content. On the other hand, those who have already received content and know your company offer them more specific and solution-focused content.

· Set your touchpoints: You need to decide how you’re going to communicate with your leads (for example, email, website, social media, etc). Based on our experience, the main touchpoints your lead nurturing strategy should include are the email, a pricing page to check how many leads are considering your solutions, popups with specific offers and your social networks.

· Automate your email marketing: Send specific emails to your leads, and, if users click to links, but they don’t perform any activity, give another specific content. On the contrary, if users click the links and also carry out an action (i.e., fill a form), send another email with a relevant offer.

· Carry out retargeting campaigns: Finally, you can also launch a retargeting campaign for those leads who give their contact details, but they didn’t carry out any other activity with your company.

Use more than one channel:

Typically, when you think about a lead nurturing plan, the first thing that comes to mind is an email nurturing. This technique indeed helps to the nurturing process, but a multi-channel strategy will be more effective. We recommend combining different activities of nurturing, like email marketing, social media retargeting and search retargeting.

Think about their interests:

You need first to think about their problem to after giving possible solutions. You can provide them different alternatives with their pros and cons. Then, it’s recommended to give an advice based on what you would choose. As a result, if you give them a personalised attention, they are more likely to convert into customers.

Consider using videos:

In your emails, you can provide extra value by sharing videos. Nowadays, people prefer seeing videos rather than text. So, this can be a critical step to close a deal.

Follow-up your leads on time:

According to HubSpot, companies that develop follow-up plan with their leads, have 7 seven times meaningful conversation. That’s why it’s important to do a follow-up with the incoming leads on a continuous basis. Sending an email or calling leads in the right moment will be more effective because it increases the opportunities to convert them into qualified sales when leads are contacted immediately. Also, it’s necessary to plan the call or email previously to get the best results.  

To build an optimal lead nurturing plan, make sure that:
Your sales and marketing departments are aligned.
Develop a content plan to follow-up your new leads combining more than one activity.

7.2. Lead scoring: Tips and tricks

The aim of creating a lead scoring strategy is to identify which leads are ready to the purpose and which ones need a nurturing process. Here we mention more reasons to develop lead scoring:

  • · 70% of leads are lost due to poor follow-up, according to Gartner. Lead scoring helps to rank qualified leads in order to nurture them or convert them to
  • · According to Aberdeen Research, companies that get a right lead scoring have a 192% higher average lead qualification rate than those that do not.
  • · A research of 10 B2B companies done by Eloqua, confirms that deal close rates increased by 30%, company revenue by +18% and the revenue per deal by +17%.
  • · Using lead scoring provides a 77% boost in lead generation ROI, according to Marketing Sherpa.

To build an optimal lead scoring strategy, you must consider the following key recommendations. If you’re not familiar with the lead scoring concept, you can read this post from Hubspot. In addition, you can check the lead scoring guide from Outfunnel.

Set thresholds:

First, it’s essential to define your thresholds, in other words, to set the different stages of your sales process. Usually, these stages are prospect, lead, MQL (or Marketing Qualified Lead) and SQL (Sales Qualified Lead). After that, you need to assign points to each stage.

Lead scoring: Tips and tricks

Score leads by demographic data:

Setting points on demographic information helps to know and focus on those leads that fit with your product or service. The common attributes to consider are seniority, department, market, annual revenue, location and job title.

Create different lead scoring for product or service:

If your company has more than one product or service to sell, we advise creating scoring models for each product or service. Consequently, this allows you to make sure that scores reflect the leads’ quality accurately.

Specify the scores according to activities’ importance:

You need to set specific scores to activities according to their importance. For example, visiting a landing page to purchase a service or a product will not have the same value as accessing a blog post.

Use negative scoring:

We recommend using positive and negative scoring in order to differentiate better which leads are qualified. For example, if a lead is continuously visiting your website, but only accesses to your career’s page, he/she will probably be a job seeker. So, in this case, you will have to add a negative score.

Don’t add points for opened emails:

An opened email indicates engagement with your company, but it’s not the most important metric. Users sometimes open the email by accident, or they see the email, but don’t read it. Opened links or response rate are more relevant metrics to be scored.

Decrease the score for inactivity:

First, a lead can obtain a high score because he/she downloaded content, visit several pages, among others. However, if you see that this lead had a long period of inactivity, update the score by decreasing it. 

Test the model:

Before running the lead scoring model, we highly recommend testing it before. To do this, you can take a sampling of customer records and run it. Then, you can compare results between your model and leads’ response. If results are not closer to reality, continue performing it.

Finally, if you want to develop a lead scoring strategy, we invite you to download our free template!

To build an optimal lead scoring plan, make sure that:

Set the different stages of your sales process.

Provide positive and negative scores. Before launching, remember always testing the scoring model.

8. [Checklist] Steps to launch a LinkedIn Ads campaign

With this guide we wanted to give you our information to help you to create and launch an optimal B2B lead generation campaign. Based on our experience, the B2B lead gen strategy is key for B2B companies, so, it’s important to understand how to build it.

Here, we sum up with the most important key points:

1.- Build a complete Buyer Persona and Ideal Customer Profile considering their differences.

2.- Set the buyer journey with their corresponding strategies.

3.- Choose which offers you’re going to provide.

4.- Pick the platform that best suits your needs.

5.-Implement lead nurturing and lead scoring following the key recommendations.

Finally, this guide concludes with a checklist to take into account all the elements to launch a B2B lead generation campaign, which you can download here.

For any questions or opportunities to carry out a B2B lead generation with us, we’re here to help!