How to Create and Execute a Successful Lead Generation Strategy (B2B)

If you are a B2B startup with limited marketing resources and want to bring in new business, you need an effective process of identifying potential customers for your product or service. This is known as a lead generation strategy. A lead is anyone who has expressed interest in your product or service.

Follow these four steps for effective lead generation:

1. Research your target market and customer persona 2. Focus on one or more lead generation strategies
3. Convert leads to prospects 4. Measure your success

1. Research your target market and customer persona

Examine carefully who is buying your product or service. Even if there are only a few buyers, it is worthwhile to study them because this will help you determine who your best customers are.

To find your similar customers, ask the following questions:

  • In which geographic location do you want to sell your product or service?
  • What are the similarities between these customers? (For example, employee count, revenue, etc.)
  • Are they all in a specific industry?
  • Are the users and decision-makers the same or different?

2. Focus on one or more lead generation strategies

Once you’ve identified your ideal customer, you need to decide which lead generation strategy to use.

(a) Inbound lead generation strategies: This entails developing content and campaigns to attract website visitors and convert them into leads. Inbound leads can be obtained from the following sources:

Focus your efforts on content that attracts the best inbound leads based on your goals and buyer personas. Include a link that will take your viewers to an opt-in form, landing page or other relevant information for lead generation.

(b) Outbound lead generation strategies: If you want to raise brand awareness quickly, pursue new demographics or close sales faster, an outbound lead generation strategy is the way to go. This entails contacting your prospect regardless of whether they have requested it or expressed an interest in any of the following tactics:

  • Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising
  • Radio and television advertisements
  • Billboards, flyers and leaflets
  • Cold outreach

If you have limited financial resources, rather than pursuing advertising strategies, first consider a cold outreach strategy, which entails sourcing leads, collecting the contact information of your potential clients, and then connecting with potential leads.

To generate a lead list, startups can use one or more of the following tools and techniques:

  • Paid databases (Zoominfo, and Crunchbase)
  • Professional social networks (LinkedIn)
  • Company websites and social media websites
  • B2B directories (Yelp, Yellow Pages, Kompass, etc.)

If you want to generate a list of leads for your business, check out MaRS MI Lead Generation Service.

3. Convert leads to prospects

You now have a lead list generated through an inbound and/or outbound strategy. You must decide which outreach methods you will use to contact your prospects:

Whichever method you choose:

  • Avoid using automation for every email; be sure to personalize your message.
  • Choose wisely the time and day you are contacting your lead. Based on research, calls made on Wednesdays and Thursdays led to higher rates of lead qualification. Contacting leads between 9 and 11 a.m. or at the end of the day (between 4 and 6 p.m.) has proven to be the most effective.
  • Run A/B tests to figure out what works best for you. Try such simple tricks as changing the subject line, outreach method, content type, etc.

4. Measure your success

As management guru Peter Drucker once said, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” Similarly, evaluating your lead generation efforts provides deeper and more comprehensive insights into actual performance. Consider such key performance indicators as lead conversion rate, cost per lead, customer acquisition cost, ROI and so on to assess your efforts and make necessary changes to your lead generation strategy and tactics.

No two businesses’ lead generation processes are alike. Before beginning your lead generation efforts, consider:

  • Your knowledge of your ideal target audience
  • The urgency of obtaining results
  • The budget for a particular lead generation campaign

Choose an outbound strategy if you need immediate results and have limited resources. Use both inbound and outbound strategies if you have resources and flexibility.