How do you generate B2B leads? I looked at 2,000 plans that we have in the database for Go-To-Market. I looked at 500 Go-To-Market projects that were done over the last nearly 20 years, and every single one of them is really different, and yet the pattern is super-clear. There are just 6 steps. Let me share them with you now.
Firstly, B2B is different than B2C, and I just do not know what works in consumer marketing, but I do know what works to generate more B2B leads, and there are just 6 steps.
- Get super clear about what problem you are trying to solve.
- Who has that problem?
- Work out what angle on that problem they care about the most. Work out what language they want to use.
- Advertise to buyers who are looking and those who should be.
- Recycle using your blog and/or remarketing to a second asset.
- Outbound only to your very, very best targets.
It is this simple! It is about finding a small number of things and doing these incredibly well. Drop everything else, that are not those things, as these will waste your time and money. This is how to succeed in generating B2B leads.
Below are the aforementioned six steps, in further detail, to help you generate B2B leads:
Get super clear about what problem you want to solve
List all the problems you could solve, and rate them in terms of:
- How much pain they cause.
- How well you solve them.
Choose the one problem that is the most painful. Do this together with Sales, Marketing and Product Development, who all need to have the same view about what problem you are going to solve.
Who has that problem?
Many do, or could, but what kind of business does this really hurt? List out the type of businesses which most have that problem, and the role within those businesses who most have this problem. Again, do this together, as Sales and Marketing need to have the same view about who has this problem the most, and therefore who you are going to target the most.
What angle, on that problem, do they care about the most?
You could use research or A/B tests to determine the angle of this problem, or even just the articulation of the problem which resonates most with your market. There is simply no point trying to trouble the market about the language that you want them to use. Certainly, you can be doggedly focused on a single problem, but what matters is how they articulate that problem. You get to choose the problem. They get to choose the language. It matters!
Advertise to buyers looking and those who should be
Some part of your market are already looking for a solution to that problem. For them, you are going to advertise, and you will most likely use search advertising because it captures intent. If they are already looking, you can place an ad in front of them for that phrase. If they are not already looking, and they match your demographic or firmographic, these ads will be different. In this case, this is the buyer who you want to show a display ad to. Importantly, have different ads to those who are searching for a solution and those who are not looking but should be. Respect where the buyer is up to in their journey currently, with your ad.
In the landing page, you are going to transition the buyer from that point to a piece of content. The content will dig deeper into the problem. However, again, ensure that your landing page moves the buyer from whatever the ad said to whatever the content call to action is. Respect where the buyer is, and where you need to get them to. Your landing page will sell them on a piece of content which generates a trigger campaign. Ultimately, we want to get the buyer on a content journey, regardless of whether they came from a display ad because you knew that the buyer should be troubled about the problem, or whether they came from a search ad because they are troubled about the problem and are searching. To achieve this, you need to show a great piece of content that is highly relevant to the problem that you solve. You will then send this via a string of emails. Whatever format this takes, you want to earn the right to send your prospect multiple emails, and not just one.
In the landing page, it does not say, “Here’s your asset.” Rather, it says, “Asset is on its way to the email address that you just gave me, but by the way, do you want to talk about it right now?” Following this, you would give them a form to say, “Sure, I’d like to have a chat now.” Very few prospects will, but not zero. Therefore it is worth offering this to them now.
Following this, when the asset comes out in their first email, you would say, “Great! Here’s the asset as promised. By the way, would you like to have a chat?” Keep offering those emails relevant to the piece of content, but also request a conversation. Remember, you are trying to obtain a lead, who is somebody who wants to talk about the problem that you solve. Therefore, keep asking. Five or six times is perfectly okay.
Recycle using your blog and/or remarketing to a second asset
Some of those people who went to your landing page, or just your website generally, but did not fill in the form indicating that they would like the asset, may do so later. However, they may like a second test. So create a second asset, and with this, you need to develop a second landing page and a second string of emails. Offer, all those who did not take the first invitation to the first asset, a second one using remarketing. If you do not have their email address, then use Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter remarketing to re-offer the second asset. If you do have their email address, then you can send them your blog. The blog will contain great content that is highly relevant to the problem that you solve. So have a short teaser email, and take them to the webpage that offers more of the content. Then at the bottom of your blog, you are going to re-offer that second asset over and over and over again.
You do not require massive click-throughs. When the buyer is ready, they will click through. You do not need to be a pushy salesman. However, do not fail to make a compelling offer. Write your blog so that it leads logically to a conclusion, where the asset offer makes sense rather than being a silly add-on.
Outbound to only our best targets
Finally, to generate B2B leads, we are going to outbound, but only to our very best prospects. Research these prospects so you can be super targeted in your approach to them. Grab their email addresses, and advertise to them using social beforehand to warm them up so that the email is not completely out of the blue. Get some coaching before you send the email, and perhaps you know somebody who knows them who could introduce you – a normal professional introduction. It does not have to be through LinkedIn, but this is a great platform to find people who are connected.
When you finally go outbound to them, ensure that your approach is highly targeted. We use a term from Miller Heiman, called the VBR (Valid Business Reason). This is about working out why they need to meet you, and placing this in your email. Of note, I have mentioned email throughout this blog. However your cold approach can be either a test email, letter or phone, and then they are warmed up by either coaching or social advertising.
To reiterate, I have explored 2,000 plans in our database, and I have reflected on 500 projects that were done over nearly 20 years. Every plan is different, but the pattern is super clear and super simple.
Again, here are those 6 steps to generate B2B leads:
- Get super clear about what problem you want to solve.
- Who has that problem the most?
- Work out the angle on the problem that they care about.
- Advertise to buyers who are looking and those who should be. Remember, the ad needs to respect what they are thinking, but the landing page gets them from that thought to troubling them, and it invites them to a content download. Your trigger campaign starts to transition them from content to content, i.e., the first part of the email says, “Hey, how did you find that asset?” It may be a white paper or an eBook. The end of that email says, “Let’s talk.”
- Recycle using your blog and/or remarketing to a second asset.
- Outbound only to your best targets that you have warmed up, researched, got coached on and contacted via either letter, email or phone.
In your funnel plan, we have placed templated tactics for all sorts of different businesses, SaaS businesses, enterprise, field sales-based businesses, and small businesses. Choose the template that reflects the tactics that are closest to the kind of business that you are in. If you are in a paid plan, you will be able to edit the tactics themselves. If you are in a trial plan, you can just choose from the template, which is good enough.
If you do not already have a funnel plan, get yourself a free trial here, and start to play with some tactics, which you can change, on the template level at least.
- Claudia Ivanka for production
- Hannah Sivalingam for supervising
- Hugh Macfarlane for scripting and presenting this week’s show