February 23, 2024

B2B Lead Generation in 2024: How AI Has Changed the Game

What Is B2B Lead Generation?

B2B (business-to-business) lead generation is the process of identifying, qualifying, and nurturing potential customers for a company's products or services. The goal is to turn cold prospects into new sales opportunities by capturing their interest early in the buyer's journey.

At its core, B2B lead generation involves producing qualified leads that sales teams can follow up on and convert into paying customers. But it requires a much more personalized and targeted approach compared to B2C (business-to-consumer) lead generation.

Some key differences between B2B and B2C lead generation include:

  • Buying process - The B2B buying process is longer and involves multiple decision-makers weighing in. B2C purchases are often more impulse-driven.
  • Purchase motivation - B2B buyers are driven by business needs, ROI, and solving problems. B2C buyers have more emotional motivations.
  • Sales cycle - B2B sales cycles are complex, averaging 3-9 months. B2C sales happen almost instantly by comparison.
  • Personalization - B2B marketing requires customized messaging appealing to each prospect's needs. B2C marketing uses broader messaging.
  • Relationship-based - Building strong relationships over time is crucial for B2B. B2C relies more on one-time transactions.
  • Targeting - B2B targets a niche audience of specialized roles at companies. B2C targets a broader consumer demographic.
  • Budgets - B2B marketing budgets are larger to accommodate the higher customer acquisition costs. B2C budgets vary greatly by product.

With its longer sales cycles and relationship-focused approach, B2B lead generation requires in-depth research into target accounts, fine-tuned nurturing campaigns, and thoughtful positioning of products/services during outreach.

The goal is to engage stakeholders as early as possible when needs arise.

Effective B2B Lead Generation Tactics

Lead generation is the lifeblood of any successful B2B company. Without a steady flow of qualified leads entering your sales funnel, it's nearly impossible to grow revenue.

The two primary categories of lead generation are inbound and outbound. Inbound refers to leads that come to you organically, attracted through content, social media, SEO and other passive channels.

Outbound means proactively identifying and contacting potential buyers through emails, calls, events and more. An effective B2B lead generation strategy requires a balanced mix of inbound and outbound tactics.

Inbound Lead Generation

Inbound lead generation leverages educational content to attract prospects. This content serves buyers throughout their journey, building awareness and desire for your solutions. From blogs to whitepapers, webinars to case studies, inbound content provides value while positioning your brand as a trusted partner.

To maximize inbound leads, focus on topics that resonate with your target accounts. Optimize content for organic search, promote it on social media, and gate premium assets behind lead capture forms. Measure content performance to double down on what works. Integrate marketing automation to capture and nurture inbound leads.

Outbound Lead Generation

Outbound lead generation takes a more active approach through campaigns like email, phone, events, and ads. Building targeted prospect lists and executing personalized outreach at scale is labor intensive without automation. Outbound complements inbound by proactively driving opportunities with qualified accounts.

Leverage intent data to identify accounts exhibiting buyer signals. Segment your database by firmographic and behavioral attributes for targeted campaigns. Craft compelling subject lines and messaging to cut through the noise. Automate follow-up sequences to persist contact attempts. Outbound and inbound work best together, where content primes prospects for outbound engagement.

To learn more, check out this post on how to automate outbound.

B2B Lead Generation Strategies

The B2B sales landscape is constantly evolving. To stay ahead of the competition and boost sales, B2B marketers need to adapt their lead generation strategies.

The key is combining innovative new tactics with proven traditional methods that still deliver results.

Here are 20 cutting-edge B2B lead generation strategies:

Content Syndication

Content Syndication involves repurposing and sharing your best content through strategic partnerships, thereby bringing your brand in front of new audiences. This expands your reach and increases the possibility of generating more B2B leads. It's like giving your content a second life and reaching potential customers who might have been missed the first time.

Predictive Lead Scoring

Predictive Lead Scoring uses data and AI to identify accounts with the highest sales potential, allowing you to focus your efforts on high-value prospects. With this technique, you can prioritize leads based on their likelihood to convert, improving efficiency and increasing conversion rates.

Anonymous Website Visitors

Leveraging data from anonymous website visitors can help target and convert such website traffic. By gathering their behavioral data and serving them personalized content, anonymous visitors to your site can be transformed into known prospects. This can significantly boost your lead generation efforts as a significant amount of website traffic often remains anonymous.

Peer-to-Peer Referrals

Peer-to-Peer Referrals is a strategy where you reward existing customers for referring you to new prospects. This not only maintains the satisfaction of existing customers but also turns these customers into potential lead generators for your business. This approach leverages the trust built with existing customers to attract new leads, thus reinforcing your brand's credibility and reliability in the B2B landscape.

Retargeting Ads

Retargeting Ads offer an opportunity to win back visitors who left your site without converting by displaying targeted ads across various channels. This strategy reminds these potential customers about your products or services and entices them to return to your site, increasing the likelihood of conversion and improving your lead generation efforts.

ABM for Target Accounts

Account-Based Marketing (ABM) for target accounts involves creating personalized campaigns tailored to penetrate high-value target accounts. By focusing on a select group of prospects, ABM can deliver highly targeted content that resonates with your target audience, increasing the chances of conversion and boosting overall lead generation.

Video Marketing

Video Marketing engages leads with branded videos showcasing your solutions, customer success stories, and other relevant content. This visually appealing and dynamic format grabs your audience's attention, provides valuable information, and can significantly enhance your B2B lead generation efforts by leaving a lasting impression on the viewer.

Chatbots for Lead Nurturing

Deploying chatbots on your site enables you to qualify leads 24/7 and deliver personalized messaging at scale. By automating conversations and handling routine queries, chatbots can nurture leads, save time and resources, and increase efficiency in your lead generation strategy.

Lead Nurturing Workflows

Lead Nurturing Workflows involve automating the lead nurturing process by delivering tailored content to each lead based on their interests and activity. This targeted approach ensures that prospects receive relevant information at the right time, all the while saving your team time and effort. With effective lead nurturing workflows, you can convert leads into customers more efficiently and increase overall B2B lead generation.

Retargeting Ads

Retargeting Ads help to lure back visitors who left your site without converting. They can be a crucial part of your lead generation campaigns, as they target individuals who've already shown interest in your offerings. Through retargeting, you can nudge these potential leads back into your sales process, increasing your chances of converting them into sales qualified leads.

Sales Content Offering

Sales Content Offering involves presenting premium, gated content in exchange for lead contact information, which acts as a powerful lead magnet. This permission-based approach provides you with marketing qualified leads ready for follow-ups and further nurturing by the sales team. It's an effective way of generating leads using valuable informational resources.

PR Outreach

PR Outreach involves building relationships with industry media contacts. By pitching relevant stories, you can gain industry coverage, increasing your brand's visibility. It's a strategic way of positioning yourself as a thought leader in your industry, generating leads and increasing sales qualified leads through increased brand trust and credibility.

Email List Growth

Focusing on Email List Growth means strengthening your email marketing efforts. A larger, engaged subscriber list translates into a more effective lead generation machine for your business. Email marketing allows for personalized communication with your potential leads, subtly guiding them through the sales process and encouraging them towards becoming a sales qualified lead.

Social Selling

In Social Selling, you use platforms like LinkedIn to identify prospects based on job title and other attributes, and gradually build connections. By fostering relationships, engaging in meaningful discussions, and sharing valuable content, you turn these connections into marketing qualified leads and eventually into sales qualified leads.

Live Video Broadcasting

Live Video Broadcasting involves using live videos to engage audiences, showcase your thought leadership, and generate more inbound leads. Live broadcasts offer real-time interaction, catching the attention of prospects instantly. This can be a powerful tool for generating leads by providing immediate value and subsequently driving viewers further into your sales process.

  • Sales-Marketing Alignment - Ensure sales and marketing work together to capture and nurture every promising lead.
  • Referral Incentive Programs - Motivate existing customers to recommend your brand to their networks by offering rewards.
  • Industry Partnerships - Partner with complementary brands in your industry to cross-promote content and co-host events.
  • Site Personalization - Customize site experience and content for each visitor to better attract and engage their interests.
  • Customer Advocacy - Turn satisfied customers into advocates who actively promote your brand to their networks.
  • AI Chatbots - Implement AI chatbots for 24/7 conversational experiences that qualify and nurture leads.

Combining the latest digital tactics with proven traditional strategies gives B2B marketers an expansive lead generation playbook for sales success in 2023. Taking an innovative and multi-channel approach is key for cutting through the noise to connect with high-quality prospects.

30+ Ways to Generate More B2B Sales Leads

Generating high-quality leads is crucial for the success of any B2B company. But with the vast array of lead generation tactics available, it can be challenging to determine the most effective strategies for your specific business.

This comprehensive guide outlines the top 30+ proven ways to generate more B2B sales leads and accelerate revenue growth:

  1. Optimize Your Website for Lead Generation - Ensure your website content speaks to your target personas and prompts them to take action through clear calls-to-action, lead magnets, live chat integration, etc.
  2. Guest Post on Industry Blogs - Craft informative guest posts with embedded calls-to-action and publish them on reputable industry blogs. Include a link back to your site.
  3. Conduct Direct Outreach - Identify key prospects through market research and conduct personalized outreach via email or phone. Focus on education and value.
  4. Create Gated Content - Develop premium content like ebooks, whitepapers, or webinars that prospects can access by providing their contact info.
  5. Host Virtual Events - Webinars, seminars, and virtual summits position your brand as an industry leader and help capture leads.
  6. Sponsor Live Events - Sponsoring or exhibiting at live industry events gets you face-to-face with prospects.
  7. Leverage Social Media - Promote content and run paid LinkedIn ads targeting your ideal titles and accounts.
  8. Send Sales Emails - Well-crafted sales emails sent to targeted prospect lists can generate new opportunities. Follow up persistently.
  9. Implement Retargeting Ads - Remarket to engaged website visitors by serving them ads on other sites through platforms like Google/Facebook.
  10. Build Referral Programs - Incentivize existing customers to refer new prospects by offering rewards when referrals convert.
  11. Run Pay-Per-Click Ads - Tools like Google Ads allow you to run PPC campaigns targeting keyword searches from your personas.
  12. Join LinkedIn Groups - Participate in relevant LinkedIn Groups to connect with your audience and position yourself as a thought leader.
  13. Use Chatbots - Chatbots can engage website visitors in real-time and direct qualified leads to sales reps.
  14. Launch Twitter Campaigns - Run Twitter campaigns targeting keywords your audience searches and start conversations that convert.
  15. Implement Lead Nurturing - Follow up with prospects through email/content until they are sales ready. Automate workflows with a CRM.
  16. Network at Industry Events - Attend conferences, meetups, etc. to connect in-person with prospects and generate interest. Collect business cards.
  17. Recruit Content Contributors - Guest blog posts and contributor content helps expand your reach to new audiences.
  18. Claim & Optimize Listings - Ensure list/directory sites have up-to-date info on your business and links point back to your website.
  19. Strategize with SEO Keywords - Work high-value keywords into landing pages and blog content to get found in organic search.
  20. Leverage PR - Earn media coverage through new product announcements and contributed articles to build brand authority.
  21. Conduct Surveys/Research - Share survey results and industry research as lead magnets in exchange for contact info.
  22. Monitor Reviews - Respond promptly to reviews on sites like G2 Crowd and ensure your listings present your brand positively.
  23. Create Video Content - Engaging video content helps make your brand relatable and human while capturing leads.
  24. Use Retargeting Pixels - Install pixels on your site to enable ad retargeting and track conversions from your campaigns.
  25. Publish on LinkedIn - Publishing long-form posts on LinkedIn establishes your expertise and generates inbound interest.
  26. Advertise in Targeted Publications - Advertisements in industry publications align you with authoritative brands and engage prospects.
  27. Join Relevant Facebook Groups - Participate in niche Facebook Groups related to your offerings to connect with prospects.
  28. Sponsor a Podcast - Sponsoring sought-after podcasts exposes your brand to engaged listeners interested in your niche.
  29. Run Facebook Lead Ads - Highly targeted Facebook Lead Ads deliver leads interested in your offers directly to your inbox.
  30. Implement Live Chat - Live chat allows for real-time prospect engagement and lead capture right on your website.
  31. Offer Free Trials - Providing free access to your products incentivizes prospects to sign-up and experience your offering.
  32. Prioritize Customer Referrals - Tap into your happiest customers and offer incentives for referrals and case studies.

The tactics that will work best depend entirely on your business model, products, resources, and target audience. Conduct market research, analyze competitors, and diligently track results to determine the optimal mix of lead generation strategies to implement for maximum conversion and sales success. Test new approaches, evaluate performance, and double down on what delivers.

B2B Lead Generation: The Old Way

Implementing a comprehensive lead generation system is crucial for driving sales growth.

Here is a step-by-step process for setting up an effective system:

  1. Identify your target audience. Conduct market research to determine who your ideal customers are. Define their demographics, pain points, and needs.
  2. Set your lead generation goals. Establish specific, measurable goals for leads generated and sales closed from those leads.
  3. Map the buyer's journey. Outline the typical path prospects take from initial awareness to becoming a customer.
  4. Choose lead generation channels. Select channels like email, content marketing, events, referrals, ads, etc. based on where your audience is most active.
  5. Create lead magnets. Develop offers like free trials, demos, consultations, guides, etc. that provide value in exchange for contact details.
  6. Build lead capture forms. Insert forms on your website, landing pages, and ads to collect information from prospects.
  7. Set up lead scoring. Grade incoming leads based on engagement metrics to identify hottest prospects.
  8. Enable lead routing. Assign new leads to the appropriate sales rep or nurture workflow based on lead score.
  9. Set up lead nurturing. Create email sequences, content offers, and other touches to build relationships with prospects.
  10. Track KPIs. Monitor metrics like lead volume, cost per lead, lead velocity, conversion rate, etc. to optimize efforts.

The most important metrics to track are lead to customer conversion rate, cost per lead, sales pipeline generated, and ultimately revenue produced. Measure against goals regularly.

How AI Workflows Enhance B2B Lead Generation

Generative AI took the world by storm last year. But for the most part, people are using this technology for one-off tasks, like writing a LinkedIn post or generating ad copy.

The true key to unlocking AI for business, however, is about automating processes rather than tasks. That's where Copy.ai Workflows come into play.

Copy.ai Workflows help automate many of the tedious, manual aspects of B2B lead generation. Here are a few concrete examples of how.  

1. Identify Your Target Audience

Instead of manually conducting market research, input your existing customer information into Copy.ai. The AI tool can generate customer profiles based on various factors such as job title, industry, size of company, etc.

It will also use Natural Language Processing to understand their needs and pain points. In the end, this will help you create better content that attracts the types of leads you want.

2. Map the Buyer's Journey

Use data-backed insights from Copy.ai instead of manually mapping the buyer's journey. The AI tools will identify patterns and behaviors, outlining the most common paths taken by successful leads.

3. Create Lead Magnets

Generate eye-catching, valuable content offers with AI, such as guides, eBooks, free trials, and more.

It will enhance your content marketing for lead capture, but can be more personalized as AI better understands each customer persona you're reaching.

4. Set Up Lead Scoring

Eliminate manual lead scoring process. Use AI to grade incoming leads based on engagement and behavior, assisting in identifying the most promising leads.

5. Enable Lead Routing

Automate lead assignment based on lead scores. Copy.ai will distribute leads to the appropriate team member or sales process via email, Slack, or any other internal communication tool you're working with.

6. Set Up Lead Nurturing

Automating email sequences and content offers is easy with Copy.ai Workflows. It can personalize messages dynamically, enhancing engagement and conversion rates. Plus, it does all of this at scale.

That means you can connect Copy.ai with a tool like Salesforce and have automated content created to bring new leads down the pipeline, depending on where they currently exist in your sales funnel.

B2B Lead Generation Tools and Software

With the rise of digital marketing, there are now many tools and software platforms available to assist with B2B lead generation efforts.

These range from CRMs and marketing automation tools to more specialized lead gen software.

CRMs

CRMs like Salesforce, HubSpot, Zoho CRM, and Pipedrive help centralize lead data and enable sales teams to track prospects from initial outreach to close.

Built-in functionality like email automation and campaign tracking provide the foundation for many lead generation activities.

Marketing Automation

Marketing automation platforms like Marketo, Eloqua, and Pardot allow for highly customized nurturing campaigns, lead scoring, and integration of various marketing channels. Sophisticated segmentation and workflows can be set up to target relevant messaging to prospects.

LinkedIn Tools

LinkedIn tools like Sales Navigator and Lead Gen Forms leverage the professional social network for outbound prospecting and inbound lead capture. Features include advanced search, auto-messaging, and gated content offers.

Lead Intelligence Tools

Lead intelligence tools like DiscoverOrg, ZoomInfo, and LeadGenius compile extensive databases of prospect contact information that can be used for targeted outreach. Lead enrichment and list-building are the primary use cases.

Landing Page Builders

Landing page and gated content builders like Unbounce, LeadPages, and Instapage facilitate the creation of teasers and offers to generate and capture inbound leads. A/B testing can optimize conversion rates.

Email Marketing Tools

Email tools like MailChimp, Constant Contact, SendinBlue, and GetResponse help create, segment, automate, and track email campaigns focused on driving prospect engagement. High deliverability rates aid with outbound efforts.

Direct Response Tools

Direct mail tools like Sendoso, PFL, and Printfection enable the creation of personalized, high-quality print collateral to integrate into multichannel nurturing sequences.

The key is identifying the right mix of tools for your business depending on your lead generation strategies, budgets, and internal processes.

Copy.ai Workflows can then integrate with these tools to remove repetitive tasks and streamline lead generation, qualification, and follow-ups for greater efficiency and flexibility. The automation enabled by AI allows sales and marketing teams to focus their efforts on the highest-value prospects.

Final Thoughts

B2B lead generation is a crucial component of business sales and revenue growth.

By mastering the strategies, campaigns, and tools outlined in this guide, you can transform the way your company generates and qualifies new leads. The keys to successful B2B lead generation include:

  • Using both inbound and outbound tactics to attract leads
  • Personalizing messaging and content for your target personas
  • Automating repetitive tasks to improve efficiency
  • Integrating your tech stack into a seamless lead generation machine
  • Tracking metrics and optimizing based on data

Most importantly, leverage Copy.ai Workflows to eliminate grunt work and turbocharge your lead gen.

Our Workflows let you automatically segment and follow-up with prospects at scale. Built-in AI generates personalized outreach based on individuals.

This enables your sales reps to focus on qualified opportunities while wasting zero time on manual administrative tasks.

Adopting Copy.ai Workflows will revolutionize your lead generation and supercharge revenue growth. Take advantage of this cutting-edge technology to dominate your market. The future of B2B sales and marketing belongs to those who embrace AI automation through platforms like Copy.ai.

Lead generation will never be the same.

FAQ

What are some key metrics for measuring B2B lead generation success?

The most important metrics for measuring the effectiveness of your B2B lead generation efforts include:

  • Lead conversion rate - The percentage of leads that convert into sales opportunities. Aim for at least a 10-15% conversion rate.
  • Cost per lead - Calculate your overall spend on lead generation activities divided by the number of leads generated. Benchmark against your goals.
  • Lead quality - Grade your leads based on criteria like demographics, engagement, fit, etc. Prioritize following up with high-quality leads first.
  • Sales velocity - Track how quickly your newly generated leads move through the sales funnel and turn into customers. Faster velocity indicates an effective process.
  • ROI - Measure your return on investment by comparing revenue generated from leads to costs of acquiring those leads. Positive ROI means your lead gen strategies are working.

What are some common mistakes companies make with B2B lead generation?

Some frequent mistakes that sabotage B2B lead generation results include:

  • Relying too much on outdated tactics like cold calling instead of digital strategies.
  • Failing to create targeted, personalized content and messaging for different buyer personas.
  • Not leveraging data and analytics to optimize campaigns.
  • Neglecting to nurture leads and follow up in a timely manner.
  • Lacking clear processes and SLAs for lead handoff between marketing and sales.
  • Focusing solely on lead volume rather than quality.
  • Not integrating lead generation with the rest of the sales and marketing funnel.

How can I ensure my sales and marketing teams align for successful lead generation?

Strategies for sales and marketing alignment include:

  • Establish shared goals, metrics, and KPIs.
  • Create a formal process for lead handoff and follow up.
  • Foster open communication channels and transparency.
  • Conduct joint planning and strategy sessions.
  • Provide sales training on digital strategies.
  • Give sales visibility into marketing automation and CRM.
  • Involve sales in content creation and campaign development.
  • Celebrate shared successes frequently.

How can I measure the effectiveness of my lead generation content?

Analyze your content's impact on lead generation by tracking:

  • Traffic to landing pages and blog posts from content promotion.
  • Lead capture form conversion rates tied to specific content offers.
  • Reach and engagement metrics on social media.
  • Email open and click-through rates.
  • Cost per lead for paid content promotion ads.
  • Surveys asking leads how they discovered your brand and what content resonated.
  • Keyword rankings and organic traffic for SEO content.
  • Leads and revenue directly attributed to content downloads, reads, views.

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