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For most B2B businesses, lead generation is up there with making sales as their top priority.

What does a B2B business lead look like, and what methods are available to finding them?

The more you know about the lead, the easier it will be to assess their suitability for outreach.

A business lead on the internet is a digital footprint. By using publicly available data from one or more sources, you can build a profile of a lead.

At the most basic level, this would be their name, their email address and/or their business phone number.

You might enrich this profile with further information available from social media handles or content the lead has produced.

You could further enhance this profile with the lead’s business network connections. Often, B2B purchases are decided by buying teams, so building a profile of a team within a company can be valuable.

Once you’ve confirmed the viability, you can go ahead and begin outreach, looking to put out those win/win offers that solve challenging and relevant problems for the lead.

Methods of getting leads

#1 Trade shows

Can we go out there and get some leads in real life?

People buy people, so getting directly in front of your ideal client and striking up a relationship is one of the most powerful ways to build your business.

You can start by visiting trade shows in the niche that’s relevant to your service offering. Because the relevance is guaranteed, that’s one problem already solved for your lead gen efforts! By asking questions and listening carefully, you get to uncover issues that are current for your target audience, which informs future outreach efforts.

Socializing, trading business cards, renting a stand for your business to showcase their solutions… all great practices. And if you make a regular habit of attending, you’ll gradually build up a name for yourself.

Some ways to build credibility before landing a speaking gig at a big event:

  • Content marketing
  • Offer regular webinars
  • Build rapport with event organizers
  • Actively engaging with key players on business social media platforms like LinkedIn
  • Take some courses and workshops relevant to the niche you are targeting
  • Speak for free at events
  • Give free “lunch and learn” seminars at local businesses during their lunch hour
  • Capture some testimonials vouching for your educational speaking chops
  • Once you’ve got social proof, you can take this and pitch bigger events.

Land a speaking gig at a trade show and you’ve got a platform to demonstrate empathy (that you understand the challenges your audience faces) and authority (you’re up there on stage speaking about it).

#2 Use review platforms to get sales leads

If you have existing customers, a review platform can be huge. Where possible, try to find an industry-specific platform rather than a big catch-all like Trustpilot. An example might be Capterra for a SaaS solution.

Create a detailed profile for your company. Then, ask for detailed reviews!

Make it easy for your customers to leave a detailed review. You want them write it without having to wonder what to write. Compile a short list of questions and send it to them. Questions such as:

  • What problem were you trying to solve?
  • How did you find us?
  • How long have you been a customer?
  • How has your working life changed since working with us?
  • Would you recommend us to other companies?
  • Make writing a review more like filling in a puzzle, rather than an exercise in creative writing.

You may get some negative reviews, or reviews with negative components. This is fine! A customer with 5 stars across the board is suspicious, and less trustworthy that a company with a 4.9. You aren’t for everyone!

Good or bad, take the time to respond to every review you receive with professionalism and good grace. They have taken time out of their day to let people know about your company. By responding to all reviews, you show prospects that you are engaged and care about improving your services.

#3 Leverage your inbound traffic

If your website gets a lot of inbound traffic, but conversions to demos/sales calls/contact form submissions could be better, you may need to get into some CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization).

There are entire companies dedicated to CRO, but the basics for your primary Call To Action (CTA) are:

  • Static – the CTA shouldn’t jump around.
  • Sticky – it should always be visible. You may have multiple CTAs, but keep one visible at all types. Typically this will be in the top navigation.
  • Standing out – your primary CTA should follow a different color scheme to the rest of your site.

With regards to lead generation, there are tools available to track where your traffic is coming from. These tools can also build profiles, which you can then use for outreach even if they don’t use your CTA.

A simple example here is B2B lead clicking on a LinkedIn ad to view your site. Now you have their LinkedIn business profile. But if they came through a FaceBook ad, the tool can build a profile that searches for other accounts, and possibly find a corresponding LinkedIn account or corporate email address.

This should be obvious, but unless it’s relevant to the platforms, don’t be hitting up business leads on their personal profiles like Facebook and Instagram. Stick to email, phone and LinkedIn instead.

#4 Content marketing

Aside from outreach, you should also be engaged in content marketing to drive more inbound traffic.

Timelines and news feeds are increasingly transient, so you’ll need to play a volume game. Short, simple pieces that are visual and will serve you well. Infographics are welcomed, as are messages broken down into slides.

Craft messages that your target audience resonate with and want to get behind. This increases shareability.

Then reach out to people who engage with your content and thank them for sharing, or ask questions! Aside from increasing the likelihood of the platforms spreading your content, you also increase the odds of future interactions and raise good will for your brand.

#5 Use a lead generation agency

It sounds obvious, but using a dedicated lead generation agency (like us!) can save you time, money and effort. If you can, choose a company that works solely in your niche.

Lead gen agencies often use more specialized tools when researching. They’ll do the compiling, the validating, and in many cases run the outreach and prospect nurturing aspects of lead gen too.

Once the lead is converted to a prospect, your sales team can take over for conversion.