Sadly, the warm, fuzzy feeling of prospects signing on the dotted line doesn’t just fall into your lap. Although if it did, we’d probably be out of a job. There’s a lot of legwork involved in taking someone from ‘just curious’ to customer.
One of the most important bits of that legwork is lead generation. It’s not just for private investigators cracking a tough case, lead generation is a vital part of the B2B marketing and sales process. ‘Lead’ in this case meaning someone you’ve identified as having an interest in picking up what you’re putting down.
But wait a sec – then isn’t all marketing just a kind of lead generation?
By no means a stupid question. However, marketing can broadly be divided into two kinds: demand generation and lead generation.
In this world, there are two kinds of marketing
A poster on the street creates brand/product awareness and potential demand. But ultimately, it’s a shallow form of engagement. It’s great if a million people see your poster, but that’s as far as the relationship goes.
This is demand generation. It grows awareness and shapes your public perception, but what happens after that is out of your hands.By contrast, a website offering a 10% discount if you sign up for their newsletter is doing something different. It involves active rather than passive engagement. Those who trade their contact details for a discount are becoming leads for that business, opening themselves up to be contacted again.
This is lead generation, and it’s all about converting interest into actual sales by reaching out and interacting more directly.
Lead gen and B2B, sitting in a tree
Generalising slightly, the more niche your product or business, the more valuable lead generation is. This makes sense because the more your audience is restricted, the more important it is that your marketing is reaching the right people.
Consequently, lead generation is king for a lot of B2B businesses. If only a handful of people in a handful of businesses understand what you are selling – and even fewer than that are signing off on it – engaging that select group is more useful than having thousands of others glance at your advert only to forget it two seconds later.
91% of B2B marketers rate lead generation as their highest priority, and over half spend more than 50% on their total budget on it.
Despite that, many are drawn to broader scale, flashy campaigns – an old-school build it and they will come mentality. And maybe they will, maybe they won’t. But either way, it’ll cost you.
B2B sales journeys are long conversations and often require a lot of back-and-forth detail. That’s why careful planning and targeting can reap far greater results at a much-reduced cost. At the bleeding edge, we’ve seen campaigns engage only a few dozen prospects yet still result in contracts worth millions.
So how do you get good leads, anyway?
Well, lead generation can happen in a lot of different ways. Sometimes it’s overt, such as exchanging your email to download a paper. Sometimes it’s more covert, like details harvested from attending a webinar or voting on a social media poll. And in some cases, it’s spontaneous/voluntary, think a ‘contact me’ link on a blog post.
Leads, or more specifically, leads that have been filtered to become ‘Sales Qualified Leads’ or SQLs, are the ultimate prize in marketing. It can be easy to forget that when you’re looking at website visitor stats, brand awareness or engagement. Ultimately, these are all tools in pursuit of leads, and sales.
Sometimes this loss of perspective leads to some confusion or scepticism over the purpose of blogs, whitepapers, social media posts, small-scale marketing videos, webinars et al. Limited viewership or impression counts leaves many feeling that the effort in doesn’t correspond to value out.
However, when this kind of content is consistently high quality and tailored appropriately to your audience, it yields the right kind of conversations with the right kinds of people. The point is not to go viral, but to gather the contact details and open the door invitingly to the exact people you need to speak to.
Content marketing generates three times as many leads for your money than traditional outbound marketing and clocks in as significantly less expensive (about 60% less, in fact).
Where do we come in?
If your B2B marketing strategy isn’t giving your sales funnel a consistent throughput, or the leads you are getting are more often low-quality dead-ends, we can help you create a content plan that not only builds your brand profile, connects strongly to your target audience, and brings in a consistent flow of high-quality leads.
Get in touch if you’d like to know more.