B2B lead generation

B2B lead generation is all about finding new business customers. From determining suitable target companies to approaching new prospects and eventual conversion from lead to customer. This Wiki page describes the flows within B2B lead generation while the practical phase plan explains how you can deploy your marketing methods as effectively and efficiently as possible.

B2B lead generation

Three terms are key to B2B

  • Prospect. A prospect is a company interested in your product, service or brand. A prospect is not necessarily familiar with your company.
  • Lead. A lead is a company which meets the criteria you define as being valuable to generate new business. Leads can be inbound generated e.g. through form fills or direct calls made to enquiry about products. Similarly, outbound leads can be classified as ones which sales teams may categorise based on certain conversations they had.
  • Customer. A customer is a lead that now uses your products or services. 

Two major flows within lead generation

Inbound marketing

In this case, the leads actively find you, perhaps because they have a question or a problem. Companies focusing on inbound lead generation make sure that they are easy to find where and when leads need the companies. To do this, they create relevant online content, working on SEO optimisation to ensure they are among the top results. Presence in the relevant social media is also important.

Outbound marketing

Rather than taking a passive approach, companies actively push their message to potential leads, whether or not these potential leads are actually looking for them at that time. Telemarketing is one method whereby companies pro-actively call customers to offer their products or services. Online and offline advertising or direct marketing are other options.

B2B lead generation phase plan

Step 1. Prospecting

A prospect is a company which intends to buy a product or service similar to the one you offer. In the B2B sector, these are often companies seeking a solution to a specific problem. They do not necessarily know about you, which is why it can be difficult to find good prospects. Conducting a solid market analysis can be helpful in this context.

Step 2. Segmenting

After finding prospects, they can be divided into groups or ‘segments’. For example:

  • Based on sector or position
  • Based on geographical characteristics
  • Based on need: What type of product or service is needed? What is the question of or demand from the prospects?
  • Based on business characteristics: size of the company, financial health, date of inception, characteristics that these companies use on their online profiles or websites (such as a web shop or Corporate Social Responsibility), ...

Step 3. Approaching

After segmentation, you identify your key segments and approach potential leads within these segments. This can be done using inbound or outbound marketing.

Step 4. Converting

The interested company approached you, left contact information and found its way to your sales department. It is now up to sales to convert the lead into a customer


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