Most people think of “sales” as sales. 

It’s one role. 

What else could there be? 

You hire a salesperson, and they bring in new subscriptions and contracts with new business clients. In the middle, there are probably a lot of activities going on: networking, phone calls (and maybe some of those are cold), maybe you have a marketing team doing some advertising, proposals, some time “wasted” on social media, and a grab bag of other things. B2B lead generation is so much more exciting than that.

You’re not really sure exactly what those activities are, the breakdown of time spent on each one, or the value of each different tactic. But you know each salesperson has a quota, and you know you can measure the amount they bring in vs. how much they cost to the company.

There’s a better way to frame this. 

While there is an art to selling and marketing, when you’re starting out with building a B2B lead generation program, you’re better off thinking of it as a science, as an equation to be solved.

In this article, we’ll talk about what lead generation is, how it’s unique within B2B, how to think about where it fits within your sales and marketing strategy, and we’ll also give you a few ideas to start with.

What is B2B Lead Generation? 

As we already mentioned (and as you likely already know), B2B lead gen is not the same as B2C, so the strategies and tactics you implement can’t be the same, either. At least, not if you want your lead gen campaign to be successful (and we’re betting you are).

On the surface, the B2B lead gen process looks pretty similar: attract potential customers, generate their interest, convert them into buyers, make the sale, and make them so happy they become a brand advocate. Sounds simple enough, right?

Stages of B2B Lead Gen

B2B lead generation is the practice of identifying and attracting ideal customers for your B2B product or service. 

Sorry, but it’s not actually as simple as it sounds.

B2C brands sell products directly to the consumer, while B2B brands have to sell not just to one individual but to an entire business. And that’s a whole different ballgame.

As a B2B brand, you also can’t expect to find your leads in the same places as B2C. So traditional advertisements and social media might get some leads into your funnel, but going after such a broad audience for such a specific product just wastes your time and money. Plus, hoping to find the right leads amongst all the traffic? Needle, meet haystack.

B2B lead generation involves inbound and outbound strategies designed to help you build visibility, awareness, and interest. And because you’re targeting a particular audience type, your strategies must be designed to only appeal to that specific target audience.

As you can see, effective B2B lead generation campaigns require strategic planning and thorough research, especially concerning product/market fit.

It all boils down to this: B2B lead gen is its own beast, and you have to know how to wrangle it if you want to get results. But before we go any further, you need to know the different types of B2B leads you’ll be encountering along the way.

How Does B2B Lead Gen Differ From B2C?

If you’re reading this, chances are you already know what B2B is and that your company is a B2B organization. B2B stands for “business to business,” which means you don’t sell to consumers. You sell to companies. If you sell to consumers, your company is a B2C organization.

While the acronyms are simple, there are a few other things to understand that separate B2B lead generation from B2C lead generation in some fundamental ways:

People Are Still People

They don’t become emotionless robots as soon as they are working with you in their capacity as professionals. For example, a Director of Marketing purchasing marketing automation tools also buys cars and homes. Like everyone else, they also have a sense of humor and probably an Instagram account.

Don’t forget to remain a human when you’re selling and marketing to businesses because a “lead” is a “person who happens to control some budget, who is interested in working with you.” Too many people lose sight of this and assume they’re talking to a procurement checklist. What does this mean? For example: take the bullet points out of your cold emails and tell stories instead.

The Opportunity Landscape Changes Dramatically

Strategies you can’t get away with when you’re marketing to consumers in their capacity as individuals now become viable because your value per lead in B2B is much higher than in B2C. That’s why companies selling to enterprises are often willing to pay thousands of dollars in total costs for a meeting with a Fortune 2000 decision-maker because the expected payoff is huge.

Meanwhile, a consumer-focused company getting a lead to put their address on their mailing list isn’t worth anything near that. People acting in their capacity as professionals have many different ideas about value and about what’s expensive or affordable.

Long story short: remain human, recognize that you’re interacting with emotional beings who nevertheless are wearing their “I’m at work” hat, and recognize the enormous value of a B2B lead. Finally, when you’re reading about lead generation tactics, make sure that the first thing you understand is whether you’re getting B2C or B2B advice because that’s the most fundamental perspective to adopt when you’re building up a lead gen program.

Types of B2B Leads

Sadly, not all leads are created equal. But once you understand the difference between them, you’ll be better equipped to adapt your lead gen strategy to acquire each specific type.

Three Types of Leads

Within the realm of B2B, many marketers rely on the BANT methodology for lead qualification. What’s BANT?

What is BANT?

The number of qualifications determines which type of lead you have. Typically, meeting one criterion means a lead is just entering the funnel, but as more criteria are met, they begin to journey through the types of lead qualification.

Generally, your leads will go from cold to warm. Cold leads are unaware they’re being targeted. They get warmer as they become more receptive to your lead gen tactics and eventually may warm up enough to be interested in conversion. You may also target already-warm leads specifically. Those will include leads who’ve already shown some interest in your brand, whether it’s because they signed up for a newsletter or filled out a form on your website. The types of leads run the gamut from cold to warm.

Information qualified leads

IQLs fall at the cooler end of the spectrum. They are only just entering your funnel, so they’re generally unaware of your brand or even that they have a problem your brand can solve.

They did, however, know enough to understand that they need more information, and that’s what drove them to give up their personal details — whether they wanted to download a whitepaper, access a free course, or get your gated content.

IQLs are necessary for top-of-the-funnel lead gen, but be wary — IQLs are prone to using then losing you. They want the information and they’re willing to trade their email address for it, but for many, no amount of nurturing will keep them in the funnel.

IQLs are the love ‘em and leave ‘em bad boys of qualified leads. You’ll always need them more than they need you. Still, there’s some hope of a happy ending because a handful of IQLs will continue to move down your funnel and become…

Marketing qualified leads

Let’s say you nurtured your IQLs by offering them a webinar or free trial, and they actually followed through with the next step.

These warmer leads are MQLs. MQLs are generally more receptive to lead nurturing because they have an established interest in your brand and how it can solve their needs. At this point, MQLs generally know they have an issue, and now they’re looking for solutions.

While they know your brand now (and likely some of your competitors), they aren’t quite at the decision-making stage yet. This is your opportunity to move them further down the funnel by offering branded content, which may include catalogs, spec sheets, insider how-tos, and exclusive deals or discounts.

Sales qualified leads

SQLs are the hottest leads and by far the most likely to become conversions. These leads have already taken advantage of your top and middle-of-the-funnel content — completed a course, sat in on a webinar, etc. — and they’re still on the hook.

This is where you’ll want a seamless hand-off from marketing to sales and where it helps to have a strong sales enablement strategy.

These leads have arrived at the bottom of your funnel, and they’re now in the decision stage, so they’re ready to pony up the money…if they choose your brand.

Generally speaking, you’ll want all three types of leads in your funnel, so you’re always getting more IQLs in at the top as your SQLs convert at the bottom.

MQLs Vs. SQLs — Key to Effective Lead Generation

When running a B2B lead generation campaign, there are two main types of leads you must focus on  MQLs and SQLs. Focusing on these helps ensure that your efforts result in increased revenue. 

So, what are MQLs and SQLs, and what role do they play in designing an effective B2B lead generation strategy?

Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs)

An MQL is a lead that fits your ideal customer profile (ICP). They look like a promising potential customer on paper and have shown interest by interacting with your content or marketing team. 

Despite showing interest, they haven’t entered your sales funnel yet as they’re still on the “Evaluation Stage” of your buyer’s journey. MQLs are solution-aware and on their way to becoming product-aware. MQLs are best left to the marketing department to work on them until they’re ready to talk to sales.

Defining what qualifies as an MQL for your brand is important as it helps you:

  • Focus your efforts on leads that are more likely to convert.
  • Speeds up the process of moving them along your funnel.
  • Helps improve the targeting for your marketing efforts.
  • Helps you refine and personalize your lead nurturing process.

To run an effective B2B lead generation campaign, you must have a clear definition of what your MQLs look like.

Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs)

SQLs are leads your sales team qualify as potential customers. These should be moved to your sales funnel and handed to your sales team to nurture them to the finish line.

SQLs are closer to turning into closed deals as they are solution aware and are looking to make a purchase. All they need is the right content to convince them that you have what they need. This is where your sales team should have sales-focused content designed to answer any reservations they may have about getting your product.

Defining and identifying your SQLs is an essential aspect of running an effective lead generation campaign as it:

  • Improves your team’s efficiency.
  • Results in more deals being closed.
  • Improves the quality of your customer base, resulting in increased customer retention rates.  

Sending leads to sales prematurely can result in wasted time and resources. That’s why you must ensure you determine the criteria that make for an SQL in your organization.  

Defining your MQLs and SQLs will help ensure your lead generation efforts pay off. It also helps create stronger teams that work better together to grow your business and revenue.

How Much is a Lead Worth to You?

Corporate leads are worth a lot more than individual leads. But how do you calculate how much each lead is worth? It’s important to know this so you can figure out how much you’re willing to spend on lead generation.

Here’s one equation you can use to calculate this:

[Lead to Opportunity Conversion Rate %] x

[Opportunity Win Rate %] x

[Average Deal Value $] = Lead Value

I’m defining an “Opportunity” as a sales opportunity within a qualified account that you believe has a good chance of becoming a client of yours. Your ‘win rate’ is the percentage of these opportunities that convert into paying customers.

Average Deal Value is a little trickier. You can think of this as the annual revenue per customer, the lifetime gross profit (revenue less cost of sales) per customer, or some combination thereof. We suggest you think of your average deal value as either the first-year or lifetime gross profit you can expect from your typical customer.

If you’re a software company with a huge customer lifespan – several years, let’s say – you may end up over-spending on lead generation if you assume several years of revenue per customer. However, if you’re a B2B services company with an average contract size of $5,000, but your typical customer orders from you 3X over the course of their first year doing business with you, then you’re better off thinking of your average deal value as $15k, rather than $5k.

Let’s plug some numbers in here, to do an example:

Lead to Opportunity conversion rate = 50%

Opportunity win rate = 25%

Average deal value = $40k

Value per lead = 50% x 25% x $40k = $5k

Now, you know how much each lead is worth to you. You shouldn’t spend that whole $5k to acquire that lead, or you wouldn’t be making any money – you should spend anywhere from $600 – $1200 to acquire each lead so that you have profit left over.

What this means is, when you’re thinking about different lead generation strategies, you should be highly suspicious of any type of tactic that seems to offer leads for $10 – $80 apiece. Something is wrong with this, or they’re using a wildly different definition of “lead” than you are. Similarly, you shouldn’t invest in programs that result in a $2000 – $3000 cost per lead because you know your efficiency will be too low since you’ll be spending an overly-large chunk of your profits on marketing.

Why Do You Need a Lead Generation Plan? 

Sometimes, marketers have blinders on when it comes to their brand’s product or service. They start to think, “If we build it, they will come.” But when it comes to lead generation and demand generation, it just doesn’t work that way. In fact, getting more traffic and leads is the biggest struggle for marketers at a majority of companies.

That’s why you need a plan for your lead generation campaign. Your brand won’t promote itself, and no matter how fab your product is, if no one knows about it, no one can buy it. 

With a plan, you’ll have a roadmap to get to your ultimate destination — more traffic, more sales, and more revenue. Wondering where to get started? We’re here to help you navigate.

What Do B2B Clients Want Right Now?

The days of constant travel, professional conferences, and swanky shmooze-fests are officially over. The last few years have drastically altered the B2B lead gen landscape, and the setbacks have at times seemed insurmountable.

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Part of the shift was brought about by the pandemic, which halted the in-person events that most B2B salespeople relied on to source new leads.

Now, they’re adapting to a remote era of sales and relying more on marketing to do some of the legwork, especially for SaaS and startup brands. In response, marketers are ramping up their lead gen budget and looking for new places to find leads. In most cases, those places are on social media, namely LinkedIn and Twitter. Both have proven to be invaluable sources of B2B leads.

So, what do B2B clients want now? They want content. They want the information they need to solve their problems. They want to be nurtured in a way that doesn’t feel intrusive or forced and that meets them where they already are. Wondering how you can give them what they want in a lead gen campaign? We’ve got you covered.

12 Effective Lead Generation Strategies To Learn From

Everyone has a slightly different definition of a “lead”. But one easy way to think of it is someone who has raised their hand and indicated they’re interested in talking to you about what your company could do for them.

Because B2B leads are valuable, you’re almost always going to want to speak to them before they do business with you. The large majority of B2B organizations we work with don’t even make it possible to sign up for their product until conversations have been had, and a customized agreement has been signed. 

With such a high value per sale, you’re better off speaking to prospects and building meaningful relationships. Even before you’re 100% sure they’re “qualified” to do business with you.

That’s why a “lead” is someone who works at a company that seems to fit reasonably well with your target customer, seems to understand what it is you do, and has indicated somehow that they’d like to directly learn more from you about whether there’s a fit.

This leaves us with a world of possibilities for how your target customers can learn about what you do and also for the various ways they can tell you they’re interested. One of the broadest classifications of lead generation you’ll come across in B2B is the choice of Inbound or Outbound.

Think of Inbound Lead Generation as “luring” leads and Outbound Lead Generation as “hunting” leads.

Examples of Inbound Lead Generation

Need examples of some inbound lead generation strategies you can implement?

Here are our top seven inbound lead generation strategies: 

1. Start with customer research 

If you’re an established brand, you’ve already got some customers you can tap for information. Startups will have a harder time with this step, but it can be done. Try joining some relevant forums on sites like Quora and Reddit, or check out the competition’s social media following to find out what they’re most likely to engage with.

When it comes to the research itself, customer surveys are usually a quick and painless way to get going. You may also want to incorporate focus groups or in-depth interviews down the road.

2. Understand your audience’s needs 

Now you have some great qualitative information about your ideal customer, and it’s time to dive a little deeper.

This step involves hammering out a detailed buyer persona, which should include demographic, psychographic, and behavioral/attitudinal information to help you understand your customer needs.

If you’ve already done your customer research and you still aren’t sure exactly what customers need from you, you might want to conduct another survey or a social media poll. Be sure to also check in with your customer service team — they’ll have all the insights on what your buyers are raving (or complaining) about.

3. Define goals for lead generation 

More traffic and leads — what else do you need? A lot. Obviously, those are both important goals when you’re launching a lead gen campaign, but when you’re building an entire lead generation plan or strategy, aim a little higher. 

The endgame for lead gen should be conversions. The definition of what a conversion is will differ (so it doesn’t always translate directly to revenue), but you want to make sure you’re getting hard, measurable results from your strategy.

4. Content Marketing

Create great, personalized content and promote it where your target audience hangs out. If your content is valuable and answers some of their pressing questions, they’re more likely to give you their contact details for more content. They may not ask to talk with you right away, but the idea is that they eventually will.

No matter your niche, industry, or the size of your business, you need to leverage content marketing to generate leads. 

5. Invest in SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) involves creating content that gets picked up by search engines. This content is deemed valuable to users as it meets search intent and is well-formatted to provide a positive user experience (UX).  Creating content that ranks is essential as most B2B buyers start their search for solutions online. In addition, being visible online results in more leads coming your way. And that’s why you must design an effective B2B SEO strategy for your brand.

6. Have an established definition of a lead and set values for leads 

What is a lead, anyway? Is it someone who fills out a form? Visits your website? Signs up for a free trial? Depending on the type of lead gen campaign you want to run, how you define a lead will vary. The crucial point here is to make sure that both your sales and marketing teams are on-board with what “lead” means to you.

This might mean you’ll need to qualify leads to establish their values using a lead scoring rubric.

To score leads, you’ll establish a points system that denotes their qualification status. For instance, a prospect will gain or lose points for taking certain actions (signing up for a form, unsubscribing, etc.). This will help you determine whether they’re an Information Qualified Lead (IQL), Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL), or Sales Qualified Lead (SQL). Leads go from coldest (IQL) to warmest (SQL), so you can focus your efforts on the leads you want most based on your goals.

7. Create an inbound content strategy that solves these problems 

Inbound marketing is a crazy effective methodology because a. It brings leads to you so you aren’t always chasing them down, and b. It. Just. Works. Inbound, often called organic marketing, is a way to raise brand awareness and entice customers without the use of paid advertising.

Content marketing is one of the best forms of inbound because it’s cost-efficient and offers a great long-term ROI. The most content you create, the more you’re setting your brand up for future success. You can store, refresh, and repurpose content continually, so you always have something out there that’s bringing in leads.

When figuring out your content strategy for your lead gen plan, you’ll want to make sure everything you create is aligned with the stage your leads are at in their journey.

As you nail down your content strategy, you’ll want to conduct keyword research to determine how your content will get found (or be advertised). Build your content calendar around your selected keywords, and remember that ultra-specific long-tail keywords are most effective because they’re more likely to fulfill your audience’s search intent and deliver exactly what they’re looking for.

8. Craft your messaging 

A few things to keep in mind as you put together your lead gen messaging: You’ll want to make sure you have multiple touchpoints with leads throughout the process so they don’t lose interest. You’ll also want to make sure your messaging is in line with what’s already being used in your industry. And for B2B brands, you’ll need to speak to specific roles your buyers are likely to fill.

As you can see, for account-based marketing, industry and role-specific messaging are the most used, followed closely by customer pain points.

9. Choose channels for lead generation 

The first thing you want to ask yourself is this — where are my customers already hanging out? It’s usually some social media platform, but it could also be that they’re spending time on forums like Reddit or that they check their email more frequently than the average person. Wherever your buyer is, that’s where you want to be. That will also help guide you as you select the right channels to use when going after leads.

The numbers fluctuate year to year, but you’ll nearly always see content marketing and email right at the very top. Content might be slightly more popular with B2C and email with B2B, but both are winning options. Once you know which tactics you’re most likely to use, you can pick your channels accordingly.

10. Create gated content to capture emails 

Gated content is designed for lead generation. It offers high-quality, high-value content that your audience wants and/or needs. So much so that they’re willing to give up their personal info to get it. 

Gated content is a perfect choice for B2B brands looking to nurture warm leads to conversion.

There is one caveat here — not all your content can or should be gated. Ungated content is necessary to get brand-new leads in the funnel, and it’s best for awareness and general information (think infographics or listicle blogs).

11. Use email marketing to nurture leads 

Some people say email marketing is dead, but we know better. In fact, anyone who’s run a successful lead gen campaign knows better because email remains one of the most effective methods of getting and nurturing leads. 

Email is also popular because it’s easily automated, so after the initial nurturing campaign setup, you can take a step back and focus on your other goals.

An email nurture campaign should have around 6-10 emails, from the initial thank you or follow-up through to the final ultimatum (just make it pretty gentle). 

12. Utilize chatbots to serve customers faster 

Chatbots are experiencing a huge boom in the customer service realm, but it’s actually pretty great for lead generation, too. Chatbots are becoming more preferred for gathering information about a brand and even making purchases.

In fact, if given a choice, more people would prefer to talk with a chatbot if it means they’ll get their issues solved faster.

Consider implementing a chatbot on your site so potential leads can get quick info, support, and help finding what they need before moving to the next stage in the funnel.

13. Offer a freemium model 

This is one of our favorite pieces of advice to dish out: Give away your best stuff for free. It’s more fun to say it in person because, wowza, if looks could kill…

Still, the fact remains: When you have something amazing, giving it away will get you the best return. How?

Free trials, freemiums, and forever free models really hinge on the upgrades and updates, so make sure your product has enough to sustain the model.

14. Promote lead gen content 

Part of your lead gen plan is creating valuable, high-quality content. But once you’ve got it, what do you do with it?

Paid social media

Paid social posts are a great way to get in front of your audience, fast. They have far more reach than organic social and allow you to target very specific audiences. You can even go after your competitors’ followers or build a lookalike audience to find others who want what you’ve got to offer. 

Organic social media

While organic social can’t match the reach of paid, it’s still an excellent way to engage with existing customers and warm leads. Make sure you’re reposting your most engaging posts regularly and that you’re encouraging your audience to share. 


Search engine optimization is how your brand gets found. SEO is a long game, so you shouldn’t expect immediate results. However, it’s wise to start working on your lead gen SEO strategy now so all the pieces are in place for the long term. Make sure you’re targeting long-tail keywords that fulfill search intent to maximize traffic and leads.

Influencer partnership 

Time to tap your industry connections and start paying attention to the voices your customers are listening to. Look for collaborations with micro-influencers (usually under 10K followers). They’ve typically got a smaller but more motivated audience who are looking for exactly the type of product or service you provide. Micro-influencers are also more cost-effective than larger celebrity influencers.

Use retargeting to engage past visitors 

Retargeting or remarketing is a great way to turn up the heat on already-warm leads. Retargeting ads are paid ads that only appear once a lead has expressed interest in your brand or product. It might be someone who’s visited your website or taken steps to complete a lead gen form before abandoning it. Retargeting ads are incredibly effective, especially when it comes to qualifying leads and moving them through the funnel.

Build Thought Leadership on LinkedIn

Developing a B2B LinkedIn marketing strategy is another excellent way to drive leads to your business. Create industry-specific content and post regularly on your LinkedIn profile. Leverage relevant hashtags and tag strategic connections to gain more visibility and spark conversations. Do this strategically, and you’ll soon establish yourself as a thought leader people will reach out to for help. 

15. Event Sponsorships

Sponsoring online and offline events is another excellent B2B lead generation strategy. For one, it helps you boost your brand awareness. Secondly, it helps you reach an audience that fits your ICP. Whether the event is online or offline, ensure to have a way for attendees to submit their details easily.

Sponsorship deals are a great idea as you can offer the host usage of your solution if possible. Otherwise, you can help fund the event or giveaway your product as a prize for event competitions.

16. Leverage Ads

Ads have always been a great way of attracting leads. Again, these can be physical ads like out-of-home (OOH) advertising or digital ads. The key is to target heavily-trafficked channels. 

17.  Give Away a Free Tool

People love tools that make it easier for them to achieve a goal. Building a tool that you give away in exchange for contact information is a surefire way to drive relevant leads to your business.  The tool doesn’t have to be complicated, it just needs to solve a problem for your target audience.

18. Create a Referral Program

Referral programs are a great way of mobilizing your customers into a marketing army. By offering your customers an incentive for referrals, you increase the chances of getting better-quality leads. One of the best parts of referral marketing is that you can automate the process. As a result, you lower your customer acquisition costs (CAC) and ensure a steady stream of qualified leads. 

19. Ensure lead gen assets are easy to find 

Where your content lives is almost as important as what the content is. You want your lead gen assets to be easy to locate and easy to access, especially when you’re talking top of the funnel leads — they’re pretty cold and much more likely to fall out of the funnel if they aren’t nurtured. A difficult-to-locate asset will push them right out the door. 

Make sure your landing pages are optimized and clear so visitors know exactly what action they need to take. Also work to ensure your website is uncluttered and easy to navigate. Using a topic cluster model is one of the best ways to structure your site.

You’ll also want to be sure that the content on your landing page aligns with the messaging you used in your ads, social posts, etc., and that you have only one CTA that leads to one singular action on the page. 

20. Develop a process for responding to leads 

Once leads start coming to you, your job is only just starting. Before you can launch your lead gen campaign, you must have a plan in place for how to respond to leads who seek you out. That might mean directing them to a website, a phone number, or a live chat. 

Part of this step is also figuring out the transition of leads from marketing to sales. That’s when it helps to have a strong sales enablement strategy so you ensure a seamless and smooth transition. 

21. Keep your database clean 

Your email database is an incredibly valuable asset to your lead gen plan, but if your list is a mess, your strategy will be a mess, too. If you haven’t spent any time going through your database, it’s time to clean house.

You’ll want to go through your list on a regular basis and scrub any duplicate emails, remove unsubscribes, and add new levels of information based on the data you collect.

You may want to use a dedicated tool or third-party source to help you stay on top of this step. Scrubbing down your database isn’t the sexiest job, but it’s crucial to your lead gen success.

B2B inbound lead generation strategies take time to bear fruit. But when they do, you can be assured of high-quality leads. 

Examples of Outbound Lead Generation

What outbound B2B lead generation strategies should you employ?

Here are some examples to help you get started with yours:  

22. Cold Calling

Cold calling may be one of the oldest outbound lead generation tactics, but it still works. One reason for this is the human touch. Find the phone numbers of target customers, call them, and set up product demo appointments. 

23.  Cold Emailing

Like cold calling, cold emailing involves finding your prospect’s email address, sending them personalized content. To be effective, your email must highlight specific pain points and how your product can help solve them. Make sure to include a link to your calendar to make it easier for prospects to book a meeting with you.

24. Use Direct Mail

Send hand-written letters to prospects to initiate a relationship. You could do this by sending a gift card (everyone appreciates a Starbucks gift card, after all). Make sure to include your business card with the gift card. A good tip is to follow up with an email asking if they got your coffee. Your email should also reaffirm your value proposition and offer an opportunity to meet and go over suggestions you have for improving their business.

25. LinkedIn Outreach

For B2B brands, no other social channel is as powerful as LinkedIn. That’s why you must develop and run a LinkedIn outreach strategy to generate leads. One way of doing this is connecting with decision-makers who work for brands that fit your ICP. Send a short message introducing yourself and what your brand does. You can also reach out to connections that engage with your content.

26. Host events 

If you’re a B2B brand, you already understand the importance of live events in the buying cycle. But you’ve also probably felt the impact of the last couple years, as most events got shut down or moved online due to the pandemic.

Now, several years removed, the way we do events has been changed forever. B2B buyers still want connection and interaction…but they don’t always want it in person. As such, virtual events have taken over as one of the best ways to find and nurture B2B leads.

If you’re a B2B brand, you’ve probably already started rethinking your approach to in-person events. It isn’t wise to scrap them entirely, but it’s definitely worth considering how you can restructure and repackage them to appeal to a more virtual audience.

27. Fish in Communities

Communities are another excellent place to find high-quality leads. Join relevant communities and forums and use them to look for prospects. Don’t sell your product outrightly, as this can get you banned or make you appear spammy. Instead, offer value and help whenever you can. Doing this will help you gain trust and respect in the community. As a result, when you pitch your product or services, community members are more likely to pay attention when you pitch your product or services.

One of the most significant advantages of outbound lead generation is that you get results faster. However, this is only if you do it right.

Prioritizing Lead Gen Tactics

Your strategy for choosing which tactics to use should take into account two main things: how your buyers are best reached, and what your average deal value is.

The bigger your average deal size, the more you’ll want to lean toward the more “white glove” channels like personalized email, phone calls, direct mail, personalized gift-giving, one-to-one video creation, and content that’s been customized for one specific account (“Account-Based Marketing”, if you will). The smaller your average deal size, the more you’ll need to template your outbound communication, rely on SEO instead of creating highly-customized content, and generally lean toward higher-volume lead generation methods that require less effort per lead.

If you get this balance very wrong, you’ll end up coming across as overly generic in front of your most important accounts. On the other hand, you can end up spending way too much time and money generating a pitiful amount of leads that don’t have the budget to pay you back for all of your marketing expenses.

Putting Lead Gen Into Action

By now, you should have a better high-level understanding of what B2B lead generation is, how it’s done, and some ideas for generating leads. We hope you now have two kinds of questions:

Known Unknowns

You know content marketing is probably a good idea, but how do you go about creating the type of content that results in leads and SEO gains? You want to try cold emailing prospects, but how do you write in a clever and compelling way, and how do you ensure your emails actually reach the inbox they’re destined for?

Unknown Unknowns

What are all of the questions you aren’t even yet thinking about because you aren’t yet a lead generation expert? This is where we believe that expertise comes into play.

Many people are reasonably proficient in one or two lead generation tactics, which is great. By sticking to what you know well, you’ll give yourself a better chance of success. 

However, you may be leaving money on the table by relying too heavily on tactics that may not be appropriate for your customers. For example, if you’re an expert at cold emailing, but your customers are field managers that don’t check email often, then you may need help reaching them in another way. Enlisting competent consultants and agencies can help you overcome these natural skill gaps – or, if you’re large enough, you may want to hire specialists for specific roles and strategies.

17 of the Best B2B Lead Generation Strategies

As we’ve said, B2B lead gen is a whole different animal from B2C. While some strategies may cross that divide, for the most part, you’ll want to implement different tactics for a B2B audience. Here, we have 17 killer ideas that will get leads in your funnel and move them through to conversion.

#1: Assemble the perfect go-to-market team

Whether you’re a Marvel fan or DC fan, you know this: having the right team makes all the difference. What would the Avengers be without Iron Man? Or the Justice League without Superman?

Fortunately, you don’t need to have supernatural powers to assemble (or be part of) an amazing lead gen team. What you do need is a team of individuals who are all committed to the cause and are ready to play their own part in achieving your shared goals.

Lead Gen Roles Across the Funnel

The important thing to note here is that successful lead gen will cross teams and departments. It’s critical to have a sales enablement strategy to ensure the transition between teams is smooth and seamless. But what happens if you don’t have an internal team to do the heavy lifting? That’s when you want to look for an outsourced or third-party partner to offer you the support you need. At FPS, our lead gen experts can craft a B2B strategy that helps you acquire IQLs, MQLs, and SQLs, but even better, helps you convert them into customers that keep coming back for more.

#2: Use LinkedIn to attract leads

Remember, if you want to move leads down your funnel, you need to hang out where they are. For your B2B audience, where they are is typically on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a great place to share your lead gen content, and applying a little organic elbow grease is sure to get you new followers and potential IQLs.

However, if you have some money to put behind it, you can plan a paid social push using LinkedIn’s lead gen forms.

LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms

Lead gen forms on LinkedIn tackle one of the biggest lead gen challenges of all — getting potential leads to submit forms from their smartphones. With LinkedIn’s lead gen forms, you can now custom target your social audience, no matter where they are in the funnel.

Remember that LinkedIn users are looking for thought leadership and educational/learning opportunities, so make sure any lead gen content you share offers both.

#3: Create a content marketing strategy

Content should be at the heart of your B2B lead gen strategy. B2B buyers aren’t looking for fluff or slick ads — they want valuable information that serves a purpose, and that’s what you’ll need to deliver if you want them to stick around your funnel.

In spite of the importance of content to B2B lead generation, there’s a pretty shocking number of marketers who never create a documented strategy. However, those who do tend to have the most successful campaigns.



So how do you put content marketing to work for your lead gen strategy? Here’s how:

Prioritize long-tail keywords

Long-tail keywords sound complicated. Who wants to rank for “purple polka dot women’s shirts” when you could rank for the much higher volume “women’s shirts” and get all that traffic instead?

Here’s the deal: People searching for “women’s shirts” might be interested in browsing what you’ve got to offer, but they’re also looking at all your competitors, so they aren’t too likely to convert. Someone searching for “purple polka dot women’s shirts,” on the other hand, will be thrilled to find that you’ve got exactly what they’re searching for, and therefore they’re far more likely to convert.

Make sense?


With long-tail keywords, you’ll be up against less competition and more likely to win conversions. While the example above was B2C, the same basic ideas hold true for B2B as well. If someone is searching for a product or service you offer, you want your keywords to be as specific as possible so your leads are already warm when they jump into your funnel.

Conduct competitor analysis to learn what works for competitors

Speaking of the competition, you’ll want to know what they’re up to at all times, so you can protect your potential leads (or snatch them out of their claws). A competitor audit will help you do that. You can use an SEO tool like Ahrefs to find out what keywords they’re ranking for, so you can work to outrank them, either organically or with paid search.

You can also conduct searches for your brand and your competitors. The results will give you insight into what your audience is really looking for. Check out the “People Also Ask” section in Google results to find other opportunities to rank for new long-tail keywords as well.

Create content that helps your target audience understand your core offerings

The B2B audience is driven by learning. They crave information and want to know how things work. They are also outcome-focused, so anything you produce should lean heavily on the outcomes they can expect from using your product or service.

Remember to keep content simple, narrow, and clearly focused. Instead of creating piles of scattered marketing collateral, hone in on a few key pieces you can share on your site and across your social media platforms.

Create evergreen content that continuously generates leads

Evergreen content is that which is relevant no matter when a lead accesses it. It is not dated or reliant on a particular time frame. What’s even better is that it is a cost-efficient way to manage your content. You can create and publish evergreen content at any time, and you can come back to it and refresh or repurpose it to maximize your impact. And what’s more, over time, evergreen content just performs better than dated or timely content.

Evergreen Content


Your evergreen content will continue to pull in new leads without you doing much to it. However, as mentioned above, you can also choose to update it to get even more out of it.

Generating the best results

Conduct and publish original research

Primary research is a huge driver of new leads, particularly within the B2B audience who are focused on acquiring new knowledge.

Publishing your original research offers numerous benefits to your brand. For one, it positions you as an automatic thought leader in the subject you’re researching. It can also get more eyes on your brand if it’s picked up by another publication. And it fulfills your audience’s need for data and information.

Remember that these potential leads want to know all about your product and how it will solve whatever problems they’re experiencing. But it doesn’t come easy. In fact, most B2B buyers see 13 pieces of content before they make a purchase decision.

Luckily, research is a pretty heavy hitter. They can argue fluff, but they can’t argue data.

Tap into alternate audiences with guest posts

Guest posting is one of the top tactics used by outreach specialists to build links and increase authority for a brand’s website. A successful guest post will get your brand in front of an entirely new audience and should significantly increase traffic to your site. In fact, you might see anywhere from 50 visits up to 500.

Average Referral Traffic from a Guest Article


An added benefit of guest posting is that it seriously boosts your search rankings and plays an integral role in your comprehensive SEO strategy.

Create viral content that gets social shares

Viral content isn’t just a happy accident. You can work toward creating content that goes viral and use it to get your leads engaged and moved further down your funnel.

The first and probably most important pillar of viral marketing: It makes people feel something (usually a good sort of something).

Viral Images Create Positive Emotional Responses


You can also incentivize leads to make your content go viral. Once you create something that evokes a strong emotion, you can offer some goodies in exchange for social shares. That might be exclusive discounts, contest entries, or product upgrades.

Publish more case studies

We’re not saying that B2B buyers are nerds, but they really do love their data and numbers. One of the best ways to showcase that information is through a case study.

In addition to sharing the indisputable facts and outcomes of using your product or service, a well-executed case study will help B2B buyers make a case of their own. Most of the time, your B2B audience needs to get buy-in from their higher-ups — sometimes numerous times. Giving them well-developed and in-depth case studies makes their job easier and makes you more likely to get a conversion.

Answer questions on forums like Quora and Reddit

When we say, “be where your audience is,” we often mean social media. But remember that there are probably other places they’re hanging out online, and they might very well be looking for product recommendations and reviews in those places.



Always search Quora and Reddit for users asking questions about your brand, your competitors, or the products or services you provide. It’s a great way to engage with and win leads, and it boosts your reputation as a thought leader.

#4: Optimize landing pages for conversion

Getting traffic to your site is one thing, but keeping them there long enough to get them to convert is something else entirely. You’ll want to make sure your landing pages are optimized to provide a great user experience and offer a clear end goal.

Don’t be afraid of a long landing page. As long as it isn’t too cluttered or difficult to navigate, a landing page with more information will probably outperform all your shorter landing pages. In fact, longer landing pages can generate up to 220% more leads.

Here are a few landing page tips to keep in mind:

  • Only include one single CTA throughout.
  • Position the CTA at critical locations — above the fold, in the sidebar, and at the bottom of the page.
  • Use your top keywords throughout the page.
  • Don’t link to or mention other others/promotions — keep the focus singular.
  • Make forms simple, quick, and easy.
  • Include an estimated time to read or time to complete a form.

#5: Video marketing

Video marketing is a popular choice for lead gen, whether it’s B2C or B2B. Though the strategy behind each will differ, the results show that video marketing is consistently a high producer of qualified leads.

Video Marketing as a Lead Generation Channel


So how should a B2B brand utilize video marketing? Here’s how:

Educate with YouTube videos

Remember that your B2B audience wants to learn something, so when they watch one of your videos, that comes with certain expectations. They expect to be informed and enlightened, and they expect you to be the expert on the subject.

Fulfill all of that by creating in-depth YouTube videos about your product, service, or industry. Remember that YouTube is the second-largest search engine, so be sure your videos and descriptions contain your most important keywords.

Live videos

Your leads might be more likely to respond if they feel they’re part of the conversation and not just watching a canned video. Live videos like webinars, events, or unscripted content like AMAs (ask me anything) allow your leads to become participants with your brand and encourage them to stay on the hook and in the funnel.

Send personalized videos to qualified leads

Remember when we said that B2B lead gen has been changed forever by the remote revolution? It has. With events becoming less commonplace and most communication happening digitally, it’s important to look for new ways to personalize your strategy and create real and authentic connections with leads.

One way to do that is through a personalized video. This is most successful when used as a precursor to a live, real-time connection, like a phone call or video chat. Record a video that’s casual and informal, and be sure to use your lead’s name. Speak to them with authenticity, and you might find they’re much more open during face-to-face (or voice-to-voice) communication.

#6: Leverage distribution platforms to push content to market

Where you push your content is every bit as important as what content you create. The most effective channels for content promotion and lead generation vary depending on whether you’re planning a paid or organic content strategy.

Paid Content Promotion Channels

With paid marketing, social media and paid search get the best results. Results with paid campaigns also come much quicker, so if you’re looking for fast traffic and revenue, that might be your best bet. Organic, on the other hand, typically takes longer and needs a carefully planned strategy for both content and SEO. Social media is also incredibly popular, but for B2B marketers, the platform you choose is absolutely critical.

Organic Content Distribution Channels


As we’ve mentioned, LinkedIn is the top spot for B2B content promotion. But you probably won’t find your audience on Instagram, so keep that in mind when building your content strategy.

#7: Grow your email list

Email marketing went through a slump a few years ago, but now it’s back and better than ever, especially when it comes to B2B leads. In fact, it’s been rated the most effective tactic you can use for B2B lead gen.

Tactical Effectiveness vs. Difficulty for Lead Generation


Warm up your cold leads with a funny email…

Gusto Email

…or tempt MQLs with exclusive sneak peeks on major product launches and updates.

8 Product update email from Mint

Your email list is your old reliable. It’s the safety net that will be there when your other tactics aren’t getting the results you want. Just remember to clean it up regularly to maximize your results.

#8: Collaborate with B2B companies offering complimentary products

Collabs are all the rage right now, but they aren’t just for TikTok videos. Look for brands that offer services or products that complement your own. For instance, if you provide project management software, you might partner with a calendar or scheduling app that you can integrate into your own product.

Do some research, and start reaching out to brands that might be amenable to a mutually beneficial partnership.

#9: Sales and demand generation should work together

What is demand generation, and how is it different from lead gen? Demand generation usually happens at the top of the funnel and is mostly concerned with brand awareness. Conversely, lead gen happens more often toward the bottom of the funnel and involves lead scoring and qualification. Lead gen is also much more likely to work closely with sales, as they are nearer to the conversion point.

Demand Generation vs. Lead Generation

However, if demand gen isn’t also working with sales, it’s going to be harder to get colder leads down the funnel. It’s best to work out a sales enablement strategy that builds rapport between sales and demand gen, so by the time they get to the bottom of the funnel, the sales team knows what to expect.

#10: Use social proof to earn trust

Social proof doesn’t have anything to do with social media. In fact, it’s way more old school than that and dates back to the original form of advertising: word-of-mouth. Social proof is made up of all the cues we get from the world around us that tell us that a brand is something we want to try.

6 Major Types of Social Proof

It’s a fact that most consumers are more likely to purchase something that someone else they know and trust has purchased, and it’s no different for B2B buyers. This is why case studies that feature real customers are so powerful. Also consider prominently displaying your reviews and ratings and any professional certifications or awards.

#11: Include live chat on your website

Live chat is now the preferred method of communication for most B2B buyers. Want to know why?

Live Chat for Sales


It’s interesting to note that B2B uses live chat for sales far more often than B2C or for its most common usage, customer support. The speed and accuracy of live chat make it a perfect avenue for nurturing leads and helping them through the funnel.

#12: Use pay-per-click to get quick results

As we mentioned earlier, if you’re a B2B brand that needs to make sales now, you can’t really find a better way than PPC or paid advertising. It’s cost-effective and fast. For unestablished brands or startups, it also provides an opportunity to play in the sandbox with your biggest competition. When you’re paying for ad space, you can outrank even a long-established company that’s put years into SEO.

What types of paid ads should you be using?

Google ads

Google ads often come in the form of paid search. These are the SERP (search engine results page) listings that appear at the very top of results. They are always clearly marked as an ad, but they are a powerful tool to get you to the top of the pack, quickly.

Google Ad

You can also use Google Ads for display ads, which are banners or sidebar visual ads that appear on various websites. All Google Ads can be highly targeted so you can hit the exact audience you’re looking for, usually by selecting your priority long-tail keywords.

Facebook Ads

Facebook Ads are extremely versatile and reach a vast audience. Even though LinkedIn is best for B2B, you can’t beat the reach you’ll get with Facebook. Plus, Facebook allows you to create a seemingly endless array of ad types, so you can keep things fresh and interesting.

Shutterfly Facebook Ad Example

Shopping ads, image carousels, videos, and more will make your ads stand out.

Use retargeting and remarketing to convert visitors

Retargeting is one of the most effective ways to push leads through the funnel, especially when you’re trying to transition MQLs to SQLs. Your audience has already shown some interest in your brand, either by clicking on a previous ad or visiting your site. Now is your opportunity to appeal to them again, with an exclusive offer or an urgent countdown that a deal is about to expire.

Retargeting Ads Clock

Leads in your retargeted audience are much more likely to convert.

#13: Make it easy for leads to book a demo

How many clicks does it take to get to a real person? If it takes too many, your leads are likely to bail. You want to create a form or live chat submission process that is simple, quick, and easy, so your leads can book a demo without hassle.

If you combine this with a frictionless onboarding process in the post-sale stage, you’ll end up with highly satisfied customers that are more likely to give you referrals and put new leads into your funnel.

#14: Use freebies to generate leads

The best B2B brands have one thing in common: they give away their best product for free.

Sounds like bad business, right?

Wrong. Turning your top product into a freemium or forever-free model is one of the top ways to get a consistent stream of warm leads.

Just like Buffer, one of the top social media management tools, offers free access to its platform:

Buffer Pricing

Or how design tool Canva has a forever free plan:

Canva Pricing

Freebies are even better than demos or trials because the commitment is so low for leads to get on board. Once they do, you can sell them on premium packages and upgrades based on their needs.

#15: Diversify your efforts with social media

Social media is a melting pot of cultures and backgrounds, and some of the most powerful branding is happening there. As we mentioned, LinkedIn is your priority when it comes to building social media strategy, but you shouldn’t ignore other platforms. In fact, just be sure you’re not ignoring social at all.

Source of Leads


Be sure to check out what your competition is doing on social — which platforms they’re most active on, how they engage with followers, and what they’re posting to find new leads — and then borrow their ideas where you can.

#16: A/B test everything

A/B testing is such an easy thing to do but often gets overlooked when implementing a complex B2B lead gen strategy. However, A/B testing everything you do is crucial to your overall success.

The most important fact to remember with A/B testing is that you should only test one element at a time. That might be the copy for a PPC ad, a headline on your landing page, or the CTA that should drive your leads to convert. This is a simple method of testing that delivers clear results.

#17: Measure results

Some results will be obvious — if you’re getting more traffic and more sales, you’re doing something right.

But what if things aren’t working exactly as you’d hoped? Digging into the data will give you the insights you need to correct course and adapt. If you’re struggling to get leads into your funnel, maybe you need to take a closer look at your buyer persona or the social media channel you’ve invested the most in.

Or if your content is killer, but conversions are low, look carefully for where your warmed-up leads are jumping ship. If it’s right before they seal the deal, there could be a hiccup with your sales enablement strategy and the handoff from marketing.

You want to keep an eye on all the results — not just the good ones. Often, those vanity metrics paint a lovely picture, but they obscure the view of what’s actually happening. Remember — numbers don’t lie. So dive deep, even when they aren’t the numbers you want to see because they will always be your source of truth.

We’re happy to answer any other questions if you have any. Contact us and let us know the challenges you’re facing with lead gen and revenue, and we’ll do our best to help.