B2B lead generation is the process of identifying the ideal customers for your product or service, then attracting them to buy. It is an essential activity for B2B sales and marketing teams.
This knowledge hub contains a number of resources that will help to explain the importance of B2B lead generation, and provide practical advice for getting it started at your business today. Use the links below to navigate around this page.
In 90 seconds: what is B2B lead generation? | Why is B2B lead generation important? | What are B2B leads? | Who conducts B2B lead generation? | How is B2B lead generation conducted? | The importance of data in B2B lead generation | What technology can help with B2B lead generation? | B2B lead generation: influencer insights | More B2B lead generation resources from Cognism | Further reading, links and resources | Contact Cognism today
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B2B lead generation explained in 90 seconds 👇
B2B lead generation is fundamental to the success of a business. We have identified several factors that demonstrate the importance of B2B lead generation for sales and marketing teams, as well as the wider business. We have set them out here 👇
In B2B lead generation, B2B leads is the term given to those people who have been identified as potential customers for your business. They can be categorised as those who would likely find value from using your product or service.
There are two types of B2B lead:
Marketing-qualified leads, or MQLs, are leads who are deemed very likely to become a paying customer. The qualification is based on the engagement that the MQL has had with your business’s marketing efforts.
Sales-qualified leads, or SQLs, are MQLs who have progressed along the funnel and are deemed to be ready for engagement with your sales team. To be designated as an SQL, the lead must have shown intent to buy your company’s product or service.
This intent can be expressed in several ways:
B2B lead generation is a process managed by sales and marketing professionals. They may work alone or more typically in teams.
For B2B lead generation to work most effectively, it is preferable for sales and marketing teams to be closely aligned.
A sales team focused on B2B lead generation is often split into two groups. These groups perform separate, clearly defined tasks.
The two groups are:
There are several benefits to this approach:
Webinar recap: How to build a high-performing sales team | 5 skills every SDR should master | 10 questions to ask when hiring an SDR | How to ramp up an SDR in 3 days | Top tips from top-performing sales reps | B2B sales KPIs: what you need to track
In general, there are two categories of marketers focused on B2B lead generation. While their work may overlap, their approaches to marketing are very different.
These two categories are:
Despite their differences, these two groups do have one thing in common - they rely on analysing data and testing to drive their decision-making and they are both laser focused on successful B2B lead generation.
B2B lead generation is conducted through a variety of sales and marketing activities. In this section, we will provide definitions for each of the most common ones.
In sales, B2B lead generation is carried out through a process called B2B outbound. This process includes:
The goal of all of these tasks is for the B2B lead to agree to attend a product demo, which is conducted by a BDM.
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For marketers, the process of B2B lead generation is also known as demand generation. There are several tactics that marketers can leverage to generate leads and demand. They are:
The goals of these activities will vary depending on where the B2B lead is in the marketing funnel. It could be to attract new leads to the business or to steer existing leads towards making a purchasing decision.
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The success of B2B lead generation is dependent on the data that sales and marketing teams have. Without good-quality data, B2B lead generation cannot be conducted.
If SDRs have inaccurate or incomplete contact data for their B2B leads, then it becomes impossible for them to cold call or send outbound emails. If demand generation marketers have imprecise data on their target accounts, then it becomes much harder to create and promote content that converts.
Data is also fundamental to analytics and forecasting. It provides the bedrock for KPIs and benchmarks for individuals and teams; it allows companies to measure their output and results. The insights gained from studying B2B data can be invaluable. Business leaders can quickly see if there are any failings in their B2B lead generation process and make adjustments. The most successful B2B companies are those who keep on top of their data and use it in their day-to-day decision-making.
If you would like to learn more about B2B data, we have created a library of resources. You will find the links below 👇
B2B data cheat sheet: a simple guide to B2B data | Data sourcing tips for sales and marketing success | Top tips for data enrichment | Total Addressable Market: what you need to know | How to build a B2B data list | 2020 B2B data compliance guide
For most sales and marketing teams, technology is a huge benefit to B2B lead generation. Sales activities such as cold calling and outbound emails can be automated. Marketing activities such as blogging and social media rely on content management systems and the internet.
Interactions with B2B leads can be stored in Customer Relationship Management systems, or CRMs. The data captured in a company’s CRM can be analysed to improve business relationships with customers and drive future sales.
In recent years, there has been a significant growth in sales and marketing technology, especially in the B2B sector. Many tools and solutions are now available and can assist with almost any B2B lead generation task. A high percentage of them are delivered by the software as a service, or SaaS, model. The total number of tools used by a company is known as a technology stack, or tech stack.
We have published more resources on the topic of B2B technology. You will find the links below 👇
Several thought leaders in B2B sales and marketing have contributed to our content. You will find more B2B lead generation insights here 👇
Nigel Dunand is the Director at Sandler Training. He shares the top 10 things every new SDR must do when they start a new job.
Michael Levy is the Principal at GZ Consulting. He delves into the strategies used by B2B and SaaS companies to align their sales and marketing teams.
We have collated our B2B sales and marketing webinars, whitepapers and playbooks. Scroll down for more 👇
Cognism CRO Nazma Qurban discussed how to kickstart outbound sales with James Ski, Founder at Sales Confidence and Neil Ryland, CRO at Peakon.
Cognism Head of Marketing Alice de Courcy moderated an exploration of ABM with Nick Mason, CEO & Founder at Turtl, Owen Steer, Account Strategist at Punch and Joe Birkedale, CEO at Project36.
Cognism CRO Nazma Qurban and Inside Sales Director David Bentham talked about how to build a successful B2B sales team with Collin Waldrip, Sales Development Manager at SalesLoft.
Cognism’s Sales Directors Jonathon Ilett and David Bentham shared the tactics that contributed to our business’s immense success last year.
Cognism Head of Marketing Alice de Courcy discussed growth hacking tips and tricks with Charlie Taylor, EMEA Marketing Manager at G2 and Karla Rivershaw, Head of Marketing at Turtl.
A comprehensive guide to launching an effective ABM campaign. Featuring contributions from ABM experts at Turtl, Punch and Project36.
Step-by-step instructions to create the perfect Ideal Customer Profile for your business. Includes a template as used by Cognism’s sales and marketing teams.
Learn how to handle objections on your B2B cold calls. Includes real-world examples of the most common sales objections and how to resolve them.
If you would like to see how Cognism can revolutionise your B2B lead generation strategy with high-quality, globally-compliant data, get in touch with us today. Simply register your interest at the link below 👇