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B2B Lead Generation: How to Get More Qualified Leads

b2b lead generation guide

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The SMB Guide 2024 to Generating Leads

Understanding B2B Lead Generation for SMBs in 2024

In today’s competitive B2B ecosystem, small and medium businesses (SMBs) face significant challenges in generating qualified B2B leads. Traditional prospecting channels are saturated, buying behaviors have radically changed, and digitalization has disrupted established sales strategies. However, attracting and converting quality prospects is crucial for ensuring business growth and profitability.

This practical guide aims to equip SMBs with proven lead generation strategies to generate qualified B2B leads sustainably. Discover how to optimize your online presence, leverage content marketing, implement targeted advertising, and adopt an omnichannel approach to align with the modern B2B buying journey. By transforming your B2B lead generation approach, you’ll stimulate a more robust sales pipeline, increase revenue, and enhance competitiveness.

Qualified vs Unqualified Leads

Not all leads are created equal. Properly qualifying leads is essential:

– Unqualified leads are contacts that don’t meet your targeting criteria

– Qualified leads match your ideal customer profile and buying criteria

– Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs) are qualified leads with verified purchase intent and sales-readiness

Focusing your efforts on qualified, sales-ready leads enables more efficient use of marketing and sales resources for better ROI. Leverage lead scoring, progressive profiling, and ongoing qualification.

The SMB Guide 2024 to Generating Leads ​

Diagnosing SMB Challenges in B2B Lead Generation

Obstacles to B2B Lead Generation for SMBs

SMBs often struggle to generate enough qualified B2B sales leads in a saturated market. Adopting new B2B lead generation technologies and prospecting methods also represents a significant obstacle due to a lack of resources, skills, or appetite for change.

Their B2B marketing campaigns suffer from low conversion rates and poor quality of the B2B leads generated. The ineffective management of existing B2B leads also results in a considerable loss of opportunities.

The Real Impact on SMBs

These issues have major economic consequences, with significant marketing costs and no return on investment. The loss of business opportunities directly impacts revenue and profitability, threatening the financial health and sustainability of the company. 

On an organizational level, these challenges weigh on the morale of sales and marketing teams, with increased pressure on internal resources.

Example of a Struggling SMB

Despite significant marketing investments, an SMB specializing in IT management could not generate enough qualified B2B leads. Its B2B campaigns were poorly targeted, and its content was irrelevant.

After reviewing its B2B lead generation strategy by adopting inbound marketing, targeting the proper channels, and optimizing its content, this SMB increased its conversion rate and the quality of its B2B pipeline. A winning tactic was to use AI to create personalized content and analyze prospect behavioral data.


Analysis of the Modern B2B Buying Journey for Lead Generation

Evolution of the B2B Buying Journey in 2024

The B2B buying journey has undergone a profound transformation with the emergence of digital and the evolution of buyer behaviors:

96% of B2B prospects want to do their research before contacting a supplier

71% of buyers are millennials or Gen Z, more inclined to use social media

96% of B2B prospects are not in the buying phase, highlighting the importance of a targeted approach

Artificial intelligence and predictive analytics now make it possible to anticipate needs and offer a tailored experience with increased expectations in terms of relevance and responsiveness.

Key Touchpoints for B2B Lead Generation

From the discovery phase, optimizing your presence on search engines and social media is crucial: offer quality downloadable content for B2B lead capture.

Virtual or in-person product demos, as does personalized follow-up after initial contact, allow for deeper engagement.

Adapting Your B2B Lead Generation Strategies

To align with these new realities, SMBs must rethink their marketing and sales strategies:

– Adopt content marketing and inbound marketing for B2B lead gen

– Optimize their online presence (website, blog, social media)

– Implement targeted and personalized B2B advertising campaigns 

– Deploy a valid omnichannel strategy for a coherent buying experience

According to statistics, 91% of marketers consider lead generation their number one priority, and the B2B lead generation solutions market is expected to reach $9.6 billion by 2028.

Understanding MQLs, SQLs, and the Lead Lifecycle

As you generate leads, it’s crucial to properly qualify and prioritize them based on their level of sales-readiness:

– A marketing qualified lead (MQL) is a lead that matches your ideal customer profile and has shown interest by engaging with your marketing content.

– A sales-qualified lead (SQL) is an MQL that has been further vetted and deemed ready for direct sales follow-up based on additional qualification criteria.

The goal is to nurture MQLs along the marketing funnel until they become SQLs that your sales team can efficiently convert into customers.

Properly defining your MQL and SQL criteria while closely aligning your marketing and sales processes is critical to optimizing your lead generation ROI.

Driving More MQLs and SQLs

To maximize your lead generation engine’s output, optimize each stage:

For more MQLs:

– Expand your content and SEO footprint

– Run targeted paid advertising and retargeting

– Leverage social media, webinars, and other channels

– Implement CTAs and lead capture opportunities

For more SQLs from MQLs:

– Define tight MQL criteria aligned with sales

– Nurture MQLs with targeted content and messaging

– Implement progressive profiling and lead scoring

– Facilitate seamless marketing to sales handoff

Continuously test, measure, and refine your processes.

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Lead Generation Tactics for SMBs: Outbound and Inbound

Outbound: Reinforcing Direct Contact for B2B Leads

Outbound B2B marketing aims to directly reach potential prospects through proactive techniques such as emailing, targeted advertising, trade shows, or cold calling. 

Personalizing messages, using data for precise targeting, and rigorously tracking results are essential to maximize their effectiveness.

Inbound: Attracting B2B Leads with Relevant Content

Conversely, inbound B2B marketing relies on attracting and engaging prospects by creating and distributing relevant and informative content such as blogs, eBooks, and webinars.

Its advantage is generally a lower cost per B2B lead generated and building a lasting relationship of trust. An innovative tactic is to use AI to personalize content.

Inbound lead generation focuses on attracting prospects by creating valuable content and optimizing your online presence.

Through SEO, content marketing, social media marketing, and more, you can generate inbound leads by being present when prospects are researching solutions.

The key benefits are higher quality leads at a lower cost per acquisition. Inbound leads convert better as they’ve self-educated and shown active interest.

Integrating Outbound and Inbound for B2B Lead Generation

Far from being opposed, these two approaches complement each other very well. The most successful companies judiciously combine outbound and inbound to maximize their impact on B2B lead generation.

Combine inbound and outbound tactics for a comprehensive lead generation engine. Successful integration involves careful planning, constant performance monitoring, and regular adjustments.

Local Lead Generation for SMBs

For SMBs operating locally or regionally, local lead generation represents a powerful strategy to attract nearby customers and clients.

Tactics include local SEO optimization, geo-targeted advertising, directory listings, community outreach, and location-based social media marketing.

Local lead generation enables SMBs to cost-effectively reach prospects in their area with localized, relevant messaging – driving foot traffic and localized sales.

DMAIC: For Continuous Improvement of B2B Lead Gen

The DMAIC Principle for Lead Generation

DMAIC is a continuous process improvement methodology from Six Sigma, applicable to optimizing B2B lead generation strategies:

  1. Define objectives and requirements
  2. Measure current performance
  3. Analyze data to identify problems
  4. Innovate with new solutions
  5. Control results and adjust

Testing to Find What Works for B2B Lead Gen

In an SMB environment with limited resources, adopting a culture of continuous experimentation is crucial to identifying the most effective B2B tactics.

An agile experimentation approach with short, iterative cycles allows for rapidly testing new B2B lead generation ideas.

Applying DMAIC for SMB Lead Generation

  1. Clearly define your B2B lead generation objectives
  2. Measure the effectiveness of your current B2B tactics
  3. Analyze data to identify bottlenecks
  4. Introduce new B2B tactics like conversational marketing
  5. Monitor performance and adjust continuously

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Overcoming SMB Challenges: Time, Expertise, Solutions

Optimizing Your Time for B2B Lead Gen

B2B lead generation is a time-consuming process. That’s why process optimization is crucial, as it automates repetitive tasks and uses project management tools.

It is also essential to prioritize actions based on their potential impact, focusing on the most promising B2B lead generation tactics.

Building In-House B2B Lead Gen Expertise

Continuous skills development of marketing teams is essential. Attend training, conferences, or workshops to stay up-to-date on the latest B2B lead generation trends.

Also, leverage AI to automate specific repetitive marketing tasks.

Calling on External B2B Lead Gen Experts

For some SMBs, it may be advisable to call on external resources such as specialized freelancers or B2B lead generation companies for SMBs.

The advantage is accessing specialized expertise without training your teams in-house, but it is an additional cost.

Lead Generation Tools and Software

To support your lead generation efforts, leverage the power of specialized lead generation tools and software solutions:

Lead capture tools (e.g., email capture popups, landing pages)

Lead nurturing tools (email marketing, drip campaigns)

Lead scoring and prioritization tools

CRM and lead management platforms

– Outbound prospecting tools (email finders, LinkedIn Sales Navigator)

– Inbound marketing tools (SEO, content creation, social media)

The lead generation tools market offers many solutions to streamline your processes and maximize results. Explore options like HubSpot, Marketo, Salesforce, Pardot, and others.

B2B eMail Lead Generation

Despite the rise of new channels, eMail remains one of the most effective B2B lead generation tactics when adequately executed:

– Build targeted email lists of prospects matching your ICP

– Craft compelling, personalized outreach messaging

– Leverage email automation and sequencing

Integrate with other channels (e.g., send email post-webinar)

– Measure, test, and optimize over time

B2B email lead generation enables you to proactively reach your target audience in a scalable, measurable way when paired with the right strategies.

The Future of B2B Lead Generation

As technologies like AI, big data, and predictive analytics advance, lead generation will become increasingly intelligent and personalized:

– Hyper-targeted account-based marketing (ABM)

– Predictive lead scoring based on real-time data

– Conversational AI assistants for lead engagement

– Automated multichannel nurturing at scale

– Advanced attribution modeling and closed-loop reporting

Embracing these innovations will be essential for SMBs to remain competitive and drive sustainable lead generation performance.

Towards Successful B2B Lead Generation for SMBs

By implementing the strategies presented in this guide, you will be able to attract more qualified B2B leads and stimulate your company’s overall growth. Optimized B2B lead generation will result in a more substantial sales pipeline, increased revenue, and enhanced competitiveness.

Activate the Levers of Your SMB Growth

At Koonden, we encourage you to adopt a proactive and agile posture today in transforming your B2B prospecting strategies. Don’t hesitate to question your established methods, experiment with new B2B marketing approaches, and use emerging technologies to stand out from your competitors. You could start today by taking our dedicated self-assessment.

Boost Your SMB Lead Strategy Today

Ready to take action? Schedule an appointment now for a personalized consultation with our B2B lead generation experts for SMBs. Together, we will comprehensively diagnose your current challenges and develop a tailored roadmap for B2B lead gen. Don’t wait any longer to revolutionize your approach.

Contact us today or schedule a personalized consultation!

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