6 Kick-Ass B2B Lead Generation Strategies for 2021

Lead generation, the process of identifying and nurturing potential customers, continues to be a major challenge for marketers in 2021.

The biggest reason behind it is that competition in every field is growing every day, and to get a significant number of leads, a business needs to stand out from the crowd.

But here's a fact: lead generation isn't about finding a "secret sauce" to help in the generation of tons of leads. Instead, it's about exploring the tried and tested methodologies to create the most practical combination of strategies based on the objectives and target industry. And determining the most appropriate methods can massively transform your overall revenue.

What is B2B Lead Generation?

In a nutshell, lead generation is the art of attracting and capturing your target audience's interest in a product or service for developing a sales pipeline. Lead generation lies in the second stage of inbound marketing. The inbound marketing process goes like this:

Attract → Convert → Close → Delight

Lead generation occurs in the second stage after your target audience has been attracted to your brand, and you're ready to convert them into your customers. For example, if a social media post attracted someone to visit your website, and then your website's content influenced the person to provide their email to you, that person would be considered a lead. And once you have the email address, with a proper strategy, you may end up turning that lead into an actual customer.

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content marketing trends, lead generation, marketing strategy, B2B marketing, CMO, content marketing, digital marketing, marketing tactics, B2B strategy, lead magnets

B2B Content Isn’t Boring Unless Your Writing Is

It’s a common refrain: “We’re a B2B company. We can’t do the same things those B2C funsters get up to.” Another good one is, “Our product/industry/niche is just too serious and boring for content marketing.”

But it’s also worth pointing out that shedloads of content are published every day for which “boring” might be a polite description (“predictable” and “unnecessary” would be others.) I regularly come across reports, white papers, and articles that would require me to stab myself repeatedly in the leg with a fork simply to stay awake beyond the opening paragraphs.

I’m sure the marketers publishing this content wouldn’t say it’s boring. Perhaps they don’t always realize it is. Perhaps internal feedback convinced them the world really is desperate for an academic thesis on interlocking flanges … or something. Perhaps, as can be the case in B2B, the content was written to satisfy an internal audience – a C-suite eager for the brand to appear smarter than the competition on everything to do with flanges.

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lead generation, marketing strategy, B2B content marketing, B2B marketing, capturing audience, content marketing, marketing leaders, marketing tactics, Tactical Marketing Plan, B2B strategy

Why B2B marketers need to bet big on ‘The Big Long’

Imagine for a moment that you are not a B2B marketer. Instead, think of yourself as an investor, and ask yourself this: how do you identify great investments? Well, here’s a winning approach learned from watching the movie ‘The Big Short’ over and over again.

First, find a contrarian idea. The Big Short is about five investors who predicted the housing market crash that was the catalyst for the financial crisis of 2008/09, in defiance of conventional wisdom.

Second, make sure you are right by examining the evidence. In the movie, the character played by Steve Carell flew down to Florida to confirm the housing market was, in fact, comprised of sub-prime loans.

Third, be prepared to wait a while. The housing market did not collapse overnight. It took several years for the contrarians to cash in on their investment.

The big long

Let’s return to the world of B2B marketing. If Warren Buffett was a B2B marketer, where would he invest his capital? We’ll tell you where: at the very top of the funnel. In fact, that’s precisely what Warren Buffett does, buying stakes in famous brands like Coca-Cola, Geico and Apple. In B2C and in B2B, brand building might just be the single best investment a business can make.

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content marketing culture, lead generation, marketing strategy, B2B content marketing, B2B marketing, content marketing, marketing leaders, future of marketing, marketing tactics, Best tactics marketing, B2B strategy, B2B Sales, Building trust, B2B Brands, Sales Advisors, Hyper personalization, Building Community

B2B selling in 2021 - give me industry expertise over the flawed pursuit of hyper-personalization

Last week, I threw hyper-personalization under the bus (The myth of hyper-personalization - algorithms are still undermining the customer experience). My beef with hyper-personalization raises another question: how should B2B companies approach marketing and sales in 2021?

One of hyper-personalization's biggest drawbacks? Throwing technology at the wrong problem:

Are we really prepared to argue that algorithms are savvy enough to anticipate our needs in a moment-by-moment context?

Is hyper-personalization the right sales and marketing goal?

This personalization obsession has spilled into sales and marketing, with the fantasy that if we present the prospect with the right offer at just the right time (marketing), or send an "intelligent trigger" from our CRM system (sales), we'll magically have ourselves a new customer. Alas, that ambition gets mucked up by the near-irresistable temptation to blast our contacts with spray-and-pray offers hiding under the personalization rationale, but that's a rant already made.

For sales and marketing to earn relevance in today's economy, we need to redefine the problem. I believe this is fundamentally about culture change, not tech.

I have the apparently unfashionable view that marketers need to become educators/content producers with a journalistic bent, while salespeople need to become advisors.

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content marketing culture, lead generation, marketing strategy, B2B content marketing, B2B marketing, content marketing, marketing leaders, future of marketing, marketing tactics, Tactical Marketing, Best tactics marketing, B2B strategy, B2B Sales, Building trust, B2B Brands, Sales Advisors, Hyper personalization, Building Community, Opt-in Community

B2B Sales & Marketing Leaders Take Note: Brand Is Trust At Scale

"I don't care about brand. I care about revenue." We've all heard some variation of this countless times.

One of the most pervasive and value-destroying misconceptions held by many business leaders is their belief that brand only — or mostly — matters for consumer products.

“We build serious products that solve serious problems for serious buyers,” say these B2B leaders. “We identify pain and position our solution to alleviate that pain.”

Dials. Emails. Leads. Meetings. Demos. It’s all very logical. Clearly measurable.

Marketers Contribute To The Problem

We marketers are often complicit in this value-destroying mindset. We’re data-driven marketers, aren’t we? We’re modern marketers. We scoff at the old days of billboards, television commercials and ads in newspapers and magazines.

That world is over, grandpa.

We use serious tools to deliver serious messages and to report on every activity taken. “Good” marketers speak the language of MQLs, SQLs, lead scoring, conversion and attribution.

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content marketing culture, lead generation, marketing strategy, B2B content marketing, B2B marketing, content marketing, marketing leaders, future of marketing, marketing tactics, Tactical Marketing, Best tactics marketing, B2B strategy, B2B Sales, Building trust, B2B Brands

Why Sales Should Ditch MQLs for Intent Data

We live in an on-demand world. Our customers’ expectations are always evolving, which means the way we engage with them as salespeople must evolve, too. Today, customers are at the center of everything we do in the revenue-driving function – or, at least they should be. So in order to create a customer-centric experience for our prospects, the tools and technologies we use must inform and support all aspects of the sales process.

Modern buyers have more information at their fingertips than ever before. As a result, they’re doing more behind-the-scenes research – with more than 70% of buyers defining their own needs before engaging with a sales rep.

In sales, our success in sealing the deal depends on how well we can empower and engage buyers throughout their journey. But with marketing qualified leads (MQLs), you only have an opportunity to provide value to your buyers after they’ve made themselves known to you.

Luckily, today’s sales teams can instead use intent data and Conversational Marketing to reach the right prospects at the right time and provide value throughout the entire buying process.

Stop Guessing, Start Knowing

Historically, one of the biggest challenges for salespeople has been knowing exactly what our customers want. Typically, we rely on MQLs to provide us with a general idea of who the prospect is and what their pain points are before going into a meeting. But, more often than not, those MQLs leave us with generic information mapping back to our ideal customer profile (ICP), not the specific insights into each unique prospect we need to create a personalized experience.

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content marketing culture, lead generation, marketing strategy, B2B content marketing, B2B marketing, capturing audience, content marketing, marketing leaders, entertainment, future of marketing, marketing tactics, Tactical Marketing, B2B strategy, B2B Sales, Advertising trends 2021, B2B ads, Buying intent, MQL

How to set the content marketing world on fire.

As a copywriter and content marketer that has been fortunate to work with some pretty stellar startups, I’ve seen first-hand (and admittedly at times by my own hand) what works and what doesn’t in the content marketing world.

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content marketing culture, lead generation, marketing strategy, B2B content marketing, B2B marketing, capturing audience, content creating, content marketing, marketing leaders, entertainment, future of marketing, marketing tactics, Tactical Marketing, Tactical Marketing Plan, Best tactics marketing, Advertising Campaigns, B2B strategy, B2B Sales, Advertising trends 2021, B2B ads

Majority of B2B advertising is ‘ineffective’

The majority of B2B creative is “ineffective” according to new research from the LinkedIn B2B Institute and market research agency System1.

Of the 1,600 B2B ads shown to a sample of 6 million people worldwide over the past four years, 75% scored one star or less on System1’s FaceTrace emotional measurement tool.

In this context, a one-star rating means a piece of advertising is contributing zero in terms of long-term market share growth. A one-star rated ad essentially means the brand is entirely reliant on out-spending the category, rather than benefitting from the strength of the creative.

None of the 1,600 B2B ads viewed in the research attained a maximum score of five stars. Five-star ads, which score highly on emotion, fluency and intensity, have been found to help a brand grow by an average of 3% in the long term, aiding the excess share of voice and category spend.

The principles of a five-star ad, as defined by System1, are a strong story arc, characters, soundtrack, emotion and a fluent device which drives brand recognition. However, the research suggests B2B advertising is failing to deliver on many of these elements.

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content marketing culture, lead generation, marketing strategy, B2B content marketing, B2B marketing, capturing audience, content marketing, digital advertising, marketing leaders, entertainment, future of marketing, marketing tactics, Tactical Marketing, Advertising Campaigns, B2B strategy, B2B Sales, Advertising trends 2021, B2B ads

7 Costly Misconceptions About B2B Content Marketing

B2B marketing has changed a great deal over the last decade (and arguably even more so over the last year). To be sure, such transformations have affected content marketing just about every step of the way.

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content marketing culture, lead generation, marketing strategy, B2B content marketing, B2B marketing, capturing audience, content creating, content marketing, marketing leaders, entertainment, future of marketing, marketing tactics, Tactical Marketing, Tactical Marketing Plan, Best tactics marketing, B2B strategy, B2B Sales, CTA

How Marketing From Home Will Help Align Marketing and Sales

Misalignment between your marketing and sales departments can cost your business money, waste valuable B2B content, and cause lead-to-sale conversions to fail.

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content marketing culture, lead generation, marketing strategy, B2B content marketing, B2B marketing, capturing audience, content creating, content marketing, marketing leaders, entertainment, future of marketing, marketing tactics, Tactical Marketing, Tactical Marketing Plan, Best tactics marketing, B2B strategy, B2B Sales, Marketing 2021, Marketing Trends 2021, Marketing and Sales, Smarketing, Improve Customer Journey, Marketing from home

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