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B2B Lead Generation: What Your Sales Team Needs to Know

Reading Time: 10 minutes


Undoubtedly, B2B lead generation is the most valuable skill for both your marketing and sales teams. For many of us, lead generation can be hard—it takes a lot of time, effort, and human capital. Luckily for you, we have a few tricks to share. But first, to understand the concepts behind B2B lead generation, we need to cover the basics.

What Is a Lead?

At the most basic level, a lead is an individual that expresses interest in a company’s services.

Businesses usually contact leads after they have opened communication—typically by submitting personal information in exchange for an ebook, guide, or whitepaper, or other types of free resources. Other times, a company may reach out to another business first because they view them as a qualified lead that would benefit from their services based on factors such as revenue, location, type of service, or number of employees.

B2B leads are part of the larger lifecycle that consumers follow when they transition from the awareness stage to the consideration stage, and finally, to the decision stage. Not all leads are created equal, nor are they qualified the same. There are different types of leads based on how they are qualified and which lifecycle stage they are in.

Types of Leads

Now that we are clear about what a lead is let’s cover a few different types of leads and learn what differentiates them from one another. Note that there are other types of leads, but for this blog, we are going to be covering simple leads, marketing qualified leads, and sales qualified leads only.

What are Simple Leads?

A simple lead is when a prospect first shows up on your radar. You know who they are, but you don’t have in-depth information about them yet—just something as simple as a name and email address. At this point, you don’t have much data that can help you identify who they really are.

Simple leads are often labeled as informational leads, as they are generally identified in the early stages of the buyer’s journey. Most of the time, they will require nurturing and more content from your marketing team to be converted to a marketing qualified lead.

Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs)

Marketing qualified leads are prospects that have expressed some interest in your company by engaging with your content and providing additional identification details to convert into a known lead. These leads are qualified by predetermined standards of a “good fit” target and are likely to become a customer.

In other words, a marketing qualified lead is someone who has been exposed to your brand through your marketing assets.

Again, marketing qualified leads have to be known, meaning they have to leave contact information (typically an email or phone number). An unidentified website visitor isn’t a marketing lead.

You can identify MQLs by offering ebooks, whitepapers, checklists, guides, case studies, online calculators, and other downloadable pieces of content in exchange for a website visitor’s information—such as that email address, for starters. You can also utilize their website and engagement activity to determine if they are aligned with one of your organization’s buyer personas and have the potential to be a marketing qualified lead.

It is important to note that not all MQLs will be a good fit for your product or service, so it might not be wise to have your sales team waste time and effort trying to convert them—especially if you have a larger enterprise—because these leads haven’t shown the propensity to buy.

Example criteria for B2B marketing qualified leads are:

  • A certain revenue range
  • A certain number of employees
  • A certain vertical

Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs)

Sales is the last phase a B2B lead passes through before becoming a customer. A sales qualified lead is a prospective customer that has been researched and vetted—usually by your organization’s marketing and sales teams—and is deemed ready for the next stage in the sales process.

This type of lead has come to you—either organically or through outreach—and expressed a certain level of interest in your company’s services. Once the marketing team has noticed interest from the lead—this can be engagement, including chatting with a bot or leaving their contact information in a sales form—the lead is moved along to your sales team, who will vet them to gauge their sales-readiness further.

An SQL is ready for a direct sales follow-up, and your sales team should make it a priority to have a one-on-one conversation with them. After this, the sales process truly begins.

What Is B2B Lead Generation?

Now that we understand more about the different types of leads let’s dive into B2B lead generation.

You can generate leads in many different ways. Your efforts shouldn’t be focused on a single form of lead generation—successful B2B lead generation is a unique combination of activities and behaviors that work for your business. The tactics that bring in record-high revenue for one organization may not create any leads for yours. Testing different campaigns to discover what works for your business is crucial.

Different Methods of Lead Generation

Leads typically have a few distinct sources, and each one determines your next steps.

Lead Generation With Websites

B2B lead generation from your website will be your most important (and challenging) marketing skill. Actually, it’s a combination of several different skills—you need to master content creation, sales, design, psychology, and traditional marketing if you want your website visitors to consistently convert into leads.

If you’re looking to increase the number of leads that come from your website traffic, then optimizing, improving, and implementing specific strategies and tactics are a must. Your website is your foundation for online B2B lead generation, so you don’t want to skimp here.

Lead Generation With Blog Posts

Companies that are blogging receive 97 percent more links to their website. If you’re new to SEO, that may not make any sense or mean anything to you, but let me be the first to tell you—links are very beneficial. At its core, blogging is all about content.

Creating valuable content is incredibly important if you want to build the type of website that generates real leads for your business. When you create helpful content, you build trust with your audience—which, in turn, generates more leads.

Lead Generation With Landing Pages

An online marketing tactic that works amazingly well are landing pages. However, you can’t simply create dozens of landing pages and expect to get results. Be sure that you are always following the best practices for B2B lead generation landing pages.

Here are a few tips to help you create high-converting landing pages:

Be Clear – You have a short window to make a clear point to the reader with your copy. Don’t say anything unnecessary or irrelevant; rather, get straight to the point. Aim to get your point across in a way that takes fewer words and makes immediate sense to the reader.

Avoid Clutter – Landing pages have to work quickly to achieve their goals. The last thing you want is a visual mess that makes it hard for your visitors to focus. Your goal is to direct the eye toward the most important features first. Your offer and CTA should stand out the most, and all of your other features should be included in a way that doesn’t steal away too much attention.

Format Like a Pro – If the last two tips didn’t get the point across, you want a landing page to be as easy on the eyes as possible. That means formatting your content in a way that makes it visually appealing and, more importantly, easy for your visitor to read and discern the most important points.

Optimizing Your Website Forms

B2B leads can be generated with the use of on-page forms. Website forms may seem like a simple element of your website, but they’re incredibly important in B2B lead generation and often overlooked. Ensure your forms are capable of converting the highest percentage of site visitors possible. These forms gather valuable information that your company can use in future marketing.

Here are a few tips you can use to make your forms convert more effectively:

Be explicit about what users get in exchange for their information.

It’s vital that you’re upfront about what exactly users will be receiving when they provide their information. You don’t want to lead them in the wrong direction and disappoint them if they thought they would be getting something different, but you also want them to see the value they can gain from giving their information. The key here is to offer something worth the exchange.

Form requests should match the perceived value of the offer.

The amount of information you request on your forms should match the value of what you’re offering in exchange. The more information someone gives, the better—but be careful because the more you ask for, the less likely they’ll be to complete your form. Don’t assume your visitors are going to take the time or effort to give your e-commerce clothing boutique all of their valuable information in exchange for “The Ultimate Guide to Athleisure.”

Instead, ask for less and give them more value. Try asking for the two to three most important bits of information and send them “The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Looking Put Together” in exchange. It’s something your target audience will love and will be more than willing to trade for a few lines of personal info.

Use smart forms to enhance B2B lead generation.

Be smart with the information you gather from your visitors with progressive profiling. By asking specific questions about their wants and needs, you can personalize your marketing approach to target them on an individual level. As users revisit your website and continue to complete more forms, you can begin creating a profile on them. This will allow you to create marketing messages that are more tailored to an individual’s wants, needs, and goals.

You can take advantage of smart forms and progressive profiling with software like HubSpot.

Forms Pro Tip: Redirect landing page form submissions to a thank-you page.

This one might sound silly, but when a visitor has taken the time to complete a form, make sure you thank them. Once the form has been submitted, redirect them to a thank-you page that tells them how much you appreciate them opting in. You can also use this page to reassure them that their information is safe and summarize the types of information they’ll be receiving as a part of your mailing list.

Now we’ve covered everything you need to know about B2B lead generation, but what if you aren’t getting any leads? Don’t worry; there’s more.

What Is a Contact Leads Database?

When the flow of your organic pipeline has slowed down, your sales team can make up for it by utilizing an online contact information database.

To understand a contact leads database, we need to cover the basics here, as well. Buckle up, because you’re about to learn a lot.

A contact leads database is an organized and easily accessible collection of information about various businesses. A typical online contact information database will provide users with information such as the name of the owner, the CEO, and the names of some of the individuals employed by the company. In other words, it resembles a sophisticated phone book. Some of the best B2B contact databases will provide users with both cold and hot leads.

A good online contact information database, such as ZoomInfo, will generate B2B leads by allowing users to apply filters by company, location, revenue, and industry. The software will sift through companies to find qualified leads that are most desirable for your organization. Anyone with a goal of improving their business through B2B lead generation can benefit from utilizing a contact leads database.

It is important to note that, out of all of the teams within your organization, your marketing and sales teams will benefit the most from having access to these databases.

The Real Value a Contact Leads Database Provides

Online contact information databases make it considerably easier to locate matches to your marketing agency’s ideal buyer personas.

This will allow your sales and marketing teams to recognize your ideal buyer more conveniently. It’s worth noting that there needs to be an effective inbound marketing strategy in place if your marketing team wants to use these tools effectively. Make sure that your sales and marketing strategies are supporting your teams to do their jobs to the best of their abilities.

Information Accuracy

Whenever you work with indirect leads, ensure that your information is accurate. After all, a database of contacts who no longer work at an organization isn’t useful to your team. Luckily, you can find personal data like phone numbers and email addresses on almost any website. Contact leads databases collect contact information from government registers and other publically available records and house it in one convenient location.

Other Benefits Contact Leads Databases Provide

When your marketing and sales teams use one of these databases, they have control over the potential clients brought in. If your team uses the filters correctly, this means your contact database leads will be qualified leads. Not only will these leads be vetted as a good fit for your organization to work with, but you will also have a stable flow of leads as part of your outbound strategy.

Because contact leads databases do a lot of the work for you, your resources and efforts are instantly maximized—and who doesn’t want that? You want your team to be as efficient as possible and ultimately bring in more leads. Contact information providers can also help your sales team improve their existing contact database and enhance their lists.

Selecting the Right Contact Leads Database for Your Organization

There are many different online contact information databases to choose from. It’s imperative that you are selecting the right contact leads database for your organization so you can avoid wasting time and money.

When you have so many options, making a decision can be difficult. We’re going to be comparing two popular online contact information databases so that you can make an informed decision for your business.

These databases make it easier for your sales team to find companies and individuals matching your buyer personas. Remember, this means the leads found through this method will be ideal buyers for your company. As we mentioned before, filters can also help you find companies that are most desirable for your team.

ZoomInfo vs. Dun & Bradstreet

We will be giving you a quick overview of ZoomInfo and Dun & Bradstreet (DNB), both of which we have experience with and have found to be helpful. It’s important you know some of the things the two are doing differently so you can make the best choice for your company.

DNB has been around for much longer than ZoomInfo. DNB pulls all lead information from public government data and allows users to apply filters, but it may be growing less and less capable of meeting the demands and needs of today’s market.

One of the main differences that stands out between the two is that ZoomInfo employs over 200 dedicated agents to keep all of the data up to date, which means their information is always current. DNB does not do this.

ZoomInfo has excelled in the market over the past few years by creating a highly accurate, high-quality lead base. They have been able to achieve this by acquiring and merging with other top companies in the B2B lead generation space, such as NeverBounce. This means

ZoomInfo is supplying users with data that has been collected and compiled by many different companies and is more likely to be fully updated.

ZoomInfo also has complete integration with HubSpot. Once you import your contact list, it is automatically checked for changes, and those changes are applied without you having to update manually. In addition, ZoomInfo is able to scan your existing contact list and enhance it.

You might be wondering how ZoomInfo is getting all of this information. They have various ingenious strategies, which they rarely disclose. Their dedicated research team with more than 100 reps constantly verifies and updates information on all the companies they have in their database.

This is how ZoomInfo is able to have 98 percent accuracy with the emails and phone numbers they provide. One of the most recent features they added is called “scoop and intent.” This allows users to find individuals and companies that not only can afford their services but are also actively searching for a company to hire that can provide those services for them.

Wrapping Up: Where to Go From Here

B2B lead generation doesn’t always come easy, especially in today’s competitive market. You’ve taken a fantastic first step in gaining a critical edge over your competitors by indulging in this guide.

Once you understand how to generate leads and start implementing these methods into your business, you’re sure to see success. Remember to test, evaluate, and make adjustments to your B2B lead generation strategy as needed.

When you’re ready to unleash your full potential, reach out to Uhuru for a FREE consultation—we’ll help get you where you want to go in your sales endeavors.

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Written by

Ema Odorovic

Sales Coordinator and Lead Gen Team Manager

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