In today’s hyper-competitive landscape, lead generation is a crucial component of business growth. This is the process of nurturing qualified prospects to turn them into leads, and for B2B companies, it is the lifeblood of client growth.
As we look ahead, it’s impossible to ignore the changes lead generation has experienced the last couple of years as a result of the global pandemic. For starters, we’ve seen a massive shift to digital forms of interaction which has only increased buyer awareness, as well as enabled people to more independently search for solutions.
With this in mind, it’s crucial for businesses to have a comprehensive and holistic lead generation strategy in order to create awareness and acquire new buyers. In this article, we will cover the latest trends in B2B lead generation and how advertisers can use them in order to set themselves up for success.
Without a doubt, the importance of data and analytics has risen over the last few years. The B2B industry is no exception, and the benefits are clear. McKinsey found that companies that effectively use analytics in marketing and sales are 1.5 times more likely to achieve above-average growth rate compared to their peers.1
Focusing on the quality of leads in the pipeline versus simply increasing the number helps to clarify everyone’s approach. We refer to this type of data as intent data–you are leveraging it to intentionally spot likely-to-buy decision makers ahead of time and gain a better understanding of their thought process.
Taking this approach can be difficult to do if your lead generation system is bogged down with mass amounts of disorganized or unnecessary data. Aflac, one of America’s largest and most recognized supplemental insurance companies, dealt with this issue. Without a centralized lead system, the sales team didn’t have a clear understanding of the numbers. After implementing a single, centralized system to streamline the prospecting process and focusing on clean data, the company experienced an influx of qualified leads, with over 2.1 million leads created and 7,073 meetings with decision makers to discuss enrollments.
Truly effective lead generation programs are not siloed efforts between marketing and sales. Quite the opposite, these two areas need to make sure they are in sync in order to engage prospects and ultimately retain them.
Of course, this might be easier said than done. As Henry Ford once said, “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is a process; working together is a success.” Forrester recently reported that 72% of firms said that their greatest sales and marketing challenge was managing data and insights across organizational silos.2
If your company is still trying to find its footing here, remember that it all comes back to communication. A solid starting place is making sure sales and marketing are aligned on the definition of a qualified lead. After all, there is no universal standard for what makes a qualified lead, and that will need to be decided by each individual company. When sales and marketing work together, organizations are able to come with a clear and accurate definition for what a “qualified lead” looks like. After that, communication between the two departments is critical to ensure this qualified lead is targeted correctly and moved through the pipeline accordingly.
At the end of the day, lead generation is about sparking a conversation with not just any person, but the right person. Your focus from the very beginning needs to be on reaching your target audience since they are the ones most likely to become customers. We’re seeing a heavier emphasis on this than ever before.
Especially for small-to-midsize businesses, you want to make the most of your budget. If your product or service is geared toward young professionals who live in the city, you’ll want to gear your entire lead generation toward that audience.
In general, taking an audience-focused approach gives you a competitive edge, can help to increase customer engagement and as a result, increase conversions. Research from Deloitte found that audience-focused companies are 60% more profitable compared to companies that did not place a heavy emphasis on the customer.3
Even if you know exactly who your target audience is, it can still be overwhelming to make sense of available data across departments to create a focused approach. Data Axle’s Lead Generation services simplify that process by doing the following:
As Digital Marketing Director at Data Axle, Kevin oversees omnichannel campaigns from creative to deployment with a focus on driving results and a passion for data-driven strategies. A tenured professional, he has extensive experience in email marketing, marketing automation, SEO and paid search. Kevin has an MBA from LSU Shreveport and is a UConn alumnus.