b2b-marketing-b2b-lead-generation-101

B2B Lead Generation 101 for Your B2B Website

Erica Hakonson B2B Marketing, Lead Generation

This informative blog post was sparked by a number of engagements with our B2B Marketing clients facing their conundrum of driving more leads from their websites. Why is lead generation and constructing desirable conversion points so hard with business-to-business marketing? Because B2B products are complicated. You can’t and don’t buy them online with free shipping, arriving at your door the next day (thanks Amazon!). Your sales cycle is likely counted in months, if not years — not minutes or days.

Historically, most B2B software & services were always sold in-person through multiple demonstrations, handshakes and even proof-of-concept deployments. Now the sales process has been transformed and the market has shifted so radically, we can market and sell these products online to anywhere in the world.

This isn’t just a landscape change; this is a center of gravity, polar shifting radicalization for most seasoned B2B business owners and marketers. So, how do you make this shift? How to you cross the continental divide to stop looking at your website as a business card or brochure of services, and start looking at your website as a lead generation and conversion magnet?

Let’s Talk B2B Lead Generation

Lead generation isn’t having individuals visit your contact page to complete a generic “contact us” form, providing all the required details for purchase. These types of leads are few and far between.

You cannot rely on prospects to raise their hands and tell you what they want. Why you ask? Because many prospects are self-educating before you have any idea there is a potential need for your product/service in their organization.

In fact, according to the Consumer Education Board (CEB) most On average, B2B buyers are at least 57% the way through the buying cycle before engaging with a solution supplier (ahem, that means you).

Yes, the concept of educating your prospects to generate new leads is a bit basic, but many still aren’t doing it. Plus, there are some B2B companies that think they are providing this, but they are not.

Why not? Many B2B software and services providers are republishing the same industry content available to everyone, calling this educational content marketing for lead generation. There are some prolific offenders.  Stop it; it’s embarrassing.

Be original, customer-centric and value-driven if you want to generate quality leads. This article will teach you the basics of how to start generating these leads with your B2B website.

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You Want More Leads? Follow these 5 MUST HAVEs for B2B Lead Gen

1. Be an Original!

This is an intervention. Don’t reuse, republish or repurpose content found elsewhere on the internet or within arm’s reach of your potential buyers. It is a disservice to your brand and positions your business as delivering poor product and service offerings.

You must be original to deliver value, spark curiosity and drive demand for your business. Chances are your business has a number of product and service experts in-house (including you as an owner) that can “wow” the pants off of your potential buyers. Let your product/service experts provide the context/meaty topics and your marketing team drive the content and the 4 P’s (product, price, place, promotion) on your website.

Then BAZINGA – you have yourself some outstanding, original and engaging lead generation content to convert more leads on your website.

b2b-lead-generation-be-original-not-repetitive

Examples of 91 different websites that used content from Microsoft’s website word-for-word to attempt to generation leads.

2. Cater to the 57% Educated B2B Buyers

Most of the clients we interface with are already catering to the 43% of potential buyers that are further along in the buying cycle, closer to making a B2B buying decision. In general, you’ll have these generic offers in place:

      1. Product Demo
      2. Product Trial
      3. Product Price Quote

To cater to the 57% of buyers that aren’t ready to interface with an aggressive or even passive sales person, you must nurture them through the buying cycle with proprietary educational material, such as:

b2b-lead-generation-templates

Create Your Own Downloadable B2B Templates for your buyers’ needs.

 

  • Informative (Non-Product Centric) eBooks
  • Industry/Product White Papers
  • Short (30 sec – 3 min) Unique/Informative Videos
  • In-Depth Industry/Product/Feature Specific Webinars
  • Instructional/Best Practice Multi-Series Email Courses
  • Cost/Risk/Savings Buying Decision Tools
  • Industry/Product/Feature Reusable Templates

 

 

And the list goes on and on. You can get very creative here to provide the best value to the customers you wish to education and swoon. Most important: be original and put yourself into the buying mind of your customer to create the most valued content.

3. Have a 1:1 or 1:2 CTA Ratio

Tragically, I must make this point. To drive leads you have a B2B lead generation opportunity, also known as a call-to-action, on your webpages. This is basic, but you’d be surprised how often this is overlooked. This means EVERY SINGLE PAGE ON YOUR WEBSITE should have a lead generation opportunity/action. This includes your blog pages, your about page, your product/solution pages, your services pages, your resources page…every single page [hopping off the soapbox].

Use calls-to-action on a 1-to-1 ratio or a 1-to-2 ratio, which mean you can have just 1 call-to-action on each page or 2 calls-to-action, but no more than 2. There should always be a call-to-action in the upper 1/3 of each of your webpages, ideally at least a part of each call-to-action should be seen “above the fold” (i.e. to be partially seen before the user has to touch the scroll bar).

This first call-to-action should have the highest intent, essentially trying to drive the person to give you the highest buying signal or step by clicking on this call to action. For example, on one of your product pages this could be “Request a Product Demo”. Your the call-to-action should vary and match the contextual relevance of each webpage.

If you choose a 1:2 ratio, this means you also get a second chance at your call-to-action, placed further down the page, likely after the potential buyer has learned more about your product, service or solution. This is the time when you want to present them with further educational material, such as an: ebook, whitepaper, webinar, decision tool, etc.

Some websites take the tactic of having static call-to-action offers that are permanently available to potential buyers no matter where he/she explores on the website. Or, there are pop-up calls-to-action, a slight iteration of this is an overlay, that are presented based on how far a potential buyer scrolls down a webpage or duration of time on site. These are definitely calls-to-action for you test for yourselves. It absolutely depends on your audience on how these will be received. I’d encourage you to test these options extensively.

One call to action, I’d always attempt to make available, if you offer it, is your “Click to Live Chat” or “Click to Call”. However, be sure you have the manpower available to be 100% responsive to these requests. We now live in an instant gratification society. If you have the resources to cater to this trend, it will surely pay off.

Are You Standing Still or Standing Out?

To drive action, you must disrupt the norm. Disrupt your marketing to drive more leads and better results now!

4. Speak Directly to Your Muse

Often as business owners and marketers we can easily forget who it is we are communicating with on the other side of the computer screen. While it is a fundamental principle of marketing, we often forget to “always keep the customer top of mind”. What does this mean?

It means we must talk/write directly to the customer and for the customer. That is changing your vocabulary from “we”, “us”, [insert brand] to “you”, “yours”, [their brand]. It sounds simple, but it is commonly overlooked by many great marketers. We get caught up on proving our UPS (unique positioning statement), value propositions, brand statements, authority and credibility that we forget to address the customer themselves.

For example, if you sell B2B Project Management software, it is easy to focus on the features and functionality, especially if you feel they are different than your competitors. However, your customer didn’t wake up with the epiphany one morning that they need B2B Project Management software out of the blue. They experienced a pain or an inefficiency that has driven them to search for a solution.

Here is a great example from Basecamp that addresses the customer and their pains directly:
basecamp-3-b2b-lead-generation-example

5. Be Impossible to Resist

This sounds like a terrible tagline for Kardashian perfume, “Be Impossible to Resist”. Possibly it is and I’ll be sued for trademark infringement (remind me to Google this later). However, when it comes to your B2B lead generation this concept must be included, which means you have a few key elements to factor in:

  1. Drive Urgency: using words like “now”, “today” or “limited time offer”.
  2. Be Original (again!): that means providing proprietary offers, unlike your competitors.
  3. Draw the Eye: use strong, contrasting color schemes from the rest of your webpage to draw the eye of your reader.
  4. Interrupt the Norm: place your call-to-action in sections of your webpage that interrupt the reading pattern.
  5. Deliver Value: make your offer concise, value driven and customer centric.

Here is a great example of a B2B lead generation call-to-action that brings all the ‘impossible to resist’ factors into focus:

b2b-lead-generation-impossible-to-resist-example

LS Retail brings all 5 factors to “Be Impossible to Resist” into play with this compelling offer.

Drive B2B Lead Generation

This is just the beginning to start generating leads on your website using proven B2B marketing tactics. Remember to: Be Original, Cater to the Educated Buyer, Have a 1:1 or 1:2 Ratio, Speak Directly to your Muse and Be Impossible to Resist when developing your calls-to-action/lead generation assets on your B2B website.

To get a personalized assessment on how to improve your B2B lead generation, request our B2B Lead Generation Audit conducted and delivered by B2B marketing mavens that have more than a decade of experience in creating, optimizing and driving marketing for B2B organizations.

Have you recently found success with B2B lead generation leveraging this post or others? We’d love to hear about it. Leave us your feedback and comments below.

Featured Photo Credit: Jeff Sheldon - Unsplash
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Erica Hakonson

Principal & B2B Marketing Maven at Maven Collective Marketing
Erica Hakonson, Founder of Maven Collective Marketing, has likely spent more time pondering, testing and contemplating your web searches than you will ever be comfortable knowing about. For over 13 years, she has been working in B2B marketing with companies like the Microsoft Corporation, Safeco Insurance, Intranet Connections and many more to disrupt the norm, connecting people-to-people rather than business-to-business.

A graduate of the Management of Technology MBA program from Simon Fraser University (SFU) and a former Board of Director for the SFU Alumni board, Erica finds balance through academic challenges as well.

As a self-diagnosed digital marketing junky, she spends most of her days studying search engine algorithm updates, A/B testing her own confirmation biases and building digital marketing strategies for various B2B clients.

When unplugged from the Digital World, Erica spends her time brewing beer, ultramarathon running and exploring the vast north of the 49th parallel with her husband, kids and vizsla.
Erica Hakonson
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