Today’s business leaders have important choices to make regarding where to spend their marketing dollars. Digital marketing is now mainstream as millions of buyers in all categories, even B2B buyers, go online to research and investigate their purchases. But, how should marketing dollars be allocated in the B2B world, where personal relationships are vitally important to marketing and sales success?
For most small and mid-sized businesses, the main purpose of their marketing spend is to generate actionable leads than can be qualified for sales purposes. If you agree that lead generation is the key, then we must determine the most effective methods for your specific business to find those leads.
The Top Eight Lead Generation Methods
What are the most effective B2B lead generation methods? Not surprisingly, it’s a healthy combination of traditional and digital methods. This study shows how B2B marketers rated the effectiveness of lead gen programs:
You’ll notice the most effective methods include a good mix of digital and traditional marketing. Let’s quickly review the top methods we recommend most B2B firms should consider.
- Inside Sales – Serves as in important link between marketing and sales. For example, they are critical in qualifying incoming leads from your digital efforts before they are passed to your sales team. Usually, they are the first human contact with your prospects, so a well trained staff is vital to beginning the relationship process.
- Executive Events – depending on your offering, special events can be an excellent way to demonstrate your thought leadership, announce new products/services, build trust, create community and showcase your firm’s talents.
- Telemarketing – still one of the top methods for generating leads due to the effectiveness of directly reaching your target market. We find this to be in important part of any B2B marketing program.
- Email – is one of the best ways to stay connected to your current customers/clients. Also, building a subscriber base to your content is essential for nurturing relationships that may one day become leads. Finally, outbound email (yes, unsolicited email) is very effective for reaching new prospects. Spam laws and common courtesy must be followed, but email can be very effective to build awareness and generate leads.
- Website – a great site is important, but today, great content is the new advertising. Content can, and should, be produced to reach your buyers at every stage of the purchasing process. Companies that produce good content generate significantly more leads than those who don’t.
- Search Marketing – due to the propensity of buyers of almost every service to perform online research, it’s vital that your company and offerings be found by those performing searches. Producing good content will greatly assist in your search marketing efforts, as it is well known that the major search engines favor those sites with authentic and fresh content.
- Webinars – are an excellent, low cost way to help your prospects evaluate your offering and develop a connection with your product, staff and subject matter experts.
- Tradeshows & Conferences – can be an excellent way to quickly connect with buyers and demonstrate your product to a wide audience
I certainly would be remiss not to acknowledge that networking and referrals remain an extremely effective way to develop relationships that can lead to great sources of business. Most of us universally know this, but my strong suggestion is to dedicate regular calendar time to developing and expanding your business network on a weekly basis.
Almost every business will need to invest in multiple marketing methods to create awareness and generate the leads they require. We advise that you closely track your lead sources and the return on your marketing efforts so you can receive the most from your lead generation efforts. Having defined production goals and accountability for lead generation is vital for your sales efforts to have the results you expect.