The advent of various technological advancements has led to a lot of extremely basic and mundane processes changing to their very core. Buying products or services is one such example since the existence of widespread Internet access makes research on specific topics far easier than ever before.
However, this change also meant that it is now a lot harder to convince a regular customer to buy a product with traditional marketing methods and channels. The same problem also applies to the B2B market – with customers actively researching products and services to pick the best option before interacting with any of them.
This brings us to the concept of lead generation. Generally speaking, a lead is a potential client that has shown some interest in the service or product that you’re selling. The main point here is interest since in a lot of cases the customer in question is not yet convinced that they want to buy your specific product or service. As such, convincing clients that have shown interest in your products or services is the main goal of any company in a similar situation.
Another important point that needs to be addressed here is the massive difference between lead generation in B2C and B2B technology markets. The B2C market usually only has one simple process – an existing lead in the form of a trial period registration turns into a purchase at some point.
However, the complexity of this same process from initial interest to purchase is far higher when it comes to the B2B technology market. First of all, the entire process of enterprise b2b lead generation for technology companies consists of several drastically different parts and often addresses multiple different levels of the same company – which is why the process of selling a product or a service can take months or even a year.
Some examples of what could be a lead for the enterprise B2B market are demo requests, trial requests, whitepaper downloads, and e-book downloads. This list is in no way exclusive, there are many other types of leads that can exist in a B2B lead environment.
There are many different examples and methods on how to generate enterprise B2B leads for technology companies, and the approach to a specific situation often depends on a lot of factors. Basically, every type of lead content can be used for lead generation, including:
- Blog posts;
- Partner contracts;
- Social media networks;
- Free templates;
- Comparison websites, etc.
We can go over one of my own examples in the field to show how complex and multi-layered can a single process of lead generation become in the B2B field. Our example here would be the usage of blog SEO for lead generation.
A rather common tactic when it comes to using blogs for lead generation is to include two major steps – the first one being keyword analysis and blog creation, and the second one being the actual conversion process for leads to become clients.
Keyword analysis allows you to quickly understand which content types are more suitable for what keywords and keyword combinations. Blog posts, in general, are a great investment since Google as a search engine seems to have a preference for informational content above anything else. However, it is important to remember that not even the highest possible position on Google search results would mean that these leads are going to have any interest in your service or product.
This is how we’re arriving at the second step of the process – converting these leads that are not interested in your content to working leads with the usage of targeted marketing campaigns over multiple methods.
A good example of this practice would be one of my experiences with VirtoSoftware, in which I’ve attempted to follow the usual plan with keyword research and blog post creation. However, even after getting to one of the top positions in Google search results, I’ve noticed that all of the leads were not interested in the suggested content at all, and were not doing anything, be it downloading, transactions, etc. – basically, no conversions were happening.
My solution for that problem was to initiate several retargeting campaigns via LinkedIn Lead Ads, which allowed us to advertise SharePoint-related topics through whitepapers to all of the website visitors that had an active LinkedIn account.
To make sure that whitepaper topics could generate interest in the first place, the matter was thoroughly researched beforehand using Google Trends and Google Ad Planner – despite the fact that LinkedIn Inmails that we were using was fairly simple by their nature. LinkedIn’s ability to provide pre-filled forms to clients also provided us with a drastic increase in both the number and the quality of the leads, in general.
This is just a single example of how several different elements and systems can be involved in a single process of lead generation – and this example was relatively easy, too, if compared with other possible situations. You can use whitepapers as the main source of leads, utilize partner marketing for lead generation purposes, use webinars and social media to attract possible clients, and more.
Enterprise B2B lead generation is a fairly complex topic that involves a lot of nuances and possibilities. There are many different variables that are involved and several different content types that can be used as a basis for lead generation. You can see that I’ve provided both a theoretical part and my own experience with the subject above, and more examples of enterprise B2B lead generation can be found in my blog post on the topic.