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How to generate B2B leads using Inbound Marketing?

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Capture qualitative leads

The best way to get new clients is to use B2B marketing strategies that generate qualitative leads. Quality is the keyword here. It might be appealing to have high volumes of leads coming in, but it’s of no use if these people won’t buy from you.

There are several strategies to capture B2B leads. Think about the use of online advertising (e.g. Google Ads), outbound marketing, Account Based Marketing or Inbound Marketing. Usually the road to success is a combination of strategies, while keeping the characteristics of your ideal client in mind.

In this blog I will focus especially on Inbound Marketing as a strategy to capture leads. This approach has worked for many B2B companies in the past and will continue to do so. I will discuss the characteristics, advantages and give some practical examples about this online marketing strategy.

For most B2B companies the goal of getting leads is to sell their products or services. This might be in the short, medium or long term. Inbound Marketing is a medium-long term strategy that contributes to achieve this goal.

 

Content is the core of Inbound Marketing

At its core Inbound Marketing consists of creating qualitative content that captures the interest of your buyer personas. In the ideal situation it is related to the products you sell, however it’s not always necessary. Sometimes you should avoid mentioning your products too often. A potential client might not be ready for it and it can feel forced.

Content exists in many forms, such as: blogs, interviews, case studies, explanatory videos, e-books and webinars. A great way to create relevant content is by putting yourself in the position of the buyer persona. Understanding their needs and pain points allows you to create content they are truly interested in. 

Always measure your content’s activity in order to understand what works best. Analyse your website data, conduct market research and have interviews with existing clients. Important elements to keep in mind are the number of clicks, shares and the time a visitor spends on a page

´´Inbound Marketing is one of the best strategies that exist to capture B2B leads. It focuses on what the potential buyer is really interested in and helps solve their challenges´´

An example of how Inbound Marketing works in practice

Imagine that you are a supplier of recycled plastics in Europe. One of your buyer personas is a product engineer in the e-Bike industry. A possible focus of interest of this person can be to know more about the durability of recycled plastics.

Your buyer persona (in this case Tom, a product engineer at Focus eBikes in Germany) realises a search on Google related to the use of recycled plastics. ´´Which European companies produce the most durable recycled polycarbonate?´´ Because you wrote a blog about this topic, a link to your website shows up in the search results. Chances are significant that Tom will click on the link.

If your blog is relevant, well written and includes good Visual Content (e.g. infographics), Tom might want to know more about your company. In the best case scenario he might even consider your company as a potential supplier.

In marketing this is called ´the power of attraction´. The buyer persona was attracted by something you offered. Your content worked like a magnet to him. Now you want him to take action right? At the end of your blog you should always include a Call-to-Action. It is a section on your website on which the visitor can ´take an action´. For example, download a whitepaper about plastics recycling.

Let’s assume Tom wants to read your whitepaper. Firstly because he is interested in the topic. Secondly because he liked your blog gave him confidence in your company. He clicks on the button ´Download whitepaper´ and arrives at a small form on which he needs to fill in some contact data. Basic information such as his name, email address and phone number.

Tom fills in the form and receives the whitepaper as a PDF in his mailbox. Congrats! You just have generated a new lead. It was a transaction between small but important bits of information. Basically you gave some of your knowledge away in exchange for a potential client’s data.

Teqqam Whitepaper B2B eCommerce

Image: a whitepaper (or e-book) on a website functions as a lead magnet to potential clients.

How to get actual sales with Inbound Marketing?

You might think, ´we invested valuable resources in creating a whitepaper, how is it going to sell our products?´ The answer is with a structured approach and patience. The inbound marketing methodology is (unlike online advertising) a medium-long term and cost effective strategy. Its success is shaped in three phases: lead capturing, lead scoring and lead nurturing.


1. Lead capturing

The initial phase is to capture leads. First of all you need to thoroughly understand the challenges of your buyer personas. Based on this data, you are able to create relevant content and drive traffic to your website. The best way to do so is by distributing it on the (social media) channels where your potential clients are active.

Like mentioned before, you need to have some kind of Call-to-Action in place on your website. It is an essential element and allows you to capture data from visitors and convert them into leads. People can download your whitepaper in exchange for some data in a contact form. While some people will download your whitepaper, others will leave your website and never return. It’s part of the game.


2. Lead scoring

The second phase is lead scoring. It basically means qualifying your leads into certain categories. 

When you get a lead in your CRM system, the first thing to do is to categorise this person. You can do so by giving points. For example a person that has subscribed to your newsletter gets 1 point and someone that wants to schedule a call with you, gets 3 points. The person that wants a call appears to be more ready to buy from you, thus gets a higher score. 

Undoubtedly you will get leads that are not valuable to your organisation. For example a student that needs information for a project. Previously you have clearly defined what your ideal client looks like, a student simply isn’t one. You can either delete the data or give it a score zero.

Remember to focus your energy on the people that are likely to buy from you. You can’t (and won’t) sell to everybody. Make your decision and classify your leads.


3. Lead nurturing

This is the key-phase in the process. The idea of nurturing leads consist of offering additional content. Content which is related to the ones already shown interest in by the lead. 

In this phase you should subtly introduce more benefits and functionalities of your products in the content. A great way to do so is by organising a webinar, for example about innovative techniques to recycle plastics. Start with inviting the people that downloaded your whitepaper. They might be interested in your webinar.

Do you want to invite more people? Post a message or announcement on social media. You are able to reach many interested people in LinkedIn groups. In order to be able to attend your webinar, people need to fill in a small form. Again, new leads are generated for your B2B company!

Organising a webinar is a great way to demonstrate your knowledge, nurture leads and make them confident of your company’s capabilities. It also contributes to brand awareness, more people will know your company.

Remember Inbound Marketing is one of the best strategies that exist to capture B2B leads. If doing it right, you are able to drive more leads and sales for your B2B company in the future.

Let’s connect!

Is your B2B company successful with Inbound Marketing yet? Does it help achieve your company’s goals or do you need some improvement?

If you are interested to talk about how we can implement or improve your Inbound Marketing strategy, get in touch!