Lead generation is key for B2B sales and marketing professionals. But, like all things in business, there are several approaches — some more effective than others. With an ever-growing list of lead generation channels, platforms and tactics to explore, designing a strategy has never included so many options. And, in turn, it has never been easier for a lead to come to you. For lead generation in B2B organizations to be successful, it needs to be an ongoing process, with aligned teams that are working towards common goals. Let’s explore the difference between inbound and outbound lead generation, how that will affect your B2B sales approach, identify some of the most effective inbound lead generation strategies and discover how to measure their success.
Inbound vs outbound leads
The simplest way to differentiate between inbound and outbound sales lies in who initiates the contact. Inbound sees the prospect kick-start the sales process, while outbound sees the sales representative reach out first. As digital capabilities advance, and gaining information online becomes easier, an inbound approach has increased in popularity. An inbound lead may make an inquiry through your website, fill out a contact form, or even message you via social media. According to IronPaper, 59% of marketers said inbound tactics produce higher quality leads for sales. This makes sense when we learn that 77% of B2B buyers won’t speak to a salesperson until they have done their own research, according to The Corporate Executive Board — in fact, they are often up to 70% through their buying research before contacting the seller.
Inbound vs outbound sales
Now we’re clear on the difference between inbound and outbound leads, it’s time to explore the difference in selling to inbound and outbound leads. Since inbound leads have reached out to your organization, it is likely that they are informed about your business, product or service. They have probably visited your website, engaged with your content marketing material, checked your social profiles, and read your online reviews. Go into your pitch armed with this knowledge. And, ensure your USPs and key messages align with the content they’ll have seen. Ask questions, obtain qualifying information where you can and try to fill in their knowledge gaps, rather than telling them what they already know.
Inbound strategies that work
According to Weidert, inbound marketing generates three times more leads per dollar than traditional methods. But, which inbound methods work? Let’s explore some of the most effective inbound lead generation activities.
● Content marketing material
Using blog posts, videos, downloadable guides and webinars to position your business as an industry leader will build trust and increase awareness — helping more leads discover you.
● Social media marketing
Use relevant social channels to drive traffic to your B2B website, post and share engaging content, start conversations and encourage visitors to reach out and make an inquiry.
● Case studies and testimonials
Your existing customers can be a lead generation tool — helping you to showcase why you are the best vendor for potential customers through quotes, success stats, case-studies and testimonials.
● Email marketing
Design a personalized email marketing strategy that includes offers, content and regular updates and drive them to your site — be sure to make it easy for website visitors to sign up!
● Website lead generation
Your website is the digital hub of your business. Fill it with calls-to-action, ensure all of your marketing and sales materials link back to it, fill it with high-quality content and clear information, ensure it is optimized for search engines and conversions, and weave a great customer experience through everything you do for the best results.
How to measure success
The only way to really understand how well your strategies are doing is to monitor them closely and measure success. There are a number of lead generation metrics to consider, and it is up to you and your team to identify which ones work best for your organization. You could decide to measure the quantity of your leads — monitor your conversion-rate, click-through rate, number of leads per channel, and Month To Date (MTD) success. Or, you can focus on the quality of your leads — measure the number of leads to qualified leads, the time to conversion, your cost-per-lead, or your overall return on investment (ROI).
Lead Forensics is an innovative lead generation software that transforms B2B sales and marketing. Thanks to a global leading database of business IP addresses, it works by revealing the identities of your previously anonymous website visitors and notifying you in real-time. Plus, users are provided with the contact details of key decision-makers from those organizations, as well as detailed website visitor journeys. This way, your teams have everything they need to reach the right person at the right time, and conduct the ultimate follow-up. Discover a bounty of new leads directly through your B2B website and book your free Lead Forensics demonstration today!