B2B Lead Generation Ideas: 6 Clever Tactics That Actually Work

May 25 2021
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B2B Lead generation ideas are a dime a dozen.

But how many times have you eagerly tried an exciting new strategy only to get zero results?

Don’t worry. You’re not alone.

A whopping sixty-one percent of B2B marketers say generating good-quality leads is one of their biggest challenges.

Through the exhilarating highs and humbling lows of running our agency HelloClicks, we’ve learned a thing or two about the best way to generate leads.

The thing is, whilst most marketers are aware of popular ways to generate leads in theory, lots of us are still unsure of how to actually implement those tactics.

So, stepping away from the allure of hyped-up hacks, let’s discover six B2B lead gen ideas that’ll pack your pipeline with lead and deliver a serious ROI .

Before we get started, let’s quickly unpack the (uncomfortable) truth about B2B lead generation that most marketers tend to sweep under the rug…

The Truth About B2B Lead Generation Ideas

Everyone wants the answer to the question: “What’s the best tactic to generate B2B leads?”

But in truth, there’s no such thing as ‘the best tactic’. At least, not one that’ll work for all kinds of industries and every type of product.

The wisest approach is to tailor specific lead generation strategies around your product and your ideal customer.

Yes… We know this is a boring answer.

But just because it’s boring doesn’t mean it’s not true.

To find profitable lead generation strategies, you’ll need to be prepared to experiment (and fail) over and over again.

As sales and marketing folks, we tend to have an obsession with return on investment – and for the most part, this mindset is our ally.

But such a perspective can also hold us back from testing new strategies- especially if we’re unsure how it’ll look in the quarterly report.

If you’re serious about uncovering the best way to generate leads for your business, it’s time to ditch the ‘playing it safe’ mindset and start pushing the boat out.

‘Nothing ventured, nothing gained’ as the old adage goes.

Experiment with the following six tactics to captain your business across the lead-generation ocean and guide it safely to the undiscovered land of profitable leads waiting on the other side!

6 B2B Lead Generation Ideas To Try This Year

No lead generation tactic is perfect.

From selling marketing services to lawyers, growth tools to eCommerce merchants or kitchen equipment to restaurants. Every sales environment has its own intricacies.

That said, the following are some of the most adaptable and effective lead generation strategies we’ve deployed down the years.

Without further ado, let’s get stuck in…

1. Build a Free Tool

One of the best ways to snap up B2B leads is to give them value up-front. If you can actually help prospects, there’s a high chance they’ll trust you.

Building a tool is so powerful because it establishes reciprocity. Any of you who’ve read psychologist Robert Cialdini’s epic book ‘Persuasion’ will know reciprocity is a heavy-hitter.

As humans, once we’re given something for free, we feel compelled to pay back our debt – often to a much greater value than what we received.

So, there’s a high chance that people who use your tool may ‘pay you back’ by purchasing your product or service.

A great example of this comes from website builder Wix.

A segment of Wix’s customers are solopreneurs or early stage start-ups, many of whom may not yet have settled on a name for their business.

Enter Wix’s business name generator:

This cleverly designed tool helps generate unique (and catchy) business names. It also provides tips and ideas for how to craft names that are more personalized and meaningful.

For example, let’s suppose we wanted to open a cafe for our wonderful users here at MeetMonty.

Below you can see how the tool suggests lots of names – when I choose one I like (‘The MeetMonty Coffee’), you can see how Wix then offer to sell me the domain and build a site for free:

Pretty clever, I think you’ll agree.

But Wix doesn’t stop with just one tool – they have several tools to help their audience do things like generate ideas for their blog and create a professional looking logo.

While you don’t have to go to such extremes, think about just one tool you can build that’ll empower your audience.

If you’re stuck for ideas, ask: “What pain points are my customers currently struggling with?” and go from there.

Sure, there might be some initial outlay, but once you build your tool (and rank it on Google) it’ll keep pulling in new leads for years to come.

Pro Tip: For a lower-budget alternative, an industry-specific spreadsheet can work wonders to attract leads too. If you have useful spreadsheets (e.g. a profit/loss calculator), why not make a basic version available to download in exchange for your prospect’s email address?

2. Give a Free Trial

Offering a free trial is a fantastic way to get your foot in the door because it removes risk for prospects.

Plus, free trials allow users to explore your product (or service) and see if it’s the solution they’re looking for and discover how it can boost their business.

For example, one of the world’s best eCommerce platforms, Shopify, let’s merchants get started with a 14-day free trial:

The kicker here is that there’s no credit card required – all you need to do is put in your email address, create a password, and bam you’ve become a lead.

This frictionless approach will skyrocket the number of sign-ups you receive.

But what if you’re concerned about lead quality. I mean won’t most of your leads just be a crowd of tyre kickers just sign up who have no intent of ever purchasing your product?

According to Totango’s research, apparently not. Their report suggests that on an end-to-end conversion basis, free trials that don’t require card details convert at a significantly higher rate.

That said, if your free trial is consistently producing low-quality leads, then consider implementing a low-ticket trial like SEO-tool Ahrefs with thier $7 for 7-days trial offer.

An approach like this will weed out any prospects who aren’t highly interested in your product and elevate overall lead quality.

Plus, as you can see from Ahrefs 2,500+ paid trials in the last week, it can be a nice little source of revenue for your business too.

3. Publish an Original Report (That’s Brilliant)

As a business owner you likely have access to data that most people don’t.

Combine that with your industry expertise and it’s likely that you can create some original content that your B2B prospects will lap up.

For example, gym software company Glofox was able to sweep up thousands of new leads by publishing and promoting an ‘Impact of COVID-19 on the fitness industry’ report.

Not only does this content position GloFox as an industry expert, but it’s also attracting organic search traffic to GloFox’s website as gym owners search for solutions to the pandemic.

The report is jam-packed with brilliant insights to help fitness businesses navigate the uncertain COVID-19 climate.

Plus, one of the best things about original research is how linkable it is. With high quality content, you’ll attract buckets of backlinks to your site when others reference your data.

So, if you haven’t already, think about ways you can become a trusted resource for industry reports, figures, and data that you buyers are looking for.

4. Become a LinkedIn Vampire 🧛🏼‍♂️

The rise of LinkedIn brought with it a wave of business ‘influencers’ and experts. You’ll find thought leaders in just about every industry on the platform.

The vampire method lets you tap into these influencer’s audiences, start conversations and capture quality leads.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Go to LinkedIn – search for keywords related to your industry and look for post with high engagement – let’s pretend you offer marketing services for UK eCommerce retailers entering the European market.
  • Look specifically for posts and ones with high engagement. Then you can use a scraper like Phantombuster to pull the profiles of folks who commented on one of the posts that you find (these are people are likely to be highly interested in marketing/eCommerce in Europe).
  • Next, I’ll use PhantomBuster to send automated messages to these people – saying something like ‘Hey [name], I saw your comment on post X about Y – I’m looking to connect with likeminded people – I recently wrote a post on [relevant topic] – I’d love to hear your feedback!’

The key here is not to be too pushy or salesy early on. Just like the other tactics we’ve outlined, It’s essential to add value before asking for anything in return.

Remember people who don’t know you, don’t trust you. And unless people trust you, they won’t buy from you.

With a little effort, you’ll easily find ten or twenty more similar ‘influencer’ posts to sink your teeth into!

Pro Tip: Why not combine the LinkedIn vampire method with one of your original reports? Sending reports that add value to these prospects is a sure-fire way to move them closer to your brand.

5. Create Powerful Case Studies

In the B2B marketing world, words come cheap. Every company and sales rep talks a big game.

But what sets you apart is when you actually back up your claims with solid case studies.

As humans, we’re programmed to love stories – and that’s why case studies are so effective at converting – they’re essentially a story explaining how you helped another business reach their goals.

To write a killer case study, include the following elements:

  • Overview: Set the scene with background information about who’s involved
  • Challenge/Opportunity: Outline the challenge or opportunity that led the customer to your product/service
  • Solution: Talk about how your product or service was used to overcome the challenges
  • Results: Show the positive impact on our customers business (use specific numbers where possible)
  • Quote: A quote from a happy customer adds valuable social proof
  • Call to Action: Tell your readers what to do next (book a call, sign-up etc)

Here’s an excellent example from travel platform Airbnb, who are using case studies to lure boutique Hotels away from competitor platforms like Booking.com and Tripadvisor.

The beauty of case studies is that you can repurpose them at every stage of the sales funnel.

From building brand awareness to closing sales, deploy case studies right across your buyer’s journey to attract, convince and convert new business.

6. Model Your Competitors Success

If you’ve been struggling to find a lead generation strategy that works, why not keep things simple and model your approach based on what your competitors are doing.

Seriously, studying your competition’s lead gen strategy is especially valuable if you’re a new company with little brand equity.

Think about it, if your competitors are generating leads consistently, chances are they’ve spent buckets of time and money on figuring out what works.

So, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel here – if your competition is using gated content to capture email leads, there’s no reason why you can’t do the same.

But here’s the kicker: your approach needs to improve on theirs.

If they’ve created an eBook, you need to create an even more impressive one. If they give customers a 7-day free trial, you should offer a 30-day trial.

One-upping your competition’s lead generation efforts like this tempts a portion of their prospects to pivot to your business.

Of course, this is not to say that you should only copy competitors. It’s also quite possible they haven’t found the optimal lead gen strategy yet.

But there’s no point in spinning your wheels implementing every tactic under the sun if a proven tactic is sitting right under your nose.

Use these B2B Lead Generation Ideas to Grow

It’s an exciting time to be in B2B marketing. There’s never been so many opportunities to generate leads and make sales.

But even with abundant possibilities, generating leads in any industry is never a walk in the park.

Hopefully the six lead generation ideas presented above inspire action that helps you pull in buckets of quality leads.

From all of us here at MeetMonty, Good luck!

Now over to you! What’s your favorite B2B lead gen idea from above? Have you got any better ideas? Let us know in the comments below!

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