The best B2B lead generation channels to boost your growth [updated for 2021]
Lockdowns caused a lot of disruption to companies in 2020, and B2B lead generation channels were affected. As the restrictions are likely to continue throughout 2021, here’s a list of B2B lead generation channels you could use this year.
You probably know your ideal customers, but some of your leads and prospects may not have the same jobs now. Chasing leads with out-of-date data can waste time and resources. More information on the impact of B2B data quality can be read here at hubsell insights.
Getting sales leads with quality contact information can be achieved with software solutions. Increasing the channels in your multi-channel strategy can find more prospects and diversify your approach as well.
In this post, I will discuss some of the newest B2B lead generation channels along with channels which have stood the test of time. So here they are:
Co-host webinars to show your industry knowledge
One of the B2B lead generation channels that beats the barriers on face-to-face meetings is hosting webinars. It’s an opportunity to get more recognition for your brand. You can also demonstrate your relevant industry knowledge to your target audience. Webinars are a highly engaging lead generation channel, as you can answer questions from your viewers.
Collaborating with experts and institutions is great for more B2B lead generation, as it helps to grow your network further. You can find examples of sales webinar collaborations at SalesPOP!. Getting maximum sign-up via relevant platforms is ideal as attendees are likely to share details before the webinar as well. Gaining email addresses and further communication permissions at sign-up can also build your email list.
You can subtly advertise your product or service to create warm leads and drive traffic to your product pages. You can provide your webinars for free and advertise further upgrades for a cost to bring in some extra revenue. Co-hosting webinars is great for B2B lead generation as you can reach wider audiences and nurture before, during and after the webinar.
Live stream your content for more traffic in less time
Live streaming is a B2B lead generation channel which can get lots of prospects to listen to you on demand. This is great for gaining online authority compared with your competitors. Common channels you can use include LinkedIn or your website. The advantage of live streaming is that it’s interactive. You can engage your viewers, answer their questions and gain a following online.
You can make lots of people aware of what you do and generate more warm leads outside of your network. With effective marketing in advance through common B2B lead generation channels like email and LinkedIn, you can generate large audiences. Asking people including industry influencers to share the details in advance can help your live stream to go viral.
You could promote limited time discounts and product information to large online audiences to increase your sales. Clips of the live stream can also form content for your blogs, social media posts and your website. So people who couldn’t catch the livestream can watch at another point in time, gathering even more leads for you.
Network in groups online to extend your reach further
Networking in person has been put on an extensive hold right now. There are a wide range of groups for salespeople to connect online though, making it another key B2B lead generation channel. Here you can network with sales prospects to gather leads. It’s also a way of promoting awareness of your company and gaining advice from your peers.
There are many websites online specifically for business networking. Two of which are Ryze and Opportunity which are particularly good for gathering leads. You could join more specific groups too like StartupNation which has lots of forums for entrepreneurs starting and growing businesses. There’s also a large number of specific groups by role or location on LinkedIn.
You can engage in conversations, share ideas and set up meetings. Even if the restrictions on travel and events get relaxed, networking online is still a great way to build your email list. You could also find networking groups in your local area if restrictions ease. Until then, if you can’t find a group that fits your needs, why not create one?
Sign-up for virtual conferences, or create your own
A solution to the cancellation of many in-person sales conferences in 2020 was to create and attend virtual conferences to maintain B2B lead generation. While face-to-face events are scheduled for 2021, the restrictions could continue. Virtual conferences are also scheduled for 2021, such as Forrester’s B2B Summit.
A benefit of virtual conferences is the ease of prospecting. Attendees’ lists enable you to gather contact details to prospect before and after the event. A well-worded message asking for a meeting often gets a reply. In anticipation of the conference, attendees often connect and network with their peers.
If you want to host your own virtual conference, take a look at these examples: The Sales Success Summit and The Sales Hacker Summit were both hosted virtually in 2020. Both had easy registration and advertised the value of attending very effectively.
Network in-person at speaking engagements
It’s anyone’s guess whether face-to-face B2B lead generation through sales events will commence in 2021. Whether events are in-person or virtual, you can use the opportunities to engage with your target audience.
Booth expositions or trade shows are effective for showcasing your product, especially if you are in a prime location at the event. They allow you to show your industry knowledge, expertise in sales and increase curiosity for what you can offer.
You can build strong sales-based relationships with your leads and customers in-person. The Harvard Business Review found that face-to-face communication was around 34 times more effective in receiving money for a cause than an email campaign. Network before, during and after the event to maximise your B2B lead generation potential.
How to get started
- find relevant events in your industry
- sign up to ones relevant to your business
- gather data on the prospects attending the conference
- outreach beforehand to request meetings
- meet up and schedule demos with interested parties
- make use of the event to make connections
Invest in B2B cold email outreach to get more leads
Prospecting using emails is powerful because you can quickly find sales-ready leads. It is one of the most reliable B2B lead generation channels out there. Take time to plan out an effective content marketing strategy for your email list. You can analyse which content works better than others and ditch what’s not working.
Having automated email software can drastically increase your team’s efficiency and provide you with large volumes of contact data. This enables you to reach out to your prospects in a fraction of the time compared to manual sending. It is advised to invest in software which provides accurate up-to-date data to reduce time wasted pursuing old B2B data.
Having automated personalisation is also highly beneficial. Well-written personalised subject lines and emails are effective at getting replies. You can automate both personalisation and sending your emails out via an outreach tool. You can see details of hubsell’s software solution here.
How to get started
- choose an email tool in the marketplace with the right features
- write dynamic templates based on successful campaigns
- gather qualitative contact data on your target prospects
- reach out and profit
Optimise your SEO to get ahead of the competition
It’s worth investing time on your website’s search engine optimization (SEO) to ensure you maximise your B2B lead generation by ranking higher in Google. One strategy is to use more keywords that are most searched for in your industry using tools like Semrush.
One way to improve your website’s authority in Google is by finding any broken links to 401 error pages with tools like ahrefs. You can then redirect the links to pages using 301 redirects. You can use this approach with relevant websites, by asking for a backlink to your content instead of having broken links to your competitors.
Then you can use a lead generation tool such as a website visitor information tool like Google Analytics to find who visits your website. You can then design an appropriate, personalised outreach. It’s ideal to test your website’s speed using tools like GTmetrix, as speed is directly related to your bounce rate.
How to get started
- use a tool like ahrefs or Google Analytics
- find if websites in your industry have broken links to your competitors’ websites
- create a similar piece of content to your competitor
- reach out and notify the website of the broken link
- ask to have the link directed to your content on your website instead
Advertise across more channels to get more warm leads
You can target more of your ideal customers by diversifying your advertising outreach. The cost can be managed by using pay-per click (PPC) advertising, but ad-blocking software may disrupt visibility. Social media advertisements are very common. A major contender is YouTube. You can target a wider audience by advertising on more websites than social media though.
Non-competitive companies in your industry may display ads for you if you reach out. Ads can be used on search engines, such as Google, Bing and Yahoo, and many more. There’s also many different email service providers you can advertise with, like Gmail, outlook, and others. You can personalise your outreach to your leads accordingly for better results too.
There are many blogs which accept guest posts, which is a great way to create more backlinks to your website. You can find relevant blogs in your industry by using various search strings in Google. Make sure the blog is secure and has good page and domain authorities to increase your SEO in Google. You can check authority using a tool like Moz.
How to get started
- search Google for relevant blogs accepting guest posts
- you can use a string like ‘niche’ “submit a guest post”, changing ‘niche’ to your industry
- find a good, reputable, secure website
- write a message to the blogger asking if a particular guest post would be accepted
- if they agree, write your post with backlinks to your site
- send your post to them for publication
Create or co-host a podcast to promote your business
Podcasting is a great way to grow your list of prospects in your industry. You can use episodes to advertise your product, service, a book release or events that you host. You can also discuss broad areas which your product helps with.
With effective marketing across channels like LinkedIn and your website, you can gain many subscribers. Encourage your listeners to share your podcast as well to reach a wider audience. If you get industry leaders to co-host with you, their followers can be funnelled to your brand as well. The discussions with co-hosts can also give you great advice.
The content from your episodes can be used to create more content across your channels as well. Check out Jeb Blount’s podcast episode ‘How Starting a B2B podcast can elevate your personal brand’ for an example of how to get started. For more sales podcast examples see our list of the best B2B sales podcasts to listen to right now.
Create thought leadership through your Quora answers
Another valuable B2B lead generation channel is answering questions on Quora. Here you can show your knowledge with the world by helping potential leads solve relevant problems. Find questions that are relevant to your industry that have the closest ratio of one answer to seven followers.
You can include relevant backlinks in your answers to your website. This improves your website’s SEO and increases your traffic. You can then identify your leads by using a reverse IP lookup tool. Personalise your outreach based on how you acquire your prospects.
You can use a variety of forums using this approach to reach even more prospects as well. Alternatives to Quora include ASKfm and Stack Exchange. Find some questions which are relevant to your business and answer away.
How to get started
- make a list of relevant questions to answer on Quora
- post in-depth helpful answers with practical advice
- retarget new visitors through direct messages or advertising
- scale the question-answering and reap the rewards
Create a course on a topic associated with your business
Courses are growing for a number of reasons. They are a fantastic B2B lead generation channel, because they engage people with your company and increase your website traffic. It also shows you have authority both in terms of SEO and opinions among your peers.
It’s a great way to introduce sales prospects to your product or service in the content of the course. Visitors to your website can also view what you are selling easily. For example, Pipedrive offers courses on their website as part of the ‘Pipedrive Academy’. They offer courses on areas from CRM to team leadership.
You can also provide courses on a website which specialises in offering online courses. Offering free guides and tutorials is a good way to showcase your expertise which may be shared to reach more sales prospects. You could offer upgrades and more comprehensive courses for a fee as well, which can bring in some ROI.
Implement referral incentives
Referrals are recommendations from your customers to their peers for your product. This is a powerful B2B lead generation channel, as salespeople generally trust the word of a friend or fellow business professional over strangers.
Encourage more referrals to increase the use of this lead generation channel by incorporating a reward. This could be a discount for your product or service. You could also share their content through your social media channels to provide a mutual benefit.
Another incentive is endorsing their skills on LinkedIn based on your interactions with them. You could also share information about their products or services through your social media channels as an incentive.
How to get started
- have a solution to a relevant problem
- create a reward program for your referring customers
- reach out to your customers to remind them of the perks
- witness new leads coming in as referrals
Benefit from investors’ networks
Another powerful B2B lead generation channel is to get deals through investors’ extended networks. Investors can be a catalyst for the growth of your company in two ways.
Firstly they can vouch for your expertise and the quality of your product through their social media channels (assuming you have proved that to them). They can also connect you to their portfolio of companies.
Both of these can generate a good amount of deals for you. However you should offer value to the investor up-front. Most investors don’t like to immediately introduce people to their network.
How to get started
- gather quality contact data on investors
- create templates with compelling arguments
- set up calls with investors who replied to your messages
- benefit from their connections while offering value in return
Experiment with physical letters to reach more prospects
Sending a targeted letter to a company inquiring about a potential fit is another B2B lead generation channel. It can make for a memorable first impression. However it might not result in an immediate reply.
A strength of this lead generation channel is that amongst all the emails they receive, your communication might stand out more. If the prospect needs a related solution in future, yours might be more memorable. Keeping physical letters could also be more accessible than going through a large number of messages via online channels.
There are companies which automate sending letters too so you don’t have to do it manually. Simply input the message and they will print and send the letter for a fee. Ensure this process is fully GDPR compliant though (depending on your location).
How to get started
- gather quality contact data on prospects
- partner with a reliable correspondence automation company
- scale the venture if it works in your industry
Increasing the number of B2B lead generation channels could boost your revenue further. Investing or upgrading your sales and marketing automation software can also increase your team’s productivity. Don’t forget the impact of out-dated data on your B2B outreach efforts.
Consider if you could improve your cold email outreach, as well as your social media marketing. Also remember that your peers’ recommendations are still one of the most powerful marketing tools today.
Whether this year sees the return of in-person networking events, there are plenty of alternative B2B lead generation channels. I hope you have gained some inspiration from this blog post.
For more B2B lead generation channels and ideas read ‘The growing list of tried and tested B2B lead generation ideas’ here at hubsell insights.