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What are B2B Sales Leads? - Steps and Lead Generation Process Simplified

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What is B2B Sales Leads - Process & Generation Process

Every B2B business has one common goal - generating more sales qualified leads and converting them to paid customers. However, the B2B business industry is filled with cutthroat competition, and generating leads is not always enough. The focus should be rather on generating high-quality B2B sales leads. 

Generating high-quality sales leads can be tricky. Businesses need a set of targeted outbound strategies and lead generation tools to achieve that. 

If you plan to fill your sales pipeline with high-quality leads, this comprehensive guide will help you. This guide will shortlist some of the easiest strategies to generate B2B sales leads for your business. 

What are B2B Sales Leads? 

A B2B sales lead is a person or organization that matches your target buyer persona. B2B lead generation process begins with identifying potential customers, and it goes on through several other steps till conversion. 

Creating an ideal buyer persona is vital for the B2B lead generation process. A specific and in-depth buyer profile can help the sales reps understand their target audience and ensure more high-intent leads. 

Every B2B sales lead is different from the other and requires a different approach for conversion. Even though some leads show interest in an organization’s products and services, it is not always possible to convert them into buyers for numerous reasons. 

However, the goal of any B2B organization should be to attract more and more high-quality leads and put their best step forward to convert them. For that, businesses need a powerful B2B lead generation process. 

What is B2B lead generation? 

The B2B lead generation process includes several steps like collecting information about potential customers and making the most of this information to develop a personalized sales pitch. However, this is the fundamental method of B2B lead generation. 

With each passing day, the B2B landscape is changing, and accordingly, the B2B lead generation process is also reaching new heights. 70% of B2B buyers feel that relevant content is very important in purchase decision-making.

In fact, some of the key factors in selecting a B2B vendor include strong knowledge of the industry, targeted content, and reviews from industry peers. 

Contrary to the traditional lead generation process, majorities of B2B sales leads originate from SEO (14%), email marketing (13%),  and social media (12%), as per HubSpot. This establishes that organizations need a dedicated process to generate more B2B sales leads. 

Step-by-step Guide to B2B Lead Generation process 

If you plan to generate valuable B2B sales leads, you must develop an efficient lead generation process. Here are a few steps that can help you build a B2B sales pipeline with valuable leads: 

Step 1: Identify appropriate B2B sales leads 

The first step of any B2B lead generation process is to collect information about your potential buyers. In this step, sales reps can navigate various company websites, emails, social media, and other channels to search for the ideal buyer persona. Once they have a list of potential buyers, they can use Leadfeeder, Lusha, etc., to extract the contact information.

Step 2: Connect with the leads 

Once the sales reps have a list of high-quality leads in place, the next step is to start outreaching. Sales professionals can reach out to the B2B sales leads through emails, social media, calls, and cold outreach. However, before starting a cold outreach campaign, research the potential buyers and their pain points. This will help sales reps understand what the buyers are looking for and craft their sales pitches accordingly. 

Step 3: Put efforts into qualifying the leads 

This is by far the most difficult B2B lead generation process. This step aims to interact with the leads and pursue them through relationship-building. 

The three integral aspects of this step are as follows: 

  • Awareness - When potential buyers are in the awareness stage, they already know the problem they are facing. In this sales funnel stage, they start knowing more about the potential solutions to address the problem. In this stage, the potential buyers will start consuming content, like ebooks, whitepapers, blogs, etc., to level up their knowledge. 
  • Consideration - By the time a lead reaches the consideration stage, they already have a detailed idea of what products they need to solve their problems. In this stage, they can easily specify their needs from a solution and provide a clear set of requirements to the vendor. 
  • Conversion / Decision - After consideration, B2B sales reps and buyers can connect over multiple meetings to ensure that the product matches their needs. B2B sales process involves multiple touchpoints, and hence, there can be a prolonged sales cycle before the buyers can decide. With successful nurturing campaigns, it is possible to convert leads into buyers in this stage. 

Step 4: Close a sales deal 

If a lead reaches this stage, it is safe to say that they are converted into a paid customer, and the sales reps are about to close the deal. The customer success team takes over and starts the client onboarding process as a next step. 

What Matters in B2B Sales Leads? Quality vs. Quantity 

One of the biggest dilemmas sales professionals face is - prioritizing between quality and quantity when it comes to B2B sales leads. B2B sales reps should start with differentiating between these two factors and then make a decision: 

The concept of “Quantity” in B2B sales leads 

Quantity is an essential factor in deciding the scalability level for sales teams. A business may generate 10 sales leads every day, but not all 10 of those will convert into customers. For example, for the B2B SaaS industry, the average lead conversion rate is only 7%. This has led to the belief that B2B organizations should generate many leads every day to maintain a full sales pipeline.

The concept of “Quality” in B2B sales leads 

While quantity matters in B2B sales, it is not ultimate. In fact, it is always better to generate 1 high-quality lead instead of 10 poor-quality leads in the long run. The average lead conversion rate is already very low for B2B sales. On the contrary, B2B sales cycles are long, and the process is complex. Therefore, the sales reps should invest their time and energy in qualifying the quality leads with high revenue opportunities. 

In fact, if a business focuses on quality B2B sales leads from the beginning, reducing churn becomes simpler. This typically means higher customer satisfaction and a better post-purchase experience. 

6 Steller Strategies to Generate High-quality B2B Sales Leads 

Generating high-quality sales leads is not as easy as ABC. Sales reps need a set of targeted strategies to generate more valuable leads. Here are a few strategies that worked for us: 

1. Run A/B tests on major landing pages 

Landing pages play a key role in any sales campaign. It is where your leads would land after clicking an ad. Landing pages have the potential to drive conversion and boost sales for businesses. Hence, sales and marketing teams should constantly experiment with the landing page designs to enhance its conversion potential. 

Wondering how to run A/B tests on landing pages? Here are a few ways to get started: 

  • Test with your landing page layout. Alter the images, copies, CTA buttons, tables, and other elements to check what drives maximum traffic.  
  • Every landing page should have an offer. An irresistible offer that will force the leads to click on the CTA. But how do you know which offer has more conversion potential? Well, by running A/B tests. Run alternative offers and figure out which offer draws more attention. 
  • Run A/B tests with the CTA. A landing page can include different types of CTAs like “Book a demo”, “Start a free trial”, “Join our newsletter,” and so on. The CTA changes depending on the offer of your landing page. However, you can experiment with factors like the background color of CTA, font color, and position and freeze the one with the highest conversion rate. 
  • Videos play an integral part in landing pages. According to HubSpot, 86% of businesses use video as a significant marketing tool. Therefore, it is always a great idea to include videos on your landing pages. However, marketing and sales teams often get confused about the position of the video. Again, the best way to figure this out is through A/B tests. UI designers can place videos in different positions on a landing page and track audiences’ reactions. 

2. Create a targeted content strategy 

Did you know that 9 out of 10 B2B buyers make a purchase decision based on online content? Hence, a critical part of B2B sales leads generation is to develop a targeted and relevant content strategy. Businesses can plan different types of content, including blogs, whitepapers, case studies, datasheets, etc., to educate the potential buyers and build their interest in a particular product/service.

Keep the following aspects in mind while crafting a B2B content strategy: 

  • B2B businesses should focus on delivering meaningful content. Generic content can only confuse the target buyers and drive them away. For example, if a business is selling a project management software, its content should be related to project management tools, their importance, their benefits, etc. It all boils down to how accurately you understand the target audience's pain points and how effectively you create relevant content to address them. 
  • A powerful content strategy related to B2B sales lead generation is to make the most of social proof. Social proofs build trust and help you attract more high-quality leads. Some of the best types of social proof include customer reviews, testimonials, etc.   
  • Target the right set of keywords. B2B sales teams often make the mistake of running behind high-volume keywords without checking their relevancy. As a result, their content is often lost in the crowd, despite having good potential. What B2B sales and marketing teams should rather target relevant, long-tail keywords, irrespective of the search volume. This approach can help B2B brands to grab attention quickly. 
  • Pair the right content with the right CTA. Using the same CTA every time may affect the effectiveness of your content strategy. For example, if you are producing an educational piece, “Buy Now” may not be the right CTA for it. You can rather replace it with “Book a demo” CTA. 

3. Include more lead magnets within your content strategy 

Lead magnets are a bridge between B2B sales leads and a sales team. A lead magnet is a value-packed, downloadable resource that you can offer your target audiences in exchange for their contact details. A targeted lead magnet should solve the pain points your buyers are facing. 

Many B2B organizations are yet to figure out the true purpose of a lead magnet. Instead of offering tailored, brand-specific information, businesses end up offering generic lead magnets with information already available in the market. 

Some of the tried and tested ideas for B2B lead magnet include: 

  • Comprehensive guides 
  • How-tos 
  • More and more case studies 
  • Checklists 
  • Templates 

4. Analyze your sales calls with Salesken 

B2B sales process is complicated as there are multiple stakeholders at each touchpoint and the long sales cycle. Each of these stakeholders has its requirements, and the sales reps should be aware of multiple aspects to answer their queries. 

However, it is almost impossible for an individual sales rep to keep up with prospects’ expectations. That’s why B2B sales teams need speech analytics software like Salesken. Here’s how it can help the sales reps: 

  • Salesken provides real-time assistance in sales conversations to help the sales professionals get to the core of customers’ needs, objections, and other emotions with a thorough analysis of customer conversations. 
  • Salesken’s inbuild call analytics feature helps sales teams to maintain call notes and summaries efficiently. As a result, the reps can start the conversations where they left off. 
  • Salesken is your in-house repository to store all conversations with B2B sales leads, meeting notes, and call summaries. 

To know further, book a demo now! 

5. Cold call like a pro 

A critical part of any sales representative’s job is to make cold calls. Cold calling is still not out of the trend. In fact, 51% of buyers prefer to be contacted by phone. Hence, along with the new forms of sales outreach like social selling, and email marketing, cold calling continues to be a top preference for B2B buyers.

Here are a few easy tips to make cold calls like a pro: 

  • Perform in-depth research to prepare for the cold call. Your research should comprise industry trends and comprehensive information on the prospective company, its background, key decision-makers, pain points, and so on. All this information will help you ask targeted questions during the call. 
  • Keep your discovery questions ready. Instead of asking generic questions, try to be as specific as possible and ask open-ended questions to the lead to understand their challenges, their struggles, and their desired impact on your product. 
  • Don’t be too persistent in the sales calls. Rather try to build a relationship with the leads and try various nurturing tactics to develop a rapport. Also, sales reps should not call the leads again and again. After the first call, they can follow up with an email or text message to discuss the next steps. This will help the leads with enough space to make a decision. 

6. Don’t stick to a single social platform. Experiment. 

Social selling is slowly becoming the next big thing in B2B sales. Hence, B2B sales professionals should not stick to a single social platform to reach their target audiences. Try different platforms and adopt different approaches to connect with your target audiences. 

Hence, along with conventional social channels like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, B2B sales teams should also explore newer platforms like Reddit, Pinterest, Quora, Snapchat, Clubhouse, and TikTok, which are gaining a lot of momentum lately. 

Some of the easy ways to excel in social selling include: 

  • Start with connecting with your leads through a targeted, personalized message. Afterward, keep engaging with them by liking and commenting on their posts. As you continue to practice this, they will soon notice your activities and show interest in your products. 
  • Don’t start with selling your products and services at the very first attempt. Build a professional relationship first, understand what they are looking for, and create a personalized sales pitch

Closing Thoughts 

B2B sales leads are difficult to generate. However, businesses can develop a consistent lead generation framework if done carefully. We hope that the tips and strategies included in this blog will help you generate, nurture and convert more sales leads. These are easy-to-implement strategies, capable of creating a long-lasting impact on your B2B sales process. 

At the end of the day, it all comes down to your target buyers, their requirements, and how you can add value to their existing situation. Once that is figured out, there is no coming back!

Frequently Asked Questions

How to determine B2B leads?

Some of the easiest ways to determine B2B leads include - identifying prospects’ needs, figuring out what solution fits them, understanding prospects’ budget and timeline, and finally creating an offer that suits prospects’ needs perfectly.

What does B2B mean?

B2B stands for Business-to-business. It simply focuses on businesses that sell products and services to other businesses.

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