Irrespective of the industry you work in, if you are a B2B marketer, one thing you can be assured of is understanding the B2B buying behavior of your customers. Such is the nature of the business that strategies considered fruitful and effective as recently as a year ago may now be deemed ineffective. In the current market, value-based selling is paramount. This approach has significantly impacted the outbound lead generation strategies to which B2B marketers were accustomed. In the value-based selling approach, sellers are expected to develop human-to-human relationships, which should also be reflected in their outbound lead generation strategies. Sales professionals must be subject matter experts (SMEs) or, at the very least, masters of the products they are selling to effectively engage with potential buyers. Consequently, this has caused a significant upheaval in outbound lead generation, forcing marketers to reinvent themselves to remain effective and relevant.
All of this, on top of the fact that outbound leads aren’t always the easiest ones to move through the sales funnel, has made B2B marketers rethink their approach. And we are here to help them do so. Through this blog, we will explore what outbound leads are, how they differ from inbound leads, and then delve into the top 10 outbound lead generation strategies that modern B2B marketers can try to capture outbound leads with ease. So, let’s get started.
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Understanding Outbound and Inbound Leads
In their simplest form, outbound leads are essentially the prospects actively targeted or pursued by salespeople, while inbound leads are prospects who actively seek out the sales representatives. Some of the most common methods to generate inbound leads include content marketing, PPC, social media, and SEO. On the other hand, common practices for outbound lead generation tactics include cold calling, cold emailing, videos, direct messaging, content syndication and events. Although the difference between the two types of leads is slim, they can be further categorized as follows:
- Marketing-Qualified Lead (MQL): An MQL is a prospect who has already shown interest in your product by engaging with your brand through social media, your website, newsletters, or ads.
- Sales-Qualified Lead (SQL): An SQL refers to a prospect actively engaged with the Sales team, who has already consumed advanced content such as case studies, pricing information, and product comparisons.
Now that we understand the difference between outbound and inbound leads, let’s delve deeper and explore the top 10 outbound lead generation strategies that modern B2B marketers must try.
Top 10 Outbound Lead Generation Strategies
1. Multi-Channel Approach
We live in a multi-channel era where various channels cater to our needs. B2B marketers are no longer restricted to a single channel. From website CTAs to social media intent signals, B2B marketers must leverage all possible channels to remain relevant and effective in their outbound lead generation strategies. While traditional approaches may have relied on cold calling, modern reps can utilize social media, pre-targeted ads, high-quality content marketing resources, email marketing, and more to generate leads. However, it’s worth mentioning that in today’s fast-paced environment, remaining relevant requires adapting quickly. A channel that is currently relevant and effective may not necessarily be the same in the future. New opportunities are always on the horizon. Some of the hottest channels to capitalize on include:
- Video Marketing
- Instant Messaging
Email marketing has been effective in the past, remains effective today, and will continue to be so in the foreseeable future. Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to make initial contact, nurture leads from other channels, follow up and engage with prospects, and distribute valuable content. To maximize the effectiveness of your email marketing strategy, adhere to a strict and regular email schedule and frequency. Pay careful attention to your email content, subject line, and email list to achieve the maximum return on investment. It’s strongly recommended to use an automated email distribution tool to make the most out of your email marketing campaigns.
3. Content Syndication
Content syndication is a modern and highly effective lead generation strategy. When done right, it is cost-effective and delivers positive results. With the proliferation of publishing platforms, you can easily leverage those platforms to distribute your existing content across various channels. For example, you can turn a well-performing blog post into a video or podcast to reach an entirely different audience base.
4.Phone Calls/Cold Calling
According to a recent study, 71% of buyers prefer direct contact with sellers when looking for specific products/services. There is no reason for you to hesitate to pick up the phone and reach out to your prospects. Phone calls not only serve as an effective real-time lead nurturing and engagement strategy, but they also allow you to promptly address your prospects’ queries, leading to stronger relationships. However, make sure to thoroughly research your prospects before making the call.
While other social media platforms exist, LinkedIn deserves special mention when discussing effective B2B lead generation strategies. This is because most professionals congregate on LinkedIn. When used correctly, LinkedIn is a powerful tool for engaging with prospects, tracking account activity, and mapping target accounts. Utilize introductions, InMail, and direct messages to directly approach prospects. So, when considering modern yet effective outbound lead generation strategies, do not overlook the potential of LinkedIn.
6. Harness the Power of Community
Building a community around your product/service is one of the most effective outbound generation strategies. It not only establishes your brand as a thought leader or trusted advisor, but it also facilitates upselling. Connecting with prospects on a human level boosts your chances of generating quality leads.
7. Referral Marketing
It may seem unusual for referral marketing to be included as one of the top 10 outbound lead generation strategies, but trust us, rewarding your existing customers for referring their family and friends is still one of the most effective ways to generate leads. It not only rewards customer loyalty but also turns customers into brand advocates, which can work wonders for your business.
8.Influencer-Driven B2B Lead Generation Campaigns
In the current era, modern users’ buying decisions are often influenced by individuals whose opinions they value. Leverage the power of influencers in your industry to promote your products/services to your target audience. In many cases, influencers naturally integrate your products/services into their podcasts, op-ed articles, social media posts, or conferences. Contact them, explain the benefits your offerings provide to their clients, and be open to collaboration.
9.Interactive B2B Marketing Strategies
Modern marketing strategies emphasize two-way communication between the brand and the buyer. Apply this approach to your B2B lead generation strategies by incorporating interactive elements such as pop quizzes, surveys, or consultant quizzes. You may have come across such campaigns on your LinkedIn feed, where a lead generation disguised as a quiz attracts user engagement. You can do the same for your product/service.
10. Account-Based Retargeting
Retargeting is no longer annoying with account-based retargeting. You can now attract prospects with customized offers tailored specifically to their business needs, rather than using a catch-all approach. If you’re already using account-based marketing for your lead generation efforts, it’s time to add account-based retargeting to your marketing toolkit.
Put People First, Always
No business can function without people. It’s a fundamental fact. Therefore, as a business owner, your primary responsibility is to place people at the core of all your offerings. Remember, every potential prospect you target is first and foremost a human being with a pressing problem in need of a solution. As a business owner, your sole objective should be to solve that problem through one or more of your products or services.
That’s why, despite the extensive list of top 10 B2B lead generation strategies, your first and most crucial step should be to establish a connection with the person on the other side, understand their problem, craft a solution to address their needs, and then identify the appropriate channel to communicate your message to them. If you can effectively accomplish this, leads will naturally flow into your business.