9 B2B Lead Generation Best Practices (That Actually Work)

Do you want to know the best B2B lead generation strategies to help your company grow?

B2B marketing can be tough. That’s because it’s harder to personalize your communication with a business than it is with an individual consumer.

The good news is that B2B lead generation isn’t as difficult as most people think. And today, we’ll show you 9 actionable methods to increase your B2B leads, such as:

But before we do anything, let’s look at what we mean by “B2B lead generation.”

What Is B2B Lead Generation?

Business-to-business (B2B) lead generation is exactly what it sounds like: when a company’s ideal buyer is another business rather than an individual consumer.

When you’re selling to other companies and not to individual buyers, you need to take a unique approach to lead generation.

Why?

Because businesses don’t function or make purchases the way regular people do. There are more hoops to jump through, more red tape to cut, and more decision-makers who need to be involved.

As a result, many marketers think that B2B lead generation is more difficult than it’s counterpart, business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing.

But we believe that it doesn’t have to be super complicated. B2B lead generation is different than B2C, that’s true. But “different” doesn’t mean “more difficult.”

At least not in this case.

That’s because many of the same tactics you’d use in B2C marketing are the same ones you’d use with B2B lead generation. So what’s the main difference?

You need to personalize your message to attract the right type of traffic.

See, most marketers fall into 1 of 2 mistakes with B2B lead generation:

  • They think B2B is exactly the same as B2C lead gen
  • They think B2B is totally the opposite of B2C lead gen

The first assumption isn’t the case because most businesses require more steps to pull out the credit card. Again, they have to get signatures, hold meetings, look at budgets, and all the fun paperwork stuff.

But the second assumption is just as bad. Even with B2B lead generation, you’re still targeting real people. That means you still need to persuade them to get emotionally invested in your product or service.

As a result, a lot of the tactics you’d use for B2B and B2C lead generation will be the same. The difference lies in how you personalize those tactics to reach people buying your product for their business.

And if you follow these 9 B2B lead generation best practices, you’ll quickly see how easy that is to accomplish.

The best part is that if you’re using OptinMonster, most of these tips can be put into action in a matter of minutes. Ready to get started?

Let’s dive in.

9 B2B Lead Generation Best Practices

1. Build Optin Campaigns

This is the first and most important step for getting more leads. You need to create an optin campaign to start growing your contact list. That way, you can nurture cold leads into warm leads and warm leads into sales over time.

But the marketing world is full of jargony terms, so let’s get clear: what do we mean by “optin campaign?”

An optin campaign is a special message that you show to your site’s traffic to get them to take an action you want. This can be anything from redeeming a coupon to redirecting your traffic to a landing page.

But more often than not, the goal of an optin campaign is to get a piece of contact information like an email address.

You’ve probably seen these before with B2C lead generation tactics. They look something like this:

Constant Contact Popup for WordPress demo

The example above is one of the most common forms of optin campaigns: the lightbox popup. We actually built the example above with OptinMonster in roughly 5 minutes.

But these campaigns come in many forms, like:

  • Slide-in scroll boxes
  • Fullscreen welcome mat
  • Inline form
  • Floating bar

And more.

As you’ll see in the following tips, the real difference between B2B and B2C lead generation is about attracting the right audience and personalizing your message to people within a business.

But at its core, B2B lead generation still requires a system in place to grow your contact list. That way you can drive communication with your audience on your own terms, whenever you want, for free.

That makes email marketing a more affordable option for B2B lead generation than paid ads. Plus, it’s a more reliable option than social media, which can lose popularity or shut down your account.

And every new lead starts at the same spot: a well-crafted optin campaign.

This is where OptinMonster comes in. We help businesses of any size create targeted optin campaigns that get results.

In fact, the digital marketing company Reliablesoft used OptinMonster to increase their conversions by over 300%.

At the end of the day, OptinMonster is your best bet for getting more leads in less time.

Want to get started with OptinMonster? Join today risk-free with our 14-day money-back guarantee!

2. Use Lead Magnets Aimed at Businesses

Once you’ve determined to get more leads with an optin campaign, it’s time to figure out what lead magnets you’re going to use.

Lead magnets are some kind of content or promotion that’s used to entice people to opt into your call to action (CTA). Lead magnets come in many forms, such as:

  • eBooks
  • Infographics
  • Locked content on your blog
  • Checklists

And many others. In fact, if you want a comprehensive list, here are 69 highly effective lead magnets you can start using today.

But why do you need a lead magnet at all?

Because you can’t expect people to hand over their email address without giving them something of value in return. Using a lead magnet drastically increases your odds of getting people to join your contact list.

Once they do, you can nurture the lead and grow the relationship until you’ve got another lifelong and loyal customer.

Here’s the thing though:

The secret behind a lead magnet isn’t the type it comes in. Single-page infographics, for example, can be just as effective as full-length eBooks.

What matters most is that your lead magnet is targeted to your specific audience. This is the important difference for B2B lead generation.

You need to ask yourself the following questions when crafting a lead magnet for businesses:

  • What types of businesses do you want to attract?
  • Are they large companies with big budgets, or are they small startups with limited resources?
  • What’s their company culture like?
  • What goals do my target businesses have, and how will my product help them reach that goal?

Once you’ve answered these types of questions, you can start to build a lead magnet that will attract the right audience. Then you can display this lead magnet in an optin campaign on your site, and watch the leads roll in.

Here’s an example of a campaign with an eBook that would target what a business is interested in:

Demo for Klaviyo Popup

This campaign is aimed at businesses that want more conversions from their site. It offers a free eBook that promises to teach them how to start getting higher conversions in minutes.

With one simple lead magnet, Inbound Marketing was able to increase their conversions by 189%.

Once people give you their email address for your lead magnet, you can turn those leads into paying customers.

3. Include Countdown Timers to Create Urgency

One of the biggest frustrations with B2B marketing is that it can take a lot longer for people to make a purchase. As we already talked about in this article, there are more decision-makers in B2B marketing than there are with B2C.

It’s just the nature of the client.

But you can still use the same tactics in B2B marketing as you would with B2C. Because, again, you’re still working with an actual human on the other end of the screen. Even if that human is representing a larger company.

One of the best strategies you can use is a countdown timer:

Countdown Timer Examples

Countdown timers are effective at letting people know they only have X amount of time to make a decision. This creates a sense of urgency that, in many cases, will lead to higher conversions.

That’s because countdown timers motivate people to move faster. So when someone is on the fence about your product, and they’re just “shopping around,” a countdown timer gets them to act quickly.

Here’s a great tip for using countdown timers with B2B lead generation if you’re marketing to larger companies:

Add countdown timers mainly to your lead magnets, but use them sparingly for direct sales. 

Why? Because the person who wants to make the purchase may not be allowed to buy anything in the timeframe you set.

If they need to get approval before purchasing your product or services, a countdown timer won’t do anything to help your target audience.

Instead, it will just frustrate them that they’re going to miss a deal.

But the beauty of a countdown timer is that you can apply it to your optin campaign to grow your contact list. Even if your potential lead can’t make a purchase right away, at least you can grab their email address to nurture the relationship.

Over time, you can expect more of these conversions to transform into customers with a well-written email series.

4. Segment Your Contact List

Often times, software as a service (SaaS) industries serve all sizes of business. Take OptinMonster, for example. We work with large companies such as Sony, Trip Advisor, Pinterest, and more.

But we also serve many individual consumers who are building the company they’ve always dreamed of. Or people who simply want a fun side-project for additional income.

When it comes to B2B marketing, you really need to pay attention to how you address each company. In other words, we wouldn’t send the same email to a solopreneur as we would to a larger company like Trip Advisor.

They have totally different needs, and we support them in unique ways. So how are we able to effectively personalize our messaging?

By segmenting our contact list.

Whenever someone opts into a campaign, you can use OptinMonster to segment your audience with your email service provider (ESP).

Once your tags are created with your ESP, you can apply them directly in the campaign creation phase:

Add tags to your B2B lead generation optins

That way, you can tag new leads and send them an automated email series based on where they are in their customer journey, the size of their business, or their professional goals.

A good way of getting this information is by using one of OptinMonster’s Yes/No campaigns.

Traditionally, a Yes/No campaign will present your site’s traffic with a simple “yes or no” option. Once they click yes, they are more likely to finish the optin process thanks to a psychological phenomenon known as the Zeigarnik effect.

But you can take the same idea and add a small twist to better segment your audience.

Rather than presenting a “yes or no” question to your audience, you can give them other choices to click and redirect them accordingly.

So, for example, you could build a campaign like this in just a few minutes:

Segment your team in your optin campaigns

Then each button could redirect users to a landing page with a more personalized optin campaign. From there, you could tag those new leads based on their team size.

This is just one example of how you can more accurately segment your contact lists. With OptinMonster, the options are endless.

We help you segment your leads with your ESP right from the get-go. This helps you create more persuasive messaging, so more of your colder leads will warm up.

And your warm leads? They’ll transform into paying customers.

Don’t have an email service provider yet? No worries. Just check out our top 3 picks you can use for your business:

  • Constant Contact: an excellent solution for small businesses who value phone/email support
  • Sendinblue: the perfect choice for businesses on a budget looking for a free option to get started
  • Drip: the most advanced option for eCommerce

All 3 ESPs can help you take your email marketing game to the next level.

5. Craft Powerful Calls to Action

Calls to action (CTA) are one of the most important parts of any B2B lead generation strategy. You need to be crystal clear on what you want your audience to do.

Remember: even though you’re showing an offer or lead magnet to a business, there’s still a real person on the other end of the screen. And that person still needs to be persuaded to do what you want them to.

Many times, their decision hangs on how well you craft a call to action. If you’ve never created a CTA before, that’s OK. Just check out this article on how to create the perfect call to action.

To save you some time, here are a few best practices to keep in mind:

  • Use action words like “Subscribe, Download, Join” and so on
  • Create urgency and scarcity in your offer with words like “Now” and “Today Only”
  • Minimize risk with terms like “Free” or “Money-Back Guarantee”
  • Make your CTA stand out with bright colors that contrast with the rest of your campaign or web page

When you’re working specifically with B2B lead generation, though, you want to focus on value and benefit in your call to action.

So instead of saying something like, “Sign up for an eBook today,” you could focus on the benefit of what your eBook offers. A stronger call to action would be something like, “Learn How to 10x Your Leads in 7 Days.”

Or, here’s an example from one of OptinMonster’s email campaigns that focuses on the value:

Call to action button HTML email-min

We have the call to action Click Here to Enroll but add the value 100% FREE. This makes a call to action that is hard to pass over without clicking.

And it provides a very tangible benefit to the reader and focuses on their interest: growing their business.

6. Retarget Hesitant Buyers

One of the most frustrating parts of B2B lead generation is that the wheels tend to turn more slowly. That’s because there are usually more people who need to sign off on any decision. Think about it:

Let’s say the head of the department likes your product and wants to sign up. They need to then check with accounting to see if it’s in the budget. Then they may need to get it signed off by their superior, who may need to check with their superior, who may need to check with…

You get the point.

But you can use this to your advantage. That’s because decision making will often lead the same people to revisit your website.

When you’re using a tool like OptinMonster, you can personalize your messaging and show different campaigns to returning users.

That way, people don’t get tired of seeing the same campaign on each visit. You can also make your OnSite Retargeting® campaigns more enticing every time a user comes back to your website.

For example, let’s say the first time someone visits your site, you offer their company 10% off your product’s price. They go away, talk to their manager, think about it a bit more, and come back.

You know they’re tempted to purchase (because they came back), but they still haven’t pulled the trigger.

So on their second visit, you bump up your offer with a new campaign for a small trial period:

onsite retargeting for B2B lead generation

Now the new offer is just enough to motivate this person to sign up for your product or service.

OnSite Retargeting® is actually how Podcast Insights grew conversions by 1099%.

You can easily see the same success with OptinMonster’s OnSite Retargeting® features if you sign up today!

7. Use Exit-Intent® Technology

Exit-Intent® technology is super powerful. It works by tracking when people are leaving your site and displaying a campaign to keep them from leaving.

In B2C marketing, exit-intent is highly recommended. With B2B lead generation, it’s an absolute must. Why?

Because your site traffic is more likely to frequently come and go from your site. Just like we saw with the last tip (OnSite Retargeting®), people shop around more when they’re making a business purchase.

They’re typically asking this question when considering a new product:

“Who will give my business the most value for the least amount of money?”

A business representative would rarely select the first product they come across. Instead, they’re more likely to Google what they want, check out the first option, then head back to the results and keep looking.

In other words, business decisions are typically less impulsive.

But when a potential lead comes to your site, you don’t want them to leave and go look at your competitors. Especially since most people who leave a website never come back.

Exit-Intent® technology allows you to capture people abandoning your site. Then, even if you don’t make a direct sale, you can still get their email address:

B2B lead generation exit intent

From there, you continue to nurture the relationship until you have a new customer.

Crossrope, a fitness company that creates jump rope programs, used exit-intent popups to grow their email list by 900%.

You can see the same results if you use exit-intent for your B2B lead generation strategy.

8. Customize Messages from 3rd Party Sites

If you’re running paid ads or posting content on social media, then you should be taking that into account when you create an optin campaign.

Segments of your traffic likely come from different 3rd-party sources. You may get groups who found you on LinkedIn whereas others found you on Instagram.

You can personalize your optin campaigns based on the sites where your audience is coming from.

So let’s say you know that most of your traffic from Instagram comes from their mobile devices. You can create specially mobile-optimized campaigns to make sure it looks stunning on all smartphones. This is easy to do with OptinMonster.

In fact, we made mobile-optimized campaigns something you can decide while choosing your campaign’s template:

Mobile Optimized Templates in OM

But creating personalized B2B campaigns goes far beyond selecting which device it will appear on.

When you learn that different segments of your audience come from different sources, you can totally customize your campaigns to be more persuasive.

If your audience from Instagram interacts more with pictures and videos, for example, you can quickly add those to your optin campaigns with a drag and drop.

But if your LinkedIn traffic is more focused on results and statistics, you can customize your campaigns for that, too.

The more you know what types of businesses you’re trying to attract, and the sources where those businesses are finding you, the better able you are to get their attention and increase conversions.

9. A/B Test for Smarter Decision Making

This tip may be last, but it’s certainly not the least important. In fact, A/B testing your campaigns will likely be one of the biggest benefits to your lead generation strategy.

A/B testing is one of those things that every marketer knows they should do, but few actually take the time to do it right. It’s not that they don’t want to or don’t know the value in it, they just don’t have the time to make split testing a priority.

That’s why OptinMonster makes it easy for you to split test your lead generation campaigns. Once you’ve built a campaign, you can simply go to your OptinMonster dashboard and click Split Test:

Create Split test from your optinmonster dashboard

This will duplicate your campaign and allow you to change 1 element to see if you can be getting more conversions. You may want to make small changes like:

  • Creating a stronger headline
  • Adding an image or video
  • Modifying call to action button colors

Or any other changes that you think would increase conversions.

The reason split testing your campaigns is so important is that it allows you to feel confident in your B2B lead generation strategy. Rather than “going with your gut,” you can have hard data to fall back on.

Then you can continuously improve your campaigns until they’re getting you as many new leads as possible.

We hope you found this post helpful. If you did, you’ll definitely want to check out the following resources:

Those posts should have everything you need to become better at B2B lead generation.

Ready to get started growing your leads? Sign up for OptinMonster risk-free today with our 14-day money-back guarantee.

Nathan Thompson
Nathan Thompson is a father, a writer, and a lover of travel (in that order). When he’s not wrestling with his kids, you’ll likely find Nathan giving his eyes a much-needed break from screens with a good book or planning a family trip with his awesome wife.

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