Have you ever found yourself scratching your head, trying to decode a prospect’s behavior?
Wondered why that hot lead turned cold overnight. Or pondered how some leads flow directly from interest to conversion in two days (while others take months)? You’re not alone.
The buyer’s journey is complicated. It isn’t always linear, especially for business-to-business (B2B) sales.
But one thing remains constant in the intricate dance of B2B sales: the need for robust lead generation strategies that nurture prospects as they move through the customer journey.
In this guide, we’ll share strategies and best practices for converting even the toughest leads into customers to boost your B2B sales. Let’s dive in.
Breadcrumbs’ Guide to Nurturing Prospects
95% of your potential buyers aren’t ready to purchase from you. So, keeping them interested and engaged throughout the B2B sales process is a must.
Prospects all have different needs, questions, or concerns at different stages of the B2B sales process. Creating interactions and content tailored to these varying situations can help you guide prospects down the B2B sales funnel.
Through effective lead nurturing strategies, you’ll build relationships, establish trust, and increase the likelihood of conversion. The goal? Maintain a connection until prospects are ready to buy.
For example, at Breadcrumbs, we use case studies to show potential clients how past clients leveraged our lead-scoring tool to improve their key revenue metrics.
This strategy helps nurture leads by showing them they can trust Breadcrumbs to deliver top-notch results.
See how Thinkific doubled their MQL to OPP rate in just 3 months after implementing their first lead scoring model.
3 Strategies for Effective Lead Generation
Before nurturing leads, you must attract them to your business. There are a range of proven lead generation strategies for B2B sales.
Here are just a few of them, with some examples from real brands.
1. Engage leads with social media content
95% of B2B marketers use social media content in some form. Here are some examples.
Share thought leadership content
Distribute thought leadership content to establish authority and build brand awareness.
We know that B2B products and/or services are often a big investment. That means that stakeholders need all the information they can get when it comes to how a solution can help their organization.
Sharing thought leadership content is a great way to educate your prospects and convert them into leads.
Thought leadership content might include how-to videos or carousel posts to show your company’s expertise and tap into your target customer’s pain points and challenges.
Consider using this social media marketing approach through LinkedIn because you’re more likely to get your content from professionals and high-level executives who are big decision-makers. It’s ranked number one for B2B marketers for a reason.
BlueJeans by Verizon shares thought leadership content on LinkedIn to help retail and healthcare organizations evolve by encouraging them to use web and mobile video.
Find ideal prospects
Social media platforms aren’t just great for sharing valuable content. They’re also useful for identifying ideal prospects and finding decision-makers to pitch your product or service.
Below are ways to conduct B2B sales prospecting on social media:
- Join LinkedIn groups to contribute to conversations.
- Search for relevant hashtags. Implement those hashtags in your posts to attract your target customers.
- Identify your competitors and watch their followers. Users who follow your competitors are likely to be interested in your product or service.
- Use advanced search filters on social media platforms. Identify potential clients based on company size, industry, location, etc.
Finding ideal prospects will help you keep your focus on people who are likely to convert. When you target the right audience, you can achieve optimal results.
Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) Worksheet
Learn how to create an Ideal Customer Profile and build a successful sales strategy with this Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) Worksheet.
Build relationships with your audience
And let’s not forget about YouTube’s ability to build relationships with leads and capture a wide audience, with 2.1 billion active users worldwide. Voices, a thriving marketplace catering to voiceover artists, has established a presence on the popular video-dominated platform.
In their videos, they engage in deep discussions about contracts and other issues voice actors might experience throughout their careers. YouTube is the perfect platform for Voices to foster meaningful connections with its target audience.
2. Create a winning content marketing strategy
Content marketing offers an excellent opportunity to not only inform prospects but also to familiarize them with your brand.
Creating compelling content that resonates with your target audience’s pain points builds trust as you demonstrate that you really understand their challenges and are there to help.
Building relationships also means offering something valuable and relevant to your prospects. One way to do that is to create content that educates them about your industry, product, or service.
For example, VRAI sells lab-grown diamonds, and they are always prepared to explain what lab-grown diamonds are, how they are made, and the perks, like how they are a sustainable and ethical choice with zero emissions.
This, in tandem, makes them a reputable source for this information. By providing helpful information and showing your expertise, you can build trust and credibility with your potential customers and nurture them into loyal buyers.
Focus your attention on these main types of content to share:
- Blog posts. Write high-quality blogs that explore topics relevant to your leads’ pain points, industry, and interests.
- Webinars. Educate your audience about industry trends and how your solution can help solve their problems. Share success stories to empower your audience to understand the value of your company.
- Ebooks. Create comprehensive ebooks to offer tips, key insights, and best practices for solving a specific problem.
- Case studies. Share data-driven results from your current customers as a form of social proof.
- Whitepapers. Dive deep into complex topics and show your expertise with whitepapers.
- Videos. 7 in 10 B2B buyers watch videos throughout the sales journey. Create engaging videos that showcase your company identity, demonstrate how to solve a problem, or illustrate how your product works (e.g., explainer videos).
- High-quality images (e.g., infographics). Illustrate complex concepts and ideas with appealing images. Invest in tools to optimize video resolution, subtitle generation, and image quality. For example, some tools allow you to easily remove the background from an image, adjust contrast effects, or add filters.
You can use many of these content formats in your email marketing strategy. Ebooks, case studies, whitepapers, and webinars are effective lead magnets that entice prospects.
When you share these useful resources, you can get a lead’s email address in return. From there, you can send out targeted emails that guide leads down the B2B sales funnel.
If you need inspiration from a brand that’s putting its content marketing team to work, check out Asana. As a task management tool, it regularly hosts webinars and live training sessions that cover topics like workflows and productivity.
And Asana also heavily invests in thought leadership content on their blog.
3. Find ways to shorten the sales cycle
Lead generation is one of the first steps in the B2B sales cycle. And the key to effective lead generation is to conduct thorough research on your potential customers.
Try to narrow down leads as much as possible to ensure you’re improving your chances of interacting with a prospective customer who’s likely to convert.
Having ideal customer profiles is helpful in this process because you know exactly who to look for regarding demographics, pain points, interests, etc.
It’s also a good idea to look beyond lead generation and consider how you’ll further guide B2B leads down the funnel, all the way to the purchasing process and the overall customer experience.
For example, you could streamline your B2B payment process with cryptocurrency solutions. That’s because cryptocurrency transactions can be processed more quickly than typical bank transfers.
Adding this payment option can speed up the sales cycle, helping you close deals faster. Cryptocurrency payments have other benefits, too, like improving cash flow for your business.
Just keep in mind you’ll need to take care of crypto tax reporting at the end of every calendar year. A minor inconvenience for significantly reducing your sales cycle and increasing conversion rates.
Another way to improve customer service for prospects and leads is to invest in quality support. This strategy holds true in all industries. For instance, a law firm dealing with divorcing couples in Arizona needs to offer stellar support in addition to excellent legal services.
Divorce is a complex legal process as well as a sensitive family matter, so family law firms must offer support to potential clients from the very beginning.
This support should include clear communication channels, responsive communication, educational resources, and personalized advice. Aurit goes further and offers a free consultation with no obligation, a payment plan with no credit check or interest for 12 months, and mediations held online via video conferencing to maximize convenience for both parties.
Taking a page out of the B2C playbook, this same level of support is something all B2B companies should strive to offer their potential and current customers.
For example, Wells Fargo does an excellent job of this as it provides many training resources to help its small business customers build and grow.
Integrating Lead Scoring with Lead Generation Strategies
Lead scoring is a process for determining how likely your leads are to buy. It involves assigning a numerical value to leads to indicate their interest in your product or service.
These numerical scores are based on predetermined criteria, such as intent, prospect’s behavioral data, engagement with your organization, or lead source.
Sales teams can use lead scoring models to focus their efforts on leads with the highest potential.
Because sellers are putting less time and resources into leads that are least likely to convert, they can save their energy on leads who are actually interested. This makes for more effective and successful B2B lead generation campaigns.
4 Best Practices for Lead Scoring Implementation
Every company’s lead scoring system will look different. But consider these best practices to make sure yours is as efficient as possible.
1. Create lead profiles
The first step to building a lead scoring model is to create lead profiles. You can do this by separating buyers into buyer personas and separating converted leads from dead leads.
With Breadcrumbs Reveal, you can turn your CRM data into an ideal customer profile in minutes. Why work harder when you can work smarter?
2. Decide on your lead criteria
There are different lead scoring criteria to consider, including:
- Firmographic/demographic data: This data looks at location, industry, company size, and job title. Creating lead forms can help you gather firmographic information and assign points to leads that fit your customer profile.
- Purchase intent: Using intent data, you can determine how likely a lead is to convert. It involves looking into web activity to see if a lead is actively considering your product.
- Online behavior: Assign scores based on your leads’ online behavior, such as their interactions with your website. You can even assign values to different pages of your website. For example, a product page may bring higher value to your business than a contact form. You can score leads based on their activity with certain pages.
- Engagement: Scoring leads based on their engagement with your brand can help you gauge how interested they are in your product or service. You can look at metrics like email open rates or social media engagement (e.g., likes, comments, shares, etc.).
Make sure you align your sales and marketing teams on the lead scoring criteria and process. When everyone is on the same page regarding categorizing leads (e.g., hot, warm, cold), you can ensure consistency and accuracy in your lead scoring system.
3. Leverage automation and AI to streamline the lead scoring process
AI and machine learning tools can help you gather and analyze data at scale, improving lead qualification and scoring accuracy.
These solutions use algorithms to calculate lead scores. They automatically create and update scores by assigning numerical values to different actions. So, for example, one lead might visit a product page while another may fill out a form.
The algorithm might automatically assign a higher score to the lead who visits your product page. You can use these insights to make more informed decisions.
If you’re ready to unleash the power of machine learning, try Breadcrumbs for free.
Our goal? To help B2B companies automate lead scoring with data-driven models. We do all the heavy lifting for you.
4. Always be improving
Continuous monitoring and refinement are key to a successful lead-scoring system. Implementing a constantly evolving lead management process can help you find more opportunities to engage high-level prospects.
Have your sales and marketing teams hold meetings to discuss what’s working and what’s not or what scores they need to adjust based on performance.
Oh, and keep a close eye on emerging trends. You never know what’s around the corner. Use these trends to build yourself a competitive advantage.
Take a Different Approach for Moving Leads Down the Funnel
Lead generation is a vital part of any B2B sales strategy, no matter what industry you’re in. From sharing valuable content to building trust or engaging with leads on social media, there are many ways to keep leads interested in your brand.
Emerging trends in lead generation, such as predictive lead scoring and AI-powered lead nurturing, are showing great promise in their ability to improve lead generation strategies. So, as a B2B company trying to get ahead, don’t count these tools out.
You have leads to generate, nurture, score, and convert. Emerging technologies like Breadcrumbs can help you save valuable time to maximize the number of deals you close.