B2B Lead generation is important for growing your business as it decides if your salespeople are going to close more deals or not. In this article, you will learn about what B2B lead generation is, and how to conduct it effectively using the 10 best B2B lead generation tools in the market.
What Is B2B Lead Generation
B2B Lead generation is known as the process of identifying and attracting potential customers. These people may be some random visitors who just happened to bump into your website (thanks to your SEO team) or people that are actually looking for certain help.
What they have in common is that they fit your customer persona – they are very likely looking for your product to help them get out of a dilemma! These people shall be the target of your marketing and sales team and definitely shall be absorbed into your lead generation system, or marketing-sales system, whatever you call it.
Lead generation opens the door to more sales. Yet, in most cases, your lead is not the one who walks straight over to the cashier and pays right away. That’s where cultivation comes in – to lead your potential customer from the stage of awareness to purchase. So, educate them, tell them what it is and how it works.
In short, to turn leads into sales, you’ll need to:
- Attract more visitors
- Identify potential buyers
- Cultivate potential customers
- Initiate the sale and close deals
What Are B2B Sales Leads
If lead generation is about converting a stranger who has never heard about your company before into a customer who pays for your bill, then when we run into one of these strangers, we’d better be well aware of where he is – in the sales funnel.
People in different stages require customized attention. Handing over every potential lead to your sales team is not going to an effective way to achieve more sales. There are good reasons why leads are generally categorized into two types: MQL (marketing qualified leads) and SQL (sales qualified leads).
What is MQL?
A marketing qualified lead lingers at the stage of awareness or interest. This is a group of people who are relevant to you but yet not ready to purchase.
People with these behaviors may be recognized as an MQL:
- Visit your website regularly
- Download your ebook or white paper
- Sign up for your next webinar
- Send emails or start an online chat
- Subscribe to your newsletter
That’s how people show their interests.
The marketing team shall help dig out their needs or escort them through the evaluation stage with a clear demo (or other resources) that will answer their worries perfectly.
What is SQL?
A sales-qualified lead is a consumer who is ready to buy. They know what they need and they are studying the specification, doing some comparisons until they are able to pick the best candidate and take out the wallet and say: “wrap it up”.
A sales qualified lead may:
- Ask for a price list with a full plan breakdown
- Send an email with concrete questions about what your services can do or not
- Schedule a phone call for a full product demo
- Submit a form that describes what challenges he is facing to the sales team to connect
- Enter his credit card info and sign up for a trial
They are prospects the salespeople would love to talk to (also who they shall talk to). Time to take quick action! Go dive deep into what they are looking for and draw out a custom solution that fits their needs or to make it further, go through a POC (proof of concept) to prove the capability of what you are offering.
How to Conduct Lead Generation Leads to Sales
This is teamwork – a marketing team to attract leads and cultivate and a sales team to select leads, communicate and make deals.
If we focus on lead generation only, the concept in many ways overlaps with what we call “inbound marketing” – to attract the MQLs and SQLs to your system by placing valuable content on where they are, setting gated resources so as to gather their information that feeds your sales system.
These materials would play a big part in lead generation:
- Ebooks that teach your customers how to get started
- Reports that uncover the trends and opportunities in the market
- Webinars that guide your customers through the difficult problems they encounter
- Landing pages that introduce specific solutions that your company offer
- Newsletters that inform them about industry news and updates
Scraping Data for Business Leads
How to get data like emails/phone numbers from webpages? It would be a good choice to using web scraping tool like Octoparse. It is a web scraping tool for capturing data from target websites, including emails and phone numbers. Instead of copying and pasting for a million years, you’ll be better off using Octoparse to grab all of that at once. It can be used on both Windows and Mac OS systems, which suits the needs for web scraping on multiple types of devices.
For many popular websites, like Yelp, Twitter and Google Maps, there are pre-built crawlers that you can use right away. Or, you can build a scraping workflow that works specifically for your own use case, which is generally easy to deal with for most web pages. From there, you can get emails or phone numbers from web pages within steps easily. You can have a visit on Octoparse user guide or watch the video example below to learn how to scrape business data from Yelp.
Octoparse free version covers almost all the functions but the cloud extraction. There is no limit to the amount of data scraped even with a free plan as long as you keep your data within 10,000 rows per task. Compared with the price of the other web scraping tools, like Mozenda and Import.io, Octoparse offers more affordable paid versions.
Octoparse free version covers:
- Unlimited computers
- Up to 10K data rows per export
- Run tasks on local devices
- 10 Crawlers
- Community and email support
Find out here about how Octoparse works as an Email Extractor.
Top 10 B2B Lead Generation Tools
B2B lead generation is difficult, yet, having the right tools can make a big difference. Let’s take a look at some of the best tools out there that be used to work your way up through the entire lead generation process.
Get to know your current customers
SurveyMonkey is a questionnaire software that can help you learn about who are your customers and what do you love and hate about your business or products.
SurveyMonkey provides a free version with limited services:
- 10 questions
- 100 respondents
- 15 question types
- Light theme customization and templates
Learn from your competitor
Ahrefs is a search engine optimization (SEO) tool that helps analyze practically everything about your websites and at the same time, your competitors. Using Ahref, you can find out what your competitors are doing to get leads, such as the keywords they are using and more. There’s a lot to dig out for digital marketers from the auto-generated report and get some good ideas for the next marketing campaigns.
Ahrefs doesn’t offer a free version but gives an extra 2-month period for annual billing. The functions of the paid version (From $99.95 per month) are:
- Rank Tracker
- Site Audit
- Site Explorer
- Content Explorer
- Keywords Explorer
Optimize your site to get more organic traffic
Compared with Aherfs, SEMrush is an SEO tool that focuses more on website self-checking. With it, we can quickly locate the problems of the sites, like broken links, incorrect tabs, and so on. Google spider would love to rank you higher for the ongoing website optimization.
Same as Ahrefs, SEMrush only offers paid versions (From $99.95 per month). It provides:
- Branded reports
- Historical Data
- Extended limits
- White-label reports
- API access
- Extended limits and sharing options
- Google Data Studio Integration
Leads generation with email marketing
Based on 2018 data, email marketing is old fashion way, but still works effectively for marketing today. Despite these reasons, it’s important to figure out how an email marketing automation platform, like MailChimp, brings more business leads.
Digital marketers can use Mailchimp to cover the whole process of a marketing campaign by scheduling emails or setting up trigger emails or Drip-Feed emails. Specifically, for the e-Commerce business, MailChimp is available for link tracking, offering a relatively complete report on the total orders and the average revenue brought by the email campaign.
Mailchimp offers a robust free version for customizing the layout of an email and conducting small-scale (up to 2000 email could be sent once) marketing promotion:
- 7 marketing channels
- 1-click automation
- Basic templates
- Marketing CRM
Email automation is only one of the automation ways to make our promotion process more efficient. Actually, we can try more automation tools, like MobileMonkey free chatbot tools, to serve our client better.
Find the email of the ideal buyers
Before using Mailchimp for email marketing, hunter.io is an excellent tool to help find the right person’s email to reach out. It’s a browser extension (available for Chrome and Firefox) that can be installed quickly and added on. Though it might not be able to show every single email with complete career and personal information, it would be a good start.
Hunter.io provides a free version that provides:
- Limited requests
6. HubSpot’s Blog topic generator
Attract your target group with attractive and appealing topics
HubSpot’s Blog topic generator, as its name indicates, helps digital marketers with raising product-relative issues to appeal to target groups and then educate them further.
Additionally, Octoparse could be regarded as a topic generator as well. For example, use the Octoparse task template to capture the search result of the keywords. The list could inspire you a lot for a topic generation.
Good marketing content offers value to your readers. Keeping yourself informed of news and updates improves your sense of finding value. Feedly comes to help by integrating valuable content from various sources into one place and always has you notified.
Feedly provides only paid versions:
- There are free browser add-ons for Chrome, Safari and Firefox so you can clip articles from any website and save them into your boards.
- Feedlyblog also offers some hints to help with using their product, such as 8 Ways to Streamline Your Curation Process.
8. Blog Post Templates
Content creation based on a template or a set of rules would be easier to carry out and more sustainable. This is part of the reason why some blogs have endless topics to write about and always come up with fresh articles. They make minor changes to the template and there comes up a brand new piece of work.
For example, you must have seen a lot on Google below topics:
- What is XXX
- How to XXX
- Top 10 XXX
Blog templates work like your model of topic generator and help you write intriguing articles in a more efficient way.
9. Visual Website Optimizer
Run A/B testing
Visual Website Optimizer is an application provided by bigcommerce.com and it serves to improve your content such as landing pages, blog posts, or any other web pages designed for conversion.
It is a user-friendly tool for users to run A/B tests for their pages and optimize for various conversion goals according to the performance data.
- The app shortens time to go live with your A/B tests because of the innovative \”tag-less\” integration.
- The app makes test results clear and direct with powerful visualization features.
- The app offers 21-day free trial.
Versatile all-in-one platform
Paperform is a versatile all-in-one platform aimed at small businesses and teams. Originally created as a form builder, Paperform has expanded its features to help you create solutions that will reduce busywork and automate processes.
Paperform doesn’t offer a free version, however, there is a 14-day free trial. The features of the paid version (from $20 a month) include:
- Over 600 pre-built templates
- 3,000 integrations through third-party apps (like Zapier and Make)
- Removable Paperform branding
- Conditional logic
- 24+ field types
- Almost limitless customization options
- User-friendly editor
Get B2B leads overnight? Barely possible. It could take a relatively long curve, like months or even years before the momentum takes over. It’s never too late to start thinking about it or get yourself busy with the right tools and strategies. Make full use of the tools for generating sales leads and you will find the power of them in helping your business.