5 Factors Influencing B2B Sales Lead Generation Online
Generating sales leads for business to business products and services by using digital marketing, used to seem counter intuitive.
After all, a lot of people think those type of business deals tend to rely on personal relationships developed over years of networking and sales prospecting. In fact, I know a few B2B salespeople who tend to avoid doing any networking online. They claim, “not enough time,” “not efficient,” “not how I work” and even “not worth my time.”
I usually have to explain these 5 factors influencing B2B sales lead generation online, and then they become open minded.
It’s always funny to watch, but as soon as sales leaders understand the connection between these critical B2B marketing factors and revenue, their ears perk up.
Of course, if you’re among those looking for tips to improve your online B2B sales lead generation and conversion efforts, learn from B2B companies that don’t plan for and invest in an online presence. They’re missing out on our increasingly global marketplace, where potential leads can’t visit your office but can still get to know you through virtual means.
To differentiate and close more online leads, keep reading. You can also download our free guide that shows you how to grow your business while you sleep.
We can’t say it often enough: your website is the virtual equivalent of a first impression. It should also be your best sales person. If it’s old, badly designed or simply nonexistent, you’ll miss out on quite a lot of potential leads just because visitors will be turned off.
An archaic-looking website jumps out right away, and so do amateur ones. With today’s wide variety of looks and styles, as well as advanced technical possibilities, websites don’t have to be boring. They still need to be usable, but the possibilities are endless.
What does your website need in order to be attractive to prospects? In short, you need:
- A clear value proposition
- Social proof
- Good “About us” page
- Contact info
- A blog (you’ll see why it matters for B2B leads below)
All of this should be packaged in a visually pleasing website that become your top lead generation source.
2. Portfolio or Case Studies
The second most important element to convince potential clients is a good portfolio page or, if you’re not in the creative field, at least a few case studies.
These are really important because they show how your past and current clients have found success with your product or service. If there’s no proof of your company’s ability to serve what it promises, it’s not likely that you’ll develop any kind of trust with visitors and leads.
For example, our case studies page is a great source of information for our potential clients. There they can find examples of websites in similar fields and categories as their business, and they can check out our work to see if it fits their style and needs.
Case studies are a bit different from portfolios. They go in more depth about the process, solution and results of using your product or services. They work especially well for complex products and services; they also help a lot for companies with long sales cycles.
Content is a rather vague and general term when it comes to the internet; basically everything on there is content. For the purposes of this blog post, we’ll consider content the helpful information found on your website. What “helpful” means depends on who your target audience is.
To determine your level of expertise and your involvement in the field, a potential lead will look through your website for evidence of helpful, informational content that teaches him or her about your product or service, your field of work, etc. This can be developed in several forms:
- Blog posts, white papers, ebooks
- Slideshare presentations
Again, companies with longer sales cycles will find that using a variety of content types will help leads move along the cycle faster. Share some relevant content to hook them up, follow up with some great lead nurturing emails, and voilà! a lead that your sales team can close in no time.
4. Expertise of Employees
When you deal with a business, you ultimately deal with its whole team, whether you spoke to them in the sales process or not. So it’s good to know that the people who are going to build your product or provide the services you need know what they’re doing.
Bios on team pages can help with that, but do you know what’s more effective? Blog posts.
Every member of your team (or at least a representative of every department) should contribute to your company’s blog. As a potential lead looks at your website and your blog, he or she will see that your employees know what they’re talking about and provide helpful advice.
If that doesn’t contribute to visitor trust, I don’t know what does!
5. Presence On Social Media
Last but not least, having a presence on social media is among the top 5 factors influencing b2b sales lead generation. A potential lead will also take a look at what you’re saying on social media. There are way too many examples of companies losing bundles of customers because of a mistake on social media. This should never happen to your business.
A carefully planned social media presence that still lets individuality and human-ness shine through is the best way to convince site visitors that there’s a human behind every interaction. They’ll have a look at how you interact with followers, how fast you answer to mentions, questions and inquiries, and check out the content you share.
As in the factor above, make sure that your social media presence contributes to your reputation for expertise and helpfulness. Check out our free guide on how to do this.
Putting it all together
All these factors will make a difference in how many online B2B sales leads you get. Having a strong digital strategy will help you figure out how to put these pieces together to increase your leads, conversions and sales.