Top 8 B2B Lead Generation Trends for 2020
What is B2B Lead Generation?
B2B lead generation is defined as lead generation strategies that are aimed towards converting other businesses into potential customers.
According to a BrightTalk report, B2B marketers said that 53% of all marketing budget were allocated or geared towards lead generation and 83% of marketers deemed lead gen in their B2B space to be the most important activity.
B2B Lead Generation has some key advantages vis-a-vis their B2C counterparts:
Advantages of B2B Lead Generation:
- B2B audience demography is more easily traced and segmented thanks to business networking social media sites like LinkedIn and Glassdoor.
- Lead conversion value for B2B is higher since deal value is typically much higher than most consumer goods.
- B2B lead generation emails have a higher opening rate (since the audience is also more filtered).
- B2B target audience can be much more concretely defined and targeted than B2C consumers, leading to better ROI and less wastage in large scale carpet-bombing type marketing tactics.
Top 10 B2B Lead Generation Trends for 2020
Here are the top 10 B2B lead generation trends that we will get to see shape up this year onwards and some statistics as to why:
- 1. Chatbots and Live Chats
Website visitors have been important prospects in the prospect of generating business. With dwindling attention span and faster browsing abilities, it is increasingly clear that your customer is not going to have patience to fill out forms and wait for your business development to call them.
This is where statistically, live chat has given remarkable results in retaining your customer. Collecting his email address to connect further is also achieved.
Most prospects would actually love to engage with your website, but only when you have the timing right. Several SaaS companies are already reporting website chat as their biggest lead source and others are reporting over 50% of leads coming through the website chat (source). Chat providers like Drift & Intercom are leading the way by banning most forms from their website and rely on their chat tool to find their leads.
Secondly, a large portion of your website visitors who have already have bought your product or service may not be finding their way to a contact form, demo request, or an inbound email. Live chats can take care of these customers.
There will always be some website visitors who will never buy: visitors with no buying need, students, job applicants or existing customers. The impact of having a website chat is the ability to detect these individuals early enough in the process, which would do the job of sorting leads right at the beginning.
- 2. Customer Experience Testimonials
Customer reviews, testimonials, and ratings of product/ service can help prospective customers make purchasing decisions in the now, and the more you can provide an environment and a customer experience that invites customers to provide reviews it helps create a space where a prospect can decide to purchase your product / service immediately. Prospective customers are smart and they can smell fake reviews from a mile away. Invite customers to leave real reviews, and to provide feedback that can help you make your product or service even better. Respond to all reviews in a prompt and courteous manner as it goes a long way toward creating a great impression in your prospective customers’ minds. You can definitely turn negative customer reviews into positive experiences!
They like to see that you have good relationships with existing customers and that you treat them well. Your customer experience strategies can be very visible to prospective customers from the outside looking in, and it works to set you apart from your competition.
- 3. Voice Search Marketing
With the popularity and reliability on voice assistants such as Alexa, Siri or Cortana, voice search will represent about 50% of the searches in 2020. Voice search can have a massive effect on lead generation, causing brands to start paying more attention to this method. It will be an interesting trend to watch in 2020. Voice was touted by Gary Vaynerchuck 5 years ago to become huge when the trend showed people absorbed and retained more with listening to their favorite ebooks or podcast shows. B2B brands will start capitalizing on these trends given the fact that the new way of living with social distancing has forced marketers to think of ways to reach and be in touch with their customers.
Spotify has already started pushing full ads in between their listening sessions which users still cannot skip unlike Youtube.
- 4. Email Marketing
By 2020 email user numbers are expected to grow to 3 billion. With such numbers, it’s hard to leave any room for doubt concerning the limitless potential the tool has if included in a company’s digital strategy. Email has a click-through rate of 3.71% across all industries and an average open rate of 22.86%. Additionally, the unsubscribe rate is 0.21%. No other medium gives this high an engagement rate in digital marketing. Hence email marketing is here to stay.
Business-to-business companies have a longer sales-cycle than other industries. Prospective customers need to fully understand how your solutions can benefit their business, and why they should invest in your services over your competitors. Lead nurturing is the act of carrying those prospects through each step of the sales cycle, and effectively answering every question they have along the way. Email marketing works efficiently as one of the most practical digital channels when it comes to lead nurturing. Most of the leads in any system are not yet ready to buy, which is why developing relationships with buyers at every stage of the funnel is so important. A strong lead nurturing system will identify where the buyer fits in the sales cycle, to deliver the most relevant information possible.
An email drip campaign thus becomes a valuable long-term lead nurturing strategy. It delivers relevant email communication into your prospects inboxes wherein you’ll move leads through the sales funnel at their own pace.
- 4. Marketing Automation
A B2B business in 2020 should be on its way to implement a marketing automation in their business. Given the challenges of this year, working towards integrating the sales and lead cycle onto a technology that does give a 62% increase in conversion rate cannot be ignored.
64% of e-commerce marketeers says e-mail marketing and marketing automation contributes to more sales. B2B marketers find improved user experience and relevance of communications (60%) the biggest advantage of Marketing Automation. Higher conversion rates (59%), better quality leads (57%), and generating more leads (57%) ranks almost as important as advantages of Marketing Automation for B2B marketers. – as given by Communigator and SmartInsights “Managing B2B Marketing Automation” (2019)
- 5. Video
71% of B2B marketers are using video marketing as of today. Surprisingly, it’s even more than in B2C (66%), according to the Content Marketing Institute.
Video has become the preferred way most users consume content. In B2B industries, “showing” rather than “telling” gets the point across much quicker and more effectively. Those who use video have seen a major increase in engagement among prospects. The research conducted by Wyzowl shows that:
83% of video marketers say video helped them generate leads
80% of video marketers say video directly helped increase sales.
89% of video marketers say, in general, that video gives them a good return on their investment.
According to Google, YouTube reaches more 18- to 49-year olds in an average week than all cable TV networks combined.
Other types of video content marketing include vlogs (video blogs), video interviews, tutorial videos, videos of presentations, product demos and reviews, video testimonials, recordings of live streams, video ads etc.
Social media and group sharing can also be a key source of traffic for your videos.
Facebook reports that they get more than 8 billion video views daily and TikTok got an average of 1 million video views per day in its first year. These video marketing statistics show the importance of video marketing for your business, both now and in the future.
- 6. Blogging
Just like email marketing, blogging was thought to wither away as time advanced. But just like email marketing, blogging has only gotten stronger with the audiences interested in reading. The below given stats only confirm the trend rising especially in the B2B segment. These stats also help understand how a brand can plan to engage their prospects with consistent blog updates.
Companies that publish 16+ blog posts per month generated 4.5x more leads than companies publishing 0-4 monthly. (Source: HubSpot)
Companies that blog generate 67% more leads than those who don’t, 434% more indexed pages, and 97% more indexed links…all of which lead to better SEO and ranking. On average, companies with blogs produce 67% more leads per month than those without (Source: DemandMetric) Blogging is responsible for 434% more indexed pages and 97% more indexed inbound links (Source: DemandMetric) 47% of B2B buyers read 3-5 blog posts or content pieces prior to talking with a salesperson (Source: DemandGenReport)
1 in 10 blog posts are “compounding”, meaning that organic search steadily increases their traffic over time and improve lead generation (Source: HubSpot)
60% of all marketers believe blog creation to be their top inbound marketing strategy for lead generation (Source: State of Inbound)
Over 50% of marketers that curate content say it has increased brand visibility, thought leadership, SEO and organic traffic (Source: Curata)
- 7. Podcasts
The essence of true and lasting engagement is no doubt qualitative content given in an easy format to consume to your prospective user. Podcast is emerging to be such a medium which is easy and can hold your listener’s attention as long as you offer him value and quality.
Podcasts work on good audio content. The right keywords and right platforms will ensure getting an good organic reach not just locally but also internationally. B2B brands are now interested to offer qualitative and consistent content in a podcast to build a community that trusts them thus building a community of loyal listeners.
Podcasting is known to build better relationship with its listeners. It has also revived reach for personalities and brands due to their content and engagement. Furthermore, a podcast easily becomes multiple pieces of content across your brand’s mediums like website, social media and can easily be promoted.
- 8. Social Media Marketing
Brand awareness – Social media is a great platform for brands to maintain customer relationships and it can also serve as an opportunity to be found by new leads. A lot of people learn about new brands because it was mentioned by a friend on social channels.
New customer acquisition – The best way to build audience on social media is to focus on the people who already know you. By sharing relevant content to them, taking time to interact and respond to any feedback you receive, you can expand your audience and build stronger relationships.
Continuous engagement – Social sites are a playground for engaging businesses with customers at every stage of their journey. Whether they are potential leads, current customers, or visitors you are trying to get back, you have multiple ways to engage, be it through conversation, re-targeting, ads. There is no limit on how much information you can keep providing to your customers as long as it is interesting.
Customer loyalty – Social media is known for building customer loyalty by working on maintaining a high level of engagement through quality content over social platforms.
Adweek says that 54% of customers prefer social messaging channels for care over phone or email.
Running contests was found to be a great way to increase brand awareness and generate social media leads.
We have summed social media channels like Twitter, Instagram & Facebook that give a high engagement ratio throughout and who also provide ways to sell on their platforms for businesses apart from just awareness.
- 10. LinkedIn Marketing
Though it is also a part of social media, Linkedin is mentioned separately because it is a portal completely meant for B2B and has achieved success in engagement as well generating business globally for all kinds of companies predominantly B2B.
Outbound marketing steps with LinkedIn
- - Determine the criteria for your ideal lead
- - Translate into a Sales Navigator search
- - Cold connect with people matching your criteria
- - Respond to messages manually after connecting
Inbound marketing steps for LinkedIn
- - Build your brand page
- - Share company content and updates
- - Stay top of mind with former colleagues and clients who might refer you
- - Stay top of mind with leads who accepted your connection request
- - To get inbound leads, you need to post content regularly, comment regularly, and optimize your profile
Linkedin has also come up with products and services that help you to take advantage of their wide global database to generate qualitative leads.
Using Inmail effectively means personalizing your messages, being assertive and formal and focusing on building relationships which will go a long way in generating leads, maintaining brand reputation and also building trust.
These are the top 10 trends in generating leads for B2B in the year 2020. With the challenges of this year, some of these trends may bloom sooner. Brands will also find innovative ways of doing business in the given scenario using some of these fine solutions or a combination of these solutions that works for their business and predominantly their customer segmentation.