In a recent survey, Copper and Outfunnel questioned B2B marketers on what they believed to be the key metrics for a successful business. Unsurprisingly, the metric that secured the first place was “quality of leads.”
But how do businesses generate higher leads?
In B2B usually spend a good amount of time on Zoom calls and in meetings talking about where to get better quality leads from. Or where are existing leads arriving from? We will let you in on a little secret here. No one, not even the major players in the industry, is sure of where they get their leads from. All through the pandemic, marketers have had to respond quickly to changes in the demands of B2B buyers, based on partial and imprecise data.
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Don’t believe us? Consider the graph below. It should come as no surprise that all kinds of inbound marketing practices perform well in terms of producing B2B leads, with SEO and email marketing leading the way.
To cut a long tale short, you are not alone in not knowing where your leads are coming from. The haziness of the modern digital landscape can make attribution extremely difficult. This crisis response has led B2B marketing teams to determine many immediate and long-term trends. However, amongst the most significant developments, and a component of the “new normal,” is customers’ rising preference and proclivity for online self-service.
As per a McKinsey survey, about 75% of B2B customers prefer online self-service and virtual interaction to face-to-face encounters – a sentiment that has consistently risen even as lockdowns have subsided. While safety was indeed the driving force of this transition at first, the convenience of self-service and remote engagements has remained a strong draw for customers seeking services and information.
In response to this transformation, B2B executives have progressed from being “forced into” adopting digital trends to a widespread acceptance of them as the new way of doing things. Soliciting self-service online has become a ubiquitous phenomenon, with remote and digital engagement being adopted by C-level executives all over the world for their B2B marketing purposes.
Looking to boost your B2B leads this year? Here are a few digital lead generation digital trends to look out for this year. And, while some trends could appear obvious, it’s worth noting that the solution isn’t always as complicated as it may look.
1. Voice search is not just a B2B marketing trend
Users are already utilizing voice search to play their favorite tunes, ask questions, and receive directions, despite its origins as a grocery shop list aggregator and note-taker. Consequently, voice search is now in demand by the current audience, particularly in the B2B industry, and according to studies, over one billion queries are conducted by voice internationally.
In fact, stats by Review42 show that the number of voice assistants is likely to reach 6.4 billion by the end of the following year. Furthermore, according to a Canalys survey, the number of voice assistant users in the United States alone stands at 66.4 million, accounting for 40% of the total population. With such a large audience reach, voice search is certainly worth considering as part of your marketing plan.
The optimization of voice search results is just as important as the optimization of text search results. As such, voice search optimization should be a crucial part of your lead generation plan. When properly used with strong underlying links between voice assistants and SEO, voice search can effectively generate local leads.
Because voice searches are typically sentence-based, B2B marketers should incorporate long-tail keywords into their search engine optimization plan. This is owing to the fact that long-tail keywords resemble natural speech patterns more closely. Make sure to do advanced keyword research to have all types of keywords you need that will help build better business processes.
2. Provide real-time support leveraging buyer intent data
Conversational marketing through the use of live chat will become even more popular this year. A J.D. Power survey corroborated this fact when it found out that it was the most preferred method of digitally addressing online clients, with an astounding 42% preference rate.
Lead generation can occur throughout the early phases of a client’s engagement by providing outstanding customer service. For instance, if you have lower-priced service packages or offer free trials, you need these clients to upgrade to a higher pricing scheme. So, a good strategy to connect with them is to solve their problems and proactively communicate with them via cobrowsing. This could help reduce turnaround time for consumer queries.
With co-browsing, you can “bridge the gap” between the online and in-store customer experience while also asking leads for their information and how satisfied they are with the service. What’s more, with cobrowsing, sales reps can guide the customer along their journey, highlight features, assist users with their payments, and also solicit personal details in exchange for important product information, such as terms and conditions, returns policies, etc.
You can also personalize the experience of your customers with the help of chatbots. Chatbots can capture customer’s contact information at odd hours which can then be used to provide customized help to customers with the help of co-browsing.
This is a plausible way to increase engagement, as an Accenture study titled Digital Disconnect in Customer Engagement found out that 83% of businesses would have performed better had they provided better live or interpersonal customer service.
Creating an opt-in form and deploying it on your chatbot is simple. The form can request prospects for their contact details in exchange for information about the product or service you’re marketing. Because these leads are already interested in your service, your customer support agent can target and nurture the prospect using co-browsing in a more personalized way.
3. Predictive analysis is playing a vital role in B2B
Predictive analysis is the process of forecasting future events based on the use of historical data and analysis techniques. Contemporary technologies like machine learning and statistical modeling are enabling B2B organizations to acquire deeper insights into past campaigns, foresee customer patterns, study behavioral elements, and fine-tune future marketing strategies based on derived assumptions.
With artificial intelligence advancing by leaps and bounds, there has been a rise in the number of AI-based predictive analytics solutions that can collect data, derive insights from it, and meaningfully communicate the results. These tools have so greatly risen in popularity in recent years that an eMarketer report revealed that 88% of marketers plan to employ analytics tools to supplement their lead generation strategy.
For those who are still unaware of predictive analysis, it involves predicting future outcomes by considering historical data and analysis techniques. Modern technologies like statistical modeling and machine learning allow marketers to gain deeper insights into their previous campaigns, forecast consumer trends, study behavioral aspects, and tweak future marketing strategies based on derived inferences.
Predictive analysis will assist firms in attracting, retaining, and nurturing new and existing customers this year. Furthermore, marketers will also be able to utilize predictive analysis to improve their market penetration strategy, produce more leads, increase conversions, and provide cross-selling opportunities.
4. B2B collaborations for promotions over podcasting
There will be around 850,000 active podcasts in 2021. Since 2019, the number of podcast listeners has climbed by 51% and is only expected to rise further this year. Given that more than 50% of all individuals in the United States listen to one or more podcasts every month, they constitute a feasible way of reaching interested customers. In fact, podcasting ad income is expected to exceed $1 billion this year.
Brands that create their own podcasts have a tremendous potential to interact with their audience on a deeper level. Podcasts are usually more casual than typical content marketing initiatives, allowing customers to get a sense of the personalities of the people behind their preferred brands. And while podcasting isn’t exactly novel, there has never been a better time to get started.
And then there is the flip side of podcasting: marketing shows aimed at helping B2B businesses expand. They may not be as broadly appealing as Philosophise This or NPR’s Hidden Brain, but these marketing podcasts can certainly be educational.
There are various tactics for marketing your podcast that you can use to get your campaign noticed. Listeners can easily understand more about your services and products by integrating your brand’s content. This integration is done through gust collaborations, passing references, or by sharing episodes across numerous channels. It’s advisable to name your podcast after the keywords for which you want to be renowned, before creating your podcast content around those themes.
Furthermore, reusing existing material’s marketing content might be an excellent addition when beginning a podcast. Increase the amount of content in your podcast episode by converting it into blogs, infographics, or even a video.
5. Generating B2B leads via social media
With over 706 million members, LinkedIn remains the most popular platform for B2B marketers to contact their target clients. In 2020, the professional social media platform will have nearly totally supplanted conventional in-person events, implying that even more professionals will be active on the site. LinkedIn’s streaming capability allows marketers to interact directly with clients and then use the footage as a valuable tool in the future.
According to statistics, LinkedIn generates more than 80% of B2B leads, which is nearly seven times more than any other site. Furthermore, over 91% of marketing executives use LinkedIn to promote high-quality professional content.
This demonstrates how important social media can be for your B2B lead generation efforts. In addition to email marketing, 75% of B2B companies include social media in their entire strategy. Although social media is commonly regarded as a B2C technique, implementing the correct content and platform options can yield the desired results for B2B organizations as well, with retargeting assisting in maintaining interest within those individuals who have previously visited your website.
For newbie marketers on LinkedIn it is recommended to choose paid LinkedIn marketing solutions for increased profits and breakthrough success. Such techniques will assist you in targeting your primary business audience, which includes other B2B clients, researchers, and business influencers.
6. Investing in a lead generation tool is preferable
Previously, the lead creation process was rather uncomplicated. You would contact a group of people, provide them a complimentary resource, request them to fill in their information, and then send the leads on to the sales staff.
However, in the current environment, this isn’t much of a help.
Because of the stiff competition in today’s B2B landscape, automation is something to seriously consider. Automate the mundane tasks that consume a large portion of your time, and concentrate on the activities that require human intervention.
Your leads may not always discover the answers they seek on your website. And if they have a pressing query or disagreement that necessitates a protracted email correspondence, you’ve lost them. With a lead generation platform, you may avoid time-consuming interactions and get right to decision-making dialogues.
Lead generating software also allows you to create complex online forms which you can utilize to gather data, subscriptions, perform calculations, and automate your workflows. Furthermore, you can design effective online polls to gain an insight into your prospects’ brains and make sound business decisions.
RewardStream, for example, was striving hard to produce increased B2B leads. However, their attempts were not matched by their results, and their leads were just not converting into clients. In order to improve their sales, they utilized a lead generation tool to enhance sales, and it contributed to 30% of their converted leads in the first month and a half.
Finally, these findings suggest where B2B is headed this year, allowing you the opportunity to capitalize on these digital trends to create an airtight B2B marketing strategy. The emphasis on personalization and account-based marketing are two of the most essential considerations. Failure to provide the same amount of customization as your rivals can set you apart, and not for the right reasons.
While you are fine-tuning your B2B marketing strategy with the digital trends mentioned above, consider how you are generating leads and make sure your objectives reflect this. You can then utilize these benchmarks and data on the basis of existing and historical performance to construct a documented marketing plan. In addition to enhancing trends such as automation, personalization, and video can improve lead quality as well.