B2B Lead Generation in 2024: What, Why, How, Tools & KPIs

Generating high-quality leads is crucial for the success of any B2B company. With the rise of digital marketing, lead generation strategies have evolved significantly in recent years. In this comprehensive guide, we will cover everything you need to know about effective B2B lead generation in 2024.

What is B2B Lead Generation?

B2B lead generation refers to the process of identifying, attracting, and engaging with potential B2B customers to convert them into sales opportunities. The end goal is to generate qualified leads that are ready to buy your product or service.

Leads can be generated through various online and offline tactics such as content marketing, email marketing, event marketing, paid advertising, cold calling, and more. The key is identifying and targeting your ideal customers.

Why B2B Lead Generation is Critical in 2024

  • Buyer behavior has changed: B2B buyers are increasingly self-educating online before engaging with sales reps. 75% of the buyer‘s journey is now done digitally. [Source: Gartner]

  • Competition is fierce: In a crowded marketplace, you need to work harder to get your brand and offerings in front of the right buyers. Lead generation is key to start conversations.

  • Sales cycles are longer: On average, B2B sales cycles are much longer than B2C (3-6 months vs days or weeks). You need more nurturing and trust-building before a sale.

  • Deals are complex: B2B purchases often involve multiple stakeholders, compliance requirements, demos, customization, and complex integrations. Lead gen helps you build relationships.

  • Personalization is expected: B2B buyers expect tailored, consultative interactions. Lead gen allows you to collect data to personalize messaging and sales outreach.

Bottom line, traditional outbound sales tactics alone won‘t cut it anymore. A well-oiled lead generation engine is essential to drive pipeline and revenue in 2024.

B2B vs. B2C Lead Generation

While both B2B and B2C lead generation aim to convert strangers into buyers, there are some key differences in strategies:

B2C Lead Generation

  • Broad target audience
  • Lower customer lifetime value
  • Focused on offers, promotions, pricing
  • Short sales cycles
  • Simple buying journey
  • Volume-driven

B2B Lead Generation

  • Niche target audience
  • Higher lifetime value
  • Focused on problem-solving, ROI
  • Long, complex sales cycles
  • Multiple stakeholders involved
  • Personalization is key
  • Quality over quantity

These differences mean B2B lead generation requires a more consultative, account-based approach focused on relevant education and relationship building.

The Shift from Traditional to Digital Lead Gen

In the past, B2B lead generation relied heavily on:

  • In-person events like tradeshows and seminars
  • Cold calling
  • Direct mail campaigns
  • Print advertising in trade journals

While these traditional tactics still have value, digital lead generation is now dominating. Some key digital tactics include:

  • Content marketing: eBooks, whitepapers, blog posts, videos, webinars
  • Search engine optimization (SEO): Optimizing website content to rank high in search engines for relevant keywords. This attracts organic traffic.
  • Pay-per-click (PPC) ads: Placing text/display ads on Google, Bing, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. to promote your offerings to a targeted audience.
  • Social media marketing: Generating leads via organic and paid social media activities on platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter.
  • Email marketing: Sending drip campaigns, promotions, newsletters to email subscribers to nurture leads.
  • Website conversions: Using pop-ups, live chat, lead magnets to collect contact info from your website visitors.

According to MarketingSherpa, the top channels B2B marketers use for lead generation are:

  1. Website (SEO/conversions)
  2. Email marketing
  3. Content offers (gated assets)
  4. Social media
  5. PPC search ads

Clearly, digital channels now dominate lead generation. But traditional tactics still complement digital efforts. The key is using the right mix.

Lead Generation vs. Appointment Setting

Lead generation and appointment setting work hand in hand but they refer to distinct stages:

Lead Generation

  • Casting a wide net to attract potential buyers
  • Identifying contacts at target companies
  • Collecting contact details and information about needs/interests

Appointment Setting

  • Reaching out to qualified leads to schedule sales calls/demos
  • Converting leads into appointments on the calendar

So in summary:

  • Lead generation brings new contacts into the funnel
  • Appointment setting progresses qualified leads to the next step

How Do Businesses Generate Leads?

There are four primary methods of generating B2B leads:

1. Offline Lead Generation

This includes in-person events, conferences, seminars, tradeshows, public speaking, cold calling, print advertising, direct mail, and more.

While offline lead generation still has value for brand building and face-to-face meetings, it has limits on scale and requires significant time investment.

2. Digital Organic Lead Generation

Using owned assets like your website, blog, email nurturing, content offers, and social media channels to generate organic leads. This is a cost-effective strategy but requires patience to build traffic over time.

3. Digital Paid Lead Generation

Paid advertising and sponsorships on search engines, social media, websites, newsletters, and podcasts. Paid lead gen delivers faster results but has ongoing ad spend costs.

4. Digital Outbound Lead Generation

Using purchased data and outreach tools to identify and connect with prospects from your ideal customer profiles. This is a scalable way to generate leads quickly.

Top Lead Generation Tools and Software

Let‘s look at some of the most popular lead gen tools used by B2B companies:

Landing Page Builders

  • Unbounce – Create high-converting landing pages with drag-and-drop editor and A/B testing.

  • Leadpages – Make optimized landing pages, pop-ups, website widgets to capture leads.

Email Marketing Platforms

  • Mailchimp – Send drip campaigns, automations, and newsletters to generate and nurture leads.

  • Constant Contact – Email marketing with lead capture forms and landing page builder.

Advertising Platforms

  • LinkedIn Ads – Target B2B buyers with Sponsored Content, Message Ads, Text Ads.

  • Google Ads – Create search, display, and video campaigns to reach buyers on Google.

Lead Intelligence Tools

  • Clearbit (Reveal) – Enrich leads with company and contact-level data for targeting and personalization.

  • Demandbase – B2B audience data platform for identification, segmentation, and engagement.

Chatbots

  • Drift – Chatbot for your website to engage visitors and qualify leads 24/7.

  • Intercom – Chat platform for sales, marketing and support conversations.

This covers some of the major categories. There are literally hundreds of tools to support various lead generation tactics so explore all your options!

Key Lead Generation KPIs and Metrics

To gauge the effectiveness of your lead generation efforts, these are some of the key performance indicators (KPIs) to track:

Volume KPIs

  • Leads generated monthly/quarterly
  • Marketing qualified leads (MQLs)
  • Sales qualified leads (SQLs)
  • Web traffic
  • Email subscribers
  • Social media followers

Quality KPIs

  • Lead to customer conversion rate
  • Sales qualified lead conversion rate
  • Lead quality score/grade
  • Time to convert leads to customers
  • Customer lifetime value

Cost KPIs

  • Cost per lead
  • Customer acquisition cost
  • Marketing spend per customer

Performance KPIs

  • Sales pipeline revenue
  • Marketing influenced revenue
  • Email clickthrough rates
  • Landing page conversion rates
  • Paid ad CTRs

Analyze these KPIs regularly to identify low-performing lead sources and campaigns. Then shift budgets to tactics generating better ROI.

B2B Lead Generation Best Practices

Here are some proven tips to boost your B2B lead generation results:

  • Leverage both digital and traditional tactics for an integrated strategy. Don‘t limit yourself to only one channel.

  • Personalize messaging using lead intelligence data and conversational marketing. Avoid a one-size-fits-all blasting approach.

  • Create gated assets like ebooks, calculators, templates to exchange for lead contact info. Offer value first.

  • Prioritize video content like webinars, demos and short explainers. Video humanizes your brand and builds trust.

  • Focus on quality over quantity. Nurture MQLs well to convert, rather than chasing low-quality leads in volume.

  • Experiment with emerging tactics like chatbots, account-based marketing, and intent data to complement existing efforts.

  • Review metrics regularly and optimize underperforming campaigns. Set goals and benchmark performance.

The Future of B2B Lead Generation

Looking ahead, here are some key trends that will shape lead generation:

  • More personalized, targeted ads based on zero and first-party data
  • Content designed to rank for voice/conversational searches
  • Leveraging more review sites, forums, and communities to connect with buyers
  • Anonymous website visitor identification using cookies and fingerprints
  • Tighter privacy regulations that impact ad targeting capabilities
  • Growing use of account-based lead gen powered by AI

The fundamentals remain constant, but expect lead gen tactics to keep evolving!

Wrap Up

I hope this comprehensive guide covered everything you need to know about succeeding with B2B lead generation in 2024 – from strategies and tools to KPIs and best practices. The key is having a multi-channel approach focused on attracting and nurturing high-intent, targeted leads.

To discuss how we can help optimize your lead generation engine, click below to have one of our experts contact you:

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