Have you been in this meeting? Your company announces its new growth target and it is bound to find those customers. And the new growth target? Eye-wateringly high. You need to establish a new B2B lead generation channel and you need one now. Luckily or unluckily for you, you are spoiled for choice. That means there are no easy decisions. It only raises a lot of questions.
Which channel is the best for B2B lead generation?
Which one is better for my business specifically? Should I focus on inbound marketing, for instance? The idea of customers coming to me without having to make desperate sales calls all day is super sexy. Or should I focus instead on outbound sales? The fact that I don’t have to sit around waiting for somebody to become interested in my services but instead I can go after my customers and see much faster ROI, sounds pretty appealing as well. Do I even have to pick one?
Before you decide on a course of action, let’s look at your options for a B2B lead generation channel a bit more closely:
Friends and family
Your personal and professional network is always a great place to start. After all, it’s the source of the warmest leads you can get. They will always listen to you and are often personally invested in your success. Of course, the flip side is that even the most popular people have a finite number of potential customers they are already intimately acquainted with.
These are great because you have a huge number of potential buyers in one place. And you don’t even have to fight for a meeting with them. They are all there and available to talk to. This can be a great one-time shot in the arm for your lead pipeline but it is rather expensive and difficult to scale (Hubspot found that B2B businesses were spending 12% of their lead generation budget on trade shows but only getting 9% of their leads from there), compared to other sources of B2B leads.
If you are lucky enough to have a robust network of partners, they can be a great source of warm leads. Unfortunately, not every business is so lucky. If you are starting from scratch, it will be very difficult to build a partnership network. It is probably best for mature businesses which have strong brands and lots of resources.
PPC ads can be very powerful when you get your keyword targeting right, in a place where everyone is looking. And where is that place? Google of course with its nearly 80% of the global search market (sorry, Bing lovers, but it’s true). If you are selling a solid product or service (and you should), Google is the place to be. And because Google is the place to be, everyone else is there too. This means that this can be expensive to outbid people on your keywords at the best times (the keyword “insurance” costs over 50 dollars per click!) and can lead to very low ROI when you are just starting out. That said it can be a great way to position yourself against your competitors.
When done right, Inbound can create a deluge of leads for your funnel. You create a content strategy around your brand and the problems you are solving. By producing 10x content, you build your image as an expert in a certain field, bringing organic traffic to you and your website. You can then use lead nurturing and retargeting in order to convert inbound leads into paying customers. The advantage of inbound is that it compliments other B2B lead generation channels like outbound (read more about that here) nicely.
The downside is that inbound takes a while to set up and get right. That means a rather slow ROI but when it starts working, the leads roll in.
This is probably the easiest B2B lead generation channel that you can set up. All it requires is an email account. Apart from that, the ROI is almost instant. It is possible to send an email one day, schedule a meeting the next, and close the sale right after that. And what is more, it’s predictable. When fully ramped up (which only takes a few months) you will be able to count on the fact that you will, for example, always get 5 new customers when you contact 400 people.
It’s scalable too (find out how here). What if you need more customers? Well, it is as simple as contacting more people. The simplicity of the method and the almost instant feedback makes it easy to test new targeting, markets, and value propositions.
So which B2B lead generation channel should I choose
This is your first B2B lead generation channel
Outbound is the best way to go. It is super easy to start, you see the fastest ROI, and can quickly validate your product and the new markets you want to enter. It’s also the most predictable and sustainable channel out there, which is crucial for any new business that needs a dependable revenue stream.
You will save a ton of time and see much better returns if you find a tool that combines all of the elements you need to start (prospect data + email automation + knowledge). It should come as no surprise to you to find that this tool is Growbots.
You are already doing outbound sales
Add an Inbound channel. The thing is that good content is incredibly useful for your outbound campaigns. You can include it in your outbound campaigns, providing more value for your prospects. Also, it can help bring a prospect who opened your email but didn’t convert, back to your brand. You then have a chance to add them to your inbound funnel and have another chance to sell to them.
The stability that your outbound channel provides will give you the leeway to tinker with your inbound channel until it gets going. Once it gets going it will provide you with a steady stream of leads.
You are already doing inbound marketing
Then start an outbound channel ASAP. You will end up with better returns by combining these two because you can use your inbound content to support your outbound campaigns. These two lead generation channels work together in a perfect harmony to ensure that you have a steady flow of leads in your pipeline.
Now’s the time to start a B2B lead generation channel for your company.
Want to kick off an outbound channel? You can read here about what you need to start.
Want to combine inbound and outbound? We have a more in-depth post that will show you how to connect the two of them.