Leads are the lifeblood of any business. And if you’re in sales, bringing them in isn’t just important. It’s your whole job!
But what is B2B lead generation and why is it so essential?
We’re tackling all that and more today. And be sure to stick around because we’re also going to talk about how you can finally stop chasing those leads and bring them to your door instead.
Leads come in, they learn about your products, and you show them why what you have to offer is the perfect solution to their problems.
But bringing those leads in is easier said than done. In fact, HubSpot found that a whopping 61% of sales professionals think lead generation is their biggest challenge. Bigger than staying motivated. Bigger than beating out the competition. And bigger even than closing—yep, seriously.
What Is B2B Lead Generation?
Essentially, B2B lead generation is a business’s ability to identify and attract customers that are a good fit for the products or services. These businesses sell primarily to other businesses rather than consumers—hence the B2B.
One, qualify leads. Because not everyone is going to be a good fit for what you’re selling. And…
Get those leads to take action and start moving them through the sales process.
Now that leads us up to the next question…
Where Does Lead Gen Fit in the Sales Funnel?
As you might’ve already guessed, lead generation starts at the very tip top of the sales funnel. If you don’t know, the sales funnel looks a bit like this:
Prospects move through awareness, discovery, evaluation, and intent before making a purchase decision. And as they move through each stage, they learn more about their problem, your solutions, and how they’ll help your prospect better their business.
Now funnels will differ slightly among industries, with some stages being longer or shorter than others. But when it comes to lead generation, it’s always at the very very top. Your company reaches out to leads, qualify them, and guide them through the other stages of the funnel.
Makes sense, right?
For many companies, marketing handles a lot of the outreach. But if you’re a savvy and success-minded sales rep, you need to be engaging in plenty of lead generation yourself too.
Okay okay, but important question here…
Why Is B2B Lead Generation Important?
Why do you need to be adding to your workload by reaching out to new leads? Can’t marketing handle it?
Well, there are two big benefits to making lead gen a priority in your daily to-do task list.
It Generates New Leads
Duh—it generates new leads.
In addition to the leads sent to you by marketing, you’re adding a new stream of potential sales. It fills your funnel and gives you a better chance at hitting your targets and making more money.
Another incredibly important benefit is that…
It Gives You Control
It puts the control in your hands.
You are in control of the sales process. You are the driver of whether you’re coming out ahead this month or falling behind. And you get to make sure your prospects are getting the attention, information, and guidance they need throughout the buyer’s journey rather than relying on someone else to create a good first impression.
The power is in your hands. And that alone is reason enough to start your own B2B lead generation efforts.
Now let’s talk a bit about terminology.
SQl vs. MQL—What’s the Difference?
If you’ve spent any time in sales you’ve likely heard the terms “SQL” and “MQL” thrown around before. So SQL vs. MQL, what’s the difference?
Marketing Qualified Leads
These are the leads that marketing has flagged as going through the initial stages of qualification. Maybe they downloaded a content offer or reached out to the marketing team.
Basically, they’ve showed a little bit of interest in what it is you’re selling. And as such, they haven’t yet gone through all the necessary qualification standards to determine if they’re a perfect fit for your company.
Sales Qualified Leads
Sales qualified leads. These are leads your sales team has determined are worth pursuing. And they’re typically a bit better qualified for the products or services you’re selling. That’s because you or another rep has confirmed that they’re interested, or at least gotten more buy-in than a simple download or a question sent to marketing.
SQLs are the ideal. And when you as a sales rep engage in B2B lead gen, your goal is to create more SQLs—individuals that are a good fit for your products, have shown interest, and are likely to end their journey by buying your product.
So the question is…
How Do We Create SQL’s?
How do we create SQL’s?
What can we do to fill our pipeline with leads that are more qualified, more likely to buy, and less likely to eat up all our time?
Well, there are two ways.
We Qualify MQL’s
One, we qualify MQL’s. Taking MQLs on hook line and sinker without further qualification is a recipe for disaster. While some qualification has already taken place, it often isn’t enough to determine if a lead is actually going to be a good fit.
Instead, you need to do some qualifying yourself by digging a bit deeper. What’s the real problem they’re trying to solve? How does their budget stack up to your implementation costs? Are they even the decision maker here?
Your discovery call is going to be the best place to get this info. But even with a few back and forth emails, you can better parse out those that are a fit and those that aren’t.
Now, the other option is…
Cold outreach. We bring in the leads ourselves.
This is where the rubber really meets the road. And if you aren’t engaging in B2B lead generation yourself, you’re missing out on an incredibly valuable source of customers and, of course, commissions.
Cold outreach is all about the cadences. Cold email, social selling, cold calling—these are the activities that generate results. And these are the activities that, when incorporated into your weekly and even daily processes, are going to fill your pipeline with more SQLs and help you skyrocket your numbers.
Now, I’ve talked about how to get the best results from these practices plenty of times in past videos. So if you want to dive deeper into each, be sure to check out our library and subscribe so you don’t miss a beat.