12 Ways To Generate B2B Leads In 2024

Generating leads is critical for B2B businesses. More leads mean more customers, which in turn allows you to grow your business and make it more profitable and sustainable.

In fact, 91% of B2B marketers say that lead generation is their most important marketing goal.

However, 37% of marketers also say that generating high-quality leads was one of their biggest challenges.

It’s undoubtedly tough to generate B2B leads that convert into sustainable customers.

In this guide, we’ll help you understand how to generate B2B leads and provide some expert strategies you can use within your own business for sustainable success.

What Is a B2B Sales Lead?

B2B sales leads are individuals or companies that could convert into customers.

For a person to be considered a lead, you need them to:

  • Have engaged with your company and submitted some personal details to you. This is usually an email address. But it could also be a phone number or company name.
  • Have reason to believe they need or want your product or service. This is usually decided based on how closely the lead matches your ideal customer profile.
💡 What Is an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)?

An ideal customer profile (ICP) is a set of characteristics that describes a person or company that needs or is interested in your product or service.

These characteristics often include things like:

  • Industry.
  • Location.
  • Company turnover.
  • Age.

Customer profiles are used by marketers to help choose which leads they should focus on. They do this by identifying which leads are most likely to result in a purchase


Why Is it important to Generate B2B Leads?

Most businesses experience churn—which is when customers leave and they need to find new ones to replace them. Your business needs to generate leads constantly to sustain itself and grow.

But the quantity of leads you generate isn’t the only consideration. It’s also important to that your leads are of a high quality.

Generating high-quality leads is one of the biggest challenges facing B2B sales and marketing teams.

But what makes a quality lead? According to Gartner, a high-quality lead:

  • Has characteristics that align with your ICP.
  • Has a high chance of converting into a paying customer.
  • Is more likely to be well-informed about your product or service.
  • Is ready to make a purchase.

How does lead qualification work?

Qualifying leads involves two main activities:

📊 Collecting data to verify whether they fit your ICP

The first step is relatively simple. You can collect customer data by asking them to submit it when they sign up for something.

For example, you might ask that they submit their name, email address, industry, and job title in exchange for letting them download a useful guide—which we’ll explain later in this article.

🔎 Tracking their engagement with your brand

Once you have the prospect’s email address, you can track their engagement to verify their interest in and knowledge of your company.

Say one of your prospects downloads the guide, signs up for your email newsletter, and clicks through to sign up for a webinar.

You’ll be able to track all of this activity because every time they submit their email address, you’ll see it appear on your list of sign-ups.

You can then identify which prospects fit your ICP and show the most engagement. You would hand these over to your sales team as high-quality leads. Sales teams are tasked with converting these leads into purchases.

3 more reasons to generate high-quality leads

The main benefit of generating high-quality leads is that it makes your sales process and business operations more efficient.

But there are other benefits, including:

📈 It increases return on investment (ROI)

High-quality leads generally result in customers who spend more, are easier to service, and are more profitable.

This means that you need to convert fewer leads to cover your sales and marketing investment.

Because high-quality leads tend to lead to happier customers, they’ll likely remain customers for longer, providing you with a sustainable source of revenue.

🚀 It boosts brand awareness

The first step to generating sales leads is making people aware of your brand, products, and services. This is a valuable activity that will help increase trust in your brand, which will attract more customers and increase customer retention.

🌱 It scales your customer acquisition strategies

Focusing on high-quality leads and developing an efficient lead-generation process allow you to scale up your sales and marketing efforts. This lets you scale up your business, too.

4 Types of Qualified Leads

Marketers can break down leads into subcategories that help them identify the level of qualification. These are:

👉 Marketing qualified leads (MQLs)

This is someone who has engaged with your marketing channels.

👉 Sales qualified leads (SQLs)

This is someone who has indicated they are interested in making a purchase.

👉 Product qualified leads (PQLs)

This is someone who used a free version of your product—like a limited free trial—and has expressed interest in a paid version, service, or add-on.

👉 Service qualified leads

This is when a customer tells a member of your support team that they are interested in making a purchase. The team member usually passes the prospect on to a salesperson.

A 4-Step Process to Generate B2B Leads

As mentioned earlier, B2B marketers aim to gradually move prospects through various stages of brand awareness and engagement to the point where they are ready to make a purchase.

There are two names for this:

  • Marketers call it the marketing funnel.
  • Salespeople call it the sales pipeline.

The marketing funnel usually covers everyone who interacts with a brand. It’s non-linear, in other words, people are likely to read a blog post one day, sign up for a mailing list the next, and then not interact with the brand for months before signing up for a webinar.

The sales pipeline, on the other hand, focuses on processing leads, making it more linear. Prospects are moved along the pipeline, and if they say they aren’t interested, they are removed.

Many B2B businesses with sales and marketing funnels use a hybrid where the marketing funnel produces MQLs fed into the sales pipeline.

We’ve used this structure, which includes awareness, interest, consideration, and decision, in the process outlined below. You can follow this process with your own lead-generation tactics:

➡️ Awareness

The aim of marketing activities at this stage of the process is to raise awareness of your products and services.

A good way to do this is by providing useful information that benefits people who match your ICP.

For example, if you provide search engine optimization (SEO) services to accountants, you might write a complete guide to SEO for accountants and publish it on your blog.

Accountancy firms needing SEO services will likely type keywords into Google and find your guide.

If you produce enough useful content like this, the customer will begin to trust your brand and view you as an expert in your field. This makes them more likely to approach you if they need SEO services.

➡️ Interest

As mentioned earlier, your marketing efforts have two aims:

  1. Capture data.
  2. Determine who shows interest in your service.

A good way to generate interest is by adding a call to action (CTA) at the end of each piece of useful content you publish. This could encourage readers to sign up for a webinar where you explain how you helped your customers solve common SEO problems and answer their questions.

This allows you to engage further with your prospects and tell them about your products and services. But it also gets you face-to-face with them, which is invaluable for building trust and gauging their level of interest.

➡️ Consideration

Not everyone who joined your webinar will be interested in buying your services. For example, some might just be looking for information.

At this stage, you need to determine who is most interested in your services so you can pass the best leads on to your sales reps.

A simple way to do this is to follow up—either with a phone call or an email—and ask them:

  • What they thought of the webinar.
  • If they have any further questions.
  • What about your service interested them.
  • If they like a free proposal on how you can help their business.
  • If they would like a free trial of your service.

Prospects that respond and ask questions are probably still interested but may need further nurturing.

However, those who say yes to a free trial or the proposal are qualified leads and should be handed over to the sales team.

➡️ Decision

Here’s where your team needs to convert the lead into a sale. At this stage, the prospect should be ready to buy, they just need to be prompted to do so.

There are several ways to do this—-the most effective depends on your business and how you conduct sales.

Some suggestions include:

  • Email or phone them with a special introductory offer.
  • Send them customer testimonials from businesses you’ve been successful with—ask if they’d like you to do the same for them.
  • Send a personalized message to ask the prospect to join you on a sales call.

12 Proven Ways to Generate Leads for B2B

Now that you understand the lead generation process, here are 12 proven ways to effectively generate high-quality B2B sales leads:

1. Get your company noticed with directory listings

Business directories are web portals that list companies based on various factors, including their location, category, industry, size, and customer rating. Customers use directories to search for businesses that will solve a problem they currently have.

Examples of popular business directories in B2B sectors include:

Being listed on these directories gives businesses credibility and visibility, and helps drive qualified leads. It also helps customers learn about your offerings.

2. Capture new subscribers with pop-ups

Pop-ups are windows that appear over your website when a user clicks to leave it. They usually present the user with an offer and ask them to enter their details to get it.

They are often triggered by the mouse being moved toward the top of the page.

Here’s a good example on HubSpot’s website:

Pop-ups allow you to gather new leads from the people visiting your website—known as traffic. They are especially useful for adding subscribers to your email list or tempting customers with special offers to increase sales.

An effective pop-up should:

✔️ Match your website’s design.

✔️ Have a compelling CTA.

✔️ Communicate your offering clearly and succinctly.

✔️ Send an instant acknowledgment to any sign-ups.

3. Use social media outreach

Social media outreach involves using social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter to contact prospects and ask them to take action.

This action could include reading an article, signing up for a webinar, or joining a sales call.

Here’s a good example from LinkedIn:

While you can use cold outreach on social media, these platforms are also about building relationships. The best approach is to grow a following by engaging with others in your industry and providing them with useful content.

This way, they will be more likely to follow your CTA when you contact them.

4. Align videos with your pipeline

B2B video marketing is one of the most effective ways to engage with audiences, with 90% of marketers saying it has helped them generate leads.

You can use videos across your lead generation funnel. Here are two examples from SalesForce’s YouTube channels.

The first is part of a series that details what Salesforce is. It covers what a CRM is and what problems it solves. This is perfect for the awareness stages of your marketing campaigns.

The aim of the video is to get the viewer to watch another video and engage with the brand further.

The second is a product video that talks you through Salesforce’s different features and benefits. This would be more suited to prospects in the consideration phase. This video doesn’t have a CTA, so it’s likely that a salesperson would show it to a customer during a meeting.

5. Join conversations on Quora

Quora is a popular online forum. People often use it to ask questions and get a broad range of answers or opinions from others.

It’s against Quora’s rules to market to people in the forums. However, it’s a great place to:

✔️ Engage with your target audience.

✔️ Understand your prospects better.

✔️ Conduct research.

✔️ Educate people about your product or service.

The main rule for any forum is to be genuine. If your contribution is just a sales pitch, then people will be able to tell, and you may be removed from the platform.

6. Create a compelling lead magnet

A lead magnet is when you give something away for free in exchange for the prospect’s personal information.

The most common exchange is a free downloadable guide where the customer needs to submit their email address to access it.

Other examples include:

✔️ Sample products.

✔️ White papers.

✔️ Free trials.

✔️ Newsletters.

In the example below, SmartBlogger has developed a cheat sheet for writing blog posts. The chances are, anyone downloading this is trying to write blog posts but finding it difficult.

Some people who download this guide will likely be impressed by the company’s knowledge and may hire them to write blog posts for them.

7. Personalize your cold emails

Cold emailing can be surprisingly effective as long as you do it right.

There are three main rules to follow:

  1. Target customers that perfectly match your ICP.
  2. Write a snappy, compelling subject line and email content.
  3. Personalize the content.

The last point is very important. Research from SalesLoft shows that by simply adding personalization, cold email response rates increase by 112%.

There are several ways to personalize an email, including:

✔️ Using the recipient’s name and company name.

✔️ Including details that show you understand the company.

✔️ Researching and referring to the company’s recent business activities.

✔️ Adding personalized images, GIFs, and videos.


💡 Personalize Your Emails with the Right Tool

You can create effective personalized emails using the Hyperise toolkit. Our tool helps you personalize text, images, GIFs, videos, and CTAs within your emails to make recipients feel that you genuinely care about their needs rather than treating them as just another consumer.


8. Convert prospects with effective landing pages

A landing page is a special web page designed to convert prospects who arrive there from other marketing channels.

A landing page’s job is demonstrating that your company has the perfect solution to meet your prospects’ needs.

For example, Hubspot has created a landing page encouraging visitors to sign up for its freemium service—a perfect solution for businesses on a budget.

9. Use remarketing campaigns

When someone visits your website, it will usually leave a cookie on their browser. This small piece of code lets you track their behavior online.

It allows you to show them targeted ads in other places they visit online. These ads are known as remarketing campaigns.

As the name suggests, a remarketing campaign is when a customer who has already engaged with your marketing is shown an ad from you. The purpose of the ad is to get your prospect to return to your website.

These campaigns are hugely effective and can increase the number of repeat visits to your website by about 98%. They’re also great for improving your brand recognition.

10. Host a webinar

Webinars are a good source of hot leads. Your prospects agree to listen to you impart your expertise for between 20 minutes and 1 hour. This is a great opportunity to impress them.

Here’s an example from IP Australia, a law firm that deals with intellectual property (IP). The webinar teaches the basics of IP law. It’s nearly an hour long, so you know anyone who engaged with the whole webinar is likely very interested in their services.

During your webinar, don’t go for the hard sell—let your knowledge and your customers’ success speak for themselves.

To convert your webinar viewers, send a follow-up email to each, asking them:

✔️ What they thought of the webinar.

✔️ If they have any further questions.

✔️ What problems they are facing within their business.

✔️ If they would like a free trial of your product or service.

11. Use live chat

If visitors to your website can’t find what they’re looking for within a few seconds, they are likely to look elsewhere.

Having a live chat function on your website reduces the number of people leaving your website and helps you capture their details.

The idea is that the live chat will briefly address their questions before they get passed on to someone who can tell them more, like a salesperson.

The best part is you don’t need a lot of staff to respond to live chats. Two good options include:

  • Outsourcing your live chat.
  • Using automation software like ProProfs, for example.

12. Referral marketing

Referrals are when customers recommend your products and services to their friends, family, and colleagues through word-of-mouth.

You can encourage referrals by giving discounts or free offerings to your existing customers if they get someone else to sign up.

How does it work? You give each existing customer a unique referral link that they pass on to others. The referred customer uses that link when they sign up for your service, so you know who should get the referral reward.

Regarding referral rewards, in addition to discounts and free products, customized gifts may enhance customers’ favorability towards the brand, thereby enhancing product recommendation.

For example, if your customers are men, you can send them Custom Cufflinks. Because cufflinks are the best decoration for men and are indispensable for every important occasion in a man’s life.

A good example is Mainstreet, software that helps start-ups automatically find and claim tax credits.

The company gives customers a $200 Visa gift card for every referral. The customer can easily find their personal link and manage the referral by using an intuitive interface on their account:

Our Final Lead Generation Tip: Personalize Your Campaigns

Personalization is critical to the success of your B2B lead generation efforts. If people know that an email, video, or social media message was intended for them, they are more likely to engage.

One of the best tools to add personalization is Hyperise. Our software allows you to add personalized elements to images, GIFs, and videos to help you generate leads.

Here’s an example of what you can do with it on social media:

Personalization has been proven to increase response rates by up to three times. Even if the prospect doesn’t buy from you, they’re sure to remember your brand, which could lead to a future purchase.

If you want to see how Hyperise can help you generate leads, sign up for a free trial today. We’re excited to show you how personalization can help you attract the B2B leads you need to build your brand.