B2B Ecommerce Lead Generation

B2B Ecommerce Lead Generation

Imagine you’re in charge of a company specializing in high-quality bedding products. Your business model may focus on reaching individual consumers through social media, SEO content, and traditional ads. Or you may decide to target businesses such as hotel chains instead and focus on making fewer, higher-value sales. The latter is an example of a business-to-business (B2B) strategy.

The B2B buying process centers around large, strategic business-to-business transactions. This necessitates a nuanced approach to lead generation, as each potential client is a significant opportunity for revenue and long-term partnership. This article explores how B2B ecommerce businesses can effectively generate leads that grow their bottom line.

What is B2B lead generation?

B2B lead generation is the process through which a company identifies and nurtures potential business clients for their products or services. Unlike targeting individual consumers, this approach focuses on appealing to other businesses, recognizing their unique needs and decision-making processes. B2B lead generation aims to build a robust sales pipeline of prospects interested in what the company offers.

The success of B2B lead generation hinges on understanding the business landscape, effectively communicating value, and fostering trust. There are many types of B2B lead generation tactics, from content marketing and networking events to direct outreach and digital advertising. But what works for one client may not for another. By tailoring your messaging to suit the needs of potential clients, you can more effectively address their pain points and offer solutions to help them achieve their business goals

How to generate leads for your B2B business

B2B lead generation bridges the gap between sales and marketing efforts, focusing on attracting potential customers and converting them into high-quality leads. It involves understanding and implementing strategies that resonate with your target audience, ensuring each step aligns with the overall sales process.

Here are the steps to follow to create a lead generation funnel: 

  1. Identify your ideal buyer.

  2. Choose your lead generation strategies.

  3. Qualify your leads.

  4. Evaluate and improve your sales funnel. 

1. Identify your ideal buyer

The first step in B2B lead generation is defining your target audience, including their job titles, industries, and pain points. To do this, sales and marketing teams collaborate to create detailed buyer personas—the foundation of a lead generation campaign. Understanding who your ideal buyers are helps tailor your marketing efforts, such as content creation and search engine optimization (SEO), to address their needs. 

For example, if your product is software for payroll management, your market research may tell you that the people making the decision about what software to use are usually HR directors or VPs. You discover the issues that matter most to them include ease of use, customer service, and cost. Identifying your buyer and their needs can ensure that the leads entering your sales pipeline are more likely to become sales-qualified leads, or potential customers with a strong inclination to buy. 

2. Choose your lead generation strategies

After identifying your target audience, the next step is to select the right lead generation strategies. This may include SEO, marketing automation (such as sending automated, customized emails to potential clients), and lead magnets (free resources offered in exchange for contact information) on landing pages. Marketing teams often build a solid lead generation strategy by incorporating a mix of these techniques to attract new leads.

3. Qualify your leads

Once leads are generated, sales teams need to qualify them. The first step is often identifying a list of marketing-qualified leads. These are potential customers who have shown an interest in your product or service by clicking on relevant pages on your website, searching for relevant keywords, or signing up for emails and newsletters. 

The next step is identifying sales-qualified leads, or assessing if potential customers have a genuine interest or need for your product or service beyond mere curiosity. Sales reps use criteria like engagement level, budget, and authority to determine if a lead is worth pursuing. This step ensures that the sales pipeline is populated with high-quality leads with a higher chance of converting into sales.

4. Evaluate and improve your sales funnel

Understanding the entire sales funnel is crucial in the B2B lead generation process. This involves analyzing each stage, from initial contact to final sale, to identify areas for improvement. Sales and marketing teams work together to optimize the funnel, ensuring a smooth transition of leads from one stage to the next. You may find that you need to improve landing pages and lead magnets or tweak lead generation efforts by focusing more on how your product addresses particular pain points for your customers. 

Continuous evaluation and improvement can go a long way in making your B2B lead generation process more effective. Monitor metrics such as conversion rates and the quality of sales leads, using this data to refine your strategies. 

B2B lead generation strategies for ecommerce businesses

In B2B ecommerce, the art of lead generation continually evolves, with tactics like LinkedIn networking, email marketing, affiliate marketing, and webinar hosting leading the charge in connecting businesses with their ideal clients. 

Here are strategies you can employ to generate more leads for your B2B business: 

  • Publish case studies.

  • Develop lead magnets.

  • Engage in email marketing.

  • Implement cold calling.

  • Host educational webinars.

  • Forge partnerships.

  • Launch an affiliate program.

  • Attend industry events.

  • Take advantage of PR tactics.

  • Use LinkedIn.

Publish case studies

Publishing case studies allows sales teams to showcase real success stories from existing customers. These case studies function as customer testimonials and are a valuable marketing tool that can demonstrate the tangible benefits your business has delivered. 

Case studies should include specific details such as how your product or service improved efficiency or profitability. To address prospects’ needs at the marketing funnel’s awareness stage, include a clear call to action with contact information to engage further and learn how to achieve similar results.

Develop lead magnets

Lead magnets are a way to get user data by offering a valuable resource for free. This could be an interactive webinar or an industry-specific guide that potential leads can use if they submit data such as their job title, company name, email address, and specific business needs. This process captures vital data for qualifying and segmenting leads while demonstrating your company’s expertise to future clients. 

Engage in email marketing

B2B email marketing stands apart from its business-to-consumer (B2C) counterpart by focusing on tailored, relevant content that caters specifically to the needs of business clients. While B2C emails typically promote short-term discounts and new products, B2B emails often focus more on educating readers and providing industry-specific knowledge.  

Segment your email list to identify potential leads at different stages of the buying process, and send emails that are likely to be relevant to them. Choose topics that complement the rest of your lead-generation strategies. For example, if you’ve recently given a talk at an industry event, you may want to share the video, as well as additional information such as links to sources, to sales-qualified leads who might want to know more. 

Implement cold calling

Cold calling as an outbound marketing strategy (where a business reaches out to customers) can effectively capture leads by properly targeting potential clients who fit the target market profile. For success in this approach, have a well-researched script that addresses the potential client’s specific needs and pain points, making the call both relevant and engaging. Train your sales team to handle objections and pivot the conversation based on the client’s responses to increase the chances of converting these cold calls into valuable business leads.

Host educational webinars

Hosting webinars can help B2B ecommerce businesses capture leads and increase website traffic, engaging customers deep in their buyer journey. For example, a company specializing in commercial kitchen equipment may host a webinar on optimizing restaurant kitchen efficiency, targeting restaurant owners and kitchen managers. This targeted approach draws in website visitors who are not casual browsers but are ideal customers seeking specialized solutions. 

By providing valuable insights tailored to their specific needs, webinars educate and inform potential clients while positioning the hosting company as an essential resource in purchasing decisions.

Forge partnerships

Developing partnerships can streamline lead generation, converting prospective customers into hot leads. Collaborating with a complementary business by creating co-branded content or hosting joint webinars can help both companies attract more qualified leads. This approach amplifies reach and adds credibility during the buying process, as partners often bring their established customer bases into the equation.

Launch an affiliate program

Starting an affiliate program can help your company get the most out of your existing partnerships. Incentivizing affiliates with commissions or other benefits for each lead that converts will likely encourage these partners to actively promote your products or services. When executed well, this approach extends your reach and builds credibility, as affiliates use their networks to influence potential clients, turning their endorsements into a powerful tool for lead generation.

Attend industry events

Making time for industry events is a key strategy for B2B lead generation efforts, and it can help business owners learn about the needs of their ideal customers and connect with potential clients on a more personal level. Business owners can also answer questions in real time to help customers make informed purchasing decisions. 

Take advantage of PR tactics

Public relations (PR) is often an under-tapped B2B ecommerce lead generation strategy. By reaching out to journalists, bloggers, and influencers in your industry, you may be able to secure press coverage that resonates with your prospective buyers. High-quality press coverage in trusted trade and general publications can increase brand awareness and brand trust, and generate backlinks from reliable resources. 

You can highlight the press coverage you receive on social media and email marketing campaigns and even use them as social proof on ads, directing people to learn more. 

Use LinkedIn

With over 950 million members, LinkedIn is a powerful tool for B2B ecommerce lead generation. Platform tools like Sales Navigator allow businesses to target prospects by industry, location, and job title. Using LinkedIn’s tailored networking capabilities, businesses can directly reach out to potential clients, fostering relationships that have a strong potential of converting to sales. 

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