Freddie Marryat, Marketing Manager, EngageIQ

The coronavirus has laid waste to marketing plans and budgets. As trade shows and conferences were cancelled one after the other, B2B marketers everywhere were left scrabbling for new leads. 

It looks like 2021 may not be any different. 

So where does that leave B2B marketers? With the threat of another year of disrupted live events looming, where can leads realistically come from?

The answer is probably more places than you think. Here are five B2B pipeline generation tactics we’re recommending for the year ahead.

1. Webinars

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: webinars are a fantastic and cost-effective way to generate high quality leads for B2B businesses. It doesn’t matter what industry you work in, there’s almost certain to be a significant audience keen to hear what you have to say. 

It’s not enough to work in an interesting industry, however. If your competitors are hosting their own webinars, you have to make sure you have something worth capturing your audience’s attention. 

Blatant sales pitches aren’t going to fly now everyone’s enjoyed their fair share of webinars over the last six months. If you still want people to sign up and watch, you need to make sure you are delivering enormous value. That could be interviews with your industry’s most prominent thought leaders, step-by-step instructions to overcoming a significant problem or in-depth market research. 

If this sounds like a lot of effort, then take a second to appreciate how good the leads generated from a webinar can be. Firstly, webinar registration forms allow you to collect a load of data that would otherwise be almost impossible to get. The webinars themselves are also a great opportunity to identify how warm leads are. Those that show up and sit through the whole event are almost always worth reaching out to.

2. Content Marketing

Content marketing isn’t going anywhere in 2021. In fact, it will probably be more important than ever. According to Salesforce, consumers engage with 11.4 pieces of content on average before making a purchase. If you aren’t creating content, it’s time to start doing so immediately. 

Content marketing can add an entire plumage of feathers to your brand’s cap. It’s a great way to drive prospects into your marketing funnel. These leads will enter at the very top for the most part, but there’s every chance the right bit of content can capture the attention of someone close to making a purchase.

Content marketing can also grow your brand and help you to demonstrate your industry expertise. It’s an excellent way to cross-sell current customers, too. Great content is also a huge asset to your sales team. Whether you’re trying to capture a prospect’s attention or nurture them, it’s crucial to be able to deliver timely and relevant content. This is the exact strategy we’re using here at EngageIQ. Our content isn’t just used to help potential prospects find us in Google, our outreach team use content every day to help build relationships. 

With that in mind, you must tailor your content creation efforts to both your ideal customer and your sales funnel. You want to have content that resonates with your ideal customers and offers them value however close they are to purchasing. At the top, your content should be broad and informative. The further down you go, the more detailed and focus your content can become. The more it can sell your product or service, too.

3. Trade Shows and Conferences 

Who knows what 2021 is going to hold. That’s why we’ve included trade shows and conferences in our list and why we recommend every B2B marketing department set aside budget should these events go ahead. 

Everyone in the industry knows just how valuable these events can be for B2B marketers. It’s often the biggest and most popular pipeline generation tactics. Which is why it’s important to make sure you have the budget and bandwidth to jump on them. It’s better to have unspent budget you can devote to other marketing tactics than finding yourself scrambling for money if events do go ahead.

4. Outbound Sales and Account-Based Marketing

Should tradeshows and conferences not go ahead, there’s no better way to speak directly to prospects than through an outbound sales approach. If you don’t already have an inside sales rep cold calling potential prospects to generate new leads for your sales team, then now’s the time to put one in place. 

Outbound prospecting is one of the most effective pipeline generation strategies a company can turn to — both in terms of cost and results. Sure, we’re biased, but it’s true. There’s no guarantee your ideal customers are going to listen to your webinar or read your content. But you’re guaranteed to speak to them on the phone with an outbound approach.. 

If you’re already investing in content marketing, then an account-based marketing approach is absolutely essential. Account-based marketing combines the best of marketing and sales, through a highly personalised outbound approach that is often backed by content. 

The decision-makers you’re trying to target have come to expect this kind of hyper-personalised approach. That’s why almost three quarters (71%) of marketers expect account-based marketing to influence their marketing strategy over the next few years. 

Best of all, this tactic allows even the smallest companies or startups to mix it with the big boys. You don’t need the brand recognition of Salesforce if you’re able to build a relationship with prospects, offer great content and really understand their needs. Get started by reading our guides on hiring a great inside sales rep and account-based marketing.

5. Lead Generation Tools

If trade shows and conferences don’t go ahead, there’s every chance that B2B marketing departments come up short when it comes to lead generation— even if they practice all of the tactics described above. That’s how effective conferences are for lead generation.

But lead generation is absolutely essential if the business is to grow. In fact, there’s every chance it will be more important than ever in the year ahead should the economy take a turn for the worse. 

There’s only one way for B2B marketing departments to guarantee a certain number of leads each month in the coming year: that’s by using outsourced lead generation tools and agencies. 

Using an outsourced lead generation agency like EngageTech is the only way to guarantee a certain number of leads each month. Our parent company dedicate an SDR to your account who will do nothing but cold prospect into your target market. Yes, it’s an additional cost that you may not have been expecting to pay, but it’s guaranteed to result in a positive ROI if you have the salespeople to close deals. 

Using lead generation tools isn’t as straightforward. On the one hand, they can be significantly cheaper than using an outsourced service. But that’s because you have to do all the work yourself. On the other hand, some tools simply don’t give you the kind of leads you need. Sure, being able to identify which companies people who visit your website are from is great, but what about all the other ideal companies who haven’t heard of your brand?

That’s where EngageIQ seeks to be different. We leverage the purchase intent data we gather from over 10,000 calls each week to identify the companies most likely to buy your product or service. Not only are you getting detailed information on suitable prospects, but you are also getting information on the companies most likely to convert. The result? Far more of these prospects will convert.

Get started with a lead generation tool that will actually drive sales by requesting and EngageIQ demo today

 

Images by: Campaign Creators, Austin Distel, Product School, Anna Shvets