In marketing, business-to-business (B2B) lead research is the effort to understand your audience of potential leads. This understanding incorporates knowledge of what the audience wants, how they want it presented, and where they would like to see it. Business to business leads are often difficult to come by if a B2B company expects all new leads to come strictly through inbound marketing. By adding a strategic outbound approach, companies can increase their B2B qualified leads, which eventually yields more sales.
Most B2B business owners have learned that more leads isn’t always the answer; more B2B qualified sales leads is what sets about a successful lead generation effort. By conducting B2B lead research, companies can improve their campaigns, their sales statistics, and build a better relationship with future leads.
How Does Lead Research Help B2B Companies?
B2B lead research helps companies discover the most effective marketing techniques that win leads for them and their competitors. This particular kind of lead research can also be considered B2B lead analysis because it involves analyzing the sources of website traffic and the pieces of a website that gain the most traction among qualified leads.
Once sources of traffic have been determined through research and analysis, marketing budgets can be allocated more effectively to target places possible B2B leads commonly visit. For example, say a company spends one-quarter of its marketing budget on a social media campaign on Facebook and Twitter, but the majority of leads come from a forum website that discusses topics related to the company’s products. It would be more sensible to invest the money from the social media campaign into advertising on the forum website.
B2B lead research can also be interpreted as research completed on specific people who have shown interest, either through inbound or outbound marketing. Getting to know B2B marketing qualified leads on a personal level gives a solid foundation of knowledge as to what the lead is expecting and looking for.
Having a broader knowledge of possible leads also helps to build trust between marketing and sales teams. In fact, in a study by Lattice Engines, 42% of sales representatives said they don’t feel they have the right information about leads before making sales calls. Providing the right information for sales teams gives them a higher likelihood of making sales, as well as generating greater faith in the work of your company’s marketing team.
How Does B2B Lead Research Build Better Leads?
Business to business lead research is more than research on how businesses perform. Many business-to-business qualified lead analysis findings are only meant to build better leads. Some show where customers are getting their information on a company’s product, why they choose to purchase it, and how to nurture a greater percentage of leads into sales.
Better leads are built through nurturing with information or personal interaction, depending on the lead. MarketingSherpa found that 79% of marketing leads never turn into sales because they aren’t nurtured. Business-to-business lead analysis can inform companies of the best ways to nurture their target audiences and to reach the most qualified leads.
What Are the Best B2B Lead Research Strategies?
B2B lead research strategies are adapted from company to company. Many professional B2B lead generation companies use lead research to build more qualified leads for their clients. The most successful methods include
- Market research on how others are performing and where they receive their intelligence,
- Searching online databases such as Google Finance, Hoovers, or InfoUSA for possible leads,
- Finding contacts for new leads through LinkedIn, Google, connections to the company, etc.
All of these methods strive to find leads that have real reason to be interested in a company product. The connections uncovered by these methods also benefit the company over time by producing more focused B2B lead generation strategies built on solid lead research. The secret of any B2B lead generation research is to focus on both outbound as well as inbound research.
What Business-to-Business Lead Gen Strategies Should Be Avoided?
Again, strategies will differ based on the company, but there are a few business-to-business lead generation tactics that don’t work as well as they used to.
- Events to build new leads, especially in communities that don’t contain a high population percentage belonging to your target audience
- Print advertising or direct mail without specific lead addresses
- Social media, particularly if your audience isn’t attracted to those platforms
- Web 2.0 tools
Instead of resorting to these approaches to lead research and generation, focus on web marketing where many viable leads congregate. B2B lead research will pinpoint those places and how to successfully use them.
Learn How to Improve Your B2B Marketing Research: Contact Sprint Marketing for Your Own Free Leads Analysis
At Sprint Marketing, we know that B2B lead research is integral to any B2B marketing promotion strategy, in addition to a B2B marketing audit, B2B competition research and online market research. To learn more, contact us for a free leads analysis today.