Lead generation is a major preoccupation of the typical B2B marketing department.  Indeed, most B2B marketers report that leads—with an emphasis on quality leads—are their primary goal.  So, let’s review the top prospecting tools and techniques that are working for B2B marketers today.  And if you have any that I’ve missed, please chime in.

1. Model your most profitable customers. Use analytics to build a profile of your best customers, and use that model to find lookalikes. Find a data company that also offers modeling services. Your lookalikes can be modeled at the contact level and the company level.

2. Beef up your LinkedIn skills. LinkedIn is a treasure trove. You can research prospects by all kinds of variables—title, function, skills, groups, industry, company—and reach them with ads, sponsored content or email.

3. Attract them with killer content. Develop content that helps them do their jobs and solve their business problems, and that they are likely to be searching for online.

4. Use Google display ads. Google lets you “describe” your ideal prospects with keywords and hunt them down all over the Internet. Use their keyword planning tool to generate likely phrases from your website and those of your competitors.

5. Ask for referrals. Business people like to share valuable ideas and do favors. So make referral requests a standard part of your marketing communications and your sales scripts.

6. Partner with a reliable data broker. Preferably one who has experience with your target audiences. A broker can introduce you to the most productive prospecting data sources and lists.

7. Add an offer for a piece of irresistible content at your website. Gate it with a web form. Visitors to your site have demonstrated an interest in your category, so make sure you capture their names and begin developing a relationship.

8. Keep your prospecting data clean. B2B data degrades especially quickly, so regular updates and attention to hygiene is critical.

9. Build a target customer profile. The three most predictive B2B variables are:

1. Industry
2. Company size
3. Job title/function

10. Enrich your customer and prospect records with appended data. More complete and updated records give you fresh insights into customer needs, as well as improved analysis and modeling.

This article is adapted from Ten Tips: How to Find Your Best B2B Prospects.

About Ruth Stevens

Ruth P. Stevens consults on customer acquisition and retention, and teaches marketing at companies and business schools in the U.S. and abroad. Crain’s BtoB magazine named Ruth one of the 100 Most Influential People in Business Marketing. She is the author of Maximizing Lead Generation: The Complete Guide for B2B Marketers, and Trade Show and Event Marketing. Ruth serves as a director of Edmund Optics, Inc., the HIMMS Media Group, and the Business Information Industry Association.
Learn more at www.ruthstevens.com.