B2B Lead Generation: A Guide

Still confused about what B2B lead generation entails? Learn everything you need to know about B2B lead generation with our guide.
Reading Time: 9 minutes

Corporate jargon gets thrown around a lot in emails and meetings: bandwidth, circle back, per my last email, etc. You know another phrase that gets thrown around in the corporate world? 

B2B lead generation. 

What the heck is B2B lead generation anyway, and why does it play such a significant part in business growth? Well, we’re here to answer those questions for you. Keep reading to learn: 

What Is B2B Lead Generation?

B2B lead generation (short for business-to-business lead generation) is a business growth strategy that B2B companies follow to find new leads and convert them into customers. It’s important to remember that B2B lead generation is not a quick fix for an ROI. Instead, it’s an ongoing sales and marketing strategy that requires consistent throughput for sustainable and predictable results. 

Ways To Practice Lead Generation as a Small Business

There are various lead generation tactics your sales development representatives (SDRs) can follow to find marketing and sales qualified leads. However, your lead generation practice will depend on the skills and comfort level of your business growth experts.

If you want to generate leads for your small business, there are two common lead gen strategies your SDR team can practice: outbound sales and inbound marketing.

Outbound Sales (Appointment Setting)

Outbound sales (or B2B appointment setting) is a business growth strategy in which sales development reps reach out to prospective businesses and aim to set a sales appointment between a key decision-maker (KDM) and an internal salesperson.

Here are some outbound sales development tactics that SDR teams can practice to set appointments for your business:

Cold Emailing

While email marketing is often thought of as an inbound marketing strategy, it can also be used for outbound sales development efforts. With cold emailing, your reps can reach your target audience and send them sales and marketing materials that align with their business needs.

Once an SDR sends a KDM the first sales email, the KDM is no longer a cold lead—they’re a warm lead. Once a lead receives the email, they’re prompted by a call to action to check out your company website, set a sales appointment, or unsubscribe if they’re not interested. If the KDM doesn’t unsubscribe to the email marketing campaign, they’re integrated into a lead nurturing email marketing campaign to guide them to the end of the buyer’s journey.

Cold Calling

Many B2B companies don’t like the idea of cold calling because they believe it’s old school. While cold calling may sound outdated, it’s still an effective way to generate high-quality leads. Through cold calling best practices, SDRs have the opportunity to prospect, qualify, nurture, and set sales appointments with key decision-makers. Additionally, cold calling allows SDRs to talk one-on-one with the lead to discover pain points in their current B2B product or service solution. This ensures that the appointment an SDR sets has value for both parties and is likely to result in a closed business deal.

Using LinkedIn as a Lead Generation Tool

Similar to cold emailing, many people identify social media as an inbound marketing technique. However, with professional networking platforms like LinkedIn, it can be both an outbound sales and inbound marketing tactic.

LinkedIn is a free tool that SDR teams can use to connect with the potential KDMs of businesses you want to target for your lead generation efforts. Using LinkedIn as a lead generation tool allows your SDRs to connect with leads more personally. Like with outbound email marketing, you can encourage them to check out your website and grow their interest in your products and services. 

Inbound Marketing (Digital and Content Marketing)

Inbound marketing (also known as digital marketing and content marketing) is a lead generation strategy in which marketing experts come up with strategies to bring potential customers to your business. 

Here are some ways that marketing specialists perform inbound marketing: 

Website Design and Development

An attractive and user-friendly company website is essential for catching the eye of potential buyers and keeping them on your page. While on your website, an interested buyer wants to learn who your company is, what products or services you provide, and what makes you a thought leader in your industry. In other words, what makes your company better and more qualified than your competitors? A website is an ideal place to showcase your achievements. 

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Having a website is great and all, but how will your intended users find your website? If you want people to find your website without your direct URL, search engine optimization (SEO) is your wingman and will guide the right users in your direction. 

If you’re new to the SEO game, here are a few tactics to get you started:

  • Integrate high-volume keywords into your website. This allows users to find your website easily because your copy aligns with the wants and needs of your market. 
  • Anchor link text to relevant materials. Internal and external linking to relevant pages boosts your company’s brand credibility and simplifies user navigation throughout your website.
  • Match your content with the user’s intent. The content on your website should be relevant to your industry and target audience so you can get the best leads directed to your website.


Social Media Marketing 

Social media marketing is a great inbound lead generation tactic to raise brand awareness and retain customer satisfaction. For instance, organic social media content can be shared by users, allowing you to get more impressions and engagement on your posts. 

On the other hand, social media is also great for engaging your loyal customers. If a customer has a comment, question, or concern about your company, they can post it on social media where your customer satisfaction team can respond immediately. This enhances the customer’s relationship with your business, increasing the likelihood of brand loyalty. 

Marketing Collateral 

As visual beings, we like visually appealing things. With marketing collateral, your sales and marketing experts have the opportunity to catch the eye of potential buyers.

Examples of marketing collateral include:

  • Brochures
  • Sell sheets
  • Infographics
  • Videos
  • And more


One of the best things about sales enablement assets is that they can be used in a variety of scenarios. Let’s say your company is attending a local networking event. To prepare for the event, you might want to print out brochures to hand out to prospective business owners and decision-makers. 

Additionally, these materials can be sent in email marketing campaigns and LinkedIn connection requests for greater visibility. Marketing materials can also be embedded into your website for increased SEO value, driving more leads to your website that may be ready to buy

Best Lead Generation Tips for Small Businesses

Now that you have a firm grasp of what lead generation entails, how should you put these strategies into action? Here are some of the best lead generation tips for small businesses to implement into their growth efforts:

Practice a Variety of Lead Generation Tactics (And Streamline Them)

Many B2B companies wrongly believe they need to choose one lead generation strategy over another. However, the more lead generation tactics you implement, the better. 

Practicing various lead generation tactics helps your SDR team generate leads from every angle, from outbound to inbound. With an outbound lead generation strategy, you can find prospects through platforms like LinkedIn or company databases like ZoomInfo and D&B Hoovers. However, you can attract leads you may have missed by building the outbound sales pipeline with inbound lead generation.

It’s important to remember that while implementing both outbound and inbound strategies is crucial for business growth, they must also be integrated with one another. Aligning sales and marketing strategies ensures you’re getting the most out of your lead generation efforts. SDRs can reach the right leads at the right time and only pitch them the best products and services for their specific business and industry.

Set Attainable Goals and Consistently Measure Your Success

As you implement your lead generation program, it’s essential to be realistic about what you want to achieve. Being ambitious is great—it shows that you care about your business’s growth. However, you need to set attainable goals for your SDR team. 

If you set your goals too high from the get-go, you may get frustrated when you don’t see the results you want right off the bat. This increases the risk of dropping the lead generation strategy altogether, and that’s the last thing you want to do when trying to grow your business sustainably. As you implement a new lead generation program, you must give yourself and the SDR team some grace by setting feasible short- and long-term objectives. As you continue to grow your lead generation program, you can begin tackling larger goals. 

Once you set goals for your lead generation program, it’s vital that you routinely measure how close you are to meeting them. If you’re not where you want to be with your lead generation program, what needs to be changed? Do you need to make adjustments to your SDR’s pitch? Lower the goal you have set? Consistently measuring your success keeps your lead generation efforts on the right track.

Creating an effective outbound marketing sequence can take upwards of 8 hours per sequence—even with an experienced team. Download our guide to learn how to craft laser focused targeting and optimize cadences to consistently hit quota.

Create and Share Buyer-Focused Content

Creating content for the sake of having content is ineffective and can make it seem like you don’t fully understand the wants and needs of your target market. Whether you’re writing blog posts and landing pages or designing marketing collateral, each sales and marketing asset should resonate with potential buyers and their business.

Content marketing assets should serve as a lead magnet, grabbing the attention of inbound and outbound leads. Before creating content, you need to conduct some market research about your target audience and the industry you serve. What are your potential buyers looking for in a B2B product or service provider? Once you have an understanding of what your audience is searching for, you can create content around these areas.

Every lead in the sales pipeline is different, which means the content they receive should be unique to their business, industry, and interests. If you send content that’s not relevant to them, you risk them unsubscribing from your email marketing campaign, minimizing the opportunity to convert them from a lead into a customer.

Follow Up, Follow Up, Follow Up

When it comes to an effective lead generation strategy, the money is in the follow-up. Unfortunately, most leads in the sales pipeline don’t make a purchase or attend a sales meeting after the first point of contact, which is why a lead nurturing strategy is essential for catching the right leads at the right time.

Lead nurturing is a part of the sales process where SDRs follow up with leads in the sales pipeline to build relationships and guide them closer to the end of the buying cycle. There are many ways SDRs can nurture leads, from integrating them into an email marketing campaign to making follow-up phone calls. As SDRs continue to contact the lead, it’s vital that they don’t let the conversation go cold. They need to remember the key points of their last discussion with the lead and pitch them products or services that align with their needs.

Need a Lead Generation Strategy That Works?

B2B lead generation is essential if you want to grow and sustain your small business. Luckily, you don’t have to do it alone.

At Sapper Consulting, we collaborate with B2B companies to help them implement a lead generation strategy that yields predictable results. Our email marketing experts craft outbound and inbound emails that guide potential buyers to the end of the sales funnel.

When you’re ready to set up a B2B lead generation strategy that works for the long haul, contact the email marketing experts at Sapper Consulting!

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About The Author

About Sapper Consulting

Sapper's sales prospecting team becomes a natural extension of your existing sales efforts, helping you find new leads that are a great fit for your business.

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