10 unconventional ways to generate qualified B2B sales leads in 2022
Chasing B2B sales leads might feel like a chore when you repeat the same old techniques hoping for different outcomes. Tech-enabled customers evolve fast which makes traditional strategies less effective. What’s more, 61% of marketers have already marked lead gen as their biggest challenge and it’s only going to become more challenging.
The trick is to give a unique spin to old strategies and find less explored ones. In this article, we'll go over how you can use unconventional ways to generate B2B sales leads in 2022 and beyond.
1. Elevate email marketing
Email marketing in itself is not a groundbreaking lead gen method but cold emails often get a bad rap for being generic and downright spammy. ESPs are smart enough to shut out poorly executed emails and recipients have developed reflexes to ignore hard sells in their inboxes.
Despite everything, here's a shocker: according to Litmus, for every $1 spent, email marketers get $36 in return. To get a solid ROI from emails, you need to rework your email marketing strategy based on relevancy, context, and timing. Don't buy pre-curated email lists just because they're cheap and save you time — these are often filled with expired and generic addresses that don't fit your buyer persona.
To create organic lists, provide free value upfront and then include email CTA to your content and lead magnets. Position your brand with a consistent tone and speak to specific segments of buyers. Adoric has an interesting email pop-up that aims to help readers solve a problem: lack of time for reading.
(Source: Email from Adoric)
Email marketing's ROI is undeniable when it comes to generating B2B sales leads but there are so many things you have to get right to avoid falling back to old results. By using an email design platform like Stripo you can control the entire email journey — from design templates and email production to automation and integrations.
2. Create an interactive quiz
B2B may seem boring but gamified elements break the monotony and add a touch of entertainment to regular tasks — like filling up forms. Quizzes fit right into this and marketers need to use more quizzes and quiz-like elements to generate new leads.
Quiz makers and other lead generation tools can help you automate tasks and save outreach resources. For quizzes, make sure you’re not too obvious or vague. You can also use contextualized visuals to generate more interactions.
Beardbrand has an interesting quiz to onboard new users:
3. Focus on SEO for organic lead generation
Content-led B2B sales leads are one of the best types you can get. They're qualified, problem aware and they already trust you. Inbound marketing heavily relies on SEO which is working at a different level than it was five years back.
In 2022 and beyond, one of the best SEO tactics is to go all out on the bottom-of-the-funnel content and long-tail keywords. Be laser-focused on the type of readers who want your solutions and create product-led content for them.
Once they're on your website, use intent-based pop-ups, and lead magnets to nurture them further. SEO research tools such as SE Ranking, Ahrefs, and Semrush will help you build keyword and competitor strategies.
4. Perform hyper-personalized cold outreach
Building your own email list is important but it's equally important to maintain a lean and active list. Make sure you test email validity before reaching out to cold prospects because an outdated email list can hit your bounce rate and deliverability.
Next, write a cold email that invokes curiosity and doesn't try to sell on the first go. B2B prospects hate long-winded cold emails with passion, so keep your email body short and close with a single CTA.
Now you can use LinkedIn and other social media platforms to understand recent company events to tie in your intro and use CRM data to speak on a very personal level. Show the big picture within your cold email and use the CTA to help them book calls or demos.
A few other ways you can elevate cold outreach are by segmenting email lists, A/B testing timings and email subject lines, being mobile-friendly, and using an employee sender address instead of something like customersuccess@[company name].com.
5. Create engaging lead-generation forms
The last thing a prospect sees before sharing their contact information is the lead generation form. Most marketers pay little attention to the CTA and form, leading to missed KPIs. If you use a heatmap tool like Hotjar you can see where leads drop off and work on those areas of the pages.
High-performing forms incorporate human touches. You can experiment with clicks instead of blank boxes and reduce the ask by positioning simple but effective questions. Zendesk has a multi-step form that also segments leads while Lemonade, an insurance company, has one of the best interactive and personalized lead forms online.
6. Offer a free tool
Offering a free tool to your target user base can do wonders for a lead generation strategy. HubSpot did this before it was cool and now many SaaS brands have picked up on that.
A free tool that solves a specific problem in your industry can fetch you a ton of referral traffic and backlinks. Once it survives word of mouth, your free tool can spread like wildfire, allowing B2B sales leads to check your services before they can try the premium offers. This way, you warm up leads, upsell your services and build a stronger presence in the market.
Coschedule has a headline analyzer and social media post optimizer, Hunter.io has a mail tracking extension and a tech lookup tool, and Ahrefs has a full roster of free SEO tools to tease its other services.
7. Invest in webinars
Virtual events can help you build trust, explain concepts to prospects and save you money while doing so. Conferencing tools have come a long way in the last few years and you can even use AR to demonstrate services in real life. With live discussions, you can address pain points faster, convince leads and qualify new ones.
Start by creating a free-to-attend webinar explaining various concepts and use cases for your service. Use a lead capture form to collect interested leads. During the live event, you can share documents for attendees to check out and position your offer. Measure how many prospects sign up for the next steps and push the rest of them to an email nurturing sequence.
(Source: SE Ranking)
8. Leverage communities
You can build a community of your own or join multiple, highly sought-after communities in your industry.
Building your own community online can take time but you get to control the audience, the presence, and the narratives. For instance, Canva has a free design group on Facebook that is used to share tips and tricks about Canva edits. It's largely run by Canva users with admins moderating the content.
You can create online communities on Facebook, Reddit, Slack, and even Discord — essentially anywhere your prospects interact. While building a community to generate sales leads, focus on ease of access, free value, and predefined content strategy.
You can also join other communities to learn and network with members. By using social listening tools such as Mention, you can understand brand popularity, track keywords, and reply to relevant threads.
9. Add affiliates to your strategy
Affiliates are underrated promoters and they can bring serious amounts of B2B sales leads to your brand. Referral networks must be built on shared goals and audience clusters. If you're a marketing SaaS, you can offer incentives to a CMS to refer your business to its customers.
While creating an affiliate strategy, make sure the application process is simple, transparent, and easy to follow. Pick partners that offer access to a new set of audience, rather than working on the same channels as you. The quality of incentives also goes a long way to ensure your affiliate strategy actually works.
10. Incorporate demand strategies
Despite your best (and unconventional) efforts, not all lead gen strategies will bring results. As consumer behaviors evolve, it's important to look beyond the regular sales process and incorporate demand strategies. Along with the short-term, sales-focused strategies targeting MQLs, look for long-term demand generation strategies to track user engagements such as clicks, video watch time, and branded search volume.
By combining specific lead generation strategies with demand generation and demand capturing strategies, you can create a holistic pipeline that'll keep you afloat in turbulent times, including recession.
Getting hold of qualified leads is not an easy task and it's understandable why old tactics don't work anymore. By following the above tips you can bring new approaches to old ways and try new, unique ways to generate B2B sales leads.