The Truth About B2B Lead Gen: What Really Works

by Jeremy Smith

Last updated on July 10th, 2017

Want to know the biggest challenge in B2B marketing? It has nothing to do with what color tie you should wear in a presentation. In one word, it’s leads.

A lead is where it all begins. Without leads, there are no clients, no revenue, no raison d’être. No nothing. Without leads, you’re sunk.

So, the obvious question for any marketer is this:  How do I get leads?

get more leads 2 - placeitSource:

All the boring, unsatisfying answers you could ever want

Want to experience nausea? Okay, Google “how to get B2B leads.” You’ll come up with more dreaming drivel than you could imagine.

No one wants to read more pabulum on “Tweet five times a day!” … “Cater to your user’s interest by sharing cat videos on Reddit!” or “Aggressively seek to incrementally maximize your intentional trade show presence for the duration of 2014 in order to garner and nurture more qualified leads.”

Give me a break.

Many B2B marketers are frustrated, ulcer-prone, and occasionally wear mismatched socks precisely because they have one of the planet’s most difficult jobs — getting leads in a swirling maelstrom of misinformation, mistakes, and mystery.

If you’re a corporate marketer with four ulcers, a cracked toenail, thinning hair, and bad dreams about Adwords, I totally understand where you’re coming from. You’re a hero, but you have a tough job.

There’s a bunch of BS out there, which is something that I’m totally not prepared to dish up in this article. I want you to get leads. Real leads. Regardless of your industry.

Two Quick facts about B2B Marketing

Despite the mind-numbing amount of research that I had to do in order to give you this article, I did come across some helpful data. Sure, there was a bunch of glittering generality junk and business jargon gibberish, but there were also some cold, hard facts. Here they are:

No one knows where B2B leads come from.

Hubspot made the chart below to tell us where leads come from. We see all the stuff we’d expect — PPC, social media, advertising, etc. — but there’s also a mysterious spike called “other.” Look at the blue bar on the far right. Hint:  It’s the highest bar on the whole graph.

Lead source graph from Hubspot

Image from Hubspot.

What the heck is “other”?!

Do you know what that means? It means that we have no freaking clue where B2B leads come from.

Basically, even smart people don’t really know where their leads are coming from all the time. A lot of getting “leads” has to do with a lifestyle of consistent marketing efforts, a constant cultivation of industry relationships, and the organic mashup of all kinds of interactions, activities, behaviors, and efforts.

Voila! There’s a lead! But where did it come from? It’s hard to say.

Takeaway: Rather than focus on a single silver lead bullet, understand that B2B lead generation is a composite of unquantifiable activities and behaviors that just work.

The digital revolution has scrambled the B2B playing field.

This has introduced a flood of new techniques, the decline of old techniques, and a reorganization of all techniques. The goal remains the same — conversions. Where we get those leads for conversions is a totally different game.

Based on the research that I’ve conducted, the tests I’ve performed, the experience I possess, and the strategy I’ve developed, I’ve found four truly successful ways to generate leads, regardless of your industry. Keep reading, and I’ll give you the low down on what you need to know to profit from each of them.

1.  Use social media strategically.

Yeah, that was pretty vague, but don’t worry. I’m going to hone in on this for a minute, and explain all.

There are two warnings that I need to issue regarding social media.

  • Warning 1:  First, don’t expect mere social media presence to be a source of leads. Your social media presence is important, but not inherently effective. I’ll suggest some techniques for using it as a lead generation method. Be warned, however, that it’s not just enough to tweet daily and have an account on LinkedIn.
  • Warning 2:  Second, don’t dismiss social media as a source of leads. Some individuals have wrongly stated that social media is the holy grail of leads. Don’t go that far. But don’t neglect it, either. Social media is the world’s water cooler. Everyone is there. Everyone is talking. There are leads for the taking. So, as you read this section, be open to the idea of lead generation via social media.

Twitter is not effective.

A Forbes article from 2013 made the bold claim that “Twitter is the strongest social media channel for generating business-to-business (B2B) leads.” The article went on to provide zero proof, except for an oblique reference to a “recent study.”

I’m more interested in facts than I am in someone’s groundless claims. discovered that social media was low-effective but high-use in their lead generation technique quadrant:

Lead generation chart from

Image from

Data compiled by Placester determined that social media had potential, but it was low in relation to other techniques.

Thermometer for Placetester

Image from

There is a reason why social media is clustered at the bottom of the thermometer:  People are doing it wrong.

How Social Media Can Work to Generate Leads

Social media is a perfectly fine source of leads. The problem is, the full power of social media is not harnessed in the B2B industry. It’s not that you can’t get leads on social media; it’s that we’re not taking what’s there. Here are some strategic ways to reverse this trend and recapture the leads on social media:

  1. Direct social media visitors to your website from social media channels. A social media visitor doesn’t constitute a “lead” in the sense of a captured email address or other contact method. For this reason, you need to make sure that the social media visitor goes to your website. Make it easy for them to do so. Provide multiple links to the website, ideally to landing pages that will capture those leads with email signups, free offers, etc.
  2. Allow newsletter signups on your Facebook page. A great way to gain some leads on social media is to invite newsletter signups directly through the social media channel. In this way, you can gain the email addresses of social media visitors who want your newsletter.
  3. Use the call to action. Since social media is marketing, it needs to have the occasional CTA. Don’t be afraid to promote your company, invite feedback, link to landing pages, or suggest a next step.

If you apply these three points, you’ll see your leads increase. However, it’s not enough to turn on a veritable flood of leads — just a trickle. There’s another way — the best B2B marketing platform on the Internet.

Use LinkedIn

LinkedIn consistently ranks the highest among social media platforms for its B2B lead generation value. Mediabistro’s visual representation makes this clear:

Mediobistro research graph

Image from

Research from the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs showed that more B2B marketers use LinkedIn than any other platform.


Image from Slideshare.

LinkedIn is a massive gathering of professionals. As the social media big boys go, it’s the biggest and brawniest in terms of the greatest number of professionals, the largest percentage of decision-makers, and the highest per capita income per user.

What’s more, it’s viewed as mature and sophisticated, as opposed to the often-misunderstood nature of Twitter or Google+. Put simply, the kind of businesses that have B2B relationships are more likely to be on LinkedIn.

But again, like the other social media channels, LinkedIn doesn’t generate leads all by itself. Here’s what you need to do to make it work.

  • Be present and active. Every social media presence requires that you both have an account and do something about it. Get online, and start being active. Connect with your colleagues and other industry professionals.
  • Make sure that your company has a robust LinkedIn account. Now, you need to make sure that your company’s presence is clear. Completely fill out your company’s spot on the network. This is distinct from your own personal profile, and it is essential for B2B leads.
  • Join groups. LinkedIn has a huge variety of groups that you can join. You can easily find a group that contains professionals who are likely to become your leads. Here’s my LinkedIn group page. It looks like there are nearly 2 million groups I can join (1,924,327).

 Linkedin Search Page

  • Join conversations. LinkedIn is like a massive cocktail party, minus the cocktails. There are constantly people huddled in groups, talking about everything. Being active in these conversations means being a stronger marketing presence among people who matter.
  • Look for help. Sometimes, the best way to encourage a lead is to ask for help. A little quid pro quo goes a long way toward starting and solidifying valuable professional relationships. I’ve used LinkedIn to find qualified people in my industry who can help me with a project, point me in the right direction, or recommend a solution to a quandrum. These people who help me — in or outside of my network — are useful leads.
  • Pay for lead collection. If you want to go the direct route, LinkedIn has an integrated lead collection tool.

This tool allows users who come across your company to request a contact. These are genuine warm leads.

Be aware, in order to use the lead collection tool, you must first open an advertising account with LinkedIn, which obviously is going to cost money. Who said that social media leads are free? When the leads come, you’ll get a look at the visitor’s LinkedIn account, and be able to contact the person via LinkedIn or email.

Bottom Line

In spite of the upswing and potential of social media, it hasn’t proven particularly successful for actual high-converting leads. In order to see ROI from these sources, you’ve got to have a process for converting the leads. In order to get the most leads, and get the best leads, you should 1) Use CTAs and links to your website, and 2) Put most of your efforts into Linkedin lead gen.

2.  Launch a consistent content marketing plan.

The fact that you’re reading this article right now is proof that I’m a proponent of content marketing. I believe it is the past, future, and present of marketing. It’s not cheap, but it’s effective and it’s been successful for me.

Content marketing is a great source of B2B leads, too. You just have to do it right.

The Growth of Content Marketing for B2B

Content marketing has grown for B2Bs. According to a study sponsored by ContentMarketing and MarketingProfs, 91% of B2B respondents are using content marketing.

Content marketing survey from slideshare

Image from Slideshare.

Since most companies use an average number of 12 marketing tactics, this indicates a big budgetary push towards content marketing. On average, B2B marketers spend 33% of their marketing budget on content marketing. Cleary, content marketing is big.

Generating Leads through Content Marketing

But how does one actually generate leads through content marketing? Content marketing is a vast field, comprising dozens of subfields. Here are some of the best ways to generate valuable leads through content marketing.

  • Host a webinar. Find a topic that will appeal to your marketing segment, and plan a webinar on the topic. Webinars aren’t for selling your product. They are for informing your audience about something that they are already interested in. A webinar is a relatively low-cost way to get your message in front of a huge audience, and to ideally attract a lot of leads.
  • Publish research reports. As a researcher, I’m constantly making use of research reports to gain information for my articles. I know how valuable these can be. They are also an incredible source of lead generation. Publishing free research reports is a great way to invite a flood of connections from great leads.
  • Videos. There’s no question that videos are the content with the most viral potential and popular appeal. YouTube is, of course, the world’s 2nd largest search engine. If you neglect videos, you are neglecting one of the largest sources of lead-generating content available.
  • Blog. Far and away, the best form of content is the blog. A blog, as long as you do it right, is more likely to appear in search results than any other form of content. In order to dominate search engine results, improve your stature in the industry, and gain recognition from those who matter, you need a blog. It’s just that simple.

All of these content marketing techniques work together. For example, you can publish some of the results of a research report on your blog. You can publish a video extract from your webinar. You can announce your webinar on your blog. All of these methods should be used in tandem with one another.

Bottom line

More B2Bs are using content marketing than ever before. It is one of the most effective forms of marketing. The best forms of content are hosting webinars, publishing research reports, producing videos, and keeping a blog.

3.  Give away tools.

You should be giving away free stuff. As lead generation goes, it’s a tested and proven method of gaining leads. The concept is simple:

1. Create an ebook that your target market wants.

2. Give it to them for free.

3.  They give you their email address.

And then, Voila, you have a lead.

The technique is very popular among B2B marketers, but that doesn’t mean it has lost its appeal. One marketing strategist who uses this method shared his conversion rate for a free ebook. Here’s what he posted on his website. The key metric here is his conversion rate — 10.8%


Image from Source

A 10.8% conversion rate is very good. And, even if the traffic isn’t astronomical, that’s a heck of a lot of leads.

I’ve intentionally recommended that you give away “tools” to keep this point as broad as possible. Let me explain my point a little bit clearer.

Free stuff is basically content marketing.

Like I mentioned above, “content marketing” has legion applications. Providing free stuff is just one of the many iterations of content marketing. I’ve chosen to segment it out as its own point here because it has a distinct edge, and it’s pretty important as B2B lead generation tactics go.

Your free tool should be digital.

The idea behind free tools is that they can be delivered instantly in exchange for an email address. The best option right now is some digital transfer. Besides, email address leads are probably the best type of lead available to the B2B marketer.

Just because your tool is digital doesn’t mean it’s going to be free to you. It will, of course, cost time if nothing else, and it may also require the services of a content writer, programmer, or other contract or in-house professionals.

eBooks are the most popular.

More people are providing free eBooks. Lest the term “eBook” be off putting or overused, some marketers use terms like “guide” or “handbook” or “tips” to describe their offering. Either way, its reading material.

An eBook allows you to directly meet the need of your target audience with a free digital resource. It’s hard to resist. The better your topic, the better your eBook will gain attention from the people who matter most.

There are other options, too.

eBooks aren’t the only digital tool that you can provide. Whatever you choose to give away, make sure it’s directly relevant to the audience to which you’re marketing. Whether its free vector images, royalty-free photographs, beat tracks, WordPress templates, fonts, gifs, or some other widget, make it, promote it, and give it away.

Bottom line

Regardless of your industry, people are willing to get free stuff in exchange for their email address. Use this free technique to harvest huge amounts of email addresses, and let the leads come on in. Directly meet the need of your target audience with a free digital resource

4. Make it automatic.

If you want to sound very intelligent, throw out the term “marketing automation” in your next marketing meeting. (People may just start bowing down to you.)

It’s important to remember that marketing automation isn’t only a lead generation strategy. It’s a comprehensive digital marketing strategy that includes lead generation. Unfortunately, many marketers don’t recognize its lead-gen value, and simply stuff it with bought lists of email addresses, resulting in shoddy and ineffective campaigns.

Marketing automation is a buzzword, but it’s not very well understood. I recommend marketing automation with caution, and primarily to B2B marketers. Here’s what you need to know about it.

What is marketing automation?

Marketing automation uses software to deliver the most relevant content to the most receptive target audience and better enable them to convert. The software used helps to streamline and reduce the time-intensive labor of marketing tasks. The marketer’s role is to tell the software what type of outcome they want.

Marketing automation can gather intelligence to track user behavior on social media or the website and then gain leads. These leads are then nurtured through targeted messages and/or responses. The leads are guided through the marketing funnel using email marketing tactics recommended by the software.

Advanced automated marketing efforts subsume everything in the process from market research to lead gen, to lead management, scoring, nurturing, then transitioning to campaign analysis, qualifying leads, and scoring the effectiveness of sales.

Common questions regarding marketing automation

  • How much does it cost? It can be expensive. The price creates enough sticker shock to steer most small companies in another direction. Usually, it’s the big boys with fat marketing budgets that are playing around with marketing automation the most.
  • How easy is it? It can be complicated. Because it has the word “automation,” some marketers incorrectly assume that it’s going to be easy. Just buy the software, turn it on, and let it go, right? Wrong. Marketing automation requires complex set-up processes before it can be truly successful.

Bottom Line

I’m recommending marketing automation as a lead generating technique because I believe it can be effective for some B2B companies. Make sure that these features are true of your company before you throw money into marketing automation.

1. Your marketing budget can accommodate a big investment with a period of little to no ROI.

2. Your website is gaining some leads already.

3. Your website traffic is 5k+ unique visitors per month or more.

4. You have a full range of active social media accounts.

5. You have a full-orbed content marketing strategy already in place.

Marketing automation is a growing field, and one that you’re likely going to be faced with in the next year or two. For more information, check out the helpful treatment in and SearchEngineLand to help understand and choose the right system.


However you choose to go about your B2B lead generation, it’s always going to be hard work. Keep your strategist head on as you proceed in the effort. If you’re disgusted with boring trade shows, awkward meet-and-greets, and the disappointing results of most B2B lead gen efforts, it’s time to start some new tactics. The four that I’ve discussed above are some of the most effective you’ll encounter, regardless of your industry.

Read other CrazyEgg posts by Jeremy Smith



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Jeremy Smith

Jeremy Smith is a serial entrepreneur, trainer and conversion consultant for Fortune 1000 companies. He has a powerful understanding of human behavior and profit-boosting techniques. You can learn them by downloading his latest ebook: Landing Page Optimization for In-House Marketers.


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  1. Keith E. Mendez says:
    February 8, 2018 at 2:39 am

    Hey, You have written a great article with lots of valuable information which are very useful to me. Very interesting and detailed exposition of current techniques!

  2. Chris Flint says:
    March 3, 2017 at 9:30 am

    Indeed, very useful article Jeremy, gave me a lot of clarity, but still, this whole B2b lead gen process can be a bit overwhelming 🙂
    You mentioned some really powerful strategies. But what if I want to outsource this process? Has someone tried any of the lead gen platforms/companies out there? I’d be really grateful if you can share your insights on them (,, callbox, etc…)
    Thx a lot for your help.

    • Shalini says:
      March 23, 2018 at 3:44 am

      I agree this is very useful information. If you want to outsource entire lead generation process, you can try AroLeads. Callbox is also a very good option.

  3. Claus S says:
    February 8, 2017 at 5:54 am

    One of the best posts I ever read on this topic.
    It is a bit focused on the US, though. Direct email marketing is not allowed in Europe – at least when we talk about cold emailing.
    The normal procedure is to first call up and request email permission and then subsequently follow the normal cold emailing process.
    So it has to be a combination of email and telephone here.
    But the consensus is also that a mixed approach works best.

  4. Trevor Schneider says:
    August 15, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    I love the post it has some great insights into the “Lead Game” one thing it doesn’t talk about is Lead and Data quality? Why not? Its great to get leads but if they are not the right person or the contact info is incorrect it is very frustrating and completely worthless. We fix the leads at Acquiro!

  5. Betsey says:
    August 5, 2016 at 10:38 am

    Unellarlpaed accuracy, unequivocal clarity, and undeniable importance!

  6. Andrew Wise says:
    July 29, 2016 at 8:21 am

    Great post! I’m actually shocked with the statistical result as for what I really believed to be effective is actually the least effective? I also believe that informative post such as this one is the best content marketing media, it is very effective since people are getting what they really need. Answers to their questions!

    Again, thank you for sharing! More power.

  7. Harry says:
    May 18, 2016 at 6:56 am

    Wow.. Awesome article. You focused very deeply on different ways of lead generation. Statistical numbers are also very useful to decide lead generation strategies so we can invest resources accordingly. Overall its great information and keep it up such efforts.

  8. Judy Caroll says:
    April 7, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    Thumbs up to you Jeremy. This is a well written article. This is very useful to those who doesn’t have the idea about B2B Lead Generation and how it works. Thank you so much. this is a very interesting one.

  9. dean frank says:
    March 21, 2016 at 11:41 am

    Sounds like a really nice article. Thanks for putting in the time to share your experience about leads. Emails will continue to play an important role in the way we do business with each other. Has anyone heard of a company called LeadFerret?

  10. Vivien Reyes says:
    December 21, 2015 at 11:29 pm

    Awesome article! Using social media strategically, planning for a good content marketing, giving free tools, and marketing automation are great ways to instantly increase leads. These will guide companies to an effective lead generation. Investing with these things smartly are keys to achieve greater results and satisfaction.

  11. Anonymous says:
    December 18, 2015 at 10:01 am

    I couldn’t refrain from commenting. Well written!

  12. Ricky singh says:
    December 15, 2015 at 4:30 am

    I really enjoyed your writing style on the b2b topic. Content marketing is a great way to go but requires a solid investment. I personally use LinkedIn for my prospecting and found that to be the most useful tool for me. Twitter is great for engaging prospects prior to the outreach. Thanks.

  13. Tiberiu says:
    November 25, 2015 at 3:18 pm

    Thanks for sharing such a valuable content. I was familiar with the information generally but the way you structured the whole thing just hit me and remind me that I need to put in a lot of work in order to push my software company at the next level 🙂

  14. Harry says:
    November 25, 2015 at 1:22 am

    I really appreciate this wonderful post. Its very depth insight on lead generation techniques.Content marketing is very important and we need to focus on content marketing strategies to generate quality leads.

  15. Tanmay uday says:
    November 5, 2015 at 12:35 am

    Crisp article with a clear explanation of commonly misunderstood marketing tactics! Great work guys! It’s refreshing to read articles that actually get to the point rather than spend 10-15 minutes of our time in useless jargon that takes me nowhere as a reader. Kudos to the invested research!

    Although I agree with @Jay Baron, that content marketing will not get you quantifiable leads or deliver a good ROI if your business is poorly positioned or if you don’t really have a grip on the content you’re trying to deliver. Many marketers that I’ve encountered tend to wrap poor content with jargon as a fancy wrapper and a bow to deliver a finished package. So much so, that it is starting to sound like a record stuck on loop.

    But I honestly believe that LinkedIn is definitely a powerful tool for lead generation and is something we use very often.

    Looking forward to more posts!

  16. MLO says:
    October 16, 2015 at 3:58 pm

    I can’t express how much I appreciate the amount of research that has been put into writing such a rich, resourced article!

    I’m so tired of reading content marketing that goes no further than sourcing their information with a quick “a recent research has shown” or sometimes not at all. Being able to double check these sources and understand the methodologies and possible biases behind them is what separates good information from bad information.

    The way Jeremy Smith research and wrote his article is great and if I ever write an article it would be the same way: more time invested, more meaningful information, more views!

  17. Nurture says:
    September 23, 2015 at 7:56 am

    If we look at LinkedIn posts breakdown, the company pages contribute to 0.59% with a conversion rate of 10.07%, personal profile posts contribute to 3.2% with a conversion rate of 3.63%, whereas discussions and group post contributes to 96.22% of the total posts on LinkedIn with a conversion rate of 86.30%. So, joining groups and actively participating in discussions can really help you scale your B2B lead generation.

  18. Rohit pandey says:
    August 22, 2015 at 1:54 am

    I loved this post although its old, but the information provided here is really helpful for people like us marketers who have just started the business, that being said we are trying every frequency right now to find what works best for us a Cloud Consulting firm for our target audiences. It would be great if we can see more insight and suggestions from you in future towards lead gen and conversation tactics

  19. Thu says:
    June 15, 2015 at 8:19 pm

    Dear Smith,

    Your sharing is so valuable. I just want to cry. You made my day.

    Greetings from Tokyo.

    Happy Tuesday ^^

  20. Arti Khandelwal says:
    June 3, 2015 at 1:31 am


    Social media like facebook, linkedin, twitter and quora work a lot. It makes our more easily
    Arti Khandelwal

  21. Ivy Green-Timmermans says:
    June 1, 2015 at 3:58 am

    Wow Jeremy, this is the best post I read in the last 7 months! Very helpful, pleasing to read and very informative! Thanks so much! 🙂

    • Kathryn Aragon says:
      June 1, 2015 at 9:09 am

      He knows his stuff, doesn’t he, Ivy? Thanks!

    • Jeremy smith says:
      June 1, 2015 at 9:14 am

      Hey Ivy,

      Thanks for the kind words. I really appreciate it. Extremely humbling. It also never hurts when Kathryn jumps in too. Looks like I have missed a few comments. Never hurts to go back and follow up though. Thanks again both of you. 🙂

  22. Chris Moen says:
    May 4, 2015 at 2:37 am

    Really good points Jeremy. Although I’d say one of the most underestimated B2B lead gen methods today is cold outreach. If you outsource your prospecting to a company like or a tool like and combine it with the metholodgy behind – then you’ll be bound to see some real increase in your lead gen efforst. I used Yesware to track emails and also see if they clicked in links, I’d for example include a link to a case-study that fitted into their industry or a demo-video with a CTA towards a email drip campaign.

  23. Charlie Budd says:
    April 6, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    Great breakdown Jeremy, with such a great breakdown it’s interesting that no specific tools have been recommended in conjunction with the 4 big tips (I guess that’s a whole another blog topic in itself!).

    We’ve recently geared ourselves up for some serious inbound lead generation activity and have found a few tools to really deliver value to us.

    Sales prospecting tools such as have played a serios part in our sales teams numbers and ultimately our growth (a tool which allows you to find and build targeted lists along with contact details).

    CRM tools such as Pipedrive and Streak are incredibly powerful CRM systems for automating some process around our leads

    Tools such as Rapportive for gathering insight around your leads really helps drive forward conversion.

    An of course Crazy Egg for increased conversion on our website 🙂

    • Kathryn Aragon says:
      April 6, 2015 at 9:02 pm

      Nice list, Charlie. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

      • Anonymous says:
        August 9, 2016 at 4:40 pm

        hi tell me about lead gen process

  24. Aarti Khandelwal says:
    March 31, 2015 at 3:23 am

    I think you research a lot before writing this; social media like facebbok, linkedin and twitter is very helpful for generating lead. We can easily target our right audience with social media. Good to read this tactics.


    • Kathryn Aragon says:
      March 31, 2015 at 9:29 am

      Thanks, Aarti. YOu’re right. We try to back up our claims with solid research.

  25. Syed Saud says:
    March 26, 2015 at 2:21 pm

    thanks guys..

    • Kathryn Aragon says:
      March 26, 2015 at 4:59 pm

      You bet. Hope it helps.

  26. JimmyZ says:
    March 9, 2015 at 6:31 am

    We found that the best way to get b2b leads is to ustilize LinkedIn for lead generation. There is a lot to be said for joining relevant groups and then communicating with others in a business way. We send out about 20 messages a day manually and we get replies that turn into conference calls.

    • Kathryn Aragon says:
      March 9, 2015 at 10:15 am

      Nice strategy. Thanks for sharing, Jimmy.

  27. Devendra chhallani says:
    January 27, 2015 at 6:14 am

    B2B marketing have taken a good digital shift. even smart people don’t really know where their leads are coming from all the time. A lot of getting “leads” has to do with a lifestyle of consistent marketing efforts, a constant cultivation of industry relationships, and the organic mashup of all kinds of interactions, activities, behaviors, and efforts. Constant B2B lead generation is possible only with multi channel marketing.

    • Kathryn Aragon says:
      January 27, 2015 at 8:46 am

      So true, Devendra. Unless lead generation is an ongoing effort, you can’t stay profitable, and to do it well, you have to be visible in a lot of channels.

  28. Jay Baron says:
    January 7, 2015 at 1:45 pm

    This post has nothing of substance to it. It sure makes a lot of claims and assumptions and tries to position them as facts, but sure does a poor job of doing so. Let’s analyze just a few of them

    “It means that we have no freaking clue where B2B leads come from.”

    False. Simply checking other does not mean they have no clue where the B2B leads are coming from. It simply means it wasn’t one of the options for them to select so they picked other. How you draw the conclusion that other means they have no idea is beyond me.

    Next he makes the conclusion that social media is the least effective because people are doing it wrong. It’s probably the least effective because it’s just not that effective. 99% of what goes on in social media is irrelevant to most business orgs. In addition it’s substantially more effective to spend marketing dollars that send visitors to your website then it is to spend marketing dollars getting people to your social media pages, and that’s why from an ROI stand point social media isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Yes some businesses fail at having a social media strategy but for a majority of businesses social media is going to literally do nothing for them.

    Beyond that the rest really gets away from any value. The truth about B2B lead generation is it just isn’t going to work for a lot of businesses. Your ideas of content marketing, webinars, and ebooks are all fine and dandy but unless they created a niche website before the topic became popular it’s wasted effort. Creating an ebook today around SEO and having any sort of success with it is almost impossible. But if you started a blog 5 years ago on crypto currency before bit coin became popular you are raking in the money right now.

    The boring tactics or new tactics are not what companies need today. Chances are if your content isn’t performing it’s because your company just doesn’t have an offering that really resonates with someone. If no one is downloading your eBook it’s probably because your business is poorly positioned in the market place and you’re just one in the sea of many. Companies today are tired of hearing that they need to do content marketing to be successful. It’s just not what 95% of companies that do B2B actually need.


    • Kathryn Aragon says:
      January 7, 2015 at 2:52 pm

      Wow, Jay. You’re passionate about this, aren’t you? lol. You’ve got some good points, but I think it always comes down to testing. Social media and content marketing are working for some people, but not for everyone. Same with every other tactic I know. Each brand needs to test for themselves to know what will work. That said, I completely agree with your bottom line. Brands need to figure out what their audience needs/wants, and position themselves as the solution. The offer really is key. So if you want to improve your marketing–for lead gen or anything else–that’s a great place to start.

  29. Piper says:
    December 18, 2014 at 3:24 am

    Wow, great article, nicely explain and perfectly written. But I wanted to ask you what’s your opinion about Live Chat as generator of quality leads. A couple of days ago I read this article about it and I think it highlights some interesting ideas. Could a tool like it, able to offer immediate responses, be an important part of a lead generating website?

  30. Elizabeth says:
    December 5, 2014 at 12:51 am

    Jeremy.. I know this article is some months old but what a cracker! Just the sort of straight talking I was looking for…Thanks

  31. The Global Associates says:
    October 17, 2014 at 6:49 am

    Great Post !!!!
    I am aggre with your post Jeremy. Linkedin Groups & Content Marketing is Best For B2B Lead generation.

  32. Peter Candito says:
    September 12, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    nice article. thanks for putting in the time to elaborate on the experience we all have in looking for more leads. Note that email is up there as a most effective medium for generating B2B leads. wasn’t addressed specifically in the article and can be used on a cost per lead basis to generate a volume of leads in a short period of time where other mediums fall short.

    • Neil Patel says:
      September 13, 2014 at 12:19 pm

      Peter, glad we could help. We will definitely go more in-depth on the email portion in upcoming posts.

  33. Roland Frasier says:
    September 7, 2014 at 10:14 am

    Great article! To expand on the excellent suggestion you made to give stuff away, if your B2B offering is consulting oriented or applies to most businesses as opposed to a narrow niche, like say Avocado Farmers, then radio ads placed on business related talk shows that offer a free report in exchange for an email can be very effective.

    We are running ads like that now in both terrestrial and Internet radio. When someone calls in for the report, they are hot swapped to a sales consultant who acquires the caller’s email, tells them how to access the report and then immediately offers them a high value paid webinar where they can get more information and be nurtured to move further into the funnel for our higher value/higher priced consulting services.

    • Neil Patel says:
      September 7, 2014 at 7:06 pm

      Sounds like you have the funnel figured out pretty well. Please let us know if you find any secrets or gems while practicing this method.

  34. Keir says:
    September 7, 2014 at 7:30 am

    Jeremy, I can only echo many of the comment here – awesome post, looked too long but was well worth the read, well supported with great graphics from reputable sources, balanced arguments, and I think the best quote I have heard after Wannamaker’s wondering about which mkt/advertising dollars are actually working is your: “B2B lead generation is a composite of unquantifiable activities and behaviors that just work”. What a scream and so true! Thx.

  35. Wayne says:
    July 12, 2014 at 4:29 am

    This is a cracking article, this is an example of a quality article backed up by research, an example of how to do it, and do it well. – Wayne

    • Neil Patel says:
      July 12, 2014 at 11:57 am

      Wayne, glad you found it helpful. Thanks for the feedback 🙂

    • Jeremy Smith says:
      August 12, 2014 at 9:52 am

      Wayne, thanks for the awesome comments. I appreciate the feedback so much.

  36. Flikflakzak says:
    June 5, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    Very well written article! *thumbs up*
    I like your sentence: “There is a reason why social media is clustered at the bottom of the thermometer: People are doing it wrong.”
    You are completely right about that. It’s nice to see people being skeptical and who see beyond one’s own nose.
    Thanks for the article!

    • neil says:
      June 6, 2014 at 12:07 pm

      Glad we could help. We look forward to hearing more from you 🙂

  37. Neil Perry says:
    May 12, 2014 at 6:40 am

    Great, scholarly article, Jeremy, and I love the charts you used to support your thesis. I may have to steal them!
    I too have found LinkedIn to be an amazingly powerful tool for B2B marketing, ahd the more groups I join, the better I seem to be able to make it work.
    Thanks for sharing.

    • Kathryn Aragon says:
      May 12, 2014 at 9:53 am

      Great to hear, Neil! Thanks for stopping by.

    • Jeremy Smith says:
      May 12, 2014 at 9:57 am

      Neil, thanks so much for the kind words. Steal all you want. :). I always say don’t give me the credit, give me the cash. Usually provokes a small chuckle. Good luck with these platforms and creating these B2B leads. Let me know how it goes.

    • neil says:
      May 12, 2014 at 2:54 pm

      Neil, I like your name 🙂
      Thanks for the read and glad we could help. Please let us know if you need help with anything at all!

  38. Ankit Bansal says:
    April 23, 2014 at 2:36 am

    Hi ,

    That was a awesome article. I was little lazy after seeing the length of the article. But it was interesting and i loved the language too. I am a b2b marketers and my job is to optimize my website to generate more leads and rank higher. This was some useful piece of infornation.


    • Kathryn Aragon says:
      April 23, 2014 at 10:29 am

      Thanks, Ankit. I enjoy Jeremy’s style too. 🙂

    • neil says:
      April 23, 2014 at 2:21 pm

      Ankit, glad you found it helpful. Thanks for the feedback 🙂

    • Jeremy Smith says:
      April 23, 2014 at 3:48 pm

      Ankit, thank you so much for the kind words. I never tire reading comments like this. I am glad it was useful to you.

  39. Ben Bradley says:
    April 22, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    Great post, thanks for taking the time to share and write it Jeremy – In my opinion the moral of the story is “integrated digital marketing” works. All 4 parts play off each other here. Don’t forget though, the messaging in your content and social plan(s) must be refined (to match buy cycles, market maturity, personas, value props, etc.), to yield the best result. Otherwise poor messaging or strategy will executed and amplipied in these tactics.

    Also worth noting a 5th element here, Intelligence. Pull all the insights (explicated and implicated) from these tactics to help drive your follow up strategy.

    • Kathryn Aragon says:
      April 22, 2014 at 3:32 pm

      Great addition, Ben! Thanks for your insights.

    • Jeremy Smith says:
      April 23, 2014 at 3:47 pm

      Excellent points Ben. Thanks for commenting and sharing.

  40. Taswir says:
    April 16, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    This is a Great Article. it’s Really helpful and Enjoyable Post. Thank you very much for Sharing with us.

    • April 16, 2014 at 5:13 pm

      Your welcome! We appreciate hearing from you.

    • neil says:
      April 16, 2014 at 11:26 pm

      Taswir, glad you liked the article. Thanks for reading 🙂

    • Jeremy Smith says:
      April 17, 2014 at 10:08 am

      Taswir thank you for the kind words. I am thrilled you enjoyed the article.

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