B2B leads are the way forward in business. B2B lead generation can help a sales team expand their growth and make meaningful connections. It is almost unheard of for a marketing brand not to have a website. But so many businesses are missing out on what B2B leads can do beyond a small web reach.
If you want to learn about B2B leads and B2B lead generation this is the right place. In this article, we will look at everything you need to know to understand B2B leads and lead generation. This is the complete guide to B2B leads in 2022.
What Are B2B Leads?
Let’s start simple. What are B2B leads? A B2B lead is no different to any other lead. However, with B2B in front, it just means that the lead itself is between two businesses. B2B means business to business. A lead is a potential customer. So, B2B leads are potential customers that are businesses.
There are different types of leads such as B2C leads. These are potential individual customers. B2C stands for business to consumer. So, a B2C lead is not a business or organisation and is instead an individual person.
A B2B lead is made up of contact details. These details are for the business or organisation interested in the product or service that you offer. To be a B2B lead, the business must have expressed an interest.
Now you know what B2B leads are and the difference between them and B2C leads. This is the foundation of understanding how to use B2B leads in 2022. Getting to grips with the terminology and definitions might be confusing. However, it will really help when you come to generating your own leads and doing further research.
Difference Between B2B Leads and B2B Data
If you have been doing some research on the topic of B2B leads, you may have heard of B2B data. B2B leads are quite different from B2B data lists, or otherwise called data sets. B2B data lists are the contact details of businesses or organisations that might be interested in your products or services. Whereas B2B leads are already interested.
Therefore, B2B leads can be much more useful than B2B data lists. This is because the interest is already registered. So, a potential deal is already on the cards.
B2B Data Lists
What are B2B data lists? A B2B data list is a collection of contact details for different businesses. As we now know, B2B stands for business to business. So, these lists are bought by businesses, looking for contacts with other businesses. B2B data lists are bought to help with lead generation.
B2B marketing data lists are made with the contact details of possible customers. This is how they create great tools for lead generation. On these lists, you can find a range of details. Some of this includes company names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and more. Not every data set will be the same. Some of them might have details about staff on them.
Any business that is working on a marketing scheme could be benefitted by using a data set. This is because they can cut down the length of time staff spend on looking for numbers for marketing calls. Having more time to spend allows staff to make more cold calls. Therefore, more leads are generated, more deals are made and sales go up. Marketing data is directly linked to profit. A company using marketing data can see the positive effects it has on the business. You can see this especially when they use it as a part of their marketing campaign.
Not only can these lists give you and your team more time, but it can also help keep things organised. B2B data lists are already organised lists. When you buy them, all of the information comes preformatted. This means that you do not have to spend time sorting through it, to get an organised structure.
All of the contact details you have for other businesses can be kept and stored in one place. This makes the process of marketing through cold calling more efficient. With all the details organised neatly in one place, staff can make calls much easier.
Different Types of Data
Of course, there are different types of data. Even within the industry of B2B data lists, there are differences between them. This is because just like in any other industry, one size does not fit all. Not one product will be perfect for every brand looking for data.
One company will need completely different data than the next. So buying the same list makes no sense. If there was only one data list available, it would not be anywhere near as useful for any marketing campaign.
Some of the different types of data sets include telemarketing lists, email marketing lists, and energy renewal data. These are the three biggest kinds of data sets you will find. There are of course others, like telecoms renewal data, as there is data available in so many industries.
If you would like to know more about the different types of data available, read our article here. It will guide you through exactly what each of the different types of data (as listed above) are. Our complete guide to B2B marketing data for 2022 is a useful read for anyone interested in investing in data.
There are also differences between countries and what data set you buy. This is partly because there are different data protection laws between different countries. In our guide, we explain this in more detail. We also go through what both UK and US examples of these data sets are.
B2C Data Lists
B2C data lists are very similar to B2B data lists. In fact, one of the only main differences is quite obvious. The C. This stands for ‘consumer’. So, instead of being a business-to-business data list, it is a business-to-consumer data list. The consumer aspect completely shifts the use of a data set, however, the concept and format stay the same.
A B2C list has similar information on it as a B2B list. The difference is that the contact details are for an individual, not a business. One of the benefits of using B2C data is that the people who are on the lists are potential customers. They are already likely to be interested in the product or service that your business offers. This in hand, makes the lead generation process much smoother.
There are also more technical differences between B2B and B2C lists. There are more strict rules surrounding consumer data, as it is an individual’s personal details, rather than a company’s.
Businesses invest in B2C data lists for the same reasons as they do B2B lists. They can be extremely beneficial to almost any marketing campaign. Business-to-consumer data sets help businesses to create more personal connections through cold calling. When an individual is already interested in a business industry, a marketing call is more likely to be successful. If the individual is interested in the product or service a business sells, the chances of a sale are higher.
How Do You Get B2B Leads?
Lead Generation Methods
You might now be asking how you get B2B leads. This is the next step in using B2B leads. There are several different ways of obtaining B2B leads. This process is called lead generation. Some of the ways of generating leads include buying them and generating them yourself.
The two different ways of lead generating as mentioned above are the simplest and most basic forms of B2B lead generation. There are more complex ways within these two methods.
For example, generating leads yourself might seem a little open-ended. That is because it is. Lead generation can come in lots of different ways. A business can generate leads through social media, through a website, by asking customers for feedback, and by setting up mail lists.
Other than buying leads and generating them naturally, you can also generate B2B leads through advertising and word of mouth.
Even the idea that you can generate leads through a website allows scope for a wide range of techniques. A great landing page with a CTA can encourage lead generation. A CTA is a call to action, so it persuades the user on your site to perform an action. CTAs often request the user to sign up for a mailing list or to become a member of the brand.
So using a web developer to create an engaging landing page could help generate B2B leads. We offer marketing services including web development if you are interested. Investing in a web developer to make the perfect website is a great but indirect way to gain B2B leads.
A website might also have a blog that can generate B2B leads. Blogs can give a brand the space to write more long-form content. An article could explain the benefits of the product or service being sold. Or an article could explain more about the industry the brand is in. Whatever the content is, it can help a website reach a wide audience.
With the use of long-form content, SEO can be applied for greater benefits. SEO stands for search engine optimization. It simply is a way of writing that makes the content rank better on search engine pages. This in hand will help the website reach a wider audience, as the higher a page ranks, the more people will click on it and find the site. It is believed that 33% of searchers will click on the first-ranked webpage on Google.
SEO can include using key phrases. When applied correctly, this bumps up the article to the top of the search engine pages. Therefore generating more site activity and in hand, is a form of lead generation. This is because, with more web traffic, there will naturally be more potential customers being created.
Another lead generation method is guest writing. This is often a technique that gets forgotten about. But it can be very beneficial and help you expand your audience in two ways.
You can write a piece either for a social media post, or a long-form article for a blog to share with another brand. If you strike up a deal with a business in the same industry or a similar or complementary industry, you can combine forces. This way, you are generating B2B leads with the other businesses you collaborate with, but you also gain interest from their audience.
Other Lead Generation Methods
These are not the only methods of lead generation. When deciding what methods to use, consider what is within your company’s reach. If you already have a copywriter, try methods like the blog, or guest writing. Or, if you don’t, but have a sum of money dedicated to advertising or buying leads, invest it that way.
There are fewer direct ways for B2B lead generation. Word of mouth can be a great way to create leads. It might seem obvious but simple word of mouth between businesses can build your reputation. To get a good reputation to the point that other businesses will recommend you, you need good customer service. That could mean keeping current customers up to date with your business by sending a monthly newsletter.
Or, it could be even more basic. Investing in good staff training can really benefit your reputation by improving the customer experience. We have an article about the importance of training and development. Give it a read and decide if a more natural lead generation method sounds like the right fit.
As mentioned already, social media can be a great tool to help generate B2B leads. Businesses can connect online. There are endless ways to use different platforms to enhance your lead generation.
One way could be by promoting a product with a discount for followers. This can build a bond between your business and another. You can also share reviews. Ask customers for testimonials to share with your social media audience. It is an easy way for businesses to see your brand, without directly searching for it. If they follow you, your posts will come up in their feed. Meaning your content reaches them, with ease. Seeing your content without the thought to search helps keep you on their radar.
The next method is connected to the final one. However, it deserved its own section because of how vital it can be. You can generate B2B leads through telemarketing.
So many people have heard of telemarketing but may not know what it is. There are lots of businesses already using this method of B2B lead generation. However, many more are missing out on the huge impact it can have on a business.
Telemarketing is a direct form of marketing. The process involves calling or contacting other businesses, to try and sell a product or service. It can be one of the most useful forms of B2B lead generation as it is interactive. The salesperson is on the other end of the line ready to answer all questions asked.
Having that immediacy from direct contact also benefits the salesperson. It means the business can have instant feedback without the difficulty of trying to follow up. There are plenty more benefits to using telemarketing for your B2B lead generation. If you would like to know more, read here.
However, there are things to consider when using telemarketing as a method for lead generation. You must be doing it legally. There are strict laws around personal data, so whenever you handle it, it must be done correctly. As telemarketing involves using personal information, you must know you can act lawfully.
This is a big deal and can cost you lots of money if you get it wrong. GDPR stands for general data protection regulation. All the data you handle must be GDPR compliant.
We have an entire article dedicated to the topic. It is worth a read to avoid any trouble. Our article is all about how to source GDPR compliant B2B marketing lists. B2B marketing lists are the data sets that have B2B data on them, that allow you to generate B2B leads. If you are interested in buying B2B data lists, we sell them at AccuraData, so do get in touch.
The final way we will look at how to generate B2B leads is through your own marketing campaign. We have partially already looked at this.
If you don’t know exactly what a marketing campaign is don’t worry. It is simply a plan of action to help a brand expand. There are also other kinds of campaigns. One is a media campaign designed to reduce negative news or to raise awareness of a new product or service.
What else is involved in a marketing campaign? Lots. They can be tailored to suit what your brand needs most. If that is social media exposure, the focus will be there. Or a new TV advert to reach family audiences. Developing a great website for your brand can be included as a part of a marketing campaign.
How can a marketing campaign generate leads? By making your brand known. That is the simple answer. The step-by-step process starts with the plan. Find out who you want to connect with. What kind of businesses are your possible leads? How does your audience behave online? What techniques will be most effective? Next, create the content and structure the plan according to what will work.
The phrase nurturing will come up a lot when you research marketing campaigns. This is because the aim is to get businesses interested. You want the businesses on your side, so they are potentially willing to work with you. If you want to learn more about marketing campaigns, take a look at our article all about it here.
What Different Types of B2B Leads Are There?
B2B Leads are great in that most major industries will be able to get high-quality leads across a variety of different verticals. Some examples of different types of B2B Leads are below.
- Business Energy Switching.
- Telecoms Switching.
- Merchant Services.
- Solar Install Services.
- Insurance Switching.
The Benefits of Buying B2B Leads.
Now we know what B2B leads are. We know how to generate leads and the different methods to do it. Next, you might be asking why.
What are the benefits of buying B2B leads for you? Why invest precious time and or money into generating leads? There are endless reasons why you should consider lead generation and using B2B leads for your business. We will look at a select few of them now.
B2B Leads for Brand Growth
The first reason why you should invest in B2B leads is self-explanatory. Growth. If you are generating leads, you are expanding your brand’s list of connections. This is almost always a good thing. B2B lead generation can help your business grow.
When generating leads you are engaging with an audience. This is always going to help you expand. You build your brand’s visibility when marketing your products or services. The current audience you may have can grow as more people see the work you are sharing. Whether you generate leads through advertising, using social media, using a mailing list or telemarketing, you can expand. The more people that have heard of your business, the bigger your audience.
Support from B2B Leads
Not only do B2B leads generate sales and growth, but they can also provide support. When you make a connection with another business, a relationship is started. Both businesses can benefit from that as a form of trust is built.
In times of need, you can lean on each other and help one another out. This is particularly crucial for local businesses to do. We saw during the pandemic that many small businesses were hit hard. Some only survived due to the help of another business. Having trusting relationships in your industry can be like a lifeline.
Not only can businesses support each other in the hardest times, but all the time. From tips and tricks to recommendations. Businesses in the same industry can support each other on the way to success, even when it is competition.
Profit from B2B Leads
Another reason why B2B leads are so beneficial is the end game of profit. The main role of a business is to earn money. What you invest into generating B2B leads can come back to you through raised sales.
B2B leads are possible sales. So working on B2B lead generation is clearly going to increase your sales.
The profit not only comes from the sales provided by B2B leads but also from the expenses being cut. When you invest in B2B leads and generate leads, you save time elsewhere. A business could spend lots of time, money and resources trying to research its market. This is done to understand who the target audience is. Companies spend lots of time finding contacts that might be interested in the product or service.
When these two aspects of the business are taken away, time and money can be saved. B2B leads give time back to your business and your staff.
Create New Opportunities
One of the final benefits of using B2B leads is the fact that they can create new opportunities. When you have a link with another business, things can arise that benefit both sides. For example, an opportunity to collaborate or combine forces over a single project could enhance the success of both sides.
One example could be if you work in the food industry. If you are just branching out beyond your shop or restaurant, to home delivery, bringing another business on board could cut your costs. Instead of purchasing a company car and hiring a new body of trained delivery staff, hire a delivery company.
If you have contact with a food delivery company from your B2B leads, you could provide them with business.
The same can happen the other way around. Another business that you are connected to, might have an opportunity perfectly fit for your business. New opportunities can come from having a good relationship with other businesses in your industry. B2B leads can create jobs and deals that otherwise would never come up.
These new opportunities can also help you expand. When you join forces with another brand, their customer base will get to know you. Your reach expands and your brand will gain more customers. There are endless possibilities for using B2B leads, so the benefits of lead generation should not be underestimated.
If you are still not convinced about why you should invest in B2B lead generation, it is simple. In the short term, it will be profitable in the end.
How To Make Sure You’re Buying Good B2B Leads
Now you know the power of B2B lead generation as you understand what it is and what it can do. Next, you must learn how to buy B2B leads. More importantly, you need to know how to buy good B2B leads.
Good B2B Leads Vs Bad B2B Leads
What makes good B2B leads? Good question.
For some, good B2B leads are just leads that will make them money. This is correct in a sense, but there is obviously more to it than that. In order for B2B leads to make a business any money, they must be the right kind.
Good B2B Leads
Good B2B leads will allow your team to work with the audience most suited to your product or service. Look for industry-specific B2B lead generation data so you can be sure of your data profile.
The providers should also seem legit. This is an obvious one. However, when so much of the data lists and lead generation industry is completed online, getting a judge of a brand can be hard. Business online enables scams and poor deals.
One way that makes B2B leads great is the kind of data you have on the lead. Just a random email address, for all generic business enquiries, might not be very useful. Whereas, the correct phone number that links you with the right team within the business or organisation might be better.
If you have the name of the individual you will want to contact and their job title, even better. This way you will have a better chance of preparing yourself and making a meaningful connection. It will be far more useful and time effective. Good B2B leads are efficient.
Any background knowledge and information are good. Knowing the other business’ budget, and what they are working towards can give you an idea of what to pitch. Also knowing what they already have in place to get them there could save you time. This way, you can go into the discussion with the details about what your product or service can do better. Like all marketing plans, to be successful you must show your audience what the business’ best features are.
Bad B2B Leads
So, moving on to what bad B2B data looks like will help you spot the good from the bad.
What makes bad B2B leads? There are a few things to consider when looking to buy B2B lead data. One of which is poor accuracy. You might argue this is hard to know before you have the data set. However, look for spelling mistakes in any documents or on the website of the provider. When you get a chance to see the data, check for mistakes, duplicates of data and so on.
These can all be signs of a poor data provider, however, one thing even more crucial to remember is compliance. Any data you handle must be compliant. This goes for any kind of data. Whether that be B2B leads, B2B data, B2C data or any personal data.
If that means nothing to you, don’t stress. Data compliance is something that all businesses, individuals, organisations etc. must have a grip on before they work with data. The next section will cover the basics and direct you to the best places to look for more information.
GDPR and Legal Considerations for B2B Leads
Leading on from bad B2B leads, the data you buy and use must be compliant. This whole section will be dedicated to explaining what exactly that means. It is absolutely key that you never use any non-compliant data. This could leave your business in a difficult legal position. So, when using B2B leads, there must be some legal considerations. As suggested in the title, GDPR is something all businesses handling data should know about and understand.
Not only can you just ask for the compliance documents, but you can also check yourself. The ICO or otherwise known as the Information Commissioner’s Office will help. If you visit the ICO website, you can check your provider’s ICO registration. On the site, there is a data protection public register where you can put in the provider’s registration number. When you do the check you plumb in the business name, address and postcode.
The company you are wishing to buy the data lists from must be registered with the ICO. Therefore, if they are operating legally, they will come up on the search engine when you check.
What Is GDPR?
The phrase GDPR will crop up whenever you are researching laws surrounding data. GDPR stands for general data protection regulation. It is a data protection law that was put in place for the Data Protection Act 2018. Within this act, there are several rules that must be followed in order to handle data legally. Some of these rules include being transparent with the information used and only what is necessary. Other rules include using appropriate security for any data.
The rules for data are not all the same. Some data must be treated with even more caution. For example, data including anything about race, religious beliefs, or sexual orientation, must be given stronger legal protection. Find the full list of rules and different types of data needing stronger legal protection on the government website here.
B2B data is included in the Data Protection Act 2018.
GDPR and B2B Data
As explained above, all data handled must be GDPR compliant. So, what does that mean for B2B leads? When looking for B2B leads, you must know that any data you buy is compliant. To do this, you can request the compliance documents from the data provider. If they refuse, you can refuse to buy from them. Simple as. No data is worth risking legal troubles.
Some might ask why you should bother making sure the data is GDPR compliant. Surely it is the job of the provider to supply compliant data. Yes. Any good provider should be providing complaint data. However, not all data providers will. This is why you must check and ask to see the documents. It is on you to make sure you are working within the law.
Not only is it always worth avoiding legal issues, but businesses should be compliant for the sake of other businesses. The point of B2B lead generation is that you are creating connections with other businesses. There is no point in having a relationship where one party disrespects the other. So in order to build a level of trust and gain respect, data should always be handled lawfully anyway.
The reputation of a business can be completely destroyed if data protection laws are broken. But also through word of mouth. Firms in the same industry talk. There are connections as you know from lead generation. So when one business doesn’t treat another fairly, the word will spread. Then the business playing foul will be isolated within the industry. Lead generation might get tough if no one wants to pick up the phone from a company with a bad reputation.
Illegal B2B Lead Generation
What does it mean if the data is not GDPR compliant? It could mean the individual or organisation whose data it is, has not expressly consented to have their data processed. There are ‘Do Not Call Lists’ kept by the TPS. The TPS is the Telephone Preference Service. Those who have registered their phone numbers to be on these lists do not want to receive cold calls.
That means if you buy non-compliant data, you could potentially have TPS registered numbers on your data set. If you do call one of these registered numbers, you can find yourself potentially facing fines like these companies here.
What can go wrong if you don’t make sure your B2B leads are GDPR compliant? You could be left with these scary fines. So, it is vital that you know your data is GDPR compliant, TPS checked and completely legal.
How to Get the Best B2B Leads
You might be asking how to get the legal and the best B2B leads. The next step in the process of lead generation is actually getting a hold of good B2B leads.
Whenever buying B2B data, or any kind of data, you must check that it is GDPR compliant. Once you know a provider is GDPR compliant, is ICO registered and the data is TPS checked, narrow down your list. Look at more than one provider. This is especially important if you are new to the field of buying data lists.
This way, you can get a grasp of how much it might cost. If you have a set budget and one provider blows it completely, reconsider what you are asking for. However, if you check multiple providers and find the average price matches your budget, go for it. Cross-checking providers can give you a better picture of what the market really looks like. You can also get a feel of which providers you like the best.
Who gave you the best customer experience? Were there some providers who were more difficult with providing the correct documents? Are there reviews and testimonials to read about the different providers? Were some providers slower at responding than others? Asking all of these questions can help you decide on which provider is right for you. If you need a quick turnaround on the data list, don’t pick the slow-responding provider. Bear in mind if they are slow to reply to a potential customer, they might be slower once you pay.
The customer experience is also important. You want to know that the provider won’t just drop you when they have sold the data list. At AccuraData, we want to make sure that our customers are satisfied with the profit from our data.
When Should A Business Work on B2B Lead Generation?
Whatever your starting point was before this article, hopefully, you now feel more equipped to start using B2B leads. And hopefully, you now feel you know a bit more about B2B leads and B2B lead generation. Whether you knew all this already or it was just a refresher, or learning from scratch, you now have a full understanding.
We have looked at what B2B leads are and how you buy them. What good and bad B2B leads look like and what to avoid when buying B2B leads. The legal side of GDPR and all other considerations have been covered. So now, you are at the stage where you might feel ready to start your own research into providers.
So when is the best time to work on B2B lead generation? Now. For businesses that have the budget and are ready for expansion, now is the best time to go for it. A Chinese proverb says that the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.
A similar concept applies to B2B lead generation. Maybe 20 years ago might be a stretch for B2B leads, as your business might not have even been in the works by then. However, if you are in a position where logistically you can work on B2B lead generation, then do it. The sooner you have the B2B leads, the sooner you can start calling, emailing and making sales.
Aim for the best, high-quality B2B leads so don’t just pick whatever is the cheapest. Really consider the quality of the leads before purchase. Businesses need quality, fairly priced legitimate leads.
B2B Leads at AccuraData
The next step on the B2B lead generation journey is to decide on the provider. At AccuraData, we offer our customers high-quality data, leads and a supported experience. We believe that the best telemarketing and email marketing campaigns are built on only the best data.
Our name AccuraData comes from the accurate data that we supply. Our data is also of course GDPR compliant. The industry for our flagship B2B data is energy renewal. You can always trust our data as we provide a data cleansing and TPS checking service.
Cleansing Data for Clean Leads
We know data must be accurate and GDPR compliant, TPS checked and suppliers must be registered with the ICO. However, data also must be kept clean and checked. Data changes as businesses, organisations and individuals decide to register their numbers with the TPS. Anyone can do this at any point, so it can happen after you buy a data set. If this happens, some of your data might be compromised. This means numbers from your list may no longer be ok to call.
Data must be cleansed every 28 days. This is because this is the processing time it can take for a newly registered number to appear on the TPS list. This cleansing process also helps get rid of any duplicated data or data that is now inaccurate. It is very important that you get your data cleansed to avoid inaccurate and poor-quality aged data. After the process of data cleansing, you will only be left with quality data.
When purchasing B2B data for B2B lead generation, you will need to consider the CTPS. This is very similar to the TPS but instead is the corporate telephone preference service. The TPS has the numbers of sole traders, individuals and partnerships. Whereas, the CTPS list is made of the numbers of limited companies and public limited companies.
The numbers on the CTPS do change though. This is because businesses have to reregister the number with the CTPS every year.
Cleansing with AccuraData
It is a legal requirement that you have your data cleaned every 28 days. This should be a check against both the TPS and the CTPS. At AccuraData, the process is simple. Just let us know your total requirement, and we will invoice you, clean the data and report back to you. When we hand your data back we will explain how the data has been cleansed.
If you are still wanting to know more about B2B lead generation, or B2B leads, check out one of our other articles. We wrote the complete guide to B2B marketing data in 2022. In the article, we talk about what B2B marketing data is, and the types of B2B data there are. There is a section just about B2B leads and the difference between B2B leads and B2B data. We suggested ways to buy the best kind of B2B data, why to invest and what to look out for.
It could be a rather useful read. Especially if you are now thinking of investing in B2B lead generation or B2B marketing data.