B2B lead generation through Inbound Marketing

Are you struggling to generate leads?

Use inbound marketing for lead generation!

By the end of this article, you will know what inbound marketing is and how you can generate leads for your B2B company through inbound marketing.

Why do you need inbound marketing?

Have you ever heard the line Don’t call us, we’ll call you? Upon hearing your prospects say this line, do you expect them to call back? No, you don’t. Because this is a cliched answer to express rejection. People love to buy, but they hate being sold to.

[bctt tweet=”2018 marketing is about excellent timing marketing” username=”brand_minds”]

Google reports state that customers expect businesses to meet their needs, answer their questions and even predict their intentions. Businesses need to have the right answer, for the right customer at the right moment! How can businesses achieve this goal?

Inbound marketing – definition

Inbound marketing is a marketing strategy that’s focused on attracting customers through relevant and helpful content and adding value at every stage in your customer’s buying journey.


Is your company using leaflets, catalogues, outdoor billboards, media, print and digital advertising, cold calling or mass emailing? Then your company uses outbound marketing to generate leads, also known as the push marketing strategy.


image source: cyberclick.es

The company using inbound marketing draws in and influences their prospects. It wins them over with strategies that help the company build trust and position itself as the authority of its field. And it’s easier for the respective company to generate leads and turn them into customers: they already know its products or services. This company is using the pull marketing strategy.

3 benefits of inbound marketing for B2B lead generation:

  1. The cost/lead is 61% less than cost/lead generated through outbound marketing (source: hubspot.com);
  2. It takes between 4 to 6 months for an inbound marketing strategy to bring results; inbound marketing is a long-term strategy, but if implemented correctly and over a long period of time it will generate leads constantly which is exactly what every B2b company expects from its marketing strategy;
  3. It’s easier for your company to close the leads because they are warmer than the leads generated through outbound marketing.


How to generate leads through inbound marketing

Inbound marketing – 3 examples:

1. Content marketing

Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content. Its objective is to attract and retain a clearly defined audience and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action. (source: contentmarketinginstitute.com)

Statistics say that 84% of people expect brands to create content that is valuable and responsive to their needs and expectations (Havas Group’s 2017 Meaningful Brands study).

Company blogs are an important part of the content marketing strategy. Brands and businesses use their blogs to deliver articles, ebooks, infographics and other pieces of content to attract leads and convert them into customers.

Expert’s statement

We asked Ciprian Soleriu, marketing expert at Conversionacademy.eu what is the no 1 mistake companies make regarding their blog.

The biggest mistake companies make is writing content that is too broad. The solution is to have multiple pieces of content for their multiple ideal client.
This is easily done by repurposing content with the ideal client in mind, his/her desires, objections and obstacles in getting done the most important things for her/him.

Ciprian Soleriu

2. Social media marketing

Social media marketing is a marketing strategy that companies use to raise brand awareness, to promote a product or service, to communicate and connect to their audience.

To generate leads, companies tailor posts to attract their audience to their websites where they can download an ebook, read a blog post, sign-up to newsletter etc.

63% of marketers rated LinkedIn as the most effective B2B social media platform (source: contentmarketinginstitute.com). Nike’s company page on LinkedIn is a great example of social media marketing done right. The Best LinkedIn Company Pages of 2017 are a great source of inspiration for your company’s social media marketing. Regarding these companies, LinkedIn said the following:

The companies in this list feature thought-provoking content and eye-catching imagery that showcases the best of their brands to their respective audiences on LinkedIn. These companies don’t just deliver compelling content, though. They encourage engagement by interacting with their visitors and followers on LinkedIn.

3. Messaging app marketing

In our article How to use chatbots to increase sales, we showed how messaging app marketing yields more results than email marketing.

Messaging apps and chatbots are the power couple of mobile communication between brands and customers. Companies can use these chatbots for lead generation: they identify qualified and unqualified leads, send marketing or informational materials and help move leads through the sales funnel.

[bctt tweet=”Discover 3 inbound marketing strategies to generate leads for your B2B business” username=”brand_minds”]


  • With inbound marketing, your customers find you when they need you;
  • You don’t have to find your customers when you need them to spend;
  • The pull strategies are better than push strategies;
  • Customers want content, not ads;
  • Build trust by offering valuable content;
  • Create content for every stage of the buyer’s journey

B2B selling: How to close sales deals with value selling

If you’re in B2B selling and wish to close sales deals, you need to understand how to sell on value, not on price.

Value selling is certainly not a new concept but implementing it as a sales methodology is still a challenge for companies and organisations that sell their products or services to other companies.

What value selling is NOT

Before discovering what value selling is, let’s see what value selling is not.

Tom Reilly says that value selling is challenging, but not impossible. Discounters shops and powerful chain stores have transformed the word value to a euphemism for cheap.

What value selling is not according to Tom Reilly:

  • Value is not bloated, feature-rich products;
  • Value is not layers of services that a company offers;
  • Value is not a cheap price.

What IS value selling?

In order to increase sales, Brian Tracy, the Sales Guru encourages sales professionals to show their prospects that the value of their products is greater than their asking price.

Selling value instead of selling based on price is also a great method to acquire high-quality customers that are less likely to dump your company the second a better deal presents itself.  

Sales professionals should help their prospects overcome two obstacles: fear of change and fear of being cheated. The best way of achieving this goal is by showing their prospects why their products cost what they do and how their products will be a positive change in customer’s life.

Value selling says that customers buy your value or service because they anticipate enjoying a value that they would not have in the absence of your product or service. People don’t buy products, they buy the results the product will give them. 

Brian Tracy

Sales experts have defined value selling as follows:

  • An outcome;
  • The result of your solution;
  • Return on investment;
  • The impact of your solution on the customer’s world.

Value vs. Price

If sales professionals want to be successful, they must change their perspective on price and see it as part of the product, as one of product’s features – like size, colour, packaging etc.  

Why allow yourself to have a sale derailed over a product feature when the real issue is value? 

Tom Reilly

If value selling is an outcome, price affects it no more or less than any other product feature. The value of something is determined by what customers sacrifice measured against the outcome of the solution. Sacrifice includes price and ownership costs. Outcome includes what the solution does and how it affects the customer. If the outcome of the decision is greater than the sacrifice, it is great value. If the sacrifice is greater than the outcome, it is lousy value.

Price is a piece of the sacrifice, not the whole of it. At the heart of buying decisions, customers want great value, not just cheap prices. 

Tom Reilly

Grant Cardone, international sales training expert and speaker at Brand Minds 2019 notes the following: 

using price as your tool is an indication that you need to get back to developing what makes your company a unique proposition.

So if your sales strategy is to rely on your price, you should know that this strategy wouldn’t close the deal. Why? Because there is always a cheaper product or service on the market. Grant Cardone recommends that you spend time determining where you can deliver value that is greater than the price.

Remember, price is a myth. While the buyer may shop the lowest price, it is value that they really want, even during tough economic times. People buy products and services that solve problems. {.} When value exceeds price, price is no longer the issue. 

Grant Cardone


Feature selling – Benefit selling – Value selling

To further understand value selling for B2B companies, you need to compare it with two other selling methodologies: feature selling and benefit selling.

Feature selling-Benefit selling

Feature selling means selling a product by describing a physical feature that might appeal to the customer.

Selling a product by its benefits is tied to the feature selling. The salesperson starts by talking about the features of the product and then takes it a step further and shows the customer how this particular feature improves his condition.

Here is a great example:


Value selling for B2B companies

Emotional triggering may work for a B2C selling strategy, but when you are in front of the purchasing manager of a prospect company, you are not selling the result of being more beautiful or skinnier.

The purchasing manager is meeting with you because his job is to seek reliable vendors or suppliers to provide products or services that will help his company achieve its business objectives. Your job as a salesman is to help him understand how your product supports his company achieve that. Value selling is the best sales methodology to help you close the deal.

Let’s take the following example:

You have to sell your company’s CRM software system to a communication company.

You start by describing your product’s features and benefits then you deliver your most important piece of information:

In the past year, your company acquired $1 million worth of customer surveys. Because our CRM software has a powerful survey-focused feature, buying it would mean a $1 million cost reduction for your company. How would you use this money?

In other words:

In B2B is not about ”Show me your smile!”. It is about ”Show me the money” and ”Show me the smile of my clients!” 

That means you have to be able to mathematically demonstrate two things: 

1. How your product will increase your client’s profitability by increasing his income or decreasing his costs,


2. How the clients of your client will be happier if he uses your product in his business model.

Bogdan Comanescu, sales expert


Know your product’s features.

Know your product’s benefits.

Know your customer’s business very well.

Know the financial impact your product has on your customer’s business.

The customer experience in B2B marketing

A research by SiriusDecisions found that for 80% of B2B buyers surveyed, customer experience counted as the top significant reason why they chose to work with a specific provider over another. This 80/20 correlation is not a surprising revelation, meaning that customer experience is critical for customer growth, retention and advocacy and could potentially make or a break a company’s success.

The bad news is that most B2B companies are failing to meet post-sale customer experience expectations. 45% of the B2B customers that SiriusDecisions talked to indicated that they aren’t getting the value they were promised. As a result, 42%  indicated that they’re not sure about renewing with their vendor, while 61 % aren’t willing to recommend their providers. The study also shows a widening gap in terms of how executives and customers perceive the post-sale experience.

According to EY, it’s important to see that business-to-business (B2B) buyers are increasingly behaving like consumers — taking advantage of self-service digital channels to shape how they learn about and purchase products. This “consumerization” of B2B buying has made
customers increasingly elusive. To remain relevant, sales professionals can no longer carry on as they used to, they need to become just as digital as
their customers.

In this context, B2B marketers need to think about the end-to-end experience of customers. Companies need to pay particular attention to the post-sale experience—to make sure that they understand the wants, needs and pain points of the customers they serve.

Some of the main ideas we want to pinpoint for you from the EY study:

B2B buyers also have become more empowered. The advent of more transparent marketplaces and the proliferation of online content and digital communities, combined with social media, allow buyers to increasingly self-educate when evaluating their product and service options — and to make many of their purchases directly without ever dealing with a salesperson.

According to International Data Corporation (IDC), 50%—80% of
buyers’ decision-making processes are complete before a salesperson gets involved and 90% of decision makers say they never respond to cold outreach. In other words, B2B buying behavior is starting to look a lot more like that of B2C.

Buyers’ values and perspectives also are evolving as younger generations become a larger and more influential portion of the workforce.

It gets much more difficult for B2B companies to get customers’ attention and build relationships with them and create and sustain brand loyalty.

The important thing is to work out how we can get the same experience regardless of where customers interact with the companies and provide richer and richer experiences that add a lot of value as they go through the journey with us.

Identify leads and the right decision makers more effectively with social networking.

It’s important to put emphasize on leadership. According to a 2017 Edelman-LinkedIn report, 9 in 10 business decision-makers find thought leadership
important or critical to their decision process, while 82% said that thought leadership increased their trust in a vendor organization.

While B2B companies have made progress toward omni-channel sales, they still have a long way to go. According to one study, three-quarters of participating
B2B companies generated no more than 20% of their sales via e-commerce. Yet that’s likely to change in the near future, as a majority of respondents in that study expected their e-commerce sales to rise by over 5% in the next
12 months. (source: Interview conducted specifically for this whitepaper with Phil Lurie, SAP’s Vice President of Sales Technology.)

By shifting to a digital selling model, supported by a robust center of excellence, B2B companies can develop the tools, technologies and processes they need to create and develop stronger relationships with and relevance to customers in an
evolving digital world.

Moreover, according to a BCG research, here’s a new generation of B2B customers out there who do not expect, and in many cases do not want, to deal with a salesperson until it’s time to close the deal.

These new buyers look for the same digital experiences and features—including on their smartphones—that they encounter as consumers. Decision makers are increasingly supported by young, tech-savvy researchers, who commonly use mobile for work and multitask on more than one screen.
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