B2B Lead Generation for Software and IT Services Companies

12 proven b2b lead generation strategies you must use in 2022

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B2B lead generation strategies technology products and services like Software/SaaS, IT services, and outsourcing.

B2B lead generation strategies

Tired of spending hours and $$$ but not generating enough leads for your b2b business?

Are you scratching your head, trying to figure out why all your effort and money are not bringing in the leads your business deserves?

You have come to the right place!

I have generated millions of dollars in new B2B sales for my business and clients.

In this post, I share 12 proven b2b lead generation strategies that are working GREAT right now.

(In 2022)

These strategies are a great fit for b2b technology products and services like Software/SaaS, IT services, and outsourcing.

Let’s get started!

Find high quality leads from communities and forums

Online forums/communities/groups are great for generating b2b leads. You know what’s even better?

Very few salespeople use this channel to generate leads.

You can find Slack, LinkedIn and Facebook groups for any product or service you’re selling. Join as many active groups and communities as you can find.

These are great to understand your prospects’ pain points and needs. Use the groups and forums to promote your product effectively.

How to use it:

Search for questions relevant to your product or service. See this post from HubSpot support forum for example:

How to generate b2b leads from support forums

This is an opportunity for a SaaS product that can track time to HubSpot tasks.

Engage with prospects by answering questions, sharing educational content and helping them in any way you can.

When a prospect shares a problem you can solve, jump right in. It’s an uncontested opportunity because most of your competitors are absent from these forums.

 

Why it works:

We trust people with whom we have something in common. When you step in to help as a fellow group member, you benefit from that trust.

It’s important that people see you as helping, not selling. Actively engage with the community to become visible and gain trust.

Your conversion rate will be high for these leads because of timing and trust.

 

Limitation:

You can generate a few high-quality leads from this channel. Use it to supplement other lead generation tactics.

Pro tip:
Paid communities are even better for lead generation. The fee filters out non-serious players.

People are more active in paid communities as they want a return on their investment. This creates a more engaged community with more opportunities.

Create educational content to generate b2b leads

Brian Dean of Backlinko recently published a report on how businesses use content marketing to generate b2b leads.
Using educational content to generate b2b leads

38% of B2B companies create educational content for lead generation. And that’s something you should DEFINITELY be doing.

Why?

A report by Focus Vision found that B2B decision makers read or watch 13 pieces of content before making a purchase decision.

How to use it:

Find your prospects’ most important problems through keyword research, Google search, questions on forums like Reddit and Quora.

Use Ubersuggest to find blog posts that are bringing in the most visitors to your competitors’ websites.

Why do these pages get more visitors? Because more people are searching for content covered by these pages. More searches usually mean a bigger problem.

Support forums are another excellent source of customer problems. If you notice too many people asking for a feature or complaining about an issue, it may be a suitable topic for you to cover.

Create an educational content that offers better or more information to your prospects than anything else on the net.

Just creating a piece of content is not enough. Every company is doing that. You need to go farther than anyone else to make it work.

Content that offers a better solution or more options is more likely to rank higher in Google search results.

And what does higher search ranking mean for lead generation?

It means more visitors to your site from Google search who concert into more leads!

Re-purpose the content into videos, presentation, downloadable PDF and podcast.

Share your content on social media. Promote it using ads, as most social media platforms do not like free content. After all, they also need to make money!

Why it works:

Educational content helps your prospects solve problems. It establishes you as an expert and builds trust with prospects.

And what do people do to businesses they trust? They buy from them!

So… if your prospects are struggling with problems related to your niche, that’s a HUGE opportunity to attract and convert them into leads.

Limitation:

You need to create one focused piece of content for each problem or keyword. It takes time to create high-quality content and get it to rank in Google search. Be prepared to wait for a while before so see a significant number of b2b leads from this source.

Pro tip:
Create an infographic that summarizes the blog post visually. Then share the infographic on social media. Many sites love to link to other sites to get backlinks.

Find warm leads on competitors’ support forums

This works very well for b2b product and SaaS companies.

Customers go to support forums when they face a problem with the product or want to explore a feature. 

Support forums are full of customer complaints, suggestions, and feature requests. It’s a great place to find qualified leads.

How to use it:

Browse the threads on your competitors’ support forums to look for people who are unhappy with the solution. Then make them an offer if your product meets their needs.

Don’t respond to them on the forum. Send them an email/LinkedIn message or call if you can find the phone number.

Support forums are also great for finding opportunities to improve your product and messaging.

Why it works:

Most customers post on support forums when they are desperate to solve a major problem. AND are unable to solve it using other support channels. They are frustrated and hungry for help.

When you contact them with your solution, it’s both a perfect match and a great timing.

Limitation:

Like communities, support forums can get you a few leads every month. This works best for low volume, better qualified leads for b2b businesses.

Improve your site's on-page SEO

Everyone talks about building backlinks to improve SEO. 

That’s important for inbound, the most scalable lead generation tactic for non-enterprise b2b companies.

But you also need to improve on-page SEO of your blog posts and pages. 

In fact, on-page SEO will become more important as Google’s algorithms become more intelligent at understanding written content.

Improve your on-page SEO to geenrate inbound leads

How to use it:

Start by optimizing every page on your site for one target keyword. Include the keyword in the page URL, SEO title, SEO description, heading, sub-headings and text on the page.

Mathew Woodward has created an excellent checklist for optimizing on-page SEO.

Link pages on the site with one another. We call this internal linking. Include the target keyword in the link anchor text.

 

On-page SEO Quick Reference Guide

How to optimize 10+ elements to improve on-page SEO
Free Guide

Link pages on the site with one another. We call this internal linking. Include the target keyword in the link anchor text.

Getting backlinks from other sites is hard and not within your control. But creating internal links is under your control.

And you can create anchor text that matches the target keyword for each page.

Internal links also help send visitors from one page to another, increasing the time they spend on your site. It helps build awareness and brand recall for your business.

When people spend more time on your site, it also improves your site’s SEO.

The third thing you must do is reduce the size of your pages, so they load faster.

Google does not like slow loading pages. And what’s the slowest loading element of a web page?

Images!

Compress all images on your site to reduce their size.

Use lazy loading where each section of the page loads as the user scrolls down the page. By breaking up the page into smaller sections, it speeds up the load time.

Eliminate unnecessary code on your pages. Over time, unnecessary code increases as you update and upgrade to site. It’s important to clean up the code periodically to keep the pages from slowing down.

Why it works:

Improving on-page SEO helps Google better understand your site’s content and improves their search ranking. Higher search ranking means you get more visitors, and more leads, from Google search.

Limitation:
On-page SEO is the second most important factor in affecting your page’s search ranking. But you need to complement it by building high quality backlinks to your pages.

Acquire leads by integrating with complementary products

All businesses operate in an ecosystem of related products and services

By integrating your product or service with another, more popular one, you open up a new market.

integrating with complementary products for lead generation

It’s easier to execute for SaaS companies, as most products have APIs you can use to integrate your product. But it can work for other products and services as well.

For example, auto insurance companies get a majority of their businesses by partnering with car dealerships. 

IT services companies get many leads by becoming channel partners of major software companies like Microsoft or Salesforce.

How to use it:

Create a list of popular products you can integrate or partner with to increase the value of both products. Check if there is a way (like an API or partnership) to integrate your product with it.

If you sell a SaaS, go through their support forums to see if people are asking for features your product offers. Build a list of these people to contact later.

If everything checks out, integrate your product or service. Then reach out to the contact list you built from the support forum.

List your product in the integration directory so people can find you. Create a joint press release about the integration, if possible.

Clockify, a time tracking app, integrated with a task management tool Trello. They now have thousands of Trello users as customers.

If you provide IT services, check out the partnership program of major software companies. These partnerships increase visibility, build trust and are a source of leads form the software company.

 

Why it works:

We pay for a product only if it solves an important problem. If businesses are paying for a product, it means the product is solving an important problem.

When you extend the functionality by integrating your product with it, you tap into a world of ready customers

By increasing the value of the overall solution for the customer, you can get new customers.

 

Limitation:

This lead generation strategy works best for B2B technology products or services with existing partnership ecosystem. But it may not work for every product or service.

 

Pro tip:

Integrate with popular products and platforms customers are already paying for. It’s a good way to get access to prospects who are willing to pay for value you create.

Target companies that recently raised money

Companies raise fund to hire new employees, develop and market products. 

Fund raising is a good indicator that a company is ready to buy products and services related to marketing, sales and product development.

These are high-quality leads that convert at a high rate.

use VC funding as a lead generation signal for b2b products and services

How to use it:

Subscribe to databases/services that keep track of VC funding. Crunchbase and Nathan Latka are the most popular sources for funding in the technology industry.

Cyberleads  gives you a list of recently funded companies every month.

You can also set Google Alerts to get notifications when a company does a press release about funding.

Use a lead database like Lead Onion or Zoominfo to find your target executives and their contact details. Then reach out to them via email, LinkedIn, and telephone.

Why it works:
When a company raises funding, it’s also under pressure to spend that money to grow fast. They are ready and willing to spend on anything that will help them grow their team and business.

It’s great timing.

Limitation:

This will obviously not work for you if you sell to small businesses or established companies.

Pro tip:

Move fast with these companies. Startup leaders are under time pressure, so they are looking for a solution that’s good enough for them, not necessarily the best in the market.

Use that to your advantage by moving fast with a customized pitch that shows why your solution is good for them.

Use LinkedIn Sales Navigator for generating B2B leads

LinkedIn is the best social media platform for b2b lead generation. And what’s the best tool to do that?

LinkedIn Sales Navigator!

Sales Navigator is a sophisticated search engine and list builder. You can search for prospects and companies using filters like industry, company size, job title, seniority, job function, and even keywords.

Using LinkedIn sales Navigator to grow your LinkedIn network - search filters
How to use it: Sign up for free trial of LinkedIn Sales Navigator. Apply filters to create a highly targeted search. Finally, select people from the search result and save them to a lead list. Use the leads created with Sales Navigator as target audience for LinkedIn ads. Keep track of notifications about accounts and people on your lists. Increase in head count, person changing jobs, recent activity by the person are all good indicators for you to reach out to the prospects. Use the list for cold emailing and calling. Scrape the list with Phantombuster. Find email id and phone number of people on the list. Create a cold outreach campaign with customized message for the list using a tool like Lemlist. Connect with prospects on the list and nurture to convert them into leads. Why it works: LinkedIn Sales Navigator works well because people update their profiles regularly and engage with others. This makes sure that your lists are always current and you know enough about the prospects to customize the outreach. Limitation: You cannot export the lists from LinkedIn Sales Navigator. You must have an active subscription to access the lists. LinkedIn encodes the profile URL in Navigator to prevent you from accessing the profiles without a subscription. Sales Navigator does not give email ids and phone numbers. Use other tools to find email and phone number after scraping the list with Phantombuster. Pro tip: Convert Sales Navigator profile URLs into regular LinkedIn URLs with Phantombuster. This way, you can use the list even if you cancel Sales Navigator subscription.

Connect with prospects on LinkedIn to nurture them into leads

You need to grow your LinkedIn network to generate high quality b2b leads. 

When you connect with someone, that person sees all of your updates. You can send the person a direct message on LinkedIn.

Prefer sending emails over LinkedIn messages?

You can see contact details of your connections on LinkedIn, which include email.
Connecting with people on LinkedIn is like having them on your email list!

How to use it:

First step is to find your prospects through a LinkedIn or Sales Navigator search. Then download the list with Phantombuster.

Send your prospects a personalized connection message highlighting why they should accept your request. Once they accept the connection request, move them to the nurture step.

Your connections see your updates in their news feed. But don’t rely on it, as not everyone will see all of your updates because of timing issues.

Instead, send a direct message to your connections. Personalize the message and content to make it relevant to the recipient. Limit it to two messages/month or risk being blocked.

Once you have a relationship going, move them over to your email list for nurturing. This is one of the most effective ways of generating b2b leads on LinkedIn.

Why it works:

Most professionals are active on LinkedIn. They are eager to expand their network and connect with others in their industry/function.

When you send a direct message, people get an email and also see a notification when they log into LinkedIn. Most of your connections check your message because of these triggers.

Limitation:

It takes time to personalize your message, so it does not scale unless you automate the process. But automation limits personalization and LinkedIn can block your account for using automate tools.

Pro tip:

Limit the connections requests to less than 100 per week or LinkedIn will block your account.

Use LinkedIn Ads to generate leads and drive traffic to your website

LinkedIn ads are the fastest way to get in front of a targeted business audience.

You can target your ads by location, industry, company name, company size, job title, seniority, job function and even keywords. Or create a custom audience from email list, sales Navigator list, or remarketing pixel.

How to use it:

There are different ads you can run:

  • Build brand awareness by promoting your best educational content
  • Send prospects to important pages on your website
  • Capture lead information using LinkedIn form with lead generation ads
Using LinkedIn Ads to generate b2b leads
LinkedIn has over 90 million decision makers and influencers according to LinkedIn’s audience data. 55% of decision makers use LinkedIn before making a purchase decision. An effective LinkedIn campaign can put you in front of decision makers who buy your product and services. Limitation: According to Alexa, people spend about 9 minutes every day on LinkedIn, compared to 38 minutes on Facebook. So, you have a small window to get your audience’s attention. The cost per click for LinkedIn is high. If your conversion rate is not good, the cost of acquiring leads can become very high. Pro tip: Start your LinkedIn campaigns with CPC bidding but switch over to CPM bidding if your CTR is above 0.2%. LinkedIn prices the CPM bids by based on 0.1-0.2% CTR to create parity between CTC and CPM bids. When you switch to CPM, you can reduce your cost per click significantly.

Generate leads based on tools used by your prospects

If you provide solutions for a specific tools or software, you can generate a list of leads based on that information. A company providing solutions for Salesforce will target companies using Salesforce. Developer of a WordPress plugin will target owners of websites that run in WordPress. There are multiple websites/apps that track technology used by companies. Some of these are free services. Many lead database providers like DiscoverOrg also collect this information. How to use it: Sign up for a free account with BuiltWith. Click on Create New Lead Report button. You will see a list of all technologies/tools BuiltWith tracks. Select one you want to target. You can choose to create a list in a specific country or a global list. The report below shows a list of websites built with Shopify. If you sell a Shopify plugin, this is a great list of prospects to go after.
List of sites using Shopify

You can export the list in Excel format with the basic data or upgrade to a paid account to refine the list before exporting.

Build a list of people you want to target at these companies using a list builder or LinkedIn.

Other tools you can use – Wappalyzer and SimilarTech.

Why it works:

Exact match between what you sell and what a prospect’s technology needs.

Limitation:

This method works only for companies selling a technology product or service.

Pro tip:
Combine technology information with revenue and industry information to create a hyper-targeted lead list.

List on review sites for qualified B2B leads

Review sites like Capterra, G2 Crowd and Clutch are a goldmine for generating high quality b2b leads.

Every day, hundreds of customers write product reviews on these sites. These include both the good and not so good things about the products.

New prospects check these reviews before making a new purchase. They trust these reviews because verified customers have written these on an independent site.

Review sites are great for generating qualified B2B leads
How to use it: Sign up to create your company’s profile on each of these sites. See this list of SaaS directories to decide where to list your product. The profile page is like a landing page. It must convince the visitor to click through to your website. Write short, focused sentences. Add a demo video to your listing. Include pricing information, key features and benefits. Use bullet points to list features and benefits. Ask your current and past customers to review your product. Focus on top 3-4 sites like Capterra, G2 Crowd, Clutch and TrustRadius. Target to get at least 20 reviews on each site. To get there, you will need to ask 150-200 customers. Start with customers you know personally. They are more likely to help. Set up an automated email to go out to your new customers requesting them for a review. Some review sites give you a badge to put on your site. Displaying the badge and reviews on your site is a good way to build social proof, converting more visitors into leads. Paid ads are another option if you have the budget. It’s a good way to get qualified traffic to your site. Why it works: Buyers trust independent reviews from verified customers. This drives qualified buyers who are ready to buy your product to these review sites. It gives you a chance to get in front of them at the right time. Limitation: There are review sites for almost every type of product and service. But only a few have enough reviews and traffic to be a meaningful source of new customers. All the big reviews sites focus on technology products and related services. Pro tip Some sites like Capterra offer a $10 Amazon gift card to your customers for writing a review. It’s all on them. You don’t need to shell a penny for this. Take advantage of this by setting up a review campaign with them. Search for negative reviews of your competitors. See why the customer wrote was unhappy with the product. Then reach out to the person if your product is a good fit for this customer.

Don’t forget cold emails and calls – they still work for generating leads

Yes – cold emails and calls still work. In fact, they work better than most other tactics for b2b lead generation.

Cold calling and emailing for lead generation

How to use it:

Effective cold campaigns are, in reality, warm campaigns with a customized message. The best campaigns have a qualified prospect list and a powerful message.

Start by building a targeted list of prospects:

  • Build a list with LinkedIn Sales Navigator. Download the list with Phantombuster and find their contact details using a tool like Hunter, FindThatLead, Lead411 and Apollo.
  • If you have the budget, use a premium lead database to build a targeted list with multiple filters, like industry and revenue. Zoominfo, Lusha, SalesInel etc. have millions of b2b contacts. You can build a campaign ready list in minutes.

Create a campaign with 7-9 touch points across channels. Research shows you need to contact a prospect 7 times to get a conversation. If you stop after 2-3 attempts, you leave money on the table.

Multi-channel campaigns that include email, phone and LinkedIn outreach deliver best results. But phone outreach is expensive and may not work for every product.

If your average deal size is small, you are better off using only email and LinkedIn outreach.

Why it works:

Cold campaigns work because of large numbers. If you contact a large number of prospects, you will find at least some at exactly the right time in decision making.

Let’s look at the numbers. If you sell outsourced IT services and contact 100 prospects, you may get 4-5 leads. Since IT contracts are worth thousands of dollars, these leads can bring in a significant amount of revenue.

Limitation:

The only issue with cold campaigns is the cost. You need dedicated resources to build lead list, research prospects and run campaigns.

Cold campaigns need lead generation, email marketing and calling tools. These can run into hundreds of dollars per month for each sales person.

 

Pro tip

Combine cold campaigns with intelligent list building and customized outreach for best results.

For example, if you sell social media marketing services, create a list of recently funded startups selling to small businesses. These companies have money and need to grow fast. Social media marketing is a perfect fit and the right time for these businesses.

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