B2B Inbound Lead Generation Tactics & Best Practices

B2B inbound lead generation is the practice of pulling in visitors who are proactively interested in what your B2B company sells. This idea contrasts with outbound, or “push”-oriented, lead generation where you’re actively pursuing customers. 

Basically, if potential customers think it’s their idea to contact you, it’s inbound lead generation. 

The main inbound lead generation strategies that are effective for B2B companies are content marketing, LinkedIn posting, webinars, public speaking, podcasts, PR, video marketing, and informal networking.

B2B Inbound Lead Generation Tactics, Compared 

The following list compares all known B2B inbound lead generation strategies along the dimensions of cost, learning curve, resource intensiveness, time until results, and ROI. We then give an overall score considering all these factors together. The statistics are derived from our proprietary dataset which comes from client analytics gathered since 2016.

When analyzing each of these inbound lead generation tactics, we assumed the highest quality expression of each. For example, our evaluation of content marketing assumes thought leadership marketing rather than standard content marketing; and our evaluation of Webinars assumes a well-executed webinar led by a genuine subject matter expert.  

Tactic Cost Learning Curve Resource Intensiveness Time Until Results ROI
(3 year average)
Overall Score (1-10) Notes
Content marketingContent Marketing $10,000 / month Medium 1 hr / week 4-6 months 748% 9 Assumes outsourced thought leadership; if done in-house, 3-4 dedicated employees needed.
LinkedIn PostingLinked In $2,500 / month Low 1 hr / week 6-8 months 229% 6 Consists of posting articles rather than status updates. Similar price if outsourced or in-house. 
WebinarsWebinar $7,500 / month Medium 2 hrs / week 2-4 months 430% 7 Cost consists of allocating a portion of salary from an in-house SME, marketer & designer.  
Public SpeakingPublic Speaking $15,000 / month High 5-10 hrs / month +
travel
4-6 months 856% 9 Cost includes sponsorship fees + share of salaries for speech creation & prep.
PodcastsPodcasts $9,500 / month Medium 3 hrs / week 12 months 527% 7 Assumes extensive time on research, recording, editing, and marketing. Production can be outsourced to reduce time commitment.
PRPR $15,000 / month Low 1 hr / week  2-4 months 62% 5 Assumes outsourced service; less expensive if done in-house. ROI hard to quantify.
Video MarketingVideo Marketing $15,000 / month Medium 1 hr / week 12 months 126% 3 Assumes outsourced; less expensive if done  in-house but high up-front equipment cost and much more time intensive.
Informal NetworkingInformal Networking $2,500 / month Low 5-10 hrs / month +
travel
12 months 691% 8 Cost includes fees for business peer groups but groups can also be formed independently.

Best B2B Inbound Lead Generation Strategies by Industry

Below you’ll find a list of the best lead generation strategies for a number of B2B industries. “Best” in this context is a combination of highest-ROI, lowest learning curve, and quickest time to results. This list is limited to the industries in which we have a substantive dataset from which to draw conclusions.

B2B SaaS

  1. Content marketing in the form of original, quantitative research on what brings customers to users of your software 
  2. Video marketing that demonstrates how your software solves common problems your clients have
  3. Webinars in the form of product walkthroughs and tutorials

Biotech

  1. Public Speaking at high profile industry events that showcases your innovative products and processes
  2. Content Marketing in the form of white papers, thought leadership blog posts, and case studies that demonstrate the advantages of your product
  3. PR that highlights the results of your research

Commercial Insurance

  1. Content Marketing in the form of educational blog posts, downloadable e-books and reports on topics like employee healthcare coverage, changes in regulations, and insurance requirements
  2. Webinars that help business owners determine the coverage that’s best for their business
  3. Podcasts on risk mitigation and the practical effects of new business regulations

Construction

  1. Informal Networking in local business groups, boards of directors, and community organizations to build relationships with potential clients
  2. Content Marketing in the form of geotargeted landing pages, case studies, and blog posts that feature your completed projects
  3. LinkedIn posts and articles that analyze local construction news and trends

eCommerce

  1. PR in the form of product features, competitive advantages, case studies, and showcasing philanthropic causes
  2. Video Marketing showcasing product demonstrations, questions and answers, and use cases
  3. Content Marketing in the form of thought leadership blog posts and landing pages that feature reviews, how-tos, and problem and solution scenarios

Financial Services

  1. Content Marketing in the form of geotargeted landing pages (if serving local clients) , educational blog posts that target research-oriented keywords related to your service, and downloadable e-books
  2. PR in the form of case studies
  3. A Podcast series advising CFOs on financial structures and decisions

HVAC Services

  1. Content Marketing in the form of geotargeted landing pages that attract local clientele
  2. Informal Networking in local business groups to secure new B2B deals
  3. LinkedIn original posts and articles that feature industry and energy trends

Industrial IoT

  1. Content Marketing in the form of landing pages, blog posts, and case studies that describe the unique problems your products have solved
  2. LinkedIn posts that describe ways to ameliorate common inefficiencies in plants, factories, or production processes
  3. Webinars about the way industry is changing with the help of IoT, segmented by sector

IT Staffing

  1. LinkedIn posts and articles speaking to companies seeking to fill specific roles
  2. Informal Networking in online business groups and job sites for the purposes recruiting and placing candidates
  3. Content Marketing in the form of thought leadership blog posts targeting IT staffing services keywords

Legal Services

  1. Content Marketing in the form of geotargeted landing pages (if serving local clients) and educational blog posts that target research-oriented keywords in your area of practice
  2. PR that highlights recent work, high profile clients and philanthropic efforts
  3. Video Marketing that dissects case law or interviews experts on precedents related to core practice areas

Manufacturing

  1. Informal Networking at trade shows and local industry events
  2. LinkedIn Posting in the form of articles and case studies that showcase your capabilities and technology
  3. Webinars that share advanced manufacturing techniques that preserve quality while lowering costs

Medical Device

  1. Public Speaking at high profile industry events that showcases your products
  2. LinkedIn posts featuring problems/solutions, case studies, and product demonstrations 
  3. Content Marketing in the form of product landing pages and downloadable white papers on industry trends

Oil & Gas

  1. Informal networking at industry conferences 
  2. Webinars that share interesting case studies, demonstrate the latest technology, and describe the impact of new regulations
  3. Content Marketing targeting product applications, software or technology-related searches, or analyzing industry news

PCB Design & Manufacturing

  1. Content marketing via regularly posting articles about problems engineers face when designing boards
  2. Webinars going into greater depth about design issues, software features, and the PCB manufacturing process
  3. Video Marketing as a way of touring software features or describing problems and solutions in a more accessible way

Pharmaceutical

  1. Public Speaking at high profile industry events that showcases your products
  2. Content Marketing in the form of product landing pages and downloadable clinic-ready infographics
  3. PR that highlights products, case studies and research results

Real Estate

  1. PR highlighting recent and upcoming deals to garner interest from stakeholders and investors
  2. Informal Networking in local business groups to secure new B2B deals
  3. Content Marketing in the form of geo-targeted landing pages and market-focused blog posts to attract local B2B prospects to your website

Solar Energy

  1. Local PR that showcases your competitive advantages to local clientele
  2. Informal Networking in local business groups to secure new B2B deals
  3. Content Marketing in the form of geotargeted landing pages that attract customers in areas you serve

Implementing an Effective B2B Inbound Lead Generation Program

The lead generation strategies described in this article range in effectiveness by industry and by the quality your organization is able to achieve. They also build on each other, and when combined, give sales prospects multiple impressions of your brand, making a sales conversation more likely. 

If you’re seeking to build a powerful inbound lead generation program, our firm has a long history of delivering a high ROI while virtually automating lead generation for clients. Feel free to reach out to us if you’d like to discuss working together.

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