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The Best Channels for B2B Lead Generation

The Best Channels for B2B Lead Generation

If you want be be successful at B2B lead generation, you need to keep up with the times and stay on top of the latest trends. B2B sales and marketing have changed drastically over the past two decades. Relationships still count, of course. But digital is making inroads.  Consider this comparison of B2B lead gen sources over the past 20 years:

1995 2005 2015
Direct Marketing 66% 51% 15%
Word of Mouth 34% 34% 34%
Digital Marketing 0% 15% 51%

What’s noteworthy is that, while word-of-mouth has remained steady, direct marketing and digital marketing have essentially swapped importance. Digital now accounts for more than half of B2B lead generation.

These changes can and should affect how you communicate with your customers and potential customers.  These days, there are a wide range of B2B channels that can be used. And it’s not just us saying so. A recent survey of 244 B2B marketers conducted by Chief Marketer identified the following top lead generation channels:


Here’s a deeper analysis of what the study found, along with our own observations about the value each of these channels plays in B2B lead generation and why they should matter to you.

Top 5 B2B Lead Generation Channels

#1 Email

The Chief Marketer study found that email is the best channel for B2B lead generation and ROI. Sixty-two percent of marketers say that email is their top source for leads. Nearly the same number of respondents, 61 percent, say that email provides the highest return on investment.

It isn’t surprising that email is the preferred lead generation method. Email’s benefits include:

  • It is cost-effective. On a per-lead basis, no other digital platform beats email.
  • It is scaleable. With email marketing, you can send a single email or a thousand, all without any additional overhead.
  • It is trackable. Unique opens can be recorded, clicks can be recorded, website visits can be recorded.  
  • It is repeatable. Emails can be used more than once.

Marketing automation is a common software that is use in partnership with B2B emailing. Marketing automations lets businesses set up highly personalized content that helps convert prospects to customers and those customers into happy customers. This is most often done through email marketing automatically sent to the prospective clients in a form of nurturing.

#2 Live Events

Live events are the second best lead generation channel for B2B marketers. According to a 2014 MarketingProfs survey, about 50 percent of B2B marketers have set aside a budget for live marketing. These live events include things like trade shows and co-marketing events. Live events account for 59 percent of B2B marketer’s top source of leads and 54 percent of marketer’s highest ROI leads in 2017. Live events are behind Email by three percent in top source of leads and seven percent higher in ROI leads.

Live events are effective because:

  • They are personal. Events bring people together.
  • They are informative.
  • They are popular. Live events have always been a popular outing.

#3 SEO

SEO is the third highest preferred lead generating channel. Web searches and higher ranking in the results produced by search engines means more opportunities for potential customers. Higher ranking sets you up for a lot of leads and success in your content marketing. It could potentially have the biggest impact on lead generation if you know how to implement it according to your business. Applying keywords in SEO that pertain to your business or products can significantly boost your reach to potential leads. SEO is just behind live events at 49 percent for top source of leads and 46 percent for highest ROI. Within arm’s reach, SEO is ten percent lower in source of leads and eight percent lower in highest ROI leads than live events.

SEO is effective because:

  • It optimizes website content
  • It attracts leads according to their search intent
  • It takes advantage of existing content

#4 Content Marketing

In fourth, content marketing involves the creation and sharing of online material such as videos, blogs, and social media intended to stimulate interest in a product or service. Content marketing takes research and creating of information valuable to your business and its customers and distributing it through online channels. The use of consistent content to drive potential profitable customer interaction is part of establishing content marketing leads. It holds ahead of SEO at 51 percent of top source leads, but only 41 percent of highest ROI. This puts it ahead of SEO for top source of lead by two percent, but behind it for highest ROI leads by five percent.

Content marketing is effective because:

  • It capitalizes on the trend toward digital marketing
  • It builds upon existing content resources
  • It pulls together all of a firm’s digital channels — social, email, website

#5 Social Media  

In fifth, Social media is a growing strategy to connect with potential and continual customers. With the introduction of Social media connecting with your customer couldn’t be easier. A slight majority 54 percent say that Social media is a major part of the B2B lead generation and nurturing strategy, although Social media is not considered a top source of leads. A quick way to update your customers about your business is through Social media like LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. However, it ranks fifth behind Content Marketing at 15 percent for top source of leads and 20 percent for ROI leads. As of 2017, Social media is drastically being left in the dust behind content marketing by 36 percent in top source of leads and 21 percent for highest ROI leads.

Social media is effective because:

  • (Almost) Everyone has it. Likely to improve brand loyalty
  • Decreases distance from customers
  • Increases traffic

Why do B2B channels matter?

Generating leads are a major target destinatifon in B2B marketing. Establishing a lead is the key to getting your ROI and building client relationships. The biggest challenges in B2B marketing involve lack of sales follow-up on marketing leads and marketing not generating qualified leads. Following up on leads and potential sales can boost your business’s reputation and connection with your customers. Utilizing the best B2B channels for lead generation, you can ensure that your business stays on top and of the market and reaches your potential pool of customers in any way possible. If you want to see results, now is a good time to reach further. Put yourself out there and get noticed!

At Biznet, we are experts at helping companies stay up to date on the best channels to use for B2B Lead Generation. We offer high quality services that will ensure a lasting reputation and keep you up to date. Check out our digital marketing services page to see all we can do to help you when you aren’t sure what the best way to reach your customers is. Or give us a call at 248-560-9000.