What is B2B Lead Generation and how it works in 2023?

What is B2B Lead Generation and how it works image

What is B2B lead generation?

B2B lead generation is the process of identifying the right set of prospects for your company’s product or service, then converting them to buy. It is an important activity for marketing and sales teams in B2B environment.

B2B lead generation also known as business-to-business lead generation where businesses that primarily sell to other businesses.

This is completely different from business-to-consumer (B2C) lead generation, where products and services are sold directly to consumers.

What is a Lead?

A lead is a prospect who has shown positive interest towards your company’s product or service.

There are two types of leads.

Inbound leads

A prospect visiting your company website and downloading an eBook from your company’s website.

Outbound leads

A prospect responding to one of your outbound marketing emails to have a quick call with your sales team.

What are different types of B2B leads?

There are two types of B2B leads. Marketing qualified leads and Sales qualified leads.

What is a Marketing-Qualified Leads?

Marketing-qualified leads, or MQLs, are leads who are very likely to become a customer. The qualification is based on the engagement that the MQL has had with your company’s marketing efforts. 

For example:

  • A lead filling out a form, or multiple forms on your company’s website
  • A lead downloading a piece of content from your company’s landing page
  • A lead signing up to attend one of your company’s upcoming events or webinars

What is a Sales-Qualified Leads?

Sales-qualified leads, or SQLs, are MQLs who have progressed along the funnel and are ready for engagement with your sales team. To be designated as an SQL, the lead must have shown interest to buy your company’s product or service.

For example:

  • A lead having a telephone conversation with a member of your sales team
  • A lead indicating their interest in an email or LinkedIn message
  • A lead requesting more information about your company’s product or service offering
  • A lead requesting for a demo of your product or service

How do you generate leads for B2B?

B2B lead generation is a process managed by marketing and sales professionals. They may work alone or work together depends upon the business needs.

It is very important for sales and marketing teams to be closely aligned for better results.


A sales team focused on B2B lead generation is segregated into two groups. These groups perform separate, clearly defined tasks.

The two groups are:

1.Sales Development Representatives (SDRs) – this group usually spends time in office and responsible for sourcing leads, engaging with them and booking meetings.

2.Sales Managers (SMs) – this group usually spends time in field and responsible for conducting demos, meeting prospects in person, closing deals and generating revenue for the business.


There are two different types of marketers focused on B2B lead generation activities.

Two types of Marketers;

1.Demand Generation Marketers – this group is responsible for the entire B2B lead generation cycle. Their job is to source leads, nurture leads and guiding them from simply being aware of your company brand to becoming a paying customer.

2.Growth Hackers – this group is responsible on generating quick revenue growth while spending as little as possible. They typically work at early-stage start-ups and tend to be more experimental in approach.

How B2B lead generation performed?

B2B lead generation is performed through a variety of marketing and sales activities.

What is lead generation in Marketing?

There are several methods that marketers can leverage to generate leads and demand.

They are:

1.Content marketing – this is where marketers create valuable content and promote them to their target audiences via various marketing channels. Content can be in different forms like blogs, infographics, videos, webinars, podcasts and eBooks.

2.Account-based marketing (ABM) – this is where marketers identify their target accounts (company) based on the business needs and identify the target personas inside a specific account (company), and then create marketing campaigns personalised to those leads.

3.Tradeshows/Conferences – this is where marketers identify the right set of events which is relevant to their business and participate in those events to showcase the company’s product and service and generate interest.

4.Social Media Marketing this is where marketers promote their content to engage with their target audience via different social media channels like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and etc… to generate leads.

5.Email Marketing – this is where marketers reach out to their email marketing list via emails with interesting content across globe to generate leads.

6.Paid Marketing – this is where marketers leverage paid marketing channels like Google Ads to generate leads based on their business needs.

7.Search Engine Marketing – this is where marketers utilize SEO to rank their website on top of the google search results which attracts more visitors to their company website and convert them to a paying customer.

What is lead generation in Sales?

In sales, B2B lead generation is performed through a process called B2B outbound.

This process includes:

1.Cold Calling – Sales representatives calling B2B prospects via telephone, explaining the benefits of their product or service, and qualifying the lead for future engagement. Cold calling can be performed via manually or through automated technology.

2.Cold Email – Sales representatives reaching out to B2B prospects via email, in the hopes of having a conversation with the prospects. Cold email is normally managed through email automation platforms.

3.Social Selling – Sales representatives contacting the B2B prospects on social media, engaging with them and developing relationships over time. LinkedIn is the best social media network to generate leads in the B2B space.

4.Networking –Sales representatives attending networking events which is relevant to their business and catching up with the key decision makers in the event and generate leads.

How to find B2B leads in outbound process? 

The first step towards generating B2B leads is identifying the target audience based on various parameters like Company size, Industry, Location, Employee size, Annual revenue, Technology stack and etc…,

The next step is to identify the target persona’s (key decision makers) in the target account (company) to reach out to.

For example;

Target Accounts

An email marketing software company selling email marketing software across North America with an annual revenue between 5 million USD to 10 million.

Target Personas

CMO, Marketing Head, Director of Email marketing and etc would be right set of key decision makers to reach out.

The above requirement is often sourced in-house, generated by a third-party “lead gen” company, or bought from a lead database tools.

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