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The guide to lead generation in B2B

Successful lead generation is an important pillar for future growth for companies in the B2B sector. There are different ways and strategies in the acquisition of new customers, all of which offer good prospects.

What does lead generation mean?

The term lead generation encompasses the process that a prospective customer goes through for one's own company until, in the best case, he has become a paying customer.

The starting point for successful lead generation in the B2B segment is a selected strategy, which was determined by marketing in cooperation with sales at the beginning of the campaign. Thus, lead generation is not a random product, but is precisely planned from the beginning.

Before the start of the campaign for lead generation in the B2B area, the approach is determined with which new desired customers are to be found for one's own business.

Such planning consists of these sub-areas:

  • Selecting and defining target customers

  • Contacting desired customers or drawing their attention to oneself

  • Define the customer journey and determine valuable content

  • Provide interested parties with additional information

  • Deepen contacts and sound out readiness to buy

  • Win leads and then transfer to sales team

In the course of lead generation, a prospect passes through various stages during the customer journey.

This creates touchpoints where they come into contact with the company. In lead generation, these include, among others:

At these points, it's marketing's job to pick up the customer and provide them with targeted information. It's important that you do this by responding to the customer's needs rather than sending out promotional messages and price lists of products.

At the same time, touchpoints are excellent opportunities to get additional information or contact details from your ideal customers.

Lead generation breaks down into the three segments for your B2B company in the lead funnel:

Here, it's crucial to constantly check the status of each lead to keep them on their customer journey.

At the end of the lead generation process is the Sales Qualified Lead (SQL), which is transferred to the sales department after consultation with them.

Leads in B2B Sales

A lead that has been passed on to sales is a good opportunity for your company to successfully close a deal. In order for a promising prospect to become a qualified lead for sales as part of the lead generation process, they have gone through many stages as part of the customer journey.

These include, for example:

  • Increased visits to the company's own website

  • Reading and retrieving interesting content (company blog / newsletter)

  • Interest in gated content

  • Interaction via social media

  • Query and information on product-specific content

  • High value within scoring for lead generation

  • Sending contact request

This means that this potential customer has shown interest in your company's products and solutions several times in the context of lead generation, and has agreed to be contacted by sales staff.

The advantage for sales at this stage is that the qualified prospect has sufficient prior knowledge and has already been well supplied with information. This means that it is no longer necessary to conduct time-consuming contact discussions.

Also the philosophy of the company and an overview of own products and solutions do not have to be mentioned by the employee from the sales department now. He can concentrate completely on selling the products.

Due to the target customer's extensive prior knowledge from lead generation, the likelihood of the lead completely bailing during the sales call due to lack of information is relatively low.

Leads in Digital Marketing

Lead generation in B2B today is mostly done digitally. Many decision-makers in B2B companies prefer the Internet as their first port of call when solving problems or looking for new business partners.

Here, they find out about opportunities that other partners have or get suggestions and information. Thanks to artificial intelligence, Google is now able to offer targeted sources of information even from unstructured input commands from a user. This saves time and is free of charge for the searcher in the first step.

To stay one step ahead in lead generation, it's crucial to know the potential touch points of your ideal customers so you can pick up your leads there and draw attention to your business with targeted information.

These digital channels are of interest to you:

When it comes to lead generation, it is crucial that you reach out to your prospects and cater to their needs and wants.

The goal here must be to help your potential customers solve their problems. At the same time, it is the task of the employees to obtain additional information from your target customers in marketing and to further optimize the contact.

Social Media Leads

Social media channels are becoming increasingly important in lead generation. It's relatively easy to place your own company content on social media without appearing promotional. There, you have the option to share posts from your website or lead magnets and get them out to a wider audience.

You will meet a large number of interesting B2B business partners on social media who are also looking for information and contacts there.

The maxim here is:

  • Information

  • Communication

  • Networking

Access to social networks is uncomplicated and you benefit from the multitude of users. Therefore, social selling is clearly in vogue.

These channels, among others, are suitable as a platform for the distribution of company-owned content:

When distributing gated content on social media, it's critical for your business that the content is interesting and current. Remember that information comes before advertising.

What are Lead Magnets?

During successful lead generation, there are stations where it is important to pick up the potential customer. This is accomplished by providing valuable information to the prospect to entice them to share their contact information.

Lead magnets are content that is free to the target customer, but in return the customer gives up their email address, for example.

Successful lead magnets include:

  • Calculators that relate to solutions from your own company

  • Industry reports that present your company as an expert

  • Checklists for information gathering

  • Webinars and live chat for company insights

  • E-books and white papers for comprehensive information

  • Guides as manuals and advisors

  • Test versions as free demos of your own products

  • Case studies

When providing lead magnets, it is crucial to make sure that the content has always been written in an up-to-date and interesting way. To do this, it is crucial that the content of the lead generation magnets is consistent and in line with the products and content on your website.

It would be unattractive if there were any discrepancies in the process that could confuse your target customers. At the same time, the credibility of your entire digital presence would be questioned by potential customers.

Costs for lead generation

The cost to generate a lead cannot be measured across the board. There are differences between industries and for this it is relevant for which channels a prospect can be used. Most importantly, there is a distinction in terms of the market maturity that a target customer should have in the lead generation process.

Here it is essential whether a desired customer belongs to the group of

  • Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) or

  • Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)


The SQL is already much further along the customer journey and is already ripe for handover to sales staff.

For a self-executed campaign for lead generation, a control calculation is suitable. Add up all the expenses incurred during the lead generation period and divide the value determined by the number of leads acquired.

The result shows you the value that your marketing staff actually spent on a lead.

Another way to capture lead generation costs is to compare the channels through which leads have been generated for the B2B segment.

Here there are separate quotes for example:

  • Email marketing

  • Leads from social media channels

  • Prospects from audio and video channels

  • Desired customers from a lead list

  • Leads from search engine marketing

  • Desired customers from trade fairs / events

  • Leads from referral marketing

With each of the individual strategies, the quality of the individual leads is of course different.


Lead generation is an essential part of online strategy for B2B companies. With a clear definition of what the perfect lead looks like and close collaboration between marketing and sales, it is possible to acquire valuable leads and convert them into paying customers.