How Do B2B Businesses Generate Leads Today?

Lead generation
Generate leads

B2B lead generation is the primary driver for business growth. But unlike B2C businesses, It can be quite the steep slope. Your business must deal with multiple competitors trying to reach a small pool of customers. Plus, there are plenty of articles offering different strategies to generate leads for B2B firms.

Despite these setbacks, several businesses make it work, so it is not impossible. The key is to determine what works best for your specific business and maximize that for the best results.

As a guide, this article shows you the four primary ways B2B businesses generate leads that you can learn from. Some focus on just one, while others use a combination of more than two. Which one is best for you?

Three Ways Businesses Generate Leads

These three routes cover multiple other tactics that B2B businesses use in lead generation. Not every method will work the same way for your business. So, you will want to test different approaches to see what works. 

Keyword based approach

Keyword-based lead generation, also known as search engine marketing, relies on keyword searches to generate leads. With this approach, your business identifies keywords that your target audience often searches for, which you then use in your content.

As such, keyword-based approaches involve:

Keyword generation: Either manually or through Search engine optimization (SEO) tools like Ahrefs and Moz. These show you the most popular keywords in your niche and longtail keywords from those too.

Content creation: With the keywords you generate, you create relevant content that users want. When users search keywords, they will be able to find your pages after Google indexes them. 

Measurement: The SEOs must periodically check the content results to see if the keywords are bringing in the expected traffic and what improvements can be made. 

Keyword-based lead generation is more time-consuming than other methods. Yet, it is the most profitable in the long run. 

Pro-tip: Rather than focus on keywords with the most traffic, you must identify words that indicate higher buyer intent or engagement. These may not have the highest traffic, but they can guarantee higher conversion rates

Interruption ads based

Interruption ads are random ads that pop up as you browse the internet or do other related activities on social media, on the street, in newspapers, etc. Unlike keyword searches, interruption-based methods show up for the audience with or without prompting.

Many businesses use this approach to drive brand awareness and sales in the short term. Although it brings higher costs, it makes it easier to reach a large audience in a shorter time compared to other approaches. The key task with such ads is to create compelling copy to draw the viewer to click.

However, users nowadays have ad fatigue. So too many interruption ads can cause the opposite effect and have users avoid you altogether. Plus, over 40% of internet users now have Adblockers. So, interruption-based ads are probably not getting the large traction they used to.

Furthermore, interruption-based ads can greatly affect brand trust depending on the industry. The target audience knows that you are paying for these ads and may thus be wary of your offering. 

Pro-tip: Ad placement can make or break your interruption-ad strategy. You must ensure your ads display strategically where your target audience hangs out. For example, it could make little sense to advertise your wholesale business for office supplies on a marketing SAAS website.

Cold outreach based

Cold outreach-based strategies mainly involve:

  • Cold calls: Physically calling potential customers based on a pre-determined list.
  • Cold emails: Send emails to the target audience also based on a pre-existing email list
  • Social media outreach: Contacting prospects via DMs on social media channels.

You have probably received cold calls and cold emails in the near past. Most people hate them because they are usually not useful. But the right cold call or outreach email at the right time makes the decision-making process all too easy.

This method allows you to reach your target audience right where they are and present your offerings. When done right, you can win multiple sales in a short period. 

Plus, cold outreach could offer higher returns on investment since it costs very little to send an email, message or make a phone call. Yet, you have a high chance of sealing a deal if the person is interested.

However, on the other hand, it can be hard to make a good first impression with cold outreach. And if the prospect isn’t interested, they will quickly ignore you. 

Secondly, it takes more time since you have to contact each prospect individually. That is especially if you need to customize every email and message. Plus, it can be quite time-consuming to identify and zoom in on ideal targets to reach out to. You wouldn't want to waste money contacting many people who will not be interested in your offering.

Pro-tip: To be effective at cold outreach-based methods, personalization is your golden ticket. You need to show the contact that you know their business and that you can be of help to them. Otherwise, you are just another annoying cold-caller. 

Which strategy is the best for your business?

It ultimately depends on your business, your goals and your budget. 

  • Business

What is your offering, who is your target audience, and where do they hang out? This would help you determine the best way to reach them to maximize conversion rates. 

  • Your goals

Some of the methods offer faster short-term results compared to others. So, if you are looking at brand awareness or high traffic, you would likely go for interruption or keyword-based approaches instead of cold outreach.

  • Your budget

Keyword-based approaches are cheaper than interruption-based or cold-outreaches, although the results are more long-term. So, with a higher budget, you could consider the paid routes.

  • The nature of the customer

When dealing with high-value customers, you want to provide the best experience possible, even at extra costs. So usually, account-based strategies work better and are compatible with keyword-based approaches to generate leads.

On the other hand, cost cutting is the goal for low-medium value clients. So, you would usually work best with cold outreach-based methods and, in some cases, interruption-based ads. 


These are the three major ways B2B businesses attract and retain leads. So how best can your business generate leads?

Keyword-based lead generation focuses on quality over quantity. When done correctly, they can drive valuable leads without breaking the bank.

Interruption-based ads help get the ball rolling fast. They can be an effective short-term strategy, although they are more expensive than the other options.

On the other hand, cold outreach strategies take up more time and resources but are generally less costly than the other two.

Best practices suggest you test different tactics to see what works best for your business. Although you can focus on one, combining two or more strategies may yield great short- and long-term results. 

Unsure of the best lead generation strategy for your business, reach out to the Funnelbud team today.


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About the Author

Priscilla Achieng

Priscilla Achieng is a lead Technical Content Writer at Funnelbud. A Content marketing professional by day, a passionate soccer fan by night, she also provides copywriting and SEO services for businesses of all sizes.