The series “How To Do B2B Lead Generation for Your SME” is created to help you understand the b2b lead generation structure + process and ultimately, to help you gain prospects for your business. We started the series with Part 1, where we discussed the creation of Ideal Account Profile (IAP). In part 2, we will discuss the b2b lead generation process as a whole.

What is a lead (qualified lead)?

The B2B Lead Generation process is the most determining goal of b2b marketers and sales professionals. A lead (qualified lead) is a prospect that meets all of the agreed qualification criteria such as the right budget, decision-making authority, needs for the product or service and purchasing power. These prospects are already interested in your products and services. Not only they’re not just looking for a way to solve their problem, but also, they already know the way to do it. Without a doubt, they know you can help them.

Therefore, lead generation is the most important goal of any business-to-business marketing department. It’s about helping the sales team drive results. Nothing is more important than delivering qualified leads for the sales force to nurture. Hence, providing the sales department with a steady stream of qualified leads is job number one for any business, not just startups.

With the help of lead generation, startups and SMEs can collect valuable contact information too. For example, they can get information such as decision maker’s first and last name, his phone number and email address. Thus. the decision maker in a company is the best possible lead that a salesperson can get.

In short, it’s all about quality over quantity. It’s not about the wide reach of potential clients, it’s about getting the right clients. Better leads always trump over many leads.

Creation of list of potential companies (prospects) based on defined demographics

The first step after creating your Ideal Account Profile (IAP) is the creation of a list of potential companies (prospects). This list will be based on several important demographics.

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Demographics are parameters that you can use to segment your target audience. Common demographics in the b2b segment include:

  • Company size;
  • Budget;
  • Authority;
  • Purchasing power;
  • Product need;
  • Job title;
  • Purchasing process;
  • Annual income;
  • Goals that company wants to achieve;
  • Location of the company;
  • Niche of the company.

In this case, based on your demographics, you can start building your list. These lists of potential clients (companies) can be generated from LinkedIn, Yellow Pages, and In addition, you can do this on other portals where you can get valuable information – that is if you have premium accounts.

Initial Scanning Of The Companies

When your list of potential clients is created, in most of the cases, it needs to be scanned and thoroughly cleaned. This step is vital for a successful b2b lead generation process for 2 reasons.

Number one, you need to remove the non-existing and non-relevant companies from your list. And number two, you will avoid wasting additional effort to engage with non-relevant prospects.

When you do the initial scanning of your list, you need to go over each prospect. Furthermore, you need to check if their website still exists, if the company exists.

Creation of criteria for grading the companies

While the companies are now shortlisted, you know that each of them is relevant as a prospect. But, if you want to make a better comparison between each of them and segment them even further in the process, you can grade them from 0 to 100.

This step creates your criteria for prospect grading. For example, here are some of the possible criteria:

  • Have a very fancy website;
  • Doesn’t have contact details on their web;
  • Without recently updated posts on Facebook/LinkedIn/Twitter;
  • Does not have forum on their page;
  • Have published prices for their products/services;
  • With annual turnover of above $1.000.000;
  • Use a lot of partners to sell;

It should be noted that when you define the criteria, you can manually go over each company and accordingly grade based on the criteria.

Finding Company’s decision maker and their e-mail address

Namely, in the final step of the b2b lead generation process, you will need to start finding decision makers within the companies and their e-mail addresses. The companies that are higher on the scoreboard deserve to be included in your final contact list.

Consequently, these are the companies where you need to look at the decision makers. Those are the people that decide whether or not to purchase your product or service. In this case, you need to combine several mechanisms and tools. You can’t generate high quality leads without having the expertise to do it.

Briefly, your b2b lead generation process shouldn’t stop here. In fact, you can nurture the leads and segment them even further, which will be discussed in Part 3 of this series.

As a startup, you need to think long-term and acquire customers that will prove profitable over a lifetime. You need to position your business in the most profitable space in the market and create a huge demand for your product. Alone you’ll spend a huge amount of time on research, digital marketing, testing, and content creation to reach the right leads. You got to ask yourself if you’re experienced enough to do it in your startup phase.