8 proven B2B sales lead generation methods

Drive sales leads by including each method into your lead generation programs.

Relationship marketing

Relationship marketing is the approach underlying all of the “sales-lead-generation-success” methods. Sales lead generation using this method simply refers to cultivating a personal, sales-winning relationship with your prospects. Keeping in touch with prospects via a series of ongoing communications and offers throughout your prospective customers’ consideration processes lets you pick up sales others leave on the table.

Complementary partner referrals


By joining forces with complementary partners, you can instantly multiply your sales lead generation pool and make it easier for companies to engage in doing business with you. Of all the sales lead generation programs, complementary partner referral programs generate the highest quality B2B sales leads.

Internet marketing and search engine optimization

Business buyers are more sophisticated and getting harder to reach than ever. Studies show that about 90% of business buyers start with research on the Internet. Therefore, it’s critical to have a well-tuned sales lead generation program that includes Search Engine Optimization (SEO)/Internet marketing strategies to attract prospects at the beginning of their buying cycle.


Even though many people despise the thought of telemarketing, it is very effective for sales lead generation when executed properly. Telemarketing is a personal marketing and sales lead generation technique that offers a cost-effective, efficient alternative to field selling, but it can be significantly more expensive than direct mail email. By including telemarketing in your B2B sales lead generation marketing plan, you can reach up to thirty decision-makers a day at a cost of $15 to $20 per contact. In contrast, with field sales, you can reach only four or five decision-makers a day at an average cost of $392 or more per contact. Direct mail may cost as little as a dollar, and email is often much less. However, if you consistently prospect for and nurture leads via phone, you will consistently generate qualified sales leads.

Email publications

By creating your own email newsletter, you could send out industry news and tips to suspects in your market. Since you will be on your prospects’ minds more often than your competition, eventually, your sales leads will turn into actual sales.

Direct mail

There is an entire industry of people like Dan Kennedy, Bob Bly, and Bill Glazer who are dedicated to business-to-business selling through direct marketing. Sales letters can be an excellent sales lead generation method. But most sales and business professionals do not know how to use this lead generation technique effectively and efficiently.

My clients have found that the best place to start revamping their direct response marketing is by determining who their best customers are, then trying to target their database marketing efforts at companies and individuals who are similar in nature.

Print advertising

When done correctly, print advertising can be a highly effective sales lead generation activity. However, you must use publications that deliver messages directly to your targeted audience. Please read my related article entitled “16 proven techniques for better B2B sales leads generation with print advertising.”

Event marketing

Whether you do it live, through the telephone (teleseminars) or via the Web (webinars), seminars and workshops are a great sales lead generation tool. People who attend your seminar have an interest in the information you are presenting and a need for your product or service.

Live seminars can be done inexpensively. Teleseminars are the least expensive, with the only costs being conference phone line rental and promotion fees. Webinars are more expensive but it creates a very interactive environment for attendees without having to leave the office.

The goal: Connect with customers in a meaningful way

By using these eight proven B2B sales lead generation methods, you will capture more sales-ready opportunities for your salespeople to turn into new business, meaning greater sales revenue and profits for your company.

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M. H. "Mac" McIntosh is described by many as one of America's leading business-to-business sales and marketing consultants and marketing speakers. He is president of Mac McIntosh Incorporated, a marketing consulting firm specializing in helping companies get more high-quality sales leads and turn them into sales. More about Mac...

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