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The Perfect Guide to Lead Generation Strategy

Discover the ultimate guide to crafting a winning B2B lead generation strategy. Uncover tactics, automation tools, and best practices for successful outbound lead generation, ensuring your business thrives.



Chapter 1


Chapter 2

Understanding Lead Generation

Chapter 3

Key Components of a Successful Lead Generation Strategy

Chapter 4

B2B Lead Generation Strategies

Chapter 5

Using Automation for Lead Generation

Chapter 6

Outbound Lead Generation Techniques

Chapter 7

Lead Generation Best Practices

Chapter 8

Measuring and Analyzing Lead Generation Results

Chapter 9

Case Studies and Success Stories

Chapter 10


Chapter 11

Additional Resources and Tools

Table of Contents

Chapter 1


How do you define lead generation? Well, it’s not just about finding potential customers. It’s about finding the right customers and knowing exactly how to guide them on a journey towards becoming loyal customers.

Of course, that’s easier said than done! According to a 2021 survey from Ruler Analytics, 37% of B2B marketers consider generating high-quality leads their top challenge.

If you’re struggling with the same challenge, this guide is for you. We’re going to:

  • Show you how to craft a winning lead generation strategy
  • Offer invaluable insights into best practices and automation tools
  • Share case studies for inspiration

Chapter 2

Understanding Lead Generation

Quick Take: B2B lead generation should focus on targeting multiple people within organizations, not just individuals. 

Lead generation is the systematic process of identifying, engaging, and nurturing visitors who fit your buyer personas and ideal customer profile (ICP)

This process is especially critical for B2B companies, where complex decision-making processes and longer sales cycles require a sophisticated approach.

B2B vs. B2C Lead Generation: Understanding the Difference

While B2B and B2C lead generation share the same core concept, their execution differs significantly. 

For B2C companies, lead generation strategies target individual consumers. The company must craft messaging and strategies that appeal to the personal preferences and needs of these individual buyers. It often involves a shorter sales process and a focus on a broader audience.

For B2B companies, lead generation means engaging with organizations, each with its own structure, decision-making units, and unique pain points. B2B leads are typically acquired through relationships with key decision-makers, extensive research, and tailored strategies that cater to a niche audience.

Chapter 3

Key Components of a Successful Lead Generation Strategy

Quick Take: Know your buyer and their pain points. Then respect their time by delivering value in every interaction.

Buyer Personas and Target Audience Identification

First, you must understand your audience. Start by creating detailed buyer personas representing your ideal customers. That means diving deep into their pain points, motivations, and behaviors.

For instance, if you’re a B2B software provider, a buyer persona might be “IT Manager John,” who seeks efficient solutions to streamline operations and prioritize data security. He might also be responsible for managing a team of tech professionals, and prioritize tools that optimize workflow while assisting with regulatory compliance.

Offer Each Persona a Clear Value Proposition

To stand out in a sea of competitors, you need to articulate why prospects should choose your offering over others. Your value propositions should answer the lead’s question, “What’s in it for me?”

Sticking with our B2B software example, let’s brainstorm.

  • Our cloud-based software reduces operational costs by 30%
  • Automated workflow management and real-time analytics, so you can spend less time chasing data and more time putting it to work
  • Maximize your budget and resources
  • Privacy law compliance strengthened and simplified

Landing Pages and Lead Magnets

Once you’ve captured your audience’s attention with tailored messaging, you need a place to direct them — a landing page. An effective landing page converts visitors into leads by encouraging them to take a specific action, such as signing up for a free trial, requesting a demo, or downloading a resource.

Effective landing pages are clean, focused, and centered around a single call-to-action (CTA). They should also match the messaging that brought visitors there in the first place, providing a seamless experience.

When using web forms to collect contact data, you can incentivize visitors to exchange their contact information for valuable content like ebooks, whitepapers, or webinars.

Gating all of your valuable content can be self-defeating, though, since many visitors avoid filling out web forms. Make sure prospects who are early in their buying journey can do effective self-serve research on your site. Otherwise, they’ll go elsewhere.

Lead Nurturing Workflows

Once you’ve captured leads, your goal is to guide and nurture them through the buyer’s journey, from initial awareness to the final decision-making stage. This process involves providing relevant, valuable content at each step to keep your leads engaged and informed.

Imagine your buyer persona has just downloaded your ebook on CRM software. Now, it’s time to nurture this lead. You might start with a series of automated emails discussing the CRM’s top benefits, best practices, and success stories. As the lead progresses through these emails, they gain a clearer understanding of how your software can revolutionize their company’s operations.

Effective lead nurturing workflows are also personalized and well-timed. They adapt to each lead’s behavior and engagement level. If your lead clicks on an email link about data security, you can tailor later emails to focus more on this aspect of your software.

Chapter 4

B2B Lead Generation Strategies

Quick Take: You need an omnichannel approach to reach and influence buyers. The tactics below reinforce one another. 

Now that we’ve established the core components of a successful lead generation strategy, let’s dive into some specialized B2B lead generation tactics that can supercharge your efforts.

Content Marketing for Lead Gen

In-depth, industry-specific content is a powerful tool. Think whitepapers, case studies, video tutorials, and informative blog posts tailored to your ideal buyer’s pain points and interests.

For example, let’s say you offer cybersecurity services, and your ideal buyer is Alex, a Chief Information Security Officer at a financial institution. What type of content can you create?

  • A detailed case study showcasing how your cybersecurity solutions protected a similar financial institution from a cyberattack
  • An informative blog series on emerging cyber threats and mitigation strategies specific to the financial sector.
  • A weekly newsletter highlighting emerging cybersecurity threats.

Regardless of the content format, the goal of this lead generation tactic is to leave your buyer persona thinking, “This company truly understands the unique challenges we face and can provide the solution we need.”

Email Marketing Tactics

Email marketing is about delivering personalized, valuable content.

For instance, if you’re a SaaS company offering different software solutions, you wouldn’t want to send the same email to a startup founder and a Chief Technology Officer of a large enterprise. They have distinct needs and interests.

When emailing a list of prospects, your audiences should be carefully segmented so you can deliver relevant campaigns.

Consider employing automation with 6sense’s Conversational Email tool to streamline your email efforts. It can:

  • Help you quickly set up drip email campaigns tailored to specific buyer segments
  • Followup with prospects based on their research activity, delivering sharply-targeted followup emails
  • Answer replies from prospects, assist them, and move them toward scheduling a call or booking a demo

Social Media Outreach Strategies

Social media platforms are valuable B2B lead generation tools. However, it’s crucial to approach social media outreach with a clear strategy in mind.

First, identify the social media channels where your target audience is most active. For B2B, platforms like LinkedIn and X (formerly Twitter) are often hotspots for professional networking and lead generation.

Next, you’ll want to engage with decision-makers, join industry groups, and share content that resonates with your audience and positions you as a thought leader. For example, you might share insightful articles on industry trends, comment on relevant posts, and participate in group discussions to establish your expertise.

Paid social advertising is another avenue to explore. LinkedIn in particular is a goldmine for this type of B2B lead generation. According to a recent report, nearly 85% of B2B teams use LinkedIn during the buying process. For a step-by-step guide on using LinkedIn to generate high-quality leads, check out these 5 Recipes for Creating Effective, Perfectly Timed LinkedIn Ad Campaigns.

Webinars and Events for B2B Leads

Webinars and events are also excellent tools for showcasing your expertise, interacting directly with your target audience, and collecting valuable B2B leads.

Consider this scenario: You’re a marketing consultancy firm specializing in SEO services. You can attract marketing managers, business owners, and SEO enthusiasts by hosting a webinar titled “Mastering SEO Trends for 2024.”

During the webinar, you can provide valuable information, share success stories, and offer actionable tips. Attendees who find your content helpful are more likely to engage with your brand and consider your services in the future.

Industry conferences and trade shows also offer excellent opportunities for B2B lead generation. These events gather professionals and decision-makers in one place, providing you with a captive audience interested in your industry.

To maximize the impact of webinars and events, consider offering incentives for attendees to share their contact information. For example, you can provide access to exclusive resources, downloadable materials, or special discounts in exchange for their details.

If you’re using 6sense, you have even more options for lead generation from events.

Cold Outreach and Personalized Messaging

Cold outreach, combined with personalized messaging, is a B2B lead generation technique that can yield remarkable results when executed strategically. This approach involves reaching out to potential leads who may not be familiar with your brand or offerings.

The key to successful cold outreach is personalization. Generic, one-size-fits-all messages are unlikely to grab the attention of busy professionals. Instead, you must craft tailored messages that address each recipient’s specific pain points, needs, and interests.

Start by conducting thorough research on your prospects. Understand their roles, challenges, and objectives within their organizations. This information will be invaluable in customizing your outreach.

For instance, if you offer HR software solutions, and your target is the HR manager of a mid-sized tech company, your message might begin by acknowledging the unique challenges HR managers face in tech environments. You can then highlight how your software streamlines HR processes and improves efficiency.

Intent data is a huge advantage for this type of outreach, since it can let you know which leads are likely to be receptive, and it also give you insights into the topics they are likely to care about.

Chapter 5

Using Automation for Lead Generation

Quick Take: Basic automations save time and ensure prospects receive valuable information. Automations triggered by AI can quickly respond to account behavior, keeping your messaging on point.

Picture this: You’ve got a team of tireless virtual assistants working around the clock, ensuring your message lands right in the laps of your dream clients precisely when they’re most receptive. How? Automation. 

Here are some automation strategies that can streamline and optimize your lead generation efforts.

Email Marketing Automation

Email marketing automation tools allow you to send targeted and personalized email campaigns to leads based on their behavior and preferences. By tracking actions such as email opens, link clicks, and content downloads, you can segment your email list and deliver relevant content. 

For example, suppose a lead has shown interest in a specific product or service. In that case, automation can trigger a series of follow-up emails that provide more in-depth information and nurture the lead further down the sales funnel.

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) Software

A CRM system centralizes lead data and interactions, enabling your team to manage and track leads effectively. By recording all touchpoints with leads — including emails, calls, and meetings — you gain a holistic view of each lead’s journey. 

This information helps sales and marketing teams tailor their communication, identify opportunities for follow-up, and provide a more personalized experience, ultimately increasing the chances of conversions.


Chatbots offer real-time engagement on your website, providing immediate responses to visitor inquiries. They can also collect basic lead information, such as names and email addresses, and initiate conversations. 

For instance, a chatbot can ask visitors if they’d like to subscribe to your newsletter or receive a downloadable resource, capturing leads.

Lead Scoring

Lead scoring assigns numerical values to leads based on their engagement and behavior. This allows you to prioritize leads and focus your efforts on those likely to convert.

For example, leads who have visited your pricing page, downloaded a product brochure, and interacted with your emails might receive a higher lead score. Automation can then trigger actions when leads reach specific score thresholds, such as notifying the sales team to reach out to high-scoring leads immediately.

Analytics and Reporting

Automation in analytics tools helps you track and measure the performance of your lead generation campaigns in real time. This data provides insights into which strategies are most effective, enabling you to continually make data-driven decisions and optimize your lead generation efforts. 

For example, you can automatically generate reports that show the ROI of specific marketing campaigns, helping you allocate resources more efficiently.

How AI Adds Power to Automation

6sense makes marketing more powerful by enabling lead generation teams to create audience segments based on what buyers are interested in, and buying stage.

Accounts often take several months to make B2B purchases. During this period, they may be exploring a variety of topics. 6sense can detect buying indicators that tell you what accounts are currently looking into. This data can help you create personalized campaigns tailored to the precise needs of each account in real-time.

This can lead to increased lead generation, improved conversion rates, and higher ROI.

Chapter 6

Outbound Lead Generation Techniques

Quick Take: Respect people’s time. If you’re going to initiate contact, have a plan. Do research. Understand the value you can offer, and deliver that promise quickly. 

While inbound strategies (e.g., content marketing) work to attract leads to you, outbound lead generation takes the initiative with proactive outreach. If you master the following techniques, you’ll be in the driver’s seat, accelerating your lead acquisition and expanding your business’s reach.

Cold Calling and Cold Emailing

Your ideal customer may not always come knocking on your door, but that doesn’t mean you can’t reach out and introduce yourself. Cold calling and cold emailing are classic outbound lead generation techniques that, when done right, can yield excellent results.

Cold Calling

When cold calling, preparation is key. Before picking up the phone, research your prospect and their company. 6sense’s guide to B2B prospecting will help you learn how to understand their pain points, industry challenges, and how your product or service can provide solutions. Craft a concise and compelling script that highlights the value you can offer.

During the call, be polite, professional, and respectful of the prospect’s time. Clearly state your purpose and how your offering can benefit them. Remember that the goal of the initial call is not necessarily to close a deal but to establish a connection and interest.

Cold Emailing

Cold emailing, like cold calling, requires careful planning. Start with a compelling subject line that piques curiosity and encourages the recipient to open the email. Keep the email concise, focusing on the recipient’s needs and the benefits your solution brings.

Personalization is particularly crucial in cold emailing. Address the recipient by name, mention specific pain points or challenges relevant to their industry, and provide a clear call to action (CTA). Whether you want them to schedule a call, download a resource, or request a demo, make the next steps easy and enticing.

LinkedIn Outreach

Your LinkedIn outreach strategy should begin by optimizing your profile. It should reflect your expertise, industry experience, and the value you offer. Also, make sure to use a professional profile picture and craft a compelling headline and summary.

Next, identify and connect with decision-makers, potential leads, and individuals in your target industry or niche. Follow best practices for LinkedIn outreach, such as personalizing your connection requests and InMail messages by mentioning a common interest or mutual connection. Also, avoid overly salesy language and instead aim to begin a meaningful conversation.

Direct Mail Campaigns

In today’s digital age, direct mail may seem old-fashioned, but it can be a highly effective outbound lead generation technique, especially when targeting a specific audience. Direct mail campaigns involve sending prospects physical marketing materials, such as postcards, brochures, or personalized letters.

The success of a direct mail campaign lies in its personalization and relevance. Start by creating a targeted list of recipients who align with your ideal customer profile. This could be based on industry, location, company size, or other relevant criteria.

Make sure to personalize your direct mail pieces to resonate with the recipient. Mention specific pain points or challenges they may be facing and highlight how your solution addresses them. Don’t forget also to include a clear call to action.

Measuring and Optimizing Outbound Efforts

Outbound lead generation efforts require continuous refinement and optimization to maximize their effectiveness. Here are some critical tips to measure and improve your outbound strategies:

  • Define key metrics. Determine the key performance indicators (KPIs) relevant to your outbound efforts. These may include conversion rates, response rates, open rates, and revenue generated.
  • A/B testing. Experiment with different messaging, subject lines, and CTAs to identify what resonates best with your audience.
  • CRM integration. Integrate your outbound lead generation efforts with your CRM system. This allows you to track and manage interactions, segment leads, and automate follow-up tasks.
  • Data analysis. Regularly analyze data from your outbound campaigns to identify trends and patterns. Are certain industries more responsive to your outreach? Are specific messaging tactics more successful?

Chapter 7

Lead Generation Best Practices

Quick Take: Talk with your sales team, use shared success metrics, and experiment. 

Regardless of the specific lead generation tactic you decide to use, there are some best practices that can significantly enhance your chances of success. These practices serve as guiding principles for crafting and executing effective lead generation strategies.

A/B Testing Landing Pages and Emails

A/B testing, also known as split testing, is a lead generation best practice that involves creating two or more versions of a webpage, email, or other marketing asset to compare their performance. Doing this lets you determine which version resonates best with your audience and yields higher conversion rates.

For example, in A/B testing landing pages, you might create two variations of a page with different headlines, images, or call-to-action buttons. Directing equal traffic to both versions allows you to analyze which generates more leads or conversions.

Continuous Data Analysis and Refinement

Continuous data analysis involves monitoring and assessing metrics and KPIs related to your lead generation efforts. This includes tracking website traffic, conversion rates, email open and click-through rates, and more.

By regularly reviewing your data, you can spot underperforming elements and refine your strategies. For example, if you notice a drop in email engagement, you can experiment with different subject lines or content types to re-engage your audience.

Building and Maintaining a Robust Sales Funnel

A well-structured sales funnel is essential for guiding leads through the journey from initial awareness to becoming paying customers. It consists of distinct stages, such as awareness, consideration, and decision, each with its own marketing and sales activities.

To optimize your lead generation strategy, map out your sales funnel and make sure it aligns with your buyer’s journey. Understand your leads’ needs and questions at each stage and provide relevant content and touchpoints to nurture them through the funnel. Make sure to also regularly review and update your sales funnel to adapt to changing market conditions and customer behaviors.

Sales and Marketing Alignment

Ineffective communication and collaboration between sales and marketing teams can hinder lead generation efforts.

On the other hand, when sales and marketing teams are aligned, they share a common understanding of the ideal customer profile, lead qualification criteria, and the lead handoff process. They also collaborate on content creation, messaging, and lead nurturing strategies.

Aligning sales and marketing departments can also improve lead quality, accelerate lead conversion, and enhance the overall customer experience. It makes it easier for marketing to generate leads likely to convert into customers. It also ensures sales teams receive well-qualified leads, ultimately driving revenue growth.

Chapter 8

Measuring and Analyzing Lead Generation Results

Quick Take: A lot of traditional marketing metrics suck if you’re using an ABM approach. Consider these instead. 

Accurately measuring and thoroughly analyzing your lead generation results is fundamental to optimizing your strategy for better outcomes. Here are some tips on how to effectively go about it.

Key Metrics and KPIs

When tracking lead generation success, several key metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) are pivotal in providing insights into your strategy’s performance. These include:

  • Conversion Rate. The percentage of visitors who take a desired action, such as signing up for a newsletter or requesting a demo.
  • Lead-to-Customer Ratio. The number of leads that eventually convert into paying customers.
  • Cost per Lead (CPL). The amount spent on acquiring each lead.
  • Return on Investment (ROI). The financial return gained from your lead generation efforts compared to the costs.
  • Lead Quality. The assessment of how well leads align with your ideal customer profile.

These are just some of the metrics that can help you gauge the effectiveness of your lead generation campaigns, identify areas for improvement, and make data-driven decisions to optimize your strategy. 

Analytics Tools

Analytics tools helps measurement and analyize lead generation results. Here are some commonly used types of analytics tools for lead generation, along with examples:

    • Web Analytics Tools. These provide data on website traffic, user behavior, and conversion rates. Examples include Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics.
    • Marketing Automation Platforms. These tools offer comprehensive marketing and sales analytics, including lead generation metrics. Examples include HubSpot and Marketo.

Chapter 9

Case Studies and Success Stories

Now that we’ve explored the fundamental principles of lead generation, let’s look at some real-world success stories to see these strategies in action.

Zendesk’s Lead Generation Win

Zendesk, a global leader in customer engagement solutions, knew they needed to level up their lead generation game as they aimed for enterprise-level accounts. Their traditional approach to finding leads wasn’t cutting it for larger B2B purchases. They also faced the challenge of engaging multiple stakeholders with varying interests and knowledge levels. That’s when Zendesk turned to 6sense.

Their strategy was straightforward yet powerful. Zendesk decided to only pursue leads that 6sense flagged as high-intent—those in the Decision or Purchase stages of the buying journey. This strategic move reduced the quantity of leads but significantly improved their quality.

They didn’t stop there. They also leveraged 6sense to gain insights into the keywords their target accounts were searching for and the websites they were visiting. With this information, they personalized their messaging and outreach, hitting the right chords with potential customers and accelerating the sales process.

Zendesk also adopted an account-based approach, perfect for targeting enterprise accounts with buying teams that could include a dozen or more people. The result? A remarkable 8% to 10% average increase in opportunity creation from Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) on a global scale.

Learn more: Zendesk Customer Story – Lead Generation

Marathon Health’s Lead Generation Success

Marathon Health, a nationwide healthcare provider, was grappling with an outdated marketing approach in 2020. Their marketing team was stuck in what they humorously called the “arts and crafts” era, churning out flyers and presentations while lacking the tools for effective lead generation.

Their sales team faced another challenge — they were slogging through endless cold calls without insight into which prospects were genuinely interested. This was a costly and inefficient endeavor.

In 2021, they partnered with 6sense to supercharge their lead generation strategy. They embraced an omnichannel strategy that allowed them to personalize their marketing efforts based on the lead’s geographic location. This became vital for Marathon Health, which was rapidly expanding its health center network across the country.

6sense’s orchestrations and Salesforce integrations also provided a wealth of data on target accounts, enabling Marathon Health’s revenue team to engage with leads effectively. The result? An impressive 211% surge in in-market buying.

However, they still needed a solution for reaching prospects at scale via email. That’s where 6sense’s AI Email Assistant, Conversational Email, came into play in 2022. This AI-powered tool enabled Marathon Health’s small team to deliver personalized email journeys. The outcome was astounding — email open rates shot up by 55%, and they added $4.5 million to their net-new pipeline in just two months.

Learn more: Marathon Health Customer Story – Lead Generation

Chapter 10


Lead generation is a multifaceted process crucial for businesses of all sizes, but it’s not without challenges. By implementing the strategies and best practices we’ve shared in this guide, you can find the right clients and convert them into loyal customers, driving revenue and business success.

To optimize your lead generation efforts, consider using tools like 6sense that provide actionable insights and automation to streamline your processes.

Book a demo to learn more!

Chapter 11

Wait! There’s More! Additional Resources and Tools

Want to continue enhancing your lead generation strategy with more valuable resources and tools? Here are some additional recommendations: 

Ready to see 6sense in action?

The 6sense Team

The 6sense Team