How to Create a B2B Customer Acquisition Strategy

We overview the important steps and considerations involved with creating a B2B customer acquisition strategy.

Acquisition isn’t as simple as casting a wide marketing net and hoping to catch customers. For one thing, there’s a lot of competition. People see countless advertisements on a daily basis (and have gotten quite good at ignoring them). And when companies don’t target the right audience for their acquisition campaigns, they see how quickly they can burn through their budget. 

Having a successful B2B customer acquisition strategy comes down to the data you collect, and how you use that data to drive decision-making at each stage of the funnel (from lead generation to nurturing to conversion).

Considerations to get started on a customer acquisition strategy

Before kicking off a campaign, make sure you’ve laid the groundwork. Here are a few key steps to take before launching an acquisition campaign: 

  • Understand your ideal customer. Create buyer personas that have the characteristics of your ideal customer profile. If you don’t know whom you’re targeting or your audience’s pain points and behaviors, you won’t be able to craft messaging and campaigns that resonate with them.

  • Centralize and consolidate data. Find a platform where you can store all of your customer data and quickly analyze how your marketing efforts are performing. A centralized platform also provides an unobstructed view of each potential customer’s history with your brand. It lets you make informed decisions about the best channels to target and move leads down the acquisition funnel.

  • Identify which channels are currently generating the most leads for your business. Comb through historical and present data to pinpoint the channels successfully capturing leads. If LinkedIn ads perform better than Facebook ads, you know to focus the bulk of your efforts on that channel.

The two phases of B2B acquisition: lead gen & nurturing

There are two parts to acquiring a new customer: generating leads and putting them on a nurture path that ultimately drives a conversion. Within each stage, there are individual actions you can take to build your B2B customer acquisition marketing strategy.

Lead generation

Lead generation is the process of finding potential customers for your business. It’s the first part of the client acquisition process and involves collecting data about potential new customers, or B2B leads, through various marketing efforts.

Leverage content marketing (SEO and social media)

Content marketing helps acquire leads by providing relevant, quality content that potential customers can engage with and use to make decisions about purchasing your product or service. There are ways to optimize your written content so that it ranks higher on search engines when people search specific keywords (you can check out our guide here, for more on this). 

A key feature of SEO content is that it’s an organic channel (i.e., you don’t pay to advertise it), and it reflects user intent and interests. 

You can maximize your efforts with SEO by repurposing blog content into gated ebooks, or promoting it on social media channels like LinkedIn and Facebook. To drive leads down the funnel, include CTAs related to the content that encourage people to sign-up for a product demo or download a gated asset.

Harness referrals and testimonials as social proof 

Social proof can come in the form of reviews, testimonials, case studies, and success stories. 88% of customers trust user reviews just as much as they trust a personal recommendation, so businesses can leverage social proof to build trust among potential customers. 

Reviews and testimonials show potential leads that people with similar pain points or needs have had positive experiences with your product or service. You can display social proof on landing pages, product pages, as social media ads, and more. 

Utilize enrichment tools to identify prospects and target them with email marketing

If you use low-quality data to find potential customers, the likelihood of generating high-quality leads decreases—and you won’t get much of a return on investment. Data enrichment tools take first-party data – the information you gather directly from your customers – and complement it with insights from third-party sources. This helps you identify prospects that align with your buyer personas. 

Once you have that enriched data, you can craft email marketing campaigns that are highly relevant to your audience segments, featuring customer success stories, limited-time discounts, and other pertinent content. Email marketing is a popular marketing strategy for good reason: approximately 4.3 billion people use email across the globe, and it can generate a substantial return on investment (one HubSpot found that businesses received $42 for $1 spent on email marketing, or a 4,200% ROI). 

Use paid marketing as necessary to reach higher-intent prospects

Email and content marketing are essential elements of your acquisition strategy, but paid social media and Google ads help you get more granular (and more visibility with your target audience). 

Lead nurturing

Lead nurturing is the process of developing relationships with your prospects over a period of time. Provide the leads you acquired with information, resources, and support to help them get the most out of their relationship with your company and get them to convert. 

During this time, focus on building loyalty and trust with the people you’re nurturing to turn them into paying customers.

Optimize your website flow, CTAs & landing pages for conversion

If your site, landing pages, and calls-to-action aren’t designed to convert leads, your acquisition efforts will be wasted. Pages on your website, especially landing pages, should persuade leads to take an action that moves them further down the funnel. 

Make sure the design of your website flows. If your site visitor has to hunt for a CTA, it’s less likely they’ll take whatever action you want them to.

If one version of your site or landing page isn’t converting well, perform A/B tests to determine what you can change. Tweak your copy, add new images, or position your CTA in different places—then test those two versions against each other to learn which one has the highest conversion rate.

Create drip email marketing campaigns

Once someone shares their email with you at the lead gen stage, drop them into a drip campaign that is designed to get them to convert. Segment each customer into an appropriate audience, so your messaging resonates with them. If you get information from a business with 10-15 employees, you don’t want to send them an email campaign designed for enterprise clients. 

Once the campaign is live, monitor metrics like open rates, conversion rates, and clickthrough rates. If your B2B marketing emails aren’t performing well, adjust them accordingly (this is another opportunity to A/B test elements like subject lines, CTAs and copy until you find the best-performing version.) 

Use live chat tools to talk to customers in real-time

Customers using live chat are over 500% more likely to buy. Implement a tool like Freshchat, Intercom, and Drift to engage with leads visiting your website and product pages as they browse. Live chat can answer questions about your products or provide recommendations that help direct leads toward conversion. 

Retarget customers with relevant offers

To keep leads warm, retarget them with messaging, ads, and offers based on your knowledge of their preferences and behavioral history. You can retarget leads via social media, email, or Google ads. If someone visits your product page several times and has shown other signs of interest in your company, retarget them with an email featuring a limited-time subscription discount. 

The foundation of a sound customer acquisition strategy is data

Twilio Segment uses automation and insights gleaned from your customer data to create omnichannel acquisition campaigns for B2B businesses. Our customer data platform centralizes all your data in one place and enables you to deliver personalized digital marketing campaigns at scale. Segment your audience using real-time customer insights across various digital touchpoints and create a strategy designed to generate, nurture, and convert leads. 

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