The Complete Guide To B2B Lead Generation

During Volatile Business Conditions

New Leads Are The Lifeblood Of Your Business; Here’s How To Keep Them Flowing

Even in chaotic environments, effective lead generation helps companies do more than just survive. The ability to create a predictable, repeatable and scalable lead generation machine helps companies thrive no matter what’s going on outside your doors.

With so much uncertainty, business executives can be swayed into considering short-term and often expensive marketing gimmicks.

Challenging times also uncover a lack of marketing strategy. Strategy beats execution every time.

The problem is lack of strategy and hit-or-miss tactics don’t deliver. Countless hours and dollars spent on campaigns still fail to deliver a return on investment (ROI). As a result, pipelines shrink, sales stall and revenues miss the mark.

To succeed in today’s environment, companies must build trust with buyers. During these uncertain times, successful revenue generation is the result of effective strategy, solid tactical execution, a deep understanding of analytics and the ability to apply the right technology. All four pillars are key.

By using models like this (strategy, tactics, analytics and technology) that embrace the new way your prospects buy products and services, marketers improve efficiency, generate more high-quality leads and deliver sales opportunities to the sales team to hit revenue goals month over month.

In 2018, Square 2 co-founders Mike Lieberman and Eric Keiles introduced the Cyclonic Buyer Journey™. This innovative model smashed the traditional sales funnel. The result is a new revenue generation approach that moves at the speed of today’s buyers.


The Cyclonic Buyer Journey helps you understand why today’s customers feel anxious. It focuses on how buyers behave and the tactics needed to earn their attention. With the right strategies, tactics and tracking systems, you adjust to each buyer’s journey with ease.

Rather than forcing them into a dated funnel, you’ll move your prospects from Pre-Awareness to Ongoing Delivery proactively, shortening your sales cycle and increasing your close rate.

To help you develop an effective lead generation strategy, this guide consists of five chapters:

The goal of each chapter is to help guide you through a complex set of decisions. We’ll show you how to apply the Cyclonic Buyer Journey, select the right tactics to use, track key metrics and use technology to make it easy and efficient.

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strategy before tactics

Strategy Before Tactics

Develop your revenue generation strategy before deploying tactics

2020 has proven to be a year of unprecedented change. For most industries, COVID-19 created irreversible change in lead generation. Trade shows and conferences are canceled. Networking is out. Cold calls won’t work because people are at home. Prospects are distracted with family and health concerns.

Information overload has extended the customer decision-making process. People get too many emails, too many spam calls, too many unsolicited LinkedIn connection requests and too many out-of-the-blue ads on social media.

Research revealed that the customer journey is not rigidly linear, as depicted in the sales funnel model, but rather circular. It is a network of touch points, decisions and opportunities that are either appropriated or rejected by the buyer.
McKinsey & Company

To create a lead generation machine, you need to understand that today’s buyer journey is filled with uncertainty and complexity.

To make sure you have the right strategy elements, here’s what must be part of your lead generation strategy before you move into tactics.

Persona Development

  • Who do we want to attract with our marketing? For example, what do our best customers look like and how do we find more of them?
  • What is the profile for these people?
  • What are their demographic characteristics and their psychographic characteristics?
  • Is the profile detailed enough?
  • Do we know where they spend their time? What blogs do they read? What sites do they visit? What videos do they watch? What webinars do they attend?
  • Want help with your personas? Check out this article for more info on persona development.

Message Development

  • What is our big story? What supporting stories are important to moving prospects through the buyer journey?
  • How do we get our story to stand out vs. our competition?
  • Is the story disruptive, compelling and emotional?
  • Do the stories align with the pains and challenges of our prospect?
  • Does everyone in the company know our stories and can they share them?
  • Here’s more information on the power of stories in your marketing strategy.


Shake their status quo, wake them up, scare them, motivate them, grab them and move them to act.


Tell them a story that demands they at least explore what you have to say.


The best stories are emotional. What might your company do for them that could change their life, career or company situation?


  • What makes our business remarkable?
  • What can we say that no other competitor can say?
  • How do these remarkable elements help our prospects feel good about doing business with us?
  • How sustainable are these elements? How long will it be before our competitors start saying something similar?
  • What remarkable elements can we aspire to add over the next few months and years?
  • Check out some examples of other companies that are doing remarkable right.

Performance Expectations

  • What do we expect from this marketing initiative?
  • How many leads do we expect over what time period?
  • How many sales opportunities do we expect over what time period?
  • How do we expect this to scale up over time?
  • What other business changes will be required to realize these expectations?

Buyer Journey Mapping

  • Do we know the stages of our prospects’ buyer journeys?
  • Do we know every single touch point along that buyer journey?
  • Do we have the ability to influence a prospect at each stage of the buyer journey?
  • Do we have the ability to easily improve the touch points at each stage?
  • Do we know the questions prospects ask and the emotions prospects feel at each stage?
  • Here are some more details on how to do buyer journey mapping.

Budget And Investment

  • How much investment is required to ramp up our marketing?
  • How much investment is required to keep it going after the initial ramp-up?
  • How do we measure the relation between investment and performance?
  • One it’s set up, what investment could be required if we choose to scale it up?
  • How is that investment distributed? Inside team? Outside agency? Media? Technology?
  • Here are more details on the budget and investment setting process.

Sales Alignment

Customer Advocacy

Company Priority

  • How important is this initiative to the long-term success of our business?
  • If we do nothing, what is the potential impact on our business?
  • If this isn’t successful, what is our Pan B?
  • Do we trust that the people responsible and accountable for this initiative will be successful?
  • How will we know if this initiative is successful? What are the business outcomes that we can touch, see and feel?

As you move buyers through the eight stages of the Cyclonic Buyer Journey, you need tactics that work – carefully written emails, campaigns with the right influencers, targeted pay-per-click ads, etc. A complete strategy sets clear revenue goals that focus on your efforts and deliver quantifiable results.

A strong strategy puts an end to random acts of marketing. Rooted in an understanding of your ideal customer, it amplifies your efforts. With a method in place, you gain alignment and consistency. The results of your tactics then become exponential and yield revenue.


The Math Of Lead Generation

Calculating the number of leads your business needs to hit your stated revenue goals

You need to generate leads for your business. How many leads? It turns out there’s a definite number of leads and a conversion rate that you should hit at each stage of the buyer’s journey. These numbers keep you on track to reach your desired revenue levels.

If you’ve never backed into your marketing tactical plays based on data, you’re not alone. But there’s nothing like math to show you the money.

Take a look at this example:


If your website gets 5,000 visitors every month and your conversion rate is 1%, this means you have 50 new contacts. If they’re good quality, 80% or 40 could be marketing-qualified leads (MQLs). If 15% of them are ready to talk to sales or in the later stages of their buyer journey, this equals six sales-qualified leads (SQLs).

Typically, 50% of those six qualified leads become sales opportunities, leaving you with only three sales opportunities per month. And if your closing rate is 30%, then your digital marketing and accompanying sales process is only yielding one new client every month. That’s not nearly enough to grow.

Now, if you want five new customers a month from your digital marketing and sales process, you can back into that using the same math.

Having 10,000 website visitors a month and a 1.5% site-wide conversion rate will produce 150 new contacts.

Using some of the same metrics, 80% of them would be MQLs, for 120.

If 15% are ready to talk to sales, that’s 18 SQLs.

If 50% of those are sales opportunities, you’re looking at nine sales opportunities. If you continue to close 30%, you’re now doing three new customers a month.

That’s a 300% improvement.

If you can get your close rate to 50%, you’re now closing four to five new customers a month, and your business is growing at a dramatic level.

Numbers give you incredible insight into what you should be working on from a marketing and sales perspective. To get more insight into figuring out how many leads you need to hit your goals, check out this article.

Now that you know what numbers you need to produce, it’s much easier to identify which tactics to include in your marketing, sales and customer service execution plans.

In the next section, we’ll help you learn how to prioritize your efforts, because very few people, teams or companies can do all of this at the same time. Picking the tactics that will have the biggest impact for the least amount of effort is the secret.


Selecting The Tactics

Choosing the right tactics to use throughout the buyer’s journey

Each stage of the Cyclonic Buyer Journey has a set of tactics that attracts potential prospects, engages active prospects, converts prospects into sales opportunities, nurtures sales opportunities and then contributes to them closing. These tactics, if designed and orchestrated properly, move buyers from one step to the next in the process.

As you start to look at tactics, keep in mind that most tactics work across various stages of the buyer journey. Today there are hundreds of tactics and thousands of ways to configure tactics. What we’re showing here is just one potential deployment of tactics to illustrate the configuration and orchestration effort required to thread tactics together around execution.


The following are key tactics are highlights of each stage:

Pre-Awareness Stage Tactics

Some prospects don’t know you exist. They might have the specific pain, issue or challenge you help with, but for whatever reason, they don’t realize solutions are available or their pains are not nearly acute enough to have their attention. We call that Pre-Awareness.

+ - Account-Based Marketing

ABM is a collection of tactics designed into a campaign to disrupt, connect, engage and drive sales leads at a very set of targeted people at targeted companies. To learn more about account-based marketing, visit this page.

+ - Demand Generation Campaigns

These campaigns are a collection of tactics designed to proactively target potential prospects. They typically include audience targeting, message development, content development, paid social media and paid search advertising, retargeting or remarketing online, email marketing and the metrics for measuring effectiveness, efficiency and overall performance. To learn more about demand generation tactics, visit this page.

+ - Social Media Paid Ads

Social media platforms offer amazing targeting capabilities. This tactic includes the targeting, budget development, content development, ad copy, ad strategy and ad deployment on platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook.

+ - Paid Ads On Google, Yahoo! And Bing

Ad campaigns include the targeting, budget development, content development, ad copy, ad strategy and ad deployment on platforms like Google and, to a lesser extent, Bing.

+ - Retargeting

You’ve seen banner ads follow you around on the web. Once you click on an ad, you see a steady stream of additional ads or similar ads. This is called remarketing or retargeting. This is typically done on the Google platform and is usually connected to a Google Ads campaign. To learn more about retargeting ads on search engines, visit this page.

+ - Cold Email Marketing

While not optimal, today you can purchase a list of targeted email addresses and go after those people with email outreach. Some of the challenges associated with tactics like this is their noncompliance with GDPR, CASL and CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act).

+ - Influencer Marketing

Almost every industry has thought leaders who have their own audiences. Using those people to reach their audiences with your message can be very effective at disrupting people in the Pre-Awareness stage and getting them to start a buyer journey. Want to learn more about how influencer marketing drives leads? Visit this page.

+ - Affiliate Marketing

In a similar way to influencer marketing, affiliate marketing uses existing organizations, associations, membership groups, networks and other connected communities to leverage their audiences to make them aware of your products or services.

Awareness Tactics

Awareness is the stage when people start paying attention to potential solutions. It’s when they might be open to information related to their issue, pain or challenge. In this stage they are still reactive and not yet proactive.

+ - Event Marketing (Virtual)

Understand that while events are on hold for the foreseeable future and might never return to their pre-COVID levels, events will continue to be important. Having events is key to attracting and inviting people in this stage of their buyer journey, especially when the event is packed with educational information. To see how progressive companies are shifting their event strategy, visit this page.

+ - Content Marketing (All Types)

While people in this stage are NOT proactive in their search for information, they are now aware and alert to information that is helpful, so the content you create can attract their attention.

+ - Blogging And Guest Blogging

This light, typically short and easily shareable content is often among the best types of content to get people in the Awareness Stage to be initially exposed to new brands, new services, new products and new companies.

+ - Social Media Marketing

Social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Reddit, Medium and Instagram all offer the ability to get educational information in front of people who are casually looking for information, products or services like yours. To learn more about social media marketing, visit this page.

+ - Mobile Advertising

Ever thought your smartphone is listening to your conversations? It might not be doing so directly, but there are tools that allow mobile ads to be served up to people who have expressed “intent” to show interest in your products or services.

Education Tactics

The Education Stage is when prospects start proactively looking for information or research around the possibility of doing (or buying) something different from what they’ve been doing (or buying).

+ - Search Engine Optimization

Since people in the Education Stage are proactive now, search is one of the most important marketing tactics. If you’re not visible on the search engines, your business is invisible. You have to make sure your website pages, content and company listings are highly optimized for your targeted keywords, keyword phrases and questions related to your industry, company and products or services. To learn more about getting ranked highly on search engines, visit this page.

+ - Conversational Marketing (Chat)

Today, most people want information when they want it, and giving them immediate access to people via chat on your website provides instant access to the educational information they’re looking for. To learn more about how to use chat on your website to drive leads and sales opportunities, visit this page.

+ - Content Marketing

Educational content is a core marketing tactic simply because people are looking for self-service education via every company’s website. Your content needs to be diverse in its format, including video, podcasts, slide shows, infographics, e-books, whitepapers, pillar pages, tip sheets and research studies. Your content needs to be directly aligned with the questions prospects are asking at various stages of the buyer journey.

+ - Website Design

Today your website is everything. You have 10 seconds upon a visitor’s arrival to keep them or lose them. Your design needs to be clean and easy to navigate, and people need to know why they should stick around upon arrival. Then your site needs to lead prospects through the pages, providing relevant educational offers all through the site based on their buyer journey. To learn more about how to create a website that helps generate leads, visit this page.

+ - Email Marketing

Your prospect database is important for staying connected and continuing the conversation with prospects. Make sure your database is segmented by role and industry to start.

Consideration Tactics

Eventually, prospects have to start narrowing down their options. They discover what they like and don’t like, and what they need and don’t need. When they have narrowed down the potential solutions to just a few, they enter into the Consideration Stage, where they start to look more closely at their selected handful of options.

+ - Content Marketing

There are very specific slices of content for different stages of the buyer journey. People in the Consideration Stage will need different content than those in other stages.

+ - Lead Nurturing

Since most of these people are now in your prospect database they can be nurtured with ongoing emails to either proactively move them through their buyer journey, offer them content related to their stage of the buyer journey or give them the opportunity to signal to you that they are moving to the next stage of the buyer journey. To learn more about how to effectively nurture leads, visit this page.

+ - Lead Scoring

We mentioned signaling in the lead nurturing item above. But you should consider scoring leads based on their onsite and offsite behavior, then using that score to decide which automated nurture emails are delivered and/or when sales gets proactive in picking up the prospect to help them on their journey. To read about successful lead scoring other companies are doing, visit this page.

Evaluation Tactics

Now that the prospects are serious, the hard work of evaluation begins. This stage is typically where sales gets involved. One or two people may have done the research and background work, but now that they’re looking at pricing, capabilities, features and benefits, the power people are involved.

+ - Sales Process

The Evaluation Stage is typically when prospects move from marketing to sales. The prospect has gotten everything possible without needing a sales rep, but now to continue their journey they need to speak with a salesperson. How you pick up this person and handle them is going to be critical. The educational and guided approach to influencing their buyer journey needs to continue. To learn how to design an effective sales process, visit this page.

+ - Qualification Methodology

You’ll want a companywide qualification methodology so your sales and marketing people are talking the same language. We use Pain, Power, Fit and a score that runs from 0 to 15, with 15 as the highest score. Other companies use BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, Timeline).

+ - Sales Emails

All salespeople have emails they use in the sales process. But there should be stock emails or templates that make emailing easy, consistent and effective. These can be personalized or customized. These can also be measured for effectiveness and adjusted to improve performance.

+ - Sales Content

Marketing served up content during the early stages of the buyer journey, but now sales needs content to be offered up to prospects later in the buyer journey. Again, creating these and training reps on how to use them, when to use them and what to use these content pieces for will create a more consistent sales process.

Rationalization Tactics

This stage is where prospects ask the tough questions: When do you expect me to see a positive return on investment (ROI)? What are your payment terms and are they flexible? Who specifically will we be working with on this project? When do you expect delivery to be completed? Your prospect has already emotionally decided on you as an option but now needs to develop a rationalization for it.

+ - References

Most companies with long sales cycles, high ticket averages and complex sales need references to get prospects over the finish line. Creating a video reference reel, providing it to sales and having sales send it out before references are requested with a carefully crafted email can cut the number of reference requests in half. Check out this information on references and creating your own reference reel.

+ - Reviews

You could argue that reviews are a more upstream early buyer journey tactic, but most people start backtracking and looking at reviews late to “check the box” on reviews. You need enough reviews to make sure this doesn’t derail your sale, and getting reviews is something that should be operationalized and ongoing. Visit this page to learn more about asking for and getting reviews.

+ - Recommendations

How you present your recommendations to prospects can make or break your ability to close the deal. If you spend too much time talking about your company and not enough time talking about how you’re going to help the prospect, you could be torpedoing your close rates.

Decision Tactics

Even after officially making the decision, the buyer still has to talk about contract details, agreement terms and other legal aspects of their new working relationship. It’s not final until the paperwork is signed.

+ - Proposal/Agreements/Contracts

One of the biggest challenges in getting deals across the finish line can be your paperwork. If you send a legal agreement to a business contact, they’re going to be anxious and need to involve legal, slowing down your sales cycle. Keeping the agreement less legal would allow them to review and sign it quicker.

Ongoing Delivery Tactics

The end game is not getting a new customer but rather getting a new customer to realize the benefits they signed up for when they met you. Your goal is to create a customer so happy that they tell everyone about you, buy more from you and continue working with you into year two. Ongoing delivery ensures your customers are an active advocate for your company.

+ - Advocacy Marketing

This refers to a collection of tactics that are used to operationalize the advocacy of your customer base. You need a program that encourages customers to write reviews, do video references, participate in live references, do case studies with you and actively refer you to other people who fit your target customer profile. To learn more about advocacy marketing, visit this page.

+ - Client Satisfaction Scoring

You should be considering a methodology for proactively and continuously getting data on the level of happiness or satisfaction from your customer base. We created a detailed set of recommendations on this page.

+ - Customer Email Marketing

We mention this because it’s missing so many times. As strategically as you market to prospects, you should also be marketing to current customers.

+ - Cross-Sell/Upsell Campaigns

You should always be marketing to current customers. This includes additional products or services they’re not currently buying and sharing opportunities for them to extend and/or expand your share of wallet with them. To learn more about campaigns like this, visit this page.

Again, as you start to look at tactics, keep in mind that most tactics work across various stages of the buyer journey. What we’re showing here is just one potential configuration or set of recommendations for tactics to illustrate the orchestration effort required to thread tactics together around execution.


Tracking The Metrics

Using data and analytics to regularly monitor performance

When implementing your lead generation and revenue growth strategy, data becomes the basis for truth and understanding.

Today, marketing, sales and customer service can be measured, and the insights derived from the data uncovered helps inform ongoing recommendations that improve performance over time.

Instead of looking at data by tactic, which most marketing people still do, consider moving to a buyer journey slice of the data for a more holistic look at program performance.

For example, instead of just looking at email campaign data, look at all the data related to the Consideration Stage.

Each stage of the Cyclonic Buyer Journey has its own metrics for marketers to monitor and measure their effectiveness.

With the insight from these marketing, sales and customer service metrics, you unleash the full power of your revenue growth engine.

Finally, creating dashboards or reports and tracking numbers is not the end game. The numbers should be reviewed regularly with insights identified. Then create a monthly action plan that is used to continuously optimize your tactics based on data. This is one of the secrets to month-over-month revenue growth.


Square 2 starts every client with a six-pack of dashboards – three marketing, two sales and one customer service. We also create custom dashboards with data from a variety of sources and systems like HubSpot, Marketo, Salesforce, Google Analytics and more. Our goal is to create visual representations of your data so we quickly identify insights from the data and create action plans that improve performance over time.


Technology Makes It Easier

Selecting the tools to make the most of technology at each stage of the journey

To accurately measure and guide your lead generation and revenue growth efforts, you need to match the right tactics to the right tech. Identify the stages where your prospects are most active and determine the best tech for each stage. Once you’ve decided on these, it’s easy to find the integrated and tested systems that work.

Based on the buyer journey stages that you want to support, these are the tools you should consider to help you meet your target metrics:



SEMrush is a marketing analytics platform designed for campaigns and content. Use it to measure online visibility in the Awareness Stage of your Cyclonic Buyer Journey. This software provides data such as website traffic information, keywords and projected paid ads spend. It performs site audits and topic research to assist in lead generation and other SEO tasks.


HubSpot helps with inbound marketing, sales and customer service. Thanks to its all-in-one approach, HubSpot is also a tool for web analytics, lead gen and SEO. As part of your marketing foundation, this technology also offers a free version that integrates with various software such as G Suite and Microsoft.


Marketo is a marketing automation software that helps with your account-based marketing (ABM) needs. Similar to HubSpot, this tool supports a wide range of industries with SEO and content creation. It’s an excellent platform technology to reinforce your marketing efforts throughout the buyer journey.


Drift serves as a conversational marketing tool to connect you with your website visitors. Use the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to qualify your leads and build your pipeline. This chatbot enhances your team’s marketing abilities and drives revenue faster to make the most of the Consideration Stage of your Cyclonic Buyer Journey.


When evaluating marketing technology (MarTech) for your business, first evaluate the tools you’re currently using. Take a hard look at what they offer versus your company’s real needs. Some questions to consider include:

  • Are these tools delivering the insight we need to make educated marketing decisions?
  • Do these tools support the most active stage of our Cyclonic Buyer Journey?
  • Would this technology work best with other integrations or complementary data to provide greater insight?
  • Are we considering tech solutions that integrate with our current platforms?


From growing startups to established corporations and everything in between, businesses of all sizes are at a loss today. The world has changed right below our feet. What worked last month might not work next month.

In these times of constant flux and an excess of information, strategy is more important than ever. But not just any strategy. You need an approach that embraces the dynamic nature of today’s buyer journey.

As you build a lead generation and revenue growth strategy around the Cyclonic Buyer Journey, integrate tactics for today’s environment. This contemporary approach to marketing aligns to today’s buyers behavior. The result is an increase in leads and quantifiable growth for your bottom line.

Are you ready to smash your funnel and generate more leads?

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