Online lead generation in B2B: Customer focus is what counts

Sales today are many things in one: partner, intermediary and customer understander. The needs and wishes of the individual customer are the focus, even online. The question arises as to how online lead generation can be designed effectively without losing the personal touch or individual advice. A question that an entire industry is now dealing with.
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The customer journey has changed rapidly since the beginning of the World Wide Web. Potential customers research online and want to find the best product for them as quickly as possible. But it's not just shopping behavior that has changed, but also that shopping experience needs to be rethought. It is not without reason that we speak today of the “new power of customers”, because due to the oversupply, it is the customer who helps control the market. On-line Lead generation This has made it more complicated for companies, because the new distribution of power results in new ones Digital touchpoints and digital product advice, which are not only intended to generate leads, but also to understand the customer.

“The new customer. Digital, unpredictable and easy to lose”, title Adobe and Ecosultancy the first chapter of her study on the topic Customer Experience and digital trends. The study makes it clear once again that a rethink has taken place, which accelerated the drive towards digitalization in 2020. 57 % of B2B respondents said they had seen an unusual increase in digital customers. Companies must view their customers as people and not as data sets, the report continues.

Now that's not a groundbreaking finding, is it Emotionalization and personalization has always been a credo in sales and marketing, but implementation in the digital world does not seem to be so easy to implement. “He who seeks will find” is a popular saying, but not on the Internet! So how can we make B2B search and communication between companies and consumers more efficient and smarter while maintaining personal advice and loyalty?

Online lead generation

What do you mean by lead? 

A lead is a qualified contact with a prospective customer who, on the one hand, is interested in a company or a product and, on the other hand, provides the advertiser with his address data (lead = data record) in order to establish further dialogue and is therefore very likely to become a customer. (Wikipedia)

Online leads are generated via Online marketing measures won. However, since this has only been possible for a few years, i.e. since the World Wide Web, it is a fairly young business field. But the trend is clearly heading in that direction Online lead generation.

For example, the comparison portal Check24 became a great success with its idea of offering users the opportunity to compare contracts online and conclude them directly. And this despite the fact that Check24 was accused of unfair competition by the Federal Association of German Insurance Merchants (BVK) in 2016. The BVK criticized, among other things, the lack of information individual survey and advice on the part of the comparison portal. Customers saw it differently because the portal gave them the opportunity to find the best contract quickly and easily. In the end, the customer decides which purchasing decision he wants to make and the market for online lead generation companies is growing.

Reading tip: Online Lead Generation: An Emerging Industry 
by Kilian C. Wisskirchen from, Simon Stolz, Christian Schlereth, scientist from the WHU Otto Beisheim School of Management and Alexander Hoffmann from Google Inc. Abstract: In the emerging business of online lead generation, many conversational touchpoints have moved to the online space. These companies capture leads, sell them to partners, and often generate millions of revenue in the process. We abstract this novel digital business model in a framework, derive best practices, and provide managerial recommendations.

The company website as a lead source in B2B

The company website is one of the most important sources of information for B2B decision-makers, if not the most important. In B2B, information about products and services is more important than in B2C, and is usually more extensive. Purchase transactions In B2B, transactions are not just completed from a smartphone via Instagram or a third-party provider, but rather are carried out carefully. The site should be considered valuable by B2B companies Lead generation source be used. For example, questions can be answered around the clock using chatbots Product configurators Planners and architects can compile all important planning documents even outside of service hours.

However, a website alone is not enough to generate leads online. No, on the contrary, a website can quickly lead to loss leads lead. The attention span of website visitors is usually very short. The first ten seconds in particular have to convince the customer, but even if these are overcome, visitors often only stay on the website for 2-3 minutes. If a potential customer cannot find the information they want in the short period of time, this often leads to him moving to the competition.

“A crucial skill in the information society is to protect yourself against the 99.99 percent of the information offered that you don’t want.”

Erikson, Erik H.; Hylland, Thomas: The Tyranny of the Moment. Finding the balance between speed and slowness, Freiburg im Breisgau 2002, p. 34f.

The old sales system as we know it is no longer effective and at the same time the digital world is confusing, almost oversized - a major challenge for B2B companies, which are already a little slower compared to B2C.

The Excess of information According to psychoanalyst Erik H. Erikson, it is an essential feature of consumer society. One of the biggest challenges in B2B business is bringing digitally complex products to consumers quickly and understandably.

In B2B, potential customers invest more time Research, when it comes to very complex products, but here too the amount of content should remain within a manageable range. A simple example from B2C, which can also be applied to the B2B market: Anyone who buys a kitchen usually goes to a corresponding store and gets advice on site. To compare, a competing store is visited the next day. The searchers invest several hours of their time.

The digitalization However, it makes it possible to conduct this consultation online, saving both sides an enormous amount of time. This also offers the opportunity to gain customers nationwide. Corresponding consulting tools can now be easily implemented on the website and reduce the content that the user previously consumed in order to be able to make a decision. In other words, the website is an important interface between customers and sales.

Digital product advice in the guided selling approach

You don’t need a big digital strategy to achieve a lasting impact. Digitizing in small steps is not only easier, but also faster. For sales, established software solutions offer a good opportunity to react to changes in customer behavior with few resources.

In addition to often mentioned CRM solutions such as Salesforce, which help with data management, analysis and communication, there is also the exciting field of digital customer advice. With the help of software solutions, interfaces are created that not only advise customers online, but also offer orientation and focus on the information relevant to decision-making. An example is guided selling, a young form of sales management on the Internet that combines product search and product advice in one.

Guided Selling fulfills three main goals:

1) Understand. Guided selling software analyzes customer needs.
2) Explain. Guided selling software only shows the customer the relevant information and which alternatives might still be suitable for him.
3) Recommend. Guided selling software provides advice by suggesting the product that best suits your needs.

Guided Selling uses the possibilities of digitalization and combines what consumers demand today: Individuality and orientation. With the use of AI Sales also manage to ask the right questions digitally to determine customer needs.

This results in decisive advantages for the company: Sales saves a huge amount of time by pre-qualifying the leads. Time-consuming tasks are automated and each customer still receives individual advice. As a result, the company not only saves money, but also the efficiency increases because sales receives pre-qualified inquiries. An exciting aspect of this is the data obtained, which helps the company to react to market trends in real time and to design its offering based on the needs of the customer.

Guided Selling B2B FoxBase

You can also find out more about guided selling in our white paper

Why online lead generation is so important in B2B?

Well, quite simply, it is contemporary. In B2B, however, this is the case interaction a crucial one Success factor. Personal contact between sales and customers is still important, but this contact can be made much easier and more time-saving with the help of digital tools. The interaction can also take place via the website; some companies have already developed very exciting solutions for this, for example FoxBase with the Digital Product Selector. Similar to an analog consultation, the selector asks the customer questions and recommends the right solution in just a few clicks. 


We look forward to your inquiry about the Digital Product Selector. Let's digitize B2B sales together in a sustainable way!

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