In Content Marketing, Demand Generation, Marketing Automation

B2B lead generation and lead flow are critical to your business. And as HubSpot founders Dharmesh Shah and Brian Halligan so dramatically illustrated, it’s a growing business when done right. In their keynote address to the Inbound12 conference, they announced that HubSpot customers will see over 35 million inbound leads in 2012 — a 500% increase over 2011.

As critical marketers, we can parse the numbers and remove the hype: HubSpot’s overall paid client base also more than doubled and company revenues went from $15 million to $29 million in one year. So a growing business was responsible for a large measure of this, but even if you bake out the additional customers, there is still a huge uptick in lead generation per client.

What’s working for HubSpot itself is its incredible, 100% staff-based content marketing machine. And with 80 people in the marketing group, it’s probably a pretty doable feat to for them to crank out the awesome day in and day out.

This marketing group size compares well with Marketo’s current staff of 44, with 7 devoted purely to content initiatives. Eloqua has 3 on staff dedicated to content, but they also rely on the incredible graphic talents of Jess3 and a lot of content partners.

So without mega headcount and limitless budgets, us mere mortals still have to find ways to produce our  content – just because my real-time data enrichment product SmartForms solves a number of major main points for B2B marketers around landing page conversions and maximizing quality lead flow and rapid lead routing, I can’t wait for the phone to ring with orders (but if you’re interested, shoot me an inquiry form).

To expand your leads, think like the content leaders – Plan for new programs: test and measure, and have a great brainstorming session to find your newest great thing. Find new ways to develop business content assets – we’ve all seen (and done) ebooks, survival guides, definitive guides, emails, special offers – what new and engaging way will you find to connect and delight customers next year? Think about creating new and improved content tools for 2013 and beyond and how you can syndicate your content as widely as possible, and no matter how many people in your marketing group, you can build a content engine that solves customer problems and attracts new business.

One of the most successful lead drivers ever is HubSpot’s own Marketing Grader, with over 250,000 inbound links (+1 from me!) and more than 1 million leads generated from use of the tool. The tool is incredibly useful while simultaneously aligned perfectly with the company products and solutions – and it’s free. HubSpot folks are a little tight-lipped when you try to scratch the surface for the goodies as to how it works, but maybe you have an ROI or cost-saving calculator to showcase your solution. Just build it.

And finally, a great tip from Heather Foeh, Director of Customer Culture for Eloqua, is remember that once you’ve created and launched content, and moved on to new efforts, you may sort of get sick of previous efforts. But – dust it off, and launch it again. If it solved customer problems initially and had good response, they is still a market for this solution and by bringing older content to the forefront, your content marketing engine can take you even further (and definitely a little bit closer to 35 million leads).