The Ultimate Guide to B2B Lead Generation for ERP Software

As an ERP marketer, B2B lead generation is probably your most important consideration: Your sales and marketing funnels are only as effective as your ability to generate leads.

When you consider ‌that your prospects spend as little as 17% of their time with your sales team, it’s essential you formulate a coherent lead generation strategy that communicates your software’s value at every step of your sales funnel.

Strategy, conversions, and traffic form three essential pillars of an effective ERP lead generation strategy.

In this article, we’ll discuss the B2B lead generation process, how to formulate a coherent lead generation strategy, and the technologies, channels, and metrics you’ll need to achieve a successful outcome.

What’s a B2B Lead?

A B2B lead is an individual who’s shown an interest in your ERP software. You can segment your leads according to their level of interest such that:

Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) are leads who’ve engaged with your marketing — for example filling out a form to download an ebook — but aren’t ready to buy.

Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs) are leads who’ve taken an action showing they’re interested in becoming users of your software; for example, asking questions around specific features.

What’s B2B Lead Generation?

B2B lead generation describes the tactics employed to generate business-to-business leads. These include outbound marketing activities (such as cold calling) and inbound digital marketing activities. An effective B2B lead generation strategy combines these activities to maximise return on investment.

Chart: B2B Lead Generation Funnels
B2B Lead Generation Channels | Source: Marketing Charts

As your prospects progress through your funnels, they go through the following stages:

Attraction. At this stage, your prospects are attracted to your website and other properties through SEO, content marketing, social media, pay-per-click ads, and similar channels.

Engagement. In the next stage, your prospects engage with your blogs, social media, and other communication channels and are receptive to your messages. 

Conversion. Finally, your prospects are accustomed to — and trust — your marketing messages and are ready to become users of your ERP software. 

Graphic: B2B Lead Generation Funnel
B2B Lead Generation Funnel | Source:

How to Build a B2B Lead Generation Strategy

A B2B lead generation strategy is essential to the success of your marketing campaigns. It serves as a roadmap to your marketing team, enabling them to make the best use of  their time and the resources available. 

The SMART model is one of the more popular frameworks for goal setting. It states that objectives should be:

  • Specific: Clear enough for everyone to understand.
  • Measurable: Outlining key performance indicators which help everyone stay focused and meet deadlines.
  • Attainable: Ensuring goals are realistic enough to be met.
  • Relevant: Ensuring goals fit the organisation’s overarching objectives.
  • Time Bound: Setting a time frame ensures your campaign isn’t sidetracked by day-to-day demands.

Define your ideal customer

Before you start your ERP lead generation campaign, it’s good practice to form a picture of who your ideal customer is — often called your customer avatar or buyer persona. You can accomplish this through research, surveys, and feedback from your existing customers.

There are many ways to outline your audience’s characteristics, including geography, industry vertical, job role, and demographics. Gather as much information as you can so you can effectively address their needs. You may even create more than one buyer persona if, for example, you offer different software products or if your software addresses the needs of several buyer personas.

Find out where your ideal customer is

When you position yourself where your ideal customers are, you increase your chances of success.

LinkedIn groups are a great place to start. Most industries have a presence on LinkedIn, and your positive contribution to the discussion will be noticed.

You’ll also find many opportunities to engage with your prospects on other social media platforms, forums, professional associations, blogs, newspapers, and third party publications.

Build a content marketing plan

Content marketing forms an indispensable component of your B2B lead generation strategy.  As you produce content for each stage of your funnel, you attract highly qualified leads, eventually converting them into earnest users of your ERP software. 

B2B Customer Acquisition Channels for ERP Software

There are a variety of B2B customer acquisition channels available to ERP marketers. You should test them according to your requirements, increasing your investments in the channels delivering the highest returns. B2B customer acquisition channels include:

Content marketing

ERP software companies are using content marketing to grow their brand, attract visitors, and generate leads. Unlike advertising, content marketing’s ROI increases over time. Once you’ve published your content, it’s indexed by the search engines and remains available for several years thereafter. You should also repurpose your content for distribution to multiple channels, including your blog and social media.

Specific types of content for B2B customer acquisition include blogs, articles, white papers, case studies, podcasts, videos and newsletters.

Email marketing

Automated (drip) email campaigns are vital to the growth of your software brand. Emails provide a compelling way to communicate personalised messages. You can also segment your subscribers; for example by:

  • Geography.
  • An action they’ve taken, such as viewing your pricing page.
  • The last time they’ve opened your emails.
  • The last time they’ve clicked a link in your emails.
Chart: Email ROI
Email ROI | Source:

A B2B drip campaign contains an introduction, a value proposition, an offer, and follow up messages. Your campaigns may last from a few days to a few weeks. Following is a typical example of an email drip campaign:

  1. Email every day in the first week.
  2. Email every other day in the second week.
  3. Email weekly.
  4. Email monthly.

Social media marketing

Social media platforms are a great way to share your content and generate leads. It’s straightforward to include calls-to-action (CTAs) in your social posts that drive traffic to your website. It’s likely your prospects are on social media, therefore you should include social media in your lead generation plan.

Search engine marketing (SEM/SEO)

Search engine marketing (SEM) involves pay-per-click or display advertising in search engines such as Google and Bing. 

Search engine optimisation (SEO), on the other hand, describes the process of including search terms within your content to help the search engines display your content. Both tactics are equally valid as B2B customer acquisition strategies. SEO is comprised of:

On-Page SEO. This includes the factors you directly control, such as keywords, page loading times, and user experience. On-page SEO enables you to include search terms inside titles, headings, and other page elements, while also ensuring your content meets the needs of your audience. 

Off-Page SEO. This encompasses SEO factors outside your direct control. Off-page SEO is about attracting high-quality inbound links to your website. As you create content that people want to consume and share, you naturally increase the number and quality of links pointing to your website.

Product trials

Product trials are an important source of leads for your ERP software because your prospects have an opportunity to trial your software at no risk to themselves.

Product trials are particularly effective if your prospects are tech savvy as they will often prefer trialling your software to speaking to sales reps. And, because trials are self-service, they don’t add significantly to your marketing costs.

It’s also important to ensure your prospects have a positive experience during their trial. It’s worth considering an onboarding process, or extra support, depending on the complexity of your product. You could achieve this with a combination of emails, webinars and calls.

Aim to strike a balance between demonstrating value and giving too much information. With constant monitoring and optimisation, you can generate a constant stream of highly qualified leads.

Referral marketing

A well planned referral marketing strategy is a cost effective way to generate leads for your ERP software. By their nature, referred leads close more quickly and require less effort.

There’s some debate whether you should offer incentives to encourage referrals. Keep in mind that incentivising referrals may lead to less qualified leads and vice versa.

You can launch a referral marketing programme with the help of referral marketing software. In many cases, a simple squeeze page that captures basic details is all you’ll need.

One thing you can do to improve the quality of your referrals is to educate your referrers about what makes a good referral. For example, provide instructions on specific job titles, company sizes, or industry vericals. If you’re offering incentives, make sure to explain what those are, and how they’ll be delivered.

Also, make it as easy as possible for your sales and support reps to ask for referrals. For example, you can draft an email template for their use. Or they can be encouraged to ask for referrals as part of their day-to-day interactions.

Chart: Where do B2B Leads Come From?
Where Do B2B Leads Come From? | Source:

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Marketing

Pay-per-click marketing remains popular among B2B marketers because it’s scalable. It delivers leads in a short amount of time with predictable results. Ensure you split test your landing pages to achieve maximum return on investment.


Remarketing (also called retargeting) addresses the fact that most of your prospects won’t convert to your offer on their first interaction.

With a remarketing campaign, you can re-engage with visitors who never took an action. Retargeting software instals a cookie (a small text file) on your prospect’s device that enables the display of ads as they browse the internet.

Retargeting gives you the opportunity to re-engage with your hard earned visitors while also building trust and familiarity with your prospective ERP users.


Webinar leads are highly qualified because webinars require a significant time commitment from your prospect; In fact, 77% of B2B marketers use webinars as part of their marketing mix. Of these, 63% use them to nurture leads.

Your webinars can be even more powerful if you co-host them with a subject matter expert who will expose your software to their audience.

Prospects are attracted to webinars because it gives them the opportunity to learn something they can use straight away. And B2B marketers are attracted to webinars because they give them the opportunity to showcase their products and answer questions. 

Marketing Technology for ERP Software

Marketing technology provides a system for capturing leads. Many B2B marketers have reported a significant increase in their leads after installing marketing automation software.

Depending on your requirements, you may choose to leverage your ERP software’s inbuilt marketing automation capability or defer to a best-in-class third party automation tool. 

However you choose to build your marketing technology stack, your tools should integrate seamlessly. Key components of a martech stack include:

  • Data cleansing and mining tools.
  • Content marketing tools.
  • Social media tools.
  • Marketing automation software.
  • Analytics software.
  • Webinar software.

B2B Marketing and Sales Alignment

Aligning the expectations of the marketing and sales teams remains a challenge in B2B marketing. Lead generation represents the common ground between sales and marketing. To increase efficiency, both teams should agree on their lead generation criteria as well as a lead handover process. 

Account-Based Marketing 

Account-based marketing (ABM) is a strategic form of marketing which targets key accounts with personalised marketing.

In traditional B2B marketing, marketing strives to generate as many leads as the budget allows; it’s up to the sales team to qualify these leads. This creates a disconnection between sales’ and marketing’s expectations.

Account-based marketing eliminates this disconnection by focusing resources on a key set of accounts. Because messages are highly tailored, there’s a smooth transfer of leads from marketing to sales.

Illustration: Account-Based Marketing
Account-Based Marketing | Source:

Agile Marketing

Agile marketing takes its inspiration from agile software development. It aims to improve adaptability in the marketing team and is a great way to make the most of resources available.

Agile marketing teams work in short, intensive bursts known as “sprints.” The idea is to chunk down as much as possible, testing and adapting along the way. This necessitates a data-based approach which relies on a whole team effort.

Once a sprint is completed, the team evaluates their progress. This allows them to tweak their approach so they can aim for better results in their next sprint. A sprint typically lasts a few weeks during which team communication is essential. 

B2B Lead Generation Metrics for ERP Software

Key performance indicators (KPIs) help you track the performance of your lead generation campaigns. Some of the questions you might ask to help you formulate your metrics include:

  • How much website traffic do I need to generate X number of leads?
  • How many leads do I need to generate Y number of conversions?
  • How many conversions do I need to generate X amount of revenue? 
  • How many social media followers should I be aiming for?
  • What email open rates should I be achieving?
  • What benchmarks can I use?
  • What milestones should I set?

Some of the more useful B2B lead generation metrics include:

Lifetime Value (LTV)

LTV ($) = Average revenue per customer per (month/year) x number of (months/years)

The customer lifetime value indicates how much a customer is worth to your ERP business on average. 

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)

Together your customer lifetime value, you need to know how much it costs to acquire a new customer.

CAC ($) = Total sales and marketing costs / Number of customers acquired


Many B2B software businesses use the LTV:CAC ratio to track growth and profitability. If it’s too high, you’re probably being overcautious and missing opportunities. Conversely, if it’s too low, you could be overspending on your customer acquisition.

Cost Per Lead (CPL)

Your CPL provides a direct measure of the success of your B2B lead generation campaigns. It’s calculated as:

Cost Per Lead ($) = Total marketing costs / Number of leads

Aim to track your CPL across individual channels and as a whole: This will help you see which channels are the most effective.

Website Conversion Rates

Website conversion rates show the percentage of website visitors completing a desired action on your website, such as downloading a white paper, signing up for a free trial, or completing a purchase; in other words, the percentage that converts to leads:

Conversion rate (%) = (Number of leads / Number of website sessions) x 100

Although industry averages provide a useful benchmark, it’s more useful to track your own performance over time. 

Chart: Average Website Conversion Rates By Industry
Average Website Conversion Rates By Industry | Source: Marketing Sherpa

Other performance metrics

Other useful performance indicators include:

Traffic to lead ratio. Which shows the percentage of organic, direct, social, search, referral and paid traffic on your website converting into new leads. If this number’s too high, your content may not be answering your prospects’ questions or you may be targeting the wrong audience.

Click through rate (CTR). Which shows the number of times a link was clicked. This differs from the conversion rate because it doesn’t indicate whether someone’s converted to your offer. Again, if the CTR is high but conversions low, there may be issues with your content or your targeting.

Landing page conversion rate. This indicates the conversion rate on a single page as opposed to the website as a whole.

Average session duration. This is the average period of time a visitor spends on your website. If it’s low, your content may not be resonating with your audience.

Bounce rate. This shows the percentage of people who navigate away from your site immediately after landing on a page. Again, a high number may mean your content doesn’t resonate, or you are targeting the wrong audience.

Improving B2B Lead Generation Performance

Even the most successful B2B lead generation campaigns leave room for improvement. You should monitor the performance of your lead generation campaigns and make adjustments where necessary. Possible areas for improvement include:

Lead Quality. Are your leads converting into paying users of your ERP software, and what percentage of them are doing so? You could improve lead quality by:

  • Better qualifying leads as they enter your funnels; For example, adding a few extra boxes to your forms, such as role, budget or company size. 
  • Using analytics software such as Google Analytics to help you track the source of your leads. 
Chart: Primary Strategies For Generating Quality Leads
Primary Strategies For Generating Quality Leads | Source: Ascend2

Lead Scoring. Lead scoring helps prioritise your leads as they’re registered in your customer relationship management (CRM) tool. This frees your salespeople to focus on the most valuable leads. Points-based scoring systems have been the norm but are now being phased out by artificial intelligence. 

Lead Nurturing. Because most leads are unlikely to convert on first interaction with your brand, lead nurturing enables relationship building. It gives you the opportunity to guide your prospects through their buyer journey while showcasing your expertise.

Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO). This involves ways of improving conversion rates at every step of your prospects’ buyer journey.

A/B and Multivariate Testing. A/B testing allows you to experiment with single elements of web pages, including headlines, forms, and buttons. However, this requires a high number of impressions in order to generate enough data. In multivariate testing, conversely, you can test several elements of a web page at once. This won’t isolate which changes create the desired effect, but it will allow you to make quicker decisions with less data points.

Personalisation. Personalisation remains a strategic differentiator in B2B lead generation. Leverage your customer personas — which you might have created during product development — to deliver targeted messages using marketing automation software.

Product Trials. Product trials present a unique opportunity to convert prospects who’ve shown a real interest in using your ERP software. Prepare messaging focused on:

  • Educational emails: Teach your prospects to use your software. Focus on a few features at a time.
  • Case studies: Share examples of how your software has helped other users.
  • Offers: Once your trial users are comfortable with your product, offer discounts and other offers to encourage conversion.

Closing Thoughts

Qualified B2B leads are essential to the growth of your ERP software. A well structured strategy will drive a steady flow of qualified leads through your funnels. B2B lead generation enables you to develop a detailed understanding of the challenges and aspirations of your audience while promoting the benefits of your ERP software. 

Using marketing automation software, analytics, and personalisation you can deliver the right messages, to the right prospects, at the right time, and on budget. 

B2B Lead Generation Copywriting

We help ERP software companies fill their funnels with expert B2B tech content. To kick start your B2B lead generation campaign, please get in touch.