illustration of a laptop with many emails coming in used as featured image for article on email marketing b2b lead generation

61% of B2B marketers consider lead generation their number one challenge. Moreover, 19% of them have made it their priority this year.

In this context, the current digital marketing channels available can have a twofold effect. On one hand, they open new opportunities for attracting ideal customers. On the other, casting too large of a net can make lead generation campaigns confusing.

B2B leads need careful nurturing at every stage of the funnel. So, approaching your target audience on the right platform is paramount. And in B2B, email is where you’re most likely to engage your potential customers. Regardless, many are still questioning email’s lead scoring potential.

Is B2B email marketing dead?

The answer is a resounding “NO”

Even with B2Cs generally outpacing B2Bs in their marketing efforts, B2B emails still have a 3.2% CTR, compared to 2.1% in B2C. Let’s examine why.

Consider this: employees are more likely to have email addresses they check daily. They are thus more open to receive your content from the get-go. Emails also directly address the receiver, allowing for a more personal connection if done right.

Indeed, 75% of B2B marketers are aware of these benefits, using email to generate qualified leads. This is significant considering that the average ROI of email marketing to be £35.41 for every £1 spent.

While all these numbers sound promising, successfully engaging your audience via email relies on an effective tactics.

In this article, we’ll show you how to plan a solid strategy for your lead generation campaigns. We’ll also share successful examples of companies who have deployed these tactics.

What’s B2B email lead generation?

Not every campaign is equal. That’s because, in the grand scheme of your digital marketing, each email campaign fulfils specific goals.

Lead generation is one such goal. This type of campaign helps you identify and attract potential buyers (leads) through targeted emails containing valuable content.

This way, you not only engage with your leads but also nurture relationships with them, guiding them through the buyer’s journey.

Through compelling content and personalised messaging, lead generation campaigns effectively cultivate interest, spark curiosity, and ultimately drive conversions. In the ext section, we’re uncovering tried and tested ways to generate leads via email.

How do you generate B2B leads through email marketing?

As for any marketing initiative, strategy is key.

A survey by Influencer Marketing Hub reveals that 60% of B2B marketers don’t have one in place for their email marketing. So, by adopting one, you will already gain a competitive advantage.

Here are the 5 steps we recommend for an effective strategy to attract qualified leads.

1. Develop a lead magnet

An email campaign will take you nowhere if you lack contacts. So, your first step should be capturing qualified leads through an irresistible offer. In marketing terms, this is a “lead magnet”. A lead magnet usually takes the form of gated content, like e-books, guides, webinars or reports.

To capture leads this way, you need to create forms that require the necessary information in exchange for access. You need to determine what information is the most useful to your future campaigns. However, as a rule of thumb, the longer a form is, the less likely it is to convert.

Here are some lead magnet insights:

  • 51% of B2B buyers are willing to share their data to access webinars, making it the most effective lead magnet.
  • Opt-in forms with less than 4 fields have a higher conversion rate (10%). However, forms with only one field have a 7% conversion rate. The sweet spot thus seems to be 2-3 fields.
  • Landing pages have a 160% higher conversion rate than other types of sign-up options like pop-ups or banners

Keeping these facts in mind, you need to develop valuable lead magnets to attract potential subscribers. Once you have their contact info, it’s time to plan how to effectively lead them through your email marketing sales funnel.


Tealium offers enterprise-wide solutions to connect customer data across web, mobile, offline, and IoT. As part of their lead gen strategy, they host webinars which they promote across all their channels, including email. What makes this lead magnet enticing is the value it provides to their target audience of marketers. For example, the recent concern over the sunsetting of cookies makes their webinar on leveraging first-party data irresistible.


Observe how, even though they include a bold purple CTA, the link to the event hides in plain sight across the entire email. It’s embedded in the header image, and throughout the copy. This maximises the chance for conversion.

All these links lead to an informative landing page that piques interest via the copy. They create urgency, emboldening users to “secure a spot” by filling in the form. This form requires important information which Tealium will no doubt use in their future marketing and sales efforts.

2. Define your objectives

While lead generation is your long-term goal, you need to set measurable objectives to keep your strategy on track and ensure its success. These objectives need to be specific to your business needs if you want quantifiable results. So, you must state precisely what you want to achieve. For example, rather than saying, “Generate leads,” specify, “Generate 200 new leads per month.”

For lead generation, you’ll want to keep an eye on your conversion rate. This is the percentage of recipients taking a desired action, like accessing a link or downloading a resource. Depending on the platform you use, this metric should appear in your insights.


BMC Software is a multinational IT services and consulting, and SaaS company. Like many players in their field, their overarching aim was to drive revenue growth and attract high-quality leads. This proved a challenge in a fiercely competitive tech environment. So, having precise targets allowed them to streamline their efforts and allocate resources effectively.

A screenshot of the BMC welcome email

With the specific goal of increasing the number of MQLs, they devised a strategy leveraging their existing contacts. For example, in the image above, you can see BMC’s welcome email for existing customers, introducing them to exclusive resources, documentation and community support .Already familiar with their offer, this audience travelled faster down the sales funnel, reducing the CPL. Ultimately, this allowed them to yield remarkable results. According to this article, they attracted 5,000 leads, with a 49.5% conversion rate.

3. Segment your email list

To ensure high conversion rates, you need to provide relevant content to your target audience through segmentation. This is a basic email marketing strategy that helps define the types of audiences in your list. This way, you can determine which recipients receive what campaign based on a system of tags and/or categories.

In B2B, segmentation can indeed be a daunting task.

You aren’t targeting people based on their personal preferences. Rather, your contacts act on behalf of their company. Together, these targets form a company’s buying centre. You need to convince all of them to take decisive actions through personalised content.

These are the groups you need to cater your emails to:

Who they are Their role Content preference
Initiators They recognise the need for a product or service. Case studies, reports, surveys
Users They will actually use the product or service once it’s acquired. Their input is thus essential because they can provide insights into specific requirements and preferences. Case studies, how-to guides, product demos
Influencers They have the power to influence purchase decisions but may not have final say. Newsletters, gated content, reports
Champions They are strong advocates for a particular vendor or solution and may work to sway others in favor of that option. Case studies, report summaries, round-ups
Gatekeepers They control access to decision-makers and the flow of information within the organisation. Report takeaways, case studies, testimonials
Deciders They are the final decision-makers. Testimonials, surveys, reports, cost analysis
Buyers They are responsible for the actual procurement process, including negotiating with suppliers, obtaining quotes, and issuing purchase orders. Testimonials, surveys, reports, cost analysis

Segmenting your email list based on these groups might be more efficient than based on organisation or exact job role. However, the way you curate your list is completely down to your specific needs.


Unsurprisingly, HubSpot, a global leader in inbound marketing, sales, and customer service, has a highly effective email marketing campaign. After all, they provide their own service for such marketing efforts.

A gif of a HubSpot email promoting their product

HubSpot meticulously segments their email list based on products, services, and lead scoring. As discussed, segmentation ensures highly targeted and personalised communication. It enables them to tailor CTAs and optimise email elements through A/B testing.

As an active user of HubSpot’s marketing solutions, I regularly receive emails like the one above recommending services related to my own practice. So, through strategic segmentation and automation, HubSpot manages to generate sustained engagement with leads at every stage of the sales funnel.

4. Plan compelling email content

It goes without saying that your campaign’s success hinges on how compelling your content is.

As discussed, the first step towards guaranteeing your contacts actually care about your emails is by delivering personalised content. Segmentation and personalisation tokens (like first name or company names) are the foundation. However, you can take it a step further.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Celebrate milestones, anniversaries and special occasions. These can be “Happy birthday”, “Happy holidays”, and everything in-between.
  • Create a drip campaign based on the user’s action. These can be welcome emails after subscribing or follow-up emails after an event. Most email marketing platforms off workflow or customer journey tools to set up these automations.
  • Offer dynamic content based on user preferences. To do this, you first need to gather robust audience data and segment your subscribers based on shared characteristics. You can then determine what type of content your email will display to each specific segment.

Remember that you know your audience best. Make sure to use this knowledge to your advantage and nurture your leads through email marketing campaigns that speak their language.


Deployteq, the marketing automation platform, has a consistent email marketing strategy that doesn’t miss any engagement opportunity. This time of the year, they are leveraging their client’s Valentine’s Day. Unlike their other emails, this one delights recipients with swashes of pink and a love-themed CTA.

Gif of Deployteq Valentine's Day email

But despite all the hearts and pastel tones, the intent of the email is clear. They are showcasing their successful work for their client to further entice their leads to convert. This becomes clearer if we look at their CTA encouraging recipients to check out their strategy.

5. Monitor, analyse, iterate

The best thing about your campaigns over time is that they offer valuable insights into your user base. You thus can improve performance by continuously monitoring and analysing email data. This way, with some extra effort, you can navigate changes in market dynamics and customer expectations.
Here are some data points, what they reveal, and how to improve them:

Data points What they reveal How to improve them
Open rate The percentage of recipients who opened your email. Improve your subject lines, send emails at optimal times, and maintain a clean and engaged email likely to open your emails.
Click-through rate (CTR) The percentage of recipients who clicked on one or more links in your email. Use compelling and relevant content, clear calls to action (CTAs), A/B test to optimise CTA buttons, and segment your list for more personalised content.
Conversion rate The percentage of recipients who completed the desired action, such as signing up for an event or downloading a resource. Optimise landing pages, create targeted and persuasive content, simplify the conversion process, and use urgency or incentives when appropriate.
Bounce rate The percentage of emails that were not delivered to the recipient’s inbox for various reasons. Regularly clean your email list, remove invalid or inactive addresses, use double opt-in processes, and choose an email platform with good email deliverability.
Unsubscribe rate The percentage of recipients who chose to unsubscribe from your email list. Offer a clear and easy unsubscribe process, segment your list to send more relevant content, and avoid excessive email frequency.
Spam complaint rate The percentage of recipients who marked your email as spam. Maintain a clean email list, provide clear opt-in and opt-out options, and ensure your email content complies with anti-spam regulations.
Forward rate The percentage of recipients who forwarded your email to others. Create shareable and valuable content, include a “Forward to a Friend” option in your emails, and encourage subscribers to share interesting content through compelling calls to action.


Key takeaways

Email marketing remains a powerful tool for B2B lead generation, boasting a 3.2% click-through rate and substantial ROI. To harness the potential of email for lead generation, a well-crafted strategy is essential. By implementing the practices we discussed, you can engage your target audience effectively and convert them into qualified leads.

Other resources

As a specialist digital marketing consultancy, we offer a many resources to help you hone your strategies. Wherever you are on the adoption curve, we’ll help you implement change that delivers actual results. To dive deeper into digital marketing, check out these articles:

If you need expert help tailored to your business’s needs, don’t hesitate to reach out get in touch now to book a call.