The future of lead generation - top 6 trends to pay attention to in  2021

The future of lead generation - top 6 trends to pay attention to in 2021

No matter the industry or business size, lead generation is a top priority for marketers. There are endless lead generation strategies out there, including content marketing, employer branding, digital ads and social media, among many others.

Lead generation isn’t as easy as it once was. According to a report from Hubspot, 61% of marketers consider generating traffic and leads to be their biggest challenge. But while it may be more difficult, it’s no less important. Marketers are still focusing heavily on lead generation, with 53% of them spending half or more of their entire budget on lead generation efforts. Only 34% of marketers spend less than half their budget on lead generation.


However, we want to make it easier for B2B companies to find and convert leads. So let’s take a look at the top 6 lead generating trends you need to pay attention to in 2021.


Lead generation trends to watch in 2021


1. Conversational marketing

Conversational marketing via the use of chatbots is on the rise. Chatbots are a form of artificial intelligence that can be set up to interact with customers. Chatbots are a great resource when it comes to collecting lead data, whether it be email addresses, names, contact numbers, style preferences, feedback, you name it. All pieces of information relayed during a conversation with your chatbot can be stored and used for future lead scoring. 

People want quick responses to their questions and chatbots can be automated to greet and guide leads in real-time. This is a fantastic development since, according to a 2018 lead response report, responding to a new lead within five minutes is absolutely critical. Yet, only 7% of companies engage within this time frame.


Businesses can benefit from chatbots by providing users with 24-hour digital support. As mentioned, this technology also allows users to gain quick answers and responses. Moreover, businesses can save resources like productive hours and wages when chatbot technology can help replace human hours. This is especially helpful in providing support through non-office hours.


2. Video content marketing

Experts predict by 2022, 82% of all internet traffic will be dedicated to video content. Video marketing will be the top element in marketing professionals’ content marketing strategies. In 2021, we can expect a surge in live video content as well as in online purchases.  Webinars, webcasts, demos, live streams and short informational videos on websites and social media are on the rise - and it will only continue to increase as the majority of consumers prefer video content to reading. So you’re much more likely to engage, impress and convert your leads through the use of creative videos that tap into human psychology. 

If you haven’t started creating or maintaining a digital presence for video content, it will be harder to compete with others in the near future. Your content might get lost in a sea of other media. Therefore, if you haven’t leveraged this technique yet, you’d be better off by starting to think about how to go about it today.


3. Voice and search marketing

A recent Canalys survey reported that the global smart speaker market is set to reach 163 million units in 2021. Voice search is now one of the top methods of search available. It’s no wonder businesses have begun scrambling to optimize their websites and content for speech search.

There is a great deal of focus on long-tail keywords. This is because they more closely mimic real-life speech patterns of people searching for answers. So instead of simply saying the keywords like “best online invoicing software”, prospective customers are more likely to frame conversational queries such as “Alexa, what online invoicing software is best for freelancers and small businesses?”

To generate more leads, your web content has to become more conversational. You must also focus on phrases that coincide with your target audience’s language. Voice research tools like BuzzSumo’s Question Analyzer can come in handy here. It can be used to discover popular questions across the multitude of forums and Q&A sites. These can prove helpful in order to pinpoint some common ways your audience articulates their searches.


4.  Leverage User Analytics for Future Campaigns

With advancements in artificial intelligence, there are an increasing number of AI-based marketing and sales tools available today that can gather data, extract insights from it, and meaningfully present the findings. These tools have grown in popularity over the past few years, with a study showing that 30% of its respondents already use both Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics.


In 2020 alone, as many as 57% of organizations began leveraging user analytics to inform their lead generation strategy. As such, it is expected that lead generation will continue to grow more data-driven, with analytics playing an increasingly important role. With the help of user analytics, you can generate insights about trends in traffic volume, sources, and visitor engagement. These findings will help guide your link-building and link-earning efforts for SEO and referral purposes, enabling you to increase your promotion budget for sources that drive the most traffic to your website.


Coupled with marketing automation software, they can also help you track prospect visits to help target them more effectively and guide them along their journey.


5. Influencer Marketing

Brands today turn to influencers to help generate leads for them. This has been part of a set of marketing trends for a while but has been further reinforced during the COVID-19 outbreak. Influencers are persons, brands, or digital entities that have authority in their particular social media niches. Over the years, however, their audience has developed specific content preferences. According to GlobalWebIndex, consumers within the US and UK territories are more interested in how-to and tutorial content.


Having an influencer vouch for and actively promote your product/ service goes a long way when it comes to boosting lead generation. It’s important that they mention or link back to your website. And you, in turn, must proudly feature their testimonials so all can see the endorsement. There is one simple rule to get your foot in the door: tailor your approach to the specific influencers and then market directly to other well-aligned influencers. 


6. Account-based marketing

A strategy that ‘concentrates resources on a set of target accounts’, this strategy for growth focuses on classifying best-fit leads and customizing personalized campaigns or programs for each specific account. 


Account-based marketing (ABM) was one of the hottest B2B marketing trends last year.  And rightly so. This trend is going to continue in 2021 and after.  

The 2020 State of ABM Report shows 94.2% of respondents now have an active ABM programme (up from 77% in 2019) with mature ABM programmes now accounting for 79% of all sales opportunities (vs. inbound/outbound, etc.) 

This hot trend has likely persisted because the bottom line is: ABM delivers results. Instead of casting a wide net, it concentrates sales and marketing resources on a clearly defined set of target accounts and high-value customers. Research has shown correlations with a clear return on investment. The fact that content is so personalized translates into increased engagement. 


Other things to consider for 2021:

1. Better sales and marketing alignment

The number one thing sales reps say they need from marketing? Higher lead quality. 

Better sales and marketing alignment starts with better communication, ensuring similar metrics are used, and helping each team understand the challenges the other faces. When sales and marketing are aligned, everyone's happier — including your customers — and ultimately, revenue goes up. 


2. Content Marketing for lead generation


It’s one of the most important new inbound marketing channels. Here are some statistics that show how content marketing is used for lead generation:



By focusing your lead generation efforts on creating and promoting great content instead of reaching out directly to potential customers, your budget will stretch further and you’ll see more leads. Not only that, but you’ll also be improving your brand loyalty as you’re giving your customers something for free and making them feel more like a partner than a sales target.

What will lead generation look like in 2021 and beyond?


Let’s not forget that lead generation new trends may emerge. Others may come and go. Your ability to go with the flow, innovate, update and always work to thoughtfully optimize experiences is what will keep you ahead of the game. So, we need to be on our toes at all times. But, for now, here are a few tips on how to get more quality leads in 2021:



Post-pandemic, lead generation is looking to be more digital and omnichannel. This will reflect the rush of organizations to speed up digital transformation after being caught unprepared by quarantines and lockdowns. High-performance companies are poised to use multiple channels to gain, qualify, and nurture leads. These include in-person events, social media, email, SEO, content marketing, and even chatbots. Thus, marketers need to have a well-rounded arsenal to maintain their competitiveness throughout 2021 and beyond.