Inbound Marketing for B2B Lead Generation: How to Leverage Scientific Content to Educate, Inspire, and Reassure a Technical Audience

In the B2B world, traditional outbound marketing tactics like cold calling, email blasts, and buying lists are becoming increasingly ineffective for engaging prospective customers. As Jason Amsbaugh, co-founder and CEO of Samba Scientific, bluntly states, “It’s way easier to close new business when you’ve got good leads. And cold outreach typically is pretty expensive and increasingly ineffective.”

The solution? Inbound marketing – a strategy focused on creating valuable content that attracts and educates your ideal buyer personas, guides them through the sales funnel, and ultimately generates high-quality inbound leads ready for sales conversations.

Jason explains the core premise: “Inbound marketing is based around high-value scientific content that creates awareness and generates demand…we create content that varies in type, length and complexity depending on the different funnel stages.”

Rather than disruptive outbound tactics that promote your product, inbound marketing focuses on being present with helpful, audience-centric content when prospects are already exploring solutions.

In this article, we’ll dive into Jason’s framework for leveraging an inbound marketing approach and scientific content tailored to your technical buyers. We’ll cover defining the ideal marketing qualified lead (MQL), developing journey-based content, capturing & nurturing leads, optimizing conversions, and scaling inbound lead volume over time.

Defining Marketing Qualified Leads

The goal of demand generation, as Jason states, “is to really fill this marketing funnel with leads, to accelerate sales effectiveness.” Suspects become contacts who then ideally progress to marketing qualified leads (MQLs) – primed for sales engagement. But what defines an ideal MQL? According to Jason’s team, “we define marketing qualified leads as basically having that agreed upon criteria, which is typically based on a combination of online activities and demographic information.”

By setting up a quantitative lead scoring system, marketing teams can assess when a contact has shown enough interest and fit to be routed to sales as an MQL. Lead scores are calculated based on factors like:

  • Demographic criteria (job titles, industries, etc.)
  • Having advanced degrees (indicating technical decision makers)
  • Online engagement (content downloads, email clicks, web visits)

For example, Jason’s team awards more points for contacts with senior titles and advanced degrees, while deducting points for competitors and non-corporate email addresses.

The MQL threshold score can then be adjusted based on current sales capacity and existing lead quality. “If the close rate is low…then we can increase the threshold. If people seem to be overqualified…then we can lower that threshold and accelerate that sort of marketing to sales transit,” Jason explains.

Developing Content for the Buyer's Journey

Once you’ve defined your target MQL profile, the next step is developing scientific content tailored to effectively guide prospects through the marketing funnel.
Jason stresses the importance of “creating meaningful content on our website, promoting it in all of the places that our suspects tend to traffic, and then making them aware of it essentially through a little bit of outbound promotion.”

He outlines a phased content approach across the funnel stages:

Top-of-Funnel (Awareness/Education):

Short, digestible content like blog posts, GIFs, search ads.

“You seek to educate them in terms of what we can offer them, and really trying to understand and drive home the idea that we understand what their pain points are, and we can help solve them.”

Mid-Funnel (Evaluation/Consideration):

More in-depth assets like animations, explainer videos, webinars.

Bottom-of-Funnel (Purchase/Validation):

Robust technical content like case studies, application notes, whitepapers.

“We have to reassure them at the bottom of the funnel that this product, that this service is going to do what we say it’s going to do. And so, across the funnel, you’ll see it basically starts out as really short content and gets longer and more technical in nature.”

By developing a content strategy aligned to the scientific buying journey, marketing teams can effectively nurture leads from the initial awareness stage through consideration and validation before a sales conversation.

Capturing Leads and Nurturing Campaigns

With audience-tailored content fueling the funnel, the next phase is capturing contact information to initiate lead nurturing campaigns.

“We use online forms to capture contact information, permission to contact these people,” says Jason. “We use HubSpot as our CRM…So once a new contact converts, then we use marketing automation in order to serve up more content and nurture them up to MQL status.”

The nurturing process dynamically serves up relevant content based on each contact’s activities and lead score. Jason gives this example nurture cadence:

“They come onto the website, they might download a case study, they become a new contact. 3 or 4 days later, we might send them an email essentially, hey, you were interested in that. Would you be interested in, you know, seeing a poster, or watching a talk, or checking out an infographic or something like that, basically, nurturing with relevant content.”

Each engagement pushes the contact closer to MQL status through continued scoring increases. “If they click on that email and they open it, they’re going to increase their lead score. And we can do this multiple times as we feed people content of increasing technical levels.”

Conversion Optimization and Campaign Scaling

With nurture campaigns actively progressing contacts through the funnel, marketing teams can then focus on optimizing conversion rates and scaling overall lead volume.

“We optimize these ads and these pages over time, in terms of the landing pages, optimizing those for conversions,” notes Jason. “And we align those better and better with the ads and social media type stuff. Then we tend to drive more clicks to the pages that convert at higher rates.”

He outlines a phased implementation approach:

“Phase 1 is really…developing that initial content. It’s creating a sort of lead funnel setup. It’s beginning to drive traffic and driving these sorts of initial campaigns.”

“Then we tend to drive more clicks to the pages, that convert at higher rates. And then we start to see SEO gains. What you’ll see is a decrease in cost per lead. So, we are moving from marketing efficacy to marketing efficiency.”

“And then typically our phase 3 is kind of ramp up. So as things are pretty dialed in, then typically there’s an inflection point where we can start spending more money…to increase the amount of traffic, that you would see again, coming to your pages that are now fully optimized.”

By continuously optimizing funnel assets and campaigns, marketing teams can progressively improve lead quality and volume at decreasing costs – ultimately accelerating sales excellence with a steady stream of engaged MQLs.

The Future is Inbound

As Jason’s insights demonstrate, a strategic inbound marketing approach centered around scientific content is key for B2B organizations to generate high-quality inbound leads engaged for sales conversations. By investing in audience-centric, journey-based content development, optimized nurture campaigns, and meticulous campaign analysis, marketing teams can effectively “fill the funnel” with marketing qualified leads primed for engaging with your sales team.

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