I currently run marketing for a B2B software company called Replicon. Prior to Replicon, I was Founder/CEO of a company called Scripted - a business that sells written content to businesses of all sizes.
I've spent a ton of time thinking about customer acquisition and growth through inbound channels.One of the questions I am often asked is what techniques are effective for businesses to acquire customers.
This list is by no means comprehensive, but may provide you with some insight as to how to acquire B2B customers profitably. Please note - this list does not include "obvious" acquisition channels that you should be using - like content (webinars, white papers, etc), or Google/FB paid ads.
This list is intended as a way to outline some other paid channels that I've tried that are effective. (Disclosure - I am a current customer of Technology Advice, Capterra, Software Advice and G2 Crowd in my capacity at Replicon).
Technology Advice - Nashville-based Technology advice provides an amazing service for B2B customers to effectively "pre qualify" leads based on their specific needs. You can outline the business size that you are targeting, the business location, and other major factors. Technology advice then sends leads to you based on your criteria so you don't need to hire SDRs.
One challenge: Technology Advice only works if you have content assets in place that are interesting to prospects (recorded webinars, white papers, etc). I don't recommend using them exclusively as your outsourced SDR.
Capterra - Another great channel if you are trying to acquire "bottom of funnel" customers. Capterra is a comprehensive software review site that doubles as a great lead gen tool for companies. If a Capterra customer lands on your page and reads your reviews, they are very likely to buy.
One challenge: You need to constantly review your Capterra reviews and see how you are performing. Selection seems largely based on quality of reviews.
Software Advice - Software Advice is also a tech review site with a twist. When a company submits its information for a particular type of software, Software Advice will actually reach out and provide unbiased thoughts to the prospect on who they should consider. It's then on your salespeople to close the lead.
One challenge: Software Advice leads only convert if you have infrastructure in place on your side to call right away and convert the customer. Your leads from SA are only as good as your inside team.
G2 Crowd - G2 Crowd is a startup that's shunning the PPL model, and focusing more on creating robust tools for businesses to see how they are viewed by customers/the market. But because G2 Crowd traffic is going substantially, they can send a decent amount of leads your way every month for companies that land on your profile page.
One challenge: Since this is the only non pay-per-lead channel in the list, you need to measure the effectiveness of these leads constantly to see if they are profitable.
Having tested all of the above channels, I can tell you that they are great ways to test lead channels that are way cheaper than traditional Google PPC. But like everything else, in order for the above tools to work, you always need to start with great content.