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B2B Lead Generation in Europe — Insights, Tips & Tools

Last updated Jun 24, 2024

Generating B2B Leads in Europe — Tactics and Tips

Generating B2B leads in Europe has its own characteristics and challenges, distinct from other regions of the world (e.g., the United States).

While there is significant overlap in terms of marketing tactics, issues such as cultural differences and data privacy regulations in the EU require different approaches and tools for some marketing and sales activities.

This post looks at the similarities and differences of B2B lead generation in Europe and highlights new tools for addressing EU B2B markets more specifically.

Let’s take a look below…

Table of Contents (+/-)
    b2b lead generation in europe
    B2B lead generation in European countries involves adapting tactics and tools for stricter regulatory compliance and differences in business cultures, norms, and practices.

    This post contains a few referral links to vendor partners. We may receive compensation for purchases made via these links, at no additional cost to buyers.

    Lead Generation in European B2B Companies

    Building B2B Marketing and Sales Pipeline in Europe

    For B2B firms operating in Europe, the ‘rules of the road’ for driving lead generation are not quite the same as they are in the US and other target sales geographies.

    Sure, there are some lead generation tactics that B2B firms use almost everywhere.

    But it’s a mistake to think that every B2B lead generation tactic that works well outside of Europe will by default also be effective in the EU or UK.

    At a minimum, some B2B lead gen tactics need to be adapted for European audiences and stricter regulations in the EU.

    europe map
    Europe and the UK present opportunities and challenges for effective B2B lead generation. Adapting tactics and tools for Europe-centric campaigns is vital.

    B2B Lead Generation in Europe — Top Tactics

    For European B2B companies, many of the top lead generation strategies and tactics are similar to the lead gen tactics used in the US and other parts of the world.

    However, lead generation tactics in European countries can vary depending on the specific market, industry, and target audience.

    B2B lead generation in Europe includes the following tactics.

    Personal Business Development, Networking, and Lead Generation

    Typically led by the B2B direct sales team and regional channel partners, personalized outreach to potential prospects remains an important B2B lead generation tactic in most of Europe.

    Personalized 1:1 emails, phone calls, and social media connections and interactions all play important roles here.

    Offline B2B networking events and referrals are also important lead gen channels in Europe, as they have been for decades.

    Content Marketing

    This includes creating and sharing valuable, relevant content such as blog posts, whitepapers, e-books, and case studies to attract and engage potential business leads.

    B2B content marketing can include written formats, images, infographics, videos, webinars, or other formats appropriate for the specific content, message, target audience, and delivery channel(s).

    SEO and SEM

    Search engine optimization and marketing (SEO and SEM) involve optimizing website content and using targeted keywords and paid search ads to increase online visibility and drive traffic to your B2B-focused website.

    Email Marketing

    Sending targeted (and preferably personalized) emails to potential leads to nurture relationships and encourage engagement is a common, cost-effective way to reach prospects in Europe.

    However, email marketing is one of the areas where European practices differ from the US and other sales geographies. See more on that below.

    Social Media Marketing

    Using social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter (now rebranded as ‘X’) is a popular way to connect with potential leads, share content, and engage with industry influencers.

    Events and Conferences

    Attending and hosting industry events and conferences to connect with potential prospects and showcase your company’s B2B products and services is a time-tested way to generate new leads and nurture existing customer relationships.

    B2B Industry Media

    Leveraging highly-targeted niche media publications through earned media, paid ads, and sponsored content is another common B2B lead generation tactic in Europe.

    Account-Based Marketing (ABM)

    ABM involves developing personalized and highly coordinated sales/marketing campaigns targeting specific high-value B2B accounts.

    Learn more here about the basics of account-based marketing. Also, learn more about ABM-specific tools and platforms, ABM target account selection, and how SEO and ABM marketing tactics can work well together.

    Differences vs US-based B2B Lead Generation

    In spite of the many familiar tactics described above, B2B firms that are not ‘EU-native’ should not be overly presumptuous about their marketing and sales strategies in European markets.

    For example, US-based B2B firms targeting EU-based prospects must be aware of the following differences and adjust tactics accordingly.

    Privacy Regulations

    One of the most significant differences is the impact of regulations like GDPR in Europe (see more on this below). GDPR imposes strict rules on collecting, processing, and using personal data, affecting how B2B marketers in Europe can approach lead generation.

    B2B buyers in Europe may have different expectations around privacy and data protection (e.g., vs US-based prospects), which can impact how companies collect and use customer data.

    This has led to a greatly increased emphasis in recent years on opt-in and strictly permission-based marketing tactics in Europe.

    Cultural Nuances

    B2B marketing strategies may need cultural adjustments. While the US often leans towards more direct and assertive marketing and sales tactics, European B2B audiences may respond better to a more subtle and relationship-oriented approach.

    For example, in Europe, there is a greater emphasis on building relationships with potential customers before making a sale. European B2B firms may be more likely to use traditional tactics such as networking and attending industry events to generate leads.

    Language and Localization

    Europe’s diverse languages and cultures require more localization efforts than in the US. Marketing materials (including websites) often need to be translated and tailored for specific regions.

    Social Platforms

    The choice of social media platforms can vary. For instance, LinkedIn is extensively used for B2B marketing globally, but XING is also very popular in Germany and other German-speaking markets, such as Austria and Switzerland (collectively, the DACH countries).

    Data Availability

    Companies in both Europe and the US leverage data analytics and CRM systems to track and optimize B2B lead generation efforts.

    However, in the US, data availability is often more abundant and easily accessible compared to some European markets, which may influence the tactics used for lead generation.

    Overall, while some B2B lead generation tactics may be similar between Europe and the US, companies need to take into account regional differences and tailor their strategies accordingly.

    Local channel partners can also play an important role in the areas noted above, helping B2B in-house sales and marketing teams engage their EU targets more productively.

    GDPR and B2B Lead Generation in Europe

    Privacy Regulations Take Center Stage in Europe

    Without a doubt, the implementation of strong data privacy regulations in Europe has forced B2B marketers to alter their lead generation practices in recent years.

    Most notable is the emergence of GDPR — or General Data Protection Regulation.

    europe gdpr banner
    The need to ensure GDPR compliance has had a major impact on how B2B firms generate leads in European countries.

    GDPR is a set of data protection regulations that came into effect in May 2018 and applies to all EU member states. GDPR has significant impacts on B2B lead generation tactics in Europe, as it sets out strict rules for how companies can collect, process, store, and use personal data.

    Under GDPR, B2B marketers are required to obtain explicit consent from individuals before collecting and using their personal data for marketing purposes.

    This means that marketers must provide clear and specific information about the data they are collecting and how it will be used, and individuals must actively opt-in to receiving marketing communications (e.g., typical B2B email campaigns).

    GDPR Requires Robust Data Management and Security

    In addition, GDPR gives individuals the right to access, rectify, and erase their personal data, and companies must have processes in place to enable individuals to exercise these rights.

    This means that B2B marketers must have robust data management systems in place to ensure compliance with GDPR, and must be able to respond promptly to requests from individuals to access or modify their data.

    GDPR also requires companies to implement strong data security measures to protect personal data.

    Also, GDPR has made using third-party data for lead generation more challenging. Marketers must ensure the data they use complies with GDPR.

    Overall, GDPR has significant impacts on B2B lead generation tactics in Europe, as it requires companies to be transparent and accountable in their use of personal data. Marketers must be diligent in obtaining consent, managing data, and responding to individual requests in order to comply with GDPR regulations.

    However, B2B companies operating in Europe that adapt their lead generation tactics to comply with GDPR can still be successful in generating leads in this region.

    B2B Lead Generation in Europe — New Tools

    Privacy-Compliant B2B Lead Generation in Europe

    To address the realities and challenges of generating and nurturing B2B leads in European countries — while remaining fully GDPR-compliant — some martech solution providers have adapted and evolved to strengthen their offerings and value propositions here.

    One example is the merger between Germany-based Echobot and Finland-based Leadfeeder, which resulted in the Dealfront platform launched in the first half of 2023.

    Dealfront’s mission is to be ‘The Go-to-Market platform to win deals in Europe.’

    echobot logo
    leadfeeder logo
    dealfront europe b2b lead generation and sales intelligence
    Dealfront is positioned as the ‘go-to-market platform for Europe’, with EU-focused features and benefits for B2B companies targeting this region.

    Visit Leadfeeder and learn more about Dealfront here.

    As you may know, Leadfeeder is a leading solution in the area of B2B website visitor tracking, focusing on identifying anonymous website visitors (at the company level) for B2B sales and marketing teams.

    It supports website-driven lead generation for both traditional and account-based marketing (ABM) approaches.

    Learn more about Leadfeeder’s ABM capabilities here.

    Also, learn how Leadfeeder identifies and tracks remote workers (e.g., ‘work from home’ or WFH employees).

    Echobot brings AI-enhanced capabilities in B2B data and sales intelligence for European markets, including strict compliance with GDPR.

    Combining their strengths now as Dealfront, they provide:

    • Sales Intelligence — to help identify and engage your best customer prospects in the EU, enhanced with multiple AI and machine learning technologies
    • Buyer Intent Signals — for deeper sales insights into buyer interests
    • Targeted B2B Advertising — for reaching your ideal customers with B2B display ads
    • Customer Data Enrichment — for more complete and accurate sales contact data
    • 3rd-Party Integrations — for seamless connectivity with other parts of your martech sales stack (CRMs, marketing automation, etc.)

    Dealfront — Not Just for European Sales/Marketing Teams

    While Dealfront is clearly positioned as a European-based and EU-focused B2B marketing and sales platform, it remains an attractive solution for other regions of the world as well.

    For example, the Leadfeeder platform is built on a proprietary database of global IP addresses for IP-to-company mapping. It remains a viable solution for B2B website visitor ID and tracking outside the EU.

    And of course, any B2B company based outside of Europe that sells into European markets can make very good use of the full Dealfront platform.

    For example, US-based manufacturers who sell and export to EU-based B2B firms may find great value in deploying Dealfront due to its EU-centric and GDPR compliance strengths.

    dealfront logo

    Dealfront: B2B Go-To-Market Platform

    Dealfront is a ‘revenue engine’ for B2B sales and marketing teams, especially those with European / EU account targets.

    Combines strengths of Echobot and Leadfeeder into a full-cycle, AI-assisted platform for B2B revenue growth.


    Boosts revenue and sales/marketing efficiency

    Integrates multiple sales intelligence tools and data for B2B revenue teams

    Supports affordable Account-Based Marketing (ABM) programs

    Provides strong GDPR/regulatory compliance for EU markets


    May be pricey for smaller B2B’s with limited account targets

    Lacks some features of enterprise-scale ABM platforms

    Other Europe-based Website Visitor Tracking Tools

    While Leadfeeder has effectively expanded its value proposition with the Dealfront platform, other vendors in the EU and UK continue to operate in the B2B website visitor tracking software segment.

    Related: Learn more here about B2B website visitor tracking solutions from European and UK vendors.

    B2B Lead Generation in Europe — Closing Thoughts

    Similarities and Differences for European B2B Lead Gen

    Even within the same B2B industry segment or niche, all markets and geographies are not the same. This is especially true in diverse regions such as Europe.

    As a result, B2B firms operating in Europe need to take region-specific (and often country-specific) approaches to their sales and marketing efforts.

    They need to respect business norms and cultural differences that apply across various sales regions, adapting as needed to each.

    And of course, compliance with EU-wide regulations such as GDPR is a must.

    New solutions have emerged to address these needs for B2B revenue teams targeting European markets — including EU-based firms and companies based outside the EU as well.

    Questions or Comments?

    How does your B2B company currently sell into the EU region today?

    Do you operate any differently in Europe vs other target geographies, such as the US, Asia, or other parts of the world?

    Has GDPR compliance in the EU been a challenge or limiting factor for your firm?

    Feel free to add more in the comments below with any thoughts, feedback, or related questions. Thanks also for any social shares on this post via the buttons below!

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    It’s based on many hours of my vendor research… and I’m happy to share it as a helpful reference item for you.

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    Grab the current version now. I’ll send you future updates, too!