Lead generation can be a huge challenge for any business in any industry, yet we can’t deny its importance: if we can’t generate more leads, we won’t be able to get more customers and grow our business.
However, we can argue that in the B2B SaaS industry environment, there are some unique additional challenges, like the fact that we must target different roles in one target organization, among others. This is why companies in the B2B SaaS industry routinely spend the majority of their revenue on marketing and sales just to stay competitive.
And yet, although B2B SaaS lead generation is definitely challenging, doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to win in it. With the right strategies and best practices, we can still generate a healthy amount of leads to grow the B2B SaaS business.
Here, we will share not one, but eight top B2B SaaS lead generation ideas that you can use to grow your business in 2021 and onwards. Yet, let us begin from the very beginning so that we are on the same page.
What Is B2B Lead Generation?
First, what is a lead?
A lead, in a nutshell, is any person who has indicated an interest—no matter how small—in a company, or the company’s product or service. The indication of interest can come in many different forms, like visiting your site, subscribing to your email newsletter, giving your business a call, and so on.
Thus, lead generation is simply any efforts made by a company to generate leads. These efforts can be publishing content, investing in ads, working with influencers, and so on.
In practice, lead generation is the process of attracting people and then converting them so that they are willing to give you their contact information (mainly email address). After we’ve possessed their email addresses, we can then follow-up with other campaigns until they are finally ready to make the purchase (or leave your funnel).
So, lead generation is mainly about answering two things:
- How can we attract people to our platform (mainly website)? For example by publishing high-quality content that ranks well on Google or publishing ads
- How can we convince these people to give their contact information? In practice, this is typically done by offering something valuable for free in exchange for their contact information, a thing we call lead magnet, and we’ll discuss more of it further below.
Why B2B Lead Generation Is Unique?
In a B2B environment, as we know, we are targeting another business instead of end consumers.
This situation demands unique lead generation approaches due to two core challenges:
- Businesses purchase B2B products/services from other companies to improve their company’s efficiency and/or profitability. So the purchase decision is typically logic-based and data-driven rather than emotionally-driven. We have to convince them with data that our product/service can indeed improve theirs.
- There can be more than one person involved in the purchase decision with different roles. For example, in an organization, the IT manager must first consult with the finance manager and the CEO before the purchase of your SaaS product is a go. You will need to tailor your lead generation efforts for each of these roles.
As a result of these two challenges, many marketers argue that B2B lead generation is more difficult than its B2C counterpart but in our opinion, it doesn’t necessarily be more challenging, just requires different approaches.
If you are familiar with B2C lead generation, then it’s true that many typical tactics used in B2C marketing won’t work in B2B, and vice versa. But it’s important to note that B2B lead generation is not totally the opposite of the B2C counterpart.
Remember that you are still targeting people within the target organization, so many common lead generation tactics will still work just as well. You just need to tailor your B2B lead generation campaigns to target your B2B audience.
Below we will discuss the top 8 tips how.
Top 8 B2B SaaS Lead Generation Ideas
- Create Remarkable Content To Address Customer’s Pain Points
Remember that in essence, people don’t actually buy your product or service, but rather the benefits they get from your product/service.
This is even truer in B2B businesses: businesses will only purchase B2B products when they are sure that it’s going to be beneficial for their business’s performance directly or indirectly.
So, if you can communicate your product’s benefits and address their pain points, you can attract their attention. How? By creating high-quality and valuable content that addresses the specific pain points of each target audience.
Yet, we won’t be able to do this unless we’ve properly understood our target audience’s needs and pain points, so first, we should segment our target audience based on their position on the funnel:
- If the prospect currently knows they have an issue but don’t know exactly what is the problem, then they are in the problem-discovery stage. For these prospects, your goal is to help them identify their precise pain point: you can provide links to various blog posts and white papers that discuss specific pain points.
- If the prospect is already aware of the problem they are facing and is currently searching for a potential solution (i.e. considering between your product and your competitors’), then you should offer them free trials, video tutorials highlighting your product’s benefits, and other content that can help communicate your product’s unique value proposition.
- If the prospect is already deciding on your product and just need that extra little push, you can offer content like product comparisons, testimonials/reviews, and so on. We will discuss more of this further below.
When the prospect is already in the decision-making stage, they may ask for additional information and contact your salesperson.
This is a very important window of opportunity that you should leverage upon. You can try the following tactics:
- Yes, you should communicate your product’s key features, but it will be much more effective if you focus on the benefits they’ll get instead. Outline KPIs and metrics that can show that your product is indeed the ideal solution for this prospect’s specific needs.
- Don’t be afraid to show a comparison between your product and your competitor’s. Be honest about it, and highlight how your product is better in features, performance, and pricing (the value they’ll get from what they pay).
- The age-old tactic of creating a sense of urgency can work wonders. For example, offer them a ‘limited-time’ package that is not available to the general public, with features custom-tailored to their current needs.
2. Create Content Strategically To Capture Leads
Above, we have discussed the importance of content in attracting people to your platform (in this case, your website), and if you look at most of today’s SaaS market leaders, they all have one thing in common: their online content is great, be it a blog, a YouTube channel, or a social media profile.
The basic principle of implementing content marketing in SaaS, as we’ve discussed, is to ensure we can provide value and address our prospect’s pain points. This is how we are going to attract prospects to our platform via the inbound marketing principle.
This strategy is effective because we are not pushing our advertising outwards, but rather pull our audience inwards. People simply hate getting sold to, and this is why inbound marketing generates 300% more leads than advertising. Provide value before they purchase your product, and they will trust you more as a brand and are more likely to purchase your product.
So, how can we practically capture leads with content? The most common and effective approach is via what we call the content upgrade lead magnet method. The flow typically goes like this:
- Prospect facing a problem and looking for a solution
- They stumble upon our content in search of the solution
- You offer another piece, more in-depth content (i.e. an ebook or research report) for free in exchange for their contact information (email address)
- You captured their contact information and can send follow-up emails
Obviously, this is not a totally innovative strategy and many companies have used it for years. Yet, it is still very effective, and the secret lies in how valuable your gated content is perceived by your target audience.
The better you understand your audience and their pain points, the more effective you can use this strategy.
3. Leverage on SEO To Accelerate Lead generation
Most if not all of the industry leaders in SaaS have really strong search engine visibility.
Search engines are the most powerful driver of organic traffic, which will translate into a powerful lead generation platform. Above, we have discussed the importance of content in SaaS lead generation, and SaaS SEO is the most effective way to get more people to consume your content.
While SEO can be a very broad subject to discuss, here are some important areas to focus on:
- Understand your target audience. You won’t be able to execute effective SEO if you don’t properly understand your target audience and their search intent. In practice, we are going to use this knowledge in targeting our keywords:
- The keywords must be frequently searched by our target audience, signified with a high enough monthly search volume.
- The keywords must be relevant to your business. Not all keywords that are popular are going to be relevant for your B2B SaaS business.
- Depending on your budget and timeline, the competition for the keywords must be manageable.
- Know your competition. The nature of SEO is to rank higher than your competition. So it’s important to research what your competitors are doing in their content marketing and SEO. Do a quick Google search for your target keywords and research the top-ranking pages. Our job is to beat these pages by:
- Creating much better content: bigger, more in-depth, more informative, etc.
- Take a different approach and cover the topic from a unique angle
- Link building. While there are various ranking factors that will determine your page’s search engine performance, the quantity and quality of backlinks remain the most important factor. Build backlinks to your content by:
- Giving them a reason to link your content. Include unique information, interesting stories, shareable images/photos/infographics, etc.
- Build relationships with influencers, media, and relevant websites in your niche.
- Above anything else, if your content is high-quality and valuable, sooner or later you’ll get those links
Remember that SEO is a long-term rather than a short-term game, and it’s very important to maintain consistency throughout all those months before you’ll finally see your page on top of those SERPs.
4. Utilizing Chatbots To Convert Your Site Visitors
A very cost-effective lead generation strategy is to leverage what you already have: your visitors.
Your website visitors are already very valuable potential leads: they’ve visited your site, which is a major sign of interest. Yet, getting these visitors’ contact details can be a challenge.
A great option is to use a chatbot to help answer their questions, clear doubts, and the chatbot can also ask for their contact information (email address) in the process. Nowadays, installing chatbots on your website is getting more affordable than ever, and if you have the know-how, there are some free options you use to build your own chatbot.
Installing a chatbot can also be a great way to improve your customer service by providing 24/7 support without needing to spend too much on human resources.
5. Build Relationships With Social Selling
We can think of social selling as a mini version of account-based marketing. Social selling is, in a nutshell, building relationships with key decision-makers in your target company. Social selling focuses more on building profitable relationships rather than short-term sales.
The key to social selling? Identifying the right target and how to reach out to them. Mainly we will do it by reaching out to them via social media and build valuable social conversations, hence the name ‘social sharing’.
We can, for example:
- Ask quick opinion questions to initiate a conversation with the target prospect, as well as providing valuable answers to their questions
- Build quick round-up
- Add engaging and valuable comments on their content
- Congratulate them on recent achievements (if any)
By being proactive, you can find more lead generation opportunities and convert your prospects.
6. Partnering Up With Non-Competing Vendors
Partnering up with other non-competing businesses is always a smart move: you can share your leads with them, and vice versa.
You should mainly focus on partnering with businesses that are already selling products/services that complement your SaaS products. Reach out to them and communicate how the combined values of your product and theirs can attract more leads.
For example, if you are selling a SaaS tool that helps creative agencies in their creative work (i.e. a visual builder tool), you can partner up with vendors that offer productivity tools. Even better, you should approach businesses that are already a vendor for your prospect.
7. Invest In Case Studies
One of the most effective ways of generating high-quality leads is, as discussed, publishing high-quality and engaging content.
With that being said, case studies provide a better opportunity for B2B SaaS businesses in publishing engaging content. Studies have suggested that case studies are the most effective engagement tactic at the top of the funnel, while also being very effective in converting leads at the bottom end of the funnel.
Case studies can act as social proof for potential prospects, effectively letting them know that you’ve provided your solutions to clients like them and that you can help them. In short, publishing case studies is an extremely powerful way to demonstrate your credibility and authority as a B2B SaaS solution.
Evaluate all the previous clients you’ve worked for in the past. Analyze how your product has helped solve their pain points. Then, prepare an engaging and informative case study for interesting cases/cases you are proud of.
Case studies can also add an element of authenticity while building authority in your niche, but it’s important to remember that this is not a short-term solution and you might need some time before you get enough client experience to publish case studies.
8. Leverage Affiliate Marketing
Referrals can obviously generate leads, and in a SaaS environment, arguably leveraging referrals is even more important than any other industry. One of the most effective ways to do this is to start an affiliate marketing campaign for your SaaS product.
However, you can also be more subtle if you don’t want to commit to starting your own campaign, for example by simply adding your website’s link in a guest post, or simply asking a customer whether they know someone that might need your software.
An important consideration of affiliate marketing and/or referrals, in general, is the amount of incentives you offer (if any). Offer too much, and you might risk getting low-quality referrals, offer too little and you might not attract anyone to promote your business.
Also, sometimes non-cash incentives are more effective when boosting referral performance, so consider being creative with your approach.
These eight are just a few of the effective B2B lead generation strategies you can try in 2021. However, they are the most effective if you want a solid foundation in generating more leads that are also optimal in quality.
With that being said, don’t be afraid to be creative and try out new things. Use these eight ideas as a building block while you can try innovative ideas on top of it to grow your leads quickly and effectively. With how the SaaS industry is rapidly evolving, your lead generation strategy must also evolve.