Lead generation is the lifeblood of any SaaS business. The SaaS model depends on expansive growth, especially if your pricing model is freemium. Without a well-polished lead generation strategy, your business is destined to fail.
The SaaS business landscape is also extremely competitive. Not only does your business need a constant influx of leads, but all your competitors do too, and the battle for acquiring them might be fierce.
In this article, we’ll explain the best strategies to generate leads for a SaaS company.
Decoding the DNA of SaaS Lead Generation
Let’s start our guide by explaining key terms.
A SaaS lead or a prospect is a potential customer. In terms of a sales funnel, this is a person who is in between not knowing about your company and becoming a paying customer.
As you might have noticed, a lead is quite a broad definition. A potential customer might be someone who subscribed to your newsletter or someone who’s actively talking to the sales team. That’s why there are different types of SaaS leads. Here are the three most commonly recognized types.
|Information qualified lead (IQL)||Awareness stage||Low priority||Engages with content|
|Marketing qualified lead (MQL)||Consideration stage||Medium priority||Engages with marketing materials|
|Sales qualified lead (SQL)||Decision stage||High priority||Took a converting action|
From IQL to SQL, leads are more and more likely to buy, and each requires unique approaches. You might attract any type of leads on your lead generation journey. The only difference is that if you attract a lot of IQL or MQL leads, you need to work on converting them into SQLs further down the line.
Your business needs a stable lead generation pipeline that attracts potential customers and nurtures them. Here are the most prominent ways you can implement the first part of that pipeline — lead generation.
1. Making It Personalized
One of the most straightforward ways to generate leads is to provide value to your potential customers as soon as possible while making it personalized. So, instead of just reaching out on Linkedin to your potential leads and telling them about the benefits of your software, you can find your unique ways, depending on what type of SaaS business you run.
For instance, if you’re an SEO or marketing software and your business is aimed at helping optimize websites, you could provide a lot of value by doing a quick automated website audit for them using your software and sending it to them along with your message. Get the highlights, like the most prominent issues and suggestions, and send them to your lead. This works best for marketing-qualified leads or sales-qualified leads who have left an email address and their business website.
Sharing a bit of knowledge like this for free will help with building trust for your brand and might contribute to lead generation, lead nurturing, and fostering brand loyalty.
2. Creating Valuable Content
The next best thing you could do to build a lead generation solution is to create great content that draws people in. Content can be used to attract all three types of leads.
Blog content for informational topics related to your industry can be the best option to attract a lot of leads who are in the awareness stage of the sales funnel. Working on search engine optimization ensures this content can be found on Google, and for many leads, it might be the first touchpoint with your brand.
It’s also a conversion point where leads can take the first converting action, subscribing to your company’s newsletter and leaving their email address.
For marketing-qualified leads, content like eBooks, white papers, or webinars that focus on their professional interests work best. These allow you to gather more information about the leads and can be used to both nurture existing IQLs and draw in MQLs who were not previously aware of your brand.
Keep what your audience wants to learn about in mind, analyze the performance of different topics, and invest more resources in those that tend to produce a better conversion rate.
3. Live Chat
One of the easiest ways to capture MQLs and SQLs that visit your website is a live chat tool like ThriveDesk. A person who wants to ask something about your business is definitely a lead in the bottom part of the sales funnel, which is a very important one.
Developing a solution that can either answer questions immediately with the help of AI or provide basic guidance and redirect to a salesperson is key to capturing these leads.
While you’re answering their questions, you can get the basic information about them like name, position, and email address.
When developing a live chat system for your business, keep speed in mind — leads won’t stay on your site to wait for an answer for too long.
4. Social Media Marketing
Social media, and especially LinkedIn, can be a great source of SaaS leads. At least, this is what 40% of marketers surveyed by LinkedIn believe. Even though your potential customers might not spend a lot of time on the platform, 80% of its users are decision-makers, so you’d want to get in front of them.
When you’re running paid ads on the platform, keep in mind that you can narrow the target audience down quite significantly. You could, for instance, show your ads to people from specific companies or people subscribed to a specific influencer.
You can also do influencer marketing on LinkedIn and have an industry influencer share or interact with your content.
Since users don’t spend a lot of time on LinkedIn, you have to grab their attention with something. It’s best to create something unique, like an eBook or a webinar, that is likely to resonate with decision-makers.
5. Email Marketing
While your content marketing and advertising efforts can be a source of information-qualified leads, email marketing can create a pipeline that turns them into marketing and then sales-qualified leads.
To do that, you’ll need to segment your mailing list and send automated personalized emails to leads. Measuring success is key here as you want to keep adjusting what type of emails you’re sending to your subscribers.
For instance, you have to measure what type of content fares better with different demographics. Another thing that you might want to track is the open rate of emails — if a lead isn’t engaging with your communication, you might want to send a different email sequence to them.
6. SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Optimizing your SaaS website for search is a lead generation strategy that might have the highest ROI. Having your website pages appear on search can serve as the first touchpoint with a lead, a place where they can find informational articles posted on your site and interact with your brand.
Your first step towards that is discovering the right keywords to rank for. You can start with a list of core keywords that represent your SaaS business and services and expand with specialized tools. Use commercial keywords to optimize your service pages and informational ones to create content around them to attract organic traffic.
Your other SEO activities should include optimizing technical aspects of your site, like its speed and mobile friendliness, and building links from authoritative sources.
Once your pages start ranking, analyze their performance and introduce lead capture forms on the high-traffic informational pages.
7. Google ads
While SEO has one of the highest ROIs among the lead generation methods, paid advertising produces the fastest results.
With PPC campaigns, careful targeting is key. Use the precise parameters of your audience to make sure you’re showing ads to the right people.
You should also look into retargeting ads. This type of paid ads can be targeted towards people who have interacted with your business within a certain timeframe. So, you might, for instance, create a paid ad campaign targeted specifically toward your newsletter subscribers with a personalized offer.
It might be a good idea to include a discount or a special offer in the ads to improve the click-through rate and drive more leads.
8. SaaS Meetups and Virtual Events
This SaaS lead generation method is a bit unorthodox, but it can be very effective. Instead of directing ads to leads, you attract them with virtual events and build a community around your brand and products.
The virtual events you could host include webinars, workshops, user conferences, roundtables, presentations of new features, or case studies. Whatever your event is, focus on two key things: creating value for the target audience and promoting it to the right audience.
If you do these two things, your events will generate leads for your business.
How Can Businesses Be Sure They Are Targeting the Right Leads
All lead generation channels involve some form of targeting, so figuring out whether you’re targeting the right people is important for success. Targeting the wrong audience will lead to lower conversion rates and will end up being a waste of resources.
The main thing you need to do to understand who you should target is to study your existing paying customers. Segment that list and use it as guidance when targeting leads in your marketing campaign. In the case of remarketing, you can use the exact list of your customers to serve them ads.
Then, monitor the performance of your lead generation campaign across different demographics. Change your approach depending on what works better for each. Keep in mind that there might not be a universal approach but rather different approaches for different audiences.
In terms of lead nurturing campaigns, you can implement lead scoring. This technique assigns values for different user actions like visiting the pricing page or opening emails with a score. The higher that score is, the more likely a lead is to convert to the next stage and the more effort you should allocate to them.
Generating leads is the lifeline for SaaS businesses. Without a stable stream of leads, any SaaS organization is doomed to fail, so creating a lead generation pipeline is a requirement for success in this line of business.
There are multiple SaaS lead generation strategies you can use, but the core objective of all of them is the same.
Providing unique value to a specific audience.
Use this motto to guide your efforts, and you’re going to succeed.