Any founder will admit that for B2B SaaS companies, lead generation in 2020 is fiercely competitive. Grabbing your slice of market share is now harder than ever. So what happened?
In simple terms: Lower barriers to entry have invited more competitors to the table.
In the MarTech field alone, the number of SaaS companies has more than doubled from 3500-7040 in the last 3 years.
This means that unless you’re a tech giant like Google or Microsoft, customers aren’t going to beat a path to your door just because you built a product.
To thrive in today’s crowded environment, you need a strong lead generation strategy that puts your product in front of customers.
In this post, we’ll explore the timeless strategies that today’s smart SaaS companies use to generate leads.
01. Get customers to bring SaaS leads to you
Despite a minimal marketing budget, Dropbox is worth billions.
They’re also the poster company for “viral” referral marketing. And when you consider their growth metrics, it’s easy to see why:
- September 2008: 100K registered users
- December 2009: 4M registered users
- September 2017: 33.9M registered users
Fortunately, you don’t need your referral marketing campaign to go viral in order to generate leads.
During its launch phase, Leadfeeder used referral marketing to accelerate growth and acquire new users for their MVP (minimum viable product). After referring new customers to their free trial, they rewarded users with premium feature unlocks and more time to enjoy their trial.
This is partly responsible for their 6-month rise from $0-150K in monthly recurring revenue (MRR) without a sales team.
If you’re an up-and-coming SaaS company, don’t underestimate the value of building your referral-friendly free trials.
02. Get chatbots to generate leads for you
At the helm of a two-person SaaS startup, Pardeep Kullar and Joe d’Elia were struggling to juggle sales, marketing, and customer support for Anymail finder, an email verification SaaS.
With a high-volume of repeated questions and support queries, they were spending too much time playing the support role instead of generating leads.
To make up for their limited support team, the founders eventually turned to an AI chatbot provided by Intercom. According to cofounder Pardeep, the chatbot streamlined the entire customer support and sales process with pre-written resolutions to common questions.
This reduced their average response time, generated more leads, and resulted in 60 percent more revenue with 9 out of 10 high-value leads using the chat system before buying.
Livechat software is often used to replicate the in-store customer experience online. The problem is, if you’re a startup or a small team like Anymail finder, you lack the bandwidth to deal with multiple complex requests at the same time.
This can damage customer experience and eventually cause revenues to plunge.
That’s why SaaS companies from startups to industry leaders like Salesforce, Drift, and Segment are using AI-powered chatbots to score, support, and generate leads.
03. Hack SaaS review sites to expand your reach
Did you know that buyers are more likely to engage with vendors early in the buyer journey?
While in the research phase, 71 percent admit to accepting a contact request with a potential vendor.
And when you consider that 92 percent of B2B buyers also use online reviews to inform a purchase, the power of a presence on review sites is not to be ignored. It means you can show your product to buyers right when they’re searching for a solution that you provide.
Establishing a presence on review sites can be a longwinded process. To speed it up, follow the 3 hacks Cloudapp used to go from zero to 275 reviews within 6 months and feature in G2’s top 100 software companies list.
Begin by reaching out to those who:
- Are active users of your product (they spend a lot of time or money).
- Give you an NPS score of 8 or higher.
- Review you on Google or other sites (including your own).
04. Develop high-value relationships with social selling
According to research from LinkedIn, 78 percent of social sellers outsell their peers. They’re also far more likely to find sales opportunities and hit quota. But, what exactly is social selling for B2B SaaS companies?
Social selling is like a “lite” version of account-based marketing. You’re still:
- Researching and reaching out to leads.
- Developing connections with multiple decision-makers.
- And prioritizing long-term, profitable relationships over short-term sales.
The difference, however, is that social selling occurs on a smaller scale through the medium of a social media platform.
Metadata, for e.g., used social selling in lieu of an expensive account-based lead generation campaign. Director of growth, Logan Neveau, set up custom feeds to track web visits from high-value social media accounts.
After qualifying the account against an ideal client profile (ICP), the lead was then “opened” to the entire team; team members who then shared any connections with the account could initiate a conversation.
To generate more leads from social selling:
- Pose quick round-up or opinion questions. This type of content is more likely to go “viral” and get shared by industry leaders.
- Congratulate your lead’s milestones and accomplishments.
- Take time to add thought-provoking comments on their content.
- Review your social selling score index (SSI).
05. Create content that carries your company’s DNA
Content marketing is an effective lead generation strategy for B2B SaaS companies.
It helped shape HubSpot into the multi-million dollar brand it is today.
It increased Ridester’s organic traffic by 487 percent.
Content marketing even rescued Groove from the clutches of startup death and guided it into a $5 million dollar company.
But as Alex Turnbull, Groove’s founder, learned the hard way, content marketing has evolved.
“Standard” content (even if it is long-form) fails to cut the mustard because the web is saturated with rehashed 1000-word how-to’s. Writing another one won’t attract users to your product.
To generate B2B leads from your content, follow the industry leaders: carve out unique content only your brand can create. For example:
- DataBox reaches out to and features 100+ expert quotes in their long-form content.
- G2 reaches out to its massive network of experts and SaaS leaders to create industry-specific posts.
- Gong.io uses its library of data on sales revenue to create fresh, data-backed topics for sales leaders.
Find your unique content marketing angle, and double down on it.
SaaS lead generation doesn’t have to be a struggle
The dazzle of a new product is no longer enough to catch attention and generate leads.
As revealed in a “SaaS economics” study by Price Intelligently, competition in B2B SaaS is rising. Compared to five years ago, where SaaS startups faced an average of 2.6 competitors, founders today face upwards of 9.7 competitors.
Using the proven lead generation strategies above, SaaS companies can help their products stand out in front of an audience of savvy buyers who are spoiled for choice.