If you're not generating leads, you cannot predict or influence revenues. You're leaving a lot to chance. And that's no way to grow your SaaS business. Without leads, your SaaS business model isn't scalable.
Whether you're a startup or are looking to breathe new life into a worn-out way of B2B lead generation, there’s a better way to reliably meet SaaS marketing goals.
Why Is Lead Generation Important to SaaS Businesses?
B2B lead generation for SaaS streamlines the journey from awareness to the delighted customer, This eliminates the friction that slows or stops the progression from MQL to SQL, cutting costs in the process.
That's because it puts you in the driver's seat with the following:
- Predictable pipeline
- Repeatable success
- Scalable workflows and technology
You have a reliable number of potential customers entering the middle of the funnel. So, you can more effectively nurture them into paying customers through content that delivers the right message at the right time. Finally, lead generation for SaaS allows you to forecast revenues from the top of the funnel to stay proactive, adapt, and look forward to quarterly C-suite meetings rather than dreading them.
What Are The 6 Steps of Lead Generation in SaaS Marketing?
In a nutshell, you have 6 steps to generate a lead in SaaS Marketing. You'll notice the tactics we outline will align with these steps.
- Define your target audience/buyer persona
- Map out the buyer's journey
- Create helpful, persona- and journey-aligned content
- Capture the lead
- Streamline workflows through automation
- Track, test, measure, and optimize
The Journey of a B2B SaaS Buyer
The Saas Buyer's Journey differs slightly from the "traditional" buyer's journey.
Awareness / Top of Funnel (ToF)
The business decision-maker becomes aware they have a problem they need to fix. They may have some awareness that SaaS solutions exist. But they haven't looked into them. That's because, in many cases, they weren't aware of how much this problem impacted them until now.
Because you've positioned yourself to be helpful to this person/brand, they also discover and become aware of your SaaS brand when seeking to learn about their problem and types of solutions.
From your perspective, this is where you want to make a lasting first impression. Turn a stranger into a visitor and then a repeat visitor. Stoke their curiosity, and guide them into the next phase of the SaaS buyer's journey while simultaneously capturing a lead.
They'll typically engage two to three times before they move into the next phase, so this isn't always a straight line.
Consideration / Interest / Middle of Funnel (MoF)
They better understand what your SaaS can do to solve their problem. They begin seeing it as something they may want to buy.
Don't get discouraged if some people don't make it this far. Lead generation is also a proving ground. Those who advance are higher quality leads than those who don't. And besides, the timing could be the only thing holding some back, and they'll return.
Now is the time to demonstrate the Unique Value Proposition (UVP) your brand offers them. Focus on the benefits, as features can drag the conversation down at this point. Most of the time, the person buying the SaaS isn't the end user, so actually knowing how features work could be a moot point.
Decision / Evaluation / Bottom of Funnel (BoF)
Leads are evaluating their options more closely to find the right fit for price, function, etc. This may involve checking out competitors.
Don't take this lead for granted. You must show them, not just tell them, why you're their best option through free trials and demos that allow them to experience it for themselves.
Simultaneously, the seamless hand-off to sales is vital. Using HubSpot lead scoring automation, you'll assign a sales rep to follow up, and launch an email sequence with sales enablement content to keep the deal on track and help sales close this deal.
Delight / Retention / Brand Ambassador
In SaaS, it's all about what you have done for me lately.
Again, the hand-off from Sales to Service is vital. Onboarding, customer support, and re-engagement from marketing will turn a new customer into a valuable brand ambassador that helps you generate leads more easily.
Key Metrics for a Successful SaaS Marketing Strategy
- Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC)
- Lifetime Value (CLV)
- Customer Churn Rate
- Recurring Revenues
- Customer Retention
- Time to Sell/Upsell
- Annual Growth
- Customer Engagement
- Number of Sales
And you thought we were just generating leads. While it's critical to stay focused on a KPI like leads generated and lead conversion rate, the above KPIs show you that the leads you're generating are high quality. The workflows, automation, and strategies you have in place are working.
For this reason, it's essential to make sure you have ways to measure these metrics about your leads. This will allow you to create truly scalable processes to grow your SaaS business.
Best Tactics to Generate Leads for Your SaaS Business
Now, let's break down the tactics that keep the above journey on track, eliminate friction to generate more revenues, and grow your SaaS company.
Strong SEO Strategy
Cience says it best: "Decision-makers using these platforms are looking to buy a solution. They already understand what their problem is and have an idea of how to solve it. By showing at the top of their searches, you can start a conversation with highly motivated buyers that just need a push to convert into paying customers."
SEO strategy is critical to your long-term SaaS marketing strategy. It lowers your marketing costs over time and helps you reach customers who are ready to act.
SEO isn't just about getting to the top of searches. The websites that reach the top of searches do so because they closely align with search intent. That means you understand your target audience and the buyer's journey.
You know precisely what they need to see to click from search and engage with your website. You are committed to creating an exceptional online experience.
53% of people use Google to search for and research products they consider buying. So, SEO is a critical piece of most buyers' journeys.
Regardless of where you choose to focus, SEO research and website optimization to appear in search need to be part of your SaaS strategy.
Content is central to SEO and SaaS marketing for startups and established brands alike. But creating endless content without a content strategy will not get consistent results.
Align content types with the buyer's journey:
- Awareness - Social media posts (especially LinkedIn), data-driven search intent-aligned blog posts and short videos, paid social media and search ads, retargeting ads
- Consideration - Premium content offers (gated or ungated), podcasts, white papers, Sales enablement content, eBooks, landing pages, events, strong CTAs
- Decision-making - Webinars, Demos, Case studies
And before you just begin writing, make sure you have buyer personas so you know precisely who you're writing for. See what others are writing on the topics as well as trends you need to cover to show you're informed.
Post regularly and ensure your content strategy includes a straightforward method to generate leads and guide them through the buyer's journey.
For example, we helped one SaaS company create a customized Marketing Action Plan (MAP) by LAIRE® to increase their new contacts by 456% and then worked with Marketing and Sales to align processes to increase demo discovery call bookings by 10x. You can see how we did it here.
Referrals are vital in many industries. But many people who would be more than happy to refer your product to someone else don't because it simply never comes up.
When you incentivize referrals, people stop and think about who may also benefit from your product.
No business leader doesn't love an opportunity to save money in the form of a subscription discount or gift card.
And these are powerful leads because someone the person knows vouched for you.
Referral programs also generate higher retention rates because customers become more invested. So, this is not only a lead generation strategy. It's also a strategy to increase retention and CLV.
Live, online, and hybrid events are excellent opportunities to bring like minds together to explore shared problems and your product's solutions. Hosting an event can be a very personally rewarding experience and generate many high-quality leads.
When using events to generate leads, it's important to consider the goals and event ROI. In this case, your event needs a clear path to generate leads.
One method for a physical or hybrid event is collecting business cards through booths and raffles. You can use the HubSpot integration MagneticOne to scan and enter physical business cards into your CRM for more personalized event follow-up.
Your website is your home base. Regardless of where you're marketing, everyone will end up on your website sooner or later. It must be optimized for user experience, search engines, and conversions.
When you do, you will generate more leads and experience a higher ROI on everything you do in SaaS marketing.
Some critical elements to consider when optimizing a website to increase B2B lead generation include:
- Social proof. Strategically placed social proof builds instant trust to convince a visitor you're the real deal. 93% of people look for social proof when they don't know a company very well yet. E.g., Reviews, testimonials, high-engagement embedded social media posts, a social media following, and influencer brand comments.
- Speed. 70% of people say that if a website is slow, they're less likely to buy. Website lead generation rate drops nearly 5% for every second it takes a page to load. Leads generated are already a percentage of website visitors. The average lead conversion rate for SaaS is already 1.7% of website visitors, so losing 20% for a 4-second load time is a big deal.
- Mobile-friendly. Your website must work just as well on mobile. We were already moving in this direction. But the pandemic pushed us even further. According to McKinsey, the percentage of B2B buyers researching and buying products on mobile rose 250% during/after the pandemic, and we're not going back.
- Automation tools. According to Oracle, companies that use automation generate 451% more qualified leads by using automation. For websites, chatbots can help visitors quickly find answers on the websites and automatically direct them to live chat if they need additional help.
50% of marketers expect automation to integrate easily into their existing CRM. They won't use it if it's too complicated to set up and use. This leads us to our final lead generation strategy.
Using a CRM
A CRM is critical to lead generation. It helps you keep track of contacts who've shown interest for follow-up and automate tedious workflows to both enhance employee/customer experience and marketing results. It's no secret we appreciate the power of HubSpot.
HubSpot helps you easily create and share branded lead-generation forms for your website. As those leads start coming, it automatically launches welcome emails and segments them based on pre-determined criteria and behaviors to send them the most relevant nurturing email content.
Another helpful tool is HubSpot's live chat feature which makes integrating a self-service chatbot with a live chat option easy for marketers. Or choose to skip the self-service and go straight to someone—whichever works best for your SaaS marketing goals.
HubSpot also unifies communication and efforts of Marketing, Sales, and Service, enhancing the hand-offs, improving customer experience, and increasing lead-to-sales, retention rates, and revenues.
You can take this even further with HubSpot integrations, which work as a seamless extension of the tool.
Here are some popular lead generation HubSpot integrations and how they improve the SaaS lead generation process.
- LeadsBridge connects specified data to Facebook automatically. It communicates HubSpot's "Smart Lists" to Facebook automatically. You can use these for retargeting and retention efforts for existing leads and customers. But to generate new leads, run "lookalike" ads that target people on Facebook who share characteristics of your existing leads and customers.
- Unbounce is a landing page builder that automatically captures leads and communicates them to HubSpot so they become contacts.
- Leadfeeder is a lead scoring tool that creates a more unified understanding of the buyer's journey across devices and channels. It connects a visitor on your website to its corresponding CRM contact information. It then uses signals to identify when a visitor is ready to buy now. It can then create a lead in your HubSpot CRM or speed the lead directly to a sales rep, create tasks, and even define a closing period, depending on your SaaS business model.
Lead Generation for SaaS with a SaaS Marketing Agency
It's true. Lead generation for SaaS is different. From the B2B SaaS buyer's journey to how you use content to the lower average lead conversion rates, it's important to work with an agency that understands the uniqueness and complexity of your industry.
SaaS companies turn to LAIRE when they want reliable revenue growth. We know this only happens when you have a clearly-defined SaaS lead generation strategy and we know how to get you there.
Looking for a more efficient way to generate SaaS leads? Check out our guide: How to Move Leads Through Your SaaS Sales Pipeline.