B2B marketing is an inherently competitive process, and SaaS marketing is especially cutthroat. It’s a huge industry these days, and everyone’s fighting over the same pool of potential customers.
If you want to succeed in the B2B SaaS world, it’s about more than just having a stellar product – although you need that too. It’s about having exceptional marketing, and that means you need a few tricks up your sleeve.
B2B SaaS Lead Generation 101: Tips, Tricks and Tactics
SaaS marketing is much like other marketing, only more so. It’s a fiercely competitive vertical, with many companies spending huge proportions of their revenue on marketing and sales.
Lead generation is even more crucial here than in other industries, and that means SaaS marketers play for keeps. Data-driven marketing is the standard, and that means your competitors are well-informed and working with a good chunk of funding.
It’s also an industry that requires marketers to keep their finger on the pulse of everything, and pivot quickly to meet new developments.
All in all, it’s life in the fast lane. Marketing, red in tooth and claw – at least that’s how the saying should go, these days.
If all that seems discouraging, don’t worry. You can still absolutely succeed. You just need to arm yourself with the right toolbox, and that’s what this article aims to do!
Here’s our roundup of B2B SaaS lead generation tips for companies looking to quickly scale their lead growth.
Look at Quality, Not Just Quantity
Sure, you want a lot of leads coming in. But if those leads aren’t ever going to result in a purchase, that’s just wasted effort (not to mention spend).
Don’t just measure your success on the number of leads you get and call it a day. You want to bring in as many leads as possible that are likely to make it to a purchase.
That means digging deeper. Remember a minute ago when we talked about how important data-driven marketing is? This is what we meant.
Focusing on lead quality sounds great, but to do that, you need to know what actually makes for a high-quality lead. Not just “whoever makes a purchase” – you should look for patterns and commonalities. Data, in other words.
And where do you find data on who your customers are? Sales.
Sales and Marketing are Better Together
It’s all too common for a company’s sales and marketing departments to butt heads.
Siloed departments are massively outdated and you’re not doing yourself any favors by keeping up walls between them.
Think of your company as a machine, and each department as one of the gears that makes that machine work. They’re all working towards a single result: success. When they all work together, they reach that goal way more smoothly.
So – if you haven’t worked with your sales team to help improve your marketing, you’re about to see some magic.
First, gather data. Upfront legwork means better results in the end, so spend some time analyzing who your best customers are, what they have in common, and what their buyer’s journey looked like from start to finish.
Where did they first appear on your radar? What lead driver brought them into your funnel? How many touchpoints were needed before they ended up on the phone with sales – and how did sales get them to pull the trigger?
If you find any kind of pattern there, you’ve got valuable information. Say they mostly came from Google Ads – great, you know your Google Ads are working well and you should consider leaning more heavily on that channel.
There are a whole lot of other reasons why aligning sales and marketing is beneficial, too.
Putting Your New Data Into Action
Okay, you’ve done some preparation, learned a lot about what sort of leads turn into customers, and you’re ready to go out and find them.
Where do you start?
Well, a good lead generation strategy makes use of all kinds of different channels, of course. The real trick is getting them to work together. Much like the departments in your company, your marketing channels don’t operate in isolation.
There’s a tendency to think in terms of separate channels. “Last month we got 73 leads from SEO, 48 from Google Ads, 102 from social media…”
The reality of it is that each of those leads didn’t only engage with whatever channel they ended up converting on.
Someone might be researching their next blog post and see one of your Google Ads. The next day, they’re browsing for a solution to a particular problem, and your blog pops up. Your name seems familiar, they’ve seen it before but aren’t sure where. They click on it, read the post, and move on with their day.
That night, they’re scrolling through Facebook and one of your ads shows, promoting your awesome SaaS product that addresses an issue they’ve been facing at work. This time, they recognize the name, remember the great article they read, and click the ad. They love the landing page and convert on your form.
There you go – a shiny new social media lead. Except that lead actually ran through three “totally separate” channels that ultimately led to them recognizing your ad and clicking; they might not have, if that ad was their first exposure to your company.
See what we’re driving at? Understand that your marketing doesn’t happen in isolation and that every customer goes on a journey of discovery before they end up in your funnel.
Harmony in Marketing
Don’t promote different things across different channels. Your PPC, email lead generation, website, social media and other marketing should all push the same message. That way, those naturally-occurring multiple touchpoints have a lot more impact.
It goes past the content though. Use the same creative style, branding, voice, design choices and everything, adapted for each channel.
That way, no matter how they engage with your content, it flows together smoothly and leaves them with one well-formed impression, instead of a series of unconnected messages.
This is called integrated marketing and not only is it an effective way to generate leads, it helps to keep your brand at the front of your potential customers’ minds.
What Channels Work Best?
There are a lot of ways to generate leads. Which ones work best for you is something you’ll have to find out yourself (remember to look at your customers!).
That said, there are staples that are worth pursuing. Finding a balance of where to put your budget is important.
Here’s a winning strategy: determine which channels are generating the highest volume of qualified, high-quality leads. Invest budget in those channels until you stop being able to scale growth there (i.e. when putting in more money doesn’t scale lead volume without increasing cost per lead).
Then pick the next-best channel, and do the same thing.
SEO is an attractive option, because it doesn’t require very much actual spend. Content creation and optimization is a proven way to generate surprisingly qualified leads for SaaS businesses. That said, it’s expensive in a different way: time.
It takes a whole lot of time investment to make SEO really generate leads, because you need to put out a steady stream of quality content that doesn’t stop.
Google Ads is a very solid, high-performing channel that many B2Bs see great success with. However, it’s also very easy to quickly burn huge chunks of budget without getting any return, so it pays to prepare and understand what you’re doing before you launch.
Both of these are fairly deep topics, and we go into more detail on them (and other related tactics) in this post on B2B search engine marketing.
Social media can be very lucrative for B2Bs, even SaaS companies. At first blush, it seems a little strange. Facebook and the like are surely all about B2C, no?
Nope. Facebook and Instagram in particular are extremely effective. Think of it like this: you’re a professional. You might even be your own target audience.
But you also (probably) have a Facebook or Instagram profile, and spend time scrolling along (maybe too much time, but that’s okay, we don’t judge).
Your target audience is the exact same. They’re professionals, but they’re also people. B2Bs sometimes lose sight of that, to their detriment. It’s worth experimenting with social media advertising as a way to generate leads, not just build a brand.
This is all well and good, but by and large, this is inbound marketing, which means you’re sitting and waiting for the leads to come to you. Even with Google Ads and social media you’re just hoping the right people see your ads, click and convert, though it’s technically outbound (since you’re presenting ads to people, not letting them find your content).
It’s effective, but it’s not quick. Inbound is a slow, steady burn that you need to constantly feed more fuel (i.e. content).
To truly generate leads in a meaningful, scalable way, you need to add some fuel to the fire.
Step Up Your Lead Generation
When you want to scale up, it’s time to stop just waiting around for leads. Instead, go find them!
Email lead generation is a powerful marketing strategy that’s also underutilized. Why? Because it’s outbound marketing, and that’s not the big buzzword these days. Inbound marketing is trendy, but it’s also becoming a lot harder to stand out as the SERPs (search engine results pages) become saturated and dominated by heavy hitters in each industry.
Savvy marketers will realize that modern outbound marketing doesn’t look very much like old-school outbound.
In the past, outbound meant disturbing people at dinner with a phone call asking if they would like to switch their life insurance. Or with a knock at the door, asking do they have five minutes for you to demonstrate this revolutionary, life-changing vacuum, look how perfectly it cleans this dirt I’m about to spill on your carpet …
Today, it’s different. It’s not a disruptive hard-sell that seeks to bypass the funnel altogether, it’s a powerful tactic to keep leads flowing into the top of the funnel.
Here’s how it works: you take a nice, large list of targeted cold B2B contacts that you acquired from a reputable data provider. You plug that list into Clickback’s email lead generation software, which automatically cleans out bad data.
Now, when you send an email campaign to those contacts, you’re reaching your target audience in huge numbers (the only limit is how large your list is), and driving them to a landing page where they can convert.
Then, you push those shiny new opted-in B2B leads into your MA or CRM and continue to nurture, just like you would with any other lead.
Except you can scale this channel as large as you like simply by increasing your list size.
If you want to learn more about how you can scale your B2B SaaS leads in a big way using Clickback, we’re happy to show you. Just request a free, live 1:1 software demo!