The SaaS Marketer’s Black Book of Lead Generation

Lead generation. It always seems to be at the forefront of every marketer’s mind and it is often the topic of discussion during sales meetings and goal-setting sessions. However, the honest truth is that most of us do not have any clue how to improve our lead generation numbers.

According to a study by LinkedIn, 68% of B2B marketers want to increase their lead quality and 55% want to see a growth in lead volume. However, a shocking 80% of B2B marketers are not very satisfied with their generation efforts. Only 16% can claim with confidence that their current strategies are totally effective.

When it comes to SaaS marketers, a highly competitive, mature, and the digitally-focused market makes things even more difficult. Driving in relevant leads can be tricky, considering that you are often vying for attention with numerous brands that offer similar products with better or more features. Further, as more and more customers make use of ad blockers and ignore pop-ups, marketers are scrambling to find new techniques to generate leads.

But there is a light at the end of this tunnel – there are some practically foolproof secrets to improve your SaaS marketing strategies. Let’s explore them.

Quick Takeaways:

  • Technology and tools make it very easy to know more about your customers and their intent these days.
  • Content is critical in moving your customers along the buyer’s journey.
  • New social media mobile and web platforms offer great opportunities for B2B marketers to experiment with new tactics.

Always Know Your Customer

I know, I know, this advice seems incredibly basic and elementary. It’s one of the first things you probably heard from your marketing professor way back in the day, right?

But thankfully, modern technology makes it possible to go beyond getting demographic data on consumers and end up with oversimplified personas. You can truly get to know your audience on an individual basis and use this data and AI-based algorithms to formulate and run hyper-personalized marketing campaigns.

In the SaaS vertical, hyper-personalization manifests itself through account-based marketing (ABM). This approach is focused on narrowing down leads to single accounts or small, focused groups, and optimizing resources to customize the nurturing process. Every marketing decision is based on information from past interactions and behavioral data that is processed through an intelligent software system to predict the “value” of a lead.

But in addition to knowing who your customer is, you also need to understand who your customer is not. This starts by understanding the ins and outs of the niches and verticals that stand to benefit the most from your SaaS product.

You also need to know what will disqualify a lead right away so that no time is wasted in pursuing them. For instance, if your solution is geared towards the enterprise, a large number of concurrent users, and comes with a rather hefty price tag, then startups are not going to be able to afford it or see the greatest benefits from implementation.

Understand the Correlation between Content and Conversions

All marketers know that content plays an important role of lead generation, particularly in the B2B realm. But what many fail to understand is the connection that every single piece of content has on a conversion (the second biggest lead generation challenge for B2B, according to the LinkedIn report mentioned earlier). Shockingly, a quarter of marketers don’t even know if their lead generation efforts result in any conversions!

Source

Great content can move a lead from one phase of the buyer’s journey to the next or it can stop them dead in their tracks if it does not match their intent (or standards).

When it comes to lead nurturing, the effectiveness of your content can vary depending on your lead’s position in the sales funnel. SaaS customers are going to be fairly research-focused, especially when it comes to B2B investments. They want to find veritable proof that your product is the best option and will drive in results.

According to a Demand Gen survey, 78% of buyers are heavily reliant on content from trustworthy resources to back up their decisions. This survey also found that content preferences vary depending on the stage of the buyer’s journey.

In addition to using information from case studies and reports like these, you should also be conducting your own research based on your audience segments’ behavior. There are several ways to go about this:

  • Using an ABM system to track individual account journeys and see which content they interact with
  • Getting a more generalized view of which content pages have the highest CTRs, lowest bounce rates, and tracking the path from first-time visits to purchases
  • Conducting market research and asking customers which types of content they find most trustworthy, influential, and engaging

Try Non-Traditional Tactics

In addition to the traditional marketing methods like email, targeted digital ads, and blog posts, you may want to experiment with more unique ideas that can really capture your customers’ attention, make your brand stand out, and connect with wider audiences.

One important channel for lead generation that many SaaS B2B marketers underutilize is social media. Social can incredibly effective for connecting with your audience, especially as more and more B2B buyers are using it to research products and companies. After all, the purchase decision at the end of the B2B sales cycle is made by a human – who has a need and a tendency to be social.

Social media is also the perfect place to leverage online communities within your industry niche. Facebook and LinkedIn groups can be great places to share information or engage in one-on-one conversations by answering people’s questions or discussing ideas.

And while we’re already discussing fresh and unconventional tactics for B2B lead generation via social media and communities, there are a couple that come to mind:

  • Answering (and prompting) questions on Quora
  • Building a rapport with your niche on Reddit

reddit submission

You should also take note that audio visual content is becoming increasingly popular among B2B customers. In the aforementioned report from Demand Gen, 64% of B2B buyers said they preferred to listen to podcasts and 48% liked to watch webinars to conduct product research.

Collaborating with industry thought leaders to do podcasts and webinars is a great way of reaching new audiences, building up your brand presence, as well as getting customers to ramp up usage of your product. For instance, hosting a joint webinar with a non-competing brand can help you generate leads by appealing to a related but hitherto untapped audience.

Keep Turning the Pages

The list of tactics that SaaS businesses can use to generate leads are seemingly endless:

  • Make educational videos for every use case of your product.
  • Offer exclusive content via email.
  • Create ready-to-use templates for complex tasks in your niche.
  • Host a virtual summit or local meetup with thought leaders and experts in your industry.
  • Conduct an online course that explains advanced concepts.
  • Launch side projects that interest new and relevant audiences.
  • Share learnings on selected communities and industry forums.

However, you need to keep writing your own journal rather than relying on others’ ideas in order to keep growing. What are some of your secrets that you use to bring in more leads and drive sales? Care to share any notes from your black book in the comments?

Michael Brenner  is a Top CMO, Content Marketing and Digital Marketing Influencer, an international keynote speaker, author of "Mean People Suck" and "The Content Formula" and he is the CEO and Founder of Marketing Insider Group, a leading Content Marketing Agency . He has worked in leadership positions in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as for thriving startups. Today, Michael helps build successful content marketing programs for leading brands and startups alike. Subscribe here for regular updates.

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