Your Growth Springboard

How to Generate Leads for B2B SaaS Founders

You have achieved product market fit and are gaining traction in your market.   However, you are struggling to generate leads and do not have a reliable marketing funnel, which converts into regular sales.  Sound familiar?

This blog looks at 10 practical steps you can follow to generate a steady stream of qualified leads and grow your business reliably and consistently.

 

  1. Where do my ideal customers hang out?
  2. Create awesome content
  3. Promote your content
  4. Make a video
  5. Track progress
  6. Offer a free trial
  7. Host a webinar
  8. Partner with other providers
  9. Nurture leads via email
  10. Targeted cold-calling

First, what do we mean by “qualified leads”? A qualified lead is a specific individual, who is your ideal target customer, who has entered the top of your funnel.  Here, you need to be clear on what your ideal customer looks like.  You should be as specific as possible and define your ideal customer in terms of their budget, minimum or maximum company size, job title, seniority, industry and geography.

You have a “qualified lead” when your ideal target customer completes a call to action such as downloading your white paper or eBook in return for giving their contact details.   

1-Where do my ideal customers hang out?

One of the best platforms for sourcing leads for B2B SaaS founders is LinkedIn.   Using the Sales Navigator add-on, you can translate your ideal customer profile into the platform’s various search parameters.   For example, I search for SaaS companies, using the following filters:

  • SaaS specialists
  • Who have posted on LinkedIn within the last 3 months
  • Who are located in UK
  • Who are CEOs/owners
  • At companies with 1 to 10 employees

 

A great tip is that you can target members of a particular LinkedIn group by entering the name of the group in the relevant filter.   Do some research on which LinkedIn groups exist, where your ideal customers hang out.  This is a great way to get a list of highly targeted prospects interested in your solution.

Once you have created your targeted list, you can start reaching out to them individually, with an invite to connect along with a short message.   Keep your message short and highlight something that you have in common, such as a mutual connection, attending the same school or working in the same industry.  For example:

“Hello Peter,

I see that we both work in the technology space and have a number of connections in common.  It would be great to add you to my network.

Daniel”

2- Create awesome content

We live in an age where high quality content is king.    In short, your ideal customer does not want to be sold to.  What they do want is to be educated and delighted by you.   You should, therefore, spend time on creating high quality content which speaks to them and the problems they face.    Creating great content takes time and resources, but the good news is that once you create something of value, it becomes an asset, which you can use to drive lead generation into the future.    Ideas for content creation include:

  • eBooks
  • eguides
  • Templates
  • Whitepapers
  • Webinars

 

Once you have created your content, you need to create a landing page where you promote your content in exchange for their contact details.     The landing page should be highly focused on the call to action (e.g. downloading your eBook) and provide social proof and clear benefits.  Here are some examples.

3- Promote your content

Once you have your landing page set-up, the next step is to promote it.   Two proven ways to do this are:

  • Targeted GoogleAds
  • LinkedIn Ads/individual LinkedIn outreach

 

GoogleAds work on a pay per click basis, which means you only pay once the target audience clicks on the link.   Be clear on which target words you are focussing on and set a budget.  

For information on setting up GoogleAds check here.

LinkedIn Ads can be much more targeted than GoogleAds and provide good results.   Generally, the more targeted you are, the more the ad costs.  Here is an excellent guide to setting up your LinkedIn ads.

4- Make a video

According to Wyzol:

93% of marketers who use video say that it’s an important part of their marketing strategy.

Given, people’s shortened attention spans, video is becoming a more and more popular way to cut through the noise. Indeed, there is a wealth of evidence out there that shows video can increase conversions significantly.     

Just check out the stats.

Highlights:

  1. Using the word ‘video’ in an email subject line boosts the open rates by 19% 
  2. Including video in a landing page can increase conversion by 80% 
  3. People spend 2.6x more time on pages with video than without

How about creating a short 2 to 3 minute demo of you SaaS solution and sharing it on LinkedIn?  

Or, why not create a short intro video on your SaaS for your website? If you are time poor, why not take a look at hiring a producer from one of the freelance websites, like fiverr?

5- Track progress

Track everything you do in terms of marketing so that you can continually improve.   This means understanding which ads and keywords are getting the most clicks and produce the most conversions.  This is crucial to sharpen your focus and get better results as you progress.

Check out this link for guidance on how to measure the success of your marketing campaigns.

6 – Offer a free trial

What better way to prove your SaaS solution is worth investing in than by offering a free trial?    By offering a free trial you lower the perceived risk of using an unknown provider.     Sure, many prospects will not be ready to buy straightaway, but you now have their contact details to follow-up with them via email campaigns and other outreach until they are ready.    Also, if the trial experience is positive, users will share their feedback with their network, providing additional marketing for you.

7- Host a webinar

Admittedly, hosting a webinar takes time and resources to organise and deliver.  However, the investment is worth it, because most attendees will be people who are very interested in your business and what you offer.   This is because, attending a webinar represents a time commitment.  People allocate time to things that are important to them.  As a result, the leads you create from people attending your webinar are going to be of much higher quality.  

A few tips for webinars:

  • Make sure you send reminders before the event to ensure maximum attendance.
  • Do not pitch your solution. The attendees are there to be educated and not sold to.
  • Invite other industry players to help host, as this gives you credibility.
  • Build a great reputation for your business by delivering high quality and insightful webinars.
  • Increase the likelihood of people staying until the end, by offering an incentive, such as access to an ebook, at the end of the webinar.

8 – Partner with other providers

If you have a SaaS solution that naturally complements the services provided by another SaaS provider, consider building a partnership.     For example, recently I have seen ESG SaaS providers collaborate with mainstream Fintech platforms to improve their overall offering to end clients.   This opens the door to highly qualified leads and both parties are winners.

 

9 – Nurture leads via email

Once you have generated qualified leads from your lead magnets, it is important that you schedule regular outreach to them.  This is crucial in building trust and moving them toward a sale.    You can build emails campaigns in most CRM tools, such as Hubspot, which allow you to schedule specific follow-up emails depending on the recipient’s actions.

Every email you send should deliver true value and have a clear call-to-action, such as signing up to a webinar.

Drift provides some excellent email templates to nurture your leads, here.

10 – Targeted cold calling

Despite much hype, cold-calling is not dead, but it has changed.   For some detailed advice on cold-calling, check out the Cold Calling 101 Guide.

My advice is to try and make warm calls wherever you can.   There are many ways to warm up your calls, such as:

  • Following up with a lead once they have completed a number of steps in your funnel (for example, they downloaded an eBook and later that month, attended one of your free webinars)
  • Ask your network for an introduction to the person you are trying to get in front of and mention this on your call
  • Research your target and see if there you have anything in common, such as previous employers, schools, universities.

 

A good tactic is to send an email, introducing yourself, before reaching out by phone so they expect your call.   For example:

Dear Mr/Ms. X,

Your name came up in a conversation I had with our mutual acquaintance, Peter Smith at Y company, last week.

The reason for my email is that I have been helping similar ESG early-stage start-ups grow their business with practical advice.    Would you be open to a 15-minute intro chat in the coming weeks?   I will call you tomorrow at 9 to schedule a time that suits you best.

Best Regards,

Daniel

Conclusion

So, there you have it: 10 simple ways you can start building your SaaS lead generation today, which I hope you find useful.   My advice to you is to stop procrastinating and start implementing one of these steps today. 

Let me know if I can help you in any way.  I’m always keen to hear from SaaS founders, like you.  I wish you every success with your SaaS business!

Daniel Feander
Founder – salesmentor.