Lead generation is often the biggest challenge for any business, but it can be even more challenging for a B2B SaaS business due to the unique conditions found in this niche market.
In this guide, we will discuss ten of the most effective B2B lead generation strategies for SaaS businesses, which will provide you with tactical advice for improving your business’s lead generation performance right away.
1. Analyze Your Existing Customer Base
One of the most crucial foundations of any lead generation campaign, not only B2B lead generation, is to perform a thorough customer analysis, and the best place to start is with your existing customer database.
First, assess who your most valuable customers are. Especially in B2B businesses the Pareto principle often applies: 80% of your revenue comes only from 20% of customers. That is why it is vital to identify your customers beforehand so you can accurately model your lead generation from what you’ve learned.
You should measure important customer metrics and analyze your database for existing patterns. Metrics you should observe include:
- Customer lifetime value (CLV)
- Repeat purchase/repeat subscription rate
- Retention rate
- Upselling ratio
- Repurchase ratio
Once you’ve identified your most valuable customers, reach out to them and talk to them to better understand their needs. You can conduct one-to-one, in-depth interviews, send out surveys, or create a focus group discussion to gather more insights about their needs and pain points.
You should focus on answering key questions such as:
- What makes them interested in your service?
- How do they learn about your existence?
- What areas they’d like you to improve?
- Are there any competitor’s products/services they like, and why?
Segmenting your customer database can also help you uncover valuable insights, as we will discuss below.
2. Breakdown Your Customer Database Into Segments
If you only have a few clients in your database, then this process might be relatively simple. Yet, if you already have quite a lot of clients, then you might need to do some structuring before you can properly analyze the data.
This is where customer segmentation comes in, allowing you to better differentiate customers so you can focus your lead generation efforts on specific groups better.
You can segment B2B customers based on the following factors:
- Demographic data: age, gender, education level, income level, etc.
- Geographic location
- Behavioral factors: habits, frequent actions, hobbies, etc.
- Psychographic factors: beliefs, interests, values
- Industry: very relevant for B2B, what industry the customer organization belongs to
- Business size: also specific for B2B, the number of employees, revenue size, and other factors
- Needs: specific needs for a product/service
3. Target The Right Decision Makers
A unique thing to consider in B2B lead generation is that the B2B sales cycle can involve more than just one or two purchasing decision makers.
For example, if you are a B2B business selling accounting software for other companies, then the sales cycle can involve:
- An accounting officer interested in your product. The end-user of your product that influences the potential purchase
- The accounting manager, who will decide whether investing in the product is necessary
- CFO who will approve the budget
- CEO, who will make the final decision
Ideally, your lead generation efforts should target all four parties, but as you can see, these four people have different roles, needs, pain points, and preferences, which means you’ll need to personalize your lead generation efforts for each of them.
The bigger the clients you are aiming for, the more people and politics that will factor into the equation, so it’s very important for you to find the right decision-makers and influencers within this target account. Otherwise, your lead generation efforts won’t be effective.
4. Clearly Lay Out Your Benefits and Values
You’ve properly identified the purchasing influencers and decision-makers to pursue, and you’ve also figured out their needs and behaviors.
The next step is to lay out the unique values and benefits you can offer to these target prospects based on the needs you’ve identified.
If you can’t properly communicate your unique value proposition (UVP), you won’t be able to effectively attract these target prospects.
How can you specifically provide value for these target prospects? And you should accurately answer the question: How can your product/service help your customers achieve their business objectives? The more clearly you can answer this question, the better you can develop your strategy.
Once you’ve properly laid out your unique value proposition, then it’s just a matter of integrating it into your lead generation efforts and brand messages. Slack, for example, clearly communicates its unique value proposition everywhere on its website and social media profiles: “Slack replaces email,” “Slack makes it downright pleasant to work together,” “Where work happens,” and so on.
Find out your unique values and benefits, and don’t be afraid to communicate them.
5. Establish Yourself On SaaS Review Sites
In this social media age, maintaining a positive online reputation is very important.
Virtually anyone can look up anything online, and most of us have obviously checked online reviews and testimonies before making a purchase. The same principle also applies to your B2B business: you should establish your business on as many relevant review sites as possible so people can find you.
Also, you should encourage your existing customers to leave positive reviews about you on these review sites.
While the sites you should pursue will vary depending on your niche and type of product, here is a shortlist of review sites you should consider:
- G2 Crowd
- IT Central Station
After you’ve listed your brand on these review sites, how can you get your existing customers to leave positive reviews?
Above all, make sure you are actually delivering good products and excellent customer service, but here are a few tips
- Offer incentives. The classic, but still effective tactic is to offer incentives like discounts or freebies in exchange for (positive) reviews.
- Sometimes, asking them is all it takes. It’s important, however, to make sure you are asking at the right time to improve your chance of getting positive reviews. You can, for example, ask them for a review when they’ve just renewed their subscription (indicating their satisfaction with your solution).
- Respond to older reviews, including and especially negative ones. Customers are more likely to leave reviews on businesses that actively handle negative reviews and complaints.
6. Leverage Social Selling To Build High-Value Relationships
Especially in a B2B environment, building relationships is very important not only to generate more leads but also to ensure higher conversion rates.
What is social selling? Essentially social selling is using social media to build brand awareness and connect to high-quality sales prospects via social media.
Here are some tips on how you can perform social selling as a lead generation strategy for your B2B SaaS business:
- Attract leads via LinkedIn: For B2B businesses, LinkedIn is arguably the most important social network to focus on, especially for lead generation. Make sure your business’ and key management personnel’s LinkedIn profiles are properly optimized for attracting leads.
- Social outreach: identify target leads, and listen to their conversations to learn what their challenges are before reaching out to them.
- Build relationships: ask authoritative opinion questions, pose quick round-up, share something you learned in their conversations, and add valuable comments in their profiles.
7. Effective Content Marketing: Focusing on What Makes Your Business Unique
Content is king, and for B2B SaaS businesses, content marketing is even more crucial, with SaaS companies that implement content marketing seeing 30% higher growth rates and almost 650% higher ROI.
In a B2B environment, content marketing has a special function in establishing your position as the thought leader in our niche, which is one of the primary ways to generate leads.
B2B clients are more likely to purchase solutions from vendors that can establish their positions as the experts, so they can be sure that this solution is indeed the right solution for their pain points. The best way to do this is to consistently publish high-quality, relevant content related to important topics in the industry.
While content marketing can be a pretty broad and deep subject, here are some important principles in implementing content marketing for B2B lead generation:
- Focus on what makes your business unique. If, for example, your SaaS product is an accounting software focused on automation, then focus on developing content around the benefits of automating the accounting process.
- Integrate content with lead magnets. The classic tactic of using gated content as lead content still works, as long as the gated content is valuable and relevant.
- Use SEO to boost your content’s performance in reaching your prospects. In B2B SEO, however, you can expect the average search volume to be lower, so you can focus on the quality of the keywords (i.e. regarding conversion rate) rather than quantity.
8. Lead Scoring: Focus On Lead Quality
Your team’s resources and time are limited, and not all leads are equally valuable. So, you should put your focus on high-quality leads with the highest chance of conversions.
You should set up a lead scoring system to determine the quality of a lead, and whether this specific lead is worth pursuing, and you can do this by:
- Establishing the minimum requirement a lead must pass to be deemed as qualified
- Collect as much data as you can about your current customers. The idea is to find prospects that are similar to your existing customers, as they are more likely to convert.
- Define any specific qualities that indicate that a lead will end up a valuable customer with high customer lifetime value (CLV)
- Design a scoring system on a 0-100 scale. For example, if a prospect performs a specific action, you can assign 10 points, and you will only consider prospects that pass a certain threshold.
- Evaluate your scoring system and make the necessary adjustments, for example, if some of your low-scoring leads actually make the conversion.
9. Use Case Studies To Establish Social Proof
Case studies and testimonials are very important, again because establishing trustworthiness is crucial for a B2B SaaS business. Yet, so many businesses neglect to create case studies for one reason or another, or simply because they don’t know where to start.
With that being said, you can prepare a B2B SaaS case study by following these simple steps:
Step 1: pick a client that you’ve successfully helped with your solution. If you offer several different SaaS products, you can pick a solution you want to offer to more clients
Step 2: prepare interview questions for the client. Ask them:
- Their initial issue
- Why they chose you
- Their experience with your solution
- How the result has benefited their business
Step 3: interview the member of your team that worked on the project, and other people that might have relevant information
Step 4: write your case study
Step 5: get approval from the client to publish the case study
Don’t forget to promote your case study aggressively and generate backlinks to it to boost its SEO performance.
10. Implement Personalization Via Account-Based Marketing
Account Based Marketing, or ABM, is about focusing your lead generation campaign on specific prospects while personalizing your efforts for this specific target.
You can implement ABM by:
- Identifying the right target (account): use the above tips to identify the right accounts as your primary targets.
- Analyze and research: the key to a successful ABM is extensive research of your target personas. Analyze their specific needs, pain points, behaviors, and other factors.
- Create personalized campaigns: develop personalized content to target this specific account, and launch personalized campaigns in channels these accounts frequent.
- Monitor and measure: monitor your efforts, and make the necessary adjustments.
No matter which strategies you are going to implement in your B2B lead generation, consistency is always going to be important. Monitor your efforts, track your progress against the project’s KPIs, and don’t be afraid to make the necessary adjustments as required. The ten lead generation strategies we’ve shared above are among the most effective you’ll encounter in the B2B SaaS industry.