🎉 Interested in seeing how GrowSurf works? Join our webinar

Blog > Startups Tips SaaS

The 10 Commandments of B2B SaaS Lead Generation

Posted by Moises Godoy | May 4, 2021

The SaaS industry keeps growing every single day, and among many startups and well-established companies, there's the curiosity of knowing how many lead generation strategies they're using and how many of those have actually worked for them. 

It can even make you question if what you’re doing is working with the same effectiveness or if you need to turn the steering wheel to try something new.

In this post, we put together a mix of some strategies and tips that we called 10 commandments . They’re very helpful and you can use them if you’re looking to capture more leads for your B2B SaaS company. 

We also talked to some B2B marketing folks who shared some really good insights about their practices, how they've helped them and their thoughts about the overall lead generation process. Want to know more?

Let’s dive in!

1. Know your buyer persona

Having a clear and well-defined buyer persona is something that maybe goes without saying for some people, but there are many others who overlook this. 

Madhav Goenka, Co-founder and CMO of FrazileMedia shares this thought, he says “I believe that the most common mistake people make when creating a lead generation strategy is not creating a customer avatar or buyer persona.

They try to target anyone and everyone instead of going after a niche that they specialize in. This makes it a lot difficult for them to generate leads and convert them into sales.

Personalization is the key when it comes to B2B lead generation. They will be interested and respond only if you have done enough research about them and their business before reaching out.”

2. Create relevant and useful content

Paige Arnof-Fenn, founder of Mavens and Moguls totally agrees with this, she says “Content Marketing and Thought Leadership are great ways to build your brand, increase your visibility more broadly, raise your profile and attract more clients.

Activities like hosting webinars , speaking at a conference (now online), writing articles, building your following on social media, they all contribute to increasing your awareness with potential customers and building your credibility with a larger community.

Instead of trying to start your own blog or newsletter, try contributing regularly to existing well-trafficked blogs in your industry or newsletters of like-minded organizations reaching the same target audience as you. Make sure you put your URL or contact info on it so they can find you and follow up. When your articles or talks become available online, make sure to send them out via social media to all your friends, followers and contacts.”

The top priority of marketers around the world for 2021 is to generate more quality leads through content marketing. That’s the goal for 79% of them .

Creating content is important, but what about distribution? There are many people who think it’s the most vital part of the process. That’s something that Petra Odak shared with us, she’s the CMO at BetterProposals .

She explains “In the past year or so, we managed to double the number of new user signups we get every day and we’ve done it mostly through SEO. We strategically select the keywords which are relevant for our business and which our customers search for. We then create content around these keywords, focusing on one thing only - providing as much value as possible without attempting to sell anything. 

The sale comes naturally when the visitors see what the value is and what they can get. We have a team of people behind the SEO strategy but one thing I have to mention that we spend about 20% of time creating and the other 80% on promoting the content in the form of building links.

The thing is - most people focus on pushing out as much content as possible, hoping to get visitors. We did the opposite - we publish a few pieces of really great content and spend the rest of the time promoting it. This makes a massive difference and it’s the reason why so much of our content not only drives traffic but also converts as well.”

3. Linkedin is the place for your business

Every business should be on LinkedIn. You may ask, why?

Because there are multiple opportunities and benefits you can find there. Everything from networking groups where you can be updated about the trends in your industry to potential customers. 

LinkedIn shared on their Marketing Solutions Blog that conversations between connections were up 55% in 2020 and content creation increased by 60% .

Amanda Davies of Hudson Davies Communications says “ One of the things I see as a missed opportunity is the impact of your digital profile on converting a sale. I always tell the salespeople that their LinkedIn is a great selling tool, but if it’s empty that also says something about you.

They should be connecting with clients and potential clients and doing research on them before and after a meeting. Follow the company to see what new initiatives you might be able to help with and stay connected so you can see if your main point of contact leaves the company or changes roles.”

Paige Arnoff-Fenn also has something to say about this “People need to be on LinkedIn so that they can be found too.  It adds credibility and transparency when you know the people you are meeting or working with known people in common.  

LinkedIn has become more than an online resume or rolodex, it is the foundation for building trusted relationships in the digital economy.  You do not need to blog or be on all social media platforms but make sure you are active on the ones where you are.  If your customers do not use Facebook, Twitter or  Instagram to find you then you do not need to make them a priority.  For many professional service businesses like mine, LinkedIn matters the most.”

Jon Torres shares a really good approach to LinkedIn that you can put in practice.

He says " Create a LinkedIn Group to generate 100 to 500 warm leads. LinkedIn is one of the best lead generation pipelines available today for B2B companies. Some of the powerful privileges LinkedIn Groups affords my B2B platform include:

  • Sending out weekly email announcements. It goes out to all sub-groups.

  • I can create a highly segmented LinkedIn group by sending out invites to targeted connections. 

  • I have the most opportunities to post insights, lead magnets, outbound links, and several promotions without being kicked out of the group.

LinkedIn Groups work for B2B is the fact that you can approve people to join your group based on what they do professionally rather than what they do in their personal lives. Only Twitter comes close"

These are only a few reasons why you should be active on LinkedIn. As you spend more time on the platform and build your presence there, you'll learn more tricks about it and hopefully find a way to make it work for your business.

4. Give chatbots a chance

Chatbots can help you automate almost everything, especially those that make the integration process with other apps easier. Their use is increasing at maximum speed and there are statistics that back this up. 

For example, Insider Intelligence predicts that by 2024 consumer retail spend via chatbots worldwide will reach $142 billion —up from just $2.8 billion in 2019.

To dig deeper on this, Khyati Badiyani shared some insights with us. She’s a content marketer at the no-code chatbot platform, WotNot .

On how the lead capturing process through chatbots works, she explains “We use bots to generate online leads. We have industry-specific bots deployed on each page to have accurate conversions for each industry expert. 

Hence, when a real estate agent visits the real-estate solutions page, he/she will have the answer to questions like how to schedule more site visits, how to provide property information online, etc. 

We have witnessed an increase in the sign-ups for our bot through conversations. We measure our results using chatbot analytics on the bot builder that reflects the number of conversations, number of returning users, and country orientation of users, etc. The bots also automate the process of storing lead information in the database.”

But is it possible for leads to establish an interaction with bots that is close to a natural human conversation? 

Well, Khyate says “Yes, the bots are not human, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be quirky or not have a personality. If the conversation sounds very formal, the point of using a two-way conversation tool is lost. Bots are then as good as forms, where the lead is simply putting information. 

The value of bots is fully utilized when they are humane in their conversations. The key and tips for developing a successful lead generation through chatbots are using emoticons, keeping the language casual, and even developing multilingual bots to reach different demographics.”

Subscribe to GrowSurf

Get our weekly newsletter for our latest referral marketing guides.

Successfully subscribed!

Error subscribing! Please try again.

5. Track the efforts of your strategy

It’s hard to know what’s working if you’re not keeping track of what you’re doing, right? Well, these are some metrics you can keep an eye on.

  • MQLs

Marketing qualified leads are those who have shown a certain interest in your product through a marketing channel but aren't ready to buy from you.

  • SQLs

Sales qualified leads are the ones who have had an interaction with you and are ready to buy.

  • PQLs

Product-qualified leads are people who have tested your product, whether from a free trial or a demo. 

  • CPL

Cost per lead is an important metric that can allow you to know if your efforts are cost-effective.

  • Lead-to-customer ratio

This is the actual conversion rate that shows how many qualified leads end up being customers.

  • A/B Test

A/B testing gives you the opportunity to try new ideas at the same time you measure which one is the most effective. For example, you can try A/B testing your CTAs and landing pages to see which one brings the higher conversion rate.

Even though these are the most common metrics, there’s one that’s key and Tom Bangay, Director of Content at Juro explains it very clear “Some people measure traffic, or downloads, or marketing-qualified leads, or sales-qualified leads; while these are all valuable, the one metric that matters to me is revenue. It cuts through all the noise. Is your content demonstrably influencing revenue growth? If not, rip up your plan”

6. Use automation tools

To create effective systems that you can rely on, you need automation tools. Not only because they make processes easier and faster, but because it helps your workers. It can improve their performance.

In the latest Zapier report , they found some interesting data about workers who use some type of automation:

  • 2 out of 3 are satisfied with their role because they use automation at work

  • 63% say using automation has helped them fight work burnout

  • 65% say that using automation at work makes them less stressed

They also made a top 10 list of the most used software by businesses for automating tasks. 

7. Optimize your website for mobile

This goes hand in hand with your SEO efforts. For indexing and ranking, Google uses the mobile version of the content, regardless of the device you’re browsing.

There’s a huge probability that many of your leads find you while browsing with their phone. So you want to make sure that you use a responsive design, separate website or dynamic serving. Even though Google has a slight preference for responsive design, it supports the three of them.

Moz put together some interesting pros and cons of each that can help you choose what to use.

 

And if you’re not sure if your website is properly optimized, you can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test .

8. Score your leads

If you're looking for a way to get your sales and marketing team on the same page in terms of what's a qualified lead, lead scoring is a great strategy.

With lead scoring, what you do is to assign leads a certain value, usually in the form of points, based on some criteria like:

  • Social Engagement

  • Demographic Information

  • Online Behavior

  • Company Information

  • Buyer’s Journey Stage

  • Budget

  • Email Engagement

This will definitely help you prioritize better your leads and how you focus on them. You can use lead scoring tools like:

  • Leadspace

  • VanillaSoft

  • HubSpot

  • ActiveCampaign 

If you want to know more about this topic, Databox has a good ultimate guide .

9. Nurture your leads

Got some leads already? Cool! Then the next step on your list should be lead nurturing. 

Lead nurturing isn’t lead generation, we know that. But the process to qualify leads doesn’t stop after you get their information, you need to nurture them to hopefully convert them

This is what Marcus Ho, Managing Director and his team at Brew Interactive do. Here, he explains what they do:

  • “We'll put together a list of 100-200 target accounts we want to work with, and then run targeted ads at key decision-makers at these companies.”

  • “Often, we'll use a lead magnet – a relevant eBook or tool – to capture their email addresses and gain permission to nurture through email.”

  • “Then, using marketing automation tools like Pardot or HubSpot, we will nurture them into Sales Qualified Leads. They will then be passed onto Sales Representatives to help close the deal.”

10. Invest in email marketing

The global email marketing market is expected to increase to 17.9 billion by 2027 . This is because up to this day is one of the most effective and profitable marketing channels.

There’s a whole world of opportunities to qualify your leads and establish a great relationship with them through email and one of the main ways to do it is with personalization. 

Why? Well, because by personalizing your emails you’re providing value and showing your prospects that you care about them. As a result, you build trust.

The best part is that it’s easy to know when you’re doing it right since it’ll be reflected on your ROI and other metrics like engagement rates, open rates and click-through rates.

Image Source: Influencer Marketing Hub

You can read about How Morning Brew's Referral Program Grew Their Subscriber Base to 2.5 Million

A clear example 

HubSpot is the best example we have that excels at lead generation. 

The explanation for this is simple: they create very specific content in different formats tailored to their customers and prospects’ needs, at the same time they use multiple channels to reach their audience.

For example, here we can see a guide about how to write a blog post where they include some helpful templates as a lead magnet.

If we take a look at the HubSpot Academy , we can see a variety of courses that were definitely made with their audience in mind. They provide value by offering guidance and solutions to the problems they’re facing.

They use chatbots to assist their audience, not only because they’re an automation company and is a service they provide but because they’re also aware of its importance.

These are just a few aspects of their overall lead generation process and strategies, but you get the point. It all comes down to providing value and assistance in a way that’s easy for your potential customers.

Common mistakes in B2B SaaS lead generation

There are multiple approaches to lead generation and with them, multiple mistakes that you can make without noticing. These are the 3 most common:

1. Looking at the leads as pure numbers

This seems to be the most repeated mistake and Alex Panagis of Scalemath had something to say about it.

He shares “I've seen a ton of people look at the leads generated from what they're doing but very little actually look into the revenue generated, whether they're getting good-fit customers as a result of an initiative or it's just resulting in the type of customers that aren't a good fit, add extra pressure on customer support, etc.

You can try something and get 10,000 leads but not convert a single one into a customer. And you can do something on a smaller scale with just 100, but convert 50 of them into long-term customers. So making sure that the approach you're taking is suitable and actually going to lead to people converting to customers is so important.”

2. Not delivering value immediately

Anita Chauhan shares “This is where you can set yourself apart. Build trust through value and you are more likely to convert.”

“In my experience, understanding and uncovering a problem and offering value can help. You have to try a lot of things before you find the right fit. It's vital that you understand that not everything will work, and not to become despondent when things don't pan out. Get your detective hats on and get curious!”

3. Assuming what your audience wants instead of asking them

Dan Hollister, Senior Marketing Strategist of CanIRank says “I think it’s important to really listen to your target audience. I often see strategies developed around what people think their target audience wants based on internet research rather than around real user feedback and pain points. Look at your lead gen campaign— are you genuinely meeting users’ needs every step of the way? If you aren’t sure, then now is the time to ask!”

4. Not being flexible

When deciding on a strategy, you have to allow yourself to be flexible with it and adjust as you go.

Yordi Smit, Sales Manager at Spacehuntr knows the impact of this, he shares “Design and redesign. Tweak a strategy to the need you have in mind. If a team of 10 sales managers apply the same strategy, make sure that each individual is able to tweak the strategy according to their preferences. Individuals come with professional personalities, we are not machines.”

Summary

These are some strategies and tips you can keep in mind when you’re on your B2B SaaS lead generation path. However, it all depends on your short and long-term goals as a company, as well as the needs of your customers.

George Terry of Future Content wraps this up very well, he explains “It's hard to pick one out as the clear winner because some are short-term and others are long-term. Ideally, you need to be thinking about both.

If you focus too much on the short-term tactics like gated content and PPC, then you're not building future value. Focus too much on long-term tactics like SEO and you could struggle to make it to next year. Like all things, there's a balance to be struck.”

Sign up for GrowSurf

Set up your referral marketing program with software that lowers your customer acquisition cost and saves you gobs of time.

You might also enjoy

Card image cap
Tips Deep Dive

How Morning Brew's Referral Program Grew to 2.5 Million Subs

One good way to create a successful referral program is to look at how other people did it. Case in point: Morning Brew. Want to learn how they built an audience of 2.5 million? This blog post breaks down the Morning Brew referral program in detail!

Posted by Lars Arboleda | February 28, 2021
Card image cap
Tips Referral Marketing Newsletters

How to Use Psychology in Your Newsletter Referral Program to Get More Subscribers

In this article we cover seven tried-and-true ways to use psychology in your newsletter referral program to get more subscribers.

Posted by Andreea Macoveiciuc | November 4, 2020