Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is a concept that has gained traction in recent years. With more and more businesses adopting technology, SaaS companies have led the way in developing tech solutions to problems that B2B customers experience. The tech industry is highly competitive. Like any other industry, demand and lead generation is a challenge.
To stay afloat, SaaS companies have to invest significantly in sales and marketing in order to grow their revenues. Available statistics show that in their initial five years of existence, these companies dedicate 80% to 120% of their revenues to sales and marketing and 30-50% thereafter. Demand and lead generation is a priority for any B2B SaaS companies.
So, how can sales-focused, SaaS companies scale their demand and lead generation in a highly competitive market?
Below are five ways such companies can do this:
1. Improve Prospect Targeting with B2B Buyer Personas
B2B demand generation is more complicated because the B2B purchase journey is much longer and more people are involved. A Demand base study shows that up to six people are involved in 79% of B2B purchases. Further, 45% of B2B buyers invest time on research before they make a purchase.
To woo B2B buyers and push them through your sales funnel, you need to have an in depth understanding of your target audience. The best way to do this is to create B2B buyer personas.
Buyer personas are fictitious characters that represent the profile of your ideal customers developed based on the data profile of existing customers. Creating strong buyer personals enables you to understand your prospects better and develop customized communication and offerings that resonate with the target audience.
Here are some tips to help you create buyer personas that work:
- Gather relevant details from prospects including job title/role, demographics, challenges, goals, motivation and company details
- Identify their purchase preferences, success factors and barriers to purchase
- Analyze information gathered to establish trends
- Compile the information into a persona profile
- Name your persona and develop some key messaging points
2. Partner up with a Demand/Lead Generation Company
Sales and marketing teams already have so much in their hands to do. With revenue targets to meet, these teams can easily get too overwhelmed. Demand and lead generation takes time, it is a process that requires consistency and patience. If your sales and marketing have too much in their hands, they may not be able to pay attention to prospective leads and nurture them down the sales funnel.
One of the most effective ways for SaaS companies to solve this problem is to outsource their lead and generation functions to specialists. Here are some good reasons why B2B companies should partner with a demand or lead generation company:
- Multi-faceted Lead Generation: Must lead generation companies have expertise in different lead generation strategies and will use those to grow your leads. For instance, you can get all the services you need to generate leads from a single company including content marketing, search engine optimization, social media marketing, email marketing, and event promotion services.
- Data-based Targeting: B2B lead generation companies often have huge databases of contacts. When you outsource your lead generation function, you can be sure they will talk to the right people. Partnering with them enables you to access those contacts and use them to generate the leads you are looking for.
- Cost-effectiveness: To generate leads, B2B companies have to set up email lists, launch offers, create sales funnels and develop lead capturing assets. But all these require the SaaS companies to put in significant investments and expertise – which can be challenging. Partnering with a lead generation company can help complete these tasks while keeping costs low. It also helps eliminate some visible and invisible costs like salaries, insurance, software costs and staff training for the company.
- Real Results: Unlike sales reps who are motivated by commissions, lead generation companies are more focused on delivering the results that your business seeks from its lead generation efforts. You receive detailed reports based on agreed upon performance metrics so you see where your lead campaigns succeed or fail. With this information, you can review your marketing campaigns effectively to ensure continuous improvement in quality lead generation.
3. Develop Gated Content
SaaS companies can generate demand for their services by developing premium gated content. This is any high quality, branded content that your website visitors cannot access unless they share their contact information. With gated content, B2B companies are able to provide prospects with valuable pieces of content that not only informs, but also educates and entertains. In exchange for this, they are able to collect basic information like email addresses, name, job title and company from potential leads.
The content that your target audience will find valuable is one that resonates with their needs. The best way to create such content is to understand your target audience – their needs and pain points. Use this understanding to develop a content strategy and develop content that is well aligned with their buyer’s journey.
Some common forms of premium gated content that you can use include:
- In depth Articles
- White Papers
- Industry Reports
- Video Tutorials
SaaS companies can use the details left by visitors to nurture leads through targeted communication designed with their pain points and interests in mind. This is important for B2B SaaS companies because their target buyers invest time researching and considering different options before they make a purchase decision. Providing valuable content supports them through this phase and positions your company as a trusted advisor and partner.
4. Allow SaaS Products to Integrate With Other Softwares
The easiest way to create scalable demand and lead generation efforts for your SaaS product is to integrate it with other softwares that your target audience needs. The success of your SaaS product is determined by its usability and your customer’s ability to adopt it. Since SaaS products are cloud applications, B2B companies need to ensure that their products allow customers to connect and share data across existing tech stacks.
To identify softwares that your SaaS product needs to be integrated with, consider gathering ideas by asking your current customers which tools they would want to see your SaaS product integrate with. The best way to meet this need is for SaaS companies to integrate their products with softwares that their customers are currently using or will need to use in future. This provides seamless connectivity to B2B buyers and enables SaaS companies to provide them with much better services.
SaaS companies that integrate their products with other softwares enjoy benefits such as:
- Improved customer satisfaction because customers have access to a wider pool of tools that allow them to share data and connect seamlessly
- Reduced customer churn – Statistics show that SaaS integration can reduce this by up to 60% and increase customer lifetime value by 15%
- Opportunity to cross-market products to new prospects and a 64% upselling potential – With each software integration, a B2B SaaS company is able to attract new customers who are already using other tools and solidify its reputation
- Integration offers SaaS companies an opportunity to deepen relationships with other industry players
5. Allow Prospects to Try Your SaaS Product
Studies show that at least 44% of SaaS companies offer prospects free trials. By giving free trials, SaaS companies allow prospects to try their products and generate new leads. But this strategy is not always effective. B2B marketers are always struggling with the challenge of converting free trial users into customers. To address this problem and increase the number of quality leads, SaaS companies need to focus on offering excellent trials that prospects find irresistible.
Though some of the prospects may not see the product as a good fit for them or may not be ready to make a purchase, offering great free trials encourages them to share their experiences with other people in their networks. The result is that you’ll have a good percentage of people trying your product – which boosts your chances of generating quality leads.
When using free trials to generate demand, here are some useful strategies for making the trials effective:
- Make access to free trials frictionless – eliminate the requirement for customers to enter credit card information
- Make it easy for visitors to sign-up for the free trial – shorten the signup form
- Use a strong call to action like ‘Get a Free Trial’
- Encourage visitors who sign-up for free trials to be active by giving them quick wins
- Notify them of free trial expiry and communicate the next steps in a timely manner
- Make it easy for prospects to upgrade their signups
B2B SaaS companies provide cloud-based solutions to their customers. There are numerous lead and demand generation strategies that B2B companies in any industry can use. However, not all those strategies are effective for SaaS companies that want to build scalable lead generation efforts due to the unique nature of their services and products. The five strategies discussed above have proven effective in SaaS marketing. If implemented correctly, they can provide your company with a good foundation to scale its lead and demand generation efforts.