Generating high quality leads on an ongoing basis is just as important for companies offering enterprise software solutions, as it is for them to retain their portfolio of existing customers. But, as you may already now if you have experience working in companies providing mid-level and enterprise level software solutions, lead generation is easier said than done. This is because companies face quite a number of challenges:
- Strong competition
- The pressure of ongoing projects, most of which tend to be huge
- High overheads for hiring and retaining good developers
In addition, software companies have to constantly generate high quality software leads to remain profitable.
How Do You Get Software Leads?
Given the long sales cycle that enterprise solutions go through, lead generation for enterprise software should:
- Deliver high ROI
- Be targeted and reach the right audience effectively
- Be conducted in a consistent and well aligned manner by both marketing and sales
- Incorporate inbound and outbound marketing
At the end of the day, you want to choose inbound and outbound lead generation methods that will work well based on:
- The size of your company
- Your customer persona
- What your competitors are doing
- Unexplored opportunities
You cannot implement every tactic at once; it’s always advisable to start slowly, test the waters and then scale down or up as you accumulate performance insights.
Inbound Tactics That Generate High-Quality Software Leads
The first thing you need to do before you start using inbound tactics for lead generation for enterprise software, is to invest in the following web resources:
- A website
- Social media channels
After that, boost these web resources by implementing the following inbound marketing tactics:
Content marketing. Marketing software products can be difficult without relevant content. By the time a b2b buyer contacts your business, they are already 57% into their purchase journey. As such, any content you create should inform, educate and help prospects through their research process. To provide a fully-immersive experience across your digital resources, you should create different types of content for your blog and social media channels. Content can be audio, video or text.
Landing pages. Whenever you want to promote a specific product, or capture new leads from paid or organic traffic, using forms on landing pages will give you access to email addresses of leads that opt in.
SEO. Search engine optimization works not just on your blog content, but also on your website copy. Optimize areas such as page headers by adding keywords. Whenever you create new content, make it searchable by adding keywords that your audience is likely to search.
Paid advertising. As you execute your organic search strategy, invest some of your time and money in paid ads. This is because paid ads get priority viewing on search engines and social media over other content. More so, paid ads increase brand awareness by 80%.
Lead Generation For Enterprise Software Using Outbound Tactics
Outbound marketing is just as important as inbound marketing when it comes to generating leads because:
- It reaches new clients who aren’t in the habit of reading or buying online
- Adverts grab attention when done properly
- You can increase brand awareness rapidly with outbound, as it is not dependent on search ranking
- Speaking directly to prospects during conferences and tradeshows, increases your personal touch
- You can get your sales team involved in outbound lead generation, thereby increase alignment between your sales and marketing leads. When teams are aligned, it becomes easier to generate higher quality leads earlier in the sales funnel.
Figure 1: Inbound and outbound rank the same, according to survey (source: Instapage)
In one survey, marketers ranked outbound and inbound marketing on the same level of importance. As you plan your lead generation strategy, test out some of the outbound marketing tactics below:
Referrals From Clients and Partners
A rewards-based referral system is a great way to get your current customer base to generate new sales leads for you really fast. Clients will only refer other customers to you if they have a reason to. Before you activate your referral program, as yourself, “Are my clients satisfied with my solution, level of service and after-sales?”
Therefore, before you start asking for referrals, you have to put some work into it first by doing the following:
- Identify influential customers from your client contact list
- Invest in a relationship with them; give them the best experience your company can provide and invest in moments that they will find worth sharing.
- Respond to feedback. Do you want to know what your clients feel? Run a survey with a tool lie survey monkey
- Once you are sure your clients are happy, ask them to refer you
Note: Every customer has a pain point. Find out the unique pain point that the influential client has and help them out with that pain point. Let that success they feel be significant and worth savoring. If you can, exceed their expectations.
Networking At Virtual Events
Due to the ongoing corona pandemic, it may not be possible to attend or host conferences and tradeshows. But this does not mean that you cannot reap the benefits from such events. The last few months have seen companies adjusting to the reality of engaging customers and reaching new leads through virtual events.
SaaStr Annual, the biggest enterprise SAAS conference, will go digital this year, allowing over 50,000 executives, VCs and company founders to share their experiences with interested participants. You can network and learn from such a conference from the comfort of your home. The 2020 Saastr digital will be a 2-day conference running from 2nd to 3rd September.
Adobe Summit, Adobe holds summits yearly, and in addition to networking, attendees learn important aspects of selling SaaS, from entrepreneurs and experts from industries as varied as IT and entertainment.
Prospecting On Professional Networks Such As LinkedIn
LinkedIn is one of the best sales tools out there when it comes to lead generation. One can leverage various LinkedIn automation tools to generate leads in no time. LinkedIn has this advice for prospecting on the platform, “prospect smarter, not harder”. This means that every message you send needs to be targeted at that one client whose response is most meaningful to your business.
When it comes to picking the right automation tools, things can be quite tricky. Why spend your time analysing & evaluating each tool? When this handy blog by The Next Scoop has compared & evaluated the best LinkedIn Automation Tools in 2021 for you.
In addition to InMail, LinkedIn also has other powerful prospecting tools as shown in the graphic below:
Figure 2: Connect and Network on LinkedIn (Source: LinkedIn)
Cold Calls and Cold Emails
Cold calling and cold emailing is often frowned upon by marketers, but when done properly, it can often yield results faster than the normal 6 to 12 months often experienced with inbound marketing tactics.
You can start by sending cold emails to contacts in your old mailing list that haven’t done business with you for a while. If you don’t have a mailing list, you can buy one from a third party lead generation company that specializes in lead generation for companies providing mid-level and enterprise level software solutions.
Final Words: Outsourcing Will Give You Results Faster
When we talk about outbound tactics such as cold calling and cold emailing, this might sound easy to execute. But such a campaign could quite easily turn into an overwhelming project that needs a full-fledged team of marketers and sales reps. For you, this might mean a significant spend, which you may not be prepared for at this time, especially if your company has been severely impacted by the economic difficulties being experienced globally.
If this is the case, you may find it challenging to create and sustain a lead generation mechanism that is feasible in the mid to long term. As you adjust to the new way of doing business, contact our team and we will provide you with the expertise you need in important lead generation areas such as:
- Identifying customer profiles
- Building an email list
- Coming up with an outreach program for your email marketing lead generation campaigns
- Equipping you with automation tools, both for your social media and email outreach
- Lead management and qualification