Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) companies have been one of the fastest growing areas of the tech sector in recent years, and many of these tech startups and small businesses are looking for an edge with their B2B SaaS lead generation. Whether you’re selling to big companies or selling to small to-mid sized enterprises (SMEs), there are a few unique aspects of SaaS B2B lead generation that can present special challenges.
Selling software can be more complex than selling other B2B solutions. You might need to talk to multiple stakeholders, pivot your offering to be relevant to different teams and functions within the buyer’s organization, and be agile with your marketing and listening to customers to achieve product-market fit.
Let’s look at a few B2B SaaS lead generation tips and how they can help improve your software sales results.
What is B2B SaaS Lead Generation and Why is it Different?
B2B lead generation is the process of obtaining new business leads, by inbound or outbound methods. Anytime a new business prospect contacts your business, or answers a cold call, or downloads a white paper, or signs up for a product demo, you are practicing the art and science of B2B lead generation.
B2B SaaS lead generation is focused on selling software to companies.
Because of the technical complexity and cultural nuances of selling technology, the lead generation process is often different from other B2B sales. Compared to other types of lead generation, B2B SaaS lead generation strategies tend to…
- Be driven more by inbound lead generation, such as content marketing: selling software doesn’t happen overnight or via impulse purchases. Your buyers will want to read about your solution and watch videos and product demos to understand how it works, and how it can help their organization.
- Require more pre-sale interaction to help the prospective buyer do research and answer questions.
- Involve more technical expertise and precision: you might need to answer complex inquiries and build trust with internal Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) within the buyer’s organization.
- Require buy-in from multiple stakeholders: Whenever a company decides to buy a new software solution, platform, or technology system, the buying decision does not just affect one executive or team. There are usually multiple departments and internal stakeholders who will be impacted by the decision, and they will want to have input into the sales process, even if they’re not the final decision-maker.
All of these factors make B2B SaaS lead generation unique. But building relationships with SaaS buyers doesn’t have to be an insurmountable challenge. With the right strategies, you can get better results from your SaaS B2B lead generation efforts.
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A Few Highly Effective B2B SaaS Lead Generation Tips
There’s no one single “correct” approach for B2B SaaS lead generation; it depends on your industry vertical, your target buyer personas, and what kind of software solution you sell. However, these techniques tend to be a good fit when selling technology to other companies.
- Identify your ideal target buyer personas: Who are the buyers and end users of your software solution? (These usually are not the same people.) For example, if you sell inventory management software for the restaurant industry, your buyer might be a Chief Technology Officer or Chief Operations Officer of a big restaurant chain, but the people who use your solution everyday might be restaurant managers or regional managers. All of these people have different goals, agendas, and concerns – but you need to be prepared to speak to and build relationships with all of them.
- Strike a balance of inbound and outbound lead generation: B2B lead generation takes many forms – inbound and outbound, SEO and email, social media and PPC advertising, content marketing and blogging, and time-tested strategies like cold-calling and direct mail. Just because you’re selling software doesn’t mean you only have to use “high-tech” marketing methods. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and create some sales conversations with B2B cold-calling and appointment setting.
- Create great content marketing: When selling SaaS solutions, your buyers are going to want to do extensive research and have a clear understanding of what your software does, how it works, and how it can help them achieve their business goals. Too many tech companies do not communicate about their product in a customer-friendly way. Make sure your blog articles, white papers, case studies and other content marketing assets are written in a way that is engaging and connects on a human level. Create videos with product demos; this makes your product seem “real” and understandable in a way that thousands of words might not convey. And also consider doing a podcast; audio content has become more popular in recent years and your prospects might be happy to get to know your company by listening to a short podcast while driving in the car or wearing headphones at the gym.
- Find an Executive Sponsor at the buyer’s organization: Once you start your B2B SaaS lead generation process, be prepared to talk to multiple stakeholders and build relationships across the organization. For example, you might be trying to reach a C-level executive who is the ultimate decision maker, but there are other lower-ranking executives and department managers who can influence that decision. Get these stakeholders on your side. Show them the value that your solution can unlock for them and their teams. These “Executive Sponsors” can be allies for you; they can help you get a foot in the door and put in a good word for you with the higher-ranking decision makers at the organization. This is especially important when selling to big companies.
- Listen to customer feedback and prepare to pivot: Many SaaS companies, especially new startups, are still trying to find product market fit. That is to say: they’re still trying to figure out who are the right buyers for their product, what are the best applications for their software, and how they fit into the larger competitive landscape. Part of the B2B lead generation process is about feeling out the market and listening to customer feedback.You might discover that your software is really popular with a part of the buyer’s company that you didn’t expect, or that prospects are asking for different features and services than your software currently provides. This is not a bad thing! It could be an opportunity to adjust your business plan or product concept, develop new products or variations on your existing product, and re-tool your B2B lead generation efforts for more precise targeting and bigger success.
Improve Your B2B Saas Lead Generation Strategies
Getting better at B2B SaaS lead generation is essential for improving your tech company’s sales and marketing results. There are some special obstacles and nuances that software sales teams must navigate, but the rewards are well worth the struggle. When selling software and SaaS solutions, make sure you understand your buyers’ needs, invest time in building relationships with multiple stakeholders, and be ready to adapt your value proposition to what buyers need now – even if that’s slightly different from how your software was originally designed.
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