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Lead Generation

Actionable strategies for SaaS Lead Generation

October 1, 2021
For any SaaS business, lead generation is the foundation to success and it comes with no surprise that it’s also one of the biggest challenges to get right. Recent stats show that 61% of marketers believe that lead generation is the biggest challenge they face.

It’s important to note that lead generation for SaaS businesses is quite unique as compared to the companies selling physical products. It means that the audience of SaaS businesses has more time to compare different services online. That’s why we have come up with this article that contains actionable strategies for SaaS lead generation to achieve success. 

1. Create content for inbound marketing 

Difficulty: Medium  

Cost: Low depending on if the content is being created by your team or outsourced 

Timeframe: Best results will show after 12 months of constant content creation 

Become the expert your customers are looking for. Content marketing services three purposes: 

  • You are answering a customer’s question and positioning yourself as an expert on the subject matter 
  • Your content will organically rank in search engines which is basically free exposure and traffic 
  • Your content leads the reader to a point where they convert into a lead 

The first thing is to offer value to your audience before asking anything in return and the best way to achieve it is to create high-quality content. In simple words, it’s important to craft educational content that not only includes blog posts but also white papers, infographics, and videos. There are a few things you need to keep in mind while creating content for your SaaS business.  

Optimize your content for search engines (SEO) 

The content you create must be SEO optimized. A great strategy is to target low competition keywords but they should also have a decent monthly search volume at the same time. All the keywords that you choose for your content must be relevant to your b2b SaaS company for a successful content marketing strategy.  

To research keywords that you can create content around, we recommend these tools: 

  • Keywords Everywhere 
  • Semrush 
  • Ahrefs 

Keep your buyer’s journey in mind 

Whether you offer B2C or B2B SaaS products, your potential customer will have different queries and questions depending upon the current stage of the buyer’s journey. You’ll need to look at this through the bottom, middle, and top of the funnel.  

Top of the funnel 

It includes educational content such as opinions, inspirational content, original success, answers to most popular questions related to your field, comments of experts, etcetera.  

Middle of the funnel 

For the middle of the funnel, you can create content such as e-books, guides, webinars, comparisons specs, tutorials, practical guides to different processes, and step-by-step blogs. 

Bottom of the funnel 

You need to create content that makes sure that your SaaS product is what your audience needs and it should offer consultations, samples, free trials, proposals, discount offers, CTAs (Call to Actions), and reviews. 

You can follow the steps mentioned below to craft a content strategy to generate desired results from your SaaS lead generation efforts. 

  • Research, identify and understand your target audience. 
  • Create buyers persona or ICP (ideal customer persona). 
  • Set challenging yet achievable b2b SaaS marketing goals based on S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound) rule. 
  • Create a comprehensive b2b marketing plan after answering the following questions. 
  • How often and where you will publish your content? 
  • What type of content does your business need? 
  • Will you create content in-house or opt for outsourcing? 
  • What actions will you take to promote your content? 
  • Create content distribution and promotion plans. 
  • Analyze and measure the performance and results of your content strategy. 
  • Stay consistent and committed no matter what. 

The main goal of creating content is to grab the attention of more users (potential leads) by providing them with the information they need. 

2. Partner with other products or companies 

Difficulty: High  

Cost: This can be high depending upon your partner 

Timeframe: The time to start seeing the results depend upon the nature of your service and partnership. Generally, you’ll need to wait for about 6 to 9 months. 

Partnering up with other companies or products that compliment your SaaS solution is yet another great way to promote b2b lead generation. Let’s discuss how this strategy helps two of the popular companies.  

Example: Surfer SEO and joined forces 

Jarvis is a smart AI writing bot that can create content on the go. In order to allow this bot to create SEO-optimized content, the company joined forces with one of the most popular SEO tools known as Surfer SEO.  

The Surfer SEO tool allows writers to create the structure and outline of their content that contains the most important keywords to be used in order to rank higher in the search engine results. On the other hand, the Conversion AI helps writers to create entertaining, engaging, and unique content. 

So the combination of these two tools helps the content writers as well as SaaS marketers to create more content that’s engaging and unique and also completely SEO optimized. 

Your Turn 

You can also partner up with other companies and products to improve your b2b lead generation by following the steps listed below: 

  • Create a comprehensive strategy and road map that defines all the processes of your joint venture in detail.  
  • Track your business spending and they should be focused on empowering your sales and marketing teams. 
  • Nurture your business partnership by staying content with your partner continuously. 
  • Use the marketplace and benefit from the communication channels of your partner and let them do the same with yours. 
  • Track the results at all the points regarding your business relationship and improve your strategy to generate more leads. 

3. Create a free version or a discounted version of your product 

Difficulty: Low  

Cost: Can be very high  

Timeframe: Varies from service to service and your digital presence but it should start generating results within 1 to 3 months. 

One of the easiest ways to improve SaaS lead generation for your SaaS business is to create a free or discounted version of your product. However, it’s important to make sure that you offer discounts that don’t hurt your budget.  

You can inform your targeted audience about your offers by creating content that redirects them to a demo or dedicated page where they can avail of those offers. Using ad campaigns is yet another great way to redirect people to your dedicated landing pages that get them to sign up for a demo. 

Steps to create a free or discounted version 

  • Analyze your budget and offer what your business can easily afford. 
  • Create blog posts that explain thoroughly what your service offers and how users can benefit from it. 
  • Create a free trial program that allows the users to use your service for a certain period of time (7 or 15 days ideally) for free.  
  • Create a discount offer that allows users to subscribe to your service on a 25% to 50% discount for a specific period of time (3 to 6 months ideally). 
  • Create gated content that explains how to avail your free trial or discount offer and redirects users to your dedicated landing pages. 
  • Analyze the performance of your campaigns by using analytics tools to keep track of new leads that you generate from this method. 
  • Once they sign up for your free or discount offer, then consider staying in contact with them all the time for improved customer acquisition. 

4. Create leads through gated content 

Difficulty: Medium to high 

Cost: Low depending on if the content is being created by your team or outsourced  

Timeframe: Best results will show after 8 to 12 months of constant content creation 

Gated content is any content that can be accessed after submitting a contact form. The content being accessed is generally highly detailed and holds a lot of value. Remember, people are trading their info for something that is equal or greater in value so make it worth their time. A few examples of high-quality content would be: 

  • Ebooks 
  • Webinars 
  • Frameworks or templates 
  • Free products 

Bear in mind that due to GDPR compliance your contact form needs to be specific about what they are signing up for. 

You can either create the form description that explicitly explains that along with downloading the content, the users will also be signing up for your newsletter. Or, you can add a checkbox to allow them to opt-in for the other communication options. 

5. Create an affiliate program 

– Difficulty: high 

– Cost: Low 

– Timeframe: 12 to 18 months 

Affiliate programs allow you to convert your loyal followers and customers into your best b2b marketers. According to recent stats, more than 80% of successful businesses run an affiliate program. There are multiple tools available in the market like GetRewardful, that allow you to achieve it  

Two of the most important benefits of this strategy are: 

Achieve exponential growth by incentivizing your biggest fans 

Instead of putting your efforts to attract more customers, you’ll be able to draw the attention of more customers in less time by putting less effort because your existing customers will be doing it for you.  

Recommendations will be coming from trusted sources 

When people find your website organically they’ll be more likely to buy your service. 

You can use the following tips to improve the performance of your affiliate programs.  

  • Provide your affiliates with new customer bonuses 
  • Utilize the power of guest posts to increase your overall reach 
  • Create and optimize your social media campaigns to reach a greater audience  

6. Partner with micro-influencers 

Difficulty: Low 

Cost: Can be a few hundred dollars to a few thousand depending on who the influencer is 

Timeframe: Within weeks 

Partnering up with micro-influencers related to your industry is one of the best ways for generating leads. Pretty much all successful businesses use this strategy. There are hundreds of thousands of content creators on social media especially on YouTube with millions of followers. You can sponsor any of their videos to reach a greater audience within no time.  

Skillshare, Surf Shark, and AWeber are some of the most popular SaaS apps that are using this strategy. You can use the following steps to get started with this strategy. 

Target multiple influencers for the greatest impact 

If you have a buyer persona fleshed out, target multiple influencers that have a similar audience to who you are trying to reach. When potential leads hear the recommendation from more than one trusted source, it will reinforce the message and make them more curious to find out what your product is all about. 

Communicate properly with the influencers 

You’ll need to be very clear and specific with the influencers on what you want from them. Whether you want a social media update, a few lines in one of their videos, blog post, or a complete product review. It’ll allow you to expect the results you are looking for. You can find many online tools that come with a search engine that allows you to find influencers. These platforms also allow you to use ready-made contract templates. Awario and followerwonk are some good examples of such tools that you can use for this purpose.  

Make sure that the influencer also like your product 

You’ll need to explain everything about your product to the influencer and don’t hesitate to ask them what they think about it. It will allow you to create a strong and long-term relationship with the influencer that will continue to help in the future. 

In order to make sure that influencers like your SaaS solution, you can give them free access to your product so they can properly review and take a video of them using it. You also want to provide a unique promotion code so they can give that to their followers and get compensated with a commission that is agreed upon beforehand. You can also add a little discount to the promotion code that you offer to the influencers to attract more customers.  It is also a great way to track which influencer is generating the most sales 

7. Use search ads 

Difficulty: Medium 

Cost: High 

Timeframe: 1 month + 

If creating SEO-optimized content is too slow for you, search ads will get immediate results. Search ads are a powerful strategy and are the very first thing that a user will see on the search engine result page before getting to the organic results. It’s essential for every business that doesn’t have any organic traffic to increase digital reach. You can use Google Ads for this purpose. 

Tactics to create search ads 

There are two strategies that you should focus on for your ads: 

  • Ads that focus on bottom-of-the-funnel keywords 
  • Ads focused on the branded keywords of your competitors 

Create search ads for bottom-of-the-funnel keywords that are more focused on improving conversion rate instead of traffic. That’s why bottom-of-the-funnel keywords are important for this strategy because they are pretty much ready to buy. 

The second strategy above is when you target the audience of your competitors by using the keywords people use to find them online. It means you’ll need to create targeted search ads based on brand searches and keywords that people are using to find your competitors.  

For example, if you offer SEO, content, PPC, or related services then you would want your search ad to pop up in the search results if someone searches for Semrush or any other similar business. You can give the title to your ad as “Best SEO research alternatives” or something like that.  

8. Create a word-of-mouth referral campaign 

Difficulty: Medium to high 

Cost: This can be relatively low if done correctly 

Timeframe: This can be done before you launch or after, depending on your overall strategy 

It is really hard to build momentum when you are just starting out. No one knows about you, you have zero organic traffic and maybe not enough of a budget to create search ads. You need to think strategically about how you can get leads with as little money as possible. As a new Saas marketer, you need to start thinking about ways to incentivize people to spread the word and sign up, even if you haven’t even launched yet. 

One of the best recent examples of a successful referral marketing campaign is undoubtedly Harry’s which managed to acquire more than 100,000 subscribers within a single week. 

Steps to create a referral campaign 

Whether you have launched your product or not, you can utilize the power of this strategy to generate more leads by following the steps listed below. 

  1. Create a dedicated landing page for your referral campaign 
  1. Establish what the product is, the problem it solves, and provide a signup form 
  1. Inform each user who signs up that there are limited spots and in order to move up in position, they need to complete a task for you 
  1. Add tangible rewards to your referral campaign such as:
    • Refer 5 people and use your service and access your content at a 25 percent discount for the first month 
    • Refer 10 people and use your service and content on 50 percent for the first month 
    • Refer 50 people and use your service and content for free for the first month 
    • Refer 100 people and use your service and content for the first 3 months 


Greg Tucker