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So, you’ve tried it all, from pay-per-click advertising to inbound marketing and everything in between. You get some leads here and there, but not in droves like you were hoping. What are you missing?
Unfortunately, there is no fail-proof way to fill your sales pipeline. What works for one SaaS company may not work for another — even if both businesses serve the same industry. And if you’re employing the same tactics as your competitors, your shared prospect pool may be tuning you out.
So, it’s time to try something new. Finding the right lead generation strategy is just as much about trial and error as knowledge and experience. By building brand awareness through these four overlooked SaaS lead generation strategies, you can gain a foothold in your market despite your competitor’s share of the space.
1. Outbound email marketing targeting competitors’ customers
The most challenging part about lead generation strategies like advertising, content creation and social media marketing is opening up those one-on-one conversations. Think about it. You spend all your energy and resources trying to get noticed only to add additional steps — like lead capture forms — between you and your prospects.
With outbound email marketing, you can send your message directly to your prospects’ inboxes, effectively tearing down the barriers between you and your ideal clients. It’s like cutting out the middleman in a supply chain; in the end, you’re left with a more cost-effective and efficient delivery system.
While outbound email marketing is a beneficial strategy for nearly any B2B company, we have found that SaaS companies, with their typical oligopolistic markets, can open more opportunities by targeting competitors’ customers — with one caveat: There has to be a distinct competitive advantage.
Because the SaaS industry is growing so fast, it’s becoming harder for consumers to choose the best-fit product, so they default to the best-known product. You can help prospective clients realize the benefits of making a product switch through outbound campaigns targeting leads by the technology their companies use. While you should never single out your competitors in the emails, you can touch on some common pain points users experience and address how your SaaS solution remedies them. After all, awareness is often the only thing standing in the way between you and your next customer.
2. Networking with decision-makers and influencers on LinkedIn
Maybe not so much overlooked as misunderstood, LinkedIn is more than just another social media platform — it’s a powerful lead generation tool. Considering four out of five people on LinkedIn influence business decisions, you can’t afford to ignore the potential.
Unlike Facebook and Instagram, LinkedIn was made for networking with professionals, so much so that Sales Navigator, LinkedIn’s official sales intelligence platform, was created to help business development teams better understand and connect with prospects.
Through Sales Navigator, you can build targeted lead lists based on demographics, firmographics, keywords, technology usage, interests and more. For SaaS startups on a tight budget, Sales Navigator can be an affordable alternative to expensive lead databases.
We have found that winning at LinkedIn networking comes down to targeting and messaging. Keep in mind the platform’s purpose: “Connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.” What about your SaaS solution exudes “productivity” and “success?” Show your prospects how you can help them grow in their career, and you’ll discover the process that makes LinkedIn lead generation an integral part of prospecting.
3. Launch account-based marketing campaigns to dream clients
When building your SaaS product, did you have a specific company or type of company in mind? The whole “if you build it, they will come” strategy may have helped Kevin Costner attract his dream team to his Iowa cornfield, but it’s not a particularly useful strategy for attracting your dream clients to your sales pipeline.
Account-based marketing (ABM) is a way of targeting the clients your SaaS product was made for through bespoke marketing materials. As you may have assumed, this more personalized approach makes ABM campaigns time-intensive; however, the additional attention to detail will help you get a leg up, no matter how well-established your competitors are in the market.
But you may be wondering, “Is ABM the most cost-effective lead generation strategy?” That’s a valid question that many SaaS companies have asked us. The answer depends on your target audience. In our experience, ABM is best reserved for high-ticket sales but can also be beneficial when focused on a niche market.
4. Partner with an outsourced sales firm that specializes in SaaS
As a SaaS company, your team is most likely made up of developers and engineers geeking out over the latest innovation in programming. Don’t get me wrong; that’s not a bad thing. But if you ask a programmer to jump in on a sales call, most of your prospects won’t be able to make heads or tails of how your SaaS product will help them survive and thrive.
Outsourced sales partners specializing in SaaS lead generation have years of experience translating complex functions and features into simple solutions to everyday problems. Time in the field has also given these sales professionals a deeper understanding of your target audience: what grabs their attention, what drives their decision-making process, what their aspirational identities are, etc. This knowledge reduces the trial-and-error phase and streamlines the sales process so your team can worry less about generating revenue and focus more on expanding your product’s capabilities.
Because hiring an external team for lead generation is much different than hiring one for other business processes, like payroll, it’s important to understand how outsourcing sales works for SaaS companies. Weigh the pros and cons based on your business model to determine if this strategy is right for you.
As you can see, there are many reasons why lead generation is especially challenging for B2B SaaS companies. It’s not just you. From fierce competition to disproportionate team skills, it’s no wonder why so many exceptional solutions are stifled in the marketplace. If you’re struggling to generate leads, there is always something new you can try — some angles you haven’t attempted or some tactics you haven’t tested.
It’s easy to overlook what works in favor of what’s trending. However, by focusing on these tried and true strategies mentioned above, you can put your company back on track to generating a steady flow of leads to your pipeline.