Leads = customers = profits
If you are asking yourself, “Why does my business-to-business (B2B) SaaS company need leads?” then you are in the wrong industry.
Maybe you should take up a career as a postal worker, or any other vocation in which you do not need to be on a perpetual hunting excursion for qualified leads. In the same notion that money doesn't grow on trees, leads need to be chased down, tackled, and persuaded to convert themselves to customers.
Potential customers are not going to do a Google search for a service and randomly pick a company out of millions of search results. If a potential customer is searching for a service, they need to be directed to take a look at your company, and consider choosing you as a potential provider.
Think of this: 27% of leads are already willing to be your customer. That 27% does not require much seducing to give you their business, but the other 73% do indeed. And only 2% of prospects will choose your services after the first meeting with you. That being said, methods and tricks to convert your leads into customers will be touched upon here, but a detailed conversion discussion will take place in a separate article. Right now we’re talking about B2B lead generation, because obviously you won’t have high customer engagement without leads in the first place.
B2B leads, simply, are your prospective customers. They are looking for a service that your company (and competitors as well) provides, to assist them in increasing their own revenue and grow their company. So, what can you do to increase the amount of leads getting hip to your SaaS company?
Incredo has had great results in B2B SaaS lead generation, so you can take comfort in knowing that you’re getting advice from the pros.
Easy Projects is just one of the many companies on Incredo’s client roster. We were able to increase their leads by 260% in 3 months, which is astonishing for some companies, but is really just another typical day for us, thanks to our industry experience and talented team.
Being that we are so generous, we are going to share with you some tips and insights into how you can generate qualified SaaS leads for your own business, and quickly.
The social media jungle
Everyone and their mother (literally, their mother, even grandmothers, too) has at least one social media profile in this day and age. In addition to the proliferation of Facebook business pages, many companies have accounts with Twitter and LinkedIn, even Instagram and Snapchat, used for marketing their business.
According to Statista, 90% of US companies were using social media for marketing purposes, as of 2017. It is estimated that the rate will increase to 91% in 2019. However, because almost every company is using social media to generate leads, it becomes a double-edged sword. On one hand, it is vital to have a social media presence for your company, but on the other hand, everyone else does too, making your competition just as reachable as your own company.
The trick is not to just have a Facebook page for your company, but to be present on every social media platform. Some buyers like using Twitter the most, others may prefer Facebook or LinkedIn for personal use. Make sure that your business has a professional presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat and MySpace (just kidding about MySpace).
What is key for generating your B2B leads on social media is to be active. Spending the time to create a LinkedIn profile for your company, and simply letting it stand there on its lonesome, well, is simply time that you have wasted. You need to be active on your social media outlets, or potential leads will be instead noticing your active competitors.
Take a look at LinkedIn, which generates over 80% of B2B leads on social media. Moreover, 91% of executives consider LinkedIn a top platform for relevant and quality content (the same source), as well as for B2B marketing and B2B sales opportunities. Here are a few tips to be active on LinkedIn, and generate more leads:
- You know how you log in and you are notified on how many people have viewed your profile? Click on theirs. They will be notified that you have noticed them. Interest begets interest.
- Send a message after viewing their profile. It could be as brief as “Hello, let’s talk about how we can help you.” Whatever you send, you’ve engaged with this potential customer, and thus turned them into a qualified lead.
- Use your own personal profile and participate on LinkedIn Pulse. Write content that reflects your awareness and experiences in the B2B industry, and what has made your company successful. Writing tips and tricks for others to apply for their own success is also marketing your company to potential customers. Using your own personal profile lends a face to your company’s name, and people are much more willing to buy from a person rather than a faceless brand.
The same principles above should be applied to Twitter, Facebook and the rest. If you have a personal account on Twitter, follow users that you can provide a service for with your SaaS company. If you follow them, they are likely to follow you back, and will be notified when you tweet about your company and services.
Especially in the case of Twitter, users prefer to engage with personal user accounts over that of a business. While you should still have your business present on every social media platform (yes, including Snapchat), utilize your personal account to make connections with potential customers. You do not need to directly solicit them for business, but you can post updates and news of your SaaS company’s success. Leads will flock to you after they become informed of your company’s services on social media.
Provide valuable data that pertains to your business
What do people know about your SaaS company? In the eternally wise words of wisdom, “scientia potentia est,” or “knowledge is power.” Providing information that showcases your value to customers is key to generating qualified leads.
Having accounts and posting on social media is essential for disseminating information, but what you say and how you say it are what will determine whether someone browsing and seeing your posts becomes a lead, or continues searching for a different SaaS provider for their needs.
So, how do you speak the language of your potential customers? Use numbers to provide data that demonstrates how you are the best service for your customers. Put yourself in the lead’s shoes: what are you considering when seeking to enlist a SaaS provider? Customers are primarily mulling over two factors when shopping for a service: 1) how much will this cost? and 2) how well will this increase my business? They are thinking in terms of numbers, so speak their language.
Using numbers to demonstrate your success is an invaluable method for turning viewers into leads, so make them visually appealing and noticeable. Remember when you heard as a child that a picture is worth one thousand words? Absolutely true.
Take for example the following infographic created by Salesforce.com, an incredibly successful cloud computing company. Ask yourself, what does it say to you? What impression does it leave on you?
See? You likely now believe that Salesforce is a powerful, in-the-know company and, if you were in need of their cloud services, you yourself are now one of their leads. Numbers work, but it is also how the numbers are used to tell the story of your company. In this example, each statistic is prefaced with a “+” and the followed with words like “faster” or “increase” to reinforce the positive performance that their service provides.
By using numbers you leave a lasting impression, but you should also back them up with detailed data to reinforce the value of your service. Look at how in the above example, each statistic is immediately followed by a link to watch a demonstration or to read more on the particular facet of the company’s services. The devil is in the details, so make sure that you are using data that is targeted specifically for your future customers.
When piecing together your data storyline, your company needs to balance on the fulcrum between too much information (overwhelming your leads) and excessive content exclusivity (not diversifying your content). Consider these two items of advice:
- Your leads may be at varying stages of their purchasing histories (the buyer’s journey). Perhaps they have used a service you provide before, or maybe they are new to the game. You want to have information that caters to newbies and industry veterans alike.
- Too much data is simply too much data, and excess information will either overwhelm your leads, leave them with the impression that your company is not focused, or worse, boring. 91% of B2B marketers say their company runs a blog or uses another format of content marketing, so work on keeping your data concise and diversified.
The specific industry that your company provides SaaS for is irrelevant, as these principles are universal for every market. Take it from the pros, and apply these principles to your own operation.
SEO, SEO, SEO...
For some of you reading this, the following may sound painfully obvious, but some startup B2Bs may not be aware of the tantamount significance of search engine optimization (SEO). The keywords you use are directly linked to how many qualified leads you will generate. This may seem like a no brainer, but for companies that have a lot on their plate, SEO can often become forgotten or taken for granted.
If you are focused on production and honing your skills in management, kudos. That is no doubt vitally important for developing a great SaaS company. But what does it all matter if nobody can find you on Google? Your leads are your potential customers, and if your website is on the 8th page of a Google search, you might as well give up (not really, but improve your SEO!).
Use Google’s Keyword Tool to research and determine which keywords are the most useful for your individual SaaS company. 87% of B2B marketing executives believe that online content of a business is a major factor in their purchasing decisions. Having a robust keyword catalog allows for greater SEO and more leads.
A useful trick is combining keyword (or more appropriately, keyphrase) variety and repetition. For example, if you are in the business of music marketing, you want to reinforce your business, while also varying the keywords to include whatever your leads could be performing a search for. Choose phrases not just as generic as music marketing, but akin to music marketing best, music marketing agency, music marketing firm, global music marketing, music marketing reviews, music marketing comparison, etc.
Also, your keyword catalog should be fluid, and current. As consumer demands shift, adjust your keywords to stay relevant for what your targeted leads are searching for.
Improving your buyer’s journey
Leads do not solely come from a direct Google search for your services. They can be generated from review sites that link to your company site, or even positive word-of-mouth from satisfied customers. Whatever it may be, if you have an understanding of your buyer’s journey, you will notice an increase in your leads.
The buyer’s journey takes the course of three steps of action on the buyer’s behalf. The first step in a buyer’s journey is awareness that they need a service. The following step is the buyer’s consideration of who to choose to employ for their service. Finally, the buyer comes to making the decision on choosing a company.
You can use this to your B2B advantage. If you understand what your leads are looking for, and the stages of their purchasing decisions, you can send them a message that addresses their concern. Consider that 50% of B2B customers reject vendors that did not provide enough value in their message.
Having an understanding of your buyer’s needs will allow you to cater the entire design of your company to cultivate leads. Ask yourself, when potential customers are doing a Google search and your link comes up, what does it say to them? What is the message they are hearing when reading the subtext?
If your link includes a powerful call to action for your leads, ask yourself, what does your landing page say about your company message? Is it clear, coherent, and consistent? 57% of all purchasing decisions are made before the buyer even contacts you, so consistency in your message is of paramount importance during every step of the buyer’s journey.
Referrals from relevant websites
Referrals have always been at the foundation of lead generation for business, going all the way back to when we were still living in caves (just a guess, but it’s probably true). In today’s B2B market, there is a blogging website for everything in existence, regardless of your industry. Even if you are selling boutique key-fobs, there’s a blog for that too.
You can increase your qualified leads by guest posting on industry-specific blogs and forums. These are where many of your potential leads are spending their time during the aforementioned buyer’s journey. Get your name out there by guest posting!
It is wise to assign one of your staff to set a regular schedule for guest posting on several of the most highly trafficked blogs and forums in your field. Consistency, again, is extremely valuable for your ROI when guest posting on relevant websites.
If you haven’t yet, start a forum and/or blog on your own company website. Customers will get involved as a community, and share information that is relevant to them with others, generating more qualified leads for your B2B company.
Will you be a leader of leads?
Remember, leads = customers = profits. With increased profits, everybody wins in your B2B SaaS company. So, which of the aforementioned factors for generating more leads are you going to implement?
The answer: all of them! Ideally, and especially for experienced B2B managers and CEOs, these factors are understood and incorporated into practice before the company is even up and running.
To successfully become a lead generating machine, remember to speak the language of your customers, provide only significant and positive content of your services, and choose keywords that pertain to your services but are also diversified. You will be an industry “lead-er” (couldn’t resist the pun) before you know it.