Lead Generation for SaaS: Everything You Need to Know

Lead Generation for SaaS - Everything You Need to Know

Well, no one ever said growing a SaaS business was easy, right?

But you probably didn’t think it would be THIS hard to get leads. You have amazing software that solves so many problems for your customers, but getting in front of potential new customers is a huge challenge.

The competition is fierce, and audiences are increasingly used to tuning out marketing messages.

So how can you cut through the noise to generate the B2B leads you need?

Fortunately, there are proven ways to find SaaS leads, provided you approach lead generation strategically.

We’ve brought together everything you need to know about lead gen for B2B SaaS so that you can source those high-quality prospects ready for your services.

Inbound vs outbound SaaS lead generation

What is inbound marketing?

Inbound marketing is where you educate, inform and engage. It centres around creating content that attracts potential leads to your site.

Content allows you to share your knowledge and build authority. It enables your audience to learn about you or your industry – but without feeling the pressure of the sale. And that generates leads because the prospect decides to enter your sales funnel for themselves.

Your content might include helpful blog posts – like this one – reports, guides, podcasts or videos.

Maybe your potential customer has a question about B2B SaaS, or a problem that you can help solve?

If so, inbound marketing is a powerful tool to help your target audience find the solution they need. And when they find the answer lies with your business, you generate leads.

What is outbound marketing?

In contrast to inbound marketing which aims to attract prospects in, outbound marketing is where a business seeks to send their message out to consumers.

Outbound marketing includes traditional advertising such as billboards, TV or direct mail.

But outbound marketing has also moved with the times, evolving into the ads we see across the internet.

These often use a mechanism like PPC (Pay Per Click) so businesses can see exactly where their leads have come from. The site that has generated the lead (the ‘click’), such as the website owner, social media platform or search engine, is paid by the advertiser.

Should you choose inbound or outbound marketing for B2B SaaS lead gen?

Office meeting with men and women who work in SaaS company

Obviously, every SaaS business is different, but we’ve found that to get the best results from your B2B SaaS marketing, it’s a good idea to combine both inbound and outbound marketing.

Outbound is typically broad-brush, raising brand awareness across a wide variety of audiences – think of your average motorway billboard – but doesn’t always generate leads directly.

But inbound marketing, while it has less exposure, can be more targeted in reaching for the pain points or ambitions of your prospects.

However, it’s worth remembering that although paid advertising like that found on Facebook Ads, Google Ads and TikTok Ads is technically outbound marketing, it can be highly targeted – unlike traditional advertising channels. That means you can tailor your message tightly to the select group of people you want to attract. Well targeted ads draw audiences to your brand more successfully – just like inbound marketing.

Inbound lead generation strategies for SaaS

Woman with red hair scrolling on her phone

1. SEO

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is the way you help users find your site through a search engine.

There’s a lot that goes into SEO – everything from the keywords you use within your copy and content, to the speed of your site and how regularly you update it.

But in terms of lead generation, the most important aspect of SEO is the content on your site. The more closely your site fits the search terms a user is looking for – and performs well in all the other areas – the higher Google will rank your results. And that brings prospects to your business.

Go onto any other larger SaaS industry websites, and you’ll see how they’re vying for Google’s attention. Often they publish ‘vs’ posts or reviews, such as ‘Monday.com vs Asana’ in an attempt to capture people searching for those terms.

Pros of SEO as an inbound lead gen strategy for B2B SaaS

  • Targeted Audience Reach: when you target your SEO based on what users search for, you’re immediately helping them solve their problems. You build trust and brand awareness.
  • Content lasts forever: a blog post or an article stays on your site for as long as you want it, helping you rank on search engines and generate leads when users click through.
  • Increased organic traffic: when Google sees how well your content serves your audience, you’ll rank even higher in the search results, leading to more traffic reaching your site organically.
  • Audiences can be directed straight to your product: if your content answers their questions and shows how you can solve their problems, your new SaaS leads will be ready to hear your sales message.

Cons of SEO as an inbound lead gen strategy for B2B SaaS

  • Takes time and resources: SEO is typically a longer-term strategy that needs continual investment and monitoring.
  • SEO can be highly competitive: if your business is in a saturated market, you’ll need to work hard to differentiate your offering and target your audience to get qualified leads.
  • Constant algorithm changes: Google regularly makes updates to try and bring the most useful results to their users. If your site doesn’t keep up, you’ll fall behind your competitors.
  • Technical complexity: although SEO might sound simple, it isn’t easy to execute it well. In a highly competitive market like B2B SaaS, your business will need to be at the top of its game to stand out from the crowd.

Ads Agency Audit

2. Content marketing and blogging

Content marketing is when businesses share information online that’s helpful to their audience. The purpose of content marketing is not to make a sales pitch, but to help your target customer.

For example, you might want to create content that helps solve your customer’s problems. Take this blog post, do we sell lead generation strategy to SaaS businesses? No. But we do run an ads agency that helps SaaS businesses get more leads or sign-ups. We’re helping you solve a problem (by talking about lead gen) and also telling you how we can help.

There’s so much more content that you can create, too, such as content that helps your audience make informed buying decisions, for example: ‘[our SaaS] vs [competitor SaaS]: which one is right for you?’

As users engage with your content – reading your blogs, watching your videos or listening to your podcasts – their relationship with your brand deepens.

In other words, if they enjoy the information you’re giving them, they’ll begin to like you. And as you publish regularly on topics that help them out, they’ll trust you too.

Pros of content marketing and blogging for B2B SaaS lead gen

  • Improved organic traffic and SEO: If your content matches the search terms your target audience is looking for, you’ll rank highly on Google and naturally, your click-through rate will rise.
  • Long lasting: once published, your content remains on your site forever. That means it continues to work hard for you long after your ‘hands-on’ time is complete.
  • Lead generation: content marketing can directly generate B2B leads. If you publish a useful piece on ways to improve lead gen performance through a mix of marketing channels, for example, it’s a natural step to offer your reader a free ad audit (see what we did there?)
  • Position your business as an industry expert: when you share information freely online, it shows your target audience that you know your sector inside out. Content marketing builds authority and trust.
  • Competitive advantage: creating high-quality, well targeted content that helps and informs your target audience positions you as the go-to provider when your prospects need help. Content marketing puts you ahead of your competitors.

Cons of content marketing and blogging for B2B SaaS lead gen

  • Resource intensive: content marketing and blogging – done well – take time and effort. If you decide to use staff in-house, you’ll need to find or recruit a team member who can dedicate a large portion of each week to content marketing. Using a content agency to help with the strategy and delivery can be an excellent alternative, with expertise built-in to help you generate B2B SaaS leads.
  • Results can take time: Content marketing and blogging are long-term marketing strategies, not quick fixes.
  • Saturation of content: well established blogs and other content already exist across all sectors, including B2B SaaS. And with many companies turning to AI to generate their content, the internet is becoming increasingly noisy. Fortunately, the way to cut through and reach your prospects is by creating original content from your own knowledge and expertise – and that can only be done by a human, not an algorithm.

3. Social media marketing

Social media is where you can engage with followers on a personal level, share news and insights, and stay top of mind. It’s essential for SaaS businesses.

In recent years, we’ve seen the rise of the personal brand. For a SaaS brand, enabling followers to get to know the founder – or other key team members – is an important way to build human relationships in an increasingly digital world.

In fact, some content marketers see personal branding as even more important than growing the company’s social media channels. Personal branding means your target audience will buy into YOU, not just your SaaS product.

After all, people buy from people, so social media can become a strong generator for B2B SaaS leads.

To see examples of how social media plays a huge part in personal branding, take a look at Joel Gascoigne, CEO of Buffer, or Melanie Perkins, CEO at Canva.

Pros of social media marketing for B2B SaaS businesses

  • Increased brand visibility and awareness: social media platforms make your SaaS business easy to discover. When your post appears in a follower’s feed, your SaaS brand is top of mind, and that brings leads.
  • Targeted audience reach: by using hashtags to put your post in front of an interested audience, your social media marketing can be highly targeted towards potential leads for your B2B SaaS business.
  • Customer engagement and relationship building: the whole point of social media is engagement, so maintaining an active presence means more opportunities for your audience to interact and build a relationship with your SaaS brand.
  • Thought leadership and industry influence: personal brand building creates an authority that ripples beyond the bounds of social media. Content and social media marketing become the foundations of a strong B2B SaaS lead gen strategy.

Cons of social media marketing for B2B SaaS businesses

  • Time and resource intensive: just like content marketing, social media marketing requires a dedicated team if you want to deliver it well. Consider outsourcing to a specialist agency to get results without putting undue burden on your staff.
  • Platform dependence and algorithm changes: unlike the details on a mailing list, your followers on social don’t ‘belong’ to you. This means that a problem with the platform or your account could lose you a major source of SaaS leads.
  • Highly competitive: It’s likely that your SaaS competitors are already on social media, so your brand will need to create stand-out content to stop the scroll, drive user engagement and generate leads.

Outbound lead generation strategies for SaaS
Man browsing the internet in a cafe

1. Paid advertising (PPC)

Paid advertising, also known as PPC (Pay Per Click) is where brands place adverts across the internet. These adverts might appear as sponsored links in search results on search engines such as Google, on 3rd party web pages, or on social media platforms such as Facebook and TikTok. When a user clicks on an ad, the search engine, website owner or social platform receives a payment.

Ads can work so well for SaaS businesses as they are highly targeted (like SEO) but with the nice added benefit of also being instantaneous (unlike SEO). They’re also well suited to B2B SaaS businesses as the ‘click’ can be hugely profitable. You can get sign-ups straight away, or people booking onto a demo which you can later convert.

Pros of PPC for B2B SaaS lead gen

  • Instantaneous results: a well-placed online ad can start to generate leads for your B2B SaaS business immediately – all it takes is a click from a user.
  • Targeted reach: unlike traditional print advertising, online ads – and the messaging within them – can be carefully targeted to an audience likely to be interested in B2B SaaS, bringing you better returns.
  • Budget control: PPC empowers you to review your real-time spending on advertising, so you can set limits and target your ads where they’ll be most effective.
  • Measurable, trackable results: PPC advertising is completely measurable. You can monitor, review and evaluate the success of your B2B SaaS ads in real time, tweaking accordingly to optimise lead generation.

Cons of PPC for B2B SaaS lead gen

  • PPC can be a costly investment: if you’re targeting the most popular keywords, Google ads can become expensive. To get better ROI from your PPC spend, choose your B2B SaaS keywords carefully to appeal to a small but hyper-targeted group who are most likely to become leads and convert to purchase.
  • Over-reliance on ads: ads on Google, Facebook and TikTok can be highly effective in generating B2B leads. But if you rely only on ads for your lead gen activity, the leads will stop as soon as you stop your ad spend.
  • Possible poor performance: not all ads generate the B2B leads you expect – especially when working with ad agencies who don’t put their clients first. Avoid wasting your budget by choosing an agency that keeps a close eye on performance and uses a team of designers, video editors and copywriters to make tweaks – just like we do at Yatter.

2. Partner & affiliate programmes

Partner and affiliate programmes are a way of teaming up with other complementary businesses to help market or sell each other’s products.

Partnership programmes are highly effective in generating leads from new, like-minded audiences. When users trust a favourite brand, that trust is lent to your business by the association.

There are plenty of opportunities for SaaS companies to establish partnerships or affiliate programs in the B2B space. For example, a calendar booking SaaS company could partner with a website design agency that can recommend its product to its clients.

Software integrations can also be a powerful tool for SaaS lead generation. For instance, when an email marketing company partners with a CRM business, it becomes a natural extension for an existing customer to start using the partner’s services. That’s because a seamless integration means the user gets more value from using both products – effortlessly.

Ads Agency Audit

Pros of partner and affiliate programmes

  • Enhanced trust and credibility: when a customer has an established relationship with another company, a partnership with your SaaS brand acts like a personal recommendation – it brings huge trust and credibility for your B2B leads.
  • Cost-effective lead generation: leveraging another brand’s audience (and allowing them to do the same with yours) gives great advantages to both groups of customers AND brings new leads for your SaaS organisation.
  • Higher conversion rates: placing yourself in front of an audience through a trusted partner makes it easy for SaaS leads to decide to work with you.
  • Customer engagement and loyalty: when your service gets better through working with affiliated partners, customers enjoy their brand experience with you more. The more they come to rely on you, the higher the loyalty they feel.

Cons of partner and affiliate programmes

  • Potentially limited reach: if a partner’s customer base is small, or a poor fit your B2B SaaS brand, you’ll generate fewer, lower-quality leads.
  • Keeping on top of bugs: when you undertake a software integration with a partner, both parties will constantly need to keep on top of bugs to keep performance high and customers happy.
  • Over-reliance on partnerships: if a partner fails to deliver on leads, goes out of business or experiences a crisis, this could have a negative impact on your brand, and your ability to generate the SaaS leads you’re looking for.
  • Time intensive: partnership programmes take time to set up – there are culture and fit issues to work out, agreements to be drawn up, and detailed technical work for any software integrations. Make sure your potential partner is a good match to get the best return on this time.

Should you choose inbound or outbound marketing strategies for B2B SaaS lead gen?

There are many opportunities for B2B SaaS brands to generate leads, but which should you choose?

Some, like content marketing, are long-term strategies, while others – paid ads, for instance – bring immediate results.

Some lead gen activities are completely in your control, like ads where you can adjust your spend, change and tweak what’s needed and stop what isn’t working. But others, like social media marketing or SEO, are at the hands of the algorithm.

So, what is the best way to generate B2B SaaS leads?

A combined approach to B2B SaaS lead generation

To optimise your SaaS lead generation, the best strategy is to employ a mix of both inbound and outbound marketing tactics.

Inbound and outbound marketing efforts complement one another, so a combination of approaches works incredibly well. This way, you can spread the risks of any drawbacks while capitalising on the advantages each technique brings.

While inbound marketing often takes time and technical know-how to generate SaaS leads, outbound marketing can get instant results in generating leads from B2B audiences.

You can also use techniques such as content marketing and ads together, such as setting up Facebook ads for your content or whitepaper download.

Or setting up retargeting ads once someone has visited your site from Google. They all work together.

We know, as an ads agency, that we’re meant to say that ads are the only thing you’ll ever need for your software to sell. But we’re committed to being honest!

Conquering both inbound and outbound methods will help you skyrocket your SaaS success.

Doing ads already but not happy with the results?

Do you know how your paid ads on Google, Facebook and TikTok are performing? Are you optimising the opportunities so you can maximise ROI and generate the highest possible number of high-quality leads?

If you’re not sure whether your ads are generating the B2B SaaS leads you need, then find out how much better they could be doing. Book a free ad audit with Yatter, and we’ll tell you what’s performing well, and where you can make improvements.

Ads Agency Audit


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