To thrive in today’s globalized and increasingly competitive marketplace, B2B SaaS companies need to continuously come up with new revenue streams. Although ample revenue can be generated by reselling to existing clients, acquiring new customers is the only sure way to expand your business and take it to the next level.
Online Lead Generation: Inbound Marketing
Unlike traditional push or outbound marketing, SaaS lead generation is inbound. Basically, you leave a trail of relevant, valuable and engaging content and incentives across your business’ online and offline space, hoping that your target audience will follow the trail and engage with you at a time of their choosing.
This type of lead generation is ideal for today’s B2B buyers’ persona because it allows prospective customers to research you at their leisure and compare your brand and service offerings with the competition before they begin conversing with your sales personnel.
The Importance of Top-notch Content
At this point, their buying decision has been heavily influenced by the relevance and quality of content you put out there.
According to the 2016 Demand Gen Report, 47 percent of prospective customers read three or more materials before contacting a salesperson. However, you must ensure that your target audience is reading your content rather than that of your competitors.
As such, your content must be top notch else your target audience may see the competition’s content as more valuable/relevant and get sucked into their sales funnel (instead of yours).
Increasing Conversion Rates
Although 85 percent of B2B marketers posit that lead generation is the most important goal of content marketing, the sobering truth is that only approximately 5 to 10 percent of qualified leads finally convert. To increase conversion rates, B2B SaaS companies must focus on acquiring more and more qualified leads (prospective customers who are interested in your product/service and most likely to convert).
However, this is easier said than done.
Although there are a plethora of lead generation strategies out there, the most effective are those that creatively leverage online digital channels to intelligently position your B2B SaaS offerings in front of relevant/target audiences in a way that ensures the best ROI.
Creating an Effective Online Lead Generation Strategy
When creating an online lead generation strategy, it’s best to begin with due diligence. Adequate time should be set aside for extensive research on the best way to approach the target audience as well as the most effective tools and techniques that can help you achieve the quality and volume of leads required to meet/exceed your sales and growth projections.
Short Sales Cycle
One peculiar characteristic of the B2B SaaS space is the shortness of the sales cycle. B2B SaaS companies sell a combined package of software product and service by providing clients with continuous support and troubleshooting, regular updates/improvements to the product, and (possibly) customization services.
Since such services are usually sold on a monthly subscription model, sales cycles are short. It’s easy for customers to get in and out and in most cases, you end up hoping that your newly acquired customers don’t leave the following month.
Fluid Subscription Base: The Bane of B2B SaaS Companies
The shortness of the sales cycle greatly increases the chances of acquiring a fluid subscription base month over month and high marketing costs since you need to continuously generate and convert new leads. The only way out of such a cycle is to engender loyalty in your customers from the get-go.
Building a Loyal Customer Base
B2B SaaS companies must look beyond just acquiring paying customers and aim for happy, loyal customers. Customers who are convinced of your brand authority and are delighted by the service they receive usually end up becoming brand ambassadors.
To prevent a fluid subscription base, you must take proactive steps to build a loyal customer base. This decision should be taken into consideration when creating your online lead generation strategy — one more reason why content marketing is so important in the B2B SaaS space. Besides helping to generate quality leads, content marketing (if done properly) helps in establishing domain authority in your particular niche. You can do this by providing leads and customers with an assorted collection of engaging articles, relevant tips and hacks, industry insights and reports and authoritative webinars/interviews.
Aside from content marketing, other online lead generation techniques for B2B SaaS companies include email marketing, PPC and social media marketing. It will take some research, industry expertise and hands-on execution to determine the best combination of techniques that will work for your particular space.
With millions of companies crowding the B2B universe and providing similar services to the same pool of prospective customers, it has become a hassle for businesses to achieve their growth projections. To increase sales and cash flow, you must learn to adapt to the harsh realities of the B2B SaaS space and this entails looking for and leveraging the most effective means of acquiring new customers while retaining existing ones. And this is where online lead generation becomes indispensable.
Content remains the core of every major online lead generation strategy. By positioning your brand as an authority in its field and publishing relevant and thought-provoking guides, blog posts, and white papers, you simultaneously attract higher-quality leads while giving them more reasons to engage with you.