The best lead generation methods vary significantly industry-to-industry, and product-to-product.
Fortunately there are a number of common lead generation strategies that have proven effective for Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) companies time-and-time again.
In this post I break down 6 SaaS lead generation strategies I believe every SaaS company should be leveraging, and explain why they work.
1) Create premium content
Premium content like eGuides, eBooks and whitepapers represent one of the best lead generation opportunities for SaaS companies.
The way it works is simple. In exchange for receiving a valuable piece of educational content from you, website visitors give you some basic information about themselves via a landing page, for example their name, email address, company and job title.
The key to making premium content successful is developing unique and exceptional content that people will value. If your content isn't brilliant, you'll build a poor content reputation, and the leads you do generate will be so dissapointed that they'll never go on to buy your solution.
2) Integrate with other products
The fastest way to start generating new SaaS leads is integrating with other software.
An easy way to come up with integration ideas is to start by asking your customers. Pose the simple question: what tools would you like to see our software integrate with?
If you don't yet have many customers, keep on the look-out for software that compliments your own. For example, if you're selling marketing automation software, you'd be wise to look out for CRM software you can integrate with. Likewise, if you're building accounting software, integrations with invoicing software could work well.
Every software you integrate with provides an opportunity to solidify your reputation, and attract new customers already using the tools you integrate with.
Most modern SaaS companies will be more than happy to integrate with you, so long as they think the integration could increase value for their customers (or bring in new ones).
3) Offer an excellent free trial
Improving the free trial? How will that help generate more leads? Won't that just increase the chance of existing trial users converting into customers?
Well yes, but there is a secondary benefit. If you offer an excellent free trial, you'll get lots of people taking it up and trying it out. Some of these people won't be ready to buy, or the right fit, but see huge potential for your product.
These people will share their free trial experience with their personal networks, and a good percentage of those may take up a trial, too.
Ensuring an excellent user experience for everyone, free trials included, is one of the best ways to get a steady stream of new leads coming in. Lincoln Murray shares some excellent advice for improving your free trial, here.
4) Host regular webinars
Webinars are a great way to engage visitors to your website, and determine which of them are really interested in your company. Attending a webinar requires a time commitment, so the leads you generate with them will often be of better quality than other lead generation tactics.
Your webinars can be further boosted by getting other industry experts to help host them, attracting in their own audience, as well as adding credibility.
If you can build up an excellent reputation for your webinars, people will attend repeatedly, and it'll prove a valuable source of new business.
5) Never let conversion rate optimisation stop
Conversion rate optimisation is all about looking at your existing lead generation tactics, and finding ways to improve them. The smallest of changes to your lead generation methods can have dramatic impacts on lead generation.
What happens when you change the colour of a button? What if you make "Download Now", "Get it Now"? Do more people convert when you add an explainer video to your free trial landing page?
Conversion rate optimisation is never complete. There's always ways to squeeze extra conversions out of all your marketing, whether that's getting more people to click through to your landing page, or more leads to take up a free trial.
6) Start guestposting
Guestposting is the act of reaching out to bloggers, influencers, and publishers, and asking them to feature content you write. Most guestposts offer you an author bio where you can say who you are, and what your company does: excellent for driving the right people to your website, and generating leads.
Groove, for example, has reached more than 1 million people with their guest posts. This had a huge impact on their lead generation, driving a good proportion of their free trial take-up.
Buffer used guest posts as their primary strategy for attracting their first 100,000 customers.
Kissmetrics wrote an excellent guide here, which details everything you need to get started with guest blogging, from finding opportunities to pitching & writing.