Are you struggling to generate enough leads? You’re not alone. The marketing landscape for B2B SaaS companies has gotten increasingly competitive as the world has shifted digital: ads are more expensive, SEO is more difficult, and email engagement rates have plummeted.
So how do you optimize lead generation for B2B SaaS and keep new business coming in? Sometimes the best step is to review your fundamentals and consider what shifts — small or large — you can make.
Get the guide to B2B sales success during a recession.
1. Don’t Neglect Your Existing MQLs
One common mistake that many companies make is leaving their old or historic MQLs (marketing qualified leads) to just sit there. This is a huge area of opportunity that is often overlooked because everyone is thinking about the next new shiny thing.
Instead of focusing solely on acquiring new leads, continue to enrich and augment your existing data. This can help you better understand your target audience and create more targeted and effective lead generation campaigns.
“Don’t get distracted by each new shiny thing. Instead of focusing solely on acquiring new leads, continue to enrich and augment your existing data.”
Say you have a list of MQLs from a campaign you ran six months ago. Instead of leaving those leads to gather dust, take steps to nurture and engage with them. Perhaps sending a targeted email campaign, sharing relevant content, or even following up with a phone call to see if they have any questions.
B2B SaaS buying cycles are getting longer, and someone who disengaged earlier this year may be much closer to needing your services now.
2. Explore New Territories
Beyond existing leads of course, another option to grow your pool of leads is to explore new territories. Are you focusing too heavily on a specific city or state? Would you benefit from expanding internationally?
Expanding territories can help you generate leads from a different geographic location and potentially tap into new markets. Depending on how far you’re expanding, you may need to take time to understand differences in culture, customs, and needs of your target region, and develop more relevant buyer personas for them. Otherwise, your messaging and outreach won’t be as effective.
3. Consider New Buyer Personas
Another effective lead generation strategy for B2B is to consider new buyer personas. This means taking the time to understand the needs, challenges, and goals of different types of buyers within your target market and expand your targeting to address these.
Buyer personas are a great starting point for tuning your marketing, but they can never fully capture your target audience — especially if you have too few. While it would be near impossible to define who every lead is, having more (well-defined) buyer personas helps you get more granular with your messaging, which in turn leads to better results.
By understanding the unique characteristics of each buyer persona, you can create more effective marketing campaigns that draw in more leads.
“Well-defined buyer personas help you get more granular with your messaging, which in turn leads to better results.”
4. Look Back at Past Successes and Failures
To generate more leads, it’s important to look back at where things have gone well in the past and where they have not. This isn’t just about identifying the areas where you had a great hit rate, but also about identifying the areas that don’t make sense to continue pursuing.
On the flip side, if you had a great hit rate in certain verticals or with certain tactics, that doesn’t mean those other areas are no longer relevant. If you’re sending out blanket emails as your split test, and your best hit rates came from three particular verticals, that doesn’t mean the other verticals aren’t still relevant. They might simply respond better to different approaches, such as phone-based outreach.
“If your best hit rates in a split test came from three particular verticals, that doesn’t mean the other verticals aren’t still relevant.”
5. Enable an Outbound Effort to Target More Ideal Customers
Another effective lead generation strategy is to push an outbound effort to target more people who fit your ideal customer profile. Rather than relying too heavily on inbound efforts, this requires blending inbound and outbound, actively reaching out to the right prospects and engaging with them in order to generate leads.
Have a clear follow-up process in place for any leads generated through your outbound efforts. Who will follow up, and when? Outbound leads tend to have lower initial intent than inbound leads, so you will likely need to send leads into a nurture campaign to keep them engaged until they are ready to make a purchase.
As you can probably see, marketing and sales teams need to work together if you want to make outbound lead generation cost effective.
6. Improve Collaboration Between Marketing and Sales
Effective lead generation relies on strong collaboration between marketing and sales teams. This is a big area of opportunity that often gets missed, and it’s crucial for ensuring that leads are followed up on and converted into sales.
If you’re running a new initiative in marketing to generate demand or new interest, make sure sales knows about those accounts and can get involved.
Say you’re running a targeted email campaign to generate leads in a particular industry. Make sure that your sales team is aware of these leads and has the necessary information to follow up with them. You can supplement their efforts with specific talking points, relevant case studies, or other resources that may help them.
7. Consider Outsourcing Outbound Efforts
If you’re struggling to generate leads on your own, another option to consider is outsourcing your outbound efforts. This means hiring a third party to handle some or all of your lead generation efforts.
Outsourced teams like ours are specially trained to execute and optimize your sales process. An outsourced sales partner will quickly learn your market (and their preferences), then help you optimize your approach.
Bear in mind that outsourcing outbound efforts may not be the best choice for entering new markets where you have more questions than answers.
But for an established sales process, our clients find this gives them a cost-effective way to generate high-quality leads, scale their sales, and hit higher quotas — all while freeing up time to focus on closing deals.
8. Expand Your Reach by Entering New Industry Verticals
Another effective lead generation strategy is to consider expanding your reach by entering into new industry verticals. This can help you tap into new markets and potentially generate more leads. If you currently sell software to the healthcare industry for instance, maybe your service could target the financial services industry as well.
To expand successfully, take time to understand the unique needs and challenges of your target industry.
Of course, make sure that your product is set up to address the needs of the new vertical, with a reasonably low level of software retooling required, if any. Just because your product could serve a particular market, doesn’t mean it’s the best one for them, and targeting a market with a suboptimal fit will just lead to a lot of wasted marketing budget.
Guide: Growing B2B Sales in a Recession
Learn the 14 steps to come out ahead during a downturn.