Lead generation is key when starting an SaaS business
So you’ve started a SaaS business and you have all the ingredients needed to succeed, including a product which stands out from the crowd and represents a unique value proposition for prospective clients.
The final piece of the puzzle is paving the way to customer sign-ups while addressing the concerns that prospective users will typically have when approaching SaaS solutions.
Building a solid sales funnel to streamline lead generation and catalyze conversions is part of this. If you are in the dark about the strategies to use and the tools to harness, here are some handy hints to help you create a funnel for your SaaS firm which actually works.
Automation is your most important ally
Bringing clients onboard used to involve a lot of legwork. Manual outreach is a major time sink, and leaves team members with hours of tedious, repetitive tasks to complete just to identify, pursue and follow up on leads.
Software solutions have thankfully emerged to automate a lot of this, letting you bring prospects in at the top of the funnel without sacrificing valuable resources.
Of course you still need to pick the right platforms to connect with would-be customers in the first place, and for B2B SaaS providers as well as startups the top option is LinkedIn. With the help of lead generation automation tools like Salesflow.io you can optimize how you leverage your social presence.
This is not just about creating solid foundations for your SaaS sales funnel, but also about the other effects that automation can have. From building brand awareness to expanding your network of contacts, there are all sorts of associated perks to point out.
Additionally, automation makes it a breeze to manage several campaigns at once, rather than forcing you to focus on one at a time. If your SaaS offerings are diverse and deserving of as much attention as possible to realize their potential, it pays to automate your outreach as much as possible.
One last point to mention with regards to automation is that you should avoid the temptation to take a blanket approach to lead generation which verges on the generic. Contacts on LinkedIn will appreciate a little personalization with your messaging, and again this is something that mainstream tools provide.
Customer research is essential
Unless you know what your users are looking for from a SaaS solution, you might struggle to know how to sell it to them. So before you rush off and come up with pitches and landing page content, you need to get a picture of the types of people in your target audience.
There are lots of ways to conduct customer research, even in a B2B context, and surveying prospects online is the quickest route. In terms of questions to ask, focus on finding out what challenges decision-makers are faced with right now, and use the feedback to refine your funnel accordingly.
For example, if your research reveals that a large proportion of users are plagued by a particular problem that your SaaS products solve, then this is something to emphasize in your marketing efforts. This might be to do with security, it might revolve around uptime requirements, it might involve regulatory compliance.
Customer research can also pinpoint misconceptions and misunderstandings, which again can be rectified in your pitches to prospects. It is all about knowing what frustrations face users and demonstrating what your SaaS suite can do to iron out the kinks.
Landing page optimization comes next
As suggested, your research into customer needs can influence how you put together landing pages, and if you have automated your outreach you can also make sure that the right audience ends up on the page that has been optimized with them in mind.
It is perfectly reasonable to make more than one landing page to sell a single SaaS product, so long as you have highlighted a need for different sales tactics based on who is seeing them and the pain points they need solved.
SEO is also part and parcel of this, although you should not get caught up in chasing keywords and appeasing algorithms at the expense of usability for human visitors. If your business funnel is mainly geared towards courting customers on social media, the quality of the content is paramount. With the right approach, SEO will come naturally within this process.
Securing trial sign-ups is just the start
Lots of SaaS providers become obsessed with tweaking their site’s pages and their social posts to earn clicks and conversions, at the expense of neglecting users once they have actually signed up to the trial versions of their products.
This is not the end of your business funnel, but rather just one of the stages you need to pass through to build a loyal user base.
Automation can help again here, this time through the use of emails to keep users in the loop and guide them through the early stages of leveraging your SaaS offerings.
Staying on the ball with regard to customer behavior and automating interactions accordingly is part of this. You need to assess user engagement levels, see how they are using the platform, and if they are missing out on certain features, or if they have hit limits imposed as part of the trial, let them know what you can do to improve their experience.
The SaaS market is a cutthroat one, and you will likely have to contend with being undercut by rivals and sideswiped by new innovations that leave you playing catch-up.
A good way to avoid the more severe peaks and troughs of demand is to establish an effective sales funnel which in turn generates a reliable, loyal customer base.
We have outlined a few of the strategies and tools which are important in this context, but it is up to you to actually go out there and start using them to your advantage, rather than sticking to your guns and potentially conceding the competitive edge.