5 Underused Lead Generation Strategies for SaaS Businesses

Let’s face it, marketing in this day and age is tough. 

Especially when the attention span of your customers is constantly being pulled at from every direction. 

And you’re probably thinking, “Where does my SaaS company fit into all of this? Will I be able to reach my ideal customers? Will they even care?”.

Being that you own a SaaS company, or work for one, you’ve probably already searched information online on how to take your software business to the next level, but are inundated with the same old cliches. 

Don’t get me wrong, you should consider these pieces of advice, ie: Offer a free trial, do a drip sequence, focus on ways to increase monthly recurring revenue etc… 

Many blogs and experts give this advice because it works, so make sure you do it. 

But if you are already doing these things, or you have a start-up, it doesn’t hurt to have other options in your tool belt. And it’s even better when they are free or relatively inexpensive! 

I’ve read many articles on lead generation strategies, and took tabs on what was commonly mentioned. 

In this article, I’m going to go over five methods that are rarely talked about, and are likely underused, that can generate leads for your SaaS in addition to the commonly used methods. 

1. Answer relevant questions on Q&A websites. 

This method is pretty straight forward, however there are some things to consider to make it worth your time. Neil Patel talks about a similar method where you can go onto blog posts of other companies and answer questions people have, while also linking back to your content if you are allowed to. 

You should follow his method too, but what I am suggesting is also using Q&A websites or forums.  

When you go onto these websites, it is important to give value upfront, and not blatantly promote. For example, search up SaaS or a related question, and look at the questions people are asking. 

When responding and giving input, give a detailed response backed by research, data and personal experience with your company. You can imagine it as a high quality blog post, that people can reference in relation to the problem they are having. 

The difference with this situation though, is that you are posting your article on a website that takes care of the traffic for you. For example on Quora and Reddit, posts can get upvotes, and the more upvotes, the more views. 

The key to this method is…

  • Get as many upvotes as you can to keep your post in front of as many people as possible. Your post can get thousands of views, and with a link at the end of the article and your profile picture explaining who you are, you may attract customers to your SaaS. 

To take this a step further, search for a problem that people are having in relation to your service. If you offer a site building software, target wannabe bloggers and entrepreneurs who don’t want to learn code, but just want to get a professional website up and running. 

Examples of questions for this topic could be:

  • How do I set-up a website?
  • How do I start a blog?
  • And if they ask a question like ”what are the best website building Softwares?”, make a detailed list of what you think are the best services, and of course add yours in the list and explain why it is better than all of the others. 

Here are several question and answer websites:

  • Reddit
  • Quora
  • Yahoo! answer
  • Answerbag
  • Blurt it
  • Anybody out there
  • WikiAnswers
  • Fun Advice
  • Ask Ville
  • Ask me help desk
  • Answer bank
  • Askdeb
  • Stack Overflow (specifically for developers)
  • Ask.fm. 
  • Facebook groups and blog posts of other related products, and answering questions to help. 

2. Find out who is an unsatisfied customer of your competitors, and contact them. 

This method can be tricky, but it is a guerilla marketing tactic that can get you results that many don’t seem to do. It’s a relatively straightforward method: 

  1. Go on review sites.
  2. Search for software that is similar to yours.
  3. Find the negative reviewers.
  4. Try to contact them if possible. 

There will likely be many instances where the reviews are anonymous or make it hard to identify the person, but for the ones that give clues, follow through with those. G2, Capterra, Softwareadvice, and Trustpilot are some that come to mind, but there are definitely more; I personally found G2 is easier, because they give you a contact request option for many of the reviewers.  

Some review sites:

  • G2
  • Capterra
  • Softwareadvice
  • Trustpilot

For the other sites, you may have to do name and title searches, and find their LinkedIn or social media profiles. The best thing to do is cast a wide net, so make sure you collect as many names and links as possible, and then try to contact them one by one; I suggest reading this awesome Proprofs article about handling difficult customers, as a reference for how you should speak to them! 

Bottom line, focus on the ones who respond, offer them a free trial, or at least go more in depth with their concerns so you can tailor your pitch more effectively for your SaaS. This method is especially good for new SaaS companies, as you may not be getting much organic traffic, and have a big enough budget for ads yet. 

3. Get in contact with Key-decision makers, not just the company. 

For this strategy, you can use LinkedIn or just search businesses related to your industry. 

It is similar to strategy 2, but in this case, you are going to get in contact with potential customers of your product, and more importantly, the key decision makers. 

This method will have challenges, such as getting your connection requests accepted, figuring out who’s who, and getting a conversation started. The key again is casting a wide net by contacting a large set of targeted people. 

Here are the steps:

  1. Identify who your ideal customer is and search for their businesses; if you don’t know who this is and have your product positioned well, you need to fix this first. This Proprofs quiz is very helpful for testing your knowledge about marketing, segmenting, targeting and positioning!
  1. Find the key decision makers… 

There are 5 key decision makers

  • The Initiator: This a person who starts the cycle of the buying process. Usually these tend to be the Director, CFO, CIO/CTO of a company. 
  • The Influencer: This can be a person who would use your product in the company, and they are aware of problems that arise within their work process. 
  • The Decider: Typically, these people are the lead managers or directors of a department that could use your software. 
  • The Buyer: Commonly these people are C-level executives. They look at all the information provided by the decider, and if they are convinced, they will sign off the purchase. 
  • The User: These tend to be other members of the team that are not C-level executives, such as the initiator and the influencer. Because these types of employees will use the product, they can also be a good vehicle for generating referrals. 

Keep in mind, if it is a large scale company, 100 plus employees, you will want to contact the marketing manager, or someone in leadership who could use your software. If it is a small company, a start up (10 or less), you can contact the owner as it is a smaller operation. 

  1. Make a list. Ideally 100 targeted businesses to start, as it is a wide net and is easy to understand the percentages.
  1. There are a few key pieces of information to know: How big, known, successful is the company? (Big company, bigger budget. Start-up company, possibly a lower budget.) 
  1. Do a personalized cold-pitch by email or social media; you can even start with a phone call, but an email could have your logo and links to your service, so it is easier for them to get to know you. 

Don’t be ashamed to reach out and cold-pitch, but make sure it addresses them by their first name, has personalized information, and doesn’t appear to be copy pasted. Ideally, take the time to write each, and don’t copy-paste at all. 

  1. Use email tracking to monitor open rates and link clicks. Do two follow-ups if no response. 
  1. When you start getting responses, go over what Softwares they are using to qualify them, and then explain why yours is better; also give them a free trial and extra support. What is important here getting an aha moment with your product which could then lead to a subscription or referral.

4. Offer a free tool. 

Every SaaS business understands the value of an email list, but you also have to keep in mind that your Value exchange, Deliverability, Open rate, and Clickthrough rate matters a great deal.

The typical email response rate in software and business is 20%, with a typical clickthrough rate of 7.18% – 8.01% between the two. So what is something you can do to stand out, and potentially increase your lead generation? 

On the Amy Porterfield podcast, Episode 321, Neil Patel explained that an untapped strategy is offering a free tool. This could be a profitability calculator, an interactive questionnaire, a spreadsheet or something else that you would find can be useful for your audience.

And the reality is most businesses do the same thing: Offer a free trial, ask to collect an email with a bait, but you have to get creative as with so many doing the same technique, it can lose some of its effectiveness. This is why I suggest standing out, and going the extra mile to offer a tool that can give them immediate value. 

For example if you have a marketing analytics tool, you can offer a free profitability calculator, where your customer has to input their own numbers. 

The tool will have your logo, and have extra features that won’t work unless they subscribe to your main software, or maybe, they click on the feature and you say that this option is only available in the main software.  

5. Small, in person Meet-Ups. 

This is a method that is not mentioned often, and is likely underused as well. It is very common for SaaS companies to attend seminars and large scale meet-ups, but why not hold a smaller one in your city, or even online through video chat? 

In reality this is a networking event, but it can be more personalized as there are less people who will attend, giving you more time to get to know one another. 

A simple way to do this is to hold a meet up at a coffee shop and do a meet and greet (after the pandemic of course), or message SaaS owners and invite them to an online meet-up. 

The key to this method is to bring SaaS owners and employees together, in both related and different industries. 

Sure you can send emails and connect on social media, but the fundamentals of human nature still haven’t changed; human beings are still more receptive to in-person connection. When you meet these people, you can form coalitions that can have inside knowledge, strategies, and a team of like minded people who will help each other. 

Whether we like to admit it or not, success is not attained by hard work alone; there are many people in this world who work very hard, and do not move forward financially. It is reached by a good strategy, a strong work ethic, luck, and connections to the right people who can open doors for you.

And you never know, you could meet someone who could teach you something you didn’t know about the industry, connect you with key players, and even do a co-marketing strategy with you that can take your software business to the next level.

Conclusion

These are five methods that i’ve noticed aren’t mentioned very often on blog posts, articles, and are likely underused within the SaaS industry and even business in general. An important point to realize is that you need to stand out from the crowd, but also use methods that are tried and tested to work in SaaS lead generation: Optin form, Free trial, freemium, co marketing etc… 

These strategies mentioned above should be used in addition to the strategies you are using, and tested according to your business to see what results they can bring you. 

Get testing and here’s to your SaaS success!