Generating leads is the lifeblood of any company. Leads are the backbone of a SaaS startup because the number and quality of leads influence all key metrics like revenue, churn and retention rates, cost per customer acquisition, etc.
All SaaS companies understand this. An idea of how important lead generation is runs through their DNA. It is ingrained in their brains.
But, despite knowing full well the criticality of solid lead generation, many SaaS marketers do it wrong.
Mistakes in SaaS lead generation quickly become fatal, leading to potentially disastrous consequences.
In this article, we will discuss top lead generation mistakes that plague the SaaS industry and how you can avoid them.
Be sure to read until the end to walk away with some eye-opening mistakes and insightful advice.
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SaaS lead generation: fatal mistakes
Lead generation is to SaaS what oxygen is to humans. Just like humans can’t survive without high-quality oxygen, SaaS businesses cannot survive without good leads.
Mistakes in lead generation can result in a low volume of leads or, worse, unqualified leads.
Here are some of the most common SaaS lead generation mistakes you can avoid to make sure your company keeps moving forward.
Fatal mistake #01: Focusing too much on quantity. Ignoring quality.
Over 53% of marketers say more than half of their budget goes into lead generation. Interestingly, 29% of SaaS companies fail because they “run out of cash.”
Leads come at a cost. And when you focus on the volume of leads, ignoring quality, you end up with cold leads that contribute little more than mere peanuts to your business. Sometimes not even that.
But since quality isn’t quantifiable and does not manifest as soon and as clearly as the volume of leads, marketers prefer the latter.
When marketers are forced to come up with good numbers in boardroom meetings, they often make the fatal mistake of casting a wide net and picking up as many leads as possible.
Companies pump their money into driving paid ads and gaining leads. This increases their ad spend and results in little to no tangible ROI.
This brings a short-term win. You may get approving nods in the boardroom, but in the long run, these cold, unqualified leads become not only expensive but detrimental to business continuity.
But since these results appear over time, it is too late before marketers or shareholders realize their mistakes.
Understand the importance of quality leads and focus on gaining good leads instead of attracting just anyone who will listen to your pitch.
Qualified leads are cheaper and have a high lifetime value, and hence contribute positively to your business in every way possible.
One way you can enhance the quality of your leads is by talking to your sales department.
This may be the last thing you want to do, but those people could share some valuable insights on the kind of leads that convert and contribute.
When we say you should focus on the quality of leads, we don’t mean to imply that you should cast quantity right out.
Strike a balance between quantity and quality. Make sure you are attracting enough high-quality leads in your sales funnel that even if a set percentage of it converts, it could be sufficient to keep your growth trajectory moving forward.
Understanding your audience is also one of the ways of improving lead quality.
A SaaS company reduced its ad spend by 30-40% by eliminating unqualified prospects from their target audience.
This effort also helped them reduce the cost/lead acquisition by 0.51%, which may seem small, but could mean big things for startups.
Fatal mistake #02: Inaccurate buyer personas
Buyer personas play a vital role in helping you get quality leads. Accurate buyer personas are a sure-fire way to avoid fatal mistake #01.
But less than 10% of SaaS companies surveyed had actually quantified their buyer personas. This means they were basing their marketing messages on mere assumptions, with no data to back up their claims of how their targeted buyers are.
Furthermore, a whopping 55% of the SaaS companies survey had only “thought about their customers” without going deep enough to know every minute detail about them.
So, while it may seem impossible for a SaaS company to take buyer personas lightly, ignoring them completely is a common mistake.
Prioritize your buyer persona or customer avatar before deep diving into lead acquisition.
A solid buyer persona helps you narrow down your target audience, so you take your message to those who matter. This ultimately uplifts the quality of leads you generate and brings down other metrics like CPA and churn rate.
The first step to enhancing your buyer persona is identifying your lead qualification criteria. Who classifies as a high-quality lead? Answering these questions can help here:
- What is the job title of the buyer?
- Which industry do they belong to?
- What is their company size?
- What is their age?
- What is their preferred content type?
- What are their job responsibilities and pain points/struggles?
- What are the solutions they are looking for that would be “worth buying” for them?
Don’t just assume answers to these questions. Quantify them with research and data.
Another fatal mistake B2B SaaS companies make is confusing their users with customers.
In the B2B space, users are not normally the people buying the software. The buying power rests with someone else, perhaps the CTO or CEO of the company.
So, don’t use your user persona as your buyer persona. Find who the buyer is, understand them, and build a persona around this research.
A team’s collaboration platform was struggling with high cost per customer acquisition. They were getting leads. But the leads’ expectations and product features weren’t a match.
They were not targeting the right people. This resulted in high churn rates and, of course, high CPAs.
They knew they needed to focus on the right audience. An in-depth buyer’s research and a bunch of other strategies helped them increase their SQLs by a whopping 700%.
So, don’t just “think about your customers.” Know them in detail.
Fatal mistake #03: Lack of content marketing strategy
It is hard to find a SaaS company that does not do content marketing in some shape or form. In fact, it’s interesting to know, only 15% of SaaS companies don’t have a blog.
But the mistake that an overwhelmingly large majority of SaaS companies make while doing content marketing is that… they just do it. These SaaS content marketers do not have a focused strategy or a fixed goal that they are working towards.
They post blogs every now and then, but these blogs or the posting schedule does not have a set aim, and hence they fail to drive results.
Understand what you want to gain from your content. Is it leads? Or is it just authority?
In this case, you want to gain more leads while also coming off as a thought leader.
Learn about your target audience’s pain points and create content that offers valuable solutions and insights.
Also, make sure your content actually gets to its audience. That’s another mistake SaaS marketers often make. They create awesome content, but that content never goes beyond their website.
So, develop a strong content distribution system that ensures your content gets to the people you have created it for.
Additionally, posting once every month isn’t enough. Search engines and people both love it when you post regularly. So don’t commit yet another fatal mistake of posting infrequently.
HubSpot, a well-known SaaS company, recently crossed the 100,000 customers mark. While many factors could contribute to this success, one thing that stands out is the abundance of HubSpot blogging.
They post around 900 high-quality, valuable blogs each year. No one can ever deny the contribution of these blogs to their lead generation and customer acquisition success.
So, focus on publishing at least one blog post a week and share it across your social networks with a catchy caption.
A SaaS platform needed more organic leads to sign up for their product and opted for content marketing.
Along with distributing thought leadership content across different websites where they knew their buyers hang out, they also published highly informative content on the company’s blog.
As a result of their efforts, their traffic increased by 245%, and conversions shot up by 508%.
So, don’t just create content. Be smart with it.
Fatal mistake #04: Not optimizing web pages for lead generation
Some SaaS companies optimize their landing pages for lead generation, which is great. But they ignore other web pages that might be seeing more web traffic than those landing pages. This isn’t good. In fact, ignoring your high web traffic pages could be a fatal mistake.
So, while optimizing your landing pages for lead generation, don’t leave your website’s home page, about page, and other important pages in the ditch.
Make your USP clear, get to the point quickly, and tell the customers clearly how your platform will solve their problems.
Be smart about CTA placement, and don’t be too diverse in CTAs. Stick to one CTA per page to avoid a choice overload.
Fatal mistake #05: Not using social media for lead generation
Most SaaS companies use social media marketing as a top-of-the-funnel strategy.
This is okay.
But keeping it restricted to TOFU could result in you missing out on exciting lead generation opportunities that some social platforms offer.
Around 59% of marketers believe that social media marketing is an effective lead generation channel. But 97% of them use social media for promotion only.
Social platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram have great tools and opportunities for SaaS platforms and brands in general to leverage and gain important leads.
You can share your blogs on your social handles or post a link to your offers. Make sure to identify which platform your target audience hangs out on the most and be active there.
A non-profit SaaS company wanted to get the most out of Facebook’s lead generation opportunities. Their marketing agency deployed a strategic Facebook ads campaign and managed to increase their Facebook-driven leads by 8% at 87% of the original cost in just 6 weeks.
Fatal mistake #06: Adopting a one-size-fits-all approach
If you search for lead generation ideas on Google, you’ll come across gazillions of blogs promising to tell you how you can improve your lead gen game.
And while some of these blogs do point you in the right direction, it is important to find a good starting point to consider based on your unique business model and product offerings. For your lead generation efforts, ideas shared online are never meant to be implemented as is.
The strategies in blogs are often too generic. And when SaaS marketers implement them without adjusting for the SaaS industry, they struggle to achieve good results.
Your audience is unique. Your product is different. Your budget is different. You need to consider all these factors and develop a lead generation approach with customized strategies to build your business.
Effective lead generation is the key to a SaaS company’s growth. However, many SaaS startups commit fatal mistakes while attempting to score as many leads as possible and end up inflating their marketing budget with no tangible returns to account for.
Therefore, SaaS marketers must stay informed of the lead gen mistakes their unsuccessful peers have been making and learn from them to avoid going down the same sad route.
Guest Author: Atul Jindal is a web design and marketing specialist, having interests in doing websites/apps optimized for SEO with a core focus on conversion optimization. He creates web experiences that bring conversations and transform web traffic into paying customers or leads.
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