SaaS Demand Generation: How To Generate Demand in 3 Steps

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SaaS demand generation is one of the more mysterious SaaS marketing strategies. For starters, most people struggle to understand how exactly it is different from regular lead generation.

Secondly, where does it come into play if you already have lead-generation strategies in place? And then, how do you even create a SaaS demand generation strategy?

So many questions and this article will try to address them all. Let’s start with this;

What is SaaS Demand Generation?

SaaS demand generation is the strategic process of creating awareness, interest, and demand for SaaS products among target customers. 

The ultimate goal of this marketing strategy is to engage potential customers by educating them about their pain points and the value of your product in resolving those pain points. With this, you can create demand for your product and, hopefully, capture that demand and convert prospects into paying customers.

That’s in contrast to lead generation, where the goal is to capture the lead’s contact details as quickly as possible. Let’s talk about the differences between demand generation and lead generation below.

Demand Generation vs. Lead Generation

Demand generation is mostly new. It focuses on giving potential customers as much value as possible without pestering them with lead forms or paywalls.

Instead, marketers will create and distribute valuable resources like guides, white papers, and in-depth blog posts for free. The goal is to educate and engage prospective customers by providing valuable content and showcasing your SaaS company’s expertise with no strings attached. That means most of the content is ungated. 

This helps in nurturing relationships and winning the potential customer’s goodwill. And when the time comes when they’re willing to pay for a solution, you’ll be the brand at the top of their mind. 

On the other hand, lead generation primarily revolves around capturing contact details and identifying potential customers. It employs gated content, such as ebooks or webinars, where ideal customers exchange their email addresses and other information for access to valuable resources. 

This information allows you and your sales team to initiate direct communication and nurture leads until they are ready for conversion.        

Even with their differences, demand generation and lead generation are not mutually exclusive. They can work hand-in-hand to achieve your business goals. For example, after creating and capturing demand, you can leverage lead generation strategies to collect the email address of a lead.

3 Stages of a SaaS Demand Generation Strategy

The SaaS demand generation process can be split into three stages. The specific marketing technique in each stage may vary depending on whether you are a B2C or B2B company. Here is what each stage involves.

1. Create brand awareness

The first stage of an effective demand generation strategy for SaaS revolves around building brand awareness. 

To accomplish this, you must identify pain points within your target audience and create valuable thought-leadership content addressing those challenges. 

Some effective ways to discover these pain points include:

  • Social listening –  Monitor social media platforms, industry-specific forums, and online communities where your target audience is active. Pay attention to the discussions, questions, and problems they are sharing.
  • Customer surveys – Send surveys to your existing customers or target audience. Ask questions about their challenges, frustrations, and areas where they need assistance.
  • Competitor analysis – Analyze your competitors’ content, customer reviews, and social media presence. Look for patterns and recurring themes in the challenges and pain points they address. This can give you an idea of the common pain points within your target market that you should also focus on.

If you’re a B2C SaaS company, blogging, webinars, guest posting, content marketing, and paid advertising on platforms where the target audience is present can be effective strategies to adopt in the awareness stage. This also includes showing up on social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, or TikTok. 

See top brands like Grammarly, for example:

Meanwhile, for a B2B SaaS company, advertising on professional networks like LinkedIn and implementing account-based marketing (ABM) practices are actionable strategies to adopt. 

You can also invite key stakeholders from target accounts to your podcasts and co-create content with influencers or professionals who can reach your target audience. 

Additionally, hosting events and employing retargeting campaigns can enhance your brand awareness.

2. Track account engagement

The next stage in a B2B SaaS demand generation campaign is to track engaged accounts. Doing this is crucial for identifying warm accounts that show genuine interest in your SaaS product. This is where reliable tracking systems like Google Analytics, heatmaps, and marketing automation software become useful.

To track engagement effectively, establish specific criteria for warm accounts, such as:

  • Multiple site visits within a specified time frame.
  • Engagement with case studies or specific types of content.
  • Visits to the pricing page.
  • Content downloads.
  • Product email or webinar sign-ups.

To determine which leads were more engaged, you can specify an engagement threshold for the metrics you choose to track. For example, spending 30-45 minutes on a landing page 

Urchin Tracking Modules or UTM parameters can also help you track engagements effectively. UTM parameters are unique tracking codes that can be added to your URLs for different campaigns or channels. These codes allow you to track traffic sources and measure engagement coming from each source.

You can also monitor how accounts engage with your social media platforms. Metrics like comments, shares, or likes can indicate interest in your content, brand, and product offerings. 

Tracking your account engagement enables you to monitor and analyze patterns in your customer behavior. With that, you can conveniently identify engaged accounts that are more likely to convert into paying customers.

3. Capture demand

Once engaged and qualified leads have been identified, the next stage is to capture their demand and move them closer to making a purchase. This involves further nurturing and warming up these accounts, preparing them for the final sales pitch.

For B2C SaaS companies, retargeting campaigns play a vital role in capturing demand. By delivering targeted messages, offers, or incentives to engaged accounts, B2C SaaS brands can effectively encourage leads to take action. 

Where there are hesitations, emphasizing the value and benefits of your SaaS solution and sharing subtle encouragements can provide the final push needed for conversion.

B2B SaaS companies, on the other hand, will need to strike a more trustworthy relationship. So, account-based marketing strategies are the way to go. This involves personalized and tailored outreach to key stakeholders within your target accounts, showing leads how your SaaS solution can solve their challenges. 

There are two main stakeholders you’ll need to think about when targeting B2B clients:

  • The product champion – These are the guys who are actually going to use your product. They’re the ones who understand the true value of your product. As such, they’re the ones who are going to be championing your product during the decision-making process
  • The final decision maker – This is the gatekeeper who makes the final decision on whether their company is going to buy your product. Besides targeting them directly, you’ll also need the product champion’s help to influence this person’s decision.

By nurturing these relationships and providing relevant content and resources, you can build trust and position yourself as the preferred solution provider.

Retargeting ads can also be as effective for B2B as they are for B2C SaaS companies. For example, both industries can rely on YouTube for retargeting ads. LinkedIn can also work great for B2B brands. 

You can also deploy your retargeting ads in a strategic series. For example, you could start with a general ad describing what your software does and its benefits. This ad can be followed by another one sharing success stories and case studies. 

Finally, you can deliver another retargeting ad to audiences who’ve already interacted with the first two. This time, share a no-brainer offer they can use to try your software.

How to Monitor the Success of B2B SaaS Demand Generation Campaigns

Your marketing team can use various metrics to gauge the effectiveness of your demand generation efforts and optimize where necessary. Let’s see some of them:

1. Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs)

These are prospects or leads that have engaged with your content and have shown interest in what your brand sells. That means they are more likely to convert. 

Typically, looking at the demographics, behavior, and characteristics of these leads will help you confirm if they meet your ideal customer profile. Having more confirmed MQLs means that you have accurately directed your messaging and content distribution efforts to the right audience.

2. Funnel conversion rates 

This is where you determine whether your demand-generation activities are attracting the right types of leads and moving them through your marketing funnel. For instance, you can track how many MQLs progress to the next stage, such as signing up for a free trial or becoming SQLs (Sales Qualified Leads). 

A smooth transition through your sales funnels proves an effective campaign. However, if you notice that leads are falling off at some point, you’d want to identify the cause. This may be something as basic as an unengaging call-to-action or a major issue like automation glitches.

It may also be more serious issues like you’re not engaging the right leads, so they fall off when they realize your product doesn’t solve their problem.

Either way, identifying the bottlenecks and addressing them should improve your conversion rate. 

3. Cost-per-lead (CPL)

Monitoring your CPL allows you to assess the efficiency of your marketing investments and evaluate the return on ad spend (ROAS). This way, you can identify any unusual increases or fluctuations in your Ad spend. 

Comparing your CPL with the conversion rate will also signal the effectiveness of your campaign. For instance, high CPLs and low conversion rates are indicators that something is off. 

Some factors that may drain your entire ad spend include poorly optimized targeting or low-quality landing pages. This also indicates the importance of testing your campaigns before they go live. 

SaaS Demand Generation FAQs

What is SaaS demand generation?

SaaS demand generation is the strategic process of creating awareness, generating interest, and nurturing relationships with potential customers for SaaS products. It focuses on educating customers, addressing their pain points, and creating a demand for your SaaS solution, ultimately leading to customer acquisition and revenue growth.

What is the demand generation process?

The demand generation process typically involves three stages: creating brand awareness, tracking account engagement, and capturing demand. Creating brand awareness involves creating valuable thought-leadership content and sharing it through advertising and marketing channels. 

Tracking account engagement involves monitoring user behavior on your website and other touchpoints. Look out for cues like content downloads, page visits, content engagement, etc. 

Capturing demand is the final stage, which involves nurturing warm accounts and employing personalized strategies to trigger customer demand and boost conversion.

Wrapping Up: How To Do Demand Generation for SaaS Companies

SaaS demand generation presents a fresh approach to interacting with and generating leads for your company. Instead of putting all your valuable resources behind a lead gen form, demand generation for SaaS companies prioritizes educating prospects with ungated content. 

The aim is to give the prospects as much value as possible for free and with minimal friction. Ultimately, this will make it a no-brainer decision for the prospects to go with your company when they’re finally ready to invest in a solution. 

Of course, that doesn’t mean you need to be completely passive. As discussed in the article, you can deploy ABM, retargeting ads, email marketing, and other techniques to build awareness, activate interest, and encourage conversions.

Finally, monitor and optimize your demand generation strategy by tracking your MQLs, funnel conversion rates, and cost-per-lead.

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