Over the years I've tried - and failed - to set up many B2B SaaS products, until I began using direct outreach. In this guide I'm going to run you through a few of the things I wish someone would've told me 5 years ago.
So you're setting up, or growing, a B2B SaaS? Congratulations!
"But I have no users yet?", I hear you say. No, that's not why I'm congratulating you. Users are easy to find, as you'll learn in this article.
You deserve kudos because you made the decision to start a B2B SaaS, and I assume if you're reading this you've already strapped together an MVP (Minimum Viable Product). You're now officially ahead of 95% of the crowd.
B2B SaaS businesses are beautiful. With hard work and perseverance you will have yourself a largely passive, high-margin business in no time. You are now uniquely positioned to take advantage of one of the most effective lead generation strategies known to man. Cold email.
Why uniquely positioned? Well, a consumer business simply cannot use cold email to find customers in many jurisdictions (Europe and California, for example). But as a B2B business, you can reach out directly to prospects who you think may have a legitimate interest in your product.
This is what we’re going to focus on in this blog.
Scientifically, outflow equals inflow. This is true in the marketing world, it’s more than just science.
If you outflow enough of the right messages to the right people, you will have an inflow of leads.
It really is a simple formula: the right people + the right message = more business.
When we think about outbound marketing, we often think of direct mail and cold calling.
These days, the leader for lead generation for B2B SaaS is cold email.
What exactly is cold email? Glad you asked.
At a high level, here’s how it works, step-by-step,
Many articles out there make this process feel complex. When you break it down, it’s fairly simple. Anyone can do it, it’s quite inexpensive and has potential to reap huge rewards. It’s hard to argue that cold email is a bad strategy as a result.
The easiest way to define your audience is by modeling your best customers. Your best customers are the ones who have been with you the longest, spend the most money and are happy with the service.
Research your existing customers to understand their needs, pain points, and preferences. You can use surveys, interviews, or focus groups to gather qualitative data.
Don't have existing customers? You'll need to make some assumptions here, but don't worry - you'll have your first customers soon, at which point you can loop back and iterate. Determine the broad market segments that can benefit from your offering. Consider factors such as industry, company size, location, and business type.
Create customer personas: Develop fictional representations of your ideal customers, based on your research findings. Include demographic information, behavioral traits, goals, and pain points. Creating multiple personas can help you account for different types of ideal customers.
The more you visualize who your ideal customers are, the easier it will be to find more of them and sell to the right people.
In over 100 years of direct mail studies, according to Frankie Fihn, author of Beyond The Agency Box, 60% of a campaigns success comes from the list you start with, 30% was the offer and 10% was the Call to Action (CTA).
When a 100 year study indicates that 60% of the outcome is determined by the list/ audience, that’s not something to take lightly.
Take the time to get your audience right. 60% of your success counts on it.
Next we need to build a list, and before I dive too deep, let me just say that I have built thousands of lists. Hundreds were painstakingly terrible, which eventually led to me co-founding the site you’re on now, Coldlytics to solve that problem.
The right way to build a list: scrape company information, cleanse, normalize and deduplicate, identify the decision makers, enrich with researched contact information, enrich with additional data points as needed, such as a revenue and headcount… or just use Coldlytics.
At this point you're probably thinking this article is biased and we're just plugging our own tool. Hands down, I know of no better way to build a prospect list right now. Why am I so sure of this? Well, because our customers are telling us so, and that's the best validation for any kind of SaaS, as you know.
Watch this example where I source a list of lawyer leads for a marketing technology (martech) SaaS company:
Coldlytics is built to hugely simplify list building.
Here’s how it works in 3 easy steps…
Coldlytics will scrape the web to create an initial list of your target companies. Once we have a solid list of companies, we deduplicate the list, cleanse it and normalize the data. This is fancy data-speak that just means we’re making the data consistent and usable for you. After the data has been processed, we then pass this over to our human research team here at Coldlytics.
The human research team is made up of experts in contact finding, helping us find more potential leads for you than any other source. By employing human research, we end up finding data that is often missed out on by our competitors.
After this, the data is sent over to our 3rd party email verification partner, Zerobounce, to validate as many emails as possible. This helps ensure that you are keeping your email bounce rate as low as possible. Note: we offer a bounce-free guarantee, this means that you will never pay for a bounced email contact again! Simply send a screenshot of your bounced contacts and we’ll credit those back to your account.
There are many options to choose from, which can make this part more confusing than it needs to be. While each platform has its own strengths and weaknesses, they all generally do a good job at helping you manage an outbound marketing campaign. For this example, we’re going to cover a couple of highlights on our 3 top favorites.
Woodpecker.co is a popular sales automation and email outreach platform designed to help businesses streamline their cold email and follow-up campaigns.
Key features of Woodpecker include:
Woodpecker.co is a great choice for implementing your B2B SaaS lead generation strategy due to its robust features and ease of use.
Lemlist is another excellent choice for sales enablement software. The platform is known for its unique capabilities to add personalized images and videos to email messages, making them more engaging and increasing the likelihood of recipients responding to the outreach in addition to its Lemwarm product which has arguably led the industry as the best-in-class email warm up tool.
Key features of Lemlist include:
Lemlist is suitable for sales teams, marketers, and business owners who want to create engaging and personalized email outreach campaigns to boost conversions and build relationships.
SmartReach.io is a sales automation and email outreach platform. The platform is focused on providing users with advanced personalization options, email deliverability, and campaign analytics to optimize email outreach efforts for sales, marketing, and networking purposes.
Key features of SmartReach include:
SmartReach is suitable for small start ups all the way to enterprise companies looking to manage multiple campaigns with large amounts of data in one place.
Ready to craft a killer cold email that'll make your target want to hit the reply button ASAP? Here are five tips to help you do just that:
Let’s cap this off with a few brief remarks on cold email campaign optimization!
First things first, the secret to cold email is iteration. Split test and figure out what works.
I recommend you send each version to at least 100 people before making changes. You want to ensure that you have a large enough sample to make improvements from.
If something's not working, ditch it and try something new. Finally, always remember to have fun with it - after all, cold email as a B2B SaaS Lead Generation Strategy can be a wild ride, but with a little bit of creativity and some strategic thinking, you can take your campaigns to the next level!
Quality data for cold email, phone, or direct mail. Researched on demand.
Businesses worldwide are igniting their sales pipe with Coldlytics.
Be one of them.