SaaS demand generation is on the rise. SaaS (software as a service) businesses have the great advantage of being able to use the software they sell, as well as the content they produce, for B2B demand generation marketing.
In fact, you're probably already using demand generation techniques in your SaaS marketing strategy, whether you know it or not.
Knowing exactly what demand generation is, and how it relates to other marketing strategies, will help you hone these techniques to see measurable results.
In this blog we'll explore:
- How demand generation can be leveraged effectively by SaaS businesses.
- Demand generation vs growth marketing.
- Demand generation vs product marketing.
- The top SaaS demand generation strategies.
B2B SaaS Demand Generation: An Overview
First up, what is B2B SaaS demand generation?
Demand generation for B2B is all about creating awareness of your brand. It's designed to stimulate organic growth and inbound leads, by concentrating on the Awareness, Acquisition and Activation' parts of the AARRR marketing funnel.
If we compare it to traditional lead generation, for example, demand generation:
- Focuses more on inbound marketing rather than outbound marketing, meaning leads contact you first.
- Is non-transactional, meaning you're not paying a direct amount for each lead you generate.
- A long-term strategy rather than a short-term method.
For demand generation in B2B SaaS, content and parts of your software can be used as bait for new leads. Technology companies usually have plenty of resources they can make available to new audiences, to draw attention to both their brand as a thought leader and their product as an ideal solution.
Growth Marketing vs Demand Generation
Another important area to discuss is the difference between growth marketing vs demand generation; two terms which often get used interchangeably.
Growth marketing is the art of continuously tweaking your marketing strategy, based on data, to drive growth – whether that's growth of brand recognition or new customers.
While growth marketing tends to concentrate on the entire customer pipeline – from the initial awareness to customer retention and referrals – and demand generation tends to focus on the early, pre-sales stages, there are plenty of ways SaaS demand generation can complement your growth marketing strategy.
Growth marketers keep a close eye on what works in their marketing strategy to ensure it's still working, and to stop it if it's not. They use A/B testing to find the best techniques.
This intensive approach can also be used with demand generation, to find the content that works best for the audience you want to target.
Using customer data, growth marketing businesses often change and improve their product, too.
You can benefit both SaaS demand generation and growth marketing strategies by:
- A/B testing different types of content in blogs, content syndication and email campaigns.
- Using data – including intent data – to assess which pieces of content are most useful to readers.
- Monitoring response to your content on social media to tweak your product design.
Product Marketing vs Demand Generation
Product marketing is where your marketing strategy is based on particular products rather than your business as a whole. It's the opposite of conventional marketing, which is where the brand itself, including all products, is the thing being marketed.
In product marketing, you benefit from knowing the specific audience for your one product. You can tailor your messaging precisely.
That goes hand in hand with SaaS demand generation, where targeting a particular audience usually yields the best results.
You can try:
- Focusing your blog content and whitepapers on a particular product, or the business needs that are met by that product
- Using Account Based Marketing (ABM) to find businesses that are in particular need of your product, and tailoring your content specifically to them
- Using audience intellingence profiling on your content download forms to learn about which particular products your audiences are looking for
- Using trade shows, webinars and Q&A sessions to get market feedback on which content, tools and products are working or not working.
SaaS Demand Generation Strategies
These are some of the most common channels used in a B2B SaaS demand generation framework:
- Content syndication
- Optimizing social media, such as through sharing your content on LinkedIn, and setting up an employee advocacy scheme.
- Email marketing
- Search engine ads (Such as Google Ads)
- Events, including trade shows and webinars
- Free tools
- Programmatic advertising
- Live chat
Next up, let's take a look at some of the most popular SaaS B2B demand generation techniques and how they feed into your growth marketing and product marketing strategies.
With growth marketing in mind, we recommend testing each of these demand generation B2B SaaS strategies first by running it in as a mini-campaign across several channels. Then scale the ones that work.
Content syndication works really well for B2B SaaS demand generation, with the benefit of delivering an ROI-friendly list of high-quality leads: a great metric for the campaign's success.
Here's how it works: a trustworthy demand generation marketing agency shares your content – eBooks, videos, webinars, whitepapers, research reports, case studies, – via their own content syndication platforms.
Your content is then downloaded by professionals who use these content library websites. Using Headley Media as an example, our audiences use our content platforms to find valuable technology resources in the IT, cybersecurity, HR, marketing, finance and electronics sectors. In return for this free content, they give their business details via a content download form.
Prospects then go through a thorough lead validation process before being delivered to you as leads ready for further nurture.
Optimizing Social Media
Social media channels are one of the first places prospects will encounter your brand, and posting regularly will give you more chances to catch new prospects' eyes.
Setting up an employee advocacy program is also an essential demand generation strategy for B2B saas companies.
You should consider advertising your posts and running separate ads. Social media advertising is easy to track and it's scalable. My using paid tools you'll also be able to widen the potential audience for each post; choosing your target audiences based on company type, company size, and even position within the company.
B2B Display Advertising
As well as social media advertising, display advertising is a classic way to boost your brand presence.
Consider running B2B display ads as a surround sound messaging strategy to complement your content syndication campaign, for example.
A SaaS demand generation agency will take care of your programmatic advertising, buying up digital ad space on your behalf to ensure your ads work best with your B2B demand generation strategy.
Trade shows, industry conferences and award ceremonies are great for B2B SaaS demand generation: they give you visibility in front of a large audience, they allow the personal, human touch, and they also often generate attention in the trade press.
The next best thing to an in-person event is a webinar. Take an engaging specialist industry topic, add a couple of expert speakers and a Q&A, and advertise on social media: hey presto, ideal demand generation for SaaS.
Free Trials & Tools
This is the real boon of being a SaaS technology marketer: being able to use your own software to lure prospects.
Free tools offered via your website are great for SaaS demand generation: they will attract repeat users and give them a taste of what your full suite can offer them.
It can be something very simple from your existing software, but the key is to ensure it's actually useful. Either gate the free tool, or include an adjacent, prominent link to trial the free product or get a live demo.
Chatbots are fantastic demand generation for SaaS companies. They allow potential prospects to engage with your brand in a noncommittal but highly engaging way.
You can use them to capture leads, as well as invaluable data from the user. What do they want to know? Can you use this information to hone your marketing or product, in line with your growth marketing strategy?
Email marketing is an effective way to create demand, especially among prospects who are already in your funnel as Marketing Qualified Leads.
As well as in-house email marketing, your demand generation agency can expose potential leads to your brand through email promos and other B2B demand generation services.
Working With a Demand Generation Agency
Your SaaS demand generation company should be trustworthy and transparent.
They should be able to show you:
Find out more about technology demand generation best practices, learn about demand generation vs lead generation or read The Complete Guide to B2B Technology Lead Generation 2024.