September 03, 2016

Best Practices for SaaS lead nurturing

Lead nurturing is an essential component of marketing success across industries, even in the Software as a Service (SaaS) vertical. Adhering to best practices for SaaS lead nurturing can improve your site wide conversion rate, improve demo sign-ups, and increase sales.


79% of marketing leads never convert into sales. Lack of lead nurturing is the common cause of this poor performance. -- MarketingSherpa


Define a strong value proposition

The value proposition of your SaaS application doesn’t have to be difficult for an audience to understand. Value proposition as catch phraseA strong value proposition will tell the lead what you do, who you serve, how you do it differently, and derived value of outcomes — all in one short but sweet statement. A HubSpot writer characterized the value proposition as the marketer’s version of a sitcom catchphrase — but try to be more telling than the Fonz’s “aaayyy."


Consider this example from Slack:

SaaS Value Prop
Or this one from Google Drive:

Google's SaaS value proposition

Leads nurtured with targeted content produce an increase in sales opportunities of more than 20%. — HubSpot

Map out a clear content strategy

The SaaS sales lead needs your help to better understand the value of your application (see why a strong value proposition is a best practice?). Your first job is to define the value proposition as targeted to specific personas. The next step is to tie your content strategy planning to buyer lifecycle stages. This is time consuming at the outset, but has greater dividends as it enables meeting leads at each stage of their buyers’ journey with relevant content.

Successful lead nurturing requires specific buyer personas--not loosely defined customer types. Leads will have different reasons to interact with the SaaS brand. The lead who has just become of a need and or the products the company offers, for instance, is unlikely to want to participate in a live demo and may not yet be ready for a product webinar. Yet a tip sheet checklist or educational webinar that helps this lead better understand their own need (rather than your solution) could be welcome.

Content Planning

Aligning content to the buyer’s journey — can net 73% higher conversion rates. — Aberdeen

Enrich your understanding of the lead

Lead enrichment takes information already gained to further understand the lead. This process seeks out inside intelligence about the target lead — often via software aggregating data or data enrichment tools. For instance, HubSpot, uses the leads’ email address to provide more data on the person and the company where she or he works. Enrichment can help you identify a target company’s software usage, the lead’s role in a company, gather more details about their company, career history, and the key decision makers at the target company.

CRM tracking and sales enablement tools

Further customize the delivery of content with this information making emails and other marketing outreach more personalized and relevant. For instance, HubSpot differentiates between marketers and sales audiences and might send each to a lead nurturing landing page with a tailored focus.

Personalized emails generate up to 6 times higher revenue per email than non-personalized emails do. — HubSpot

Improve the user experience

You want to get all of the information you can from your form input. Yet no one wants to spend several minutes filling out your form. Make it easy for someone to submit their information or signup to learn more about your product. Instead of trying to gather all information at the outset, stagger your requests using progressive profiling. Just as you’re linking content to buyer lifecycle, you’ll start out with short forms and ask for more detailed information as the lead moves further into the process.

Progressive profiling

Also consider design, ease of site navigation, and mobile responsiveness in thinking about user experience. Does your website's navigation help further define your value proposition and prospect buyer journey? Do you have useful conversion points on your website that align with meaningful offers or relevant actions? Consider the following example of how a corporate website was optimized for better conversions by updates made to navigation, content areas, calls-to-action, accessibility and by creating a lead acquisition form.

Website UX for inbound marketing

Lead nurturing benefits the lead, but also the company itself as it gains a deeper understanding of its audience. Documenting the information gained in your buyer personas and using this knowledge as a foundation to future marketing strategizing is an overall best practice for SaaS marketing.

A CMO's Guide To B2B Lead Generation - eBook download

Mawhinney, J. (2016, March 15). 7 Amazingly Effective Lead Nurturing Tactics. https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/7-effective-lead-nurturing-tactics#sm.00012g66czam8e61x1p1jlvdtvz6t

Moravick, A. (2014, December). The nature of lead nurturing: 4 Pillars of Effective Programs. https://www.aberdeen.com/research/10044/10044-KB-Effective-Lead-Nurturing.aspx/content.aspx.aspx
Sornson, M. (2016, June 8). 4 ways to customize your SaaS onboarding. https://blog.clearbit.com/customized-saas-on-boarding-actions-person-role-referring-link/
Sukhraj, J. (2015, August 10). 10 SaaS Value Propositions You Wish You Had. https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/saas-value-propositions#sm.00012g66czam8e61x1p1jlvdtvz6t
Wainwright, C. (2012, February 16). How to Map Lead Nurturing Content to Each Stage in the Sales Cycle. https://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/31406/how-to-map-lead-nurturing-content-to-each-stage-in-the-sales-cycle.aspx#sm.00012g66czam8e61x1p1jlvdtvz6t