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Want to grow faster and generate a reliable pipeline of quality leads? This guide helps you nail every aspect of B2B SaaS lead generation to hit your revenue goals. 

The total value of B2B SaaS will be over $900 billion by 2030, which explains why 50% of B2B SaaS budgets are spent on sales and marketing.

These companies want to earn their share of that growth and ensure they are among the small segment of SaaS brands that maintain 30-40% growth each year – but to do that most will have to improve their pipelines.  

91% of marketers currently say lead generation is their most important goal, yet few are satisfied with their current quality or quantity of leads. 

This five-part guide provides everything you need to understand B2B SaaS lead generation, create a comprehensive strategy and ensure your brand achieves smooth and sustainable revenue growth for years to come. 

1. The Basics of SaaS Lead Generation

What is Lead Generation?

Lead generation is the process of attracting and engaging prospective buyers. The goal is to collect their contact information and build a pipeline that allows you to nurture their interest, before finally handing them over to sales - where they will ideally be converted into opportunities and, eventually, customers. 

This is important because B2B sales cycles are long and complex. Buyer journeys are increasingly non-linear, and over 40% of deals take 4-9 months to complete - while nearly one-third last over a year.  

Consistent lead generation ensures your company grows at a steady, sustainable rate. Without a strong pipeline of new leads, you will reach the end of one sales cycle - and suddenly have to wait up to 9 months before new leads are ready to complete a deal. 

Why is Lead Generation Important for SaaS Businesses? 

There are several factors that make lead generation particularly important for B2B SaaS businesses, including: 

  • Battling attrition: SaaS products are often easier to ditch than other products or services. One report found an average churn rate of 13%. A steady stream of new leads ensures your user base doesn’t shrink and old users are seamlessly replaced. 
  • Growing competition: B2B SaaS is a hypergrowth sector with new players constantly introducing new features, such as generative AI tools, that challenge the existing order. Lead generation is therefore not just about attracting prospects new to the category, but stealing users from your competitors – before they do the same to you. 
  • Long-term dominance: Even when a B2B SaaS company gains a large market share within their niche, lead generation is essential to maintain that edge and ensure they remain dominant.  

How does SaaS Lead Generation Differ from Other Industries? 

Most B2B industries have built-in demand: companies will always need lawyers and accountants, and the challenge is therefore to differentiate your services. SaaS brands must also differentiate themselves from competitors, of course, but they have the added task of convincing buyers their offering is actually necessary in the first place. 

Most B2B SaaS products are replacing older processes – which many buyers may be used to and see no issue with – or are creating a new benefit which buyers need to understand. For example: imagine trying to convince an educational institution that a video streaming platform is necessary for students to learn effectively, when they have been happily relying on actual teachers since the beginning of history.  

The takeaway? B2B SaaS companies have a much harder time generating interest. They must demonstrate that their products’ usability, integration capabilities and pricing align with the prospect’s needs – and that’s after convincing them that their solution can actually provide worthwhile benefit.  

Lead Generation vs. Demand Generation: What’s the Difference? 

While lead generation focuses on capturing customer information, demand generation is all about building brand awareness. While research from Gartner shows that B2B brands generally invest in both equally, it is useful to understand how each can be leveraged at different points in your business’s evolution. 

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Lead generation has a more immediate impact on your bottom-line results, whereas demand generation is a long-term investment. As a result, early-stage businesses are often best served by lead generation as it will help them grow faster, and medium-sized businesses may choose to invest a growing proportion of their budget in demand generation to help solidify their position in the market. 

However, smart marketers understand that these two activities are not always completely distinct. Many lead generation tactics can also help build brand awareness and generate organic demand, while demand generation increases the likelihood a prospect will become a lead. 

3 Demand Generation Strategies that Also Attract Leads 

The best way to understand the cross-over between lead and demand generation is to look at a few specific examples. Here are three methods that both build your brand and generate quality leads: 

  1. Thought Leadership 

B2B SaaS businesses can generate significant interest from buyers by presenting original insights and ideas. Consider Dharmesh Shah, co-founder of HubSpot who has amassed over 1 million followers on LinkedIn and consistently drives new leads and increases brand awareness of the business through his posts. 

Thought leadership is not channel-specific: it can be done through webinars, email newsletters or blog posts – and you can repurpose any single piece of content across multiple mediums. This makes it a highly efficient lead generation strategy.  

  1. Category Creation

Many of today’s most successful SaaS brands generated their initial buzz by introducing an entirely new category of solution to the market. For example: HubSpot founder Brian Halligan is often credited as inventing the term “inbound marketing”, which has since become one of the industry’s most important terms.  

For many marketers (one of HubSpot’s core audiences), this new term signaled opportunity. The company likely gained many people interested in learning more or testing its product by building awareness of this new concept. 

  1. Original Research

B2B buyers always want new statistics and research to back up their business cases and understand their needs. Many SaaS brands leverage this desire to build authority – and generate quality leads.  

A perfect example is Salesforce, whose annual research reports are seen by the entire sales community as a gold standard. But by gating the content, they also drive countless professionals to share their contact details in return for a downloadable version of the report. 

What Does Lead Generation Involve? 

Most B2B businesses use a variety of marketing methods to generate leads. These include: 

Content Marketing 

B2B buyers research solutions through a range of online content, and the volume of content they consume has grown over 18% in the last year alone. Content marketing - from blogs and infographics to eBooks and whitepapers - can generate leads by capturing buyers’ attention during that research phase and encouraging them to either a) submit their contact information to access gated content or b) contact sales through a CTA at the end of a piece of content. 


90% of B2B buyers use search engines to research their purchasesAppearing on the first page of relevant searches, therefore, positions your business to generate attention and ultimately capture a buyer’s information through either gated content or a direct inquiry from the buyer.  

Paid Media 

From Google Ads to LinkedIn Ads, paid media enables B2B businesses to capture buyers’ attention immediately, rather than investing in a long-term SEO strategy or creating extensive content for your audience. By presenting an enticing offer in your ads, such as original research or a free trial, you can capture buyers’ contact information through paid media.  


73% of B2B marketers consider webinars the most effective way of generating high-quality leads. With the right webinar promotion strategy and an enticing topic, you can convince buyers not only to give you their contact details but actually spend their time engaging directly with your team - which builds trust and allows you to showcase your expertise. 

Cold Email Campaigns 

Cold emails are a highly cost-effective way of generating leads. By researching buyers you believe might benefit from your product and sending attention-grabbing emails, you can persuade them to engage with your business without the cost of advertising or content generation. 

2. 5 Steps to Build a SaaS Lead Generation Strategy

1. Strategic Audit

The first step of any strategy is to understand the current state of your marketing and lead generation in order to identify your needs. At ProperExpression, our lead generation experts break this down into three key areas: 

Industry Snapshot

Develop a clear overview of the industry, including how your solution is currently positioned. How does it compare to other SaaS products? What is your “elevator pitch”? And what are your main value propositions compared to your competitors'? 

Lead History

Evaluate how existing customers and historical leads have been generated. What strategies have you used? How successful have they been? What are the biggest weaknesses or gaps in your existing strategy? What channels have not been tested yet? 

Channel Analysis

Take a more granular approach to assess how each individual channel and marketing approach has been used. Which campaigns have produced the best results? What kind of content formats and messaging drive the highest conversion rates?

2. Establish Your Audience

The next step is to understand your buyers and what will turn them into a lead. This not only makes it easier to gain the right buyers’ attention and interest – it also ensures you are not wasting time or resources on buyers that are likely to be a bad fit. 

Undertake rigorous research to ascertain: 

  • Your Total Addressable Market (TAM): How many buyers could plausibly purchase your solution? And how many are actively interested in or aware of the category? You will need to consider whether your solution can help a particular business and whether they could reasonably afford it at your current price point. 
  • Key Buyers and Personas: What job titles typically make decisions about software in your target companies? What about the job titles conducting the initial research into a new solution? How many buyers are involved in the average decision? This will help you understand the buying process you are dealing with and what you need to do to capture right buyers’ attention. 
  • Pain Points: What do your target audiences care about? What are their personal aspirations and KPIs they monitor? This should be as granular as possible, with multiple segmented groups to pin down the most concrete details of their daily frustrations and professional pressures. 
  • Reasonable Lead Generation Benchmarks: What volume of leads can you reasonably expect to generate in a given time frame? This should take into account your TAM, your buyers’ awareness of the market and your lead generation budget. 

The final product of this process should be detailed buyer persona documentation that become an invaluable resource for the rest of your lead generation process.

3. Identify Channels

Once you know who you are targeting, you need to know how they buy. Platforms like G2 or Capterra are useful here, as they can provide rare insight into what buyers look for, how they feel about existing solutions and how they think about buying. 

It is also worth considering a practical experiment here: test different channels, such as organic and paid social, display ads and paid search to see which gain the quickest traction. However, there is a limit to this method: SEO and thought leadership are both essential parts of most SaaS lead generation strategies, but they will not produce immediate results – and should be seen as long-term investments. 

4. Set Up Channels

Once you have identified which channels you’re going to use, it’s essential to audit and if necessary, set them up from scratch. Yes, this is a technical process, but it is also core to any effective lead generation strategy because the way your channels are set up will impact how well you can use them. 

A simple example is tracking: Do you have the right systems in place to extract and analyzse data that is relevant to your specific strategic goals? Are the CRM and analytics in place to deliver these insights at a pace that will actually allow you to use them when making decisions? 

5. Create Campaign Briefs

Many B2B marketers see campaign and content briefs as part of the “Execution” phase, but we believe briefs should always be an extension of your strategy. This is the point where all your research and planning turn into something concrete – and it needs to factor in everything you’ve learned thus far.  

A good brief aligns everybody – from content writers and designers to campaign managers – around the same messaging and strategy. Like your buyer personas, they become a central reference point that can be constantly used to clarify purpose and identify why specific aspects of a campaign aren’t performing.  

3. How to Implement a SaaS Lead Generation Strategy

3 Steps to Create Powerful Content

1. Undertake Exhaustive Research 

The impact of your content is contingent on the level of expertise you capture. Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) are therefore an invaluable source of insights and information about both the product and the way it’s used within organizations.  

Content writers should have the opportunity to interview these SMEs, as well as accessing product demos and any sales collateral you might have. All of this will provide comprehensive context and ensure the content is effortlessly authoritative – which is the best way to ensure it “lands” with SaaS buyers.  

2. Segment Your Content 

SaaS buyers will only read content that is directly relevant to their needs. They are likely too time-poor and have multiple vendors to choose from, which means your content needs to speak to very specific pain points- which is why we recommend SaaS brands generate content for individual segments of their audience.  

Your buyer team might include CFOs, COOs, CMOs, and CEOs – but they will each have different needs and concerns. Produce content for each so that it only includes the information they care about – and positions your solution as ideal for their goals.  


3. Repurpose Content 

The research and content writing process required to produce high-quality B2B SaaS content can be long and expensive. Brands should therefore look to ensure every piece they produce is squeezed for all it’s worth – and by that we mean repurposing content across multiple platforms.  

A single blog could produce multiple social posts; a single eBook could produce multiple blogs; a single infographic could provide the statistics and insights to drive content generation for a month or more. Take a strategic approach to content generation to ensure you get the highest possible ROI.  

3 Key Factors to Manage a Lead Generation Campaign

1. Daily management

The key to cost-effective and successful lead generation is responsiveness: you need to constantly monitor and adjust ad bids; make sure your content is being pushed on the right platforms; any social media engagement is responded to immediately; and your website, landing pages and demo platform are all functioning flawlessly. 

2. Marketing Automation 

Another key aspect of effective SaaS lead generation is personalization: you need to deliver the right message to the right prospect at the right moment. This is not plausible for individual marketers to achieve at scale, which is why so many brands utilize systems like HubSpot to automate marketing emails, sales outreach and responses and lead scoring. 

3. Tracking and Optimization 

Lead generation strategies evolve over time. Not only do you gain a better understanding of what your prospects respond to – the prospects’ own priorities and needs change. As a result, tracking, analyzing and optimizing your campaigns is essential to deliver consistent improvements to your pipeline.  

Of course, all this is a big lift for most SaaS brands that have other things to focus other besides generating leads – and that’s why so many bring in external support... 

4. Understanding SaaS Lead Generation Agencies

What is a SaaS Lead Generation Agency? 

A B2B SaaS lead generation agency offers a range of services that are specifically geared to increase the volume and quality of leads you generate. This includes: 

1. Lead Generation Strategy 

B2B lead generation agencies use their deep understanding of lead generation to build a strategy that best suits your specific business. Rather than treating lead generation as a by-product of more general marketing activities, lead generation agencies understand that effective lead generation requires its own specialized strategy and tactics.  

2. Audience Segmentation and Research 

Lead generation is most effective when it is carefully targeted. While generic B2B marketing agencies often cast a wide net and slowly increase the level of segmentation and personalization as leads move through the funnel, a lead generation agency starts the process with extensive research and granular audience segmentation to understand your prospects and ensure they only speak to the most valuable audiences.   

3. Lead Generation-Specific Tactics 

While most B2B marketing agencies offer services involved in lead generation, the approach they take is usually not expertly designed to generate quality leads. They are generally trying to cover multiple bases rather than focusing exclusively on lead generation - which leads to less effective execution. 

3 Reasons to Use a B2B Lead Generation Agency 

1. Faster Growth 

Gartner research shows that companies that source over 40% of their leads from marketing report higher conversion rates. A B2B lead generation agency helps you tap into that phenomenon, driving faster and more reliable growth by building your pipeline. 

2. Improve Lead Quality 

When sellers are unhappy with the quality or volume of leads, it creates friction between marketing and sales - and ultimately exacerbates the problem. A B2B lead generation agency provides vital support and expertise to ease tensions and ensure you generate enough leads to keep sales happily busy. 

3. Lack of In-House Expertise 

Many B2B SaaS businesses lack in-house expertise and require extra support with lead generation. Rather than accepting sub-optimal lead generation, you can partner with a lead generation agency that plugs gaps in your internal resources and provide access to expertise without the exorbitant fees freelance experts often charge. 

5. How to Find the Right B2B Lead Generation Agency

5 Key Factors to Consider 

1. Experience and Expertise in Lead Generation 

The chief reason to partner with a B2B lead generation agency is to access expertise. But agencies differ greatly in both the level of experience they offer and their domain-specific expertise. For example: many B2B content agencies specialize in lead generation, but they will only provide true expertise in content writing and distribution. 

The key therefore is to look for agencies that have experts across all the areas you need, from content and paid media to strategy and RevOps. 

2. Knowledge of Your Market 

Effective lead generation is always carefully tailored to your specific market and buyers. An agency might have extensive experience with SaaS lead generation, but never have worked with a business like yours. 

This doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker: plenty of agencies are capable of adapting quickly and learning about your domain. But you should consider the level of extra work that will be required working with a less experienced or knowledgeable agency, or one that doesn’t know a real understanding of the SaaS marketplace. 

3. Proven Track Record  

Plenty of B2B SaaS marketing agencies will advertise their lead generation services, but can they actually back their claims up with strong case studies? It’s easy to assume all marketing skills are transferable, but if you are looking for lead generation specialists, you want one that has a proven track record of successful lead generation campaigns. 

4. Tech Knowledge

SaaS buyers will rely on your marketing to guide them through the technical aspects of your product. This covers factors such as compliance, integration and usability – all of which require an understanding of technology and how users think about technology. Can your agency deliver on this aspect of the assignment? 

5. Value and ROI 

The ultimate decision-making heuristic when hiring a third-party vendor should always be: will this provide a strong ROI? When looking at B2B lead generation agencies, the question can be broken down into two factors: how much will they improve our pipeline? And how much will we save by hiring them? 

3 Common Challenges Lead Generation Agencies Present 

1. Lack of alignment 

Partnering with a lead generation requires a shared set of values and goals. But many businesses find their agency is focused on its own needs, suggesting services that serve its own bottom line rather than producing optimal results.  

At ProperExpression, we avoid this problem by starting every engagement with extensive meetings where we align our values, goals and incentives. This helps us create a close relationship, understand your business’s culture and develop a way of working that benefits both parties. 

2. Lack of transparency and accountability 

Many marketing agencies are either unable or unwilling to share clear data about their performance. This makes it impossible to accurately assess the value they offer and hold them accountable for the impact of their work. 

ProperExpression bucks this trend by providing detailed reporting across every marketing activity. We set regular meetings to address your concerns, present our latest performance metrics and discuss how your lead generation strategy is evolving. 

3. Lack of capacity 

Some lead generation agencies deliver strong results - but cannot scale alongside your business. They lack internal resources, and don’t have experience expanding their strategies to address the changing needs of a growing brand. 

The operating model ProperExpression uses ensures this is never a concern. By utilizing robust in-house experts and third-party contractors, we can adjust our teams to match your changing needs. 

4 Questions to Ask a B2B Lead Generation Agency 

1. “What are your company’s values?” 

While aligning your values is important, you should also expect a strong agency to have its own strong sense of identity. This ensures the agency isn’t just saying what you want to hear - it actually operates based on the right principles. 

2. “Can you provide case studies to back up your claims?” 

Many agencies advertise case studies that are vague and lack concrete performance metrics. You should expect a B2B SaaS lead generation agency to provide detailed case studies that explain exactly how they helped previous clients - and the results they produced.  

3. “How much client involvement do you require?"

Agencies often demand a lot of effort from clients, but this can sap your resources. However, you also don’t want to feel shutout of the process, or left in the dark. Look for agencies that are flexible and open to collaboration without needing your input on every piece of work. 

4. “How do you keep clients in the loop?” 

Reliable agencies take accountability and present quantifiable performance data. But this shouldn’t be something you have to push for: they should have a pre-existing process that you can fit into. 

Plan and Implement the Ultimate Lead Generation Strategy with ProperExpression 

At ProperExpression, we believe reliable lead generation is too important to leave to chance. That’s why we have built our agency around three key pillars of transparency, accountability and ROI.  

Everything we do is designed to maximize our clients’ revenue, and we have a whole library of case studies that showcase how our approach works. But if you’re wondering how we work with clients to generate, nurture and convert more leads, contact us today.