The 5 Best Ways to Generate Leads for Software Sales

The more high-quality SaaS sales leads you can generate, the more opportunities you have to close deals. While there are hundreds of ways to generate leads, from content marketing to running paid ads, we’re going to give you the 5 most effective and simple tactics to generate leads for software sales that software salespeople can do on their own.

1. Social Sell on LinkedIn

Social selling on LinkedIn is the ongoing process of networking and making connections with people in your industry on the LinkedIn platform. It’s one of the best ways to form a relationship with decision-makers without being too pushy. Your goal is to find and connect with decision-makers, get on their radar by posting and sharing content, build rapport by engaging with them on the platform, and, finally, ask them for a meeting in a direct message.

Here are the actions for social selling on LinkedIn:

  1. Join Industry Groups: LinkedIn groups are great places to find potential leads. A property management group will hold lots of VPs of Property Management with whom you can interact. Form a list of high-quality leads.
  2. Connect With Leads: Start connecting with leads. In your connection message, state why you want to connect with them. It could be as simple as “I really like the content you share and I’d like to see more of it.”
  3. Post Helpful Content: Build your personal brand as an expert by posting content onto the newsfeed or into industry-related groups. A martech salesperson might post an article they or their company wrote about an SEO trend that’s relevant to their buyers.
  4. Engage Your Potential Leads: Start answering, liking, commenting on, and replying to your leads’ posts or questions.
  5. Direct Message Top Leads: Over time you’ll have earned a spot on certain leads’ awareness. Now it’s time to directly message them and ask for a meeting. However, only do this if you’ve provided them value in the form of interaction on the platform or articles and insights you’ve shared with them an InMail.

If you ask for a meeting too early, you risk coming off as too salesy, which might repulse the lead. Instead, play the slow game.

2. Practice Business Networking

Attend events, conferences, or trade shows to meet decision-makers in your industry who might be interested in learning about your software solution. The best practice is to form a list of people you want to meet before you actually arrive at the event. Most trade shows and conferences will give you these lists of attendees and their companies. Cross-reference them with your ideal customer profile to figure out who’s worth finding and striking up a conversation.

Better yet, get a headstart on the networking and reach out to them beforehand to try to schedule a brief meeting for the event. If you’re hosting a booth, invite them to stop by for a short demo. If you’re going without a booth, ask them to grab a coffee or drink at a certain time. This way you can set yourself up with some meetings before you even arrive.

3. Cold Call

Cold calling is a time-tested strategy to generate leads for software sales. On paper, it’s simple. Just find a list of companies and their decision-makers, do some research on them, and call them with the intention of generating a meeting or demo.

In practice, it's much more difficult. You have to convince a stranger that you can bring value to their lives and business if they agree to hear you out. The best way to do this is by crafting an intriguing statement of purpose in the beginning of your cold calls that paints you as a problem-solver rather than a scammer. I used to use the below approach as a BDR and it helped me reach quota consistently.

How to Open a Cold Call

After introducing yourself and your company, thereby shutting off the lead’s stranger danger alarm, start telling them why you’re calling using the below phrasing. It’s inspired by Mike Weinberg’s in his book “New Sales Simplified”. 

“The reason for my call today, {Lead’s Name} is because a lot of {Their Title or Company Type} are struggling with {Common Pain Point A} and it’s causing them to {Consequence of A}. They’re also sick of {Common Pain Point B}.”

Then, pause for two seconds and wait for them to respond. If they remain silent, ask them if they’ve suffered from any of these issues. If they haven’t, oh well, onto the next one. If they have, you’ve successfully come across as a problem-solver and piqued their interest by naming a relevant issue that’s been on their mind. Now they’ll be more open to hear if you can solve it.

Pro Tip: Remember, the goal of a cold call is to sell a longer meeting, not your SaaS product. My old AE taught me a cool technique that helped me book more meetings on cold calls. Keep your eye on a clock as you're talking to the lead. Once you’ve been talking to them for five minutes, start looking for opportunities to ask for the meeting. If they’ve invested five minutes in talking to a stranger, it’s likely they’ll invest more. This also keeps you from wasting time on leads who just like to talk.

4. Cold Email

Cold emailing is a cost-effective and scalable way to generate leads for software sales. Simply compile a list of leads from your manual research, or from a B2B lead database that allows you to find contact information about potential leads from companies that fit your ideal customer profile.

Then, start sending them cold emails that paint you as a problem-solver in the potential lead’s industry. That way people will want to work with you. Do this by mentioning 2-3 common pain points early in the email body. If one of the pains you’ve mentioned resonates with the person, they’ll continue reading, and make it to your call-to-action, where you ask them if they’re interested in learning more over a call or demo, depending on your process. 

5. Earn Referrals

Here’s an effective way to earn SaaS referrals from current clients. Instead of asking them for referrals, ask them for introductions to people you’ve scouted in their network. Coming prepared with specific names of people in their network lightens the load on their end.

To do this, go through a client’s LinkedIn network and find some connections that you think would be a good fit for your software solution. Find three or four names, since your client might be unable to facilitate introductions with certain people — perhaps because they don’t know them that well. Then, over a call, or through an email, ask your client if they’d be willing to make these introductions.

To make it even easier on your client, write an “introduction email” that they can send over to this connection. The email should introduce your company, its mission, and, most importantly, the value it offers to businesses like them. Taking this active approach to getting referrals is much more fruitful than waiting around for people to recommend your product.

Bottom Line

As a software sales rep, these are the only five methods you need to generate leads for software sales and soar above your quota. It’s not too large a number as to overwhelm you or spread you too thin. It’s better to master a few techniques rather than being mediocre at ten. Plus, five is large enough to give you a diversified lead generation strategy.