Lead Generation for IT & Technology Companies [12 Strategies]
By: Monika Kisielewska
Marketing, Lead Generation
According to 2020 Marketing Technology Landscape, the MarTech industry alone grew by 13.6% up to 8,000 solutions. It causes a massive information overload for consumers.
So unless you’re Google or Apple, you will have to fight for your customers' attention when you release a new product.
Easier said than done, right?
In such a competitive environment, you can flourish if you implement the right lead generation strategies for technology companies.
The tech industry’s growth trajectory is unique, hence, the companies operating within it need tailored techniques to put their product in front of customers.
This article shares the best lead generation techniques for IT, technology, and software companies.
How do IT and technology companies generate leads?
The technology sector and IT industry grow at breakneck speed. Unlike traditional organizations, tech companies continuously improve their products and services to sell them with new features. They are even willing to take risks if they see future potential. For example, it is not uncommon for them to launch new business lines that haven’t even existed before.
That’s why technology companies need agile lead generation techniques and strong SaaS marketing communication to gain exposure for their company, products, and services.
A lead is someone who has shown interest in your product or service in any way. But it doesn’t mean they are ready to make a purchase. Generating targeted leads in the tech, IT, and SaaS industries works best if you educate people about the benefits of your product or service so that they eventually convert into a customer.
So, how do you know your lead generation works?
It’s when your brand name is the first thing that comes to your prospect’s mind when they come across a problem that your product can solve. And at that point, they are ready to initiate sales conversation with your company.
1. Set objectives
Before you draft any lead generation strategy for your technology company, you need to think about the objectives and key results you want to achieve.
Setting them helps measure progress and align your strategic goals across your organization. The digital natives tend to use OKRs methodology to get everyone to move in the same direction. It works so well because it’s a simple and fast-paced process that engages each team.
You can set it, track it and re-evaluate (quarterly) if needed. Don’t be afraid to adapt the framework to your needs, though. Take a lesson from Spotify who experience hyper-growth and found that OKRs slowed them down—
The tech company resigned from setting OKRs on an individual level and instead, they set out their priorities at the corporate level and let teams decide how they are going to get there.
2. Define and adapt to your target audience
To generate leads successfully you need to define an ideal customer profile (B2B) or buyer persona (B2C). This simple lead gen technique gives technology companies clearer, more concrete insight into their B2B audiences' interests, challenges, and buying habits.
It also helps tech businesses appeal to their clients so much so that they share their contact information e.g., via forms, to find out more about the offer. If you offer multiple products, you can create different buyer personas. But make sure that they all fit your brand.
But the greatest challenge in lead generation for technology businesses nowadays is to adapt to how customers are constantly changing. That’s why it’s important to capture the voice of the customer frequently.
3. Call the most valuable prospects directly
Cold calling isn’t dead. In fact, it’s a great lead generation strategy for technology and IT companies, especially if you’re selling to C-level and VP buyers.
With sales intelligence platforms like Cognism, you can take a proactive approach to finding leads.
Even though modern buyers don’t need a sales rep to make purchasing decisions, you don’t want to rely solely on the buyer to find your product and qualify themselves, right?
Cognism provides access to a global business contact database with manually-verified mobile numbers to increase the effectiveness of this technique.
So pick up the phone and try out our CEO prospecting scripts!
Read our case study with Holistic AI, a new start-up funded in 2018 that gained 300 outbound leads in the first few weeks of using Cognism 👇
“In under two months, as a team we have generated 20 opportunities from Cognism data. The tool has enabled us to scale outbound weekly actions (calls and emails) from near 0 to 1,500.”
If you're an enterprise SaaS company, we recommend reading a case study about Cloudreach, an Atos company. This technology company used Cognism Chrome Extension to gain 100-150 leads per week per rep.
“In 2022, my Cognism pipeline value alone was $4.9 million.”
“If you want easy access to accurate data at your fingertips, then you need Cognism. It’s our major pipeline channel and we couldn’t work effectively without it.”
4. Bring value with intent data
As many as 87% of customers begin product search online and they rarely feel the need to contact salespeople for advice. They gather as much information as possible from various sources to make an informed decision about their purchase.
B2B technology companies can generate better leads with intent data. It helps get prospects’ attention right when their buyer journey begins. And before they learn about your competitors!
To generate leads for software sales, take advantage of sales intelligence solutions that provide data to help identify prospects’ buying signals. It creates opportunities to pitch your product or service to the right person at the right time. And then guide their decision process.
The main benefit of intent-driven account-based marketing is targeting a focused group of buyers. You can start creating personalized lead gen campaigns rather than targeting a generic audience.
Gartner predicts that more than 70% of B2B marketers will use third-party intent data for lead generation by the end of the year. So don’t hesitate and get in touch with a sales intelligence company, like Cognism.
If you want to find out more about intent data, watch the video below!
5. Use short videos to explain complex data
Creating valuable and educational SEO content is one of the main ways of generating leads for technology companies and startups. Most businesses choose blogs as their platform to reach out to prospects.
But one of the pillars of lead generation for technology companies is experimentation—
And according to the latest news, Google is going to show more short-form videos in search results for certain queries. It’s a great opportunity for new IT and software companies to increase brand visibility.
Short videos are also a great way to convey complex information concisely, which is another reason why tech businesses should consider creating them.
Most people find audio-visual product explainers appealing. For example, in 2021 78% of people downloaded a piece of software or app after watching a video. You can also create videos to answer the most common questions and address your product's strengths.
6. Strike a balance between gated and ungated content
Companies in the IT industry can easily generate leads by creating gated content. You can think of gated content like a transaction—you’re asking leads to “pay” for premium materials (e.g., white papers and recorded webinars) with their contact information.
To ensure the success of this sales strategy, make sure your visitors know what’s behind the gate. According to the 2021 Content Preferences Study, people look for visual, research, or influencer-backed content that tells a valuable story. They don’t mind (or mind the least) revealing their contact details in exchange for:
- White papers (57%)
- E-books (54%)
- Industry newsletters (50%)
But you can’t simply gate all of your materials and hope for the best—
In the marketing circles, there’s a debate going on about the pros and cons of using gated vs. ungated content. While gated content can generate a fair share of leads for software companies, ungated content builds trust and brand awareness.
That’s why good lead generation specialists in tech companies use Pareto's law by which 20% of your audience is responsible for 80% of your success. They create 20% of gated content and leave the rest ungated achieving record-breaking revenue.
7. Ask your customers to review your product
One of the most effective B2B lead generation strategies for technology companies is reaching out to their loyal, happy customers and asking them to leave you a review.
Much like we would ask friends and family before making a purchase, consumers trust the words of other consumers much more than companies. That’s why authentic, up-to-date reviews from real users can be a huge help in building your online reputation.
While some reviews come organically, you can contact existing, fully-onboarded customers with an email campaign and nudge them with an offer (a discount or an Amazon voucher).
It’s where prospects can find your company and compare it with others in the tech industry. It’s especially beneficial for startups that compete with matured tech companies.
If you’re not sure which review sites you should focus on, google your competitors. See which sites they are reviewed on—you probably want to be there, too.
8. Offer free trials or freemium products
Technology and SaaS companies can also generate leads by offering free access to their product for a limited time (free trials) or access to basic features of their product (freemium model). Both strategies give prospective customers a chance to test the potential of their product or service and help them make their decision.
This is the best lead generation strategy for startups trying to sell an intangible product or service, such as software, apps, games, and analytics. It’s easier to let the prospects experience this type of product, instead of explaining its unique value proposition.
This strategy also reduces the need for aggressive selling and takes the pressure off sales teams which is great for small business tech companies. Prospects get real value and don’t mind providing their contact details.
9. Host webinars and virtual product demos
In the 2021 Demand Generation Benchmark Survey Report, 42% of respondents noted webinars are the top content format for accelerating and converting leads in the middle and late stages of the funnel.
In the comments section they also indicated unique experiences with:
- Direct sales outreach
- Virtual field events
- Virtual software demos
Technology companies should incorporate those techniques if for some reason they can’t offer their users free trials. It provides insightful, digestible, and oftentimes actionable content that is invaluable to the end-user.
In Cognism's 2021 Revenue Report, 30% of marketers dedicated their budgets to webinars.
They find this format effective for interacting with customers and increasing lead conversion rates. You can create easily shareable webinar content if you invite other tech expert contributors.
The main challenge technology businesses experience with webinars as a lead generation strategy is attendance. Read the ultimate guide to ultimate webinar leads cadences.
10. Create a content marketing funnel
Creating positive experiences for the end-user is the easiest way of generating leads for software companies. Offering sound solutions to customers’ common problems increases lead conversion rates.
In the case of inbound lead generation, focus on creating content for the different stages of the sales funnel: awareness, consideration, and decision.
In the first stage, when customers discover the issue, they look for expert guides or white papers. Next, they try to define the cause of it by researching available solutions. Finally, the buyer narrows down the options to a few and considers their pros and cons to make the final decision.
Technology companies can use this lead generation technique to become market leaders in their field. The aim is to produce transparent, educational, entertaining, and relevant content.
If you understand where your buyer is in their journey, you will be able to personalize your sales strategy to match their expectations. It results in easier conversion.
11. Build landing pages
Landing pages are a basic strategy for generating leads for software companies. They give your users a compelling focused experience and you get more control over your campaigns.
A landing page is where visitors are taken after clicking on your ad from Google, email, YouTube, etc. So it serves as the bridge between your target audience and your company’s offer.
Optimize them with one single focus expressed as a call to action (CTA). They should be engaging but they can prompt visitors to accomplish only one goal, e.g., download a whitepaper or sign up for a webinar.
Well-designed landing pages will help you get visitors to leave their contact detail and become your leads. Focus on the above-the-fold section of the page to include a strong offer. And use headings to promote its value.
12. Monitor performance
Tracking the performance of your strategies informs you which of them work best and which ones need to be improved. You can then stick to those that generate the most qualified leads for your technology company.
There are different types of metrics you can track. For example:
- Campaign metrics
- Content metrics
- Paid ads metrics
- BOFU and TOFU metrics
Whichever you decide to measure, make sure they correspond to the objectives you set at the beginning.
Some of the universal lead generation KPIs for tech companies are:
- Organic traffic: how many visitors are attracted to your website
- Traffic-to-lead rate: how many visitors to your website convert into new leads
- Click-through rate: how many people click on a link on your landing page or email to learn more about your offer
- Conversion rate: what amount of traffic to your pages converts into new leads
- Cost per lead: how much you need to pay to generate one new lead
Lead generation for technology companies needs unique strategies if they want to maintain growth and stay competitive within the industry.
Setting the right goals and monitoring them is the basis for successful lead generation.
B2B tech companies can easily generate leads based on their ideal customer profiles and intent data.
SaaS and software startups can get more leads by offering free trials and freemium versions of their products and customer success stories on the reviews sites.
Apart from building optimized landing pages, tech companies can build a content marketing funnel to reflect the buyer journey and experiment with using short-form videos, webinars, direct demos, and gated content.