How to get your first 100 customers as a B2B SaaS startup

💸 Fundraising
Jul 22, 2021
How to get your first 100 customers as a B2B SaaS startup

B2B SaaS companies are experiencing fantastic customer success. After the pandemic, an outsized number of startups have changed their companies’ work model, and have switched to work from home. Technology, of course, is a key a requirement for this switch. B2B SaaS companies are deeply invested in customer success by helping their clients achieve their business goals. In turn, customers are more likely to stay loyal to the SaaS business when they succeed.


There are 3 key points at the core of every SaaS business strategy- customer retention, customer engagement, and customer satisfaction. A strong customer base is developed by harnessing these 3 areas. Today, the customer success department collects and analyses customer feedback and also works to boost advocacy. An early stage SaaS business needs their clients to spread the word to their friends and colleagues, fostering mutual growth.


Why your existing customers and network are important to your B2B SaaS startup


In the initial phase of any SaaS business or startup, there are usually very few or no customers. It's difficult to gain the trust of customers without any data and feedback to convert them to potential users. Acquiring early customers with similar characteristics is often more challenging compared to when there's traction. It can also be difficult to identify the ideal customer and which customers will convert to a long-term contract and profitable relationship.


SaaS startups usually conduct a trial in beta with known contacts if it's a B2C solution, as B2B early pilots are usually landed from the founder's existing network. A Minimum Viable Product (aka MVP) is the entry point to begin trials and implement the learn-improve-release process. Customer feedback can significantly improve the SaaS product at this stage.


 

5 Biggest Sales Mistakes by B2B SaaS Startups - How to Avoid & Scale?
5 Biggest Sales Mistakes By B2B SaaS Startups. Image from DealInsight

How can a B2B SaaS startup generate new customers?

A startup is a blank canvas where the story of success is written by growth and customer acquisition. Below we look at some ways to generate leads and acquire the first ideal customers for a SaaS startup.

Create a social media presence

Potential customers often use social media as a means to judge an SaaS startup or company’s credibility. A social media presence is a must and should be created on all the major platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, Linked In, Twitter, Quora, etc., to acquire a following and online presence.

Social media can serve other purposes as well. These platforms can be used to do market research for customers as well as other SaaS products and companies. Thorough research can be undertaken on the type of original posts they make and the kind of content they share that engages their target community. The key lies in a clear narrative which clearly positions the product to meet customer’s challenges.


Create a customer database

A customer database can be created by using tools like SurveyMonkey, where important data can be gathered, such as a company’s name and email address from a simple survey. The survey can include questions that aim to discover information such as what challenges potential clients face and how your SaaS product may be the solution. If you find the sweet spot, customers are more likely to be open and won’t hesitate in sharing their answers.


Affiliate Marketing

The best way to scale up and gain your target audience’s trust and credibility is by working with other marketers. Many tech-related products and services are promoted by tech magazines or blogs. Through these channels large audiences can be reached by incorporating affiliate marketing. For instant access to a new audience base, affiliate marketers are usually paid a percentage of the conversion amount.


Content Marketing

Another effective inbound marketing strategy for startups and scaleups  is content marketing. Make sure your blogs are relevant to your niche and reach out for guest posts from other websites. Traction generated by those websites can generate exposure and leads.


Generating organic as well as paid traffic

One of most important steps to follow after content marketing is Search Engine Optimization (SEO). If you're looking for organic growth, select and properly use the relevant keywords within your niche to increase organic traffic. Another way to scale growth is by generating traffic through paid promotions, for example paid ads on Google or Facebook. An effective landing page should be created with a CTA (Call to Action) which aims to convert visitors immediately. This is one of the most common and effective ways to attract more visitors to your website.


Conclusion

From the outside some startups appear to be riding a wave of success, with thousands of paying clients, a sizable budget, and the most brilliant individuals lining up to join their team. Despite this, 30% of SaaS firms said their customer churn rates had risen in the previous year. However, with each milestone you cross, you'll gain more knowledge, experience, and insight to get you to the next step in your startup growth.



Amit Khanna - 7 startup Advisory
Amit Khanna, Founder, 7startup

Amit has 18 years of experience in the industry and an MBA. He supports entrepreneurs with every aspect of their business including concept and product development, investor presentations, and fundraising.



Tags: Startup funding, venture capital, HR for startups, scaleups, fundraising, pitch deck review, OKRs, BSC, balance scorecards

Ask an expert