That said, technologically, we’re making huge strides in the SaaS marketing automation space. Each year more tools are being developed that help automate some forms of previously manual marketing work. For instance today I was on live chat support and I discovered 3/4 of the way through my conversation that I was talking with a chatbot. That’s pretty amazing!
However, SaaS automation technology is not quite at the point where we can rely on robots for all of our marketing needs. For example, we still can’t rely on an robot to write compelling, search engine optimized content about our SaaS product for us. Similarly, we’re not quite at the point where a bot can negotiate the terms and placement of a contextual link on an authority blog. There is too much creative and subjective thinking required to automate these marketing tasks. For better or worse, SaaS marketers will be stuck in the trenches, doing a lot of this not so glamorous work for the foreseeable future.
That said, as technology advances, there is a growing list of marketing activities that can be fully automated. With this blog post we want to teach you how to automate various parts of your SaaS marketing campaign to help you boost traffic and sales. Below, we’ll discuss the various tools that you can use to help you with prospecting, link building, lead generation on social media and cold email outreach. If done correctly, putting these marketing tasks on autopilot will have a huge impact on the growth rate of your SaaS company.
So let’s jump in
Best Prospecting Automation Tools
Prospecting tools and lead generation tools are tools that allow you to find cold prospects and convert those prospects into leads.
Many SaaS companies have automated their prospecting and cold outreach campaigns by having this marketing and sales function running on autopilot in the background for them 24 hours / day. It’s not uncommon for SaaS companies to sequence 200 – 2000 cold emails / day! Even with a 1% response rate you’re still looking at having 2 – 20 warm leads in your inbox each day. Not a bad way to start your day.
The best tools for SaaS prospecting are:
1. Snov.io – We love Snov.io because we can both prospect AND send drip email campaigns through the platform. Most other tools don’t allow you to do both things within one platform. You often need to prospect with one tool and then send the emails using a different tool. With Snov.io it’s all done through one easy to use interface.
Another feature that we love about Snov.io is that it allows you to pinpoint sometimes difficult to find email addresses. This help you increase your confidence that you’re sending your emails to the right person. Other stand-alone tools like Hunter.io allow you to do this as well, but with Snov.io it’s nice having all of these features built into one centralized platform.
Snov.io is also a great tool for cold B2B outreach. For example, you can activate Snov.io while you’re logged into LinkedIn and the extension will harvest the email addresses of the contacts on each of your custom search pages. LinkedIn is a great prospecting tool, but if you can get the actual email address of the contact you want to connect with, you’re much more likely to get a response.
Alternatively, you can run the Snov.io extension after conducting a B2B search in Google. Snov.io will then go through and harvest the contact details of the site owners on the results page for you.
2. LeadFuze – LeadFuze is another great lead prospecting tool. It’s very different than Snov.io as it’s only focused on lead gen (not cold email outreach or communication). That said, it has a huge suite of powerful built-in tools that allow you to prospect using a wide assortment of parameters and filters.
Essentially, the platform allows you to create lead personas and then LeadFuze will get to work by helping you find leads that match your personas. You can search for prospects by location, role, industry, company size and so on.
LeadFuze also has a lot of advanced search features that SaaS companies will benefit greatly from. The platform allows you to search for technologies used (or not used) by the prospects. For example, you can search for companies who are (or are not) using technologies like a CRMs, analytics, or marketing automation tools.
LeadFuze can also find prospects on many different platforms, but one feature I personally love about the platform is the ability to filter leads to include only people who have a known email address.
Best of all, you don’t always have to keep coming back to the tool to create new prospect lists. Instead, you can also automate your prospecting by having LeadFuze look for new prospects for you while you sleep. This allows you to “drip” a new source of prospects into your funnel each day so your prospecting pool never dries up.
You can also filter results based on both “role” and / or “company”. For example if you’re just looking for people who work in “Sales” at “IBM” you can easy find prospects that meet that criteria. This gives you granular control over the contacts you’re reaching out to.
LeadFuze also has a huge number of integrations (including Pipedrive, Close.com, HubSpot, Salesforce and Zapier to name only a few examples). LeadFuze also easily integrates with Mailshake for sending cold emails. With LeadFuze you can prospect within the platform and then export your leads to Mailshake when it comes time to make contact.
3. Prospect.io – Another SaaS marketing automation tool we love is Prospect.io. Using their chrome extension you can simply visit the site you want to outreach to, and then turn on the extension. A popup will activate that will allow you to find the personal email address of anyone associated with that website. This is helpful, because you often don’t want to use the “[email protected]” or “[email protected]” email addresses that are shown on most websites. Similarly, many websites don’t publish their email addresses and instead use contact forms. Prospect.io allows you to get around this by giving you access to the list of known email addresses associated with that site.
Another great feature of Prospect.io is the ability to send an email directly through the extension. Once you find the contact you want to reach out to, you can simply compose a custom email or use one of the many templates built into the system. Prospect.io also offers a drip email feature so you can easily and automatically schedule follow up emails as well.
After you have completed your sending for the day, you can login to your dashboard to see how many people have opened your email, clicked on a link, replied or converted over on your website.
4. LeadIQ – LeadIQ is another great Chrome extension that you can install to find leads. While you can’t send emails through LeadIQ, you can easily integreate it with Outreach.io (a tool we’ll talk about soon) to do your email sending. It’s a great tool that gives you better control over list segmentation. For example with LeadIQ you can easily create different cold prospect lists and then seamlessly export the contacts from those segments into the same segmented lists within Outreach.io.
We also love LeadIQ because it gives you tools to help you better collect leads. You can construct your searches using Boolean search operators to filter to find only the best prospects. This is important because although cold outreach is a numbers game, you also need to be sure you’re building high quality outreach lists full of ONLY relevant contacts. LeadIQ makes this possible.
5. Hunter.io – Hunter.io is another great prospecting tool. You simply enter the URL of the sites you want to find an email address for and you will be presented with a list of the available known email addresses associated with that domain. This is a great tool to use if you’re having a hard time finding the contact details of a specific person or department at a company.
Best Email Automation Tools
Previously we talked about prospecting tools. Some, but not all prospecting tools we covered, have email integration. This means that you’ll often have to export your email list to some type of email sending and automation system. Most email providers don’t allow you to send cold emails (for example, it’s against MailChimp’s TOC to use their platform for cold emails). However, there are some platforms designed specifically for this use.
6. Mailshake – Mailshake is a cold email sending platform that allows you to automate your cold email outreach. As we mentioned earlier, LeadFuze integrates seemlessly with Mailshake. However, if your prospecting tool doesn’t integrate with Mailshake you can easily import your prospects through a CSV file. Your CSV file can have as many rows and columns as you like to help you with your customization and personalization needs.
We love Mailshake because the developers of the tool had a solid understanding of the importance of personalization when sending cold emails. Mailshake makes it easy to customize each email before sending by using their mail merge tools.
Similarly, Mailshake allows you to send a follow up drip sequence to your imported contacts. They also offer great reporting tools that allow you to see important metrics like how many emails have been sent, opened and clicked.
Lastly, when sending cold outreach the last thing you want to do is upset people you’re sending emails to. Mailshake is aware of this issue and therefore, they make it easy for people to unsubscribe to your emails.
7. Outreach.io – Otreach.io is an amazing outreach automation platform. As a tool, it has some of the best campaign analytics built-in. It also allows you to hyper personalize your outreach while at the same time keeping everything streamlined and fast.
The software keeps track of everything for you so things don’t fall through the cracks. Your tasks will get automatically outlined and prioritized for you each day. This ensures that you don’t sit down in front of your computer in the morning and feel lost and confused about where you are and what you need to do. Outreach.io helps you with staying organized and on track.
One of the features we love most about Outreach.io is the built in A/B testing tools that allow you to keep your finger on the pulse of which campaigns are working the best. Cold outreach is a numbers game and the math isn’t on your side. A/B testing allows you to tilt the math in your favor. Even just small changes in performance can lead to huge increases in new leads.
Best Link Building / SEO Tools
Building your link equity is a must if you plan on having your SaaS do well in organic search. Prospecting for backlinks can be hard and time consuming. However, there are some free tools you can use to make the process easier. We’ve created this tutorial to show you how to prospect for link partners using advanced Google search operators.
8. WhalePages – While this isn’t an automation tool, the advanced operators we discuss in the video referenced above, do provide you with the ability to zero in on only the best targets and streamline the entire backlinking process. This cuts your link prospecting time down dramatically.
Currently, there is no way to fully automate link prospecting or partner outreach since there is a lot of human interaction, creative thinking and negotiation involved in the process. However, using the tutorial referenced above will help you make the process much faster.
Of course, if you don’t have the time, resources, in-house talent or interest in doing this type of work, you can always outsource your SEO work by using our link building / SEO service. Outsourcing is the next best thing to automation.
Best Social Listening Tools
Social listening tools are great SaaS marketing automation tools because they allow you to zero in on conversations that are happening in your niche (in near real time) and then add your voice when it’s appropriate. Best of all, social listening tools allow you to do this without manually having to search for these conversations. A huge time saver to say the least.
There are many social listening tools out there, but we like tools that allow you to listen in on conversations on multiple platforms at the same time. We also strongly prefer when those tools are designed to double as lead generation tools and not just serve as brand monitoring tools. For this reason we like Awario
9. Awario – Awario allows you to sit back while the platform itself will scour the web and social media platforms for the most important conversatiosn taking place in your niche. Awario looks in the following places for conversations: Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, YouTube, Instagra, blogs, forums and news sites.
Awario allows you to identify conversations on those platforms in near real time and then jump in and add your voice or offer our SaaS product as a solution to a problem. Awario is an amazing social selling tool that allows you to find conversations where people are looking for SaaS tools, looking to find alternatives to their current SaaS solutions, or complaining about your competitors Saas products.
Best Social Media Automation/ Scheduling Tools
Lastly, we’ll talk about social media automation tools. Social media can be a valuable tool, but it can also be a huge time suck. At WhalePages for example, we use social automation and scheduling tools to help us appear active on social even when we’re not!
10. Hootsuite – There are many social media automation tools out there, but again, we wanted to find a tool that would allow us to connect multiple accounts so all of our work can be centralized in one place. Hootsuite offers the option of being able to connect your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest and LinkedIn accounts and manage them all from one central platform. This allows you to save a huge amount of time and pre-schedule all of your posts in advance.
With many scheduling tools we’ve tried in the past, we didn’t like how the posts looked once they ended up being published on the actual social networks. One of the features we love about HootSuite is that you get an immediate (and acurate) preview of how the post will look on each individual social network. This ensures that you’re not scheduling blind. They have a lot of other really cool features as well such as automatic link shorteners, a drag and drop content calendar and many other features.
As you can see, there are many new SaaS marketing automation tools out there to help make your life easier. If you’re interested in growing your SaaS company at breakneck speeds then we suggest you head over to our homepage to learn more.
This content was originally published here.