Innovative Ways Startups Are Gaining Leads and Clients

For most startups, growth is the holy grail. Building up a steady base of clients is often the highest priority, even as many companies continue to develop and refine their core products.

To continue growing, however, the key ingredient is gaining quality leads, especially for companies in the B2B space. It’s not enough to attract attention to the company’s vision and proposed solution. It’s also vital to attract the attention of companies that feel the pain the company is trying to relieve and might be willing to try out a new solution.

That’s why successful startups are always on the lookout for new and innovative ways to gain quality leads. Some startups put an emphasis on building high-quality content that displays the company’s deep understanding of the problems it is trying to solve, and how it plans to do it. This kind of thought leadership keeps the company at the top of mind of potential clients. Others use a wide range of methods to attract potential clients and gain valuable contact information.

Another group of innovative startups capture leads by delivering high value to potential clients, even if it’s not in the form of traditional content. They might offer an innovative online tool that potential clients can download and use or a database of useful information. In most cases, there is a promise of more value just behind the gate.

Taken together, the methods used by startups to gain leads indicate that there is always room for innovation, and the most enterprising startups are those that are rewarded with the greatest success.

Here are some startups employing innovative ideas to great success:

  1. Papaya Global

For a company that specializes in payroll, HR, and payments, providing value is the key to gaining leads. In addition to an active blog full of insights about the payroll field and trends in the world of work, the company puts a great deal of effort into their Countrypedia wiki that features important tax and labor law information for more than 140 countries.

Every country has an updated and downloadable guide to labor laws and taxes. The information includes useful information like minimum wages, employee and employer taxes, and a calendar of public holidays – everything a company needs in order to expand overseas. The guides save many hours of research to help companies plan which countries to target.

It also helps that Papaya has created a revolutionary platform that can automate people, payroll, and payments management. The company has tripled in growth for three straight years and now boasts a valuation of more than $1.2 billion.

  1. Zenyum

Just as Papaya Global matches its innovative product with marketing ideas that organically expand people’s view of its industry, Zenyum promotes its unique “invisible” braces with a website that is just as original.

The company’s home page is all about smiles. The company will even give you an assessment of your smile – and all you have to do is leave your email address. The site also offers a wide range of promotions, Q&A’s, and testimonials. The cumulative effect is a celebration of people smiling, and a desire to have the best smile possible, and it feels easily accessible.

  1. Canva

Canva’s core product is a tool for creating graphics that’s easy enough for anyone to use, not just graphic designers. It comes with several free templates, and some premium templates for people who want to take the design to another level.

As a B2C company, Canva wants to get as many people using its product as possible. The designs people create are the perfect case of user-generated content – every design becomes an advertisement for the company. When people with online influence use the product, the effect is magnified many times over.

  1. Hubspot

No list of innovative startups is complete without a nod to the godfather of them all.

Hubspot didn’t invent content marketing, but the company has been so successful and innovative that it dwarfs anything that came before it. It’s hard to imagine it today, but the inbound marketing giant built up its business like any other startup looking for leads – by giving people value in exchange for their contact details.

What makes Hubspot such a good case study is not only the level of success but also the wide assortment of media it used to cast its net. The company put out white papers, e-books, blogs, videos, webinars, podcasts, and any other medium they could find that might reach an audience. Most importantly, the company always had more information to offer, and it made it super-easy to sign up and get more, leaving the potential client happy and gaining a valuable lead for its sales team.

The results speak for themselves. In its first five years, Hubspot gained 4,000 clients, with 75% coming from its inbound marketing efforts.


In today’s business environment, a quality lead is worth its weight in gold. The companies that are doing the best job capturing and converting those leads into clients are doing so by offering more than meets the eye. They are showing that they understand the struggle their clients are facing and have the solution they need.

Most startups are innovative by their very nature. They see a need in the market that isn’t being filled by other companies. When they match the innovation of their product with their marketing, they are likely to make some waves, and hopefully the leads will follow.