Marketing a software company may seem like an enormous task when you’re getting started. However, with a little research and a few trials, you’ll realize that turning those great ideas you have into an effective SaaS digital marketing strategy isn’t as daunting as it might seem at first.
Most evolutionary creations begin with an idea to show people what you can do, how you can solve their problems, or how great your product is. France erected the Eiffel Tower to show their industrial prowess, Shah Jagan built the Taj Mahal to express his love for his favorite wife, and Canada constructed the CN Tower to position itself as a major player on the world stage.
While these world-famous structures sprouted from great ideas, they wouldn’t have come to life without blueprints. A blueprint helps you understand the steps you need to convert the dream from mere thoughts to reality. The same applies to B2B SaaS marketing—you need a well-thought-out strategy. In this article, we look at steps you can take to create an effective B2B SaaS marketing strategy:
1. Define Your B2B SaaS Marketing Objectives
This is the first and most important step—your goals determine what you’ll do in all the subsequent steps. Do you want to increase brand awareness? Is it generating more leads? Do you want to align your marketing techniques to sales? Whatever the goal, ensure that they’re realistic and achievable.
Some common goals for B2B SaaS marketing campaigns include pipeline marketing, generation of more qualified leads, and sales pipeline contribution. It’s not enough to say that you want to drive more sales; that’s abstract and may not generate the best results. Instead, include in your strategy the specific numbers you intend to achieve and state time frames.
Generally, your goals should be SMART—specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound.
2. Draft a Budget
With your objectives well laid out, the next step is estimating how much it will cost you to achieve them. The budget size depends on the amount your business is willing and able to spend on the campaign. For most small and medium-sized SaaS businesses, marketing takes between 10 to 40 percent of their annual recurring revenue estimates.
The budget draft estimate should highlight the amounts allocated to each tactic and their expected returns. You should also state the strategies you’ll use to prioritize or adjust costs as the campaign continues. Finally, stipulate how you’ll be handling unforeseen costs. The baseline is that every dollar spent should be accounted for and audited.
3. Develop Marketing Tactics
Congratulations, you’ve set your objectives and secured the budget. The next phase is to turn your ideas into actionable steps. Here are some factors to consider when developing tactics:
Know Your Target Market
Successful marketing tactics appeal to the prospects’ needs. To achieve this, research your target market’s persona. Ask yourself what they want, why they need it, and how your software fits in as the right solution. That way, you’ll be able to create more targeted messages with higher conversion rates.
Review Your Current Tactics
Here, you examine how your ongoing campaigns have performed. Identify the underperformers and whether you need to adjust or allocate them more funds. Evaluation of current techniques also helps you identify the tactics to use in the next campaign.
Leverage Content Marketing
Every B2B SaaS marketing strategy should consider digital marketing media as one of the key tactics. No business wants to work with a purely transactional company; they want a guarantee that your priority is to solve their problems. And there’s no better way to prove your usefulness than creating content to address their needs or provide answers to the questions they frequently ask.
Regular quality content on subjects your customers want to know about establishes you as a thought-leader within your industry. If correctly executed, this tactic can help you achieve more engagements, increase brand awareness, and generate more qualified leads.
Assign Your Leads Tasks to Focus On
Always conclude your content with a Call to Action (CTA). Without a CTA, some prospects may not bother to contact you or take whatever other desired action you hoped they’d take. By giving leads tasks to focus on, e.g., signing up for a free demo or free trial, you’re not only keeping them within your website but also helping them move down your funnel.
Here are some tips for an effective CTA:
- Give your free trial deadlines: That way, you’ll be encouraging the prospects to take action as soon as possible.
- Leverage social proof: For instance, “be part of the 3,000 businesses already using our app.”
- Follow up immediately after the initial email sign-up: The longer you take to respond to prospects, the more likely they’ll lose interest and even unsubscribe from your messages. So, immediately after prospects sign up for your email updates, send them a welcome message and guide them through the steps they need to follow to get something done.
Have Defined Sales Processes to Convert Prospects to Paying Customers
The ultimate goal of any B2B SaaS marketing campaign is to drive more sales. If your strategy doesn’t include or lead to optimal sales tactics, then it is incomplete.
A common sales technique in the SaaS industry is free or low-price trials. Allowing free trial for a limited period shows that you have so much confidence in your product that you’re willing to allow it to speak for itself.
You can also adopt a high-touch approach that ensures your prospects fully understand your product’s value before committing any money to it. Instead of directing businesses to pay directly with credit cards on your first engagement, you start by engaging them through discussions and presentations. Let them state their pain points before you discuss how you can best solve them.
4. Evaluate Your B2B Marketing Strategy's Performance
As we said at the beginning, B2B marketing campaigns should have measurable goals. Analyze the campaign’s results vis-a-vis the objectives you set out in the first step, identify what’s working and areas that may need adjustments. As you must have noticed, B2B SaaS marketing is not that different from traditional marketing. Set your goals, find a budget, formulate tactics, and eventually measure the results.
Why Is B2B SaaS Marketing Different?
Typically, it takes between six to eighteen months for B2B SaaS campaigns to convert into sales. That’s because, unlike in most industries, the prospect’s journey through a SaaS marketing funnel is slow and relatively unpredictable.
For starters, most of the clients you’ll be targeting have no prior knowledge about your SaaS marketing plan tool. So, begin by introducing them to the software and explaining how it’s the perfect solution to their problems. This process alone may take up to three months. For another, as you are targeting businesses, most of your prospective customers will have defined processes for making purchases – you won’t get any impulse buys here, like a B2C company might!
B2B SaaS marketing is a long-term project. Even after the client has bought into your idea and purchased your product, stay in touch. That’s because the software business is very dynamic; additional problems and solutions keep on emerging by the day. So, as you’re advancing your product to address these recent developments, keep your market at par with the changes. The other reason for continuous communication is to reduce churn rates – that is, the number of people who stop using your products because they no longer find it useful. According to statistics from Recurly, software companies have an average annual churn rate of 5%, and they largely attributed this to communication gaps.
Do you have any further SaaS marketing plan queries or need professional guidance? SevenAtoms will be glad to help. We are a leading digital marketing agency in San Francisco, working with clients across various industries throughout the country. Call us now at 415.513.0435, and let’s help you launch a successful B2B SaaS marketing campaign.