As the subscription-based business models have grown in popularity together with technology applications for company services, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platforms have become increasingly popular in the B2B & Tech Startup space. Nevertheless, with the spike seen in this sector, traditional Marketing has suffered a number of changes — given the purchasing behaviour of the decision-makers on the “prospect” side has altered, many sales and marketing concepts need updating in order to preserve effectiveness.
What is a SaaS platform?
Broadly, a Software-as-a-Service platform is a B2B service provided through an online platform, which is most times purchased either for a long-term contract or through a subscription based model. Most times, a self-service model is preferred, where the business using the service manages execution in-house.
Marketing a SaaS product
Even through this can be considered a “Service-based Product” marketing a SaaS platform is actually very much similar to marketing a physical product — as the service element is replaced by a machine. Nevertheless, augmented product benefits such as Customer support, ease of use, technology integrations capabilities (such as CRM) or expanded functionality can be strong decisive points. Considering the above, as well as the fact the B2B target market for these products tends to be rather small — hence why effectiveness, targeting and resource allocation are key to successful marketing planning.
1. Know the decision-maker
Even though the end users might differ from the decision maker, the latter will many times not be the ones to choose which product the business will use. For this reason, it is very important you know what represents value for the people who will make the decision. Many times, for corporate-level SaaS platforms (such as Cloud Marketing Software, CRM etc) ease of use, friendly interface, integration capabilities with other business software solutions and good customer support can represent vital augmented product benefits due to the staff turnover rate within the client-company and other existent tools in use. Once you know all the elements that increase perceived value, ensure your brand proposition and messaging delivers in the same direction, while — of course — ensuring the product delivers accordingly.
2. Identify and create optimised lead journeys
The notion of “Sale Funnel” is by no means new, however the ways in which you choose to engage with prospects can increase your lead-to-sale conversion rate enormously — and that’s where Marketing and Sales should go hand-in-hand. Ensure you have a serious, trustworthy digital footprint (Social Media, Website, Blog, PR / Press features) for prospective leads to land on (visiting your pages), and then automate journeys to drive them through the process of “Discovering” your services, while educating them about the need they have for your services — and how much they could benefit from them. An important point here is: The more they can get to this conclusion themselves, the more your chances for a sale increase.
Additionally, ensure you have a good link between Sales and Marketing — so your sales department knows the journey a lead has gone through when reaching them — either for a demo or additional details.
3. Ensure a healthy budget split and multi-channel approach
Something that is many times kept “in-house” by the successful SaaS marketers is the budget split. Automating very well optimised lead journeys targeting your best prospects are a very scalable and almost direct-proportional way of increasing inbound leads — in the way that the more you invest in capturing leads, the more your numbers will grow. However, it is VERY important that at every step of the way, the prospect interacts with exceptional quality — and this will mean investment in great design, copy, Visual assets, UI & UX and front-end.
The next angle to consider is also that most people need repeated exposure to a brand before they even recall it — not to mention take action. In order to be recalled, you have to aim for a few things: Increase length of interaction with the brand, and push messages on multiple channels — prospects will be in different states of mind when surfing through Linkedin rather than Facebook or Youtube. The intent for purchase will also differ, and the content you push to them will therefore represent value differently.
Pro tip 1: Use ad retargeting to optimise multi-channel ad delivery while keeping a smart budget allocation
Pro tip 2: Once you have a good content push strategy, ensure your brand gets discovered and ranks in Google results when the prospect will (ideally) search more information after the first interactions with you. You can even slightly “manipulate” the keywords they will search in Google by optimising the push content copy if you want to play a very “advanced game”
Wrapping it up…
SaaS software is a very interesting product to market. Because this type of products can deliver to such a broad array of services and company sizes, there will always be challenges in identifying the touch point structure and messaging sequence in the lead nurturing funnel, the channels to push each type of content and identifying what makes the audience “tick”. Nevertheless, after reading this article you hopefully have a better insight into the main points to consider when marketing such a product — and if you would be interested in finding out more or getting a bit more bespoke help, we’d be happy to help — feel free to write us at firstname.lastname@example.org anytime.
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