Business-to-business (B2B) software as a service (SaaS) is one of the most exciting and rapidly growing industries. With the continued upsurge of companies implementing new technologies to streamline and simplify their operations, there is no doubt that we will continue to see exponential growth in the space.
That being said, marketing a B2B SaaS product can be difficult. With many competitors vying for the same traffic, it’s crucial to have a marketing strategy that reaches your target customers while setting yourself apart.
DEVELOP A MARKETING PLAN
Your marketing team or agency should start with a solid understanding of your product and your potential customer and a well-defined message about how your product meets their needs.
Then you can start building a marketing strategy that covers these four focal elements: awareness, trust, conversion, retention.
Each of these points plays its own important role. Most SaaS B2B companies make the mistake of focusing explicitly on conversions and neglecting the other critical components of what gets a consumer to that stage. Here’s the B2B SaaS marketing plan I’ve seen work the best.
STEP 1. RAISING AWARENESS
Awareness is an essential pillar of any marketing strategy, and this remains true for B2B SaaS. You’ll likely need to go through multiple touchpoints to convert a prospect to a customer, but the first touchpoints will almost always come from awareness-driven campaigns.
Here are some great channels for building awareness:
• Paid social networks (especially LinkedIn)
• Paid search
• Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Some of these channels have different purposes. Paid social media is a high-end approach used to generate impressions at scale. Channels like LinkedIn allow for precise niche targeting that allows companies to accurately reach business owners and decision makers.
On the other hand, paid search and SEO drive higher-intent traffic on a smaller scale. Traffic from search marketing will generally have higher conversion rates; however, most of your traffic will still require building trust before converting to a paying customer.
STEP 2. PRODUCE CONSISTENT CONTENT
A difficult aspect of selling B2B SaaS is explaining how your product can help its potential consumers. This is where content comes in. Webinars, e-books, infographics, and other forms of content have been great tools used by marketers to educate prospects about the benefits and features of their products.
Content can also be used to gain trust, build authority, and even acquire new traffic. The benefits are limitless and it should be an essential part of any B2B SaaS marketing strategy.
STEP 3. MAXIMIZE YOUR TRAFFIC
Expecting users to convert on their first interaction with your product is overkill. A HubSpot study found that the average sales cycle for B2B SaaS products is 84 days.
Shortening your sales cycle would mean more than refining your marketing or sales strategy. From initial user interaction to purchase, a host of factors play a role in consumers deciding to choose your product over your competition. Among them is your online presence. Consider doing a quick Google search on your business to identify what your potential customers see when they search for your product. A few bad reviews can drastically reduce your conversion rates.
Additionally, consider investing in a public relations (PR) strategy as part of your marketing efforts. Public relations will lend credibility to your product, which coincidentally builds trust.
Follow-up email campaigns are also essential. A marketing strategy without a maturing strategy is like trying to fish without a rod. Aside from a great sales team, email marketing is the best development tool in every marketer’s arsenal.
Once a user has provided their contact information, consider implementing an email automation system that provides the user with relevant informational content. Maybe add a case study or testimonial here and there to help build trust.
MARKETING DOES NOT STOP AT THE POINT OF SALE
Once a prospect completes the desired action, which in most cases goes ahead and buys the product, a whole new cycle of marketing begins. This cycle is a bit different and easier. You have already established a relationship of trust with the consumer, which saves you some heavy tasks.
At this point, your marketing efforts can focus on email campaigns and content marketing. As relationships improve, opportunities to upsell and cross-sell to your customers will arise.
A winning B2B SaaS marketing strategy has many moving parts. It’s essential not to cut corners and focus on long-term efforts that properly guide users through the sales journey. Remember to continuously test and analyze what works best and to continuously optimize your systems. Marketing is an ever-changing game with endless innovation.
Mendel Cohen is CEO and Founder of Krafted Digital, a Miami-based digital marketing company.