Business-to-business (B2B) software as a service (SaaS) is one of the most exciting, rapidly growing industries. With the continued upsurge of businesses implementing new technology to streamline and simplify their operations, it’s no doubt we will continue seeing exponential growth in the space.
That being said, marketing a B2B SaaS product can be challenging. With plenty of competitors fighting for the same traffic, it’s crucial to have a marketing strategy that reaches your target customers while setting yourself apart.
DEVELOPING A MARKETING PLAN
Your marketing team or agency should start by having a solid understanding of your product and your potential customer and a well-defined message for how your product solves 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 B2B SaaS companies make the mistake of being explicitly focused on conversions and overlook the other essential components of what brings a consumer to that step. Here’s the B2B SaaS marketing blueprint that I’ve seen work best.
STEP 1. BUILD AWARENESS
Building awareness is an essential pillar of every marketing strategy, and that stays true for B2B SaaS. You’ll likely have to go through multiple touchpoints to convert a prospect to a customer, but the first touchpoints will almost always come from awareness-driven campaigns.
Some great channels to build awareness include:
• Paid social (particularly LinkedIn)
• Paid search
• Search engine optimization (SEO)
Some of these channels have different goals. Paid social is a top-of-the-funnel approach used to generate impressions on a sizable scale. Channels like LinkedIn allow for precise niche targeting that enables companies to reach business owners and decision-makers accurately.
On the flip side, paid search and SEO generate higher-intent traffic on a smaller scale. The traffic coming from search marketing will typically have higher conversion rates; However, most of your traffic will still require building trust before converting into a paying customer.
STEP 2. PRODUCE CONSISTENT CONTENT
A challenging aspect of selling B2B SaaS is explaining how your product can assist its potential consumers. That’s where content comes in. Webinars, e-books, infographics, and other forms of content have been great tools marketers have used to educate prospects on the advantages and functionalities of their products.
Content can also be used to gain trust, build authority, and even acquire new traffic. The benefits are boundless, and it should be a vital part of every B2B SaaS marketing strategy.
STEP 3. MAXIMIZE YOUR TRAFFIC
Expecting users to convert upon their first interaction with your product is far-fetched. 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 the user’s initial interaction to purchase, an abundance of factors play a part in consumers deciding to choose your product over your competition. Among them is your online presence. Consider doing a quick Google search on your company to identify what your potential customers see when researching your product. A couple of bad reviews can substantially decrease your conversion rates.
Furthermore, consider investing in a public relations (PR) strategy as part of your marketing efforts. PR will give your product credibility, which coincidentally builds trust.
Follow-up email campaigns are likewise essential. A marketing strategy without a nurturing strategy is equivalent to trying to fish without a rod. Aside from a great sales team, email marketing is the best nurturing tool in every marketer’s arsenal.
Once a user provides their contact information, consider implementing an email automation system that provides the user with relevant, informative content. Maybe throw in a case study or testimonial here and there to help build trust.
MARKETING DOESN’T END AT THE POINT OF SALE
Once a prospect completes the desired action—which in most cases is going ahead and purchasing the product—a whole new marketing cycle begins. This cycle is a bit different and more effortless. You’ve already established trust with the consumer, which removes some heavy lifting.
At this point, your marketing efforts can center in on email campaigns and content marketing. As the relationships ameliorate, opportunities to upsell and cross-sell your customers will emerge.
There are many moving parts to a winning B2B SaaS marketing strategy. It’s vital to not cut corners and to focus on long-term efforts that adequately guide users through the sales journey. Remember to constantly test and analyze what performs best and constantly optimize your systems. Marketing is an ever-changing game with endless innovation.
Mendel Cohen is the CEO and Founder at Krafted Digital, a Miami-based Digital Marketing Firm.