Do you know what pisses me off?
Blog posts with deceptive titles like “Everything You Need To Know About Drinking In The Shower” that don’t actually tell you everything you need to know. Instead, they tell you one or two things, and then say something like “talk to us if you want to know more”.
There are tonnes of posts about SaaS marketing that do exactly this. Okay, I get it, it’s a good lead generator, but it’s a pain in the ass.
So, we thought we’d do something different.
Consider this your ultimate SaaS marketing playbook. It’s your Bible, your Quran, your Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. It’s a full-on, balls to the wall, all secrets on the table guide to SaaS business growth.
Bear in mind that SaaS marketing as a topic is an absolute beast, so this guide itself might keep one or two things pretty high-level, but we'll be sure to throw in some links to more in-depth posts for your further reading. Aren’t we kind?
So, let’s get into it.
P.S if you are interested in shower-drinking, check this baby out.
Learn how both B2B and B2C SaaS businesses are approaching their content efforts, and which are proving most effective at each stage of the marketing funnel.
In this survey, learn about the most common marketing challenges for SaaS businesses, and how industry leaders and startups alike are facing them head-on.
SaaS businesses generally invest from 30%-40% of their ARR on marketing. Learn where SaaS companies are getting the best ROI in this research whitepaper.
SaaS Marketing Definition
If it weren’t already obvious, SaaS marketing is the process of marketing and promoting SaaS companies, and, of course, their services.
Seems pretty straightforward, but what does that actually mean? And how does SaaS marketing differ from the 162 other types of marketing? Seriously there are that many…
To make things even more confusing, SaaS and other forms of marketing aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive. SaaS marketing would technically be considered a form of B2B marketing (assuming your SaaS is aimed at business and not consumers), and could involve the use of content marketing, email marketing, search marketing, and social media marketing, to name a few.
We’ll take you through the ins and outs of each of these tactics in this guide, but for now, let’s take a look at what makes SaaS marketing different from other forms of marketing.
SaaS Marketing vs Regular Marketing
There is no denying that marketing a SaaS product can be quite challenging. On one hand, you don't want to make it sound too technical; on the other hand, it needs to have all the features needed for users. That's why SaaS marketing requires an extra layer of creativity and finesse to be successful.
Unlike traditional marketing, SaaS marketers need to focus on how they will differentiate their product from the competition and provide added value that traditional marketing methods can't manage. They must also tailor their message for each audience segment and understand how customers will use their product over time.
Here's a table comparing SaaS marketing and regular marketing, as well as the differences between B2B and B2C SaaS marketing:
Marketing strategies and tactics are specific to SaaS products.
Marketing strategies and tactics are for various industries.
Businesses and organizations that require software solutions.
General consumers or specific target markets for products.
Longer sales cycle due to complex decision-making processes.
Shorter sales cycle for individual consumer products.
Emphasis on online channels such as websites and social media.
Traditional channels (TV, print) alongside online efforts.
Subscription-based pricing models are common.
Variable pricing models depending on the product/service.
Now, let's compare B2B and B2C SaaS marketing:
B2C SaaS Marketing
Businesses and organizations.
Involves multiple decision-makers within organizations.
Decision made by individual consumers.
Longer sales cycle due to complex decision-making processes.
Shorter sales cycle based on individual consumer behaviour.
Emphasis on professional networks, industry events, and direct sales.
Focus on social media, influencer marketing, and online advertising.
B2B content marketing is educational content to address business pain points and highlight ROI.
Emotional and engaging content to resonate with individual needs.
Targets key stakeholders, decision-makers, and industry professionals.
Focuses on reaching and engaging with individual consumers.
Utilizes email marketing, personalized outreach, and targeted campaigns.
Includes mass advertising, promotions, and direct marketing.
Custom pricing, volume-based discounts, and enterprise-level plans.
Fixed pricing or tiered plans based on consumer needs and affordability.
Focuses on building long-term partnerships and providing ongoing support.
Prioritizes building brand loyalty and ensuring customer satisfaction.
Key metrics include customer acquisition cost, average deal size, and customer lifetime value.
Metrics focus on customer acquisition, customer retention, and churn rate.
Account-based marketing, relationship building, and industry-specific targeting.
Mass marketing, emotional appeals, and brand recognition strategies.
Note that the table provides a general overview, and there may be variations or additional aspects based on specific SaaS products and industries.
How Is SaaS Marketing Different?
Though SaaS marketing shares many similarities with other types of B2B tactics, it has three unique differences:
- Short sales cycle
- Creates a customer for life (hopefully)
- Selling a service, not a product
SaaS Sales Cycles
We’ll discuss SaaS sales in greater detail a bit further on in this guide, but it’s important to note that the typical sales cycle is much shorter for SaaS companies than most B2B companies.
This is largely due to the fact that SaaS pricing models are typically fairly digestible due to their monthly charge. This makes it easier for purchasers to make buying decisions without needing to consult with higher management, as would be the case for larger capital expenditures. You’ll learn a bit more about SaaS pricing models soon.
SaaS Customers Are For Life
Well, at least that’s the goal. Obviously they might jump ship at some point, or decide that your software is no longer vital to their business goals. In general though, once you’ve got them on board, you’ll continue to retain them.
At the very least, it’s important to realise that you’re not trying to create a one-off purchase. This has significant implications for SaaS marketers, where building trust from the outset becomes vital to the marketing and sales process.
You’re Selling A Service, Not A Product
This can be kind of a tricky one to get your head around, as it seems on the surface that software should be considered a product.
The main difference is in the implementation. Software sold as a product would be something like purchasing Photoshop. You pay the money, download the installers, and get everything set up. There’s little service involved here.
SaaS, by contrast, takes care of the implementation, installation, and migration from previous platforms (often charging extra for this). Plus, a higher level of after-sales service is expected, as customers are paying on a monthly basis. This level of support is often used as a selling feature for upgrading to a more in-depth version of the software (more on that later).
SaaS marketers need to bear this in mind, as it influences the messaging that you push. In particular, it becomes more about the company, it’s reputation, and it’s level of service, as opposed to simply the software. Obviously, that’s important too, as it’s what gets the job done and solves your clients’ challenges, but the support and service component is right there in the front seat too.
SaaS Marketing Essentials
You’re going to get the full run-down on what’s needed to market your SaaS company below, but if you’re just after a quick fix, or a list of essentials to tick off, here’s what you need to know.
|Clearly mapped customer journey||
|Clear and appropriate pricing structure||
|Great website design||
Even with a strong list of SaaS marketing essentials, you can’t just jump into things without a clear path to where you need to be. That’s why it’s vital to spend some time creating a SaaS marketing strategy.
A marketing strategy is your company's overall game plan, and it stems from your high-level business goals, and more specific marketing goals.
It identifies key components such as your company’s value proposition, marketing messaging, target customer personas, and what you’re going to do to achieve those marketing goals (at a high level).
There is much discrepancy and disagreement around the difference between a marketing strategy and a marketing plan, especially in those annoying blog posts that reel you in but don’t deliver the goods. Of course, strategy and plan are synonyms, but most marketers refer to their marketing strategy as the high-level, long-term, forward-looking overview of their intentions.
On the other hand, a marketing plan is typically seen to stem from this overarching strategy and goes into deep and specific details on your chosen tactics, channels, methods, and activities.
Marketing An Online SaaS
Chances are, most of your marketing is going to be online. Not only is web-based marketing an incredibly popular and lucrative tactic, but it also aligns quite nicely with the idea of SaaS companies, which are inherently cloud-based.
When marketing an online SaaS then, it’s important to make sure you choose your channels wisely. Think about your customer personas, what do you know about them and their daily activities? How are you likely to reach them? For example, is your marketing persona likely to use LinkedIn during the workday? If so, this might be a valuable channel to pursue.
SaaS Marketing Strategies
Within your overarching SaaS marketing strategy, you’re going to have a number of other specific marketing strategies. For example, you’ll have a content marketing strategy, and email marketing strategy, and so on.
Think of them as like little divisions within your company, you have the admin, sales, marketing, and operations teams, all of which fall under the one company.
Let’s dive into the main types of marketing strategies used by SaaS marketers.
SaaS Content Marketing
There’s a reason that content marketing is our number one SaaS marketing strategy: it just works.
The bottom line is, people love consuming content. We know this is the case for your typical consumer, but even in the B2B world, we just can’t get enough of it. In the B2B world, content needs to be educational and super valuable, entertainment is not the goal here.
Content marketing in SaaS refers to the use of various content types, including:
- Case studies
- Software demos
As you can see, content marketing doesn’t just have to involve the use of written content. Many companies in the SaaS world are even going as far as creating personalized videos for their prospects and sending them out via email.
That said, written content, and in particular, the humble blog, is by and large the most popular form of SaaS content marketing.
Pro Tip: SaaS blogs are all about providing actionable insights to potential prospects, with the overarching goal of turning them into becoming leads. It’s a top-of-funnel content tactic, meaning it’s aimed at prospects that are in the Awareness stage of the sales cycle.
If your blog post captures their attention and provides significant value (i.e. they can go away and apply a learning and see real change in their business), then your SaaS company will be seen as a valid source of trusted information, and, all things being equal, they’ll be coming back for more.
If you’re serious about making your SaaS blog successful, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye out for new ideas. Check out our SaaS marketing strategy guide.
SaaS Inbound Marketing
There are two main schools of thought when it comes to marketing your SaaS company: inbound and outbound.
SaaS inbound marketing refers to the process of creating opportunities for prospects to find you. It’s all about attracting customers by providing valuable content, experiences, and insights.
The logic is this: today’s customers have all the power when it comes to research and making a purchase decision. If you’re able to demonstrate that you’re a company worth trusting, that provides value on a regular basis, then if and when your product or service becomes appropriate for solving their challenge, they’ll come to you.
SaaS Outbound Marketing
By contrast, SaaS outbound marketing is a more interruptive approach to marketing. It's sometimes seen as the ‘old way’ of marketing, but it still has its merits.
Most traditional marketing methods (radio, newspaper ads, billboards), are outbound marketing methods. In the modern world of digital marketing, outbound tactics are often ad-based, such as seeing a sponsored advertisement in your social media feed.
SEO For SaaS
SEO (search engine optimization) is incredibly important when it comes to SaaS marketing, especially if you’re relying on inbound marketing tactics.
SEO for SaaS is made up of three cores:
- Technical SEO
- On-page SEO
- Off-page SEO
Technical SEO is all about how your website is set up, and how it operates and affects user experience. Things like broken links or slow page load times can negatively impact your technical SEO.
On-page and off-page SEO are components of your content marketing strategy. On-page content is all of the content on your website, including your blog posts and landing page content.
Off-page SEO is all about building links from other websites back to yours. This is often achieved by writing guest posts on other websites, or featuring in some form of listicle that mentions your SaaS.
SaaS Email Marketing
Email marketing is one of the most lucrative marketing tactics that SaaS marketers use, with an expected ROI in excess of $40 per $1 spent!
There are tonnes of SaaS email marketing campaigns you can run. One common tactic is to use lead generation tools such as content upgrades to gain email addresses. You can then put these prospects into a top-of-funnel email campaign which feeds them a series of content pieces designed to help them understand your service better, demonstrate expertise and authority, and push them down the funnel.
Email marketing can also be a valuable tactic for already onboarded customers who perhaps have a free or limited-access version of your SaaS. Through email marketing, you can educate the customer as to the benefits of upgrading to your premium version.
SaaS Marketing Plan
Once you’ve worked through your high-level SaaS marketing strategy and have identified the tactics and channels you’re going to take advantage of, it’s time to create your SaaS marketing plan.
The marketing plan is a highly-detailed document that designates not only all of the above, but how each component is going to be enacted. It’s likely that you’ll actually have plans that are strategy-specific, such as a content marketing plan, a social media marketing plan, and so on.
SaaS Marketing Playbook
Marketing plans are sometimes referred to as playbooks.
The SaaS marketing playbook details each of your ‘plays’, who is responsible for each component (e.g. who is going to write blog post 23), how certain content pieces will be distributed, and of course, timelines.
It can be a little confusing to see how all of this fits together, especially when there is considerable overlap between terms. Let’s use the example of an ice hockey team to illustrate.
You start with your company’s goals. In this case, the goal is to win the game. Then you determine a high-level strategy, which for the hockey team might be to play a strong offensive game with maximum possession. Your specific marketing strategies (content marketing, search marketing) are the players you choose for the game. As a coach, you need to determine which players are best suited to such a strategy.
Next, you need a plan, i.e. a book of plays. These are the specific formations, faceoffs, and breakouts that your players will enact to execute the high-attack, high-possession strategy. Your SaaS marketing plan, then, needs to outline which players are where, when, and what action they need to complete to be part of the play.
SaaS Marketing Plan Template
Coming up with a SaaS marketing plan is a big task to tackle. To make things a little easier for you, we’ve put together a SaaS marketing plan template. Check it out here.
SaaS Marketing Tools
SaaS marketers have a mammoth job to tackle. Luckily, there are a number of handy SaaS marketing tools that help us tackle that beast. Funnily enough, a lot of them are SaaS’s themselves.
|SaaS Marketing Tool||Tool Type||What it’s useful for|
|LinkedIn Sales Navigator||Sales tool||Finding prospects and launching outreach|
|Vidyard||Video recording and hosting||Creating sales videos and pre-recorded demonstrations|
|Optimizely||Website A/B testing||Optimizing your landing pages for conversion|
|Salesforce||Sales CRM||Keeping track of leads and contact details, as well as sales activities and results|
|Typeform||Form fill tool||Information capturing|
|Hootsuite||Social media marketing||Running social media campaigns|
|GoToMeeting||Web conferencing||Internal video conferences, sales demos|
|Slack||Communications||Internal comms, external comms for sales and support|
|Zapier||Integration and automation||Connecting software and automation internal process - fantastic for marketing and lead generation|
|Mailchimp||Email marketing||Running email campaigns|
|Hunter||Email address finder||Email lead gen for outbound campaigns|
|PandaDoc||Document management||Internal document creation and sharing|
|Hotjar||Website analytics||Managing and understanding website insights such as traffic, bounce rates etc|
|Skype for Business||VOIP||Calling solution|
|Qualaroo||Survey tool||Industry and customer research|
|SEMrush||SEO tools||Optimizing your on-page and off-page content|
|Hubspot||Almost everything||Hubspot have marketing and sales tools for just about everything|
Lead Generation For SaaS Companies
Lead generation is one of the key metrics that nearly every SaaS marketer monitors. It’s vital to the success of your marketing strategies, your sales team, and ultimately, your SaaS company.
If you aren’t generating leads, you aren’t getting any new sales opportunities.
Not all leads are created equal though. In the world of SaaS lead generation we typically refer to three different types of leads:
- Information Qualified Leads (IQL)
- Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL)
- Sales Qualified Leads (SQL)
The distinction is incredibly important for how you manage your leads. In a nutshell, each of the three lead types aligns with one of the stages of the typical buyer’s journey: Awareness, Consideration, Decision.
These three stages represent very different attitudes toward purchasing. Awareness stage customers have only recently become aware of their challenges. These prospects would typically be your IQLs, who have probably signed up to receive your blog via email after reading an interesting post.
MQL leads are warmer, and are in the Consideration phase of the buy cycle. This means they are looking at their options (which include your company, your competitors, and of course, doing nothing at all). They’ve expressed continued interest in your SaaS, have probably attended a webinar or two, and have read several blog posts and whitepapers.
The holy grail of all of these lead types is the SQL, which are prospects that are in the Decision phase of the customer journey and are poised to buy. This is typically where a salesperson steps in with a free trial or demo.
Though the majority of your leads are likely to be toward the top of the marketing funnel, it’s important to know what types of leads you can generate, and which types you’re aiming to generate. This will help with SaaS lead generation and revenue prediction, as well as internal conversations around expectations.
SaaS B2B Lead Generation
One thing that’s important to note when it comes to SaaS B2B lead generation is that your customers are B2B buyers. That means they are highly influenced by the experience they receive from your business as a customer.
What we mean by this is, try not to piss them off. You’re trying to build a relationship with this person, not a one night stand.
Where B2C marketers can be a little more aggressive (I’ve got some retail outlets that email me several times a day), B2B marketers need to be a bit more subtle.
Saas Lead Generation Strategies
There are a number of lead generation strategies that top SaaS marketers use, three of our favorites include:
- Content marketing
- Social media marketing
- Your website
Generating Leads With Content Marketing
Content marketing is the backbone of inbound marketing tactics and focuses heavily on attracting new prospects. There are a few ways you can turn those prospects into leads.
- Blogging - include a CTA in every blog post that encourages readers to subscribe to your blog via email
- Gated content - content offerings (such as free guides or eBooks) can be gated, that is, they are hidden behind a form where prospects must enter their details (such as an email address) in order to receive it
- Webinars - fantastic for generating MQLs, as prospects need to register thereby giving you their details
Using Social Media To Generate SaaS Leads
Social media marketing tactics are used in both inbound and outbound methodologies and can be a great way to generate SaaS leads.
- In-stream ads - using specific audience targeting, in-stream ads are sponsored posts that appear within a prospects social media feed. You’ll typically direct them through to your website or to download some form of free content
- Remarketing - by integrating your social media account and your website, you can remarket to prospects who’ve been on your website but then left
- LinkedIn InMail - this is basically the digital version of sending out sales letters via snail mail. Slide into your prospects DM’s and chat with them directly
Your Website Is A Great Lead Generator
Getting traffic to your website is only half the battle. If you’re a SaaS company, then you might have some traffic sign up and purchase without any interaction, though this is the exception rather than the rule. Thus, it’s vital that your website is set up to generate leads.
- Exit intent popup - this is a simple popup box that appears when a user is about to navigate away from your website. The tool tracks the user’s cursor movement, and as they move up to exit the tab, it will prompt a popup. It’s typically a good idea to offer something super valuable like a guide or eBook in order to capture the prospect’s details here
- Chatbot - chatbots are fantastic lead generators. You can set them to be able to answer specific questions and guide users, with the option to enter their details if their query can’t be resolved
- Free trial - probably the ultimate website lead generation tactic for SaaS companies is the free trial. We’ll talk a little more about this when we discuss pricing models, but this can be a brilliant way to get them using your software and start embedding it into their daily work routines.
Best Practices For SaaS Lead Generation
It can be easy to get carried away with SaaS lead generation; it’s definitely exciting to see those new leads piling in.
There are a few traps that amateurs fall into though, so you should aim to avoid these three rookie mistakes.
Focusing On Quantity Instead Of Quality
There’s no point in generating thousands of leads if they aren’t destined to buy in the first place. Careful marketing persona creation and targeting are key to generating quality leads that deliver results.
Putting Leads In The Wrong Bucket
It’s super important to know what kind of lead you’re dealing with. You’d be foolish to funnel all IQL leads through to a sales consultant, as these prospects just aren’t anywhere near buying. All you’re going to do is annoy your customers and frustrate your salespeople.
Instead, spend some time creating lead nurture campaigns that align with your lead type (both in terms of qualification level, and customer persona).
Data privacy is a big issue today, so you need to be careful to navigate the rules in your country or state. Moreover, you need to remember that you’re aiming to build trust with your prospects, and being misleading during your lead generation isn’t likely to make this happen.
For example, if a prospect signs up for a webinar you’re running, it’s probably okay to send them an email or two after the event to promote a conversation and provide further value. It would be disingenuous to chuck them into an email marketing campaign for an entirely different product though, even if you think it’s relevant to them. It’s not what they signed up for, and you risk losing their trust.
Yes, we know, this is a guide about SaaS marketing. Sales and marketing are becoming increasingly intertwined though, and, of course, one of the cores goals of many SaaS marketing plans is to generate sales leads.
What is SaaS Sales?
It goes without saying that SaaS sales is the process of selling a web-based software. What does that look like though?
Sales reps in the SaaS world are typically either focused on acquiring new customers, or working with existing customers to improve service, retain those clients, and potentially upsell.
Pro Tip:Depending on the nature of the software, the types of companies you’re marketing and selling to, and their individual needs, SaaS sales might even involve engineers or executives to help close a deal.
The key difference between SaaS marketing and SaaS sales is in the level of interaction between companies. Though your marketing efforts are (or should be) well targeted to your marketing persona, they are by nature a “one message for all” approach. Sales is more personal, and SaaS sales reps need to understand the individual customers’ needs and challenges, and how your company can solve them.
SaaS Sales Strategy
You can’t just hire a bunch of sales reps and let them work their magic, and just expect them to spit out high-performing sales results.
Your sales strategy needs to work closely with your marketing strategy, and follow a similar methodology. Just like in marketing, there are two core SaaS sales methodologies: inbound sales and outbound sales.
Outbound sales reps are typically cold calling and emailing into businesses that have never heard of you before. Inbound sales reps respond to and follow up on leads that are generated as a result of inbound marketing activities such as content marketing.
As you can probably tell, there needs to be a high level of integration between the marketing and sales departments in order to be successful.
Both strategies should be based on your company’s customer persona(s), buyers journey, and overarching company goals.
Your sales strategy is different to your sales process, much like your marketing strategy is not the same as your marketing plan. A sales strategy should consider:
- Company goals
- Marketing personas and profiling
- Hiring and onboarding
- Performance and measurements
- Sales activities
- Sales & marketing integration
- Training and development
SaaS Sales Process
Where your SaaS sales strategy outlines your long-term game plan for sales improvement, the sales process details exactly what steps a salesperson should take to convert a prospect from a lead to a customer.
What is the B2B SaaS Sales Process?
The B2B SaaS sales process is an organized approach to customer acquisition that enables businesses to convert leads into paying customers. It typically involves a variety of steps, such as identifying potential customers, engaging with prospects, closing the deal, and onboarding customers.
To ensure success, you need to focus on creating an effective value proposition that resonates with prospects, developing a comprehensive lead nurturing strategy, and improving customer experience.
The sales process outlines what an ideal world type sales interaction would look like, and generally follows 7 broad stages:
- Identify your target audience
- Needs assessment
- Pitch or demo
- Proposal and objection handling
- Follow up, repeat business, and referral
A clearly defined SaaS sales process is important not only for your company’s overall operation, but for your individual salespeople as well.
It gives your salespeople a process to fall back on, and to ensure that they aren’t trying to close too quickly, failing to qualify, or missing out on repeat business opportunities. It also allows your sales leaders to hold reps accountable, and to measure and compare performance more accurately.
Sales processes are constantly being refined and adjusted, as new tactics and techniques are discovered to be more effective than others.
When designing a SaaS sales process, it’s vital that you consider how your salespeople will be taught and coached. It’s not enough to simply draw up a document, hand it over, and expect things to run smoothly.
It’s still not enough to run a single training session on the process and assume it will be automatically adopted. Reps should be regularly involved in training and coaching sessions that revolve around the SaaS sales process, especially as individual tactics are updated.
SaaS Sales Metrics
Your SaaS sales metrics tell you a lot about not only the performance of your sales teams, but also the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.
Differences in metrics between individual salespeople are great indicators for sales leaders to provide performance and development sessions. At a higher level, SaaS sales metrics tell you how well your business is performing in a more tangible way.
Marketing metrics can tell you about reach, awareness, and lead generation, but sales metrics tell you how many new customers you’re bringing on board, and, importantly, how much cashflow your sales teams are generating.
Common SaaS sales metrics to track include:
- Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR)
- Lead Velocity Rate (LVR)
- Win Rate
- Churn Rate
- Life Time Value (LTV)
- Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
- Customer Retention
- Rule of 40
B2B SaaS Sales
Most SaaS sales take place in the B2B environment, meaning that your company is selling to another business rather than directly to a consumer.
B2B salespeople need to be acutely aware of the fact that their clients are, by nature, working when you reach out to them. This is especially important for outbound sales, and for inbound lead response.
Getting hold of a prospect is always an issue in B2B SaaS sales. They’re always in meetings, tied up with paperwork, or otherwise unavailable. Phone-based sales reps should seek to structure their day so they are calling when they are actually likely to get an answer.
You want to be thinking about the times where clients are just coming out of or getting started on a new task. For example, at around 10.30am when many people get up for a coffee, or just before 5pm when they are about to knock off. B2B clients are likely to pick up a phone call when they are not deep in the middle of something.
You always want to be thinking about the client’s role; are they a marketer, a VP, a sales leader, or a CEO? This will influence not only when you reach out, but how you present yourself and your company.
Many SaaS sales deals, especially larger enterprise customers, involve many different decision-makers. SaaS sales reps need to know exactly who is involved in a transaction, who the key decision-makers are, and what drives and motivates them toward making a purchase decision.
SaaS Marketing Metrics to Track
Tracking the right metrics is essential to measure your success, identify areas for improvement, and make data-driven decisions. Here’s what you need to track for an effective SaaS marketing strategy.
In SaaS marketing, tracking unique visitors is crucial as it helps you understand the effectiveness of your website in attracting potential customers. By monitoring this metric, you can determine whether your marketing efforts drive traffic to your site successfully.
Let's say you launch a new marketing campaign and notice a significant spike in unique visitors to your website. This indicates that your campaign is generating interest and attracting more potential customers. You can further analyze the behavior of these visitors to optimize your marketing strategies and convert them into leads.
Lead Velocity Rate (LVR)
Lead velocity rate (LVR) measures the growth rate of your leads on a month-over-month basis.
LVR is a vital SaaS marketing metric as it helps you gauge the efficiency of your lead generation efforts. By monitoring how your leads are growing over time, you can assess the scalability of your marketing strategies and make necessary adjustments.
Suppose your SaaS company implements a new lead nurturing campaign that involves targeted email marketing and personalized content. As a result, your LVR jumps from 10% to 25% within a month. This indicates that your campaign successfully accelerates lead generation and drives more potential customers into your sales funnel.
Leads by Lifecycle Stage
Leads by lifecycle stage categorizes your leads based on their progression in the sales funnel, such as marketing qualified leads (MQLs), sales qualified leads (SQLs), or opportunities.
Tracking leads by lifecycle stage is essential for SaaS marketers to understand where their leads stand in the buying journey. This metric provides insights into your leads' quality and engagement level, enabling you to tailor your marketing efforts accordingly.
Imagine you have a pool of MQLs you've been nurturing through educational content and targeted campaigns. By analyzing the number of leads moving from the MQL stage to the SQL stage, you can measure the effectiveness of your nurturing efforts and identify potential bottlenecks in the conversion process.
This metric is a key indicator of how successful your SaaS marketing efforts are in converting leads into revenue-generating customers. By tracking the lead-to-customer rate, you can evaluate your sales funnel's efficiency and identify improvement areas.
Perhaps you run an A/B test on your landing page, testing two versions. Version A has a lead-to-customer rate of 5%, while Version B has a 10%. This indicates that Version B is better at converting leads into customers. By analyzing the differences between the two versions, you can optimize your landing page and increase your conversion rate.
Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR)
MRR is a fundamental metric for SaaS companies, providing a clear view of their financial health and growth trajectory. When you monitor MRR, you can evaluate the success of your customer acquisition and retention efforts.
Imagine your SaaS business acquires ten new customers in a month, each with a monthly subscription fee of $100. This would result in an MRR of $1,000. By tracking MRR over time, you can assess the impact of your marketing and sales strategies on revenue growth.
Churn refers to the percentage of customers who cancel their subscription or stop using your SaaS product within a given period.
Churn rate is a critical metric in SaaS marketing, directly impacting your revenue and growth. When you monitor and reduce churn, you can improve customer retention and increase the lifetime value of your customers.
Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
Customer lifetime value (CLV) represents the predicted revenue a customer will generate throughout their entire relationship with your SaaS company.
CLV is a vital metric as it helps you understand the long-term value of your customers and their potential profitability. By calculating CLV, you can optimize your marketing and sales efforts to attract high-value customers and increase revenue.
Let's say you determine that the average CLV for your SaaS business is $1,000 over three years. With this information, you can allocate your marketing budget wisely, focusing on acquiring customers with higher CLV potential and ensuring their long-term satisfaction.
Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
Customer acquisition cost (CAC) represents the average cost of acquiring a new customer.
CAC is a crucial metric for SaaS marketers as it helps assess the efficiency and profitability of their customer acquisition strategies. By calculating CAC, you can determine the optimal balance between your marketing and sales investments and the value you derive from acquiring new customers.
Suppose your SaaS company spends $10,000 on marketing and sales efforts in a month, and you acquire 100 new customers during that period. This would result in a CAC of $100 per customer. By tracking CAC over time, you can identify trends and evaluate the cost-effectiveness of your acquisition channels.
CLV: CAC Ratio
The CLV: CAC ratio compares the lifetime value of a customer to the cost of acquiring that customer.
The CLV: CAC ratio is a valuable metric that helps SaaS marketers assess the overall profitability of their customer acquisition efforts. A higher ratio indicates that the revenue generated by a customer is significantly greater than the cost of acquiring them, leading to a healthier and more sustainable business model.
Assume you calculate the CLV: CAC ratio for a specific customer segment and find that it's 5:1. For every dollar you spend on acquiring customers in that segment, you can expect to generate five dollars in revenue throughout their lifetime. By focusing on segments with higher ratios, you can optimize your marketing efforts and maximize profitability.
Customer Engagement and Health Scores
Customer engagement and health scores measure your customers' satisfaction, usage, and activity. Tracking customer engagement and health scores is crucial for SaaS marketers as it helps assess the overall customer experience and identify opportunities for improvement. By monitoring these scores, you can proactively address customer concerns, drive adoption, and enhance customer loyalty.
Let's say you use a scoring system to measure customer engagement and health. A high engagement score indicates that customers actively use your product and are satisfied with its features, while a low score may suggest potential churn risks. By analyzing the data behind these scores, you can take targeted actions to retain customers and drive further adoption.
At this point, you’re probably coming to the realization that SaaS marketing is a huge undertaking. It’s definitely not something to be taken lightly, and it’s going to take hours of work to get off the ground and is no doubt going to involve a whole team of people.
You have a few options here:
- Do it yourself
- Hire some marketing talent
- Contract a SaaS marketing agency
You’d be forgiven for scratching out option 1 immediately, you’re probably juggling enough plates as it is. So you can either bring on an internal team, or look for a SaaS marketing agency, to which there are a bunch of benefits.
How SaaS Marketing Companies Can Help You Grow
Take a load off
As a business owner or CEO, you’ve got enough to juggle. It’s always smart to delegate.
If you choose the right SaaS marketing agency, they’ll have experience and expertise in your specific niche to bring to the table.
Avoid the hiring/HR nightmare
Hiring a team can be a pain in the ass, and it can be a pretty lengthy process, which pushes your marketing timeline back.
No employee training required
Even experienced hires need a bit of time to get up to scratch. This isn’t the case with a competent SaaS marketing company.
They have the experience
SaaS marketing is what these agencies do day in, day out. They have a proven track record, and you know they are going to deliver results
Less risk involved
No additional overhead, and it’s easier to let them go if things change or they don’t deliver.
Using an external marketing agency is super efficient for short-term or urgent projects, or for when you need to ramp things up really quickly.
B2B SaaS Marketing Agencies - Common Types
It’s important to know that not every SaaS marketing agency works the same way, and not all of them do everything.
Some companies focus specifically on SEO or PPC tactics, while others are dedicated to content marketing only. Plus, there’s the age-old “inbound vs outbound” debate.
You’ll most commonly come across these types of SaaS marketing agencies:
- SEO agency - focuses on optimizing your website to get found on search engines
- PPC company - specifically designed to run paid ads in search engine results
- Inbound marketing agency - markets your SaaS with an inbound methodology
- Outbound marketing agency - takes an interruptive approach to SaaS marketing
- Branding company - these guys are all about your image and your brand, which is important for getting started
- Content marketing agency....
SaaS Content Marketing Agency
Content marketing is almost always a favourite strategy for SaaS companies, so much so that there are entire marketing agencies dedicated to solely that. It’s important that your SaaS content marketing agency:
- Develops a solid strategy,
- Has a strong process,
- Builds high-quality customer personas, and
- Creates great content
SaaS Consultant / SaaS Consulting
A good SaaS consultant can help you understand your product better, the ways in which it benefits your customers, and how to communicate that through your marketing messages. They can teach you about key metrics, what to measure (and how to measure it), and what you can do to lift those metrics.
Depending on how far along your company is, it might make more sense to hire a SaaS consultant rather than a full-fledged marketing company.
They’ll also help you to perform customer and market research. This will help you understand the market better in your vertical, and may actually mean you need to make some product or messaging changes. That might sound a little disheartening, but you want to have it nailed before you go to market and try to scale.
If you’re already deep into marketing activities, and you’re looking to up your game, a SaaS marketing consultant can help you to understand what’s working (and importantly, what isn’t), and can provide guidance on additional strategies and tactics that would be of benefit to your company.
What To Look For When Hiring A SaaS Marketing Agency
The most important thing to consider when looking for a SaaS marketing agency is a mutual fit. That is, can you see yourself working with this company (and these people) long-term?
If not, you’re going to struggle to communicate your needs, and you’re probably not going to have a fantastic experience.
Second to that, it’s important to ensure the agency can deliver on your specific needs, and has some experience and expertise in your industry.
If they are a marketing agency specifically for SaaS companies, that’s a good start, but it would be wise to check out their previous projects and see if they’ve worked with a similar company in the past.
With these two boxes ticked, you should set up a meeting and discuss your needs, goals, and objectives. It’s important to make sure that they get it, like, really get it. Are they aligned with your goals? Do they believe in your product? And, crucially, are they bringing some new ideas to the table, or just executing what you’re telling them to?
In the modern, digital world we live in, your website is pretty much your storefront. So it’s got to look good. The difference between a website and a brick and mortar store though is that you don’t have a salesperson or customer service rep to greet your customers. So your site has to not only look good, and it’s got to do and say the right things to turns your prospects into paying customers.
What Makes Great SaaS Website Design?
There’s a lot that goes into a great SaaS website, from high-converting copy to SEO-focused architecture, a professional SaaS website is no Wix-template job.
We could go on for days about designing a great SaaS website, but as long as you kill it in these three areas, you’ll have a solid foundation.
Simplicity means just that; keep your design language simple, and don’t overcrowd things. You don’t want to have too much information on one page, and you sure as hell don’t want pages of content that scrolls for days. If you find your web pages are getting a bit on the long side, consider if you really need to say everything you’re trying to, and think about whether there’s an opportunity to break out into a separate page.
Simplicity and modernity go hand in hand, in so far as a modern website design is typically a simple one. The important thing is that your site looks fresh and up to date. If you’ve been in the game for a bit, your website might be looking a little tired. Even as little as three years can mean huge changes in design language, and you can very easily be left behind. Consider giving your site a little makeover if she’s looking a bit tired.
Keep your design language simple, and don’t overcrowd things.
Strong navigation is super important as well. You don’t want your website visitors having to do too much thinking. Use your navbars, call-to-actions, and content to provide a clear path for website viewers, and you’ll have them in the palm of your hand.
Saas Website Design Inspiration
Looking for some inspo for your SaaS website design? It’s always a smart idea to see what the top dogs are up to, so check out these guys.
Saas Homepage Design
If your website is your storefront, then your homepage is the little sign you have out on the footpath. If it isn’t clear from a brief look what you’re all about, then your prospects are going to bounce.
A strong SaaS homepage makes it blatantly obvious what you do, why you exist, and how you help. It should state your main value proposition loud and clear. Take a look at the three options above, and you’ll see what we mean.
A good homepage is also conversion-focused, meaning it has a strong call-to-action that’s easy to see and is positioned where it’s going to be seen. A typical viewer scans your homepage in a Z like fashion, so your CTAs should be in the top right or bottom left corner. The bottom right corner is usually a good spot for chatbots. Again, take a look at the above examples. See?
A typical viewer scans your homepage in a Z like fashion, so your CTAs should be in the top right or bottom left corner.
In addition to a clear value proposition and some strong CTAs, you should seek to demonstrate a bit of social proof on your website. That means calling out your big logos, including a couple of testimonials (keep it short and simple), or linking out to some more in-depth case studies. Nobody wants to be seen as a sheep, but the truth is, we all want to know that someone else is having success with your SaaS. If it’s working for others, it’ll surely work for me!
SaaS Landing Pages
Landing pages are a little different to your typical web pages. Though the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, there is a distinction.
Your general web pages would be your home, about, and services pages. Landing pages, on the other hand, are typically created to go hand in hand with a specific advertisement or marketing campaign.
For example, if you’re running some ads on Facebook, you’ll be leading with a very specific message. In many cases, SaaS marketers will direct that traffic back to a landing page which is relevant to that specific message, rather than to say, their website’s home page.
SaaS landing pages are incredibly conversion-focused, as they are aligned with your specific campaign which probably has the goal of generating leads or sales.
Pro Tip: A good SaaS landing page shouldn’t be heavy on links. While your web pages or blog posts might (should) have several internal links in the content, landing pages are all about converting. You don’t want to distract viewers by sending them elsewhere, even if it is another page on your site.
Landing pages can, for the most part, be divided into two distinct categories:
- Lead generation
As you’re probably guessing, the goal for each type of landing page is the main difference, which generally means they have a different type of CTA.
Lead generating landing pages usually have a lead form fill for the viewer to fill out, and are typically used by B2B marketers selling big-ticket items who are aiming to generate leads for salespeople to sell to.
As a SaaS marketer, you’re more likely to be running clickthrough landing pages, as these are aimed at straight sales. This is probably going to be a free trial or a demo with a salesperson.
Landing pages don’t generate traffic on their own, so you need to be putting some spend into running ads in one of these three areas to get your landing pages pumping out sales (or leads)
- PPC (Adwords)
- Social media advertising
- Email marketing
Interested in learning more? Check out our 7 step guide on how to create SaaS landing pages that will increase your leads.
If you’re like most SaaS founders, you’re obsessed with growth.
The thing is, growth doesn’t happen on its own and without careful monitoring. That old “a watched pot never boils” adage simply doesn’t apply in the SaaS world.
Reporting is something that should be done on a regular basis in any business environment, but it’s especially crucial in SaaS companies.
Frequent SaaS reporting helps you to:
- Determine the effectiveness of your marketing efforts
- Calculate your return on investment
- Track your results against your goals
- Make changes along the way
For SaaS marketers, this is likely to be delivered as a monthly long-form report. But while monthly reporting can be a good way to reflect on the previous month’s efforts and highlight successes to the board, it can often mean things aren’t caught until too far down the track.
The top SaaS marketers are looking at key metrics weekly or even daily, making constant adjustments to their tactics and techniques. Of course, not every metric can present visible change in such a short amount of time, in which case monthly reporting may be more appropriate. Let’s take a look at the key SaaS marketing metrics that top marketers use.
Key Marketing Metrics SaaS
Customer Lifetime Value
The total revenue your SaaS can reasonably expect from a single customer
Customer Acquisition Cost
The cost of acquiring a single customer (total marketing & sales spend divided by new customers, over a given time period)
The ratio of expected revenue per customer to the amount you need to spend to acquire them. A positive LTV:CAC indicates you’re gaining more from each customer than you spend to acquire them (which of course is the goal!)
Months to Recover CAC
In SaaS, our LTV is typically paid out over a course of several years due to the nature of subscription services. This metric measures how long it takes to recoup the costs of acquiring a new customer
Percentage of customers that stopped using your product during a given timeframe
Lost revenue during a given period of time, as a result of cancellations and downgrades
Customer Engagement Score
A score attributed to each customer based on their usage of your companies products and services
Leads by Lifecycle Stage
SaaS leads are typically said to belong to one of three stages of the customer lifecycle
This metric tracks the number of new and current leads in each lifecycle stage
Ratio of leads that became paying customers within a given period of time
If you'd like to learn more, check out our guide on these 10 critical SaaS marketing metrics.
SaaS Marketing Metric Benchmarks
Though it's more important to focus on improving your metrics against your own previous performance, it can sometimes be helpful to know a little about industry benchmarks.
These are changing all the time, and vary by specific industry, but can create a good reference point especially if you’re just getting started.
- An ideal LTV:CAC ratio is about 3:1. That is, each customer is worth 3 times as much in revenue as the cost of acquisition
- Average Months to Recover CAC is 8-12 months
- You should aim to keep your Churn Rate as low as possible - 3-5% is generally considered a pretty good rate for SaaS companies
SaaS Analytics Tools
Tracking SaaS metrics can get pretty hectic. There’s a lot to keep track of, and it can become pretty time consuming. That is why SaaS marketers love their analytics tools, which help them to report on key metrics and KPIs, and generate visual reports with the click of a button.
Here are some of our favorite SaaS tools for tracking and reporting key metrics.
- Kissmetrics - advanced product and marketing analytics
- Google Analytics - measure your advertising ROI as well as track your Flash, video, and social networking sites and applications.
- Hubspot - marketing, sales and service hubs
- Mixpanel - product and user behavior analytics
- Salesforce - sales CRM
- Intercom - customer messaging
When it comes to SaaS marketing campaigns, most people tend to think of examples that exist in the B2B space.
Of course, B2C companies do exist, in fact some of the biggest companies and products in the world right now would be considered SaaSs (Netflix, Dropbox, Adobe Creative Cloud).
And though many of the metrics and tactics used are the same across both varieties, B2B SaaS marketers need to be aware of the very specific set of circumstances they find themselves in. Namely that their customers aren’t buying to alleviate some form of personal fear or desire, rather, they are purchasing to solve a business problem.
As a result, B2B SaaS marketing campaigns need to tick three boxes in every aspect they cover:
- Provide value - in every piece of content, every ad, every email, are you being helpful and providing real, actionable value?
- Get to the point - B2B buyers aren’t messing around. Chances are the reason they are considering investing in your SaaS in the first place is because it will save them time somehow. So don’t beat around the bush, and make sure your communication is clear and concise.
- Keep it simple - given that your SaaS is rooted in technology, it can become all too easy to fall down the tech-trap, where the content you produce is so complex, convoluted and confusingly written that your customer doesn’t stand a chance of understanding it. Keep it light when it comes to the techy stuff, and make sure it’s clear how your SaaS helps.
B2B SaaS Marketing Strategies
Marketing strategies for B2B SaaS companies fall into the same categories as mentioned above:
- Content marketing
- Email marketing
- Inbound marketing
- Outbound marketing
To get the most out of your efforts though, put these tips into action.
B2B Content Marketing
Keep it as concise as possible.
We know, you’ve got a lot of good stuff to say, but you really need to consider the fact that whatever you’re creating is likely to be consumed during work hours. And we all know how quickly you get interrupted when you’re trying to read a blog post.
Rather than a 30-minute product demo video, perhaps you could create three 10-minute snippets. And that 2000 blog post, does it really need to be 2000 words? Or can you say what you need to in 1200?
There’s a time and place for long-form content (whitepapers, eBooks), so let it be there, and keep the rest short and sweet.
B2B Email Marketing
Pro Tip: The key to highly successful and conversion-focused email marketing is in your send times.
The number of emails we get on a daily basis is ridiculous, and so many of them end up getting deleted. Especially if you check your phone in the morning and you’ve got a stack of marketing emails, which is me every day when I wake up. Delete, delete, delete.
If you can catch someone when they’re in between tasks (like when they are just sitting down or just packing up for the day), or when they’re probably already on their phone (lunchtime, coffee breaks), then you’re far more likely to capture their attention and get that email opened.
Try out a few different times, run some A/B testing, and stick with what works best for you. Your click-through rates will thank you for it.
One of your biggest SEO wins without bringing in a consultant is to review your site structure and focus on strong internal link-building.
Everyone focuses on external links, which of course are vital, but they often lose focus of how their web pages link internally. If that’s you, you’re missing out on opportunity.
Focusing on an internal link strategy shares your website authority across the entire site and distributes link juice. Basically what that means is if one page jumps up in the SERPs, any associated pages are likely to see a little boost too.
If it's been a few years since you first had your website built, chances are you’ve added tens (if not hundreds), of pages ad hoc over that time. They might be promotional landing pages, blog posts, or new products or features you’re offering. Over time, that neatly built website becomes an absolute mess of a map, which is a huge problem for Google’s bots. If they can’t get to a page, then as far as Google is concerned, it doesn’t exist.
B2B SaaS Inbound Marketing
The poster child of SaaS marketing success, inbound tactics are where you want to be putting your marketing dollar.
The reason we love inbound so much is it brings the customers to you.
That’s kind of taken for granted these days, but it wasn’t all that long ago when marketing consisted of expensive radio ads and outbound sales calls from the boiler room.
Of course, outbound tactics still exist and are still widely used, but you can’t beat inbound marketing for its ability to deliver a seamless experience on both ends.
One of the greatest things about inbound marketing for B2B SaaS is you can pretty much let your content do all of the work for you. Blog posts and webpages can generate traffic organically, educate your prospects, and capture lead information for further nurturing.
Thanks to the rise of video and animation, you can literally demonstrate your entire product suite without ever having to involve a member of staff. That means once it’s all set up and ready to go, you have an entire lead attracting, generating, and converting machine ready to spit sales out each month.
Or, if you’re targeting enterprise companies or looking to add a more personal touch, leave the last step to a salesperson.
B2B SaaS Marketing Budget
What should your SaaS marketing budget be?
It’s a pretty broad question, but one which pretty much every SaaS founder or marketing boss will consider at some point. SaaS marketing budget considerations are much different than your average new business startup.
While there is no specific dollar amount you need to spend in order to scale effectively (many companies have done it with barely a few thousand in), a good guide to remember is the goal of LTV:CAC of 3:1.
That is, your Customer Lifetime Value (what you can expect to earn from each customer you bring on board), is three times that of your Customer Acquisition Cost (total spend to get that customer).
As a general rule, if your LTV:CAC is less than 3:1, you’re spending too much, and/or you’re not making enough from each client. The flipside is an interesting debate. While on the one hand it would seem that a LTV:CAC of higher than 3:1 is desirable, it could also be an indicator that you’re leaving some market share on the table. That is, you're not spending enough on marketing!
That’s why many successful SaaS marketers aim for 3:1, whichever side of the equation they’re on.
So, in calculating your overall B2B SaaS marketing budget allocation, it can be helpful to work backwards for your LTV.
LTV can be calculated in a lot of ways, but the simplest is to take your ARPA (average revenue per account) and divide it by your Churn Rate.
Let’s say your SaaS makes $1.2m in ARR (annual recurring revenue), from 400 accounts. That makes your ARPA $3000. If you have a Churn Rate of 10% (let’s keep the math simple), then your LTV is $30,000 ($3000/10%).
To achieve a LTV:CAC ratio of 3:1, you’ll be spending $10,000 to acquire each customer.
Of course, many other metrics influence your total spend, such as your cost per lead, and lead to customer conversion rates.
You’ll also want to consider how to allocate your total marketing spend across different marketing tactics. The most successful B2B SaaS marketers are dropping 40% of their budget on content marketing, with the average sitting at around 25%.
B2B SaaS Marketing Agency
If that sounds like a lot of numbers you don’t want to deal with, you might be better off bringing in an external SaaS marketing agency. There are a number of benefits to doing this.
Of course, we’re a little biased, we’re an inbound marketing agency ourselves.
Got a question about B2B SaaS marketing? Ask us.
B2B SaaS Go To Market Strategy
Your go to market strategy is a little different to your marketing strategy.
In fact, it’s a whole lot different to your marketing strategy. This is all about your product launch, the level of company you’re targeting, and your strategy for implementing sales.
It’s a pretty big topic to cover in itself, so we’ll keep things pretty high level.
One common go to market strategy for B2B SaaS companies is Edward Ford’s “The Mission Matrix”.
This framework is based on a 3x3 grid that locates your go to market strategy between your target company size and ideal sales strategy. It looks something like this.
|No/Low Touch (Self Service)||Highly Effective||Fairly Effective||Ineffective|
|Mid-Touch (Inside Sales and External Partnerships)||Fairly Effective||Highly Effective||Fairly Effective|
|High-Touch (Direct Sales Outreach)||Ineffective||Fairly Effective||Highly Effective|
As a general rule, your go to market strategy should be more dictated by your ideal customer than your ideal world sales process. That is, you should let your customer type dictate your sales strategy requirements, rather than the other way around.
B2B Lead Generation for SaaS
The way in which your SaaS generates B2B leads is of course going to be highly dependent on your overall marketing strategy. If you’ve opted for an inbound strategy, your lead gen systems are going to be starkly different to if you’re running outbound marketing campaigns.
Either way, you need a solid system that you can put on repeat, measure, and tweak, or you’ll never gain traction.
B2B SaaS marketers implement a number of lead generation strategies, though most of them fall under one of these five categories:
- Organic Search
- Social media advertising
- Cold phone/email outreach
- Speaking events, trade shows, and networking
Each has its pros and cons. For example, speaking events can be expensive to attend and are time-consuming, though they can be fantastic for brand exposure and for proving your expertise. Organic search strategies are brilliant in the long run, offering exponential growth, but they do take some time to ramp up.
Whichever path you take (you’re probably going to try your hand at all of them at some point), it’s crucial that you develop a robust lead funnel with a strong CTA at the top.
Notice that all five of the strategies mentioned above, don’t actually generate leads in themselves, unless they have a strong call to action.
Pro Tip: Getting found in the SERPs is one thing, but turning that viewer into a prospect is another. How? A quality CTA and lead capture form.
Same goes for trade shows. If you’re just talking about your product and don’t have some form of lead capture mechanism, you’re missing out.
It’s like chatting someone up at the bar, and then leaving without getting their number…
Outbound Lead Generation Service For B2B SaaS
Lead gen for SaaS companies can be pretty grueling. You could easily pour thousands of dollars into various tactics without seeing a penny back. I mean, you’d have to be pretty foolish to do so, but it happens.
That’s why many B2B SaaS companies outsource their lead generation, at least the outbound component.
Outbound lead gen services are typically companies that outreach via phone, email, and social media, qualify potential prospects, and then hand them over to your salespeople when the timing is right.
This can be a great way to kickstart your sales model, particularly if you’re focusing internally on inbound strategies like content marketing. Of course, they can be pretty costly, so their viability may be dependent on your LTV.
One of the greatest levers you have at your disposal as a SaaS is the partner program. There are several different types of programs, but all of them work on the same basis: get someone else to sell your stuff. What better way to bring in new clients?
SaaS Affiliate Programs
If you know one or two things about marketing, you’ll have heard of affiliate marketing. Typically leveraged by bloggers and reviewers of Amazon products within a specific niche, affiliate programs are fairly straightforward. You set yourself up with a platform (such as Clickbank), and recruit affiliates who promote your SaaS to their existing audience.
The idea here is to identify opportunities to leverage large existing networks. If you can find affiliates that already have email databases of thousands of subscribers, then you can very easily and rapidly tap into those opportunities.
Of course, the drawback is you have to pay them somehow. This could be anywhere from 10-50% of the purchase price. It’s up to you what you offer, and obviously a higher commission is likely to attract more affiliates, so you need to balance the cost of acquisition with the potential reach.
SaaS Referral Program
We’ve all been part of a referral program or two in our lifetimes. In fact, many of them are automatic; you don’t even need to sign up.
Referral programs work by incentivizing your existing customers to refer new customers to you, and in return they get rewarded in some capacity when that new customer signs up. The beauty in the referral program is that it doesn’t cost anything to set up. Well, very little anyway. Of course you need to put some time into planning, preparing, and communicating with your clientbase.
Referral programs are effective for three reasons:
- They bring customers to you, without having to spend a dollar on advertising
- They increase customer loyalty - customers are more likely to stay onboard if they are experiencing the benefits of your referral program
- They offer an exponential growth opportunity - if each customer refers 10 clients, and then each of them refer 10, and then each of them refer 10. You get the idea.
SaaS Reseller Program
Reseller programs are sort of similar to affiliate programs, but they have a few key differences. The main difference is that resellers can set their own price, and manage much more of the sale and implementation process, depending on how you set up the relationship.
Think of reseller programs as retailers, with you becoming the wholesaler in this equation. Resellers typically offer some form of support and other value-added services to their customers as well.
White Label SaaS Resellers
If you’re more into the tech side of things than you are branding and marketing, you might consider to completely white label your SaaS products.
White labelling means SaaS resellers can take your SaaS and brand it as their own, and, of course, multiple resellers can do the same
SaaS Loyalty program
Like the referral program, the SaaS loyalty program is one of the easiest types of partner program to set up. This is based on the age-old coffee card system, where you get your card clipped each time you buy a cup, and get your 10th cup free.
Obviously, loyalty programs are a little more complex in the SaaS world, but the concept is more or less the same. The idea is that your clients get rewarded for completing certain activities. You can set this up in a number of ways. One common way is to allocate points for certain completions, such as:
- Their birthday
- Using certain components of the product
- Sharing social media posts
Loyalty programs are less about trying to capture new customer opportunities, and more about reducing churn and improving your LTV. They offer a number of benefits:
- Makes your clients feel appreciated
- Offers ongoing value
- Helps to build your community
- Increases engagement with your SaaS
- Can incentivize future purchases
SaaS Channel Partner Program
Channel partners are usually companies that work in a similar space to you (though this isn’t a necessary requirement), and/or work in a specific industry or vertical that you’re aiming to target, and they help to promote your SaaS.
For example, let’s say your SaaS is a customer communications management software, and one of your key verticals is medical practices. You might recruit channel partners that are selling medical supplies, who already have established relationships and can recommend your SaaS at the same time.
Pro Tip: Channel partners are huge in many successful SaaS companies, and often become entire business divisions.
There’s little point in having a master SaaS marketing plan with a ton of partners and a solid sales strategy if you haven’t got your pricing sorted.
And just like everything else in the marketing world, you’ve got a tonne of options when it comes to setting SaaS pricing.
How SaaS Pricing Impacts Marketing & Sales
The way you structure your pricing model has a number of significant impacts on your marketing and sales efforts.
As you move up in terms of cost, you’ll begin to realize these changes (or need to implement them):
- Account-based marketing tactics become more important
- Your pipeline velocity needs to be lifted to push deals through (as you’ll inevitably have less total opportunities)
- Your cost per lead will/can increase
- Creating trust in your brand becomes vital
The type of pricing model you opt for will determine how some of your marketing tactics operate too. For example, a freemium model is going to instruct marketing tactics that are purely about getting free users on board, with your internal marketing efforts and salespeople taking care of converting upgrades.
Compare that with a lifetime access pricing model which seeks to convert paying customers from the get go, and you’ll begin to understand how your SaaS pricing structure will impact your marketing and sales efforts.
SaaS Pricing Models
When it comes to presenting your SaaS to the world (and charge a buck or two for it), you’ve got a few options. Here are a few of the most commonly implemented SaaS pricing models.
|SaaS Pricing Model||How It Works|
|Usage based||This is a popular model among internet phone providers, you simply pay for what you use each month.|
|Per user||A common SaaS pricing model used for sales and marketing-related software. Buyers determine the number of seats they need.|
|Per active user||The risk buyers take with the per user approach is that they end up paying for seats that people don’t use! The per active user model means they only pay when people actually use it.|
|Tiered||This is probably the most common SaaS pricing model, generally made up of three different tiers which offer different service levels.|
|Flat Rate||As opposed to the tiered model, the flat rate model offers just one monthly price, and users get everything you have to offer.|
|Lifetime access||No monthly cost, users pay up front and have access for life, including changes|
|Per feature||This is a great option for SaaS companies that offer a number of different features, some of which may or may not be relevant to certain customers. This way, nobody is paying for anything they don’t use (and it leaves plenty of room for upsells).|
|Freemium||Just like the tiered model, except the bottom tier is free. Many consumer-focused apps operate on this principle: get them hooked, then get them paying.|
|Free - ad supported||It might not be suitable for larger B2B SaaS companies, but the ad supported free model is a great way to monetize consumer focused SaaS while maximising your potential customer base.|
|Credit-based||Not every SaaS is the kind of product people need to use every day. If you offer a service that people use once or twice a month (let’s say you help crazy ex-girlfriends stalk their ex-guys), then a credit-based system might be up your alley. In this model, users pay a monthly fee to obtain a certain number of credits, or, they simply pay for the number of credits they require, which can be redeemed for certain usages of your SaaS.|
SaaS Pricing Strategies
Separate to the SaaS pricing model is the SaaS pricing strategy, which is all about how you determine how much to charge, rather than how to charge. Again, there are several common approaches.
|SaaS Pricing Strategy||How It Works|
|Penetration||With a penetration pricing strategy, the goal is to go in strong and capture the market. This means offering your SaaS at an incredibly low price initially, gaining market share, and then increasing your price later.|
|Cost plus||A very simple way to determine what to charge. Add up all of your costs, determine the percentage of profit you’d like to make on top of that. That’s what you charge.|
|Competitor based||If you’re entering into a SaaS market that already has other competitors, then you may wish to base your pricing off of other providers. This doesn’t necessarily mean matching them. You may choose to price yourself above or below them, depending on your SaaS, and your target customer.|
|Value based||This is generally considered the best strategy for determining your SaaS pricing. It involves a fair bit of customer and market research, but ultimately gives you a thorough understanding of the actual perceived value of your SaaS. With value based pricing, you don’t charge too much and miss out on potential market charge, and you don’t charge too little and risk missing out on potential revenue.|
|Captive pricing||This is the old “razor and blades model”. The initial purchase price is dead cheap, and probably a loss leader for your company. The ongoing payment is where you turn the ink black.|
|Skimming||A skimming pricing strategy involves initially setting the price of your SaaS product high, and gradually lowering it as time goes on. It’s a common approach used for big box retail products like TVs, but it has its place in certain SaaS companies too.|
|Prestige||Prestige pricing strategies are all about being at the top end of the market. Of course, you need a solid product to be here, but to an extent you can leverage the fact that your price is high to influence buying decisions. This leverages a key psychological assumption: if the price is high, it must be valuable.|
If you’ve made it this far, congrats. You’re well on your way to constructing and executing a solid SaaS marketing plan, and seeing incredible growth opportunities for your company.
We know it’s a lot to take in, so let’s recap on the key areas you need to cover. If you feel like you need to dig into any of these subjects a little further, click the appropriate heading below to head back up to that section. Within each section you’ll find a number of links to more in-depth guides!
- What is SaaS Marketing
- SaaS Marketing Strategy
- SaaS Lead Generation
- SaaS Sales
- SaaS Marketing Agency
- SaaS Website Design
- SaaS Marketing Metrics
- B2B SaaS Marketing
- SaaS Partner Programs
- SaaS Pricing
Still stuck? Drop us a line, we’re here to help.