The growth of Software as a Service
First of all, Software as a Service (SaaS) companies are in a golden age of opportunity. In contrast to the challenges felt by their cousins in the IT and telecoms sector, SaaS firms are digital disruptors that show no signs of slowing down. Offering innovation, security and usability at a cost-effective (frequently monthly) charge, average spend per company on SaaS applications has grown year on year. According to Gartner, this means that by 2021, SaaS product market revenues will reach $113.1 billion. In order to get your cut of the billions available, creating a dedicated SaaS marketing strategy is a business priority. But simply copying and pasting a traditional B2B marketing approach won’t work here – SaaS marketing is unlike any other form of marketing and has its own unique challenges.
Is SaaS marketing really that different?
New entrants and established SaaS firms have a job on their hands with marketing. Not only must they sell an intangible product, they are asking buyers to accept this product into their company’s daily processes. This is a hard sell, especially to the average person on the street (i.e. when did you last discuss “cloud computing” or “third party hosts” at home?). On top of this, the product itself is constantly changing and SaaS providers are at risk of churn meaning that the gap between costs and profit dwindles. This is exacerbated by the monthly subscription model favoured by SaaS organisations. The pressure is on to continually offer value if acquisition costs are to be recouped so a SaaS marketing strategy is a good start.
Is SaaS marketing different to other forms of B2B marketing? Yes, it really is.
Proven software marketing techniques
Let’s look at some of the marketing techniques you can leverage to acquire, monetise and retain custom in the ever-changing SaaS field:
Firstly, everything starts with strategy: who is your ideal customer, what is your value proposition and how do you differ from your competitors? Use these insights to guide your inbound marketing plan and clearly stamp your competitive distinction. It is your job as a marketer to offer your product to the right prospects – poorly fitting personas and ill-informed purchases only increase churn rates and negative reviews.
Many SaaS companies offer a free trial to get people interested – you need only look at the home pages of customer relationship management (CRM) giant SalesForce or social monitoring tool Sprout Social to see this technique live and in action:
Secondly, SaaS buyers have short purchase cycles compared to traditional B2B marketing. Use targeted content such as product specifications, whitepapers and case studies to inform, educate and push your buyers closer towards sales won. Your information really is your best asset here.
Similarly, effective sales and marketing alignment is crucial to lead management and pipeline acceleration to monetise your prospects.
Thirdly, new custom should not be your only focus. Churn can be a real problem for SaaS companies making retention and customer lifetime value a priority. Bain & Company hypothesise that increasing retention by 5% boosts business profits by up to 95%.
Dedicate budget and resource towards customer satisfaction and service – that’s everything from live chat assistants, telephone operators, content writers and marketers.
Where to get support with marketing strategy
Do you have the right ingredients to craft a solid SaaS marketing strategy? Think Beyond is a Cheshire marketing consultancy with nearly 20 years’ experience in SaaS marketing solutions. Our dedicated team research, plan and implement bespoke strategies to drive revenue, sales and opportunities.
Choosing us as your marketing partner means you have a Chartered Marketer on your side, providing best practice and innovation for a clear competitive advantage. In conclusion, this is marketing strategy done right.
Contact Think Beyond
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