B2B Articles - July 01, 2019
SaaS marketing should be used to generate leads and new users who are a qualified fit for your business. Unlike shorter term sales, SaaS companies need to generate a large pool of leads who have a clear problem that can be solved by an ongoing investment.
Because of this, SaaS companies should take steps to widen their funnel, gain insights on leads who become long-term software users, and qualify these leads before offering demos, free trials, and other potentially costly sales investments.
SaaS marketing strategies should generate awareness and build a content funnel to help educate and inform leads. New user acquisitions will churn quickly if leads are not educated and fully bought in to your solution before trying it out. You should be testing a wide variety of lead generation tactics early on, then scaling up what generates the highest new user conversion rates.
Without education and educational content to help users "buy in" before trialing or purchasing, you will find yourself in a constant quest to generate new users to keep up with churn -- or burning out your customer service and success resources when education could have done the trick earlier on.
Here are 4 strategies to generate and retain users with a SaaS marketing plan.
While many SaaS companies push demos and free trials as their main lead generator, they should not overlook the value of content marketing to generate leads organically. Not every user acquisition needs to come from a flashy paid campaign. In fact, by publishing keyword-optimized content to your website, and offering useful offers such as guides, case studies, and benchmark reports, you can entice a whole new set of leads to visit your website through organic search.
Start out by blogging weekly and find keywords to focus on, including several with high search volume (several hundred to several thousand searches monthly) in Google. Your potential leads have a problem that can be solved by your software solution, so choose keywords that speak to problems -- for example, a point-of-sale system company may choose to blog about how to gather retail analytics or avoid inventory issues. Gate content pieces behind forms and advertise these on your blog, so you can capture lead information and nurture leads down the sales pipeline.
SaaS leads can be costly to close because they often involve dedicated demos. While you can and should create demo videos that can be shared via email and on your website, you should take steps to help prioritize qualified leads for your sales team.
Start by finding a common definition of a qualified lead with both the marketing and sales team together. This definition may include company size, industry, number of employees, geographic location and more -- the trick is that each quality should be quantifiable.
You should also come up with qualifying questions that denote sales interest, so you can identify leads ready to buy, opposed to people merely doing research but not ready to invest. This question may be something like "Purpose" = "Talk to sales, Industry research, Watch a demo, Other, and None." Make sure these form field questions are all required on all forms on your website, so you are not caught unaware reaching out to a lead with no qualifying information. And make sure to include negative responses to opt out negative leads, such as job applicants or sales reps.
To go a step further, set up marketing automation so your sales team gets notified with more urgency when a highly qualified lead comes through. With a tool like HubSpot Sales Pro, you can even set up customizable outreach templates for a faster follow up.
Test a wide variety of B2B SaaS marketing channels before investing heavily in one. Your business is unique and so are your potential users, therefore you cannot base your investments off of "best practices" or what your competitors are doing. Start with a mix f scalable paid channels including a few of the following: AdWords display and search ads, Capterra, LinkedIn Lead Gen forms, Twitter audience targeting, press releases, YouTube advertising, and any others you have available. Test with small budgets and several ad variations on each platform, so you can rule out one "bad ad" as a cause for no traction.
Soon you will have insights on a variety of metrics: traffics, clicks, cost per click, cost per acquisition, and conversion. It's critical to gather all of these data points by "connecting the wires" between your ad network, CRM and/or SaaS analytics platform. Then, you can assess which networks generate the lowest cost per acquisition, and invest more money there into additional ad tests and greater scale over time.
Not every lead is ready for a free trial out of the gate, and SaaS companies who focus solely on bottom-of-funnel leads will be disappointed. As we mentioned earlier, generating leads with content at the top of the funnel is highly valuable -- for one SaaS client, we were able to open a new pool of leads by offering gated case studies and an eBook on the website, increasing the website conversion rate by 4x in only a few months.
But what to do with content leads if they aren't ready for a sale? Make sure to set up nurture workflows sent over email -- and attaching links to helpful blog content, short feature videos, and important website pages.
You should also engage your lead pools in remarketing campaigns. By installing a remarketing pixel on your website for the major networks such as Twitter and Google's AdWords, you can "retarget" pools of leads who have already visited and left your website without converting. For successful retargeting campaigns, promote ads that are bottom-of-funnel, such as pricing information, new feature promotions, and perhaps even new user discounts or seasonal promotions.
When a content lead takes a bite on a piece of content, have your sales team follow up promptly with targeted one-to-one outreach. Make the nature of the conversation friendly and helpful -- ask questions about the lead's pain points and reference the content they downloaded or read. You will increase your chances of closing the sale beyond simply asking for a sales call right away.
Your potential leads have a problem that can be solved by your software solution. Don't underestimate the value of a good SaaS marketing strategy to help generate, qualify, and close new leads. Add additional conversion points, be lean in your tests, and employ sales enablement tactics to grow your user base in a scalable way over time.
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