Selling SaaS tips and tricks

7 Tips for SaaS Marketing: Do Things That Don't Scale

Marketing in SaaS companies differs from conventional strategies. It has a few pitfalls here and there, but it is incredibly exciting and allows many different tests.

Explanation "SAAS" - SAAS stands for Software as a Service. This refers to software applications that are hosted in the cloud and for which the customer does not usually buy a license, but pays monthly for use. For example, companies used to buy Excel, PowerPoint & Co. once as software and then use them; today they pay a monthly fee for Microsoft Office 365 per user. Other well-known examples in online marketing are tools such as Sistrix or HubSpot.

Testing is an important keyword right at the beginning - so much in advance. The following article provides you with ideas that can be of fundamental importance in SaaS marketing. Not all, however, will work in your particular case. So: Keep on testing!

The job of us marketers is To make life easier for sellers. So the marketing always follows Sales and its cycles. In SaaS and especially in the B2B area, sales cycles tend to be longer than one might be used to from the B2C environment or from products that require less explanation.

This is why funnels were created. With the help of these funnels, the customer journey is divided from the “awareness stage” to the purchase decision. That means in plain language: from the very first contact to the sale (and then, of course, further).

At morefire, we work with the See-Think-Do-Care framework to classify measures along the purchase decision process:

The target customer always has different needs along this customer journey. Our job as marketers is to recognize and serve them.

1. Create added value!

SaaS marketing is all about creating added value for potential customers. Inbound marketing also pursues this idea, which is why a large number of SaaS companies follow such a marketing approach. [Free E-Book: 15 Inbound Marketing Tips to Download]

It is of secondary importance which content or in which format you provide it. It is crucial that the The focus is always on added value for the user stands.

Webinars have to be informative, PDFs and white papers should do exactly what they promise.

In short: the content has to be good and never aim to sell, but to create added value.

An example of helpful content right at the beginning of the customer journey is the tool provider quintly, who has set up a social media analytics academy (https://academy.quintly.com/courses/free-social-media-analytics) . Helpful and free.

The Academy is not aimed at selling, as visitors to this Academy will not yet see the need for the tool. Nevertheless, the user is introduced to the provider from the very first point of contact on the subject of social media analysis.

As soon as blog articles and other content elements offer benefits for the reader and help to solve a problem, the first, important step in SaaS marketing has been taken.

2. Send clear, understandable messages!

The value proposition is often unclearly formulated in SaaS companies. The core messages and the positioning must be easy to understand at all times. The fact that this is often not the case is rarely due to the product itself, but rather to vaguely worded websites.

Since the website is often one of the first touchpoints, there is a particular risk of wasting potential.

So ask yourself the question: Does the visitor immediately understand what it is about and what is the advantage of your offer?

Or even better: ask a person who has never had a point of contact with your product whether they understand your website ad-hoc.

This clarity should not only be transferred in the form of the language on the website, but also to other areas. When creating the websites and texts, you should always keep an eye on the marketing personas and their challenges. User-centered content is the magic word here!

The webinar tool provider Livestorm is an excellent example here. The website is clearly understandable through concise messages. A tidy design makes call-to-actions crystal clear and communication is easy to follow.

In addition to the website, everyone should Forms that are integrated there can be understood directly. For this it is crucial that the calls to action have a clear focus. Limit the structure of your page to the essentials.

Put yourself in the shoes of the website visitor and guide his gaze with meticulously chosen colors and shapes. Like here in the example from livestorm. The eye tracking prediction shows which areas will be perceived in the first 3 seconds.

In addition, the analysis shows how clear the design is, a high value (88 out of 100).

In any case, use options such as the eye tracking forecast here or analysis tools such as Google Analytics and Hotjar to understand user behavior and optimize it on the basis.

In order to send "clear messages" you also have to make another very important decision: Be clear about what your tool is not and communicate exactly that too.

3. Be a mouthpiece for the customer

In addition to your employees, your customers are the most valuable thing you have. Therefore, you should take care of them as best you can. This is the only way to keep the churn low and save you the expensive CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost).

For this reason, the See-Think-Do-Care framework does not end when the purchase is made, but also explicitly includes this phase.

Events, webinars or case studies especially for customers ensure that you build trust in new customers and thus also offer your customers the opportunity to present themselves and their offers. They become your mouthpiece and you become hers.

Satisfied customers are often happy when they can help you. And of course they look forward to receiving attention for their offers.

Large SaaS companies like HubSpot here even hold complete conferences around your product, like the “Inbound” in Boston here.

Source: hubspot.com

But it can also be smaller. Customer meetings in manageable rounds, user groups, etc. are a very good start for this.

Here, as in almost all marketing strategies in the SaaS area, test what is best for you, your team and your product.

Tip: Make sure you use the special things you do for your customers in your external communication.

In order to enable customers to exchange ideas with one another, a Slack community could, for example, ensure that users can network with one another.

4. Test!

Speaking of testing! Whether affiliate marketing, webinars, SEA, paid social or any other marketing tactic: You have to test continuously. Initially with a small budget, only to then decide whether further investment makes sense.

For this is the right sequence but of fundamental importance.

Let's play through the process using an example.

Let's say you want to test whether webinars work for you. At the beginning it is now important to formulate what “working” means for you. So there is one hypothesis to set up. Winning a customer after the first webinar is certainly the wrong metric, especially for higher priced solutions.

For example, your goal could be Conversations to toast.

A good metric can therefore e.g. B. the number of emails and messages received in the webinar tool and on social media.

Collect these numbers over the next few weeks when webinars take place. If your predefined goal of, say, 20 new conversations after three webinars, has been achieved, you could say that the webinars work and the test can be extended.

Tip: Some things have to be started. So have a little patience.

Would you like to know more about testing and receive tips on how to increase your conversion rate? Here is a comprehensive guide.

5. Prioritization & focus!

There are thousands of things you can do in marketing. And you will probably get new ideas and impulses every week. For this reason, besides deciding what to do in marketing, what you DO NOT do is often more important.

So ideas that sound interesting, but currently not to be pursued because you do not have unlimited resources.

Instead of testing all channels and measures, from our experience it is more promising to focus. When you start testing, you will come across things that seem to work (at least for this moment). Concentrate on this and try to exhaust the channel here. But pay attention to the Pareto principle. It's not about teasing out the last few percent, it's about being effective.

Nevertheless, regularly test completely new things and see if you can get traction here. If so, then you can focus on the good channels and try to exploit them further.

So if inbound marketing should bring some leads, it's better to hire another editor or focus on SEO instead of starting a new SEA project.

6. Do things that don't scale

“Scaling” should be the bad word of all years in marketing, but especially in SaaS marketing.

No other word is used so inflationarily. No other word is that important because scaling is actually important to growth and profitability. However, one important aspect is often overlooked when scaling. Personal contact.

That is why our recommendation is: take your time for things that do not (directly) scale. Not too much of course, but make it an integral part of your routine.

This can be, for example, to personally welcome new customers, to thank them or to apologize, to formulate long posts for LinkedIn, or to send a really personalized email to a journalist.

The effect often cannot be outweighed by other, scalable measures. And above all, you learn very quickly this way, because you usually receive immediate feedback.

You can then use this again to derive measures from the knowledge that then have the potential to scale.

7. Talk to Customer Success, Product and Sales

In the end it gets really important again!

The Communication with customer support / success teams is extremely important. The team members fight at the front like hardly anyone else in a SaaS company. Things that pile up here, aspects that keep questions coming up, should definitely be discussed between the marketing and the success / support team. From this, important measures for campaigns can be derived.

The Product is the backbone every SaaS company. Marketing has to know which ones at all times Launches planned are and what adjustments be made. As listeners In product update meetings, it can then be decided which innovations are important for external communication. Note, however, that these meetings are not the right place to discuss or make suggestions.

Tip: Be a tool professional in addition to a marketing professional. You can only market it if you know your tool properly.

Our job as marketers is to simply listen carefully and pick up relevant changes.

The interaction between sales (if you have a sales team) and marketing is essential in SaaS companies. Continuous feedback on leads and focused energy during account-based marketing initiatives are just two examples.

Too often it happens that the sales team complains about lead quality or quantity, while marketing accuses sales of treating leads too badly.

An SLA (Sales Level Agreement) can help here. In it, frameworks are laid down that must be adhered to. So nothing stands in the way of a productive collaboration.

Our 7 tips for SaaS marketing summarized again:

  1. Publish helpful content
  2. Communicate clearly and understandably
  3. Put your customers at the center of your communication
  4. Test, test, test
  5. Focus on things that work
  6. Do things that don't scale
  7. Talk to other departments

If you have any questions about SaaS marketing, please leave a comment. We look forward to the exchange!

Julian built up the marketing at the tool provider quintly and then headed the six-person marketing team. Julian left quintly after 4.5 years and has been working as a digital consultant and speaker on SaaS marketing, inbound, social media and PR ever since.