How to Decide on Your SaaS Marketing Strategy
Knowing where to start is always difficult. How will you structure your SaaS marketing strategy comes down to your pricing, market, expertise of your team and a myriad of other factors. Will you settle with an inbound, content driven strategy, try to make one of your content pieces go viral, go with a direct response marketing, of perhaps a combination of all?
While you may hope that your software would sell itself, unfortunately, that’s not how it works. You need to build a solid strategy, based on actions with measurable impact.
First, there are a few things you’ll have to take into consideration about your customers.
B2C vs B2B
Your approach to your SaaS marketing strategy will vary when dealing with B2C (business to customer) or B2B (business to business).
B2B customers are more likely to have a deep expertise in their activity and have more specific needs in terms of what problem they need to solve. You won’t have to use laymen’s terms with them, and your content should be professional yet informative. The B2B customer also seeks to have a very close relationship with your brand (and people in your business), so keep that in mind.
B2C customers, on the other hand, can be novices or have intermediate-level skills in your type of service. Why do these customers need your service, and why should they choose you over others?
That is a common issue for the B2C customer, so your content should inspire them to choose your brand and service with content that is a bit more personal. At times, a little humor would help as well. Above all, make sure you are always making an emotional connection as b2c, high emotion, utility and easy of adoption leads to viral growth.
Content Marketing Institute compared B2C vs B2B content marketing tactic usage, and found that ebooks are a valuable tool for B2B sales, while B2C is better focused on social media campaigns and blog posts.
Of course, social media campaigns are still a great tool for B2B as well – consider creating an ebook and then promoting it on your social media.
While considering your marketing strategy, it’s also helpful to keep in mind that the value you deliver to your audience needs to be consistent over time. Not only prior to the sale, but also after. Consistently helping your users with content will eventually increase your SaaS customer lifetime value.
Before you can start selling SaaS, you have to tailor your SaaS marketing strategy to your customer type!
Very small businesses (VSB)
This is the very small business. VSBs can range anywhere from two to 50 employees, so approach them with this in mind:
- Most VSBs have a small budget, so they won’t have several thousands of dollars to spend on your service. The way you structure your sales and marketing campaign, should reflect the ROI expectations
- VSBs may tend to favor a freemium plan with a low-cost monthly or annual fee
- Many VSBs will focus on instant ROI and want to see the immediate value they get for their money
- There is likely to be only one key decision maker responsible for purchasing decision
- Small to medium businesses employer fewer than 250 employees
- The SMB are likely to have a bigger budget than the VSB, but it must grow as a business in order to survive, so your service needs to facilitate and encourage that growth.
- However, like VSBs, SMBs often opt for freemium or low-cost plans for an easily accessible service
- Show your SMBs the value of your service – how will it benefit them and save their time?
- The decision making process is likely to involve more than one person, and therefore your marketing needs to be tailored for numerous decision makers
- Establish a relationship of trust, and make sure you follow up and use other best practices for SaaS customer success
- These are the big players, with thousands of employees. Oracle, for example, and have a much bigger budget than SMBs and VSBs.
- Enterprises are not concerned with growing the way SMBs are, but with maintaining their position and value. Their survival is not at stake (in the short-time frame anyway)
- Tackle enterprises using Account Based Marketing or ABM – strategic business marketing that treats each company as its own market, heavily focusing on that one account.
- For effective ABM, as with all customers, you need to know your target audience. Do your research on numerous decision makers and tailor your content to all.
- Look into the company structure and the core players, if possible. Really familiarize yourself with these details.
- Choose the right social media platforms. Enterprises tend to favor LinkedIn for its focus on professional connections and business updates.
How price points determine SaaS marketing
Consider your target audience in tiers, as the great thing about SaaS is that you can target all customer segments depending on the depth of use of your solution, all different tiers will have its own pricing structure for your users. Let’s go back to the example of VSBs, SMBs, and Enterprises. Devote a certain budget for each one.
Average annual contract value (ACV) below $1000
For a customer with an annual contract value below $1000, your pricing will be approximately less than $100 a month.
- Focus on web-based sales. You will generate less revenue from this kind of customer, so adopt a low-touch sales process that will save you time and money normally required for outbound sales development reps
- Choose low-cost marketing methods, particularly content marketing. Create informative blog posts, and interesting social media posts that are relatable and shareable
- While content marketing will help establish a relationship with your customers and build your brand awareness, keep in mind that there’s a lot of competition out there, so your content has to consistently make a connection with your audience
- Another option is paid advertising, and ideally, it’s best to use a combination of content marketing with organic social media and paid advertising. Paid advertising via Facebook ads, Google ads, Instagram ads, and more is designed to pinpoint your ideal customer, and it’s quite effective
ACV above $1000
On the other hand, for a customer with an annual contract value above $1000, you will have a bigger budget to work with.
- Rather than a low-touch sales process, opt for more direct selling.
- Stay in touch and follow up regularly, using a combination of email, phone calls, other web-based options (Skype and Google Hangout, for example) and face-to-face interaction,
- Create a lasting connection with this kind of customer with a close, nurturing relationship.
- Embrace ABM and adopt a high-touch sales process with exclusive content and tools.
In a Nutshell
To decide on a SaaS marketing strategy, you need to know your target audience. Do your research, foster relationships, and choose your content and channels carefully, while delivering value before, and after the sale.
Consider your customers based on business size, their needs, budget and sales cycle duration. Then, tailor your SaaS marketing strategy and sales approach accordingly – preferably using a combination of inbound and outbound process.