If you want your company to gain market share and drive more leads (who doesn’t?), it’s wise to have an effective marketing strategy in place — and hiring an agency well-versed in SaaS marketing strategies is a great way to do just that.
How do you choose a marketing agency for your B2B SaaS company?
If you’re asking yourself how to choose a marketing agency for your SaaS company, you’ve come to the right place. Fortunately, you can learn fairly early whether an agency is right for you; the answer lies in the questions that agency asks during your initial exploratory discussions with them.
Here are the questions a SaaS marketing agency should ask about your B2B marketing strategy:
While this seems like a no-brainer, the steps an agency takes once you answer this question will clue you in to whether they’re a good fit. A completely touchless, self-served sales process will require a much different strategy than one that requires significant interaction with a salesperson. The way you sell your product influences every step of the marketing process: the people you’ll want to attract, the way you’ll nurture them, and how you’ll engage them.
You want your buyer to know about all of the shiny new features of your software; however, an experienced marketing agency should point out a big piece buyers need to know before anything else: why should prospects buy your product in the first place?
The buyer’s initial takeaways about your product should be as simple as understanding how your product can make their lives easier. Buyers are focused on their own problems before anything else, and they’re doing their research accordingly. If they aren’t speaking with a salesperson, they have to find answers to every question on their own — and that’s where your content marketing strategy comes into play.
One other truth that a good marketing agency will encourage you to accept is that you’ll save yourselves and your customers a lot of headaches if you make pricing available at the outset. A frictionless journey is more likely to turn leads into customers.
With the low entry point of SaaS companies comes a customer acquisition cost that tends to be higher than average. You cannot afford to lose these customers, therefore it’s worth putting some serious resources toward improving your customer health score once they begin their subscription.
Those of us at Precision Marketing Group hear too often from SaaS companies who see customers through the sales process, yet fail to check in with customers during their subscription. They then are astonished when the customer decides against renewing once their subscription is up or fails to take advantage of additional services. Too much focus on short-term goals leads to churn, despite over 60% of annual subscription revenue coming from existing customers (see Digital River findings below).
An experienced SaaS marketing agency will get to the bottom of how you’re tracking your customer health score. You need to know when a customer is at risk of leaving, which is where communications between in-app analytics and your marketing analytics come in. For example, when your app detects a drop in engagement from an existing customer, it should prompt your marketing team to action in order to determine the source of the problem.
SaaS companies need to understand which marketing assets are driving leads and which enablement tools are actually converting them into customers. Are customers converting through a free trial offer, or do they primarily come from 1:1 sales efforts? Accurate attribution can reduce wasted spending by focusing only on the most effective marketing tactics, while also giving you a deeper understanding of the buyer’s journey. Not to mention you’ll be able to confidently measure your marketing ROI.
As a SaaS company with a touchless sales process, you need to be hyper-targeted not only on your buyer but also on what their behavior looks like once they become a candidate for your software. How, exactly, do they search for the solution your product provides? What types of questions indicate that they’re searching for a solution? Have they identified (and put a name to) the problem that requires a solution such as the one you provide? If not, how can they learn about your product and how it can make their lives easier?
Most importantly, is the buyer different from the user? In this case, you really need to understand who you’re selling to and what they’re looking for, and subsequently who the actual user will be, what they’ll be using it for, and what you’ll need to do in order to maintain customer retention.
The sales funnel tends to look different for SaaS companies than it does for other companies. It doesn’t necessarily stop at the bottom, and a marketing agency that knows what they’re doing will make sure your lead scoring system accounts for this unique process.
SaaS companies with touchless sales processes need a clear definition of a qualified lead that is consistent across sales and marketing, and an understanding of the point during which your salespeople should be interacting with customers.
You don’t want a salesperson just selling a basic membership, rather, it’s more beneficial to move an existing customer from a basic membership to an enterprise membership. SaaS companies that acquire customers through free trials and demos must understand free-trial-to-paid-customer ratio and demo-to-paid-customer ratio, and factor these metrics into lead scoring.
A potential marketing agency should ask the above question, and it’s best to know ahead of time that your answer should be ‘yes.’ As a B2B SaaS company, there’s no way around it — account-based marketing (ABM), A/B testing, and other paid search techniques will help you understand how people are interacting with various aspects of your software, and will help you adjust your marketing strategy accordingly.
To stay competitive, SaaS companies need to do more than just keep their customers engaged with their software. A reputable marketing agency will ask what you’re doing to find out whether your product is effectively solving your customers’ problems.
Review sites, net promoter score (NPS) surveys, in-app chat tools, and social media monitoring are just a few ways to gain feedback on your product and understand the typical questions users have. And of course, it goes without saying that you’ll need to have a plan in place for how you’re going to act on the feedback you’re getting to improve the customer experience. The benefits of which you should not turn a blind eye to:
Hopefully, the agency you chose has asked the above questions and more, and they’ll work with you to develop a successful marketing plan based on your answers. If that happens, before you know it, you'll be well on your way to a comprehensive SaaS marketing strategy that effectively converts website visitors into leads, and leads into happy, long-term customers.
Still wondering why these questions matter when developing a B2B SaaS marketing strategy? Contact us for more information.
Tracey MacDonald has been Senior Account Manager at PMG since July of 2015. She’s a strategy, sales, technology and SaaS ninja, and loves to write about sales and marketing integration (as ninjas do). While she’s fighting off the evil forces of low SEO rankings and poor marketing strategy, she somehow finds the time to write blogs – and loves hearing from readers. So, if you want to know more, let her know!