Did you know that organizations with more than 1000 employees typically use over 150 SaaS applications? The B2B SaaS industry has enjoyed staggering growth over the last few years, with almost all businesses using SaaS applications like Slack, Asana, HubSpot, or other tools.
But along with this growth comes competition and a million questions. How do you market your B2B SaaS product? How do you make your company stand out from the competition? What changes do you need to make in 2023 to keep your B2B SaaS marketing strategy effective?
As a SaaS SEO agency, we have learned the answers to all these questions from experience. And now, we’re going to share this knowledge with you. Let’s get into it!
What We'll Cover:
How is B2B SaaS Marketing Different?
B2B SaaS Marketing is the process of selling your product or service to other businesses. This encompasses software like accounting, HR, project management, etc.
The key differences between B2B SaaS marketing and other marketing approaches are:
- B2B marketers need to target audiences more precisely. For example, the same email marketing tool will have different target audiences like agencies, FMCG companies, ecommerce companies, etc. Thus, they must identify each segment’s needs and tailor the marketing accordingly.
- SaaS products are usually subscription-based, unlike the single-purchase nature of traditional products. This is why SaaS marketing needs to be retention-focused as well as acquisition-focused.
- B2B products and services are generally more expensive; thus, marketers must communicate the value to their customers effectively.
- The sales cycle of B2B products is longer than B2C products. Marketers must focus on building relationships throughout this cycle instead of trying to make a quick sale.
Why Do You Need a B2B SaaS Marketing Strategy?
A B2B SaaS marketing strategy is essential for businesses because it plays a key role in how you devise your marketing strategies, how effectively you execute them, and the results they will bring.
Here are four main reasons why you should implement a marketing strategy:
- You can understand the needs of your target audience and develop communication strategies that effectively attract and convert them.
- A proper marketing strategy for all funnel stages ensures the right message is delivered to the right customer at the right time.
- You can generate interest in your products or services, increasing sales and customer loyalty.
- You can form better customer relationships, which is important for any B2B business.
- Having a proper plan with detailed metrics to track will let you know the most effective strategies and the things you can improvise to get even better results in the future.
How Can You Develop an Effective B2B SaaS Marketing Strategy?
Developing a marketing strategy will take some time and experimentation. If you’re just starting out, here are three simple steps you can undertake.
1. Set Clear Goals
Aimless SaaS strategies will take you nowhere. You need to create strategies that have a specific goal, like generating leads, increasing brand awareness, retaining customers or increasing CLTV (Customer Lifetime Value).
It’s also important to delve deep into these goals and detail them further. For example, simply generating leads is not enough. You should determine how many leads you are aiming to acquire.
You can follow the SMART goal-setting approach to set these goals.
For example, if you aim to acquire 1000 leads in the next quarter, you can break down how many leads you can acquire through content marketing, paid ads, etc., based on historical records.
It’s important to understand that you must prioritize different goals based on your business/growth stage. For example, if you’re just starting out, your priority may be generating more leads instead of upselling to customers.
2. Strategic Resource Allocation
Building a B2B marketing strategy requires a lot of investment — both in terms of money and people.
This step involves setting a realistic budget for each of your marketing campaigns and strategies. You’ll also have to allocate team members for different strategies. For example, if you run email marketing campaigns and PPC campaigns, you’ll have to divide the responsibilities between your team.
The most important part here is breaking down your budget for each campaign. One way to do this is by following the priorities you set in the earlier step. The higher the priority, the more budget that strategy should have.
3. Develop Marketing Tactics
Once the budget is finalized, you can start developing your marketing tactics and how to carry them out. This can be divided into several parts.
Inbound marketing consists of strategies and tactics that attract customers so that they come to your business and not the other way around.
With content marketing, you can portray yourself as an authority leader in the niche, build trust with existing customers, and attract more prospects.
It is a long-term strategy that will provide you with results and ultimately drive traffic, brand awareness, and leads for years to come.
There are many types of content formats you can focus on, like blogs, ebooks, infographics, case studies and social media content.
When it comes to SaaS, you should focus on creating content for TOFU (Top of the Funnel), MOFU (Middle of the funnel), and BOFU (Bottom of the funnel), as people can enter your funnel at different stages.
It’s no longer enough to create quality content. Without SEO, this content won’t reach many people.
Search Engine Optimization is a marketing strategy that optimizes your website and content to rank better in search engines.
There are three facets to SEO:
- On-page SEO: Refers to anything you do on your website to influence rankings, like keyword implementation, internal linking, image optimizations, refining title tags and meta descriptions, etc.
- Off-page SEO: Refers to anything that happens away from your website to influence rankings, like link building, PR, guest posting, etc.
- Technical SEO: Refers to optimizing the website’s code and structure for better crawling and indexing by search engines.
You’ll find testimonials on almost every website today.
There’s a clear reason why. User testimonials build trust and add credibility to your business. This is even more important for B2B businesses where the investment is usually higher, and customers rely on testimonials and reviews to make a purchase. They are also a great way to show the results that your tool is bringing to customers.
You can make the reviewing process easy to encourage customers to leave reviews.
Here are some tips on when you should ask for a review:
Influencer marketing is on the rise, and if done strategically, you can reach a wider audience without spending too much money. For example, you can include micro-influencers in your campaign if you have marketing budget constraints.
You can even reach out to influencers already using your product or service and ask them to give their reviews.
For example, Guy Kawasaki, an Apple employee and marketing guru, had been making graphics using Canva’s freemium tool. Canva reached out to him, and today he is the brand evangelist of Canva, helping the brand attract and engage more users.
This tactic works great because consumers trust influencer recommendations more than branded content.
Personalized Email Marketing
Email marketing gives an ROI of $36 for every $1 spent.
But with consumers’ inboxes getting hundreds of emails daily, how do you ensure yours gets noticed?
One way is through personalization.
This personalization can be done through various tactics like using personalized subject lines, implementing behavior-triggered emails, adding relevant recommendations, using location and time zones, using buyer personas and data, sending milestone emails, etc.
Here’s how Spotify evokes curiosity in the user and makes them feel like they’re getting a reward for their usage.
In a nutshell, personalized email marketing allows you to build relationships with existing and potential customers. You can use it in different ways like onboarding, upselling, content promotion, sharing promo codes, etc.
Outbound marketing refers to active marketing strategies where businesses proactively reach out to their customers or prospects.
As content marketing is the lifeblood of inbound marketing, advertisements are the lifeblood of outbound marketing strategies. These advertisements consist of both traditional print advertisements and online PPC campaigns.
For B2B SaaS companies, PPC can be an effective way to reach those people that are actively searching for your product or service.
While devising a PPC campaign, here are some points you must consider:
- Make use of relevant keywords that people generally use to search for your products.
- Enable conversion tracking to gain insights into your campaigns.
- Use responsive search ads.
- Optimize for voice search.
- Diversify your ad platforms.
- Cold Calling/Emailing
Cold calling refers to the practice of making unsolicited phone calls to potential customers to sell them your product or service.
It is called “cold” because the receiver has no prior relationship with the caller and does not expect a call from the same.
It is to be noted that this practice is gradually losing popularity as callers are increasingly becoming wary of businesses that call them without permission. Because of this, the success rate of this practice isn’t that high.
On the contrary, cold emailing can still get you responses and conversions if done correctly.
Events and Webinars
Events and webinars can be a great outbound marketing strategy that helps you across multiple fronts, like building relationships with existing and potential customers, opportunities to showcase your product and expertise, boosting brand awareness, and generating leads for your SaaS business.
You can conduct many different events, like industry conferences, trade shows, field events, customer conferences, etc.
Webinars are also a great option if you don’t want to spend too much on organizing and managing an event.
Here’s one example by HubSpot, which often comes up with unique webinars related to marketing and advertising for their audience.
How Do You Outshine the SaaS Competition?
The SaaS market has fierce competition. With similar tools and similar features, how do you stand apart? Here are four strategies to attract prospects and turn them into paying customers.
1. Elevate User Experience
When it comes to SaaS businesses, one thing people expect is a top-notch user experience. Be it in terms of the website experience, app experience, or mobile experience.
Some tips for elevating user experience are:
- Design for all platforms and devices. For example, the design for a mobile application would not be ideal for a desktop application.
- Make signing up as easy as possible. Adding too many steps or making the experience glitchy right at the start won’t make a good impression.
- Create a better information architecture to help users navigate easily and find the required content.
- Provide an efficient search tool.
You can even deploy surveys and pop-ups to ask the users about their experience while they are on the website or using the app.
Here’s one example to get you inspired.
2. Confirm Product/Market Fit
Achieving product/market fit means the degree to which a product satisfies market demand.
Many SaaS companies fail because they do not achieve this fit or aim for target audiences that do not meet the relevant requirements.
While there is no one way to confirm this fit, here are some steps that you can take for your go-to-market strategy:
- Research the market to determine if there is a need for your product or service.
- Create buyer personas that denote your perfect potential customer.
- Define your value proposition (the problem that your product/service solves).
- Take regular feedback from your customers to know if your product is consistently meeting their requirements.
- Track important metrics like growth and churn rates, market share, online coverage of your company, etc.
3. Focus on Value Instead of Cost
You can compete on prices but not in the long term. For example, if your lower your prices than the competitors, you might attract short-term traffic or customers.
Unless you provide value, these customers won’t stay in the long run. Worse yet, if your competitors slash prices or a new player comes in with free or lesser-priced plans, you will again lose your customers.
That’s why it’s important for B2B SaaS businesses to focus on providing value. This could mean improving the UX or UI, adding new features, engaging your existing customers, etc. The more value you provide, the better it is for retention.
4. Offer Free Trials
As B2B Saas products generally demand significant investment and time, free trials can nudge your customers to take action quickly.
Free trials are a valuable opportunity to show off your product’s features and make the value known to your customer.
You can provide free trials for your entire product or have some basic features available. Many SaaS companies also offer freemium versions where basic features are forever free, but if a customer needs advanced features or upgrades, they have to shift to the other pricing plans.
To get more prospects to opt for these free trials, you can ensure that it’s easy to sign up, does not require a debit or credit card to sign up, and displays all the benefits they’ll get while subscribing to the free trial.
Here’s what Freshbooks sends to its free trial users before the completion of the trial period to incentivize them to take one step further.
Proven B2B SaaS Marketing Strategy Samples
These six best SaaS marketing strategies have been proven to bring results, and we will show you exactly that with real-life examples.
1. Focus on Quality Content
But how do you create this quality content? Here are three tips to get you started with your content marketing strategy.
- Write for humans first, then search engines. This means using internal data to find content ideas your audience likes and matching them with the search intent.
- Create industry-led content. This is unique and will probably fetch you a lot of backlinks. For example, HubSpot publishes a State of Marketing report every year that gets them backlinks whenever someone mentions a statistic from this report.
- Show your expertise. This means writing thought leadership articles where you analyze trends, portray your long-term views on the industry, etc.
2. Build a Strong Social Media Presence
Gone are the days when social media marketing was meant for just B2C companies. This is because social media is a great way to boost your brand awareness and engage with your target audience.
To get started, you must first identify the platforms where your target audience is most active. Next, learn the platform's best practices, the ideal time to post and the kind of content that gets the most engagement, and craft your social media strategy accordingly.
For example, here’s how Hootsuite shares easy-to-digest posts on Twitter that follow the same theme but are a mix of informational, humor, and witty content.
3. Engage and Grow Your Community
Retention is a huge factor in the success of any B2B business.
One way to retain your customers is to keep your community engaged. Here are some things you can do to engage and grow your community:
- Give your community a place just for them. For example, creating Facebook groups.
- Be responsive to queries and suggestions posted on these groups.
- Encourage user-generated content that you can share on your social profiles and elsewhere.
- Create engaging new content exclusively for your community.
Look at how Adobe’s social handle encourages users to share UGC.
4. Offer a Referral Program
Referral programs are an important part of any marketing strategy.
Referral programs become successful because people prefer purchasing a product when recommended by someone they know and trust.
An effective referral program thus helps you find out your loyal fans, get more sign-ups, and bring in a targeted audience.
For example, Todoist offers a referral program where customers get two free months of the Pro plan every time someone they refer upgrades to the Pro plan.
Not only does Todoist incentivize its customers, but every time someone tries out their Pro plan, the probability of that customer upgrading to the Pro plan forever becomes higher.
5. Optimize Video Marketing
According to a survey, 91% of people want to see more online videos from brands.
A part of this popularity is because people have started consuming video content more in the form of reels and Facebook videos.
This has also opened up the arena for brands when it comes to using platforms like YouTube to engage and educate the audience.
For example, Ahrefs is one SaaS company that creates engaging videos for their target audience on YouTube, and they amass a lot of view counts, likes, and possibly conversions through this.
6. Develop Diverse Pricing Options
The strategy of 'one price meets all' never works if your SaaS business is catering to different segments and different business sizes.
To counter this, you can develop multiple pricing options for your customers. But ensure that you don’t overwhelm your audience with too many options.
A good idea is to stick with 2-3 pricing plans as Asana.
Also, outline the differences between these pricing plans on the pricing page so the prospect can clearly understand what they will get with each plan.
Again, Asana, a project management SaaS business, hits the mark on this.
Key Metrics for B2B SaaS Marketing
Measuring the performance of your B2B marketing SaaS strategies is important. It ensures you don’t spend too much time and money on the wrong tactics.
Here are the key metrics SaaS companies should be measuring:
The traffic on your website depends, to a large extent, on your inbound and outbound marketing campaigns.
More traffic may not directly lead to more revenue, but it indicates a healthy website that generates leads.
If you see a drop or a decline in your traffic levels, your content strategy or website needs changes.
2. Conversion Rate
Conversion rate denotes the percentage of people who took the desired action after being exposed to an ad, message or offer.
This metric is important to track as it shows how effective your sales and marketing efforts are. It also denotes the importance of CTAs and framing them effectively so they encourage your audience to take action.
3. Lead Quality
Lead quality determines the likeliness of the lead turning into a paying customer.
This depends on many factors like the source of the lead, demographics, behavior, etc.
SaaS businesses measure this metric by scoring the leads based on their likelihood to convert. The higher the score, the better the lead.
4. Cost Per Lead
Cost per lead (CPL) measures the average cost it takes your business to generate a lead.
It is calculated by dividing the total expenses of your marketing and sales efforts by the number of leads generated.
It helps you determine whether your sales and marketing efforts are efficient in terms of money. You need to modify your strategies if your CPL is higher than average.
5. Customer Churn
Customer churn shows the percentage of consumers that stop using your company’s product during a certain time period.
It is calculated by dividing the number of customers who cancel a subscription by the total number of customers at the beginning of the period.
A high customer churn rate means your product is not satisfying customers, and you might see a decline in revenue.
6. Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV)
Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV) represents the total value a customer would bring to a business over the course of the relationship.
This value can help businesses make informed decisions. For example, if the CLTV is $1000, a business would be more than willing to spend $300 to retain the customer.
The most common approach to calculate it is by considering the average revenue generated by customers over a period of time.
7. Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) represents the total amount spent on marketing and sales to acquire a customer.
It is measured by dividing the total marketing and sales expenses by the number of customers acquired during that period.
It allows customers to see whether the spending is sustainable and if they can reduce this amount.
8. CAC to CLTV Ratio
This measures the Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV) relative to its Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
It gives insight into the long-term viability of the business.
A high ratio means the business is spending more to acquire customers than it is generating revenue from those customers. A low ratio means the business generates more revenue from its customers than it is spending to acquire them.
B2B SaaS marketing strategies can be the difference between a SaaS company moving to the top and one that gets lost in the competition.
Not only can it help SaaS businesses improve conversions and increase revenue, but you can also effectively build long-term relationships within your community and boost brand awareness.
That said, nailing your SaaS marketing strategy can be a tricky endeavor. To get it right, contact our experts at MADX, who have years of experience working for SaaS companies.
Here are some results we have achieved for our clients as a SaaS marketing agency: