- Identify the ideal customers to target
- Get the product in front of key consumers through appropriate messaging
A SaaS startup will spend most of its marketing energy and resources on identifying the key audience, and then work up toward maintaining engagement on the product. But SaaS vendors that have graduated up from the startup phase should still keep tabs on where the highest-value leads are coming from and what trends are arising in the marketplace. So let’s run through the short to-do list for SaaS marketers.
Who’s Out There?
When deciding what demographic to target with key messaging and product updates, marketing teams must conduct extensive research and build a detailed ideal customer profile. Today’s business technology buyers are much smarter than those of 10 years ago. The SaaS market has begun to mature, and buyers are often replacing antiquated systems rather than adopting for the first time.
SaaS marketers can safely assume most buyers either know what features and functions they want and need from experience, or are familiar enough with the technology to have a solid understanding. When building the ideal customer profile, be sure to develop the buyer as relatively sophisticated and more interested in addressing their needs than being talked into unnecessary bells and whistles.
Know the Sell
Furthermore, it is imperative for marketers to understand how the products they are selling impact business practices for the client. If you only have high-level knowledge of the offering, it will be difficult to identify the customer who will get the most out of each solution or how different technologies can work together to generate a variety of outcomes or improvements. Take the time to know the products’ details in a business context and then trace these functionalities back to specific industries, company sizes, regions, or business demands.
As you start to construct an ideal customer profile, utilize marketing automation solutions to keep track of key information. Each interaction with a potential customer should be documented in a CRM and saved to a profile so other team members can learn from the experiences and provide more customized solutions in the future. The more data you collect on prospective leads and their reactions to the products, the easier it will be to pinpoint the target audience and most appropriate messaging to engage these buyers.
Furthermore, some of the fastest growing SaaS companies out there may market their products online, but the vast majority will generate a significant amount of their revenue over the phone. Inside sales and telemarketing teams optimize voice-based marketing automation tools to measure marketing effectiveness and optimize ROI. Call tracking technology can track inbound calls back to specific marketing sources and then integrate the data with your CRM to make the notation of customer information quick and efficient for a more succinct profiling process.
What Do They Want?
Luckily for SaaS marketers today, companies are becoming more comfortable with the idea of running critical business functions in the cloud. This means pitching the basic idea of SaaS products is less of an uphill battle, and messaging should focus more on the details, differentiators, and special features. Rather than spending time convincing the customer that SaaS solutions are reliable and secure, marketers can assume a certain level of understanding and build from there with messaging, research, and case studies.
Because SaaS customers have a basic idea of what they want and need, marketers must approach messaging and campaigns as an opportunity to focus on differentiators. There is a laundry list of features and functionality that may have been innovative a decade ago, but today have come to be expected by the average customer. Marketers should cut to the chase and showcase what sets the company apart from competitors upfront to pique the buyer’s interest and start an important and in-depth dialogue.
15 Heads Are Better Than One
Despite the maturing of the SaaS market, there still remain many of the same challenges that presented when the technology first emerged. Because SaaS solutions impact all aspects of a business, there are often many parties involved in the evaluation and decision-making process. This forces marketing teams to present appropriate messaging to a variety of audiences hoping to engage at least one and nurture all those involved. The list of cooks in the kitchen can include:
- IT and procurement teams
- Business owners
- Marketing, sales, support or other department executives
- Marketing, sales, support or other department heads
- Individual end users
The wide range of potential leads places greater demand on marketers to understand the business use for each buyer type, and address their unique concerns in language the buyer will respond to best. If the head of HR is evaluating one aspect of the solution and an IT executive steps into the mix as well, marketers must have a pool of talking points and sales angles accessible to prevent the discussion from being derailed or the messaging jumbled.
Maintaining a strong CRM and detailed interaction data will provide marketing, sales, and support teams with important information to identify which audience they are engaging and select the appropriate messaging for optimal results. Helpful tools such as whisper messaging can further increase success rates by preparing brand representatives before each phone interaction throughout the sales cycle.