Strategizing B2B Marketing for SaaS Companies

Marketing is hard enough as it is: Market research, keyword analysis and more take time and effort. However, selling something as ephemeral and ever-shifting as software poses its own challenges. B2B marketing strategies for SaaS are a beast all on their own and require specialized strategies.  

Build Your Brand 

Everyone has something to sell these days– Even SaaS companies with relatively unique products face competition from others in a similar niche. Products that serve adjacent purposes with the same software, especially those at similar price points, will always be in competition.  

More than just selling a product, SaaS companies aiming to stand out from a sea of others offering similar services must sell their brand. 

A brand isn’t just a logo, name and catchphrase, though having these in hand and well-distributed across marketing materials can be important. 42% of consumers feel that a logo conveys a company’s personality, while 60% will avoid brands with outdated or otherwise unattractive logos. Effective B2B marketing strategies devote time and energy to crafting recognizable branding to drive recognition and then take the opportunity to distribute that branding alongside their other strategies.  

Despite the importance of names, logos and other vital aesthetics such as brand fonts and colors, there is far more to building a brand that creates marketing momentum. Everyone has heard the term “we need a new narrative” in a meeting or even a press release, but it isn’t far from the truth. According to Mark Bonchek, Founder and CEO of Shift Thinking, “You want a story that inspires employees, excites partners, attracts customers, and engages influencers.” Bonchek asserts that building a brand narrative that is both concise and offers a clear scope of who your brand is, instead of just what they sell, will help companies gain an advantage in the marketplace.  

With a narrative in hand, it’s essential to focus on consistency of tone. New businesses often create inconsistent content with an unclear voice, leading to posts that feel inauthentic. Audiences trust brands that they feel they “know:” Those who have taken the time to craft a cohesive voice will excel in the marketplace over companies with a wishy-washy feel to them.  

Choose Your Go-To-Market Strategy 

More than almost any other tech industry, SaaS companies face high front-end costs and time expenditures. Developing a product, testing it and hiring the right team to maintain software are all intensive processes– But what about getting it to market?  

Go-To-Market (GTM) strategies are key for just that. A cohesive GTM strategy will offer a roadmap for getting a new brand, or even just a new product for that brand, into the public eye in a way that hits all intended KPIs and ensures a positive reception from the target customer. Every standard GTM has four elements:  

  1. Product-Market Fit: Identifying what needs in the market a product offers to fill.  
  2. Target Audience: Developing a picture of who this product is aimed at.  
  3. Marketing Plan: Deciding this brand intends to differentiate itself from others, including the competition.  
  4. Acquisition Channels: Defining where a brand will ultimately meet and sell to its customers.  

Product-Market Fit

Product-market fit is a key element of B2B marketing strategies. It is, in laymen’s terms, how a product is suited to the market it has been developed for. According to Bhaskar Ahuja, Forbes Council Member, founder of Originscale Corp, and startup specialist, a good product-market fit is vital to a successful GTM plan. “It indicates that there is a market for what you are selling and that people are prepared to pay a premium for it since it is superior to the alternatives,” says Ahuja. SaaS businesses must be sure that they’re targeting the correct market with the service they have to offer.  

Target Audience

Building a campaign around precisely who the ideal customer is will help create the most meaningful, efficient and cost-effective GTM plan. “The foundation for such a campaign, however, is the creation of a detailed customer persona,” says Gerrid Smith, CMO at Joy Organics and an expert in the field of digital marketing. A buyer persona is, more or less, a picture of a brand’s ideal buyer: What are they thinking, what do they like, and where are they searching for products they need? By narrowing this down, brands can select the most effective places to launch marketing material for optimal ROI.  

Marketing Plan 

Often confused with a GTM strategy, a marketing plan details exactly how a company should use the data from their product-market fit and target audience to launch an effective campaign. Some key elements of effective B2B marketing strategies for SaaS businesses include content marketing, social media and offering free trials. While typical B2B sales take upwards of a year, sales cycles for SaaS products are typically short and to the point. Founders of SaaS companies need to understand the ever-evolving nature of the tech field and their products and drive a marketing strategy focused on short first-touch to final sale journeys.  

Acquisition Channels

In short, acquisition channels are any place your customers encounter your brand for the first time. These can include SEO campaigns, referral programs, and social media sites. It’s vital for a successful B2B marketing strategy to match their brand identity and tone to the kind of customer they want to attract and follow the appropriate acquisition channel to find them. Of course, following multiple acquisitions channels is more desirable than only following one. Still, it’s essential to adjust the advertising voice and strategy to match the marketing platform. 

Focus on Customer Retention

A core piece of any B2B marketing strategy should emphasize customer retention. The process of acquiring new customers is widely known to be far more costly than it is to retain an existing client, both in terms of time and money. In fact, acquiring a new customer can cost as much as five times more than retaining an existing one. On average, SaaS customers only pay approximately 5% to 15% of their lifetime value upfront, with the rest only coming as future revenue. So then, how should SaaS companies fit maximizing customer value into their B2B marketing strategies?

Customer engagement, education and feedback are all absolute must-haves. Many successful SaaS businesses will set up so-called “learning centers” on-site, segments of the company focused solely on answering and addressing all questions and complaints that their customers might have. This ensures that no client feels unheard and is thus engaged by the company and made to feel individually significant.

On the subject of making customers feel heard, responding and adjusting to customer feedback is vital for the growth of any business, not only those focused on B2B. Directly addressing customer input is an excellent strategy for engagement and growth for SaaS businesses. On the subject of feedback, CEO of ReviewTrackers, Chris Campbell said: “Reviews are a driving force of a brand’s reputation. Software brands can no longer ignore the voice of their customers, as their success is dependent on it.”

Keeping open and frequent lines of communication, in general, are important factors in overall retention as well. Automated email campaigns and newsletters keep the customer informed and thinking about the business. Regular direct meetings also remind them that there is a person on the other side of the screen thinking about their needs. 

Create High-Quality Content 

Content marketing is a proven driving force in many fields today, creating a boost to a brand’s search engine rankings and generating consumer trust in a company’s expertise. Content marketing leads to an impressive 300% increase in leads-per-dollar over traditional methods and costs 62% less. Content marketing is vital as a B2B marketing strategy, creating intellectual property that adds to a company’s value for years to come with little upkeep cost.  

However, the best ways to use content marketing are vital to consider when creating a SaaS company made to make money. While any content with good linking and keyword practices can help boost search engine rankings, it’s important to ask how to get the most out of a content marketing strategy.  

“Use educational content to be present in the early and middle stages of the buyer’s journey,” says Joshua Feinberg, a digital transformation and go-to-market consultant for SaaS and tech brands with over 20 years in the business. Getting a foot in the door at the early points of the target demographic’s research phase is key: If a professional is searching for the best ways to automate a process for their business, they typically want to learn as much as they can. When a company blog provides easy-to-understand, informative articles, it builds trust that the target customer will remember when it’s time to make an informed decision for their needs. 81% of US customers trust the information on blogs– Brands can tap into this vast market to create trustworthy information that keeps customers coming back.  

B2B marketing strategies that use content marketing as a pillar component also benefit from becoming key influencers in their industry. Regarding content marketing, Feinberg says, “You gain the ability to provide insight, thought leadership, and value that positions you and your team as the definitive go-to experts in your space.” Thought leadership established through robust and informative content can help shape public perception of a brand and influence crucial moving parts. This is especially true of B2B marketing: Good business leaders keep a pulse on the thought leaders in their space and respond to the decisions these leaders make.

Plan Your SEO Strategy 

Creating high-quality content will help a brand’s SEO strategy thrive, but on top of that, it’s vital to make sure that all content is optimized.  

The Google algorithm is often made out to be a constantly shifting, nebulous, and scary thing marketers must work around to top rankings, but it’s fairly simple to understand when broken down. An increasing interest in crafting “topic clusters” instead of simple keywords has led to notable results. That isn’t to say that keywords are going the way of the dinosaurs, but rather that increasingly clever search engine bots are now able to recognize how related the subjects in a particular website’s posts are.  

Performing an analysis of the competition’s keyword gaps, as well, can lead to hefty results. A keyword gap analysis will reveal what people are searching for and that the competition isn’t also ranking for it. In this regard, SaaS Businesses can gain a foothold by managing to rank where the competition doesn’t, instead of trying to usurp them on turf they already control.  

Read more about The Importance of SEO and the 8 Best Practices that Have Stood the Test of Time. 

Choose The Right Marketing Software Tools  

Marketing Software has improved tremendously over the past decade, and in doing so, it has become a truly indispensable part of any successful B2B marketing strategy. As technology advances and changes, intelligent business owners seek to adapt to changes in the market and keep up to date with the tools their competitors might be using. Marketing Software services such as Pardot and Klaviyo are essential to your company’s automation, saving on labor costs and time and contributing to the overall streamlining process. Programs like these can enable you to send emails, track your prospects, and run your marketing campaigns with ease. Sam, the mind behind the popular blog Redditquette, a blog dedicated to helping advertisers achieve lasting success on the social media site Reddit, suggests using “keyword research tools that rank your site on top of Google for specific keywords.” Keyword research tools, such as SEMrush and Ahrefs, are pieces of software that help find the most common search queries on engines like Google and Amazon. However, keyword research isn’t the only form of helpful software available to aspiring B2B business owners.  

There are also plenty of SEO tools that are free to use. Check out our Collection of the 105 Best Free SEO Tools to learn more.  

For example, a CRM, or a Customer Relationship Management System, is a vital form of software that specifically serves as a consolidated database for all the information you gather on active and potential clients, including all the direct interactions you have with them.  

Standing Out as a SaaS in 2022 – The Importance of Word of Mouth

As the SaaS space is ever-evolving and expanding, differentiating from the competition will be a crucial challenge for SaaS owners in 2022. Eric Carrell, Marketing Advisor for the award-winning VPN provider Surfshark, says the key for SaaS companies will be “demonstrating how you provide additional value to clients.”

Will Cannon, CEO of Signaturely believes word of mouth is a SaaS company’s most effective way of marketing. “Client testimonial videos should be encouraged by a SaaS company’s present client base. This is the most straightforward way to establish social evidence.” He goes on to advise having an incentive structure for referrals. “Referrals are not only the most effective sort of lead, but they can also be the cheapest because the customer does most of the heavy lifting. Because so much of the software used by businesses is custom-made, the first thing they want to know is how well the cloud software will connect with their existing infrastructure. They also want to ensure that the SaaS provider provides comprehensive assistance in the event that something goes wrong. Now, an organization can only get answers to both of its queries by asking other people who are familiar with the organization.”  

The market for software as a service is a dynamic and ever-changing environment. As a result, SaaS marketers must be up to date on current developments and maintain a careful eye on the competition.