SaaS Marketing is complex. The ever-changing nature of software, niche applications in jargon-filled industries, and selling something that has no physical presence can make it challenging.
In this article, we’ll see why SaaS marketing is unique from other types of marketing. It’s not all bad, though. Some of the peculiarities of SaaS marketing make it easier than marketing other types of products.
SaaS Companies Have Short Sales Cycles
SaaS sales cycles are very short, which means you need to provide customers with a lot of information and marketing material to close sales quickly.
Why do SaaS sales move so fast? Unlike enterprise sales which require schmoozing at tradeshows and long paid lunches, SaaS sales are more transactional. Customers want to learn about the product quickly and make a purchase decision immediately. They read a blog post, sign up for a trial, try out product demo and buy.
Also, long sales cycles don’t work for most SaaS because software products are constantly changing. Consider enterprise sales cycles which can last as long as a year. In that period, a SaaS product itself will have rapidly evolved. The ideal customer may have changed, and the benefits you're selling will have improved.
Most SaaS companies sell their software at a lower price point and have low sales cycle complexity. They make it up in scale. These types of sales fit in the bottom left quadrant of the diagram below.
In order to make this model work, SaaS companies need a large volume of customers. To support the quick sales cycle to reach lots of companies at scale, marketing teams need to create and deliver the right marketing content at the right time. Sales teams rely heavily on marketing since they spend less time speaking with individual customers with freemium self-serve products.
Original Information Is SaaS Marketing's Friend
SaaS marketing heavily relies on creating and sharing original information like insights into solving an industry problem.
Most SaaS marketing is tailored to educate and inform. To effectively engage customers, SaaS marketers share information in an easy-to-digest way that gently nudges them to try the product.
For example, a blog could provide readers with regular posts that they also distribute via social media and email. The more useful information they produce, the greater the chance people will visit their site seeking answers and eventually try their product.
As another example, one of your feature pages or a resource page can show an interactive experience of your product, allowing your prospects to learn more about product capabilities. Here is an example - https://www.enable.us/live-product-demo
SaaS Customers are Long-Term
For a mature SaaS company, the majority of revenue comes from existing clients. According to Gartner, 80% of future revenue comes from 20% of current customers. That’s why customer retention is incredibly important for SaaS companies.
And while it’s good to introduce your product to new customers, focusing on retaining existing customers is key to growing revenue. A lot of your marketing efforts will be focused not only on acquiring new customers, but also on retaining existing ones by educating them on new features and use cases.
SaaS Marketing Is a Service-Focused Type of Marketing
SaaS stands for Software as a Service — the service part shouldn’t be forgotten. Your software should be amazing and help your customers, but your customer service to support and help your customers succeed needs to be impeccable too. Your customers are buying a solution to their problems. They're buying not just the software tool, but assistance to use the tool effectively in order to achieve a business outcome.
Service is the frontline of your SaaS company. This includes customer support, customer success, sales, marketing, and ops teams. Maintaining a good customer satisfaction rate and sharing that should always be a part of your marketing strategy.
Also, always try to be proactive and in constant engagement with your existing customers. Whatever you can do to make them happy, do it.
SaaS Marketers Can Give Out Software and Information For Free
SaaS marketing provides free products to customers as a marketing strategy.
Unlike physical products where you can at most provide free samples or promos, SaaS companies are often willing to give away their products for free to hook new customers.
You may have heard or seen the phrases "Sign up for a free trial of our new product!" or "Get a free month of our service."
The same applies to content. SaaS companies produce valuable blog articles, newsletters, whitepapers, eBooks, podcasts, and videos. They spend heavily on researching and providing the best resources in their industry and give them away for free to attract an audience of potential customers.
Getting Your SaaS To Sell Itself - "Show, don't Tell"
Sometimes SaaS marketing can feel very complicated and technical with buzzwords like funnel analysis, acquisition costs, LTV, churn, multi-touch attribution, etc. being thrown around. If you manage to take care of two things, the rest will take care of itself.
First, you need to have an amazing product that is worth showing. Don't just talk about it but present it as an interactive experience to your buyers.
And second, you must back it with excellent customer service. If you can make these two things work for you, then all your SaaS marketing efforts become a lot easier.
Yes, SaaS marketing is a tough job. But its intricacies also make it incredibly rewarding when executed well.
Just keep in mind that an amazing product partnered with excellent service creates loyalty and attracts new customers.