What are The Challenges and Strategies For B2B SaaS Marketing?

Introduction

Consumer marketing and b2b marketing are markedly different. You only have to think about popular commercials for everyday consumer products to know what I mean. Advertisements for products we use daily are memorable; from cars, breakfast cereals, washing detergents, cars, phones, or recent technologies like amazon echo, adverts for all these products are catchy and they make it easy to win over customers.

On the other hand, b2b marketers have different challenges to overcome:

  • The customer mindset of their target consumer is different; b2b customer purchase decisions are more logical than emotional. Other factors besides pricing will affect the purchase.
  • Decisions don’t necessarily lie with one person.

These challenges are even more compounded when it comes to SaaS marketing. Traditionally, marketers have dealt with physical products. Software isn’t physical. Not having a physical product restricts how you create your marketing strategy. Not to mention:

  • SaaS offering are always changing. The constant release of updates and versions can render your messaging redundant before it had time to make a significant mark.
  • A niche market means you have to create accurate personas.
  • Terms like cloud are amorphous and often quite confusing for the user. Your content needs to be detailed and educational.
  • SaaS has short sales cycles and as you will be marketing b2b customers who are typically used to long sales cycles, you will need to bring them around to making decisions a lot faster.

Other challenges faced by SaaS marketers include:

1. Standing Out from the Crowd

The shift from on-premises software to cloud-based SaaS took some time to break into the market. B2b customers were apprehensive about data security and location, among other things. Things have taken a turn, however, as the last few years have witnessed a significant increase in success among SaaS solutions. Gartner, predicts that by 2021, revenues from the public cloud will reach $278 billion.

This rapid growth means that there are more competitors to contend with.

Companies dealing in enterprise SaaS are also a force to contend with, for any mid-sized SaaS vendor that intends to break into that space. Such established companies have large reserves of capital, human resources and have built years of trust.

2. Building a Loyal Database of Customers

Under the SaaS subscription model, costs are recovered over time as customers continue to renew their subscription. New customer acquisition remains a top priority for SaaS businesses.

But customer retention remains key in driving business profit. According to salesforce desk, a 5% increase in customer retention can drive profits by up to 125%.
Customer Retention

Figure 1: customer retention is key for driving profits
With so many SaaS companies offering similar solutions, there’s nothing to prevent your customers from jumping ship if they are dissatisfied with your solution.

But this can be prevented by

  • Creating products that add value,
  • Running marketing campaigns that educate,
  • Offering customizable solutions,
  • Engaging your customers.

This is the mark of good customer service and it will go a long way in reducing customer churn rates.

3. Generating Value by Targeting Volume Customers

SaaS companies experience lower per/client contract value. For traditional b2b software companies, the reward in lengthy sales cycles lies in the high value they get upon onboarding a client. This means that if SaaS companies employ the same tactics used for selling on-premise software, they will take longer to become profitable.

Instead, SaaS companies have to look at the option of b2c SaaS marketing, in order to bring in lower value customers in big volumes. This is best done through inbound marketing, a process that requires employing marketing means that guide customers to come to decide on their own that they want to buy your product. (we shall talk about these lead generation tactics further below). This presents yet another challenge as if the SaaS marketer doesn’t have a sound lead generation strategy, then a lot of money, time and effort will go to waste. It’s worth noting that experienced B2B lead generation services will help you deal with your inbound marketing challenges.

4. Dealing with Resistance to Change

Companies that resist SaaS still do so because they have existing systems that they have been using for a long time. Telling them to do a switchover is asking a lot in most cases. You will also be faced with the following concerns when marketing SaaS:

  • Business continuity
  • People becoming redundant and losing their jobs
  • The need to learn new systems
  • Losing existing relationships with current vendors
  • People have invested time and effort in building current systems. They just won’t let their efforts go to waste.

These are all difficulties you will have to wade through to win over new clients. How can you?

  • Identify the key person whose mind you need to change. It might not be the person with the budget. Normally, key decision-makers will turn to key system users for advice. One study actually shows that executives will turn to end-users within the company before making a purchase decision.

purchase decision

Figure 2: Up to 81% of non-C-Suite users have influence in organization’s purchase decision

  • Prepare for objections. For instance, risks involved in entrusting data to offsite infrastructure. The right content, webinar, tradeshow should address such objections.

With effective, targeted marketing campaigns, chances are that even the most ardent fans of current systems will see the point in using a system that makes work easier, improves security and costs less.

At this point, you are probably wondering, “How can I grow a SaaS business given all these challenges?” The simple fact is that many SaaS companies have succeeded by making use of the right SaaS marketing channels. You too can succeed.

Below are tactics that will help you overcome the SaaS marketing challenges discussed above.

B2b SaaS Marketing Strategies.

Below are 5 digital marketing strategies that will help you overcome the challenges of SaaS marketing.

1. Content Marketing

Customer expect content

Figure 3: Customers expect content from brands
Businesses all over the world are taking advantage of content to attract visitors and generate leads for their products. Content should also feature in SaaS marketing channels. In fact, statistics show that up to 84% of customers expect content from brands.

Once your content is out there, it will continue to generate leads; with marketing tactics such as content syndication, you can expand your content’s reach even further. Coupled with paid marketing tactics such as PPC, content can increase the number of leads you generate. PPC will push traffic to your site; once they land on your site, great content will go a long way in convincing them to convert.

2. Product Trials

Saas companies offer free trail

Figure 4: 44% of SaaS companies offer a free trial
If you aren’t already offering product trials, you should do so immediately as product trials have been shown to increase leads for SaaS solutions.

After a week, 2 weeks or 1 month of trial, it’s usually a lot more difficult for people to envision living without your solution, as long as they have had a positive experience. Prospects who sign up for trials are high-quality leads. Keep track of them and contact them early in the trial period to find out the quality of their experience. This is a key part of SaaS marketing best practices. As well, keep eyes on your statistics to see if prospects are dropping out mid-trial. This way, you will catch on to quality or usability issues.

3. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Seo is instrumental for content discovery. With on-page and off-page SEO, you can improve the chances of people finding your content, through tactics such as link building, meta-tagging, and keyword optimization.

4. Google Ads

Google ads get millions of clicks every day. As such, investing in ads is a great way to take advantage of potential leads. The great thing about Google ads is that you can increase or decrease your budget depending on your objectives.

It’s also easy to calculate ROI with google ads, which is a good thing because one challenge surrounding digital marketing has been the inability to quantify success through measures such as ROI.

5. Retargeting

It is common for website visitors to buy after a couple of visits. Retargeting involves displaying contextual ads on other sites frequented by web visitors, in order to lure them back to your site. Retargeting will ensure your SaaS solution remains top of mind among visitors as they continue their research. Pairing your retargeting ads with a discount will make it more likely for visitors to come back and convert. With effective retargeting campaigns, you can increase your conversion rate.

Conclusion

For any business, being successful begins with attracting the right customers. This may take a lot longer for SaaS companies, but it is achievable as is evidenced in case studies published in SaaS marketing books. The strategies discussed above work; should you find yourself suddenly overwhelmed by an influx of traffic, give us a Call. We will help you handle lead qualification and appointment setting for qualified leads.

About Author

Shawn Hadden is a digital marketing strategist. He provides innovative and results-driven internet marketing solutions so that business owners become even more successful in their chosen fields of endeavor.

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