Update: we just published a new comprehensive guide for marketing your SAAS product, go check it out!
I speak with many B2B CMOs who tell me online marketing isn’t relevant when it comes to B2B. Such companies stick to traditional methods such as trade shows, cold calling and god forbid – traditional media such as billboards or even TV. SaaS marketers don’t have the privilege of disregarding online marketing as a core platform for generating customers.
By the inherent online SaaS nature, SaaS marketers are “forced” to hack their way to growth online. So, what do most SaaS CMOs do? They spend money on media, sending traffic to salesly landing pages that rarely convert visitors to leads (and even when converting, those leads almost never become customers). After a while they realize that’s not the way to go and start searching for solutions. The purpose of this post is to help you avoid wasting your investors’ money, and tackle SaaS marketing like a pro.
First things first – who are you selling to?
A good starting point to learning your target audience is to learn all you can about your current customers.
Evaluate the following: who are those people whose problem you’re solving? How old are they? What’s their professional background? What challenges are they dealing with and how do you help them solve those challenges?
Understanding your buyer personas is the foundation of an effective SaaS marketing strategy. Without that, you’re working in the dark.
Understand your prospect’s buyers journey
Once you’ve mapped out who your ideal buyers are, it’s time to put yourself in their shoes and understand the journey they go through leading up to a purchase. First, I’ll tell what their journey isn’t (though wouldn’t everyone’s life be easier if it where) :
a dream buyer’s journey
I’m surprised by the number of B2B marketers who still think that by interrupting their target audience with ads intended to sell them something they’re not ready to buy, from a company they don’t trust – can actually generate positive ROI. The brutal reality is that interrupting will not get you far. Selling to people who don’t trust you and aren’t ready to buy is annoying, spammy and a waste of your money. Here’s what a realistic buyer’s journey looks like:
A typical buyer’s journey includes 3 stages:
- Awareness – the prospect realized and expressed symptoms of a potential problem. For example “how do I drive the right kind of traffic to my website”
- Consideration – the prospect clearly defined and gave a name to their problem and is now committed to researching and understanding all available approaches to solving their problem. For example, a prospect whose problem is driving the right kind of traffic might research “how to do Inbound Marketing” or “what you should look out for when outsourcing Inbound Marketing”
- Decision – the prospect defined their solution strategy and is now comparing vendors.
Many companies are trying to sell to prospects at early stages of the buyer’s journey when in fact what they should be focusing on is adding value and positioning themselves as experts in their fields. The secret lies in distributing valuable content, building trust and creating lasting relationships. Turning visitors to customers will happen on your visitors’ terms. Just as you can’t force a social relationship, you can’t force a business one. The days of salesmen knocking on doors (both online and offline) asking for a glass of water and then pitching to death (or closed deal) are gone. We’re in an era of value. By placing the right content at the right place and the right time, you’ll be amazed at the quality of leads you’ll be generating. Those leads will be called inbound leads and the method – inbound marketing.