Sales and marketing success tips for your B2B SaaS business
INTRODUCTION TO INBOUND MARKETING
Many B2B Saas businesses are turning to inbound marketing as a way to effectively launch their products. This marketing process focuses on bringing customers to the business by providing relevant and interesting content. It’s cost effective compared to traditional media, but also targeted, flexible and innovative - much like a startup itself.
According to HubSpot, “Instead of the old outbound marketing methods of buying ads, buying email lists, and praying for leads, inbound marketing focuses on creating quality content that pulls people toward your company and product, where they naturally want to be.”
Introduced in 2005, the inbound marketing method is fundamentally different from traditional marketing. Traditional marketing can be expensive for marketers because they broadcast content to a mass audience even if they are not in their target demographic. The inbound marketing shift is about empowering potential customers and focusing on getting found by customers. It’s customer-centric. So, what is the inbound marketing methodology and how do you implement it into your B2B SaaS business?
Attract: Starting at the beginning, you need to attract strangers to your website, turning them into visitors. You can use blogging, website optimisation or social media to attract strangers to increase your website traffic.
Convert: Once you’ve attracted new visitors, the next step is to convert them into leads by gathering their contact information. In order for the visitors to leave their contact information (email address), you need to offer them something in return. This can be eBooks, whitepapers, or tip sheets - whatever information would be interesting and valuable to your prospects. This conversion process should be supported by your website’s call-to-actions and landing pages .
Close: Now that you’ve attracted the right visitors and converted the right leads, it’s time to transform those leads into customers. In this close stage, email and CRM can be used to sell to the right leads at the right time.
Delight: Inbound marketing doesn’t stop at the sales, it continually delights and engages with your customers in order to turn them into promoters. And, don’t forget to analyse your actions and performance in each stage. The analysis is part of every single thing you do with your inbound strategy, because you need to know what’s working, what isn’t and how to improve your efficiency.
THREE REASONS INBOUND MARKETING WORKS FOR YOUR B2B SAAS BUSINESS
B2B SaaS customers subscribe to or rent the service instead of owning it. They’re allowed to customise the application via the web, yet the infrastructure and code base is managed by the central administration. Some characteristics of your SaaS business makes it viable to use inbound marketing to get leads to convert to paying customers:
Free trials: Not many products are as conducive to the free trial as SaaS. Sure, you can test drive a car, but it’s not common for you to be able to take it home for the week and see how it fits into your life. The cool thing about SaaS is that you have the capability to offer a full product in the trial. A free trial is such a potentially powerful selling tool, and you’ll notice that a lot of SaaS companies use them.
SaaSy service: Remember that you’re not just selling a t-shirt, you’re job is not done after the sale. This is Software as a Service! That means you’re offering not only excellent software but excellent service as well. Treat your customers well, offer them the support they need to make your product their favourite.
Short sales cycle and long-term customers: The SaaS sales cycle is a bit unusual in that it’s relatively short, yet your customers tend to be long term. The cycle is relatively short because that’s the nature of the industry – it’s technology and it’s always evolving. The user will visit your website (which because you’re a SaaS, will be first class and have everything they need, including personal assistance), play around for a bit, read some reviews and do some research. An awesome SaaS pricing page also goes a long way. There’s no need for long and protracted negotiations, meetings and demos; it can hopefully all be done online.
CORE PILLARS OF INBOUND
The inbound marketing methodology can be supported with other schools of thought that complement the way people buy. Here are the core pillars of inbound:
Smarketing : You’ve got great service and marketing ideas, but how are you going to stand out from the competition and drive customer acquisition? For many B2B SaaS businesses, marketing is tasked with lead generation, sales-pipeline contribution and revenue generation, or what we call pipeline marketing or sales marketing. Smarketing is the process of aligning the sales and marketing teams around common goals within your business, focused on improving revenue.
Align goals: Smarketing is all about goals. At its core, the sales and marketing teams must have the same goal - revenue.
Add sales quotas: The visitors’ and lead’s goals should be tied to the sales quotas.
Track progress: The marketing and sales teams must have visibility into each other’s goals and progress. In a small scale business, they can make adjustments in real time accordingly. Compensation should be planned based on the shared marketing and sales goals.
Communicate continuously: Continual communication and education around personas is essential.
GROWTH DRIVEN DESIGN
The traditional web design process is broken in many ways. It can be very risky as there’s an upfront cost and the project usually takes a long time. It also often fails to produce optimal results because it doesn’t allow for change, adjustment or reaction. Growth-Driven Design is a streamlined process that not only produces better results, but also helps your business to grow. Growth-Driven Design methodology can transform a business in three phases:
- Develop a Growth-Driven Design strategy
- Create a launch pad
- Maintain continuous improvement
Developing a Growth-Driven design strategy: In the strategy phase, we aim to gain an empathetic understanding of our users and learn how to best fit the website into their lives. We conduct user research and formalise a journey map to take a look at where the user goes and what his or her life looks like before, during, and after interaction with the website. To guide your understanding, you may start by asking questions like “what challenges are your audience facing?”, “what are their goals?”, “who are they?” and “where does the website weave in as a part of that?”
Creating a launch pad website: Once we have a strong wish list from the strategy phase, we move onto the second phase of the Growth-Driven Design Methodology - the launch pad website. The launch pad website is a site that is built with the core value-driving elements. The goal is to launch a site quickly so we can make more informed decisions based on real user data and ensure it has a quicker impact on the business.
Continuous improvement: In traditional web design, site launching is the end of the process. For Growth-Driven Design, the launch pad is actually just the beginning. We launch something quickly and then it’s the starting point for all of our continuous improvement efforts. There are two connected parts to the continuous improvement phase. The first is the continuous improvement cycle and the second is the website hierarchy.
Unlike the traditional web design process, Growth-Driven Design is a holistic system that builds on a deep understanding of the users and continuously improves based on real-time feedback and actual user data. Because of this, Growth-Driven Design allows us to put ourselves in the shoes of our prospects and ensure the growth of the business.
TIPS TO STAY COMPETITIVE
Acquiring and retaining new customers in the B2B SaaS marketplace is a delicate process. The inbound way allows for your buyer to gravitate to your brand naturally through the buyer’s journey.
Here are 3 tips to keep you ahead of the curve:
Identify your buyer personas: Identifying your buyer personas is key. From there, you need to nurture the community you’re creating. While having educational content is inherently useful, if it’s not entertaining then you won’t delight your buyer personas.
Drive traffic via blogging: Blogging is a platform where you can build a community and drive traffic through your website. It is a crucial step in the process of converting visitors into leads and leads into customers. It impacts SEO and you can be found online for the things that your audience is looking for. You’ll have a huge competitive advantage if you create an engaging blog for your business!
Sell the Inbound way: Pushing products is off-putting, but providing solutions to problems allows visitors to make their own decisions about becoming leads. Having respect for your visitors and putting the power in their hands builds strong and lasting relationships. Your content is a big part of what creates a delightful customer experience, so investing in it is crucial. So go ahead and get your B2B SaaS business sales and marketing ready. After all, staying competitive is not an option, it’s the only way to stand out from the noise and attract your buyer personas to your brand.