B2B SaaS marketing is a tall order. It requires selling something that’s intangible to businesses that are already experts in their industry. Fortunately, with the right B2B SAAS marketing strategies, you can win those experts over and get them on board with your SaaS product.
While selling software to businesses may seem like a task fit only for marketing geniuses with indomitable creativity and unlimited resources, it turns out B2B software is extremely popular. In fact, between 2019 and 2023, the global SaaS market is expected to be worth $60.36 billion.
It’d be a gross understatement to say we’re in the midst of a boom.
The amount of apps businesses use is on the rise — so much so that the average number of SaaS apps used per organization doubled (from 8 to 16) in the period from 2015 to 2017.
No doubt, on any given workday, you do at least one of the following:
- Logged onto an app that handles your company’s intercommunication, like Slack
- Checked your to-do list, using something like Asana
- Had a video call, likely over Zoom
Need we go on?
There we have it: the contemporary workplace heavily relies on software services.
But while an understanding of the sheer weight of this digital transformation may be within your grasp, how you get your particular software to thrive in this market is probably more elusive.
How to Market Your SaaS Business for the New Workplace
First, the bad news: marketing problems account for a whopping 22% of why startups fail.
And now for the good: there are measures you can put in place to ensure you do not fall on the wrong side of that statistic.
There are three things you need to know about B2B SaaS marketing strategies in 2021:
1. What worked 10 years ago is no longer relevant.
Quite frankly, trying to apply yesterday’s marketing solutions today is a sure-fire way to be on the list of the B2B SaaS companies that fail. That means you have to make sure your digital marketing strategy is comprehensive, up-to-date, and formulated for genuine long-term growth. From collaborating with other businesses to understanding how to rank in the SERPs to free trials, B2B SaaS marketing strategies are fresh ideas that have their own best practices.
2. Decisions are made by an informed group of people, not individuals.
One of the important distinctions between B2C to B2B marketing is that in the former, you generally have to impress one customer to make a sale. In the latter, you may have to impress an entire group or company. While these decision makers will differ from company to company, there are a couple of commonalities to take advantage of.
The first is that it’s almost guaranteed there will be a hierarchy of decision makers. Depending on how integral your software solution will be to its operations, you may have an executive at the top who signs off on the decision. This executive may not even be using the software, and if they are, they’re likely not the only one. That means that, unlike B2C where you can draw up a customer profile, here you have to draw up multiple and understand the interactions between them as best you can.
The second is that businesses are more knowledgeable — and overwhelmed — than ever. Never has product research been more readily available than it is in the digital age we are a part of. More than likely, your potential clients have explored the competition, know what else is on offer and have compared pricing models.
However, while your audience is more informed, they are also inundated with options. They are exhausted by research. As the Harvard Business Review’s The New Sales Imperative suggests:
“…with a wealth of data on any solution, a raft of stakeholders involved in each purchase, and an ever-expanding array of options, more and more deals bog down or even halt altogether. Customers are increasingly overwhelmed and often more paralyzed than empowered.”
When you ask the age-old marketing question of, who am I marketing my product/service to? you need to factor in the nuances of this burgeoning marketplace.
3. If you’re going to succeed, your business must build name recognition.
Here’s a statistic that may startle you: your buyer has likely completed 60% of the buying process before they even engage you. There’s so much going on behind the scenes that it’s imperative brand awareness is working for you even when you’re not there.
The best way to do this? Leverage a comprehensive SEO strategy.
The reality is, 70% of marketers see SEO as more effective than PPC and 64% of marketers are actively investing resources into SEO. When it comes to marketing a SaaS product, you have to ensure the right people are finding you — and that means ranking well in the SERPs.
This may sound simple enough, but an effective SEO strategy is harder to pull off than you think. Actioning insights based on Google’s ever-changing, extensive list of ranking factors can often feel like trying to pin the tail on the donkey if you don’t have an in-depth understanding of how it works.
And when it comes to effectively allocating your market spend, leaving the SEO to professionals who do understand exactly how it works is not something you’ll regret.
But in addition to SEO, what are the top B2B marketing strategies in 2021? And how can you implement them in order to achieve sustainable growth for your enterprise? We’ll show you.
Collaboration and B2B SaaS Marketing
In a dog-eat-dog industry, the best way to survive is to share your food.
Wait a minute, what?
You see, by pooling your marketing resources with a company that is complementary in some way to your own, you can both grow your brand and your revenue astronomically.
Finding allies in the B2B SaaS marketplace can be an extremely cost-effective way of boosting your business and reaping long-term benefits. There are two ways to do it.
The first is called co-marketing. It involves working with one or more other companies in order to boost both brands through a unified one-time or long-term strategy. This can help grow your audience and your brand as well as be a unique way to create interesting content.
The second is called a referral program, which is where your company offers incentives to businesses you already work with in exchange for referrals. This can be a highly effective way of generating strong new leads that have a high potential of converting — and you get to cement the relationship you have with your existing client. Referrals are a win-win.
So how do you determine which companies to partner with on B2B SaaS marketing strategies? There are two primary indicators of which companies will make a good fit.
- Your products are complementary. Ever been on a software product website and noticed a page called, “Integrations?” Oftentimes, integrations are supportive software companies, and they’re almost always developed by other companies. The idea is that rather than simply offering one service, they offer a whole ecosystem of services — and both companies expand their reach through the collaboration.
- You have something in common — unrelated to your product. Even if your services seem drastically different on the surface, dig a little deeper and you may find less obvious connections — like a shared target audience.
SEO is a Key Part of Any B2B Marketing Strategy
The reality is, your SaaS product could be the most useful, robust, tried-and-tested marvel on the planet, but if the businesses who need it don’t know about it, none of that matters.
That’s where SEO comes in.
But while search engines are certainly a gateway for potential new businesses to find you online, it’s a competitive gateway. As a result, an expertly executed, comprehensive SEO strategy is absolutely vital when it comes to marketing for SaaS companies.
And when a B2B SaaS SEO strategy is effectively implemented, it can catalyze sustainable, long-term gains for you — as in increasing organic traffic by 582% kind of gains.
But where do you even start?
B2B SaaS Content Marketing
While our whole world shifted around in 2020, one thing that stayed the same was the importance of creating exceptional content. In fact, companies that use content marketing see up to 647% return on their investment.
But while it can be easy to understand why you should invest in your content marketing, actually implementing a successful content marketing strategy is not.
B2B SaaS content marketing should do three things:
- Demonstrate thought leadership. You want to work with businesses that understand their field better than anyone else. Your clients do too. It’s that simple. Thought leadership goes a long way to both help form and sustain client relationships. In fact, an Edelman-LinkedIn report found that 58% of decision-makers read at least one hour of thought leadership content per week. That means if you want to attract potential businesses, you need to demonstrate your expertise. And it doesn’t have to be written content; podcasts and video content all go a long way toward establishing credibility.
- Be consistent. If you’ve ever tried to break a habit, you know the power of consistency. When it comes to content creation for B2B SaaS marketing, sticking at it is imperative. In fact, sticking to it on a regular basis clearly impacts your bottom line, with consistent brands worth 20% more than their inconsistent counterparts.
- Generate visibility in search engines. Google and other search engines want to be of service to their users, just like you. The best way search engines can do that is to lead users to compelling and engaging content. In order to do that, search engines rank content in order of most relevant to least relevant based on search queries. That order is based on a long list of criteria, such as the number of backlinks a page has. As a result, when it comes to content optimization, you would do well to allocate part of your marketing spend to SEO experts who can help you implement a successful strategy.
Implementation of an Expert SEO Strategy
When it comes to implementing an SEO strategy, in largely boils down to three key areas:
- On-page SEO. This is the part your clients will actually see—and is primarily centered around optimizing content for specific, high-value keyword phrases.
- Off-page SEO. This is the behind-the-scenes work, centered around the creation of high-quality backlinks that search engines use to gauge the credibility of your site.
- Technical SEO. This refers to the nuts and bolts of your website. Technical SEO involves opening up the hood of your website and getting your SEO engine running as smooth as possible — fast page load speed, easy for search engines to crawl, etc.
While on-page SEO can be easier to get your head around, off-page and technical SEO will likely require expert intervention. Professional SEOs will be able to take a deep look into the current performance of your website and then suggest (and possibly) implement changes that will get you ranking as high as possible.
Maintaining an Expert SEO Strategy
Implementing an SEO strategy is only the first step. SEO is all about change. For starters, Google updates its search ranking algorithm as many as 500–600 times a year, which means what was working a few months ago may no longer be working.
That means that you have to have resources dedicated to maintaining your SEO strategy. You may have a team internally who’s capable of handling the ongoing maintenance. And if you don’t, you’ll want to work with an expert SEO agency.
In either case, it’s going to require investing in your digital marketing, but you cannot afford to waste the progress that was made during the implementation process. The only way to maintain search rankings is to continuously optimize your website based on the most up-to-date ranking criteria. And remember, the ROI on SEO is a long-term growth strategy.
Free Trials Are Essential to Marketing Strategies for B2B SaaS
While giving too much stuff away for free may have been a business no-no in the past, the free trial as part of marketing for SaaS companies has completely overturned this notion.
SaaS is built for the free trial model — it’s WAY easier to give users access to software than it is to let them test a physical product — and many B2B SaaS marketing strategies have leveraged this to its full effect. The stats are impressive: 2 in 3 free trials convert for B2B businesses.
But that doesn’t mean free trials are an easy win. They still require proper execution in order to result in more business. Some things to consider when you put your free trial into action:
- Length matters. The typical length of a free trial is about 14 days. If you go any longer than this, consider your reasoning carefully as it may have a lower conversion rate.
- Determine whether the opt-in or opt-out model will work best for you. In an opt-in model, users are not required to submit any payment information upfront. Instead, they’ll have to make the decision to continue with your service after the trial has ended and pay then. In an opt-out model, users will pay upfront and the subscription will automatically continue until they choose to end it. You don’t have to commit to one or the other; you can always test both methods and see which one results in more long-term users.
- Carefully track the number of free trials that convert. If you don’t pay close attention to how many users your free trials are bringing in, you may land up believing your conversion rate and bottom line are more aligned than they are. It’s vital that you differentiate between users and free trial users when tracking your conversions.
How to Market B2B SaaS for Future Growth
The job of a Software as a Service company is to help businesses run smoother, enable teams to be more productive and — ultimately — increase their bottom line. And while you know your SaaS product offers that, your job is to get other businesses to understand the same thing.
With the ever-increasing digitalization of our lives, your B2B SaaS marketing strategy has to be focused on standing out in the often crowded online marketplace. And while there are a lot of uncertainties about 2021, one thing we do know for sure is that the importance of having an online presence that drives leads and turns them into paying users isn’t going anywhere.
That means collaborating with other businesses. It means putting B2B SaaS SEO to work so that you can compete on the SERPs. And it means leveraging the power of the free trial.
If you do those things, selling software will become as easy as selling anything else.