This article was contributed by Dan Radak who works as a web hosting security professional with various e-commerce companies.
Ever heard of a business that is into selling software and is offering varied software to other business owners as per their requirements?
B2B SaaS is all about such businesses. Marketing of B2B SaaS is a challenge by itself since it's more complex than other traditional methods. SaaS marketing is one of the most pivotal factors of SaaS companies, and since there are scarce resources for the same, we were compelled to write this article.
This article is specifically for those who are into the SaaS business. It's an amalgamation of multiple factors linked to B2B SaaS, ranging from the survival techniques of B2B SaaS business, the challenges it faces, and its marketing techniques for making decent profits. But, first things, first.
What is B2B SaaS Marketing?
B2B SaaS is the acronym for business-to-business Software-as-a-Service. In this digital era, cloud-based software's used by varied departments, like accounting, CRM (customer relationship management), payroll, etc. in a company.
B2B SaaS marketing is a type of marketing that is basically for SaaS (software as a service) products. Multiple factors separate this form of marketing from other varied forms of marketing.
One is that SaaS products (software) are intangible and can't be touched or seen, as compared to other physical (creams, lotions, etc.) products available in the market.
Secondly, SaaS marketing products are based on client subscriptions, as compared to other products. Hence, a SaaS company needs constantly push its clients toward renewing subscriptions for enhanced profits.
SaaS products need to be constantly upgraded with new features to keep their clients loyal and engaged. This helps in an enhanced user experience thus standing ahead of the competition.
In a nutshell, SaaS companies are always facing competition and ensuring a low customer churn ratio.
The Big Challenges with B2B SaaS Marketing:
B2B SaaS marketing is not only challenging, but it is extremely competitive too.
Research indicates that 70% of the business apps used today are based on SaaS and this digit may rise to 85% by 2025.
As stated before, B2B marketing is different from consumer marketing. When B2B SaaS marketing comes into the picture, it becomes all the more complex.
Businesses keep on replacing their software stock regularly to gain an advantage of the advanced versions and updates. Due to this reason, ample SaaS companies are making millions of dollars.
But some tough challenges faced by these companies include:
- The purchase decisions of B2B SaaS customers include involvement from multiple people. The decision to buy the software also involves varied personnel.
- Decisions are based on logic rather than on emotions or trust.
Since software is not a physical commodity, its marketing is all the more challenging. It's tough to convince customers to purchase your software product and incorporate the same in their workflow.
- Varied changes in software updates and versions can affect the overall marketing strategy before making a successful impact on the same.
- More precise personas need to be created to penetrate the niche market.
- Detailed, structured, and educational software content may help in gaining a competitive advantage.
- Since the sales cycles of SaaS are small and short due to constant changes (updates), B2B marketers need to motivate interested companies to take quick decisions.
- The uniqueness of the software
- Budget-friendly rates
- Instantly resilient to changes, i.e., easily susceptible to varied updates and modifications.
Another Challenging Question:
If your B2B clients are unaware of their need for the software, how on earth are they going to adapt your software?
In many cases, you need to create a desire in your B2B clients to adapt your software to their digital infrastructure. This also is a challenge for SaaS marketers who need to come up with an enticing marketing plan and business needs.
Since the SaaS sales cycle is all about acquiring clients, gaining monetary benefits, and retaining customers, ensure that your B2B SaaS marketing challenges cover all these three aspects for a prosperous business establishment.
How to Build a Strong B2B SaaS Brand?
The growth of your SaaS business largely depends on how strongly you portray your brand in the market amongst your competitors. It also depends on how well the marketing gimmicks are used in enhancing the B2B client base.
Again, first things, first.
The majority of marketers are busy searching for ideas for product popularity, growth of the business, and enhanced ROI. They tend to forget one pivotal factor which is linked to all the above-stated factors, i.e., Brand.
Little do they know that if they focus on creating a strong brand, all the other desired factors will automatically fall in place. The brand is the most underrated factor of B2B SaaS marketing which needs to gain attention since branding, despite being a hard nut, can bloom your business.
B2B SaaS marketing strategies that focus on brand creation have tasted varied advantages like:
- Trust: Businesses tend to trust a brand that carries a strong client base. They are more liberal and patient in case of emergencies (unfavorable circumstances).
- PPC: Pay-per-click ratio is proportionate to the popularity of the brand, i.e., the more popular the brand, the more ad clicks they gain.
- Backlinks: Website backlinks are bound to increase with popularity, which may help gain a better SEO (search engine optimization) rank too.
- Network: Popular brands can easily enhance their networks by conducting successful webinars, marketing campaigns, and other conferences.
- Conversion Rates: Popular brands of SaaS companies having wide networks are bound to have good conversion rates.
A strong B2B SaaS brand is an ongoing process that requires ample resources including time and money. Hence, we have penned down a few essential tips for the same.
Tips to Create a Strong Brand:
- Design & Visuals create a Strong Impression:
Brand design is a pivotal factor to entice and sell SaaS products to businesses. Be it your brand website or your product design, your clients should be attracted to your brand and the same is possible by portraying enticing website designs and product visuals.
For the audience, the first impression is always the last, and hence it's essential to ensure that your design gives a long-lasting impression in the minds of your clients.
The above image clearly shows how the company highlights the same message with a change in design to enhance B2B sales. Investing in design can make your normal SaaS product look more desirable and attractive.
Research by Reboot states that having a signature color for your brand raises its recognition by 80%.
The best option is to hire a full-time brand design developer who can justify your brand on all occasions as well as during the entire growth process.
- Messaging & Tone of Voice:
What's your voice tone? Formal, Friendly, Humanly, or Direct?
Your SaaS business also depends on your voice tone. Your approach to your clients, your placement in the industry, your brand image, etc. all these factors need to be considered before deciding your voice tone.
Choose one which suits your brand nicely to build a strong brand image.
If you are losing out on consistency, you will lose out on your brand image. Consistency is the key to developing a strong brand. Be it your voice tone or your brand design/logo, don't switch colors, styles, or visuals.
When you maintain consistency of these pivotal factors, businesses are bound to notice the same and have a lasting impression which can help reap great results.
- Give Value:
The base of a strong brand depends on its clients (business associates) and customers. Giving value to them by educating them about your SaaS products and their features, distributing essential tools free of cost, offering round-the-clock customer support, etc. goes a long way in creating a strong brand image in the client's mind as well as a lasting relationship with them for your future endeavors.
- Adapt Security:
For a B2B website, there should be security on the website otherwise, the data will pass in plain text. A hacker can intercept the data and modify it. To secure a B2B website, you should buy SSL as per the website's requirement and it could be Sectigo SSL Certificate, RapidSSL certificate, Thawte SSL certificate etc.
- Content Matters:
Apart from design and colors, content also is an essential factor in building a strong brand image. The keywords, phrases, and content that you include for marketing your SaaS products and gaining business need to be well-researched and organized.
It should instantly connect with the clients in such a way that they recognize and trust your brand.
- Showcase a Big Picture:
SaaS start-ups are unrecognized and hence it's a challenge for them to penetrate big organizations. They may not know your name or may not be willing to work with a new company.
There are ample ways to portray your start-up to create a lasting impression in their minds. Paid media ads and billboards can also serve your purpose.
When your brand becomes memorable, its image automatically becomes strong.
- Use Social Media Platforms for making Brand Promises:
When your SaaS business is carried out with another business, it's pivotal to become a trusted entity (vendor) and the same is possible with the help of social proof.
Show your clients the use of varied software products and their benefits on social media platforms, and see your brand image soaring to better heights. When other businesses share their experiences of working with your company and praise your products, your brand will automatically be recognized amongst your competitors too.
- Utilize Employee Support:
Employees are the most loyal customers of your brand. Utilize them for brand promotions since they will be communicating with other businesses to make your brand noticeable and popular.
During the start-up phase, employees, as well as founders, share the same workspace, but when the company grows, the founders move away from the employees.
Educate these employees about your brand and keep on highlighting the new features and advanced benefits of your SaaS products in all your meetings regularly to keep them updated about your brand.
After creating a strong brand image of your software, it's time to put forth some marketing plans to promote and sell your product.
Let's find out a few best marketing strategies which can soar your SaaS product amongst your competitors.
But, before we go ahead with discussing strategies, let's discuss the main goal of B2B marketing.
- What is the Goal of B2B Marketing?
B2B is all about businesses that sell their products/services to other companies. The main goal of B2B marketing is to create awareness about your brand, its products, features, and benefits these other companies, create leads, and transform them into your customers.
- Best B2B SaaS Marketing Strategies:
Since you are a SaaS company, you are dealing with an intangible commodity. You need to prove its worth to your existing and new clients which is quite a challenge by itself.
After facing all the challenges stated in the above article, and overcoming them, it's time to increase the client base as well as earn more profits.
Your established business can achieve better clients via strong and meaningful SaaS marketing strategies.
- Demand Generation:
Demand generation is a foremost step in the B2B SaaS marketing strategy.
Demand or lead generation is a marketing strategy wherein clients are familiar with your products, but you need to create a demand for the same.
Creating a sense of urgency for your SaaS products in the minds of the decision-makers of businesses helps in enhancing the boundaries of your sales and in gaining better conversions.
- Paid Growth:
When your SaaS business is in the initial phase, you may need the help of paid promotions and ads to grow your B2B business. This marketing trick is for short-term progress and is not advisable for long-term planning.
While opting for paid growth, ensure that your ads and promos are placed at appropriate places to yield better results and ROI.
- Affiliate Marketing:
Affiliate marketing is carried out by affiliate companies who earn revenues (commission) for advertising the SaaS products of varied companies. These affiliate companies have tie-ups with different companies for whom they promote products and services on a commission basis. This commission is generally a fixed percentage of the revenues or sales.
Affiliate marketing also enhances business prospects with other companies by marketing SaaS products through teleselling. Since B2B affiliate programs are based on trust, loyal customers are bound to increase and thus keeping the churn rate minimum.
Example: SEMrush rose to $100m with affiliate programs.
- Event Marketing:
B2B event marketing is effective for SaaS products as per Research by Changing Environments of Exhibitions which indicates that:
- 77% of the business decision-makers found 1 new supplier in the trade show.
- 97% of the business owners were enticed by the uniqueness of these exhibitions and their products.
B2B event marketing is all about creating awareness about your SaaS brand, generating leads, creating loyal business associates, strengthening relationships, gathering feedback, understanding competition, retaining business orders, and ensuring less churn.
B2B events may be online or offline, but they do contribute to achieving the end goal, i.e., revenues.
- Inbound Marketing:
I love inbound marketing personally, since it attracts clients with meaningful content, thus adding value to the marketing strategy. This marketing involves content that is a combination of client needs and the benefits of your SaaS products. It also shows the compatibility of your product as per their need, thus building the pillar of a lasting relationship.
The best part of inbound marketing is that it's neither intrusive nor does it annoy clients, like promotional emails or phone calls. This B2B SaaS marketing strategy motivates businesses who are interested in software products to search and come back to you.
This enticing content is usually posted on social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, etc. blogs, and other promotional platforms. The main purpose of inbound marketing is to collect leads and ensure that they become your clients for life.
- Content Marketing:
SaaS content marketing is a fragment of inbound marketing strategy. Inbound marketing involves varied methods to converting leads into prospective customers, whereas content marketing focuses on creating strong content.
The contents posted on product pages, blog posts, and other media pages where product reviews and comparisons are stated are ideal promotional platforms for B2B SaaS products.
Engaging and rich content along with SEO optimization works wonders for the marketing of your SaaS brand. It not only increases brand awareness but also educates your target audience and helps drive organic traffic to your website.
More Benefits of a Powerful Content:
- It helps in commencing and increasing conversions
- It helps in the discovery of your SaaS brand and products
- Your brand personality and authority can be established with a powerful content
SEO is a process that optimizes your content to make it visible to search engines (Google). Relevant keywords and strong content play a major role in gaining a good SEO rank.
Visibility of your SaaS products on the first page of Google should be your motto since clients or users never go ahead of the first page. I have rarely seen clients clicking the 2nd page or other pages for their searches.
SEO is all about:
- On-Page SEO – Site headlines, title tags, meta descriptions, etc. are optimized for Google's search criteria
- Off-Page SEO – Actions outside the site like forums, backlinks, social networking, etc. that impact SEO and rankings are focused
- Technical SEO – Refers to site code and structure apart from server optimizations which help in crawling and indexing your site by search engine crawlers
- Social Media Marketing:
Social media marketing can be helpful for your B2B SaaS products if you know where to reach out to your targeted users. It helps in creating leads for gaining clients.
B2B buyers love social media and are actively searching for some good SaaS products as well as other essentials as per their business requirements.
- Paid Marketing:
Google Ads: They can be commenced easily and can raise the conversion bar but, they are expensive as well as quite competitive.
Facebook Ads: To generate SaaS leads on this social media platform is a tough call since companies don't resort to Facebook to decide on the software requirements of their company.
Facebook ads help in promoting blog content for SaaS products and in driving traffic to your site, which helps in generating leads.
LinkedIn Ads: This advertising though expensive has good flexibility in targeted customers. LinkedIn can help in lead generation, but the cost of gaining leads is too high.
You can experiment with any of these forms for marketing your SaaS brand and check out which one fits your budget while giving you good business.
Many times it happens that your business prospects are interested in your software but fail to make a purchase. Retargeting those prospects with more marketing touchpoints can help in closing the lead and gaining business.
Multiple events, newsletters, and podcasts are available for SaaS. You can create awareness about your brand by sponsoring your products to varied businesses and gaining leads about the companies interested in your product.
Sponsorships help you to come face to face with varied decision-makers.
Example: SaaStr is the largest community comprising SaaS executives and business owners all across the globe.
Though B2B SaaS marketing is a tricky and complex process, overcome the above-stated challenges one by one and then start with a proper marketing plan.
B2B Saas marketing can yield good results if proper marketing strategies are applied at the proper time. Don't aim for shortcuts, since the results will not be long-lasting.
Agreed that there are varied promotional channels for your SaaS products, but research and find out the one which is ideal for your product.
Target your business clients on these channels, promote your software, create leads, follow up with your prospects, and ensure that you turn them into loyal customers.
About the author
Dan Radak is a web hosting security professional with ten years of experience. He is currently working with a number of companies in the field of online security, closely collaborating with a couple of e-commerce companies.