Inbound marketing’s versatility and lower customer acquisition cost make it a great fit for SaaS organisations. We explore common campaign errors to avoid.
SaaS Inbound Mistakes To Avoid
Inbound marketing’s versatility and lower customer acquisition cost make it a great fit for SaaS organisations. But, many SaaS companies get inbound wrong because it is not an easy thing to pull off. There are many actions that require complex planning; from content creation to conversion optimisation, lead qualification and more.
This can be complex, but worry not. Inbound marketing becomes smoother, easier and leads to greater ROI if you can avoid or correct the following mistakes:
1. Creating poor-fit content
Content plays an important part in inbound campaigns. For SaaS organisations, everything from buyer-challenge related blogs, to demos, videos, webinars, tutorials, case studies, vendor comparisons and more should be considered within your content strategy. However, if you’re seeing a low number of leads (and an especially low number of quality leads) converting on your content, you may need to review the positioning of your content.
How to fix this
If your content isn’t resonating with your audience it may be that it’s not correctly targeted to appeal to your buyer personas. Here, you should analyse and update your persona information, particularly information about their business challenges (that you can help to solve) and their purchase objections, then audit your content and create new assets to suit.
For many SaaS organisations, ideal buyers are often B2B - so campaigns may be likely to target CTOs, CMOs, marketing managers and other similar decision makers. However, it’s important to note that exact persona targeting (and challenges addressed) will change dependent on vendor, niche, and the nature of the solution.
For many SaaS organisations, ideal buyers are often B2B - so campaigns may be likely to target CTOs, CMOs and other similar decision makers.
Essentially if your content is to bring in results, it must be persona-considered, address the buyer challenges that your organisation helps to solve, and map to the right stages of the buyer’s journey, which brings us to…
2. Not producing content for all buyer’s journey stages
Another reason for poor content performance is a failure to map content correctly throughout the buyer’s journey. If your prospects can’t find the right information to address their challenges and objections at their buying stage, they’ll become stuck and lose interest.
How to fix this:
To avoid seeing prospects stuck, SaaS companies must map their buyer’s journey clearly; understanding how a prospect’s needs change throughout the funnel and ensuring they have content that matches up.
The first step is to map prospective buyer’s business challenges and sales objections through the awareness, consideration and decision stages of solution selection. What information are your buyer’s looking for in your content in order to move closer to a decision? How do your services address these challenges?
For example, at the awareness stage, you might create introductory blog content or videos that outline the basic issues that cause people to search for your solution, before leading on to more detailed consideration content (such as guides, webinars, whitepapers etc) that expand the topic and possible solutions in more depth. At the decision stage, solution-specific content such as vendor comparisons, walkthroughs, demos with in-app messaging and more come into play to highlight why your specific SaaS solution is the best-fit, most useful option for the buyer.
Having the right supporting content (in the right formats) and workflows in place is key to gradually nurturing your leads through to a decision, without them becoming stuck.
3. Focusing on features rather than benefits
While your product may have some great features, unless you are able to highlight the challenge-relevant value of your SaaS solution, your buyers may struggle to understand how and why your services are beneficial to their business needs.
How to fix this:
You need to ensure that all marketing efforts and communications (from your website, to your emails, to your content) are aligned and focused on addressing how your product solves your potential customer’s problems.
Unless you are able to highlight the challenge-relevant value of your SaaS solution, your buyers may struggle to understand how and why your services are beneficial to their business needs.
To do this effectively, firstly, list your product’s features then expand the ways each of them benefits users. Next, connect these features with the needs and goals of your buyer persona. Your content and campaign communications should focus on highlighting these benefits (i.e. “solution feature X leads to greater ROI by enabling XYZ”).
If you have a few customers already, analysing their feedback will enhance your understanding of how your product helps them. Equally, their pushbacks will help you to evolve your solution offering.
4. Not qualifying inbound leads
Well targeted, well optimised inbound campaigns work to generate quality, qualified leads. In an effective process, marketing and sales teams will be aligned on what constitutes a good-fit opportunity for your business (a.k.a. qualified leads) meaning marketing can pass higher quality opportunities to sales. However, if you lack that alignment, you’re likely to see an overwhelmed sales team, a higher churn rate and wastage of resources.
How to fix this:
Lead qualification simply means identifying whether a lead is a good-fit match for your product, and worth nurturing or following up on. Sales and marketing should have an identical definition of what constitutes a good-fit lead (an MQL) and a sales-ready lead (SQL) for your business. Note that not all leads should be immediately passed to sales. MQLs must first be nurtured by marketing - addressing their challenges throughout the funnel until they are in a position to consider making a purchase. It’s at this point where handing them over for an initial sales conversation - to explore their individual purchase challenges and concerns in more depth - can be most effective.
With an aligned sales and marketing team (working via a closed loop marketing automation platform and integrated CRM) sales teams can also benefit from automated lead scoring, and from marketing's lead data - meaning they have a detailed understanding of each lead and their challenges, before conversations take place.
Plan To Avoid Mistakes
SaaS business is a very competitive space. You might feel pushed to do more, to make things work and get results faster. But without adequate campaign planning, eventually, you may bite off more than you can chew.
Inbound marketing’s versatility and lower customer acquisition cost make it a great fit for SaaS organisations. But, many SaaS companies get inbound wrong because it is not an easy thing to pull off.
Getting a well-planned inbound strategy in place requires a lot of time, set-up and patience. But if you plan and execute your strategies carefully, you will have a foundation campaign that will continue to achieve results long term.
This post is by Niraj Ranjan Rout, Founder of Hiver, an app that turns Gmail into a powerful customer support and collaboration tool. Niraj can be reached on Twitter @nirajr.