7 Key Steps To Creating An Enterprise SaaS Go To Market Strategy
Winston Churchill once said, “He who fails to plan is planning to fail.”
This couldn’t be more real to SaaS businesses that are launching a new product into the market. Without a clear, well-thought-out plan, launching a new SaaS product or SaaS startup can lead to a massive flop.
Whether it’s a new enterprise-level SaaS product or you’re moving upmarket, having an enterprise SaaS go to market strategy is essential for success.
Not only will a solid go to market strategy (or GTM strategy) inspire confidence with your team and stakeholders. It will also help you have a cohesive, well-aligned plan for launching your enterprise SaaS product.
However, creating an enterprise SaaS GTM strategy isn’t always easy. With all the moving parts and strategies to think about, it can get overwhelming real quick.
But with the right steps, you can create a comprehensive enterprise SaaS GTM strategy that will set your product up for success.
In this article, we will talk about how to build an enterprise SaaS go to market strategy. We’ll cover everything from defining your target market to executing your plans for customer acquisition.
So let’s get started.
1) Define Your Target Audience
The first step in creating an enterprise SaaS GTM strategy is to define your target market and target audience. You can’t just say that all the enterprises in the world are your target audience.
Sure, if you had unlimited resources and no competition at all, then sky’s the limit when it comes to your target market.
But the reality is that enterprise businesses are incredibly diverse and complex. There’s just no way that your SaaS product is the best fit for all large enterprises in the world.
But it is the best fit for some enterprises. And you need to identify them.
That’s why you will need two things here: your ideal customer profile (ICP) and buyer personas.
Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)
Your ideal customer profile is a detailed description of your ideal enterprise customer. It includes certain characteristics that set them apart from other potential customers.
At the very least, this profile should include firmographic attributes about your ideal customer. That includes company size, industry, revenue, location, and more.
You may also want to include technographic attributes in your ICP. These are data about your ideal customer’s technology stack and usage, such as the software applications they currently use, their cloud storage capacity, system integrations, and more.
Once you have your ICP down pat, you will also need to create your buyer personas.
Buyer personas are semi-fictional characters who represent certain people in your ICP’s companies that you want to target with your SaaS product.
This goes deeper than the ICP by creating a persona for each individual in your potential customer’s company that may have an influence over the buying decision.
For enterprise-level companies, you might want to create buyer personas for executives, such as the CEO, the CTO, or the CFO. You may also want to create personas for other stakeholders, such as their IT administrators or supervisors for various departments.
Each buyer persona should include some firmographic and demographic data about your individual target audience, as well as their pain points and possible motivations for buying.
These include the following information:
- Job title
- Roles and responsibilities
- Pain points and challenges
- What they need in a SaaS solution
- Preferred content and communication channels
Once you have your ICP and buyer personas, you can start putting yourself in their shoes and figure out how to best reach them.
Knowing your target audience is foundational for a go-to-market strategy. It will guide your messaging and execution for all of your marketing and sales strategies down the line.
Speaking of messaging, let’s move on to the next step to creating your enterprise GTM strategy.
2) Craft Your Value Proposition
A value proposition is a statement describing the main benefit that your SaaS product provides for your target market.
It answers the question, “What does your SaaS product do?”
And you need the answer to be as concise as possible. You should limit it to one to three sentences that describe the unique benefits and advantages of your enterprise SaaS product.
For example, it could have a format as simple as this:
“[Your SaaS product] helps [your ICP] actually [the main benefit it provides].”
It should be something that you are confident will appeal to your prospects. To make sure it’s on point, you can test it out with potential customers first.
What’s more, your value proposition should also explain why your SaaS product is better than the competition.
It should clearly communicate why potential enterprise customers would want to invest in your solution over others.
Ultimately, a strong value proposition will help you stand out from the crowd and create an irresistible offer for enterprise buyers.
3) Create A SaaS Brand Manifesto
A brand manifesto is the spirit behind the business. It’s a way to tell potential customers why you exist and what you stand for.
And if you do it right, not only will your SaaS brand manifesto help you acquire loyal customers. It can also create a cult-like movement centered around your brand.
If you’re launching a new product, a manifesto can also help you stand out from the competition and make enterprise customers feel that they’re part of something bigger than themselves.
On the other hand, if you already have an existing product and are moving upmarket, you can pivot from your existing messaging and create a manifesto that communicates how it applies to enterprise customers.
A great SaaS brand manifesto explains three things about your SaaS company: The “who”, the “why”, and the “how” behind it.
This is who your SaaS product is for.
Now, we have already talked a bit about your target audience, so this should be quite straightforward.
But this is particularly important in naming your manifesto so that your target audience would be able to identify with it.
For example, let’s say you create a manifesto with the title “How To Be A Rockstar Digital Marketer In The Modern Age.”
Marketers today who would see that title might be more likely to say “Hey! That’s me! I want to be a rockstar digital marketer in the modern age!”
And they will be more attracted to click through to the manifesto and read it.
Every SaaS founder or owner has a personal story about why they started the business. And your story gives you your unique perspective on how to solve a specific problem or reach a particular goal.
And that’s what prompted you to create your SaaS product and start a company.
This is your “why” — what drove you to create your enterprise SaaS product or the enterprise version of your solution.
It could be something like wanting to make certain processes more efficient, build more customer-centric businesses, or create a better customer experience.
The goal here is to make them see your point of view on how to solve a particular problem and get them to adopt that point of view.
So when you’re crafting this part of your manifesto, it’s important to write it in a way that would make your target audience believe in it too.
The “how” is part of your manifesto where you explain the process of how you can achieve the mission mentioned in the “why” section.
More importantly, it should also explain how your SaaS product can help enterprises achieve the same goals.
Are there certain features you offer that make it easier to do so? Are there any unique processes or strategies enterprise customers can use with your product?
Whatever the case, make sure to clearly communicate how they would benefit from using your SaaS solution.
A well-crafted and compelling manifesto can guide your messaging and sales process. It can even serve as a powerful lead magnet for enterprise customers and help you get more conversions in the long run.
4) Plan Your Marketing Strategy
No GTM strategy is complete without a detailed marketing strategy. This can make or break your SaaS solution’s entrance into the enterprise market.
Will your product launch go with a bang or will people not even know it exists? Will it threaten your competitors or will it just get lost in the noise?
Your SaaS marketing plan is one of the biggest factors that would determine what would happen.
But how do you make sure that you have the right SaaS marketing strategy? Here are some things you need to get in order:
Choose The Marketing Channels That Best Reach Your Target Audience
It’s important to consider which marketing channels your ICP and buyer personas are most active on and the right tactics to use for each particular channel.
Here are some marketing channels and strategies you may want to use:
Content marketing is a great way to establish yourself as a trustworthy and authoritative voice in your industry by providing helpful content that can help them address their immediate pain points.
You can create various content types, such as blog posts, videos, infographics, eBooks, case studies, and more.
The thing about content marketing for an enterprise audience is that there is a huge pressure to build your reputation.
Remember that you’re trying to reach well-established enterprises here. They will only trust online sources that have proven to be reliable and trustworthy.
What’s more, sales cycles for enterprise markets are usually long. Even if you manage to generate leads, it can take weeks or even months to close a deal.
So you would also need to consistently produce content that can help nurture leads. These can be case studies, webinars, white papers, product comparisons, and more.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Content marketing and SEO often work in synergy to help potential customers find your website and content pages on their search engine results pages (SERPs).
After all, even if you publish the best content ever made, no one will see it if it’s on page 10 of the search results.
SEO helps you build your website’s authority in the search engines’ eyes using a mix of on-page optimization, technical, and link-building strategies.
What makes enterprise SaaS SEO extra challenging is having a limited audience with high expectations.
So, on top of creating top-notch content, you will also have to up your game with every SEO strategy you have in your arsenal. And since you’re dealing with tons of content, it may be best to structure your website in a way that organizes your pages according to related topics.
Social Media Marketing
Social media can also be a great way to reach enterprise buyers, especially if you have identified social networks that they actively use.
You can use it to drive traffic to your website, create brand awareness, and even engage with customers on a more personal level.
When it comes to social media marketing, it’s important to pay attention to both its organic and paid aspects.
You can use organic tactics to regularly post helpful content and engage with your audience. Meanwhile, paid strategies such as social media ads and sponsored posts can help you amplify the reach of your message to the specific ICP and buyer persona you’re targeting for each ad.
What’s more, since we’re talking about enterprise buyers here, you will most likely use LinkedIn as your main social network.
LinkedIn Ads can be really useful for enterprise business-to-business (B2B) brands, as it gives you access to a highly targeted audience of decision-makers in the enterprise space. Plus, it can also be an excellent platform for sharing your content.
Email marketing is one of the time-tested marketing strategies for B2B SaaS businesses. It can be an effective way to strengthen your relationships with leads and turn them into long-lasting customers.
In fact, enterprise buyers expect to receive tailored emails that can help them make an informed decision on whether or not your SaaS product is the best fit for their needs.
This means you should only send relevant content and personalized messages. Trust me, they would know if you’re just sending them generic, run-of-the-mill emails. And that is not a good way to earn their trust.
Build A Cohesive Marketing Campaign
The B2B marketing channels we discussed above are just some of the most popular channels that work well in the enterprise SaaS space.
And with all those options, it can get easy to come up with these radical but scattered ideas for each channel.
Your overall marketing campaign should tell one united message throughout different marketing channels.
If you’re telling a different story for each channel, you will likely confuse your potential buyers and quickly lose their trust.
This is why you need to have your target audience, value proposition, and (if possible) manifesto guiding your SaaS marketing strategy. This will make sure that your GTM strategy is cohesive, unified, and effective.
5) Plan Your Sales Strategy
While there are a few enterprise SaaS companies that manage to pull off a product-led growth model, the sales-based approach is still a powerful way to reach enterprise buyers and secure deals.
However, remember that for enterprise SaaS sales work differently from usual sales conversations. Sales cycles are generally longer. Plus, it usually involves long-term and high-value contracts.
But most importantly, enterprise SaaS solutions often come in the form of customized plans that may have thousands of users across different office locations (and probably even different countries).
So, your sales team should be fully trained and equipped to handle these conversations. That may include certain tasks, such as the following:
- Finding and qualifying leads
- Identifying key decision-makers
- Scheduling meetings and building rapport with said decision-makers
- Overcoming objections
- Creating quotations
- Providing product demos
- Negotiating contracts
6) Plan Your Customer Retention Strategy
One crucial thing that makes SaaS businesses different from other types of companies is the importance of customer retention.
This is doubly true if you’re gunning for an enterprise market since customer acquisition in this arena takes a lot of time, effort, and resources.
To get the most revenue out of each customer, you need to make sure that they are happy and will keep renewing their contracts for many years to come.
Let’s talk about some of the essential things you need for your customer retention strategy:
Your customers are bound to have issues with your SaaS product, especially if it’s new in the market. This means you need to have a solid customer service and support system in place.
The common practice for enterprise SaaS is to provide enterprise-level support, which often involves having a dedicated account manager, offering extended service hours, and having faster response times.
This may also involve a wide range of customer support channels, such as phone, email, live chat, and social media.
Customer Success Programs
Another important way to ensure customer loyalty is by helping them achieve their goals with your SaaS product.
You can do this by setting up customer success programs, which usually involve onboarding services, training sessions, and personalized recommendations.
These will help your customers get the most out of your SaaS product in a short amount of time.
Customer Loyalty & Advocacy Programs
If you have the time, you can even take it up a notch and figure out how you can turn existing customers into advocates that would bring in more referrals and leads for your SaaS business.
This may involve creating loyalty programs that give rewards for certain milestones in using your SaaS product. Or you could set up referral programs to encourage your customers to recommend your SaaS products to their colleagues.
This way, by focusing on customer retention and loyalty, you are also driving customer acquisition at no additional cost.
7) Crunch The Numbers On The Conversions You Need
One crucial part of executing a GTM strategy is to set realistic and achievable goals.
At this point, how many new customers do you need to acquire every year? How many opportunities do you need to get those customers? And how many leads do you need in order to get that many opportunities?
These are the questions you need to answer as you plan your enterprise SaaS go-to-market strategy. So, make sure to crunch the numbers and set realistic goals that you can truly achieve.
For example, let’s say you’re aiming to reach an annual recurring revenue (ARR) of $1 million in one year and each customer is worth an annual contract value (ACV) of $100,000. That means you should close at least 10 customers within the year.
Now, imagine that you have an industry average conversion rate of 25%. That means you would need to generate 40 opportunities in the same year.
And if we assume that you can get one opportunity for every 5 qualified leads, then you’d need 200 qualified leads in one year to reach your goal.
Understanding these numbers can put your GTM strategy into perspective and help you set achievable goals.
Final Thoughts About Creating An Enterprise SaaS Go To Market Strategy
Just as we started with a quote, let’s cap this article with another one.
When asked about going into a match, Mike Tyson would say “Everyone has a plan ’till they get punched in the mouth.”
While launching a SaaS product isn’t exactly boxing, that quote is very true in creating a GTM strategy.
We can plan all we want, but everything could change once we enter the market. Things can and will not always go according to plan.
That’s why you should be agile and flexible with your enterprise SaaS go-to-market strategy. Be prepared to pivot if something doesn’t work out as planned or seize opportunities that come up along the way.
And of course, keep on iterating and improving your GTM strategy until your B2B SaaS company takes off and you hit your goals.
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