The Ultimate Guide To B2B SaaS Marketing
Did you know that 64% of all companies in the world plan to retain all work-from-home setups even after the pandemic ends? According to UserGuiding, this trend among businesses will only raise the need for business-to-business (B2B) SaaS solutions.
Even big corporations are switching to SaaS solutions now. Before, SaaS mainly served small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Large enterprises generally decided to stick to on-premise software for their business processes.
But the pandemic, along with SaaS trends over the years, have made SaaS products a hot commodity among all kinds of businesses.
Suddenly, remote work was the only way to go. And SaaS solutions became the best (if not the only) way to stay cohesive as a business even with a remote work setup.
Now, if you’re selling a B2B SaaS solution, then you have this huge opportunity to grab a considerable share of the rapidly growing B2B SaaS market.
And as the market grows, so will the competition.
One of the ways you can rise above your competitors is to have a superior marketing strategy. That’s why you need to know the ins and the outs of SaaS B2B marketing.
Don’t worry. This guide will help you with that.
What Is SaaS B2B Marketing?
First, let’s define SaaS business-to-business (B2B) marketing.
As the name suggests, SaaS B2B marketing is just SaaS marketing targeted to businesses. This is in contrast to SaaS business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing, which targets consumers.
SaaS B2B marketing has its own unique challenges because the consumer and business target markets are different.
Here are some key differences between the two:
- Target audience
- Common marketing channels
- Common pricing models
- Length of sales cycles
The main difference between B2B and B2C marketing, obviously, is the target audience.
Still, there is still a lot of diversity within the B2B audience. Your target persona can range from top to bottom of the company. You can target the end-user themselves or go all the way up to the executives.
Traditionally, the target buyer personas for B2B marketing are the executives and decision-makers. These buyer personas mainly care about the return on investment (ROI) for whatever SaaS solution they buy.
But recently, more and more end-users play a big role in making the buying decisions for SaaS products. This buyer persona cares about being more productive and efficient at their job.
These end-users actively look for a SaaS platform and solutions that could help with their jobs even without any instruction from their supervisors. They do their own research on the SaaS products they are interested in. Some even pay for the application out of their own pockets.
This led to a rise in the product-led growth model. This model heavily targets the end-user from product development to promoting referrals.
You can gain a new customer consistently as you target this demographic, and with the right marketing strategy, you’ll see an increase in user base in a matter of months.
Common Marketing Channels
The differences in B2B and B2C target audiences leads to a difference in strategic marketing channels as well.
B2C marketing channels usually follow where most of the people are. Today, these channels would include social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
B2B marketing, on the other hand, uses channels that are common in the business and professional setting for customer acquisition and product marketing efforts. These include email, webinars, and content sites.
When it comes to social media, LinkedIn and Medium are usually where your B2B audiences are. Sure, you can still reach some on Facebook and Twitter. But Professionals and businessmen usually get their fill of content on LinkedIn and Medium.
We will talk more about B2B SaaS marketing channels later on.
Common Pricing Models
Another big difference between B2B and B2C SaaS marketing is their usual pricing models.
B2C SaaS solutions often follow a freemium model. A few classic examples for this include Spotify and Zoom.
Most B2B SaaS companies, on the other hand, use a tiered pricing model. These are usually based on included features, credits, storage space, or a mix of different factors.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that freemium models are exclusive to B2C and tiered pricing models are limited to B2B.
In fact, some of the most popular B2B SaaS solutions use a freemium model. And some B2C SaaS products don’t.
But these common pricing models are the most effective for attracting their respective target audiences. B2C SaaS products often use freemium models because it appeals to consumers. It’s easier to get viral if your product has a free version.
While tiered pricing structures appeal to businessmen and professionals. Again, there’s a wide range of buyer personas in B2B marketing. And a tiered pricing structure can offer a plan that is specifically built for each of those buyer personas.
Length Of Sales Cycles
Sales cycles for B2B SaaS products generally take a bit longer than SaaS sales cycles for B2C solutions.
For B2C, the users themselves make the buying decisions. What’s more, the SaaS products are usually priced lower than B2B products. This contributes to a shorter sales cycle and marketing funnel.
Even if you’re gunning for product-led growth, selling B2B SaaS solutions generally takes longer than B2C. Even end-users looking to buy still take some time researching your SaaS product and other alternatives.
The sales cycle is even longer if you’re targeting executives and other decision-makers. There can be some back and forth between them and your sales team. It can take considerable lead nurturing efforts before you can close a deal with them.
B2B SaaS Marketing Channels
Now, let’s talk about B2B SaaS marketing channels in detail.
As we discussed earlier, your buyer persona could range from the end-user all the way to the executive. The most effective marketing channel would ultimately depend on which buyer persona you are targeting.
Here are some of the most common marketing channels for B2B SaaS:
- Social media
- Paid search
- Word of mouth
Let’s talk about them one by one.
Email is one of the most traditionally trusted marketing channels for SaaS. SaaS marketers often use email marketing to nurture their leads, build trust with prospects, and re-engage with inactive users.
It’s effective in B2B because it’s the most common form of communication between professionals and businessmen. It’s straightforward and easy to layout.
What’s more, you can easily segment email lists and track engagement with your emails.
With the right email management solution, you can track open rates and click-through rates for your emails. Moreover, you can even automatically send personalized emails to your prospects and leads.
The good thing about email marketing is that it’s not just good for acquiring new customers. It’s also instrumental in customer retention.
Email can be your lifeline in keeping in touch with your customers and maintaining good relationships with them.
An example for these emails can be newsletters to keep your users updated about changes and news related to your SaaS product. Or it can even be something as personal as a birthday greeting.
Another important B2B SaaS marketing channel is social media. SaaS companies use social media like LinkedIn, Medium, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to reach prospects early in the sales cycle.
You can nurture leads on these channels by sharing content that’s relevant to your SaaS product and helpful to your target audience. But most importantly, you need to be able to post regularly if you want to make this SaaS marketing channel work for you.
As we’ve mentioned earlier, B2B SaaS products usually take longer to sell than B2C solutions. You’ll need more time to build trust with your prospect and establish yourself as an authority figure in your niche.
That is why it’s crucial that you’re consistent with your digital marketing activities on social media.
You can start by posting daily or weekly. You might even want to post more than that if you think the SaaS product you’re marketing will be able to sustain your audience’s attention span.
And don’t forget to interact with your followers.
A strong social media presence doesn’t just mean regularly posting on your page. You also need to respond to your audiences’ comments.
When SaaS companies need to increase their leads, they usually start with paid search or pay-per-click (PPC) ads. Many SaaS marketers rely on Google Ads for this purpose.
But why would a B2B SaaS company use paid search when there are so many free marketing channels available?
First of all, you need to maximize your chances of reaching the right prospects at the right time. This is what Google Ads does best.
You can focus on users who are actively looking for SaaS products closely related to yours. You can do this by targeting specific keywords related to your SaaS solution.
You can also display ads only on relevant websites and access audiences in locations of your choice. With SaaS products, location isn’t a negligible detail since you’re targeting executives from various regions or perhaps even other countries.
And of course, SaaS marketers can’t ignore the fact that paid search is one of the most effective SaaS marketing channels. It can drive cold prospects to your SaaS website and boost conversions.
What’s more, social media ads are also a good choice for SaaS marketers. You can further boost your social media marketing with paid ads so that you can reach even those who don’t follow your page yet.
Word Of Mouth
Last but not least, the most organic way to promote your SaaS product. If you have a product-led growth model, you are going to heavily rely on word of mouth to keep your SaaS solution relevant.
Word of mouth is one of the most powerful SaaS marketing channels because of the social proof that comes with it.
Unlike your marketing campaigns, word of mouth shows that other users have benefited from your SaaS solution. It shows your prospects that your product is indeed worth buying.
Still, being an organic form of marketing doesn’t mean you have zero control over it. You can still do some things to encourage your existing customers to spread the good news about your SaaS product.
To get started with word-of-mouth marketing, consider rewarding your most active users or those who have been with you from the start.
You can run a program where your users can generate referral links to send to their friends and colleagues. Then you can offer rewards and perks for every referral they bring in.
You can get creative with these rewards. They can be a free upgrade for a limited time. They can be gift cards.
If your SaaS product has a credit system, you can offer extra credits. Or if it has something to do with finance, you can even offer money or commissions as a reward for referrals.
SaaS B2B Marketing Strategies
Now that you know the most common SaaS marketing channels, let’s see what SaaS B2B marketing strategies you can do to get more customers.
Here are some of them:
- Lifetime deals
- SaaS Content Marketing
- In-depth content
- Search engine optimization
- Affiliate marketing
- User reviews
- Focusing on customer retention
SaaS lifetime deals (LTDs) are promotions where you temporarily offer a lifetime license for your SaaS product. SaaS companies that do this usually list their products on websites like AppSumo and ProductHunt.
Promoting an LTD in itself can be a great way to generate hype for your product. All the more if you’re using it on trusted listing sites.
Take AppSumo for example. It already has a large audience made up of SaaS users looking for the best deals.
What’s more, if its marketing team finds your SaaS product good enough, they can take care of your marketing needs. Their team can even promote your app through their email lists and YouTube channel.
If you are a SaaS startup, this can be an effective way to build your brand awareness and bootstrap your B2B SaaS company.
SaaS Content marketing has been one of the biggest trends when it comes to inbound marketing for SaaS products, especially B2B solutions.
Again, more and more end-users have been doing their own research when it comes to buying a SaaS solution.
And where would they get information for their research?
And I’m not just talking about fluff content. I’m talking about in-depth content that really answers the pertinent questions that SaaS users have.
SaaS products are very technical in nature. Its concepts are so complex that a 700-word article wouldn’t be enough for it. Most content about SaaS is in-depth and can go as long as 2000 to 4000 words, depending on the topic.
What’s more, businessmen and professionals are hungry for information. They want to learn everything they can to improve their sales and ROI.
If you want prospects to find your SaaS product, start creating content to answer the questions they have. Write tons of long-form blogs. Upload your videos on YouTube. Conduct webinars and podcasts.
Topics don’t even have to be related to your SaaS product. It can just be guides on growing whatever kind of businesses are relevant to your niche.
Having a lot of content about different topics in your niche will help you become the authority on those topics. This further promotes your brand and builds trust within your prospects and build loyalty from any existing customer.
Search Engine Optimization
When users search for content that is relevant to their problems, they usually Google it. And when they do, they hardly go beyond the first page of the search engine results pages (SERPs).
That’s why search engine optimization (SEO) is key to making your content visible online. It doesn’t matter if you have the highest-quality content around. If it’s on page 10 of the search results, no one is going to see it.
Common SEO practices include doing your keyword research, adding relevant keywords to your content, and including links within your content.
Knowing what keywords your competitors are targeting can give you valuable insights as to what topics are popular among your audiences.
In fact, you can have a strategy of beating your competitors for those target keywords.
You can take their target keywords and produce higher-quality content than the ones they have online. And with the right SEO practices, you can take surpass them at the SERPs.
Earlier, we talked about word-of-mouth marketing. Affiliate marketing is a bit like that, but they have considerable differences.
Affiliate marketing is more structured and “inorganic” compared to word-of-mouth marketing. If an affiliate partner brings in a referral, they receive a commission when that referral makes a purchase.
Affiliate partners usually bring in referrals through their own content marketing efforts. They are usually bloggers, podcasters, YouTubers, or industry experts.
The beauty of affiliate marketing is that it’s commission-based. That means you pay only when you get paid.
Just make sure to find trustworthy affiliate partners that have considerable numbers of followers online.
B2B SaaS users are generally tech-savvy. They want to make sure that their purchase is something worth buying.
That’s why you can expect them to do a lot of due diligence before committing to buying your SaaS product or service.
Most of the time, when they already have a few options on which to buy, it all boils down to user reviews. They look for the pros and cons of each SaaS product they are considering. They want to know what other users have experienced with the product.
You see, user reviews serve as strong social proof. If you get favorable reviews, it can be a powerful promotional tool.
But as the SaaS provider, you have very little control over what your customers say about your product. That’s okay. It happens to all products.
That’s why it’s important to respond calmly and helpfully whenever you receive negative feedback.
When you get positive reviews, however, that’s another story. You should amplify those reviews as much as possible.
One thing you can do is to feature these reviews on your website. Allot a section on your home page that shows these positive user reviews. Use testimonials, too, if you can.
These reviews being visible on your website will go a long way in convincing your visitors that your SaaS product would greatly benefit them.
Focusing On Customer Retention
Now, SaaS marketing isn’t just about acquiring new customers. It’s also about keeping them.
In fact, customer retention is sometimes more important than customer acquisition.
Let’s have an example here. Let’s say that your customer acquisition cost (CAC) is around $300. On average, a single user spends $150 per year on your product. That means you need to keep each user for at least two years just to break even.
Customer retention is important if you want to maintain a healthy SaaS business.
You should always aim to keep your existing customers because acquiring new ones can be costly. You need marketing dollars to do so. That money could be better spent on retaining the users you already have.
The key here is communication with your users. Make sure that you are consistently providing value for them.
One way you can strengthen your relationship with your customers is by providing more high-quality content. Another is building a SaaS community so that they can have peer-to-peer help and sharing.
With the right retention marketing efforts, you can build loyalty among your users and even turn them into brand advocates.
Final Thoughts About SaaS B2B Marketing
Competing in SaaS B2B marketing can be complex and difficult. There are a lot of considerations and the standards are high.
You need a lot of research on your target market. You need to know your competitors. You need to build your topical authority in your chosen niche.
And most importantly, you need to keep the customers you’ve gained for as long as you can.
B2B SaaS marketing can be challenging. But with the right strategies, you can surpass your competitors and come out on top. You can hire a SaaS marketing agency or a SaaS marketer to help you with all the things that need to be done and to do things right.
For more guides on growing your SaaS business, visit our SaaS marketing blog here.