SaaS companies have given a major boost to businesses worldwide over the last few years. Instead of making large initial investments in technological infrastructure which can place heavy burdens on a new business, they can choose to pay a convenient subscription fee and use the services offered by SaaS companies remotely. The flexibility and the value this adds to a business's working model is what makes SaaS-based platforms so popular. The Statistics Portal estimates the SaaS market will be worth $132.57 billion by 2020 worldwide.
Clearly, the demand for SaaS services is high. The question is, how can SaaS companies ensure quick engagement with potential customers? How can they reduce time to product adoption? How can they multiply their customer base faster? The answers to these lie in the adoption of marketing automation by SaaS companies.
Marketing automation can help scale a business tremendously
A company can achieve scale in one of three ways - by undertaking a program of greater expansion, by gaining more paying customers and by lowering the churn of existing ones. Having a cost-effective way of distributing marketing campaigns can be the difference between achieving scale intentionally and leaving things to work out by themselves as a result of fluctuating market dynamics.To begin with, it is important to determine why you want to run a marketing automation program. If you are a SaaS company and have been dealing with any of these challenges, you must definitely consider engaging an expert in marketing automation to avoid suffering any losses.
- Conversions are stable or decreasing
- Qualifying leads is challenging
- Scaling is difficult
- Engagement with leads or potential customers is low
Figure out the key actions you want to accomplish first. This will help you determine the KPIs you want to influence with marketing automation. Some of the KPIs that matter to SaaS companies are -
- Leads to trial conversion % - how many leads does it take to convert to a trial?
- True trial % - how many trial leads are actually engaging with the software?
- Trial to conversion % - how many trials converted to paying customers?
Setting the objectives upfront will determine the next steps of the automation tasks for you to undertake. Do you want to automate lead nurturing? Is the customer life cycle campaign looking for support? Are you designing a marketing automation plan to encourage a greater number of signups? It is also important to keep in mind that marketing automation is a cross-functional task and needs inputs as well as feedback from different teams including the customer support, account management, sales, and business development departments, in addition to the marketing team.
Preparing for marketing automation
Before you begin executing your automation plan, there are a few things you need to do in order to prepare the ground and ensure that automation generates value for your business.
Understand the buyer persona:
The success of an automation plan depends on being able to deliver the right content, to the right person, at the right time. This means you must segment your pipeline and deliver the right messages. To understand your buyer’s persona you need to determine their profile, aspirations, challenges and why they might need a product like yours.
Define the sales funnel:
You need to map the various steps your customer will go through before purchasing your product. You also need to define, at what point will your customer move from one stage to another in the sales funnel. This is important since the kind of content that will be delivered to a user depends on where he/she is in the sales funnel. A person who is just discovering your product for the first time is going to need exposure to very different kind of content pieces as compared to someone who has been using a trial version of your product for a month.
Know the industry benchmarks:
Understanding your competitors and their strategies can help you position yourself better, differentiate your product in a crowded marketplace and put your own performance and product metrics in context.
Develop valuable content:
Lead nurturing is heavily influenced by relevant content which can provide value to the potential customer. The content needs to fit in with the buyer persona and can include webinars, product guides, Q&As, checklists, demos, videos, and white papers.
Plan a distribution strategy:
How will you reach out to your intended audience? Are emails the best way to communicate with them or should landing pages be used to seal the deal? Once you determine which channel needs which type of content, deciding on the right tool for marketing automation will be easier.
Marketing automation is essential for inbound marketing
When a buyer extensively researches a product before making a purchase, you need to present him/her with the valuable content to help them make a decision. Here are some of the areas where marketing automation is being used to drive measurable results in SaaS companies.
Automation allows marketers to gather contacts, manage lists and provides insights into the performance of the email campaigns. It allows the setting of triggers to send notifications and follow-up emails based on specific user action (or even in the absence of action). For instance, if a user visits a product landing page, the automated system can wait for a certain amount of time and then send an email to the user with further details related to the product. Automation is also useful in educating the leads and keeping them updated about new offers through periodic newsletters.
Creating and distributing content that helps drive inquiries and in turn, qualifies high-quality leads, is very important. Automation can help companies demonstrate thought leadership, shorten the sales cycle and resell over a period of time.
Social Media Management:
Marketing automation platforms take the headache out of having to manage multiple social media accounts manually. A company can easily organise messages and posts across various channels and manage different social media accounts from a single dashboard. This makes engagement and monitoring simpler. More importantly, a social media manager can make use of analytics to measure the ROI of social media campaigns.
Another popular area for using automation is for handling customer service. With the right tools, labour cost can be lowered and the speed of services can be improved. The use of intelligent routing, AI chatbots, and a customer service portal are some of the practical ways of using automation to enhance customer service levels.
Data Metrics: Attracting higher quality of visitors to the website and engaging with them is important for all types of businesses, but it is a lot more critical for SaaS companies. Automation lets you measure and analyse traffic and audience behaviour, making it possible to efficiently convert visitors into leads, drive leads to trial signups, and finally nurture those leads into customers.
The benefits of leveraging marketing automation
SaaS companies are in a position to power significant results through automation of marketing campaigns.
Attract Leads and Customers: Automation is used in generating qualified leads more effectively through optimisation techniques for increasing brand visibility, generating awareness and promoting product adoption.
Shorten Sales Cycle: Managing customer health using lead scoring and pipeline stages makes the organisation and management of the sales process more streamlined and reduces (or even eliminates) manual processes, decreases task repetition and human errors.
Personalise the Experience: Teams can create and deliver a more personal experience to potential customers and form the basis of a sustainable relationship in the long-term.
Drive tangible Value: Automation provides analytical tools, giving valuable insights into the inbound marketing initiatives, and helps teams deliver better campaigns in the future.
A well-executed marketing automation program can help you create, retain as well as extend customer relationship at scale by improving lead generation, sales nurturing, lead to sales conversion and customer acquisition. All successful SaaS companies focus on increasing the customer lifetime value after the initial transaction or sale has been conducted. Marketing automation can be a game changer in this regards - driving faster trials, product use, resales and ultimately, generating more revenue.
How well prepared are you to implement a marketing automation program for your SaaS business?
Schedule a call with us to understand the importance of marketing automation boosting your SaaS Business.