We’re here to discuss the ways that working with a SaaS marketing agency can help you automate and scale your SaaS acquisition funnel to further increase your marketing results in 2020.
More than 67% of SaaS companies experienced annual churn rates of 5% or higher.
If you’re reading this, then you probably have raised some money and are in the weeds of trying to grow a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform. Right? Better yet, you’ve already launched a SaaS platform, and you’re looking for ways to scale your customer base and MRR. Great!
We’re here to provide you with actionable insights that will allow you to refine your SaaS marketing and overarching SaaS growth strategy – by hiring a savvy marketing agency with experience working with platforms just like yours.
In this article, we will discuss some key points that’ll help you assess the suitability of SaaS to the needs of your enterprise software and the benefits of partnering with a niche B2B SaaS agency. By the time you finish reading this, you’ll be ready to find the right SaaS marketing agency that focuses on effective SaaS growth hacking to scale MRR and minimize SaaS customer churn.
High-growth companies offer a return to shareholders 5 times greater than medium-growth companies. (Mckinsey)
As you’re probably finding out, churn is a primary concern. Executing on lead generation and customer acquisition is great, but it’s a complete waste of money if you can’t retain that customer.
The SaaS ecosystem covers a variety of industries, including retail, health, hospitality, non-profit, real estate, transportation, professional services. Software applications are taking over in every industry – accounting/financial services, call center functions, business intelligence, enterprise resource planning, document management, customer relationship management… As we venture into this new decade, this list will continue to grow exponentially!
From 2019 to 2023, the global SaaS market is predicted to be worth $60.36 billion, registering a 9% CAGR within the 4-year period (Technavio)
With the way in which it continues to expand, the software-as-a-service industry seems to be the golden ticket in this day and age. But this success did not happen overnight and it most certainly did not happen without the expertise of SaaS marketing companies.
Here is a list of top reasons why hiring a SaaS growth agency is an essential step on your way to being one of the fastest growing SaaS companies in 2020.
Top 25 Reasons for Hiring a SaaS Marketing Agency
When you hear the term “SaaS marketing”, you might think you can accomplish the same goals by hiring just any digital marketing agency. Don’t make that mistake.
SaaS marketing is in a world of its own and requires the right set of skills to see success.
If you’re launching a SaaS platform or looking to revamp the marketing efforts of your existing software, you’re going to need to enlist the expertise of an experienced SaaS marketing agency.
1. Understanding of SaaS Marketing Problems
For most SaaS companies, the tactical problems they face all look the same. They’re having difficulty with Google Adwords or CPC is way too expensive to maintain. Maybe their content strategy has been relatively productive, but they’re lacking the proper reporting and SEO knowledge to know for sure. Across the board, we have found that SaaS companies may be implementing the right tactics, but are lacking an effective strategy behind these tactics to reach their goals.
This is usually because of the way the SaaS company is structured.
It often goes like this. Within large companies, there is a marketing team consisting of a copywriter, designer and product marketer. VP’s set goals for the marketing team and assign tactical tasks. The marketing team then spends all of their time working on these tactics. What is lacking is someone with the expertise to craft an effective inbound strategy to support these tactics and align the goals of your entire team.
On the contrary, smaller SaaS companies are typically made up of a small team with knowledge in tech and product development – not marketing.
One of the biggest mistakes that SaaS companies make is to focus only on what needs to happen in the short term. They do not zoom out to look at the long term picture of strategizing, generating leads, and retaining customers.
Experienced B2B marketing agencies with experience working with SaaS companies understand these commonalities and have worked with similar teams and skill sets within larger or smaller companies. By choosing to hire an agency, you gain this experience, knowledge and a bird’s eye view of the bigger picture.
2. Scalable SaaS Customer Acquisition
As you might have learned the hard way, hiring a B2B marketing agency that does not focus on SaaS specifically may help your company with a tailored B2B marketing strategy and resources to execute on those objectives. However, without a specialty in SaaS platforms, they won’t be able to help you be successful with SaaS lead generation, SaaS customer acquisition, and SaaS client engagement.
If you want to do things right, cookie-cutter tactics are not the right approach. While you may see some success using these ‘one-size-fits-all’ solutions, you won’t have a clear idea of what is working and what isn’t. You need a strategy that allows you to see exactly where your leads are coming from and what engagement tools are converting them into customers.
Increases in revenue growth rates drive two times more market capitalization gain as margin improvements for companies with less than $4 billion in revenues. (Mckinsey)
Hiring niche SaaS marketing professionals to create an effective SaaS marketing strategy from scratch based on your unique needs, but also the type of service you provide will maximize your chances of success.
SaaS marketing professionals will keep an eye on growth marketing performance stats, KPI’s and leveraging conversion rate optimization to continually refine and optimize marketing components as you go along. This will help to ensure that your strategy remains relevant as your SaaS platform evolves.
While it is true that it is possible to develop a strategy for yourself or to outsource it to a marketing “expert,” if you are serious about your business, and you want to see success, it is best to let a team of certified experts help.
3. Experience working with SaaS Platforms
Marketing is always risky, and there are no guarantees that your campaign will succeed. However, one thing matters in every industry—experience.
Trusting your marketing campaign to certified experts with a proven track record will maximize your chances of success. Better yet, find an agency that has relevant experience and that has a proven track record of boosting sales of SaaS companies similar to yours.
The more experience an agency has within your “niche,” the better results you will get. As a result, when a B2B SaaS agency promises something based on a previous client that had needs similar to yours, that tells an entirely different story from bold and empty claims about accelerating the growth of your business without any proof.
Look for case studies, references, and comments left by prior customers. That will give you a real picture about the SaaS growth agency. This will help you to decide if it is the right one for your business type, as well as current needs.
4. Staying agile and keeping up with SaaS marketing trends
The digital world is constantly changing and unless you are completely dedicated to it, it is hard to keep up. Running a SaaS type business is an excellent opportunity to make some serious money, but it is also a considerable time investment especially when it comes to providing support to your clients and improving the product.
Launching a new SaaS platform is a whole lot of work and comes with a heavy load of responsibilities. It makes sense if the majority of your time and energy is spent on making sure your platform is working properly and all of the kinks are ironed out. The only problem is that this doesn’t leave much time to focus on marketing efforts and planning for the future.
If you don’t stay ahead of the curve on tested and effective SaaS marketing trends, your team won’t be equipped to plan for future A/B testing and dependent conversion rate optimization experiments.
The same goes for digital marketing. It is way too easy to stay behind if you do it on your own. Not only will you have to keep an eye out looking for what’s new, you will also have to consistently update your existing content to make sure it stays relevant.
Additionally, the niche world of SaaS growth marketing consists of so many different subcategories, making it next to impossible to do everything in-house. Frankly, trying to do everything on your own can put a strain on your SaaS marketing strategy.
Instead, you can hire experts for the cost of less than one single employee, so you can focus on developing your products and services to stay ahead of the competition.
Hiring a team of SaaS marketing professionals whose only job is to boost your lead generation, customer acquisition and client engagement will make sure your strategy remains current and relevant, all the time. You don’t have to worry about trends and updates, your digital marketing agency takes care of that for you.
5. Focus on your customer experience
Customers can get complacent when they feel ignored by SaaS platforms they pay money to every month. This is why it is vital to perfect your sales to customer support handoff in order to manage expectations with regards to SaaS client engagement. As we said above, your job is to create the best product possible and to offer your customers the best service they can imagine.
After all, you are competing on a global, digital scale, and if you don’t do that, someone else will. And as your business grows, the number of emails and customer support tickets will also rise, no matter how sophisticated the software is.
Furthermore, if you want to attract new customers, as well as keep the existing ones long term, you need to keep updating your SaaS services. With more competition on the market, you need to provide more to your customers for the money they pay, or you risk losing them to the competition. Nobody said it wasn’t going to be stressful. The only thing SaaS promises is great potential to earn.
6. Save Time and Money
Hiring an in-office marketing team will drain a considerable amount of money, and it will take a significant amount of time investment to scout the right people. The same goes for hiring freelance marketers who often promise a lot and deliver next to nothing. Your best option is an agile SaaS marketing agency.
Marketing agencies will never bombard you with unnecessary questions and requests, draining your time. They have step-by-step processes that have been tested several times with their other clients. They will collect the necessary information, and start working, delivering you reports to double-check the progress if you want to.
This will give you peace of mind, knowing that you left your marketing to the professionals who know what they are doing. You will be able to focus on your product entirely, ensuring customers get the best for their money, which frankly is all that matters in order to not only acquire new customers, but also keep them happy to minimize SaaS customer churn over time.
In order to build an in-house marketing team, you’ll have to invest a substantial amount of money. Consider the cost of hiring, onboarding, training, salaries, benefits, and purchasing the proper programs and software to set your team up for success. This all adds up quickly.
By choosing to work with a B2B marketing agency with experience working with SaaS platforms, you gain a team of experts that can start right away – no onboarding or training needed. They also will already have the software necessary to operate efficiently and effectively.
7. Align brand messaging & positioning
It’s important to establish your business value proposition, which are often neglected – at least when it comes to SaaS marketing. Similar to how you don’t want to have a broken website or a generic logo, you also don’t want to have unprofessional looking landing pages, email newsletters, or even social media posts.
Think about it—the landing pages you create are often the first encounter a customer has with your business. Not only that, a poor landing page won’t lead to a closed sale, but it can also create even more damage. If your messaging is unclear, unattractive or inconsistent with your brand’s values, the reader might get the wrong picture, creating aversion towards your brand as a whole.
That’s why it is imperative to pay attention to every marketing move you make in order to measure the effectiveness of your SaaS growth hacking strategies and see what course corrections might be warranted. The SaaS marketing agency you hire needs to be aware of your brand values so that they can properly convey your brand voice in every single piece of content you deploy on your website, social media, and other platforms. This is much easier said than done.
Some SaaS platforms take that lifeless, too dry approach, trying to be more professional than they should be. On the other side of the spectrum, you have those “hey dude!” companies who try to force the “casual,” which never looks good.
How to determine your brand voice? It’s a process, and it starts with your company’s background, services you provide, but also understanding the buyer personas that you want to target. As we have said multiple times throughout this text, there are no cookie-cutter solutions in marketing.
Again, your best approach is to hire a certified and experienced digital marketing agency that will create a tailored growth marketing solution for you, having your ideal customers in mind. Every other method is never the best one, as it will never lead to measurable and trackable results you can reproduce to your liking.
8. Access to Marketing Automation Software
When you hire a SaaS marketing agency, you gain access to the marketing automation software and technology that you need with less of the cost. Software such as HubSpot is necessary to align your marketing and sales teams for handing off marketing qualified leads to sales, stay organized, and stay on top of the key performance metrics, relevant reports and data that matter most to your goals.
Cost is probably one of the first things that decision-makers will consider before investing in new sales and scalable lead nurturing technologies, especially relatively expensive technology. It’s a concern that’s both practical and understandable.
The video below from HubSpot outlines why looking at your overarching growth goals will help your team leverage a scalable growth stack to grow faster.
SaaS marketing platforms enable end-users to leverage costly business technologies at a relatively lower-price pay-as-you-go model, without the expensive cost of front-loaded software purchases, updates, and routine maintenance.
However, input costs should not be disproportionately weighted in the decision matrix. Under the terms of the contract, the long-term costs of accessing the software may include more than the expenses paid.
9. Data Security and Compliance
The convenience of a Web-hosted solution is a desirable benefit of the SaaS platform. It allows users to easily access corporate databases from anywhere they have an Internet connection. Data sharing, including multiple geographic locations, is accelerated. However, Web-based access raises concerns about hackers, data theft, and compromised privacy rules.
Securing your company’s data and complying with relevant regulations are essential business functions. U.S. regulators, such as the Federal Trade Commission, hold each company responsible for the security of the personal and confidential information they hold—even if the information is retrieved and processed by third parties.
In this context, it’s your responsibility to ensure that the SaaS solution provider complies with applicable SaaS security policies and procedures.
10. Tracking and Reporting Relevant Analytics
Any expert digital marketer will tell you the most important rule of marketing is to always be optimizing. In order to do so, you need to be able to track and report the performance metrics that are relevant to your growth and ROI goals. You also need to be able to attribute these metrics to the specific tactic or effort that was used.
55% of SaaS companies rate Customer Retention Cost as the key metric to measure.
With established SaaS marketing companies, you’ll gain access to software that tracks, reports, analyzes and attributes the data that matters most to you and your business. They are also able to interpret and simplify these SaaS KPI's so that you can better understand where your money is being spent and where you can see a return on your investment.
When you hire a SaaS agency, it is wise to establish a service level agreement (SLA) that requires regular reporting on the agency’s marketing initiatives. SLAs allow you to make sure that the agency is delivering on the plan you both agreed upon.
11. Expert B2B Web Design
Your website should be actively converting leads into customers. If it isn’t, the first thing you should be considering is a total website redesign. Without a strong website, your SEO, content and paid advertising efforts are a waste.
The right B2B marketing agency will not only be able to help you redesign your website, but it will do so using growth driven design (GDD). GDD is an effective strategy that focuses on the parts of your website that could use a facelift while maintaining the aspects that are working in your favor. You don’t have to worry about losing any customers to them discovering your site is “under construction”.
12. Expert Lead Generation
Lead generation is the first step towards gaining a new customer. This is a metric to which expert SaaS marketers pay close attention. Without a strong lead generation strategy, you can’t maintain a consistent influx of prospects and your conversion rates will fall flat. The video below outlines actionable topics for refining your SaaS sales playbook.
The process of lead generation is not only about attracting potential customers, but generating quality prospects that fit the description of your ideal customer profile and that are seeking the solutions your software offers.
Experienced SaaS consultants know the importance of qualifying the inbound leads as they enter into your SaaS funnel and can help you better understand how to engage with each type of lead: marketing qualified leads (MQL's) and sales qualified leads (SQL's.)
Being able to distinguish what capacitates a lead as marketing or sales qualified will directly affect the effectiveness of your SEO and content strategy. That is why leveraging SaaS marketing for tech companies can help you establish your lead generation approach and achieve your MRR goals at an accelerated pace.
13. Refine Your Content Marketing Strategy
If you forget everything we’ve suggested so far about the reasons behind SaaS marketing, at least remember this one very important thing – content is king. SaaS marketing agencies are skilled and experienced in creating a solid content strategy. Discussing their plan for delivering, deploying and optimizing content consistently should be a fundamental part of your early conversations.
Effective Content marketing components include the following:
- Landing pages
- White papers
- Case studies
- Product demonstrations
- Video content
An established SaaS marketing agency will develop well-written and compelling content that aligns with your brand’s values and voice and helps to establish thought leadership in your industry. When trying to decide if an agency is the right fit for your business, take a look at the way they tell their own story. If they describe their services in a straightforward, simple but engaging manner, you can trust that they will be able to do the same for you.
But creating content that tells the story of your business and positions your products and services in a positive light is not the only thing a SaaS agency should deliver. An effective content strategy is one that puts the audience at the center, meaning the content is structured around the customer’s sales journey and offers value.
The key is to understand the customer’s pain points, goals, and communication preferences. A successful B2B marketing agency will establish your buyer personas at the very start so that they are able to anticipate what the customer wants at each phase of their buying process and each piece of content is mapped to the buyer's journey developed to meet those needs.
As a SaaS company, your buyer personas are bound to evolve as your business grows. Be sure to choose to work with an inbound marketing agency that continuously optimizes your target personas, so that they can continue to provide effective content.
The bottom line – experienced SaaS marketing companies will understand your customers as well as you do. It’s up to you to establish this from the get-go for the best results.
14. Leverage their Search Engine Optimization Expertise
If content is king, SEO is its crown. Without a crown, you might not know a man is king. In the same way, you can write thousands of high quality blogs that are full of groundbreaking information about your industry… but without an effective SEO strategy to support them, this content may not be discovered by your audience.
Effective SEO demands a certain skill set and extensive knowledge in order to fully leverage its potential to build awareness around your business and increase organic search traffic to your website.
It also requires specific keyword research and planning software like SEMrush that can be a hefty expense on a month to month basis. By hiring a SaaS marketing company, you can take advantage of their SEO expertise without having to spend time learning how it works or invest in the software.
15. Build a Practical PPC Advertising Strategy
Pay-per-click advertising can be incredibly time-consuming, complex and requires some knowledge in the area. For this reason, it is essential to your success that you hire someone who understands how to properly go about PPC advertising.
As you speak with different SaaS agencies, you want to understand the different pricing structures so that you can decide what works best for your business. While some agencies will offer a flat monthly fee for PPC, other agencies will offer performance-based pricing, which means you pay per inbound lead. When working off of a performance-based pricing model, you want to be sure that you establish what qualifies as a lead.
Traditionally, niche PPC agencies will require you to pay a percentage of your monthly ad expenditures. However, the most common pay structure that has seemed to be most effective and resourceful for SaaS companies is a hybrid option in which you pay a flat fee plus with an additional percentage cost of your monthly ad spend.
When it comes to PPC advertising, the key is to focus on what you want to accomplish and set clear goals. Do you want to build brand awareness? Do you want to support the launch of a new product? Do you want to increase sales? Having a clear objective for your PPC advertising is imperative.
Understanding what paid advertising strategies a SaaS marketing agency offers will help you decide if their approach will meet your needs. What platforms have they used in the past that have been successful?
Can they pinpoint the problem with your current PPC strategy? How do they plan to spend your PPC budget? Do they plan to align your SEO and PPC strategies to achieve the best results? These are the questions you should ask.
16. Inbound Marketing Methodology
It’s 2020 and inbound marketing is a vital pillar to any content marketing program. When choosing the right SaaS consultant for your business, it’s crucial that they are not still using outdated marketing methods and that they are skilled in inbound marketing.
An inbound marketing agency will be able to show you how they have implemented inbound marketing into their own business practices and how it has improved their own growth. This will allow you to better gauge how they will use inbound marketing strategies to market your software effectively.
Inspect their social media, blog and sales-ready website to get a feel for how experienced and skilled they are with inbound practices. Are they active on their social media platforms? Do they show consistent engagement with their customers? How do they position their own marketing strategies to generate more leads and keep a steady flow of traffic to their website?
A successful inbound marketing agency with experience working with SaaS platforms will help you improve your overall customer experience by allowing you to focus on customer support and by creating compelling content to deploy at the right time in the right manner.
17. Effective Email Marketing
While many might believe that email marketing has lost its effect in recent years, it is still an incredibly powerful tool to generate leads and reduce SaaS customer churn.
The ROI for email marketing can be as high as 4,400%. (CampaignMonitor)
SaaS consultants understand the importance of developing a strong email marketing campaign. Email marketing allows you to work within a permission-based model and offer value to your customers in a variety of ways.
For example, an email marketing tactic can involve using lead generation tools such as gated content or subscription upgrades to attain the contact information of your potential customers.
You can then add the email addresses that you accumulate to an email campaign through which they will receive a series of informative content that teaches them more about your software as the best solution for their challenges. This will also help you to establish thought authority within your industry and guide them to the next stages of their sales journey.
18. Leveraging HubSpot Certified Agencies
Once you have established the scope of a SaaS marketing agency’s inbound strategies, the next aspect to consider is their knowledge and experience with HubSpot. The smartest move you can make is to work with a HubSpot Certified Agency.
HubSpot offers powerful inbound marketing, sales and customer support software that will allow you to automate all of your processes and work more efficiently. The technology HubSpot provides is essential to streamlining your team projects, building out your content and tracking your efforts with relevant data that is easy to understand. It provides a centralized space for your whole team to access the content you develop and see how it is performing.
A HubSpot Certified Agency will know the platform inside and out so that you can avoid a time-consuming onboarding process, get started right away and earn some quick wins. You can choose to implement HubSpot software on your own, but without the expertise of a HubSpot Certified agency you are less likely to leverage everything that it can provide as quickly or effectively.
Tips for Hiring the Right SaaS Marketing Agency
Now that you understand the reasons behind hiring a SaaS marketing agency to help you reach your goals and accelerate the growth of your business, here are some tips for choosing the right agency that will match your needs.
19. Be Clear About Your Business’s Needs
The best place to start deciding on or against SaaS is your current and future technical requirements. The temptation to search first for products and service providers is strong. However, beginning with the needs of your business, you create the best context for choosing the product and the service provider.
Put your company in a strong position by doing the necessary internal brainstorming. Partner with the appropriate SaaS marketing consultant to conduct at least a thorough needs assessment, including an inventory of current technology, usage, defects, and redundancies. That will clarify issues related to technology compatibility, short-term or long-term requirements, fee negotiation, renewal terms, and service provider upgrades.
The information collected at this stage is critical to the success of a SaaS implementation consistent with your business goals.
20. Beware of a “Jack of All Trades”
It’s important that the team of experts you hire is actually a team. Be wary of anyone that refers to themselves as a “jack of all trades”. You don’t want to hire one person to handle all of your marketing needs. They will end up spreading themselves too thin and falling short on certain projects. Plus, a person that claims to know how to do everything is often not an expert in any of the areas.
Instead, you want to be sure that the agency you hire has a productive team with each member being the best at what they do. We recommend asking for the marketing background of the different members you’ll be working with so that you can cross-check this information yourself.
21. Ask for Case Studies, Client References and Read Reviews
There is no better reference than someone who has worked with the agency in the past. Some marketing companies will develop their own case studies outlining the success they have had with previous or current clients. These might be listed on their website for you to access or you can ask to view them.
It also doesn’t hurt to ask for direct client references. Again, you are hiring this team of marketers to work for you. Just as you would ask for references when interviewing a new employee, it is wise to ask for references when scouting a new SaaS growth agency.
Another way to gain some insight into a marketing agency’s past experience and success rate is to read online reviews, if they have any. The beauty of the digital era is everything is online and easy to access. A quick Google research should pull up some history about the company and can provide instant reference material before you ever reach out to them.
22. Don't go cheap
When it comes to SEO, content strategy, and other key aspects of digital marketing, you get what you pay for. By choosing to work with the cheapest SaaS marketing agency, you can expect cheaper, cookie-cutter solutions that are much less effective. This will honestly cause you to spend much more money in the long run when you have to start over from scratch.
23. Make sure they understand your brand culture
Culture is an essential element of your business that you need to establish early on. The buyer of today cares more about a brand’s values and culture more than generations before. If the SaaS marketing agency does not understand the brand culture, they won’t be able to properly represent it through the content and strategies they develop.
The marketing team and your own employees will be working closely together, so it is imperative that they have chemistry. You don’t want to work with a team that doesn’t mesh well with your in-house team.
24. Know your budget constraints
It might seem like we’re stating the obvious with this next tip. However, we feel it is important to touch on it. When it comes to knowing your SaaS marketing budget, you should never just pick a number out of the air based on what your company can afford and what you assume will be plenty to work with to achieve your goals.
Do your research. Understanding the common price points of an effective SaaS marketing strategy is key. It is also helpful to know what specific aspects of the strategy (SEO, PPC, Google Adwords, guest posting, blogging, etc.) are most successful in your industry.
By establishing first what areas you want to focus your SaaS marketing efforts, you can decide where you want to spend the most money. This allows you to go into a meeting with a SaaS growth agency with a comprehensive plan for how you want to allocate your marketing spend.
25. Ultimately, you get what you pay for
While it is true that hiring a marketing agency isn’t cheap, this is not an expense but an investment. If your marketing budget allows it, make the right move. After all, the primary goal of this is to boost your sales, which means marketing is more results-driven than most other investments you’ve previously made.
For example, you hired a designer to craft your logo and your business cards. Those are important, but will only influence the decision indirectly, by improving your brand identity.
SaaS growth marketing, on the other hand, directly improves sales, which means more money in your pocket. Mapping content across the buyer’s journey is vital when taking a data-driven approach.
Thanks to closed-loop reporting with HubSpot, your marketing and sales teams will both have visibility into the nitty-gritty data to perform growth-driven analysis. This means your SaaS marketing agency will be able to effectively map content to each stage of your customer’s journey, optimizing it to ensure better conversions.
In other words, although it might seem like a hefty investment, hiring a digital marketing agency will significantly boost your sales, paying itself off. That is something that shouldn’t be taken lightly, especially if you are serious about making this whole SaaS business work long term.
The Bottom Line...
If you want to succeed in the immensely competitive industry that is software as a service, you’re going to need some help. Don’t make the mistake of hiring a B2B marketing agency that is lacking in Saas experience. You won’t get anywhere unless you work with a SaaS marketing company that understands the individualistic nature of the SaaS landscape.
You created your software as a solution for a unique problem. That’s why you need a unique approach to your SaaS marketing strategy. With the expertise of a SaaS marketing agency, you’ll gain the insight, experience, and tactical methods that will reduce your SaaS customer churn and boost your sales.