Best Marketing Strategies for SaaS Businesses
You're the marketer or owner of a company in the SaaS industry. How can you choose the best growth strategy for your business?
Today we'll talk about two of the main SaaS marketing strategies that are focused on the growth of a customer base: product-led growth (PLG) and sales-led growth (SLG) strategies.
Product-led growth (PLG) and sales-led growth (SLG) strategies are two of the most successful methods for marketing software as a service (SaaS).
PLG focuses on providing customers with an engaging, intuitive product experience that encourages them to adopt the product, usually offering a free trial or freemium version of the product.
On the other hand, SLG puts emphasis on customer acquisition through sales activities such as cold-calling and lead nurturing. The CTA (call-to-action) of an SLG strategy is typically inviting to book a demo with the sales team.
Both strategies can be used together or separately to maximize the success of a SaaS business.
Once you've decided which of the SaaS marketing strategies is best for your business, it's important to determine how you will execute it effectively.
Product-Led Growth (PLG) and Sales-Led Growth (SLG) Strategies
Advantages and Disadvantages
Combining SaaS Marketing Strategies
Before choosing a marketing strategy
Software as a service (SaaS) marketing is the process of driving awareness, engagement, and adoption of a software solution.
There are many factors to consider before choosing an effective SaaS marketing strategy.
Knowing the characteristics of your target audience, including their needs and preferences, will help you to develop more effective messages and campaigns for them.
Goals and objectives
Setting clear goals and objectives before starting a marketing campaign will ensure that your efforts are focused on achieving those outcomes.
Having an accurate budget estimate is essential for any marketing strategy. It allows you to plan campaigns accordingly and securely allocate funds for effective activities.
It is important to understand the different stages of the customer journey and how marketing activities can be used to move prospects down the funnel.
It is important to understand the competitive landscape, including what types of marketing strategies are being used by competitors and how you can differentiate your product.
Evaluating the resources needed for an effective SaaS marketing strategy is important. This includes personnel, tools, and technology that can help streamline processes and increase efficiency.
Competition: Blue or Red Ocean Business?
Blue or red ocean businesses refer to the type of market competition a business faces.
Blue ocean business
Blue ocean businesses have few competitors and operate in an uncontested market. Examples of a blue ocean SaaS business may include innovative tech companies like Slack, as well as niche products that are unique to a specific market and have no real competition.
Red ocean business
Red ocean businesses are surrounded by direct competitors and have to fight hard to gain market share. They often involve highly saturated markets, such as food & beverage chains, retail stores, and large chain banks.
It's not uncommon for new companies to start as blue ocean businesses, then see their environment become increasingly more crowded as time goes on.
Both blue and red ocean businesses have their own advantages and disadvantages, so it's important to understand which type of business model is best for your company. With the right strategy and approach, a red ocean business can still be successful, but it will take more effort and determination than its less competitive counterpart. In the end, it all comes down to what fits your business model best.
Overview - PLG and SLG SaaS Marketing Strategies
SaaS businesses have two main SaaS marketing strategies to choose from: Product-led Growth (PLG) and Sales-Led Growth (SLG).
PLG focuses on providing customers with an engaging, intuitive product experience that encourages them to adopt the product. This includes features such as personalization, self-service onboarding, and customer feedback loops.
SLG puts emphasis on customer acquisition through sales activities such as cold-calling and leads nurturing. It also involves using account-based marketing campaigns and targeted outreach efforts to reach potential customers.
Advantages of Product-Led Growth (PLG) Strategies
PLG strategies are usually suitable for known business models, or products whose use people can understand without needing explanations.
If this is your case, Product-Led Growth (PLG) strategies might be your first choice.
With PLG at the helm, you'll be championing a customer-centric approach that lets your product take center stage. Users will be invited to use your product through a free trial or freemium version, getting a taste of just how your SaaS product works.
Your product will quickly be adopted and your business revenue will start rapidly growing.
Disadvantages of Product-Led Growth (PLG) Strategies
Although Product-Led Growth (PLG) strategies can be alluring to businesses looking for rapid expansion, they are not without their pitfalls.
Attracting SaaS customers
First off, attracting SaaS customers becomes trickier because you're relying heavily on your product's value proposition rather than a fine-tuned SaaS marketing strategy. On top of that, there's the risk of spreading yourself too thin, as maintaining a high-quality product while continuously evolving to stay ahead of the competition is a tall order.
Establishing the right product pricing
Don't forget the difficulty of establishing clear SaaS pricing and upselling opportunities.
You might end up with an influx of low-value, freeloading users with slim chances of converting.
Neglecting the human aspect in favor of a product-centric approach could be detrimental to building strong relationships with clients.
So, before you jump on the PLG bandwagon, it's essential to weigh the disadvantages against the benefits to make an informed decision.
Advantages of Sales-Led Growth (SLG) SaaS Marketing Strategies
Sales-Led Growth (SLG) strategies are excellent for businesses looking to take a more targeted approach to SaaS marketing.
Instead of relying on organic word-of-mouth, SLG focuses on direct sales tactics like cold calls or emails and personal connections with potential SaaS customers. With this strategy, you can hone in on specific leads that have a higher chance of converting into loyal, long-term users.
Furthermore, you can use customer acquisition techniques like referral programs or discounts to draw in new customers and increase revenue. SLG also gives you greater control over the customer relationship cycle, allowing for more personalization and guided conversations.
Finally, sales teams can leverage their networks and contacts to spread brand awareness and grow the customer base exponentially.
Overall, Sales-Led Growth strategies are a great way to build strong relationships with customers while boosting revenue.
Disadvantages of Sales-Led Growth (SLG) SaaS Marketing Strategy
While Sales-Led Growth (SLG) strategies can be an effective way to generate leads and increase revenue, they come with certain drawbacks that should not be overlooked.
Cost per lead
The cost of acquiring SaaS customers is usually higher since you're relying heavily on sales teams to directly close deals.
It's usually difficult to scale operations quickly as customer acquisition costs and sales team size need to be increased simultaneously.
It's also very difficult to build customer loyalty as customers are more focused on the deal than the product.
SLG strategies are often seen as too aggressive for some markets, potentially alienating potential customers and damaging your company’s reputation.
So when it comes to deciding which SaaS marketing strategy is best for your business, it’s important to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each carefully before making a decision.
So, what's the best marketing strategy for SaaS companies?
Product-led and sales-led growth strategies are both crucial marketing approaches that SaaS companies should consider as they explore and seek out ways to secure customers.
PLG strategies enable businesses to create a strong product value and then attract customers, while SLG strategies allow businesses to approach customers with an immediate impactful solution.
These two strategies involve their own respective advantages and disadvantages, so the right one for your business will depend on how best you can set yourself apart from competitors.
Combining SaaS marketing strategies
It may seem like a no-brainer to opt for a combination of PLG and SLG strategies when it comes to SaaS marketing. After all, different products will require different approaches, and both strategies can be used to complement each other.
What's important is to remain flexible and adopt an agile mindset, constantly reevaluating the market landscape to make sure you're on top of your game. Keep in mind that relying heavily on one type of strategy may have its drawbacks and limit potential growth, so don’t be afraid to switch things up if need be.
With a strategic blend of PLG and SLG strategies, you'll have greater chances of success in the ever-evolving world of SaaS marketing.
The one thing that should top your list is customer experience. Even if your product isn’t overly flashy, or you don’t have a huge budget for marketing and advertising, having an excellent customer experience can set you apart from the competition.
Make sure your customers are satisfied with the service they receive and that their interactions with your team are pleasant. When it comes to SaaS marketing, customers should always come first. By putting their needs before anything else, you’ll be well on your way to success and bring your business into the limelight!
SaaS Organic Marketing
Despite the choice of one or a combination of marketing strategies, SaaS companies also need to work on seamless organic content marketing to maximize their reach and create a strong brand presence.
Contrary to popular belief, organic marketing does not mean having to do everything on your own. Instead, it means making use of tools such as search engine optimization (SEO), content creation, and digital advertising in order to make sure your SaaS products are visible wherever potential customers may be searching for them.
Content should be tailored for different buyer personas and should revolve around creating value for the customer.
You can also leverage affiliate programs, influencers, SEO, webinars, events, and SaaS review sites such as Capterra or ProductHunt to increase organic growth.
Use the help of experienced SaaS marketers
If you're still unsure about which of the SaaS marketing strategies is right for your business, it's worth considering consulting with experienced SaaS marketers who can provide valuable insights into your options.
With the right advice and guidance, you'll soon be able to find an approach that works for you and your SaaS business.