Marketing Your SaaS Business to Drive Growth: 6 Ways to Get it Right and 3 Pitfalls to Avoid

by Trisha Gallagher | March 2, 2023

Running a SaaS business presents challenges all its own—from standing out in an often-crowded field to keeping investors satisfied by hitting your targets. To thrive, you have to keep growing. And the right approach to marketing can help you grow exponentially.

Before you embark on a strategic marketing program to drive your SaaS business’s growth, you need confidence that your efforts will pay off with a high ROI. Based on Marketri’s experience leading outsourced strategic marketing for successful SaaS companies, we know what works and what doesn’t. Here’s our recommendations on how to get your SaaS marketing right and the most common pitfalls to avoid.

6 Ways to Get It Right

1. Take time to nail down your messaging. Effective marketing starts with solid messaging. What unique value do you offer customers? What problems does your product solve? In what tangible ways will customers benefit from your offering? If you’re under pressure to generate leads and sales fast, you might be tempted to short-cut this step in the process. That’s a big mistake. The only way to convince customers to sign on for a recurring revenue contract is to demonstrate you provide value they need and can’t get anywhere else. Take the time to develop a clear, compelling value proposition and brand pillars that give your customers solid reasons to believe (and invest) in your product.

2. Nurture two equally critical funnels. You’ve heard of the revenue funnel: the journey a buyer goes through to become aware of your product, show intent, evaluate your solution, and eventually buy. It’s critical to attract ideal buyers into your revenue funnel and nurture them until they become customers, but you shouldn’t stop there. Successful SaaS businesses also focus on their current customer funnel—building a community, providing an effective onboarding experience, keeping customers engaged, and improving the odds they’ll renew their contracts. After all, customer acquisition cost (CAC) is a critical metric for any SaaS business, and it costs much more to acquire a customer than retain one. By making customer retention a critical element of your strategic marketing program, you’ll drive down your CAC, boost your profitability, and stay on a strong growth trajectory.

3. Define your target market carefully. As Geoffrey Moore points out in Crossing the Chasm, the early innovators you attract at first may be very different from the mainstream customers that eventually represent the lion’s share of your revenue. The most successful SaaS businesses think long-term—making thoughtful, strategic decisions about which market segments to target for sustainable growth, then building a marketing plan that’s laser-focused on those segments. They cross the chasm by building out one or two targeted segments first, only pivoting to new segments once they’ve proven themselves and built up the positive cash flow to invest in more growth. It’s an effective way to focus your marketing and sales resources where you’ll generate the highest ROI.

4. Lean into your expertise. Decisions makers value thought leaders who provide insights that ultimately help them run their own businesses better. As a SaaS company, you’re in prime position to serve as that thought leader. With many customers using your software platform, you likely have a wealth of data that other businesses would find useful. In fact, we’ve helped SaaS businesses optimize their technology infrastructure so they can mine and use their proprietary data in marketing campaigns, getting buyers to engage because they see value in what they’ll receive in return.

5. Make sure you’re targeting customers at every stage. Some SaaS businesses focus only on what we call top of the funnel marketing activities that generate awareness among buyers who aren’t actively looking for your product yet. Others jump right to the bottom of the funnel, hoping to find buyers who already know they need a product like this and are ready for a demo. The most effective SaaS marketing programs target buyers at every stage of their journey—drawing in those who are just starting to become aware of solutions like yours and those who are ready to evaluate specific solutions. Doing both effectively is critical to generating a larger pipeline of leads and accelerating your revenue growth.

3 Pitfalls to Avoid

1. Don’t turn them off with your demo offer. But wait…isn’t a demo exactly what you want a prospective buyer to sign up for? Of course! But buyers view a demo as a major time commitment, and they know it signals that they’re highly interested (meaning, get ready for the sales push). We helped a SaaS business achieve a higher conversion rate for their demos by using new tools that let the buyer progress through their own virtual demo first—a way to get a peek under the hood before engaging with a sales rep. Driving more buyers to a virtual demo might be a great way to increase your overall conversion rate and boost your revenue.

2. Don’t assume you’re too small for influencer marketing. In the SaaS tech arena, analysts and influencers have tremendous weight. Reports from organizations like Gartner and Forrester Research can make or break a SaaS business—enabling you to build awareness and market share fast vs fighting for what little is left. No matter your size or maturity stage, it’s worth investing time and budget to court the most important analysts and influencers in your space with strategic messaging that gets you on their radar and turns them into advocates for your solution.

3. Don’t allow marketing and sales to operate in silos. With aggressive targets to hit, there’s a tendency for SaaS businesses to be sales-led organizations, where sales and marketing tend to operate independently. But driving revenue growth requires pulling many levers—some sales related, some marketing related, and all interrelated. The most effective SaaS marketing programs get both functions fully aligned and in sync, working together as a revenue-generating team.

4. Don’t underestimate the marketing value of your BDRs. Many marketers have proclaimed the cold calling approach as dead. But done right, it can enhance and extend your marketing by generating more leads and helping you hit your targets. For example, we’ve helped SaaS businesses set up processes that deliver MQLs (marketing qualified leads) to a business development rep to follow up with, in concert with a marketing nurture campaign. It’s a great way for sales to build relationships, rather than simply push contracts—especially if you hire BDRs that have subject matter expertise and can provide valued consultation.

Marketri is the trusted strategic marketing consulting partner for SaaS businesses looking to achieve predictable, profitable growth. Our SaaS marketing specialists help leading companies differentiate their software and drive revenue growth through a pipeline of sales-ready leads.

If you’re ready to team up with an outsourced SaaS marketing partner that understands the complexities of your business and delivers exceptional results, schedule a call with our CEO Deb Andrews.

Learn how we helped a SaaS company hit its quarterly targets by driving sales-ready leads! Download our SaaS Case Study