This blog is not just about answers, it is also about what challenges companies face while trying to create a B2B SaaS Marketing Strategy to convert leads. We discussed at length with one of our B2B SaaS clients what all they have tried and the learnigs they acquired from the pitfalls faced.
Content Dilemma: Quality vs. Quantity
There are two ways to create a content strategy for SaaS. One is to create a lot of content which answers a lot of popular questions for the visitors and giving them generic content offers that are good enough to get a form filled. This works well in getting visitors as a lot of content has SEO benefits and promoting them is a fairly mechanical task. But this doesn't always ensure that a lead becomes a customer; atleast not without a lot of persuasion.
The other was is to create unique content and offers that have immense value for the visitor and generates a real connect with them. This takes time and investment, which are limited if you are a small or a medium SaaS company. While creating limited content has its disadvantages, it works better in getting a conversation started and finding quality leads.
Drip Campaigns Don't work
Email Drip campaigns designed to slowly move the lead further down the funnel works can be a risky venture. Generally it only makes it easier for some visitors who were anyway going to convert. For others, this might even give negative results as irrelevant emails might drive leads away.
What works to some extent is segmenting visitors based on buyer persona and creating drip campaigns for each and every persona to give them only relevant content. You just have to weigh that out against the cost of creating such a campaign.
Establishing Workflows based on Content
Associating a content offer to a blog is simple. But what next? How do you figure out which offer is to be sent where? You have multiple TOFU and MOFU content that can go in the next step. Plotting the workflow for a lead based on content is challenging because a new content offer could change the entire strategy.
The matrix of (Buyer Persona)X(Buyer's Journey) content is needed to make a targeted action on a lead. This way it is possible to get small wins with a lead before any direct marketing efforts.
Social Networks paid/ unpaid don't work beyond lead generation
Social campaigns are a great way to reach audiences and, when done right, they give you a lot of quality visitors as well. But getting direct workable leads from social media is a great feat.
Organic channels for social media can only work as good as your followership and it is a tediously slow process. For a small company, generating virality is almost impossible. Don't get me wrong, you'll get some leads every now and then out of your organic social efforts, but there is almost nothing you can do to speed up the process.
While paid channels on social media will give you great reach if you target your audience well to deliver quality content, you won't get MQLs out of these campaigns. For instance, promoting BOFU content on LinkedIn will get you nowhere. But PPC for a MOFU content is an expensive deal if all you get is 10% conversion ratio.
So if you don't have great workflows to nurture leads, what else can be done? Most companies go back to sales. You download a couple of offers, doesn't matter what it was, you get a call. And the sales department, no matter how you train them they will eventually pitch the product which will kill the scope for any sort of lead nurturing and you lose valuable prospects.
Bringing Back Lost Leads into the Funnel
Another challenge is what to do with a trial churn? When is the right time and the right way to make them a prospect again? Most SaaS leave it to the will of the salesperson to judge if the lead is worth a revisit.
This may just be a mistake because covering such leads is important. Therefore it makes sense to create a strategy to touch all of them at least once in a quarter, via an email or anything else to check if they can become an opportunity for you again.
So what did work in lead nurturing?
Experiments with the Selling Process
Finding out the right mix for your product (depending on the length of your sales cycle) is something you can find only after trying it out.
For example, assigning a Customer Success Manager (CSM) for a persona is one thing that worked very well. Keeping them independent from sales and support was the key to it. They determine if the lead is ready to be pitched or not, what offers to give them. And they are rewarded not just on the number of deals they make but their conversion ratios. They are more in control of the buyer's journey than the sales team.
Trigger Based Marketing
Checking in on the opportunity at the right time based on behavioral triggers is a great way to get small wins on a lead. For example, getting in touch with a lead within an hour of them checking out the product and pricing page might get you very close to a demo very fast. The point is not to sell the product but to create a conversation based on their recent activity.
“Companies that contact potential customers within an hour of receiving queries are nearly 7 times more likely to have meaningful conversations with key decision makers than firms that try to contact prospects even an hour later. Yet only 37% of companies respond to queries within an hour.”
Paid Campaigns on other channels
If PPC on social media didn't work for lead nurturing that doesn't mean it won't on other online channels which are more relevant to your Industry.
Case in point, for SaaS companies, review websites such as Capterra where PPC campaigns running as low as 2-10$/click might get you a highly qualified lead. It is also a great source to get feedback and reviews on your product for you to publish as social proof.
Customer Referral are the only low hanging fruits
Customer referrals are a great way to most efficiently acquire new customers. If the customer is happy with your service and knows someone who can benefit from the same, they will recommend you. You just have to push them a little to do that.
Here you get conversion ratios as high as 60-70%. But of course, this option is not scalable and cannot be a major source for your acquisitions.
Lead Nurturing is a complicated issue for a SaaS Company and you can never have all the answers. You can only experiment and find out what works for you. Here we have shared some of the experiences we could gather from our discussions.
Did you try something different to nurture leads in your SaaS Company? Tell us how it went in the comments below.
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