4 Tips for Marketing a New (or New-to-You) SaaS Product
I’ve spent the past decade of my career working in business-to-business (B2B), software-as-a-service (SaaS) marketing. It’s a crowded, competitive space, one where if you use the same tactics and tropes as everyone else, you might as well be shouting into an abyss - the only return you’ll get is the echo of your own voice.
The last company I was with had a SaaS offering that applied artificial intelligence (AI) to service and support.
My current work focuses on SaaS for AI-powered contract lifecycle management (CLM). Marketing-wise, there are a few major differences, foremost, the buyer, who now is a general counsel (GC) or chief legal officer (CLO).
GCs and CLOs are responsible for the entire legal operations of a company, and legaltech purchases are only a small slice of that responsibility. At the same time, in our part of the SaaS world, there are hundreds of vendors targeting the same decision makers. As such, reaching these non-traditional buyers requires distinct marketing tactics, which I believe are applicable to any SaaS marketer targeting buyers outside the typical tech echo chamber.
Tip #1: Understand the journey
When you’re marketing to a buyer that isn’t already familiar to you (as legal was to me when I first started at LinkSquares), I’m a firm believer in research and asking a lot of questions. A great marketing foundation can be built by talking to customers, interviewing decision makers and legal teams, listening in on sales calls and reviewing use cases. With this information, you can map out how marketing can best reach targets and support the buying process.
One great way to collect some of this early research is to attend industry events. Even better is to work your company’s booth if you’re sponsoring an event. It’s an invaluable opportunity to refine a pitch, learn in real time and ramp-up fast. You’ll quickly learn prospect pain points, pressing questions, what they care about most – and what will trigger a response.
Tip #2: Match content to your buyer
One key insight I had was that making a technology purchase was a new experience for many legal teams. For some, it may be the first time they’ll make the case for a technology investment outside of their own comfort zone and that of their peers. Based on this, I created marketing to match their needs: Educational materials that revolve around building trust and providing valuable information is key. Content like buying guides, breakdowns of AI methods, product videos that show the experience and customer testimonials work well.
Aim to answer questions such as: What would our software look like in their organization? What will be the benefits and ROI? How would it be for users on a day to day basis? What training would be necessary, what’s the deployment process like? These are the details prospects want to know most of all. Understand their buying journey and show them how tremendous gains can come with very little pain.
Just equip them with the resources to feel confident in their recommendations and sway decision makers.
Tip #3: Accelerate the buying process with product marketing and video
At the end of the day, your customers are buying your product or service because of the real results it can offer them. Flashy marketing can get someone’s attention, but showing how you can provide a tangible ROI is key to getting them to sign on the dotted line. Prospects want to know that they are going to be more successful after buying your product than they were before and that the costs don’t outweigh the benefits.
Resources like case studies, free trials, and proof-of-concepts can work wonders in demonstrating the value your product or service can deliver. Most companies I’ve worked at in the past have utilized free trials as a way to put prospects in the driver’s seat and give them a taste of what it’s like to be a customer. Free trials are a great way to show off how easy your product is to use, what the experience is like, and the results customers can expect. However, given the nature of our product at LinkSquares (most legal teams would be reluctant to upload sensitive company documents and contracts to a system without an NDA in place), it didn’t make sense to drive prospects to it before engaging in sales. Instead, I made the decision to heavily invest in video. It allows us to illustrate differentiators like ease of use and robust features. Product videos are great for mimicking the customer experience and can be invaluable in reaching them in a clear, engaging and easy to digest way.
Tip #4: Experiment often, fail fast
Traditional marketing tactics are limited in such markets, so it’s important to think differently and try new things. Design smaller pilot experiments that are easy to deploy, measure and iterate on vs. experiments that require a huge investment and months to produce results. Show the potential and gain support to expand, or fail fast, learn from it and refocus.
To this final point, keep an open mind, too. We participated in a large virtual event that wasn’t a great experience; attendees spent most of the time trying to figure out the platform. However, we experimented with our own smaller, virtual networking events that offered a more curated, creative and personal experience. We wanted to get as close to that personal, face-to-face feel as possible.
In doing so, we found we could provide a better, more intimate program and with more relevant speakers. And not only did these events produce greater traction, they were less expensive than participating in big shows, fast to conduct, easy to duplicate, and tracking success and gaining precise feedback was simple.
Further, experimenting often, and failing fast, keeps a marketing team nimble and ready to make the most of new developments. That’s important in this space, because more often than not, you need to find your own way and create opportunities.
Juliette Kopecky is the chief marketing officer at LinkSquares, where she sets the company’s strategy for driving awareness and demand. She has run marketing programs at high-growth technology companies, including HubSpot, Datto and Talla. Juliette holds a B.S. in Business Management from Boston University and an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management.