Total SaaS revenues worldwide are expected to further increase to $99.7 B by 2020 (Forbes) and are likely to grow bigger as more businesses adopt a cloud-based infrastructure. That’s great news for a SaaS vendor like you, but it’s also bad news because you know the competition is only starting to heat up and the market is already crowded. Having an arsenal of promotional options is more than ever critical to your future success as a SaaS vendor. Here are six ideas that can help you get more leads and increase SaaS sales. You can also find some more SaaS marketing ideas here (this post explores some really interesting strategies).
B2B software review platformsare third-party sites that collate, present, and review software products from different categories and group them by factors such as price, deployment, specific features or other useful factors that may help buyers find the best-fitting software for their company more easily. A Google study showed that 70% of Americans say they read product reviews before making a purchase, and many of them start their research by visiting a review site like ours. Why? Because it saves them the time and effort. B2B review platforms allow them to compare products in an instant and they don’t have to visit each vendor site separately. Likewise, review sites enjoy a high ranking in SERP (search engine results page) because their content is regularly updated, they have product ratings, and they enjoy an active community, all considered to be major SEO factors.
If review sites aren’t part of your organic marketing, you’re missing a big chunk in your lead generation stream. Make sure you have a presence on all major review platforms and advertise your product there. If you’re not sure where to advertise SaaS prodcuts consider these tips:
Many B2B marketers fail to realize that negative comments about their software can work to their advantage. We’re talking about legitimate negative remarks, not hostile comments. One way to distinguish the two is that, legitimate comments often have details about why they are dissatisfied or angry, while hostile posts just rant.
Addressing negative comments showcases your sincerity in delivering customer service, while other prospects observe. You know how hard it is to get requests for a product demo, right? Well, answering a negative comment is one big demonstration of your awesome customer support to a large audience, prospects who are reading the negative comment. Besides, many negative comments are often caused by a misguided customer expectation or a minor glitch. Customers are usually ready to gloss over your shortcomings, but they won’t forgive you for ignoring them. Nothing says it clearer that they’re unimportant than giving them a cold shoulder. Conversely, by addressing their issue, you’re signalling to them and prospects who are listening that you’re a reliable vendor.
Be clear about your unique selling proposition. What makes you stand out from the competition? Why would buyers choose you and not the others? Showing prospects that your software has more features isn’t telling them your real value. You should show them the benefits of these features, in short, what’s in it for buyers, which they won’t get from the competition.
Before you can craft your value proposition, you need to know who you’re addressing. Who is your customer? What does she or he do and what are the problems that hinder her or him from doing the job? Your product’s value proposition is the solution to these problems. However, solving the problem isn’t enough. How you solve it is likewise important to get prospects’ attention. For instance, both your product and the competitor’s provide 24/7 helpdesk support, but yours has multiple channel options. The value proposition highlights your advantage (and hides your disadvantage) to win the sale.
After identifying your value proposition, you need to translate this into your messages, including your website’s headlines, subheads, body, and email marketing messages. By consistently repeating your value proposition in different ways and platforms, you’re creating a specific mental picture of your product in prospects’ minds. You’re not just another generic software.
Webinars shouldn’t be confused with product videos or tutorials, which are product-centric. Webinars talk about, not your software, but the issues that it’s designed to solve. Done properly, webinars give you two major benefits: project your expertise or thought leadership, which earns you credibility, and funnel leads by asking viewers to subscribe to your mailing list.
Creating your own webinars need not be daunting. It’s better to create a focused short webinar of no more than 20-30 minutes than try to tackle all issues at once for hours. Moreover, by narrowing down the topic to each problem that your software aims to solve, you have more topics to create a webinar series, in short, more content to keep engaging prospects. For example, you can break down CRM into topics about customer support, customer insights, lead generation, sales automation, etc.
Of course, creating the webinar is just half the task; you need to promote it to get prospects to subscribe. For this reason, webinars are perfect for content marketing, where attracting prospects is easier with a topic than a sales pitch. Post an announcement on your social media channels, on your homepage, mailing list, or via paid ad, such as, Sponsored LinkedIn, Promoted Tweet, or Facebook Promoted Post.
Although webinars talk about topics, don’t forget to close it with a product call-to-action, which can be a free trial opt-in, to move subscribers to the next stage in the sales funnel.
MarketingSherpa reported that only 26% of SaaS companies use email marketing to activate free trial users. That means many vendors are missing the chance to statistically increase their conversion rate for at least twice as much. For instance, you get 100 free trial users this month. At 2% conversion rate, you get two new customers from this set of prospects. Using a drip email marketing tactic to get back at the other 98 leads, you can get another 2% conversion rate and possibly earn one or two more new customers. That’s a 4% conversion rate for the same batch of leads.
However, don’t just resend the same email message as you try to win prospects in the next round. Instead, look for a new reason or add more value to your next offer. You can extend the free trial period to give prospects more time to get hooked on your software or nurture leads by funneling them into your webinar series.
Here are more tips on how to increase your free trial conversion rate:
- Send subscribers an email days or a week before the free trial ends
- Give clear steps on how to start using the free trial
- Put a clear call-to-action at the end of your email message that prompts subscribers to activate the free trial
- Automate your drip marketing campaign so you can focus on gathering new leads elsewhere. Check our reviews of the best CRM and sales software in the market today to pick the best tool for that task.
Here is another effective way to increase SaaS sales. You can do more than simply post content on your social media channels. Why not host twitter chats? The idea is similar to hosting a forum discussion in the past, where you introduce a topic, invite people to participate, and act as a moderator. People have since migrated to social media and Twitter is the ideal community to hold a forum, where readers can easily hashtag their way into the discussion. As with webinars, twitter chats should be topic-oriented, not product-centric. You can also invite other experts–your managers or your clients’ managers–to add more interest to the discussion.
Here are a few tips on how to pull off Twitter chats:
- Think of a debatable issue. Ask yourself what hot issue concerns your target audience today. For example, cloud software vs. on-premise software or best practices in outsourcing customer service.
- Prepare for battle. Make sure that you’re equipped to rebut arguments against your points, which are really thinly disguises to promote your software. Your invited guests can help reinforce your arguments.
- Listen with empathy. Don’t just present your arguments. Present them from the point of view of the other party.
- Never hawk your wares. Your credentials that appear as a host are enough to subtly sell your software. Mentioning your product often will turn off the audience.
- Put a call-to-action to content. Instead of making a sales pitch at the end of discussion, nurture the leads to another content asset (your webinar, perhaps). This makes you more credible and authoritative than acting like a sales rep.
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