Many startups believe that launch day is the end. Launch day is only the very beginning of the journey and kick starts the hardcore business work. Hard work starts because the startup passes from the building stage to the business stage.
Direct selling is a huge part of the go to market strategy as it helps to get new customers, however, SaaS startups often do not use the right process, or don’t invest in the necessary tools. Customer Support, Content Marketing, Inbound Marketing and other growth hacking techniques are key elements for SaaS companies when building their go to market strategy.
This article highlights process and tools that can be used by SaaS companies to go to market successfully. Just pick up those which fit with your team Skills, Branding and Customer Profile, test and optimize it.
Direct selling (emails or phone calls) can be seen as an easy way to skyrocket the revenue of your SaaS company by just hiring a bunch of salespeople.
However without the right strategy, a decent sales stack and some training your sales team will never drive revenue.
A successful direct selling process starts by defining your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). Your ICP is represented by key characteristics such as demographic data, firmographic data, technologic attributes and customized data. Defining your ICP start by collecting data on your actual users (first users) and revealing some trends.
Next stage consists in gathering data about potential users that fit with your ICP. Professional networks such as Linkedin, Github or Crunchbase represent great places for your sales prospecting team to hunt. User’s social profile are always updated and searching on those networks can be very specific (job position, company size, industry, and so on) using the Advanced Search Option. Sales hackers then extract all required pieces of information using a sales prospecting software such as Salestools.io and export the data into their CRM. Salestools saves 45% sales developers time while prospecting.
Final steps, start emailing and calling your targeted prospects by customizing your content and making it as informational as possible. Using a CRM such as SugarCRM is highly recommended to track, get insights and optimize your email & call campaigns. Do not forget to follow up as only 8% of prospects answer after the very first email.
The ultimate strategy for acquiring new customers at a very low price is to utilize the power of content marketing. Content marketing is a marketing tactic that empowers users with marketing materials related to your business, industry and all subjects above or below you in the customer journey. The buzz around this term is at an all-time high as every single successful SaaS startups have extensively used content to acquire customers.
Content created has to fit with your ICP and target the one who are the most likely to make your content viral. When your audience is defined then the content has to offer a real informational solution for your actual or potential users. The best practice to write a compelling content is to gain knowledge about what are the pain of your users regarding their current experience and the surrounding environment. Define some key point where your users need information by interviewing your actual customers, offering them surveys against rewards or by collecting data around the most visited website of your core audience.
Materials have to be compelling, bold and as various as possible. Use infographics, pictures, videos, GIFs, charts to make your content as easy to understand as possible. Niche influencers are a great source of content and leveraging their expertise and well-known name will make your content heavily viral (all depends on the number of followers they have). Use various format as well while sharing influencers content such as podcasts, blog posts, GIFs, videos and so on.
Content marketing is a crucial step for SaaS startups to go to market with success as it represents the playground for all of your next marketing strategy (Social Media, SEO, Inbound, etc.).
Content has become so important for SaaS companies that some tools has emerged to make content creation a more easy tasks. Buzzsumo is surely the most famous tool in content marketing has it helps marketers to find relevant content that fit their business and offer insights regarding their social media activity.
Customer Success is a magic trick for customer retention and can even attract new customers thanks to the word of mouth. Having a continuous phone support for all users (no matter their plan), a support live chat 24/7 and an FAQ is already a great effort to keep your current customers. Unlike most of SaaS providers FreshBooks, an online invoicing and accounting service, provide the full customer service package listed above and send a random cake to new users or users birthday. It can seem weird or expensive, but it skyrockets FreshBooks brand reputation better than any other marketing campaign.
Monthly plans are nowadays the most common trend for SaaS companies which means that customer service is fully part of the sales process! Great customer support is essential for the long-term success of your SaaS startup.
“To me, job titles don’t matter. Everyone is in sales. It’s the only way we stay in business” Harvey Mackay
Onboarding is key for SaaS companies as customers cannot ask physically how works the product and be accompanied step by step by a salesperson. Providing a very complete and user-friendly first experience is essential for SaaS companies to educate their customers and help them succeed using their solution. A happy customer is a customer who knows perfectly how to use your product and get the best out of it. Onboarding is the best way to educate your newly signed-up customers succeeding with your solution. Usually, there are few steps that new users need to complete in order to be successful with your product and an onboarding process makes it easier.
Zendesk has made the onboarding process its spearhead. Their users have a large number of steps to complete before being considered as “onboarded” due to the nature of their business and solution. If a user is not fully onboarded, then he/she will never succeed with their solution. In order to avoid this situation Zendesk has developed a “Getting Started” screen that shows up right after the user has signed in. This onboarding process walks the user through a step by step setup process with videos and useful tips along the way.
Providing ongoing training is a great after sale service for users and a great way for SaaS startups to reward their valuable customers. MailChimp, an email marketing provider, provide many free eBooks to all of its users. These e-books not only educate the users on how to use the product but also cover many of the best practices and tips for sending bulk email. MailChimp knows that making their users smarter and more successful is good for them as well!
The SaaS evangelist, Salesforce.com, uses a successfully proven customer training method. Every year, Salesforce host dozens of user conference all around the world to offer training and build a community around their products. They also make videos of those conferences and offer them for free online. Salesforce.com users have literally hundreds of free training sessions to choose online. Each one of these videos is designed to make the users more successful, happier and transform them into salesforce evangelist.
- Prospect companies that have recently raised funds
- Focus on decision makers
- Train your team using B2B sales & marketing programs (EX: Pardot)
- Use dashboards and gamification software to motivate your team
- Use sales prospecting software (EX: Salestools.io)