I used to work for this SaaS where most of the time I write blogs. But also made a sales copy, emails, KB articles, and even acted as CS support!
That was a lot. 😅
As you can see, I now work with the CaaSocio family. And we had this blog client here whose topic covered different marketing funnels for SaaS.
Looking back, I realized that as part of the marketing team, we hadn’t focused on a specific funnel. So yeah, we [I] realized it a little late.
Lucky for you, we’ll talk about this today.
Unlike me, I hope it’ll help you recognize which funnel you’re SaaS currently does―demand gen, lead gen, growth, or revenue marketing.
So you can also decide where to focus your marketing efforts.
A short rundown of the basics first.
What is SaaS marketing again?
SaaS marketing is the process of promoting software that is delivered as a service. This type of marketing requires a different approach than traditional marketing because the product you’re selling is intangible, subscription-based, and recurring.
So if we follow this definition, SaaS businesses must focus on acquiring and converting leads and then try retaining them. It isn’t about simply making a one-time sale. To do this, they often use different marketing techniques from content marketing to offering free trials.
We can say that if you’re in the SaaS niche, marketing means
- generating awareness and interest in the product
- so that potential customers are more likely to sign up for a free trial or subscribe to the service
- and then ultimately convert to paying customers
- trying to upsell or retain them
What?! There are phases in SaaS marketing?
Here's the real deal though. SaaS marketing goes through different phases in its entire run. You don’t start a company today and try every marketing tactic you know by tomorrow.
Here’s an example from Drift.
A modern marketing team is usually involved in Demand Gen through Lead Nurturing. Marketers nowadays rarely stop at generating leads. They work closely with CS or Sales to pass highly-qualified leads.
(No wonder I was so confused as to which department I really belonged to back then!)
For more context, let’s take this example…
Start-ups may first focus on building awareness, generating leads, and growing their customer base. But as the company matures, they shift focus to nurturing ready-to-buy leads and retaining paying customers. Once the company gets more established, SaaS marketing efforts are usually geared towards driving expansion and upsells.
But you see, each marketing phase requires a different marketing strategy and tactics to use. So before, preparing your marketing efforts, it’s best to know these phases first.
4 types of marketing phases for SaaS
We can classify the different marketing phases for SaaS as follows:
- Demand generation
- Lead generation
- Growth marketing
- Revenue marketing
Let’s go over their definitions. 😉
1. Demand generation
The goal of demand generation is to generate more qualified leads by creating awareness of the target audience. This is a hyper-targeted approach for letting your audience know there's a problem.
One method that SaaS companies do to generate demand is a mix of content marketing and social media marketing. An example is posting valuable content on a social media platform.
Our client is posting micro-content related to their SaaS product, explainer videos, on LinkedIn. So with the right knowledge about customer needs, they publish regularly to increase the chances that potential customers will be interested in their services.
2. Lead generation
After creating demand and attracting leads, you’ve got to capture their contact info. So yes, the next natural step of demand gen is lead generation (lead gen). Lead gen is the process of nurturing potential customers, like through emails, so they become candidates to convert into paying customers.
Here is how it works: a potential customer becomes interested in your product or service, you get their contact detail and they’re then “nurtured” through the sales process―until they are ready to make a purchase.
A common tool for capturing their contact info is web forms. They let you collect emails so that you can keep in touch with them.
This is an example from Neil Patel’s website if you click the ‘book a call’ button.
3. Growth marketing
Know full-funnel marketing? Because growth marketing is all about understanding the whole sales funnel. It's more than customer acquisition but also onboarding to retention, engagement, conversion, and upselling.
The key term for growth marketing is EXPERIMENTATION. You test the responses of your audience to a certain marketing activity. If it yields a positive result then you scale it. And if not, you leave it.
That makes it a data-driven approach to marketing. Growth marketers use a variety of techniques, including user research, A/B testing, and cohort analysis.
4. Revenue marketing
This is a phase that emphasizes growing revenue with the marketing and sales working together. Revenue marketing takes a holistic view of the customer journey, from initial engagement all the way through to purchase. Basically, the system is repeatable, predictable, and scalable.
To be successful, revenue marketers need to have a deep understanding of both the buyer’s journey and the sales funnel. They should use data and analytics to identify trends and opportunities. They work closely with sales teams to ensure that leads are properly followed up on and that conversions are closed.
When revenue marketing happens:
- Marketers pass sales-ready leads into sales funnels.
- Only the right fit leads go down the funnel.
- Marketing is all about repeatable, predictable, and scalable revenue.
Example of SaaS marketing tactics to complement each marketing phase
- Publish value blogs
Your content should solve a problem or meet a need, so you can attract readers who are interested. If you build up a following on your blog, you can use it to market your products and drive sales.
- Get into social media marketing
These days, it seems like everyone is on social media. So if you're not using social media for demand generation, you're missing out on a huge opportunity. You can tap into that demand, you just have to identify which social media platforms your target customers are using.
- Practice SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
As businesses move online, it's becoming more important than ever to have a strong SEO strategy. After all, what's the point of having a website if no one can find it? SEO is about getting to the top of the search engine results pages. It's also about generating quality leads.
- Use lead magnets
What is a lead magnet first?
A lead magnet is a free incentive that you offer potential customers in exchange for their contact information. They’re used to generate leads. Lead magnets come in many forms, but some of the most popular include
- free trials
Whatever lead magnet you choose, it needs to be relevant to your target audience and offer value. If you don't, you're more likely to turn off customers than generate leads.
- Go with gated resources
A gated resource is one of the best ways to get leads. The only way to access a gated resource is to provide your contact info. Maybe it's a white paper or an eBook, or just a helpful blog post.
- Promote free webinars
If you’re looking for ways to generate more leads for your business, you may want to consider hosting a webinar. On top of connecting with customers, webinars can also generate leads since attracted attendees need to register first to secure a spot. Just make sure that your webinar is informative and engaging, and that you promote it effectively.
- Offer a free trial or freemium plans
If you're looking for a way to boost your growth marketing efforts, consider offering a free trial or freemium plans. You can use this to attract new customers and get them interested in your product or service. And if they like what they see, they're more likely to become paying customers down the road.
- Investing in PPC
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising isn't a bad option. You can reach more people with PPC than you can organically, and you can target your ads specifically to the people most likely to buy. The best part is you only pay when people click your ad, so it's very effective for your marketing budget.
- Do email marketing
Traditionally, email marketing was used to send out mass promotional emails to customers or subscribers. But email marketing today is much more than spam. You can use email in revenue marketing to generate revenue and grow your business.
- Leverage live chats and in-app messaging
Sales and marketing teams can use live chats and in-app messaging to engage customers and promote products. They can help you generate leads and boost sales by giving customers an easy way to get in touch. Furthermore, these channels can be used to build relationships with customers and foster brand loyalty. When used effectively, live chat and in-app messaging can be powerful tools for driving revenue growth.
So what phases are you focusing on?
As your SaaS company grows, you will go through different marketing phases. We can help you with that―CaaSocio has experience with a variety of tactics that you may use during each stage of growth.