There has been an exponential growth in the number of SAAS (Software as A Service) companies over the last few years. Businesses across industries are adopting SAAS based solutions for a variety of functions viz sales, CRM, marketing, project management, etc. With such huge growth, the market is bound to become competitive for SAAS companies.
To build and sustain the scale, companies need to lower the churn rate, increase the customer’s wallet share, and add new customers rapidly. That’s why Marketing Automation plays an important role in companies running SAAS businesses. It helps you on board and expand the share from existing customers and nurture and convert new leads. Here is the list of 22 Essential SAAS Inbound Marketing Automation tools in 2020.
Different elements of SAAS Marketing can be streamlined with automation.
Content distribution on different channels: email, social media, mobile push, paid ads,
Lead generation, including outbound (contacting prospects) and inbound (lead magnets),
Lead nurturing: establishing connect, educating prospects and customers
Event-triggered messaging: For example welcome and onboarding emails, instructions, etc.
Personalized communications: customized offers, cross-selling, up-selling messages based on customer behaviour
Mass communication like newsletters
Analytics to track key SAAS-specific metrics such as monthly recurring revenue, customer signups, ARPU, customer churn, customer lifetime value, sales funnel conversion metrics
Segmentation capabilities to divide the client base into comprehensive segments
Integration with other software in your ecosystem
It’s very important to identify the activities that need to be automated in priority and KPIs that you want to achieve against each of these. This will help you to select the right automation tool for your organization.
Investing in a Marketing Automation tool will not yield results until you plan your strategy and execution thoughtfully.
Here is a step by step approach on how to go about strategizing the Marketing Automation for your SAAS business:
Customer journey is the process a prospect goes through from the first customer touch-point with your product/brand/service to the last point of conversion. There are numerous Buyer Journey frameworks that organizations adopt based on their business e.g AIDA – Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action, AICA – Awareness, Interest, Consideration, Action, REAN – Reach, Engage, Active, Nurture and there are so many others frameworks. You can also define your framework as well.
The next important step is to define the metrics with KPIs that need to be tracked at each stage of the buyer’s journey. Below is an example of the different metrics that can be tracked for the AIDA framework.
Visitors –Number of Unique website visitors
Blog or Email or newsletter subscribers
Social media engagement
Visitor-to-Subscriber Conversion Rate
Number of leads both MQLS (Marketing qualified leads) and SQLs (Sales qualified leads)
Email Click and Open Rate
Lead to Demo booking ratio
Monthly trial sign-ups.
New User engagement –how actively the trial user is using the product and/or how many features the user has used.
Net promoter score in the trial phase
The number of new customers.
Trialto Customer Conversion Rate
Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR)
Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
Average Churn Rate
This is an exercise that captures all the specific actions and set of activities a prospect does to become a customer of your product. You may also choose to include what are their goals and the various touchpoints. Some of the activities in your business could be Visiting the website homepage, booking a demo, registering for the trial, Opening welcome and follow up email, upgrading to paid or advanced versions
Here comes the actual Automation piece and is certainly the most interesting step of creating your SAAS Inbound Marketing Automation. You create automated workflows but remember it’s not a cakewalk as you need to integrate and connect with different tools to define different events that trigger actions in your automation platform. You also need to test the workflows for smooth integration and execution.
A lot of SAAS companies invest in Marketing Automation tools but do not execute this last but very effective and useful step. For the simple reason, it sounds a little complex at times to marketers especially the early joiners.
Organize a discussion amongst your sales, marketing, and customer success team and list down all the workflows that need to be automated. Here are a few workflows for your reference.
Establish the first connect- Send a welcome email introducing your company and products, the moment someone subscribes to your blogs
Segment your audiences and push the relevant content-- Put trial users in different segments by demographics, usage data and share the most relevant content with them
Engage your high-value leads -Identify the high-value leads and customers. Send Email, in-app messages, push notifications, and relevant ads
Prevent churn– Predict which customers are most likely to churn by using in-app events and other user data and engage proactively with discounts and other relevant offers
There could be hundreds of workflows that can be configured along the buyer journey. You just need to spend some time and pen down the ones that help you in conversions.
Though there are a lot of Marketing Automation tools available in the market, it is important to analyze critically which software will help you achieve marketing goals specific to your SAAS business. The goal of Marketing Automation is to improve the bottom line of your SAAS business by increasing MRR (Monthly recurring revenue) and CLV (Customer Lifetime Value).
A well-planned and executed Marketing Automation strategy will generate more MQLs for the sales team, help the Customer Success team to retain customer and up-sell and marketing teams in the right prospecting, and lead nurturing to add new customers.