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By now, you probably already know that marketing your software service is a whole different animal when compared to promoting a tangible product. Since your customers cannot taste, touch, or smell your service, this can throw many SaaS marketing challenges your way. You are going to have to get creative with your marketing approaches.
Along with that, the Software as a Service (SaaS) industry itself is steeped with fierce competition, making successful and strategic marketing campaigns a must!
Sounds a little daunting, doesn’t it?
Don’t fret. Software services may present a number of unique challenges when it comes to getting your customers down the sales funnel and fully migrating to your platform. But, we have some tricks up our sleeves to help you fortify your SaaS marketing strategy and stick to the landing.
In this article, you will discover 6 distinct SaaS marketing challenges and how to effortlessly overcome them. Then, you will learn how a professional digital marketing agency can help you build a stronger strategy and help you retain customers in the long run.
But first, let’s talk about why your industry has to take such a different approach to the market.
Why Do SaaS Companies Face Specific Marketing Challenges?
Here’s a fact: Unlike physical products, you are offering something that your customer cannot go out and hold, touch, or feel. No matter how stellar your software service may be, it is still completely intangible. This means your customers can only experience it.
With that being said, you cannot market your ‘product’ like other, physical products. You cannot wrap it up in a big red bow and hand it to your ideal customers to enjoy. Instead, you have to find a new way to showcase what your SaaS company can offer your audience.
Speaking of your audience, it’s probably safe to say that your customers are more than likely a part of a very niche market as well! At the end of the day, this can open up a whole can of worms if you try to apply traditional marketing methods to your SaaS-specific campaign.
And that’s not all.
More Than Just Selling to the Right Audience
The marketing aspect of the SaaS industry is not the only unique obstacle you might face. In fact, other challenges revolve around the fierce competition you may encounter in an industry that is consistently subject to change. Including frequent technological advances and integration updates.
So, not only do you have to take a slightly different approach to your marketing efforts, but you also have to factor in the unique challenges of your industry as well.
Ready to learn more about these 8 SaaS marketing challenges and how to jump over them? Let’s dive right in.
Challenge 1: Competition is Steep
In 2022, it is projected that a boatload of businesses will adopt SaaS solutions, with a major focus on scalable cloud application services. In fact, an estimated 21.7% growth in public cloud services is forecasted for the upcoming year.
Furthermore, SaaS industry giants, such as Salesforce, Adobe, and Shopify, have experienced astronomical growth in 2021. Some companies have received well above $185 billion in revenue. In fact, Salesforce alone grew from $161 billion in 2020 to $251 billion in 2021!
With that being said, you can bet that this growth has not gone unnoticed. As demand for a hearty SaaS consumption model is on the rise, analysts predict that new SaaS solutions created by eager entrepreneurs and innovators will enter the market in the coming years. This only adds to the already enormous competition seen within the industry.
The Fix: Promote Your Team as Industry Thought-Leaders
You might be asking yourself, “How can a little fish stick out in a big pond?” Here’s the answer: You have to take the RIGHT approach! And that approach is to present your entire business entity as a powerful thought-leader in your industry.
In particular, the secret to becoming a shaker and mover in the SaaS world is to become a mega-credible treasure trove of industry expertise. You want to be the company that your specific niche market can rely on when they need help growing their business. You want your leads to organically find your brand through expertly-crafted content that will give them the information they need to confidently move forward.
You can use Search Engine Optimization (SEO), client case studies, interviews with professionals in your niche market’s field, and so much more to turn your organization into a thought leader.
Khameleon Software: A Real-Life Example of a SaaS Thought-Leader
Khameleon Software is a successful SaaS company that provides enterprise resource planning (ERP) to project-based dealerships and system integrators. Unlike other ERPs, Khameleon’s software is exclusively designed to meet the needs of commercial furniture dealers, integrated security, and audio-visual systems providers.
Not only does this make the company stand out from other ERPs, but it also gives them the unique ability to skillfully market themselves to their specific target market. In order to do this properly, the Khameleon team has strategically presented themselves as experts in the field. They did this by connecting with some of the top players in their ideal customers’ industry.
According to the CEO of Khameleon, Doug Angelone,
“Over the years, we built meaningful relationships with our clients in the office contract furniture, AV, and integrated security industries. These relationships would inspire us to build a one-of-a-kind software tailored uniquely to their needs. Today, we count many of the largest office furniture dealers as our clients and friends, using our solution for their day-to-day business operations, making us one of the industry’s leading software solution providers.”
As you can see, Khameleon was able to build a software solution that not only fit the needs of their customers, but also made them stand out as the leading platform in their community.
Challenge 2: Too Much Focus is Directed Towards Software
You already know how fierce the competition is within the SaaS community. Every year, several new innovations pop up, and more software businesses are created to distribute these revolutionary integrations and upgrades.
Unfortunately, you might hit some turbulent waters when you want to make your company stand out from all of the rest of the crowd. Especially if you are trying to market very similar software solutions as everyone else. So, why should customers choose your brand over another?
All you have to do is look at the big picture: Your company offers more than just software! That’s right, the secret to differentiating yourself could lie within your stellar service.
The Fix: Shine a Light on Your Quality Service
The downfall of many SaaS organizations is that they direct too much (if not all) of their marketing efforts on their software solution. However, the software is just one part of the equation.
SaaS stands for “Software as a Service,” which means your brand offers more than just software – you also provide exceptional service! With that being said, your company could be sitting on a goldmine of missed opportunities to diversify the way you advertise and sell your solution.
Not to mention, strategically marketing your services alongside your software can also help you stand out from the cut-throat competition. Here’s what you need to do to highlight your service.
How to Make Your Service Stand Out
First, outline all of the ways your company serves your customers. Pay particular attention to services you provide that other SaaS companies might not.
For instance, if you offer 24/7 Customer Support, an IT Help Desk, or user interviews to help overcome software problems, then you will definitely want to include this at the top of the list.
Then, strategically position your service as part of the software solution at the forefront of your SaaS marketing campaigns. You can even highlight your quality service by creating a specific “Our Service” page on your website!
This will show leads that you are more than just a software company. You are a provider, a helper, and a friend. You are there to serve them and get them to where they want to be. Who wouldn’t want to sign up for that?
Challenge 3: Not Everyone Fits Your Niche
One of the biggest SaaS marketing challenges out there is defining your niche market. After all, not EVERYONE is going to be the right fit for your software solution.
For instance, a large non-profit organization like American Red Cross, which uses Salesforce to manage fundraising events, might not be the right fit for software that is intended for audiovisual dealers and system integrators, like Khameleon Software.
Therefore, it would be more advantageous for SaaS companies to really hone in on their unique software presence and find the exact niche market that would thrive with their solution. Then, instead of casting a wide net and hoping that you land the right leads, it’s better to market specifically to those people.
The Fix: Harvest Only the Best Leads
Once you define your audience, then you can slowly but surely reap the reward: Leads that actually fit your model and will easily turn into paying customers.
For starters, learn how to target your audience by creating a buyer persona that is a representation of your ideal customer. Then, create a campaign that is aimed to meet their individual needs. The more specific you can get, the better.
You can even use SEO research and keywords to draw in the best, most attractive leads that will be a great fit for your software service.
Challenge 4: Some Customers Fall Through the Cracks
When it comes to the SaaS industry, every single customer you acquire really counts.
Unfortunately, a marketing mishap some SaaS companies face is the lack of attention shown to their current customer base. This can potentially be a fatal flaw because one loyal customer can bring in a whopping amount of revenue for your company!
Therefore, if even one customer falls through the cracks and decides to take their business elsewhere, it could cost your company thousands of dollars. Here’s what you should do to ensure this easy-to-avoid obstacle doesn’t happen.
The Fix: Make Your Current Customers a High Priority
That’s right, you always need to keep your customers in the loop – even after they have fully migrated to your system!
Remember that stellar service you were told to focus on earlier? Well, here’s where you can really make it shine.
Once your customers are up and running on your platform, you should continue to offer them a helping hand. Whether it is through useful software training tips, new integrations that you just incorporated into the software system, or that handy 24/7 Help Desk.
Create Campaigns Specifically For Your Members
Furthermore, continue to positively market to them. You can do this through email drip campaigns, useful webinar events, customer appreciation social media posts, and exclusive promos that are intended solely for your current customers.
For example, from the moment a new customer signs up, send them a welcome email that offers them resources such as a welcome video or a link to your blog. Then, as the months go on, continue to send them emails that have valuable information tailored to their company and/or industry needs. Show them how your software service can help them continue to grow.
Not only will this create brand loyalty, but you might also receive some invaluable reviews or word-of-mouth recommendations that will drive more leads to your site.
Challenge 5: The SaaS Industry is Ever-Changing
This next challenge is well-known by everyone in the SaaS industry – technology is constantly expanding. Like most companies in this field, your software is subject to change as technology becomes more cutting-edge.
This means you have to be able to adapt! Otherwise, you can quickly become outdated.
The Fix: Stick to the Times with the Latest Integrations
This can be a very daunting reality to face, especially if you are new to the industry. However, you can tackle this obstacle through a couple of techniques:
- Research new trends several times a year to ensure you are always up-to-date and can “talk-the-talk and walk-the-walk”
- Create a software solution that is easy to adapt and upgrade
- Monitor your competitors
- Offer valuable resources, content, and/or services that flow with the latest trends
- Speak with your customers to see if you can improve your software in any way
Want to kill two birds with one stone? Create content that follows these new trends AND makes your team look like industry thought-leaders.
But, remember, you must post content that your niche market will actually find informative and useful. Don’t write articles or create videos that follow broad SaaS trends that don’t actually have anything to do with your customer base!
Challenge 6: Your Ideal Leads Aren’t Converting into Customers
So, what happens if you have already put a ton of effort, time, and money into targeting your niche market… and you still have very little to show for it? You have put your valuable content in front of your ideal customers, but it seems like no one is actually converting!
Perhaps your leads are even visiting your website, contacting your team, and inquiring for more information. However, at the end of the day, they aren’t turning into paying customers.
Why is this happening?
The Fix: Nurture a Well-Rounded SaaS Marketing Strategy
Although this challenge might seem very complex, the problem is actually quite simple. There is a block somewhere in your marketing funnel.
Also known as a sales funnel, the marketing funnel is a step-by-step representation of your lead’s journey to becoming a paying customer. To start, a lead must become aware of your software service, usually through online ads or blog articles. If a lead is interested, they will slowly make their way down the sales funnel until they finally take the bait and migrate to your system.
However, in order to get your lead to continue down the rabbit hole, you need to make sure you are consistently nurturing them through the use of a well-rounded marketing strategy. If you don’t have a solid plan to help your leads to the next point in the decision-making process, then you will most likely run into a block in your marketing funnel.
Manage Your Leads Overtime
Picture this: You just planted a crop of seedlings in a field. If the field is left unfertilized and unwatered, the seedlings are likely to wither away. On the contrary, if you take the time to water them, fertilize them, and give them the nutrients they need to grow, you will one day reap a bountiful harvest.
Your leads are just like these seedlings. They need a little bit of TLC every day to get them going. If your marketing efforts fall short, you can see a drop-off in leads – even if your software solution was a perfect match for them!
Get Serious With Your Marketing Efforts
Therefore, a simple social media marketing campaign isn’t going to cut it. Especially since you are selling a service, not an actual tangible product that can be touched and held. Instead, you have to be present throughout the entire customer acquisition process, from start to finish.
For starters, consider adding the following to your current marketing strategy:
- A/B testing
- Social proof such as testimonials and case studies
- Free trials or software demos
- Elevated content that is chock-full of SEO keywords
- Email campaigns that offer valuable resources
- Quick response tools to lead inquiries, such as chatbots and automated emails
At the end of the day, the way you choose to guide your ideal customers through the marketing funnel can either make or break the number of sales you will receive.
Level-Up Your SaaS Marketing Strategy with Chatter Buzz Media
If you are really looking to fortify your SaaS marketing strategy, then consider onboarding a seasoned digital marketing agency like Chatter Buzz Media.
At Chatter Buzz, we have an entire team of professionals equipped to handle the unique SaaS marketing challenges that your industry faces on a day-to-day basis. Through a tailored marketing strategy that is suited to the demands of your industry, we can help you outline your niche market, target your audience, position yourself as a thought-leader, and so much more.
Contact us to learn how you can take your marketing strategy to the next level and grow your SaaS business organically.
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