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This is an excerpt from my forthcoming SaaS Marketing Handbook -TM
I have fallen into almost every one of these pits. Some of them more than once. I’ve learned the hard way that you need to clearly set expectations, and under promise and over deliver, to be successful as a SaaS marketer.
“[Person’s name] a [Board Member | Friend of Mine | Fellow CEO | Next Door Neighbor] told me they are getting a [fill in ridiculously high number] conversion rate for [fill in a dollar amount that’s zero to implausibly cheap]. Why can’t we do that?” Make sure you are comparing apples to apples and you get documented proof of said conversion rate. People commonly confuse all of the different conversion rates, conversions versus clickthroughs, cost per name versus cost per qualified lead, and any number of any things. Also, conversion rates have a shelf life. Technology and user habits are constantly changing, so conversion rates from more than a year or two back should be scrutinized before they are trusted.
No money. Going back to Dispelling SaaS Marketing Myths, SaaS marketing costs money. More often than not, the ways you generate conversions early – by tweaking the signup, SEO and blogging – will take people, the most expensive thing of all. Once you are past that phase, you need more people and more money to grow. So, be wary of a SaaS startup that does not have significant money to invest in marketing.
No or bad data. You will need software and people to gather and analyze data. Make sure you have staff, tools, and access to stats from your website, product and CRM. And you are never done collecting, cleaning, or analyzing data, so make it part of your marketing routine, not an annual exercise. Corollary – collect your own data and do your own analysis lest others do it for you (Trust me, the analysis of others will never be better…)
Using marketing metrics with business people. Lesson: Use business metrics. The nice things about SaaS is that common understanding of the importance of metrics, and the straightforward revenue and churn metrics you can use to align sales, marketing and development. Conversations about cohorts and multi-touch nurturing should wait until the whole executive team is on the same page with ARR/MRR, churn and your magic number. I have found that conversations about MQLs, multi-touch attribution and other marketing metrics are less effective, and require significant education of the exec team.
Doing traditional marketing for a SaaS business. Trade shows. Printed materials. Field marketing. Change it up, lest you be considered a dinosaur.
Fallen into any others? Would love to hear about it.