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SaaS Marketing Plan: 5 Ways to Get your B2B App to Sell Itself

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Your B2B SaaS app will not sell itself unless it is designed to do so. This is a guide to getting your B2B SaaS to 'sell itself' was created by noted SaaS Marketing expert and Growth Hacker Lincoln Murphy of Sixteen Ventures.

This guide is full of actionable, unique, and thought-provoking ideas - Growth Hacks if you will - that are designed to allow your product to sell itself.

From attracting the right audience and driving user engagement, to making it easy to buy and easy to share through orchestrated virality, this guide covers all aspects of what's necessary to drive growth with SaaS companies of any stage and serving any market.

Whether you have a self-service sales model or one that requires outside sales reps to drive business, the tips and techniques contained in this guide and the source blog post will help you achieve your goals of efficiently scaling your sales process.

Published in: Design, Business, Technology
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SaaS Marketing Plan: 5 Ways to Get your B2B App to Sell Itself

  1. 1. SaaS Marketing Plan: 5 Ways to Get your App to Sell Itself A guide by SaaS Marketing expert and Growth Hacker Lincoln Murphy of Sixteen Ventures
  2. 2. The Aim of Marketing... “The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.” – Peter Drucker What Drucker says is even more powerful when you consider your product to be part of your SaaS marketing plan. And in SaaS, your marketing / promotion / customer acquisition methods must extend into the product in order to get the product to “sell itself.” Copyright© 2013 Lincoln Murphy. All Rights Reserved.
  3. 3. SaaS Marketing Requires Different Thinking When creating your SaaS marketing plan, you must understand that your business model of choice is a fully-integrated architecture where all aspects of the business – product, support, revenue model, and marketing – are tightly-coupled. Deviation from that model and understanding will affect growth, and most deviation occurs as a rift between marketing and product. Copyright© 2013 Lincoln Murphy. All Rights Reserved.
  4. 4. Your Goal: Effeciently Scale Your Sales Process Whether you have a $10/mo product where the economic buyer is also the end user… or you have a product that is $500 per user per month, is a complex sale with multiple buyer types, and your average deal size is 1,000 users, you need to work toward this goal. Getting your product to “sell itself” will allow you to scale your sales process efficiently no matter what that sales process looks like! Copyright© 2013 Lincoln Murphy. All Rights Reserved.
  5. 5. The Inconvienient Truth of SaaS Marketing To get your SaaS product to sell itself, you have to spend as much time, energy, resources, and/or money on the Customer Acquisition, Retention, and Viral Expansion processes as you do on the core functionality of your product. Sorry. :-( Copyright© 2013 Lincoln Murphy. All Rights Reserved.
  6. 6. Presentation Source This presentation is based on my popular “SaaS Marketing Plan: 5 Ways to Get your App to Sell Itself” post... you can find a lot more detail on the techniques and ideas presented here: http://sixteenventures.com/sell-itself Copyright© 2013 Lincoln Murphy. All Rights Reserved.
  7. 7. First, Attract the Right Audience It’s pretty simple, really… nothing else you do matters (conversion rate optimization, Free Trial optimization, better sales people, etc.) if you fail to attract the right audience in the first place. Make sure you know who you need to be targeting (if you’re going to say “but everyone is a potential customer” save it for the bankruptcy judge) and use this to formulate your advertising and promotion campaigns, your overall look and feel, and even the way your product is designed. Copyright© 2013 Lincoln Murphy. All Rights Reserved. http://sixteenventures.com
  8. 8. Second, Properly Manage Expectations This couldn’t be simpler but so many SaaS providers fail miserably at this. If you have a non-refundable setup fee… say that. If you require a credit card to start your trial (but bury that in step 3…), say “valid credit card required” up front. If you’re going to ask for their phone number because you’re going to call… tell ‘em that Steve, their Account Success Rep, is going to call tomorrow around 10AM. Be bold but be honest. Copyright© 2013 Lincoln Murphy. All Rights Reserved. http://sixteenventures.com
  9. 9. Third, Remove Barriers to Sign-up People like to think that the more hoops someone has to jump through to sign-up for your product, the more likely they are to become a paying customer. NO! Supposed “qualification barriers”, artificial friction, even requiring Credit Cards to sign-up for a Free Trial do nothing but keep potential customers out. The evidence – the data – clearly shows that reducing the number of fields on your sign-up form can have a dramatic effect on getting people in the door. Copyright© 2013 Lincoln Murphy. All Rights Reserved. http://sixteenventures.com
  10. 10. Still talking about removing barriers Copyright© 2013 Lincoln Murphy. All Rights Reserved. Whatever you do, my advice is to spend your time and energy getting people into your app and using the service… …not looking for ways to keep people out or from getting engaged with the service as fast as possible. http://sixteenventures.com
  11. 11. Fourth, Aggressively Drive Engagement This is the opposite of letting people kick the tires and fend for themselves; or the “strategy” employed by far too many SaaS providers. In most cases, as soon as the potential customer – who is now excited to try out the app – hits the sign-up form… the momentum slows. Your first in-app experience shouldn’t cause your potential customer or your new customer (if they bought without trying first) to go “I’m in… so, what do I do now?” Copyright© 2013 Lincoln Murphy. All Rights Reserved. http://sixteenventures.com
  12. 12. First In-App Experience is Key to Engagement Copyright© 2013 Lincoln Murphy. All Rights Reserved. You must engineer and design the process to move them from sign-up to first in-app experience to engaged user to invested user to paying customer – the entire process, not just part of it – if you want to succeed at scale. http://sixteenventures.com
  13. 13. Fifth, Make it Easy to Buy It is often easier in a SaaS Free Trial to submit a feature request than it is to become a paying customer! Unlike the old days of software, the sales process (or funnel) isn’t decoupled from the app… with SaaS, they are one in the same. Conversion must be engineered into the product and you have to be willing to ask for the sale. And don’t forget… you don’t have to wait until the end of a Free Trial to ask for the sale. You have to sell how your customers buy so consider that when making it “easy to buy” within the app! Copyright© 2013 Lincoln Murphy. All Rights Reserved. http://sixteenventures.com
  14. 14. Bonus! Make it Easy to Share If you think viral expansion has no place in B2B SaaS apps and they can’t “go viral” that’s fine. Disagreeing with me in this case doesn’t hurt me, it hurts you. Need I point to super-successful companies like Box and Yammer that have proven that internal, highly- orchestrated virality is not just possible but the key to infiltrating and locking-down Fortune 500 – very B2B – customers? Consider internal virality that can be orchestrated inside of companies (peer to peer, up and down the chain of command, etc.), between trading partners, from customer to vendor and vice versa, etc. [Learn More] http://sixteenventures.comCopyright© 2013 Lincoln Murphy. All Rights Reserved.
  15. 15. Let’s Optimize your SaaS Sales Funnel Get your SaaS Sales Funnel Optimization Review and I’ll help you start converting more customers… fast! http://sixteenventures.com/saas-sales- funnel-optimization-review http://sixteenventures.comCopyright© 2013 Lincoln Murphy. All Rights Reserved.
  16. 16. Presentation Source This presentation is based on my popular “SaaS Marketing Plan: 5 Ways to Get your App to Sell Itself” post... you can find a lot more detail on the techniques and ideas presented here: http://sixteenventures.com/sell-itself Copyright© 2013 Lincoln Murphy. All Rights Reserved.
  17. 17. Thank You! Lincoln Murphy Sixteen Ventures lincoln@sixteenventures.com http://sixteenventures.com @lincolnmurphy Copyright© 2013 Lincoln Murphy. All Rights Reserved.

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