Navigating the Complex Landscape: B2B SaaS Marketing Strategy for Every Stage of the Buyer’s Journey

B2B Saas Marketing Strategies for Every Stage of the Buyer’s Journey
marketing strategy for different buyers

As the digital landscape continues to evolve, marketers are constantly grappling with maintaining a competitive edge in B2B SaaS inbound marketing strategy. The journey of a B2B buyer is fraught with a complex decision-making process, considerable expenditure, and prolonged commitment. These factors lead to a buyer’s journey that demands a more in-depth, research-oriented approach than B2C marketing.

As Inbound Genius, we assist B2B SaaS companies in devising and executing inbound marketing strategies that captivate, enlighten, and stimulate potential customers. However, the effectiveness of inbound marketing isn’t universal, especially for software companies. Therefore, it is critical for budding B2B SaaS organizations to adopt contemporary B2B inbound marketing best practices. This comprehensive guide will keep you well-informed about every aspect needed to fill your inbound funnel with marketing-qualified leads.

Before we delve into the strategies, let’s brush up on the basic concepts of inbound marketing.

Decoding Inbound Marketing strategy

Inbound marketing is a strategy that involves attracting potential leads and prospects through customized content that caters to their requirements and interests. Techniques such as blogging, SEO, social media activities, and many others are employed to attract diverse buyer personas, bolster brand recognition, cultivate trust, and generate potential leads.

Advantages of Inbound Marketing Strategy

Through inbound marketing, software companies can establish brand authority and generate leads in a cost-efficient manner, providing valuable insights to buyers in the SaaS marketing funnel.

Contrary to traditional outbound marketing methods, which are often expensive, inbound marketing focuses on comprehending the challenges that your prospects are facing and researching actively. Aligning your online digital identity with your prospects’ values, your business can become a trusted resource on their journey towards ‘better’. This creates a sense of excitement and marketing qualified leads that boost ROI.

A Deep Dive into B2B SaaS Inbound Marketing Tactics and Best Practices

Before laying out and executing a B2B inbound marketing plan for your SaaS company, consider how these marketing best practices can be adapted to fit your B2B SaaS business model and requirements.

The first step towards this is understanding your buyer’s journey.

Comprehending your Buyer’s Journey and Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)

The B2B buyer’s journey has transformed over time.

With the advent of information access and smart technologies, B2B buyers’ behavior has shifted, closely resembling that of a B2C customer. This is because B2B buyers prioritize their purchasing experience, with around 80% of B2B buying decisions based on a buyer’s customer experience.

Therefore, it’s crucial for your business to consider the purchasing experience of your ideal customer profile when marketing your product. This will allow you to present your information strategically and consciously.

The first step is to comprehend the modern cycle of your buyer’s journey. The traditional AIDA sales funnel aimed at creating awareness, which led to interest, desire, and finally action. However, contemporary buyers behave differently, following this pattern:

  1. Awareness: Acknowledging a problem
  2. Consideration: Undertaking research and discovery
  3. Decision: The lead-up to and the actual purchase
  4. Retention: Your post-purchase customer experience
  5. Advocacy: Customer loyalty and word-of-mouth marketing

The new model looks like this:

B2B SaaS inbound marketing tactics

Your inbound marketing initiatives should aim to generate awareness, convert this awareness into action, and prioritize retention and loyalty that propels your marketing momentum. These fundamental strategies will create a superior customer experience and loyalty, whether through a robust onboarding strategy or regular health checks with your software users.

Outdated outbound marketing techniques like PPC advertising (pay-per-click) can prove to be expensive, fail to establish a connection with customers, and yield only short-term results. Modern B2B inbound marketing demonstrates that organic efforts are more profitable, sustainable, and yield long-term results like customer loyalty.

To establish industry authority and subject matter expertise, start by creating a website that truly encapsulates your brand’s identity.

Crafting an Intuitive, User-Friendly Website

Without a strong online base, your potential customers may struggle to trust the message you’re trying to convey. Hence, building an intuitive, visually appealing, and informative website is crucial to modern B2B marketing, not just for your business’s reputation, but also for your brand’s overall message.

Your landing pages are a critical part of this message. Who is your ideal customer profile, and what are their pain points? What solutions are you offering, and how can you alleviate their struggles?

Incorporate compelling headlines that resonate with your audience, and motivate them to explore further with benefits, case studies, and properly attributed lead capture forms. This will draw prospects into your marketing funnel before they leave your website.

This should include a clear call to action (CTA) that provides value for your ideal customer profile, from signing up for webinars and learning series to accessing whitepapers and subscribing to newsletters. The key to building a successful website is to provide valuable content and messaging that resonates with your audience.

To achieve this for your software company’s website, consider the following:

  1. Make your B2B SaaS website easy to navigate. Use clear language and CTAs with engaging language, images, and information.
  2. Ensure the page loading time is sufficient. Compress your graphics and images, and limit your outbound links to less than 100 to speed up the loading process.
  3. Ensure the design is appropriate and appealing. Use your brand’s core design elements and iconography to portray a consistent, visually appealing brand identity with plenty of white space.
  4. Cater to your customer’s needs. Pay attention to website traffic, on-page behaviors, and overall metrics from your website’s reporting dashboards. Make ongoing adjustments and optimizations to your website.

However, the content you create for your website is a critical element of modern B2B marketing as it communicates with the reader and represents your brand’s voice.

Content Reigns Supreme in Your B2B Inbound Marketing Strategy

Content marketing entails creating engaging material such as blogs, webinars, and eBooks, primarily utilized for modern inbound marketing to educate potential leads and position your offerings.

It has gained significant popularity among modern B2B businesses because it costs 62% less than traditional marketing, and generates 3x the amount of leads.

Content isn’t just writing blogs — it’s anything your ICP will find valuable. Types of content to incorporate in your B2B marketing strategy include:

  • Pillar pages and cluster content
  • Videos
  • Webinars
  • eBooks
  • Whitepapers
  • User guides
  • Testimonials
  • Case studies
  • Checklists
  • Templates
  • Infographics
  • Podcasts
  • Slide decks
  • Research reports
  • Newsletters
  • E-courses
  • ROI calculators
  • Product demos

Content marketing fuels funnel demand as every piece of content you distribute guides your potential buyers towards making a purchase decision. Publishing consistent, relevant content establishes an authoritative tone and helps your brand become a trusted source for prospective customers. Consequently, when they are ready to take the next step, your brand would be their primary choice.

B2B SaaS content marketing strategy is primarily driven by SEO. By crafting SEO-friendly content, you’re enhancing your content to rank as high as possible on the search engine results page (SERP).

While the technical aspects behind SEO can get complicated, B2B SaaS companies can follow these simple practices to enhance SERP rankings and outperform competitors:

  1. Undertake keyword research: Step into your customers’ shoes and research phrases or words they’d enter into a search engine at different stages in the buyer’s journey.
  2. Analyze your competitors: What do your competitors rank for, and what is their content about?
  3. Create valuable, engaging content: What are your customers asking? Where are there gaps in content? While keyword research is an integral part of content marketing and SEO, avoid black-hat SEO techniques like keyword stuffing and link farming as they can appear insincere and choppy to potential clients.
  4. Promote your content on other platforms: Social media channels and email marketing can expand your audience and establish more potential leads.

Once you have a solid base of optimized, valuable content, it’s time to promote and distribute this content to nurture contacts into leads across your communication channels.

Engage and Nurture Through Email Marketing

According to 59% of B2B marketers, email is the most effective way of generating revenue, with a return on investment of $44 for every $1 spent.

B2B clients are already aware of their needs, which is why a well-structured email marketing strategy can be an effective mode of modern marketing when used correctly.

Similar to content marketing, experts suggest making your emails easy to skim with a clear message. Some simple rules to follow for effective B2B email marketing include:

  1. Write a clear, compelling header and subject line. You only have one chance to catch your reader’s attention and, in a sea of other emails, it’s important to stand out.
  2. Choose quality over quantity. Don’t spam your readers, or your email deliverability will fall and you’ll struggle to repair this.
  3. Personalize the experience. Use personalization tokens such as each recipient’s name, company, and industry to tailor your offering and messaging to their needs.
  4. Make it mobile-friendly. Over half of your B2B email performance will likely come from mobile devices. Ensure that your email is visible on mobile by sending yourself test emails and reviewing this from your computer and mobile device(s).
  5. Always include a CTA. This is the goal of your email — whether that’s to drive traffic to a certain landing page or increase social media engagement. This should be heavily integrated with your header and subject line.
  6. Always be testing. To identify which times and days garner the highest engagement, send your emails across a variety of times to identify which time works with your ideal customer profiles.

Email is also a great way to stay in touch with existing clients. Using email for newsletters, conducting surveys, and asking for feedback is a great way to secure a loyalty loop and give clients an intimate experience and easy access to communicating with your business.

Social media can play a crucial role in growing your email lists by promoting social sharing and directing users towards CTAs.

Social Media

Often, B2B SaaS inbound marketing professionals neglect social media platforms because they are widely used marketing tools for B2C businesses. However, both inbound and outbound B2B marketing experts argue that establishing a robust social media presence provides B2B businesses with a direct communication channel with their customers, enabling them to better comprehend personas and pain points.

Through a distinct brand voice and a focus on your audience, understand that every interaction with your customers via social media is a valuable data point. By making social media about your audience rather than your business, you’ll increase organic reach and, in turn, drive more users to your webpage.

Depending on your marketing goals, important social media KPIs to track include:

  • Organic reach
  • Impressions
  • Engagement
  • Follower count
  • Clicks
  • Leads from social media

While LinkedIn is an important social platform for many B2B businesses, don’t limit yourself. Various B2B businesses have successfully used other social platforms, like Facebook and Instagram, to engage their audience and establish a loyal customer base.

For instance, Salesforce uses Twitter to establish touchpoints for their customers, consistently responding to comments, updating followers on their work, staying up-to-date with current events, and highlighting their employees.

Furthermore, if you have a robust content creation mechanism in place, it’s easy to take valuable content and atomize that into smaller, bite-sized content that’s perfect for social media. Through a well-rounded social media marketing strategy, you can build and strengthen your relationships with your customers in a meaningful, human way.

Monitor and Optimize Your B2B Inbound Marketing Strategy

The most potent marketing strategies are data-driven and continually optimized. At InboundGenius, we incorporate dashboards across every aspect of our inbound (and outbound) marketing efforts to gain transparency into what’s working and improve what’s not.

First, you must identify what you want to measure. We typically measure the following:

  • Organic traffic across the site and blog
  • Number of keywords in top 3 and 10
  • New contacts/MQLs
  • Conversion rates across forms and CTAs
  • Open rates and CTR

When monitoring your inbound marketing funnel and success, focus on SMART KPIs (key performance indicators):

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

To learn more about marketing dashboards for your B2B marketing function, check out our free marketing dashboard template. If you’re focusing specifically on content marketing and SEO, read this blog and download our free B2B SaaS marketing dashboard template!

Automate Your Inbound Marketing Function with the Right Tools

Every B2B inbound strategy must be scalable, or you won’t be able to keep up with the long-term results the above marketing strategies drive.

By creating SEO-optimized content and lead magnets that your ICP actually wants, you’ll eventually run out of bandwidth and the ability to connect with every lead that enters your pipeline.

Therefore, automation is key. We create automated workflows for our clients whenever possible, from sending email nurture sequences to new contacts via forms or updating contact attributes after certain actions have been taken. As your company grows and your marketing team has more demand, this is essential to maintaining a clean, organized, and effective marketing pipeline and overall function.

Not all marketing automation tools are created equal and often require complex (or costly) integrations, and it proves extremely difficult to set up custom integrations between platforms like Salesforce and Hubspot. Because of this, we always recommend users stick to one platform that includes all facets of your marketing and automation.

You can learn more about commercial operating systems and marketing automation for B2B inbound marketing here.

Evaluate and Strengthen Your B2B Inbound Marketing Strategy

Old marketing tricks work for short-term goals, but if you want to establish a long-term customer base, the “pay as you play” model can get costly and lack a stable ROI.

Modern B2B marketing does not simply mean banning all outbound marketing practices and PPC advertising altogether, but rather, getting back to marketing basics — the foundational understanding of how to best serve your customers.

Getting back to the basics means understanding your buyer’s journey and personas to establish a plan with engaging inbound marketing practices that inspire continuing loyalty. Get to the root of what you’re trying to sell, and if it doesn’t work, step back and revise.

If you’re stepping into a new leadership role at a B2B SaaS company or you’d like a comprehensive overview of your current state of marketing, contact us.

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