24 July 2019
LEAD NURTURING, CUSTOMER ACQUISITION, LEAD GENERATION
The Secret to Acquire SAAS/Software clients 4x faster by Mapping Content to the Buyer’s Journey
“78% of Internet users now conduct product research online prior to making a purchase decision” (HubSpot Study).
So the question is, are you effectively reaching with to your potential clients/users of your software when they are doing research online?
B2B Software or SAAS sales cycle is generally lengthy with multiple touch points. Establishing trust and relationship, communicate value proposition, number of conversations, presentation/demonstration or offering a free trial, submitting a proposal, wait for client to make a decision…. more communication… and so on…
Is it possible to reduce the sales cycle of B2b SAAS Software in today’s digital world where everyone is trying to find answers online?wm. Prospects have progressed significantly further in their thinking and in making up their mind about your SAAS/Software through their online research. For software organisations to make the most of this opportunity their marketing strategies must adapt using inbound marketing.
TARGETING BUYER PERSONAS
“Companies that utilise Inbound content platforms and offer buyer persona driven content see a 45% increase in the volume of Sales Accepted Leads (SALs)”– (Kapost)
Inbound marketing starts with having a good understanding of buyer personas. Buyer Personas are ‘semi-fictional representations of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers’ (HubSpot).
Buyer’s personas help marketers understand a key prospect’s goals, challenges, pain points, typical purchase objections, as well as other demographic information and the online forums they use for research.
Once you understand the buyer personas, then you need to create valuable and helpful content with each of the target buyer’s persona for every stage of their buying journey. You need to then reach to them through search engines, online online media, social media and other channels and present them with the right type of content at the right stage in order to move the prospects and leads further down the sales funnel. By engaging with prospects while they are in their research phase and with leads post the research phase, it will help shrink/optimise the sales cycle length.
1) Targeting buyer persona attract higher qualify leads since it informs you who are better fit prospects and focusing on them minimises marketing waste and helps reduce the sales cycle
2) Buyers Personas focus helps you to write more targeted content and when mapped with buyers’ journey stage increases its relevancy helping shortening the sales cycle.
3) Buyers person aligns sales and marketing given that marketing will send more targeted and qualified leads based on buyers personas to sales team, helping to accelerate the sales cycle.
LEAD NURTURING IS CRITICAL
“On average, nurtured leads produce a 20% increase in sales opportunities compared to non-nurtured leads” (DemandGen Report).
Lead nurturing is the process of building a relationship with a prospect and progressing them through the sales funnel.
So it’s important to nurture leads to be able to move from one stage into another stage of their buying journey.
USING MARKETING AUTOMATION
Marketing Automation helps the online lead nurturing process by nurturing leads and sending relevant content at appropriate intervals to your persona, via automated emails and other automated workflows and encourages the leads to take an action. This is designed to move the lead from one stage of buying journey to the next.
Solving your prospect’s challenges via educational content and prospects taking action helps to qualify (purchase-ready) leads prior to them being contacted by Sales team.
Aim of lead nurturing via marketing automation is that by the time sales team speaks to the lead…
- they have a good . understanding of the value proposition of your SAAS/Software,
- they have answers to some of lead’s objections,
- they know how your solution will address their pain points and/or help achieve objectives,
- there is a level of trust built in your brand.
This reduces the time required to close the sale given that a lot of pre-sales is done already, thus it shortens the sales cycle.
Lead Scoring is another crucial aspect of a marketing automation to ensure that most profitable, best-fit leads are prioritised. Lead Scoring process is aimed at identifying the most engaged leads, who are taking certain actions flagging their level of interest and are moving further into buyers’s journey.
Good marketing automation platforms allow lead scoring based on the particular actions a lead makes. Prioritising the leads with higher lead score helps accelerate the sales cycle and reduces its length.
THE SAAS/SOFTWARE/TECHNOLOGY BUYER’S JOURNEY
The typical buyer’s journey goes through three stages.
(Source : HubSpot)
At this stage, buyers are beginning to realise that they have a potential problem or pain point. But since it’s such an early stage in the buyer’s journey, they don’t know how to solve the problem yet. They’re likely unaware of your company and the solution you have to offer.
To generate awareness about your SaaS/software brand, you need to create content that’s focused on your buyer’s pain points. The content you create shouldn’t be focused on your product or brand. At this point, asking to make a decision or asking them to even take a free trial will not give you the outcome because the buyer isn’t yet ready to make a decision.
Once your potential client really becomes aware they have a problem, they’ll typically begin researching a solution. In fact, according to Pardot’s State of Demand Generation report, 72% of buyers will turn to Google for research.
The ideal content to create at this stage is:
- Analyst Reports
- Research Reports
- Editorial Content
- Expert Content
- White Papers
- Educational Content
You can promote your content on various channels, but make sure it’s the right platform for your ideal customer. So for example, if you’re selling B2B software, a good way to promote your content is through LinkedIn where lots of executives and big decision-makers like to spend their time. Facebook and Instagrams are excellent platforms for promoting content for B2C.
Although prospects aren’t ready to buy at this stage, you can provide them content that will provide value and generic solutions to their problem and pain points.
Providing great content can also help build trust with your prospects and allow them to narrow down their search for the right solution. And remember, it is not the time to be quick and start selling just yet! Use content to position your brand as an authority and demonstrate to prospects that they can rely on you for valuable and trustworthy information.
At the consideration stage, buyers are now fully aware of their problem or pain point and they’re researching different ways to solve it.
To help convert these prospects into leads, you should produce content pieces like:
- Comparison White Papers
- Expert Guides
- Live Interactions
Above should typically be “gated” content, which means prospects have to complete lead capture form/s on your website. In those forms, they’ll provide contact information such as their email address in order to access the content.
“70% of buyers return to Google at least 2-3 times during the course of their research.” (DemandGen Report).
Within the consideration stage, the lead will look more closely at each option/competing solution/software and determine whether or not that particular solution will address their problem.
Leads are likely to go through detailed comparison of each solution in this stage, so that they can decide what features are most important for their needs.
At this stage, buyers may even start reaching out to your sales reps for further questions they may have. They also may be conferring with their superiors for a final decision. So it’s important to centre your content around pricing, ROI, and the bottom line to further convince them your software solution is right for them.
When a buyer reaches the decision stage, they’ve decided on the right solution – your software – and they’re looking for data and endorsements to solidify their decision. Content your company should be offering at this stage of the buyer’s journey includes:
- Free Trials
- Live Demos
- Case Studies
- Vendor Comparisons
- Product Comparisons
- Product Literature
Now is the time to really talk about your solution and how it will solve buyer’s problem better. The positive experiences of current/past customers can show buyers that they’re making the right decision about choosing your software/solution.
Once they’ve made a decision to activate, subscribe or buy your software, you shift your focus on on-boarding the client in the right way and creating content that describes advanced features of your software and tips and training for using your software easily, more efficiently and effectively.
The engagement must continue post activation and acquisition.
By continually providing the clients with valuable content and engaging your clients, you’re more likely to retain them as a customer when it comes time for them to convert them into paying clients and/or renewing their subscription.
Many factors are involved when it comes to defining the length of a sales cycle. Competition and pricing for example, will be an influence – but sales cycles length can be reduced.
Often a key contributor to longer sales cycles is – the complex nature of a software proposition and a prospect’s lack of understanding in the software benefits/value proposition. With persona qualification, a detailed understanding of how modern SAAS and Software buyer’s journey and effective marketing automation to nurture leads, the results could be higher profitability, growth and potentially significantly shorter software sales cycles.
CEO at Grow Digitally
With more than 20 years experience in the digital, technology, business and marketing space, Tejas is responsible for ensuring that Grow Digitally stays at the forefront of digital strategy and execution. Tejas lives, loves and breathes technology, growth marketing and bringing innovative solutions to life through end-to-end