In the rapidly changing landscape of Software as a Service (SaaS), an influx of new providers and entrepreneurs vying for market share is no surprise. To survive and thrive amidst rising competition, your B2B company needs to adopt a robust marketing strategy that captures the essence of three core things: differentiation, customer experience, and retention.
The worst thing you can do as a marketing leader facing erosion of market share to new entrants is to panic. So take a deep breath, consider your options, and charge forward with calm urgency to lead your team towards dominance in your market with a deliberate and thoughtful strategy.
1. Focus on Customer Success and Loyalty
In the SaaS world, where the sales cycle is continuous and most shoppers rely on recommendations to inform their buying process, customer loyalty is paramount. And according to 86% of B2B CMOs, customer experience will be even more critical in the industry in the coming years.
Investing in a CRM system with some CS automation and analytics capabilities (like gainsight) helps manage the customer relationship more effectively, understanding and catering to customer needs.
Customer success teams also play a pivotal role in reducing churn and enhancing customer loyalty. They ensure that customers derive maximum value from your product, leading to increased customer satisfaction and fostering a loyal customer base.
Pro tip: Make sure customer success is part of a core feedback loop, and not just the end of a line in handoff from marketing to sales to support.
Case study - Slack has been successful in maintaining its dominance in the team communication space, despite facing fierce competition from giants like Microsoft Teams. The company has prioritized customer experience, investing heavily in creating a user-friendly interface and offering a robust free version of its product to draw in customers. This, coupled with a differentiated focus on integrations with other popular SaaS tools, has kept Slack's product competitive and its customer base growing.
2. Differentiation in Product Offerings and Marketing Efforts
In a competitive market, differentiation is key. Whether it's a unique feature, owning your flaws, an exceptional customer experience, or superior follow-up service, your differentiation should address the customer's pain points.
Consider using case studies to highlight your unique selling points (USPs). They provide real-world examples of how your SaaS solution can solve problems, making it easier for your salespeople to convince potential customers.
Resist the temptation to just ship more features to try and please a broader audience. The risk to your existing customer base, as well as adding complexity that makes the product more difficult to describe and sell can backfire. It’s hard to over-emphasize the value of a product built according to a clear and coherent vision that solves one specific need better than the competition.
3. Develop a Strong Brand That Showcases Your USPs
Your brand should express what sets you apart from the competition. Regularly engaging with your audience via webinars, newsletters, and content marketing helps to strengthen your brand and foster customer relationships.
Social media, especially LinkedIn, can amplify your branding efforts by providing a platform for your marketing team to share relevant content, interact with the target audience, and promote your USP.
4. Form Strategic Partnerships with Other SaaS Providers
Partnering with other SaaS providers can extend your reach into new markets and create bundled offerings, enhancing the value proposition for your customers. Such partnerships often result in integrated product offerings that augment your service's utility, making it more attractive to potential customers.
5. Maintain an Edge Through Innovation and Market Research
Constant innovation backed by thorough market research is vital for maintaining a competitive edge. Keeping abreast of market trends, competitor products, and customer feedback can guide your innovation efforts.
6. Optimize Pricing Strategy to Reflect Product Value
Your pricing strategy should not only cover costs and generate profits but also reflect the value provided to customers. Salespeople play a crucial role here in effectively communicating this value during the sales process. Getting creative with competitive and attractive pricing (not necessarily lower pricing), can be a game changer for many businesses.
7. Implement a Robust SEO and Content Marketing Strategy
SEO plays a pivotal role in drawing inbound traffic to your website. It’s honestly table-stakes in SaaS. Nevertheless, you still hear a lot of businesses neglecting it because it’s “saturated.” I’m here to tell you that just because the front page of Google is filled with competitor offerings for all the key search terms you think equal high intent traffic, the game is not yet won.
By publishing high-quality, keyword-optimized content that addresses the queries and pain points of your target demographic, you can improve your search engine ranking. It’s tempting to rely on paid channels to attract customers or to lean on a traditional outbound sales model to sell your product, but these channels are difficult to scale and often don’t fit the business models and budgets of most SaaS businesses that don’t have the enterprise contract values to drive such a strategy to scale.
8. Refine Your Messaging and Leverage Social Media
Your messaging is an integral part of your value proposition. It helps your potential customers understand how your SaaS solution can solve their pain points. A clear, compelling message can become a competitive advantage when it's crafted to resonate with your target audience.
Established businesses that grew without the need for getting their voice out there and being visible to their prospective customers often failed to coherently develop a message that stands out. The worst thing you can appear to be in a B2B saas market is just another lookalike option touting features or selling the dream of “improved productivity through simple user friendly interfaces” or other generic buzzwords that describe nothing.
Harness the power of social media platforms like LinkedIn to optimize your messaging. LinkedIn provides an excellent platform to reach decision-makers and discover what they are engaging with and talking about. Other online or in-person communities can be invaluable sources of candid feedback.
Rise Above The Competition
In conclusion, a robust, multifaceted marketing strategy is essential for SaaS companies to gain a competitive edge in an increasingly saturated market. By addressing customer needs, optimizing messaging, differentiating offerings, and fostering strategic partnerships, SaaS businesses can boost their market position and drive growth in a highly competitive environment.
Enjoyed this article? Be sure to subscribe to The CMO newsletter for all of the best on marketing and leadership straight to your inbox.