Let us define your early-stage SaaS’ needs, first.
Before deciding, you must first identify your business’ needs at this point.
Set goals. Then build a process to achieve them. So the best place to start is the bottom of the funnel, just before a trial or demo call to get users and customers the fastest possible way. From there you expand outward. If you do this well, in no time you will have a solid lead flow and a strong pipeline of new customers. It is not simple, for sure. However, this is the process of a solid and continually growing business.
And a full lifecycle marketing automation will make this possible.
What are your short-term goals?
As an early-stage SaaS, the first priority is almost always new customer flow- the Product Aware phase. Anything and everything to get prospects to try your product, either a freemium or a free trial. The sad news, though, is often it has an extremely low conversion rate to paying customers. And the most obvious answer to this is you have no brand, built no trust yet, and have done little to no education when prospects come in at this point in the funnel.
The customers that you will attract at this point may be good long-term customers, so nurturing them to reconsider is undeniably critical. If you do this with the right automation tools, you can build your brand and ignite trust through customer education.
What should your Mid-term goals be?
- Generate lead flow with Solution Aware lead magnets.
- Nurture into trials or demo calls with drip email sequences.
- Retain & Expand with both in-app messaging and email marketing education.
- Reduce churn with continual customer education and in-app event monitoring and automations.
Both short-term and mid-term goals need to focus on onboarding and activation, which makes converting trials into paying customers should be the first and best investment.
How can you use marketing automation here?
- Use this workflow to double your trial activations
- Using in-app events to trigger automations has shown huge potential in increasing trial to paying customers by over 20%.
Should you still have long-term goals?
Here, the focus that you must try to circle in is producing content for search engine optimization and promoting through lead-magnets. The long-term goal is to fill the top of the funnel which is the Problem Aware stage.
How can you tell if you need marketing automation?
Is your lead-flow not converting? Are you driving traffic, but that traffic isn’t converting leading to low ROI? Are you doing a poor job on converting leads, nurturing leads, and have low trial conversions rates? Are your customers churning after a few months?
SaaS marketing requires automation tools to make your efforts payoff.
By putting a systematic, automated framework in place, the right marketing automation can help fix those issues, helping your organization go from slow or no growth to that hockey stick growth we all are looking for.
Marketing automation, basically, allows you to focus more on the growth of your business and your business’ user base. As a SaaS company, one of the most important metrics to consider is user growth. The follow-on to that though is, the more users you have, the greater are the chances of you NOT being able to manage them directly. Additionally, the lower your average customer value (ACV), the more automation you will need.
So, is automation right for your SaaS?
Your entire sales and marketing process are one touch or one funnel sales process. There are only a few of these types of sales; maybe a Shopify to-do list that you only market through the marketplace.
Your SaaS requires multiple touches before a conversion; see the 6-steps in a SaaS customers lifecycle in Image 1 above.
Marketing automation is right for tools that require:
- Multiple touches
- A Trial
- A salesperson
The bottom line is, if you want to get leads and customers, marketing automation is essential.
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