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  • Writer's pictureSteffan Willis

Disrupting Industries and Driving Digitalization: What Makes SaaS Marketing Unique

SaaS companies are driving digital transformation across a range of industries

As the technology industry continues to grow rapidly, software-as-a-service (SaaS) has emerged as one of the fastest-growing segments. The SaaS business model is disrupting traditional industries and driving digitalization. This requires a unique approach to B2B marketing.

SaaS marketers have to convince potential customers to change the way they had traditionally operated and adopt new products. While some SaaS products can be adopted at relatively low cost, many others require significant investment in digital transformation. This extends the purchase cycle and requires engaging a wide variety of stakeholders from influencers, opinion formers and decision makers through an extended considered purchase journey which may last months or even years.

To be successful in SaaS marketing, companies need to position themselves as experts not only in software development but also in their customers' industries. SaaS companies need to show that they understand the challenges and pain points there customers are experiencing on a day-to-day basis and demonstrate how their solution solves those issues.

In this article, we will explore what makes SaaS marketing different from B2B marketing and how SaaS companies can succeed in this rapidly evolving industry.

How SaaS is revolutionizing traditional industries

SaaS providers are disrupting traditional industries by offering software solutions that provide significant benefits over traditional software. For example, disrupted the traditional customer relationship management (CRM) market by providing a cloud-based solution that was more affordable and scalable than traditional CRM software.

This is causing major disruption across a variety of industries. SaaS providers offer cost-effective and flexible cloud-based software solutions that are easier to manage, update, and scale. These include:

  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM): SaaS-based CRM software is increasingly replacing traditional CRM solutions providing sales teams with a variety of high-value, automated tools with which to manage customer relationships.

  • Human Resources (HR): Many HR functions, such as payroll, benefits administration, and employee scheduling, can now be handled almost exclusively by SaaS-based HR software (HRTech).

  • Accounting: Cloud-based accounting software is increasingly popular, allowing small and medium-sized businesses to manage their finances more efficiently.

  • Marketing: SaaS-based marketing automation tools are replacing traditional marketing methods, allowing companies to automate and optimize their marketing efforts. These include everything from marketing automation, to first-party data platforms.

  • Education: SaaS-based learning management systems (EdTech) are transforming the way students and teachers interact. These tools make education more accessible and affordable.

  • Healthcare: SaaS-based healthcare solutions are improving patient care and enabling healthcare providers to manage patient data more effectively.

  • Manufacturing: SaaS-based supply chain management and inventory software allow manufacturers streamline their operations, manage inventory and reduce costs.

  • E-commerce: E-commerce retailers and brands are able to manage their product ranges, logistics, shipping and data management processes across the growing number of e-commerce platforms using scalable SaaS solutions.

There are of course many more. SaaS solutions are being developed which digitalize an ever greater range of traditional industries and niche tasks. Some of these tools such as project management and communication software span multiple industry verticals, others solve specific problems in individual industries. However, the common thread is finding innovative, user-friendly solutions to repeatable tasks.

One key aspect of SaaS marketing is understanding the industry landscape and how the company's solution can disrupt it. At Interpretive Economics, we talk a lot about the importance of frameworks in developing effective B2B content marketing. This is probably most important in SaaS marketing. To create content that engages your target audience you need to ensure that you have a consistent message around how your products and services fit into the industry landscape and how they enable your clients to be at the forefront of technological trends.

Digital Transformation: Enabled by SaaS

SaaS companies are at the forefront of driving digital transformation. Digital transformation or digitalization refers to the process of integrating digital technology into all areas of a business, resulting in fundamental changes to how the business operates and delivers value to customers. Often when executives talk about digital transformation - what they really mean is adopting new software solutions, which is where SaaS companies come in.

SaaS companies need to position themselves as enablers of digitalization and digital transformation. Their marketing materials need to communicate the benefits of their solutions to potential customers including reducing costs and making their business processes more efficient.

However, digital transformation is not without its challenges. SaaS marketing should also address concerns about cost and the amount of time and effort required to adopt the technology and retrain staff. To overcome these challenges, SaaS companies need to provide comprehensive support and training to their customers, ensuring that they are equipped to make the most of their solutions.

One approach that many SaaS companies adopt is creating educational content. This provides detailed information on the product or service being offered in the form of technical guides, pillar articles, e-books, listicles and reports. This not only provides current and potential users with access to high-quality resources but it also positions the company as an expert in the field and a topical authority in that subject.

Know Your Customer: Convincing Companies to Adopt SaaS Products

One of the biggest challenges facing SaaS companies is convincing potential customers to adopt their products. This is especially true for companies that are disrupting traditional industries, as potential customers that may be resistant to change.

To overcome this challenge, SaaS companies need to build trust with influential stakeholders with their target companies and position themselves as experts in their customers' industries. One effective way to do this is through content marketing, which involves creating and sharing valuable content and thought leadership that educates potential customers and demonstrates the company's expertise.

Note that SaaS marketing strategies should not only focus on decision makers but influencers and opinion formers in the company. In many cases the users of the software will be involved in the decision making process. For example in assessing how the product will fit into existing processes and how well it solves specific business problems.

There are a variety of tactics that can be used to build trust - transparent communications, highlighting the expertise and experience of the team that created the products and high-value content. Offering free trials or access to basic features can be another way to build trust, especially for products that are easily adopted and deployed. By allowing potential customers to try the product before committing to a purchase, SaaS companies can demonstrate the value of their solution and build trust with the customer.

UX is the key to success: Reflect your commitment to human-centric design in your marketing

User experience (UX) is a critical factor in successful SaaS marketing. All your work in positioning the company as an industry leader will be undone if the user experience is clunky and the software is difficult to use. Consequently, SaaS companies need to prioritize user experience, ensuring that their solutions are easy to use and intuitive.

But, you may ask, what does that have to do with marketing? To convey the importance of great user experience to your company you need to ensure that your marketing materials - from the website to emails and reports - are consistent, well designed and beautiful. Some of the best SaaS companies are experimenting with producing digitally-native content. For example, replacing PDF reports with dynamic, content-rich microsites.

SaaS marketing is different, but also kind of the same

We started this article by stating that SaaS marketing is different from other types of B2B marketing. That is true, but only up to a certain extent.

There are many similarities between SaaS marketing and other forms of B2B marketing including FinTech marketing or marketing of a range of professional services. Most B2B marketing is based on building trusted brands based on expertise and industry leadership, and engaging customers over extended purchase cycles.

What makes SaaS marketing different, is that SaaS companies need to convince their customers to try something entirely new. This introduces a new set of dynamics into the provider-client relationship and heightens the importance of trust and market leadership. You not only need to demonstrate that you understand your industry, but that you have a granular understanding of your client's business as well.

About Interpretive Economics

At Interpretive Economics, we help SaaS marketers create high-value content that engages specialist, professional audiences. We have a unique methodology that draws on the field of economics and the tools used by economists to understand the world. We help you create market-leading content and thought leadership on the technological and business trends impacting your customers, using unique data sets and thoughtful insights. We've worked with a number of global SaaS leaders covering sectors including financial services, HR and payroll and e-commerce. Check our our case studies here. To find out more about how we can help solve your most complex content challenges - get in touch today.

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