SaaS Marketing Part 3 – Nurturing Leads.
By this point, a potential customer has seen your topline message and is exploring your product more deeply. We’ll call this a lead. When marketing and sales teams align on website content, messaging and what visitor info is required to follow up (usually an email), each lead can be segmented and contacted in real time, online or offline.
Gating long-form “tent-pole” content pieces about how you can solve specific problems common to your audience is an effective means to get contact data into your CRM and give readers the undeniable reason to believe you’re different.
What information is useful? Probably anything that your readers are willing to give you. The most useful database will allow you to segment in a very narrow way. The theoretical goal of “1 to 1 marketing” is to serve uniquely relevant content to every lead. Any information that allows you to segment audiences by how they use the software makes speaking to a reader’s priority needs much easier.
Progressive profiling features in modern CRMs are popular for this purpose. Whether online, through email or even an offline method, sending multiple requests for information over time is sometimes easier that asking a new lead to fill out a much longer form early in the customer journey (before they know whether their time investment is worth it.)
On the other hand, being upfront about how additional info will allow you to serve them better (and will not be shared with another company) could be enough to convince people to give you more of their time and info upfront. Especially if you don’t have a sophisticated CRM or website that has progressive profiling, the time and resources spent perfecting form-filling UX to get segmentation information on a reader’s first contact submission is well worth it.
We won’t delve deep into why companies with a subscription base should have a contact strategy that can be automated to serve messages at important points in the customer journey. We’ve specifically worked with Hubspot, Pardot, Eloqua, Act-on and Marketo – and unsurprisingly, they all have their strengths. The bottom line is that you should be looking for automation software that:
- Scores and leads in way that your sales team will actually use.
- Can easily create a multi-path email campaign and track engagement metrics.
- Easily and effectively integrates with your website and CRM.
- Supports Progressive Profiling (thus the need for point 3).
- Nutures leads with easy to develop content (blog, social, email, etc.).
Some tips on nurturing leads.
Building on point #5 from above, below are some ideas on how to prove out your value to readers, starting with triggered content curated to serve each audience segment or persona.
- A series of short, 30 second videos or emails about a single, specific and important feature or benefit of your software.
- Survey results that your company facilitates to show the shared interest of your service or solutions.
- A market brief – a summary of an issue that your software can alleviate. Make it short, sweet and as graphically interesting as you can to promote sharing and consumption.
- If your product is complex, a decision guide may be just the thing for helping customer compare options, prepare budgets and, in general, be a more informed buyer. Your brand perception will appreciate the transparency and integrity that comes with being honest about what product is right for each buyer.
- Customer stories are vital at every step of the lead funnel. Use them wisely and powerfully.
In addition to the calls-to-action built into the above value-added communications, remember to intersperse them with concise communications that focus on a call-to-action (jumping on a call, downloading a demo, take advantage of a targeted promotion, etc.)
This has been mentioned before, but as you develop lead nurturing content, each segment served by that content should have its own page that funnels people to a call-to-action, or further pieces of relevant content.
Tracking interest on landing pages and content.
Make sure that each link to a piece of content (whether from the landing page or other marketing channel) is tracked, so you can determine what content is most effective and relevant to your readers. That info is critical in identifying your best sales proposition and sharpening your overall messaging strategy.
If you have a sales team, integrate them into your process.
- It’s vital that they are extremely familiar with the content you’re pushing out to leads, because in the end, they may end up answering questions about it.
- And vice versa, it’s likely that your sales team has a lot of insight about questions the marketing content should answer and what benefits the customers are interested in.
- Finally, the CRM that the marketing team manages should be scoring leads based on content consumption and where they are in the lead funnel. If that’s the case, integrating the sales team in that scoring process is critical to helping them best close the deal.
All this may seem obvious, but we’ve seen too many sales teams that are untrained on how to use a robust CRM that the marketing team has spent months setting up and/or sales teams that had very little say in how the CRM was installed or marketing content chosen.
- Email/data collection.
- User contact/engagement.
- Email/contact list growth.
- Channel engagement metrics.
- Number of MQLs and/or SQLs.
MQL = Marketing Qualified Lead
SQL = Sales Qualified Lead
Read all the articles in this series:
John Armstrong, Account Director
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