Using Marketing Automation as part of a B2B SaaS Sale has unique challenges

Marketing Automation for B2B SaaS

Using Marketing Automation for B2B sales is not the same as it is for B2C.  Much of the emotional component that is part of the B2C customer journey is not relevant for the B2B sale. A B2B customer journey is driven much more by hard data and measurable results. It’s about information and dollars. I may be a bit jaded with my Northeastern upbringing, but I just don’t see a lot of opportunity to appeal to the smushy emotional center of a business person who is trying to determine the best way to spend their budget.

This is further complicated for companies whose products are delivered via the SaaS model.

A Change To The Customer Journey for SaaS

One of the key selling points of a SaaS Solution is the lower barrier to entry for customers. This also means that sales can happen faster, since SaaS removes much of the downside of making the wrong choice. However, it also can reduce research cycles, which makes it harder to nurture a customer using Marketing Automation for a SaaS purchase.

Look at the phases of a simplified customer journey:

  1. Let them know that you have potential solution to their problem.
  2. Show them that you have solved this problem for other customers just like them.
  3. Convince them that you have the BEST solution to their problem.
  4. Purchase

In a traditional CAPEX solution to a problem, it gets progressively harder for a vendor to get through each step of the journey.  Using marketing automation to guide prospects through their journey allows companies to layer more and more information onto the prospect in a controlled way. However, offering a SaaS Solution (which is an OPEX solution) may lower the bar once you make it to step three. The penalty for being wrong may be significantly lower than by using a CAPEX purchase. A long and complex nurture campaign may not be best path to winning the deal.

Changing the Approach in a B2B SaaS Sale

Because of this lower bar in step three, you may have to designate a prospect as a Marketing Qualified Lead soon than in non-SaaS cases. This would mean turning the over to Sales sooner than in other selling models. You can also move the content that would usually address step three earlier into the nurture campaign. Another option is to accelerate the rate of delivery of content once you determine they are through step two. You want to get content with stronger calls-to-action or a significant offer for engaging with sales into their hands a soon as possible.

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