It won’t be an exaggeration to say that we witness a boom in the number of software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies in a variety of industries. Businesses across the globe eagerly adopt all kinds of SaaS tools. From marketing, sales, customer service, communication, to project management software, to name a few.
However, with new SaaS tools popping up like mushrooms, the market becomes increasingly competitive. To maintain current customers and acquire new users, SaaS companies need to increase their marketing capabilities to compete efficiently with new players. This can be achieved thanks to a modern marketing stack, and a SaaS marketing automation tool is an absolute necessity.
First things first: what is SaaS marketing automation?
In marketing, there are a plethora of tasks that can be automated. But when one is talking about marketing automation, it usually means a specific kind of software suite with a wide range of features combined into a single product. In short, these tools boost marketing teams’ productivity and effectiveness by providing the possibility of creating workflows, funnels, and automated campaigns executed with pre-established rules.
Marketing automation for SaaS businesses: why it’s important and how to choose one?
Of course, the options available in a marketing automation software depends on the audience or industry it is targeting. Many vendors choose to narrow their specialization instead of trying to serve everyone. There are a lot of marketing automation solutions dedicated to e-commerces, B2C or B2B companies, etc. But how to find a marketing automation software that is suitable for a SaaS business?
Fist, you need to be aware of the crucial areas in SaaS marketing that can be streamlined with automation:
- content distribution in a variety of channels: email, social media, mobile push, paid ads,
- lead generation, including outbound (contacting prospects) and inbound (lead magnets),
- lead nurturing: educating prospects and customers,
- messaging adapted to the user lifecycle triggered by specific conditions: welcome and onboarding emails, instructions, etc. that prevent users from churning,
- personalized communications: customized offers, cross-selling, up-selling messages based on the behavior or interaction history,
- massive communication like newsletters,
- analytics module that enables tracking key SaaS-specific metrics such as monthly recurring revenue, customer signups, ARPU, customer churn, customer lifetime value, sales funnel conversion metrics, and so on.
- CRM with extensive segmentation capabilities to divide the client base into comprehensive segments.
Apart from these features, you should take into account whether it’s possible to integrate the marketing automation software with other tools used in your company (let’s say, a CRM or social media platforms).
Best SaaS marketing automation tools
1. Inbound Marketing
The marketing landscape wouldn’t be the same without Hubspot, the company that brought the concept of inbound marketing to life. This approach lies at the very heart of Hubspot’s platform that includes marketing, sales, service, CRM, and content management modules. Basically, it’s a complete hub for small and medium enterprises that want to have a strong online presence. Therefore, also SaaS companies will find in Hubspot all the necessary features for attracting leads, closing deals, and retaining clients.
For instance, the collaboration tool Trello makes use of the Hubspot’s CMS to provide users with a global content hub containing useful blog posts, guides, ebooks, whitepapers in six different languages. Hubspot’s platform allowed for automating some of the publication and localization processes, therefore streamlining a huge part of Trello’s marketing activities. As a result, Trello’s marketing team saw a 47% decrease in content publication time, and the organic traffic skyrocketed.
Additionally, there is no doubt that first-class customer service is of the utmost importance in the SaaS tools industry. Hubspot has you covered in this area giving at your disposal a complete ticketing system that integrates all your communication channels and enriches every conversation with the client data from CRM to ensure a frictionless customer experience.
SaaS companies using Hubspot: Atlassian, SurveyMonkey, Trello, monday.com
This complex platform, part of Adobe Experience Cloud, is the leading solution for account-based marketing and lead generation. With Marketo, businesses can finally close the gap between sales and marketing, and therefore, ensure frictionless customer experience across every stage of the buyer journey in all channels.
To get to know the true power of Marketo, let’s analyze a case study of Leadspace, a SaaS lead generation tool. Leadspace lacked comprehensive marketing processes and a proper marketing stack. Attracting new customers was a question of pure luck more than a well-oiled marketing machine. Implementing Marketo allowed Leadspace to finally have marketing processes such as lead generation and nurturing in place. This move resulted in an increase in the number of sales opportunities, and access to a full overview of marketing metrics and ROI information was yet another benefit.
SaaS companies using Marketo: Blackbaud, HotSchedules, Leadspace, InsightSquared
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Ever dreamed of putting the most repetitive and routine tasks on autopilot? I think it’s the case of every marketer, and thanks to automation features in Autopilot, it’s not mission impossible anymore. This platform makes automation more accessible than ever due to its visual approach with no coding required. Designing customer journeys is as easy as drawing on a whiteboard, and with the drag-and-drop editor, creating pixel-perfect personalized emails is a child’s play.
Additionally, Autopilot seamlessly integrates with other tools in the SaaS marketing stack. For instance, Lessonly, a learning management software for teams, switched from using one tool that didn’t allow them to achieve expected results to a full-blown marketing stack of connected software, including Autopilot. Check out the video to learn how Autopilot helped Lessonly to organize their marketing efforts:
SaaS companies using Autopilot: Lessonly, LiveChat, Typeform, Instapage
2. Conversational marketing
Intercom is a web-based messaging platform that lets you connect with your clients in multiple channels to educate them, nurture, onboard, or engage. The Smart Campaigns feature makes it possible to adapt the communication sent to customers to their behavior on the website, saving a great deal of manual work.
Before going with Intercom, the analytics software provider Moz used not one, but five communication tools. This clearly didn’t have a positive impact on customer experience, as Moz representatives were having trouble with getting a 360-degree view of the client and speak with one voice in every single message. After replacing the old solutions with Intercom, Moz could finally ensure consistent and personalized communication with customers via email, in-app messages, and chat, thus saving a great deal of time, and providing users with a seamless experience.
SaaS companies using Intercom: Expensify, Moz, Baremetrics, Unity
This AI-fueled conversational marketing platform allows you to automate conversations with customers—the crucial part of every SaaS operations, having an invaluable impact on customer experience, engagement, and conversion. Drift offers an advanced personalization thanks to the AI engine that use the customer data to ensure a customized approach. What is more, Drift is a handy tool in strategies such as account-based marketing and demand generation. The bot also supports multiple languages, which is extremely useful if your SaaS plans to grow on global markets.
The social media analytics tool Brandwatch used Drift to streamline its international expansion. Their main goals were to increase conversion on the website, and get more sales meetings booked. Features such as automatic conversations and routing enabled Brandwatch to engage visitors in real-time, and, if necessary, direct them to the adequate team to talk with a human representative.
SaaS companies using Intercom: Outreach, Invision, GitHub, Brandwatch
3. Outbound marketing
This tool will make your marketing, sales, and customer success efforts better, more efficient, and less time-consuming. If you want to grow your client base and revenue but it seems like a huge amount of work is required, try Outreach.io. With this software, your teams can take care of your outbound activities: account-based sales, automated and personalized campaigns, automatically triggered outreach and follow-ups, etc.
When DocuSign, started growing at a fast pace, their marketing and sales team faced the need of enhancing productivity to keep up with the business expansion. Using dispersed tools such as spreadsheets and CRM lead to chaos, confusion, and lack of coordination between sales and marketing activities. Implementing Outreach.io allowed DocuSign to finally align these efforts, from phone calls, personalized email sequences, to social media content: now, customers receive coherent communication.
SaaS companies using Outreach: Adobe, DocuSign, Pendo, Showpad
Act-On marketing automation platform has all the capabilities required to enhance customer interactions. Easy-to-use tools allow SaaS marketers to build landing pages and websites, automate prospecting, messaging campaigns, analytics and reporting. In a nutshell, with Act-On you can create exceptional buyer journeys that result in strong, durable relationships with customers.
How this translates to the SaaS business model? Find Your Influence, an influencer marketing platform, uses Act-On to distribute content to specific customer segments, drive lead generation, and contact influencers to grow its network of talent under management. This way, the company has a clear track of email effectiveness, can scale its efforts, and consequently, attract new businesses and influencers to use the SaaS platform.
SaaS companies using Act-On: Insidesales.com, SimScale, Find Your Influence
There are around 7,000 marketing and sales products available on the market, so the possibilities are immense. However, when making a buying decision, always pay attention to the specific features of the software to determine whether it fulfills the needs of a SaaS marketing team and will allow you to achieve your specific goals.
A well-planned and flawlessly executed marketing strategy is a key to success in the SaaS industry, but that’s not everything it takes. If you want to grow your business even further and are looking for a tech partner for your SaaS app, don’t hesitate to contact us!