Content – the rainmaker for SaaS products18 Jun 2015, Posted by Technology marketing in
A few years back, I attended a sales strategy session where many experienced strategic thinkers brought together their 15-25 years of ERP brilliance and sales experience to find a solution to an ever-concerning problem – building the perfect strategy to acquire and retain “best-fit” customers. It was an enlightening experience that went on for 3 days. I watched in awe as discussions meandered from software licenses, process consulting, implementation, and customization to AMC and support services. I was convinced that we definitely required many such sessions before we could zero in on the answer because, as we all know, the ideal sales cycle for an ERP extends to 18 months; hence the ideal strategy to nail the process would take at least so long!
Now, let’s cut quickly into another scenario – years later, I was part of another session that covered strategy, technology marketing and sales for a ‘Software as a Service’ (SaaS) organization. My mind automatically made a comparison with the earlier session. SaaS did indeed simplify the life of a prospective buyer, making the customer the true king. The answer was indeed simple. All that the SaaS concept miraculously achieved was to empower the customer by easing out the decision-making process – why take a risk and “buy” a house just because someone has a brilliant offer, when all you need to do is to test the waters by just taking it on ‘’rent’’ – visit the place and if you like it, agree for a monthly rent and just move in! If you do not enjoy your stay, return and move on!
This analogy is the basis of the SaaS concept. My argument here is not for which approach is better, both on-premises and on-demand concepts have their own advantages. Rather my quest is to understand the new determiner that plays a significant role in SaaS product sales, which has the ability to ensure that your sales dashboard is flooded with a number of members or subscribers, which is CONTENT.
SaaS has replaced the need for brick and motor, and a vast army of foot soldiers for sales with a strong portal and engaging content. Strong, inspiring content can drive the market place to attract, recruit and retain customers for your technology marketing and SaaS business.
How can content play a significant role in technology marketing and sales?
Content is the educator, enticer, marketeer, inspirer, solution provider, and community builder. Content is key right from providing extensive product/service information and creating awareness about the overall concept before the prospect moves through the sales funnel.
Content ensures that the prospect is interested enough to register for trail runs or self-guided tours. Content provides the prospect the power of knowledge to ensure that the prospect makes a sound decision based on facts and articles from different sources in the social media – white papers, case studies, product video, testimonials, social media experiences, and other statistics. Content in all forms – text, infographics, images, video, audio, slogans, charts, and so on – ensures that the prospect takes an intelligent and informed decision to convert to a dedicated brand follower.
Thus, irrespective of the area of business – CRM, automation, healthcare, HR or any business application software – a strong focus on building a steady and strong content stream for a SaaS-based business is essential.
A million approaches are available to string words together to make meaningful content. But from my limited experience, I feel that the following 10 pointers would help every SaaS business and their technology marketing team will gain maximum leverage from content.
1. Ensure that go-to-market strategy, UI, UX and content management are in tandem and focus on your brand – trust building, brand promise and brand delivery. This will definitely build brand loyalty.
2. Articulate value propositions clearly. Your content must completely reflect your value proposition – manage content in such a way that it highlights the benefits and advantages the end users can derive from using the service or product rather than just a mundane description of the features, modules and technology.
3. Prepare simple and straightforward basic packs and add-ons that make the easiest sale even during first visit.
4. Develop context-based content: Engage existing and new customers based on what they are specifically looking for – ensure that you focus on continuity, providing engaging and interactive content that provides the customer a sense of belonging and encourages them to refer other prospects, thus contributing to building the user community.
5. Develop buyer persona–based content: Focus on the end user who is going to use the product as a service. Focus your content differently for stakeholders who can push, promote, advocate and pay for the subscriptions.
6. Push FAQs, seek feedback, ask questions, and monitor the user during the trail run period. Do not leave any user query and feedback unattended because a trail run acts as a trailer of the real-time user experience.
7. Simplify your concept using content and ensure that your sales process is so smooth that the prospect understands and identifies with it and focuses on using the sales cart. Your content and simplified technology marketing and sales process should persuade the targeted visitor to subscribe.
8. Personalize your communication, through email or e-banners. Create content for the visitors that will ensure that they make an informed decision.
9. Make sure that your service level agreement, confidentiality agreements, and other legal terms are communicated in a simple language and are to the point.
10. Of course, as always, ensure that you include a call-to-action at every click.
Finally, don’t sell your product; sell it as a service and as an experience. After all it is ‘Software as a Service’ and not ‘Software as a Product’. Educate your prospect first and create awareness so they make an informed decision. Then, your rich and intelligent content will ensure an engaging experience for the prospects and keep your sales dashboard houseful!
Technology marketeer at Addkraft