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In this article we explain why it's so important for SaaS companies to use outbound strategies and the six steps you need to follow in order to execute effective outbound campaigns.
Nowadays, everyone is talking about inbound marketing — but if you're trying to reach enterprise decision makers as a SaaS company, you won't succeed by focusing exclusively on inbound channels. Sure, blog content and SEO are important, but they won't get you to the C-suite. If you want to achieve your sales goals, you need to incorporate SaaS outbound marketing techniques.
Outbound marketing can include a variety of tactics such as email, targeted ads, landing pages, integrated direct mail, and account-based marketing. With these methods, rather than wait for prospects to initiate a conversation, you are reaching out and engaging with them directly. However, with people today constantly inundated with outbound marketing interruptions — and many of them choosing to opt out or block such communications — it’s important to take a thoughtful approach to your outbound campaigns.
Cutting through the clutter is key, and our step-by-step approach will help you begin to build your SaaS outbound marketing campaigns. Below, we explain why it's so important for SaaS companies to use outbound strategies and the six steps you need to follow in order to execute effective outbound campaigns.
When you’re trying to scale SaaS outbound marketing efforts, it’s not just about growing your team and the number of emails you send. To really do outbound right, you need a strong Ideal Customer Profile (ICP).
In its simplest form, an ICP is a profile that outlines the characteristics of your ideal customer. Rather than broadly targeting all companies out there that might be interested in your product, you’re narrowing down the characteristics of your ideal customer to ensure that you’re targeting customers who are more likely to buy from you.
A company's ICP is a clear, detailed description of the characteristics of their target audience, including firmographics like industry, numbers of employees and customers, annual recurring revenue, and geographic location, along with technographics like current software programs and management systems in use. Identifying your ICP is an essential part of any successful SaaS outbound marketing campaign, because without understanding your ICP, you will struggle with identifying, targeting, and converting leads into customers.
When you’re able to clearly identify what makes up your ICP, it will help you develop better messaging, write stronger sales copy, and generally improve every aspect of your SaaS outbound marketing strategy. It also ensures both your sales and marketing teams are aligned with the same targets.
Once you have your ICP, you’ll want to identify the persona of your ideal buyer. A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers. When creating your buyer persona, consider including customer demographics, job titles, behavior patterns, fears, motivations, goals, and other characteristics. The more detailed you are, the better.
You can build a buyer persona from many different sources of insights, including:
● Market research. Industry forums, blogs, interviews with buyers and sales staff, surveys of existing customers, focus groups, and publications related to your space will provide outside perspectives on the challenges facing your buyers.
● Analytics tools. Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, and other analytics tools will help you gain a better understanding of who is engaging with your content.
● Social media platforms. LinkedIn, Twitter, and Quora are great resources for engaging in conversations and groups related to your industry.
Understanding your buyer personas will allow you to tailor all of your sales and marketing efforts to their specific needs and pain points. You'll be able to create more relevant content and communications that speak directly to each persona with the right tone and style. This will make all of your marketing initiatives more effective and efficient.
A contact list is a crucial tool for any growing business. It's the foundation of your SaaS outbound marketing, and it’s the way to get your products or services in front of your ideal customer. There are many ways to build your list for account-based marketing, including:
This list should be based on the demographics and interests of your ideal buyer persona. A purchased list could be useful if you're looking for a more general audience, but it'll cost more than creating your own contact lists from scratch. You also run the risk of sending emails to people who aren't interested in what you have to offer, which can turn them away from wanting to learn more about your SaaS.
Capture contact information through your website and social media, using lead-generation techniques such as lead magnets to attract your audience. To start, your contact list should include all of the major players in your industry. That includes those who make up your customer base, as well as important influencers who can help you reach them.
To build a thorough list, find companies that are relevant to your industry and research members of those organizations. These are the people who will be making the buying decisions that matter most to you. Other good sources for building your contact list include conference attendee lists, staff directories of companies in your industry, and LinkedIn.
Third-party tools like LinkedIn Sales Navigator can help you filter your searches by specific job titles, geographic locations, company names, and more. Once you have a list of prospects, you can send them warm introductions to generate conversations with prospects, even if you’re not connected with them on LinkedIn.
Also, you may need to do some digging to determine which people fit your buyer persona so you can be sure you’re targeting decision makers. Notably, an estimated four out of five people on LinkedIn are considered decision-makers within their companies. And with LinkedIn’s ability to target people based on their job, it’s an ideal platform to reach people who make buying decisions.
In addition to building a list, you need to decide what kind of goals you have for your SaaS outbound marketing. For example, a common marketing goal is to increase the number of leads coming into a business. You can track this by measuring the amount of traffic you get from your campaign, as well as the number of new leads that come from it. Other common goals may include:
● Boosting brand awareness. To track this, you can measure how many people have come into contact with your brand during the campaign, through open rates for email campaigns, or through impressions for online ads.
● Following a call to action. For example, some companies might try to track how many people take the action they want them to take in their campaign. If the goal is getting people to click on a link, then you would track how many clicks your campaign receives and use that as your benchmark for success.
● Conversions through ads. Some companies may focus on the number of conversions that an ad or other marketing piece brings in. For example, if you want someone to fill out a contact form after viewing your ad, then you might track how many people took this action instead of just how many people viewed your ad.
● Sales. Tracking sales is especially common when you're running a promotion or offering some level of discount through your campaign. If you're offering a coupon code through an email newsletter, for instance, then you would track how many sales that code brings in.
You’ve got your list. You’ve got your goals. Now you need to create SaaS outbound marketing campaigns to connect with your audience. At SaaSMQL, we take an integrated approach with both offline and online tactics that rely on email, direct mail, and LinkedIn ads — all directed at carefully selected accounts that are most likely to convert.
It’s a strategy that works: Approximately 79% of content marketers who use LinkedIn ads say these ads produce the best results for paid ads — ahead of Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.
Other ways to reach your ideal customer include:
● Landing pages that help hook your prospects and encourage them to submit their contact information
● Blog posts, case studies, and white papers that demonstrate your thought leadership in the SaaS space; turn these inbound methods into outbound marketing by sending these to prospects via email and inviting prospects to set up a call using your calendar link
● Referral programs that reward existing customers for sending you potential customers
By pairing inbound marketing such as blog posts with outbound marketing tactics, you can make the most of your content and other assets and better reach your ideal customer. Use your outreach campaigns to catch the attention of potential customers who aren't currently engaged with your brand at all — and inbound strategies to keep them coming back for more.
With your SaaS outbound marketing campaigns in place, now it’s time to measure the results of all your hard work. Knowing the ROI of your marketing initiatives is a mission-critical requirement for any demand generation marketer. Without knowing which campaigns are driving pipeline and revenue and which ones are wasting your budget, you’re flying blind.
It might help to take a step back and think about what you're trying to achieve with your demand generation efforts. What goals have you set for specific campaigns? Once you narrow down the focus of each campaign, it'll be easier to understand what’s working and what isn’t.
SaaSMQL makes this process easy by tracking every interaction with our programs, from that initial click to conversion to opportunity. You’ll have a clear picture of account engagement, intent, funnel conversion rates, budget spent, pipeline generated, and ROI.
If you've been considering expanding your SaaS business but aren't sure how to go about it, outbound marketing could be the answer. Instead of waiting for customers to come to you, you actively go to them.
The best part about outbound marketing is that the sales pitch doesn't necessarily have to tie up your resources. By setting up automated emails and placing ads on strategic platforms, you can get your message in front of many potential customers without having to personally engage with each one of them (although this can still be an important part of the process with warm leads).
There are many benefits to using outbound marketing for your SaaS, especially if you've seen success using inbound methods in the past. For most companies using SaaS business models, outbound marketing is necessary to continually attract new clients if you want your profits to increase and keep growing.
Because it involves getting in touch with potential customers yourself (as opposed to waiting for them to come to you), outbound marketing can be intimidating at first. But once you get the hang of it, you'll find that this method is an ideal complement to your inbound marketing efforts. Follow the six steps above and watch your SaaS company soar.
Launched in 2018, SaaSMQL strives to help SaaS companies grow their pipeline and ARR in a predictable manner. At the heart of this growth, there needs to be a rock-solid demand generation strategy that ensures a consistent flow of new prospects and keeps sales and marketing aligned. If you are looking to grow your pipeline and refine your SaaS outbound marketing efforts, reach out to us and schedule an introductory call.
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