By Prathima Inolu, Director and Chief Designer of Divami Design Labs, shortlisted for the Best UX / UI / Design in a SaaS Product and Best Enterprise-Level SaaS Product categories at The SaaS Awards 2022

When scaling a SaaS business, marketing is one of the most critical areas. How can you make your product or service stand out from competitors? Towards whom are marketing services geared?

The truth is, your audience is out there, and you need a SaaS marketing strategy that includes best practices to reach and engage with them and convert them into clients.

You need to understand the true worth of your SaaS company before marketing and pouring money into it. First, you need to know your company is worth feeling better about long-term success. 

Creating a workable ICP model is among the most fundamental steps in your GTM approach. Yet, it’s one that many organizations gloss over or don’t intend to pin down the specifics since they feel they are omitting part of their prospective audience. This, however, is usually misinterpreted and is uncomplicated.

In this post, we’ll go over everything you need to know about SaaS marketing best practices. This article will also cover the core components required to make an excellent ICP and the most significant blunders leadership teams make when building their own. 

Four Bad B2B SaaS Marketing Techniques

Don’t make these common mistakes with your SaaS marketing efforts. In our years of experience, we’ve found these four issues to be overlooked across the board.

  1. Too many promises, not enough progress

To impress your prospects, don’t talk about what your product does or how you make it. Show them the benefits of your product to communicate to them why they need it.

Here’s an example of what are the most important words to use and avoid when writing:

No: We offer a sophisticated communication and collaborative solution (claim).

Yes: Empower your workforce to communicate and collaborate better (gain).

  1. Identify your TOM/ SAM/ SOM

Quit targeting individuals who aren’t worth your time and start looking for leads that convert. Your ideal clients are waiting on you, and it can appeal to squander resources pursuing big markets. Therefore, it’s essential to identify your Total Addressable Market, Serviceable Addressable Market, and Serviceable Obtainable Market (TAM/SAM/SOM). From there, you’ll establish a strong Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and then use it to develop your user personas so that you know who you’re targeting including their pain points, fears, discomforts, and dreams.

  1. Not taking advantage of content

Many marketing professionals often tend to undervalue the power of good content. But that’s because some of them do it wrong. Today’s customers want to experience rich content, which implies that you should constantly aim to produce valuable content that educates, informs, and directly addresses your potential customer’s pain points at all stages of the funnel.

  1. Marketing to businesses, not humans

Managing your marketing processes and multifunctional campaigns throughout multiple channels using automation tools has advantages. Here are the benefits of marketing automation:

  • Personalization;
  • Segmentation;
  • Tracking system.

Here are the drawbacks: “You can’t automate authentic relationships. B2B SaaS marketing isn’t only about marketing to businesses.”

What is an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)?

The ideal customer profile is the company that would benefit the most from your product. If you know their interests, it will be easier to sell to them, and they’re less likely to stop buying your product.

What is ICP in B2B marketing?

All leads are not the same. They all need to be approached and treated differently based on their goals. For example, if a lead only wants to improve their problem-awareness, you should not refer them straight away to your sales team. Using an ideal customer profile (ICP) will ensure you know your ideal clients and can provide better support.

With your ICP, you can design an offer that will be aligned with your customer and thus increase your amount of sales. ICPs also help you identify what stage in the funnel a potential customer is in, enabling you to use this information to personalize marketing campaigns.

What is the need for an ICP?

There is no straightforward path to growth. There are many approaches, but they can lead to wasting your limited budget and time. One way is to broaden your targeting, which can end up being fruitless.

Having a data-driven ICP will allow your content team to create targeted copy because you will be able to organize your messaging and positioning. You can also rely on an ICP for other purposes, such as ABM or your ads campaign.

Difference between a Buyer Persona and an ICP

A buyer persona is a fictional client created by the company to represent the types of consumers they want to target. Buyer personas get names, jobs, and sometimes even pets. The most significant difference is that they are focused on creating improved user experiences. ICPs focus more on determining who would benefit the most from their product or service. In essence, they approach customers in different ways.

What is the most significant mistake people make when creating their ICP?

ICP documentation for B2B SaaS companies is not always well executed. For many, there is simply no documentation of the ICP at all. Businesses’ main mistake is to go too broad when trying to create and execute an ICP. The other big mistakes include missing actionable details or never revisiting their ICP.

  1. Broad ICPs

To be successful in marketing, you need to choose a niche and keep your content directed at this niche. If you don’t have that to start with, it will be challenging to create content for it as you will have no idea what would speak to them. If a farmer is in the market for a bank, for example, they will naturally be more interested in Content A if it appears aimed at those on their level of agriculture expertise.

You need to identify your SAM and TAM and reach a point where you can expand. Your serviceable obtainable market (SOM) is not something that you can proceed with until you have identified its parameters.

  1. Unactionable ICP details

Creating ICPs for B2B SaaS businesses is often done by determining surface-level characteristics, driving habits, and what type of car they drive. While this can help create a voice that communicates with your ideal customer well, this isn’t helpful for other departments or their overall GTM strategy.

Instead of targeting your audience with traditional methods, you should establish the objective firmographics and technographics that best describe your ideal buyer. You can then create an audience or list of leads to target with your ads and ABM campaigns.

  1. Unchanging ICP

Your business may need more than one ICP as it grows, and you may need to adjust your strategy entirely. You may also be in a situation where you have to abandon your original ICP and pivot. Marketing is an ever-growing science that requires constant adjustment. The first assumptions you make about campaigns may be incorrect. There will only be a way to discover by experimenting, seeing what works for different audiences, and going back to the drawing board to figure out which direction strategy should go.

For example, if you’re a SaaS firm, your ideal customer could be companies within the B2B tech industry. Your user personas will be the examples of particular employees you intend to target amongst this group, like Gordan, the VP of Sales, or Caroline, the CMO.

If you’re an American apparel seller, on the contrary, your ideal customer could be those within a particular age range living in the USA. Your user personas would narrow down, enabling you to target individuals like Samantha, a Hipster.

So, what makes an ideal ICP?

One way to avoid common pitfalls is to consider what the ICP will be used for. The purpose of an ICP is to find, qualify and target a specific audience that will be the best fit for your product. It should also have characteristics such as being clear, concise, and relevant to the user.

You should focus your marketing efforts on an audience with the size and interest you’re targeting. You also need to start small but maintain a large audience so that you have growth potential.

The marketing team can use these AI programs effectively to produce content, design, advertising, and ABM initiatives.

It’s essential for your ICP to be up-to-date and to be made as you learn. Revise your ICP regularly, even radical revisions, as you’re on the path to product-market fit. 

Moreover, measuring your product/platform’s usability metrics can be a good way to ensure you understand your ICP’s requirements well. 

Here are 7 B2B SAAS marketing best practices listed for your business:

  1. ICP and Personas

It may seem straightforward and touched lightly, but you should never underestimate the importance of defining your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and personas. Without them, you will be shooting in the dark you won’t know who to target or how. We also call this “spraying and praying.”

The ICP and personas is a tool that helps you plan and strategize, so by testing different strategies, you can find the ones with the most potential to get customers and clients.

  1. Positioning and Messaging

After understanding marketing and who you are marketing to, you need to know what to say and how. How do you position and talk about yourself, so you stand out? What is your brand voice? What are your value propositions?

Before writing anything, you should have a good idea of your audience’s pains, fears, and dreams. You must communicate with them by balancing how you talk about yourself (claim) vs. the customer’s pains and what they stand to gain from your products or services.

Instead of identifying features, focus on benefits so your prospects can better understand how they will benefit from your product.

  1. Understanding your networks

Before building your GTM approach, you must understand your existing networks. Try to address the following questions to “audit” what has been done till now, what’s working, and what’s not so you can build an efficient strategy.

  • Where are your customers located?
  • What are your existing networks that generate leads?
  • How are your paid channels performing for your business?
  • Are there any new channels?
  • Where are your opportunities?
  • What channels need to be optimized?
  • How do you balance temporary vs. long-term development?
  • Do you prefer to choose inbound, outbound, or both?
  • Would you require a sales-led approach or a product-led approach?
  • Are you targeting the ideal target market with the proper channels? 
  1. Drive by growth

A growth-driven mindset is what you should have regardless of where your company is on its SaaS journey. The larger strategy of your company should drive your every action, and a strong GTM strategy can help you achieve T2D3 growth. Any action taken with the right GTM strategy will be related to your larger company goal.

With SaaS marketing, it’s not enough to create pretty and engaging graphics –they must be tailored to the exact customer or MQL. With this personalized approach, you can have high-quality content rather than a large quantity of content, increasing your marketing efforts.

  1. Define your OKRs

To be driven by growth, you must create objectives and key results (OKRs). Without them, your team won’t have the goals they need to hit their growth targets.

SMART goals and critical results help you do more with your time. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound are essential characteristics to consider.

Get your team on board, set goals, and track progress with Objectives and Key Results (OKRs). They help you get on the same page and show their goals are aligned. OKRs allow you to set and outline priorities and are a valuable measurement of success.

  1.       Align your marketing & sales funnel

Be prepared for your sales and marketing teams to be confused about what each person needs to do at different stages of the funnel if you don’t have a map of the process. Remember that goals should align with roles, and systems should support these. The three most important things to remember are to align goals, roles, and strategies.

Next, when building your marketing strategies, you need to identify gaps in your current marketing and ensure you have covered every stage of the funnel to pass leads onto sales.

  1. Track your goals weekly

Include strategies to measure your marketing by tracking weekly. Over time you will see what’s working and what’s not. You want to make sure you are making progress on your monthly, quarterly, and yearly goals.

A SaaS marketing dashboard will help you with your marketing strategy. This is not just a reporting tool – it will also help you focus on your campaigns, making you more successful over time.

When unsure what to track, it’s a good idea to start with the number of prospects per source, sessions per source, and the lifecycle stage:

  • Contact;
  • Subscriber;
  • Lead;
  • MQL;
  • SQL.

You should also be tracking revenue and cost per lead or CAC.

Consumer profiles are undoubtedly crucial for any sales or marketing team. The more details you have regarding your customers, the better your possibilities of customizing their messaging are. This will likely increase your chances of converting them since 86% of buyers choose to purchase from a company that provides individualized experiences. So, creating ICPs is a wonderful way to find and nurture the leads you’re trying to convert into clients.

About the Author: Prathima Inolu

Prathima is the Director and Chief Designer of Divami Design Labs, a leading UX/UI Design & Design-led Development services company based in India. She has worked with various SaaS clients to help them solve their usability challenges and deliver a platform that is user friendly. For more information, contact Prathima at prathima@divami.com.