Go-to-market strategy: Demand generation

DEMAND GENERATION AND BRAND AWARENESS

If you read our previous blog posts (Segmentation, Marketing personas, and Buyer’s journey), you know what type of customers you are going for. You also know what their problems are and how you can solve them. You have defined the key communication messages regarding each pain point. Now we are going to discuss a more tactical level.

DEMAND GENERATION
Demand generation - demand funnel conversion framework

Inbound and outbound methods

In theory, there are two methods for getting traction from customers – inbound and outbound.

The outbound method has been used for years and you know it by its most popular tactic – cold calling. In essence, the outbound method depends on your sales team reaching out to customers and checking if they need a solution that you provide. It started with direct mailing to customers. It continued with door-to-door sales, and ended in multiple different variations, all ending up with low conversion and high costs.

Don’t get us wrong – this is a great approach for many different lines of business and industries. SaaS is often not one of them.

The inbound has grown quite a bit and is now used widely even by people not knowing what it is.

By definition inbound is a method where you place a lot of content at the customer’s disposal and do your best to be present – but the first contact mostly comes from the customer side. You “wait” for them to read your blog post, download an eBook and then reach out to you to solve their problem.

You might have noticed that if you chose the self-service model for your strategy, the inbound method is the best fit. Inbound also applies to other, before explained, strategies as it generates a demand without wasting too many resources on 1 particular lead. It rather disperses the costs over thousands of potential leads.

Demand generation

We will focus on inbound marketing and generating demand. As the name says, demand generation has one simple goal – create demand/leads for sales.

Important point you should take into account – here we are not creating a need, we already understand the need of our target audience. We are now simply addressing the need. Of course, some customers-to-be do not even perceive their need for our product. But, they will recognise the symptoms and start being aware of the problem.

To generate demand, you will use a wide spread of tactics – from content to advertising on social media channels – trying to place that same content in front of your ideal customer. Which ever tactic you use – make sure it fits in the overall strategy and ends up feeding the same lead generating machine.

Demand generation funnel for SaaS

To make it easier to understand demand generation funnels, let’s create a light one for your SaaS.

1. Social media / awareness / branding

Awareness is an important part of your strategy. Awareness is tightly connected to branding – establishing your position on the market. Here you will create your social media accounts, a social posts plan and engaging with your audience.

2. Blog posts

You will create couple of blog posts related to your product. This will include the issue you are addressing with the product and the problems being solved. Think about what customers might seek out / search for and try to help them. This can include checklists (for implementation), how-to articles, and comparison of different products that solve the same problems. When writing, mind the SEO. (More about how to write a blog post on HubSpot).

3. eBooks

Write more comprehensive content that customers would want to read. Do in-depth research about your industry and create a detailed guide to solve the problem. You will hide this eBook behind a “gate” where customers need to leave their name, surname, and email address. It’s an exchange of values – their personal details for the content. You will use their details later.

Now you know who your leads are. Here you can read more about creating an eBook.“ This type of content is also called gated content or lead magnets, search the terms to find more examples you can use.

photo-1607703703520-bb638e84caf2
Brand awareness - how to reach your audience?

Based on the (known) leads from the previous step, you have a way of reaching out. If you are selling a more complicated solution, this is your chance to educate your potential leads. Give them more details about your product/service, and more reasons to buy from you rather than the competition.

At this point, you can also share with them cost calculators. Make sure you are not overloading the customers. 2-3 emails are more than enough, keeping them a few days apart.

To enforce your message, you can create ads to follow your customers once they leave your website. This can mean using Facebook to showcase the product on their social media or using Google Display Network to reach them on different news portals where customers go after visiting your site.

This tactic is called re-marketing. It helps you go the extra mile to make sure your customers have you in mind even after leaving your site.

This is a simple funnel. Ideally, at the end of this stream you will have up to 5% of customers clicking “buy” via your online shop.

Even more complex solutions (like Marketo) can track every action a certain customer makes, evaluate it, and award points for those actions. Once customers reach a specific threshold, those solutions can forward them to your Sales CRM as leads. After, your sales team can do a direct follow-up based on their activity.

Read more blog posts with interesting topics similar to Customer Journey. Also, for more information about getting your SaaS to market, you can download our free E-book, where you will find everything about creating a successful marketing strategy.

Go-to-market strategy: Buyer’s journey

CUSTOMER JOURNEY

Customer journey is a process customers go through to become aware of a product or service, evaluate it, and finally buy it. It’s a way of understanding what it is that motivates them – their NEEDS, their hesitations about buying, and their worries on the way to buying a product or service. (more on HubSpot)

With this topic, we are continuing our story from our blog post Buyer’s personas. After identifying your desired customers, now it’s time to take them on a journey. You will be in their shoes and trying to understand all the steps they will need to take. From understanding that they have a need, to buying your product/service and celebrating you as a lifesaver. Read more about understanding customers here.

CUSTOMER JOURNEY
Customer journey - stages of the customer lifecycle

Customer journey stages

Although the buyers’ journey can have multiple stops along the road, in general, we divide it across 5 stages:

  1. Awareness
  2. Consideration
  3. Acquisition
  4. Service
  5. Loyalty

Awareness

During the Awareness, you will focus on the point in time your customer is realising their need. The moment they experience pain and start to look for the solution. This is the stage at which they are doing the basic research – what options do they have, what they need to consider, who can provide the solution.

Although the title here is Awareness, the focus is on exploration on the customer side. For you, this means good SEO, advertising on Google, strong content around product-specific topics, generation of awareness of your brand.

Consideration

In the Consideration stage, we already got the attention of the customer. They are now usually considering multiple options on the table. Customers have few solutions, different vendors, need to evaluate the costs and benefits. Here brand reputation plays a role as you will be directly bidding against the competition.

Apart from that – the price usually plays a big role. If you can show your product/service as an investment that will pay back in the long run either through gained productivity or a decrease in spending you are close to winning. Content plays a big role here as well. You can offer the customer a demo experience of the product, give them a trial period. Also, think about creating a calculator making it easier for customers to understand the final price they will pay and everything they will be getting back in return.

An additional advantage here would be to create a comparative list.  Comparing your product and the main competitors to showcase superiority – if you have it.

Acquisition

Your acquisition phase will depend on the type of customer and the sales strategy you have set up in chapter 3. In case you decided on the self-service model, this is the point where your customer will be exploring the pricing options available and clicking through your checkout process. It is important that at this stage you do not overload them with any information that will avert them from payment.

Everything that they see here needs to be already available before. All the expenses, all the limits, and limitations. Decided to go for a more complex sales model? Your sales teams will, by now, join in on the party and discuss all the buying options on the table. Acquisition ends with either a sale or a bust.

Service

The service part is when you come to recognise the need for consumption. As you are building a SaaS, the most important lesson you will learn is that a customer who is not using a product stops paying for the same. By now, your customer has completed the purchase and is keen to start using the product or service.

Customers need a fast onboarding on all the options they have, how to use the product, how to set it up, and kill the growing pain. You will need to focus on how to provide this educate them in an easy and fast way.

Also, you have to create a set of materials, emails, calls to make sure they are using all the features of your product and that the product is giving back the value.

Loyalty

Once you have reached the loyalty stage – you’ve made it. Now, your product is working for you. Your customer is super happy about the solution. They have experienced re-birth and they gained enough value from you to consider this as a worthy investment and not just a one-time payment.

Try to make it easy for them to recommend you to your other potential customers. Call them and ask for statements. See if you can make a case study of how they increased their business with your solution. For a self-service model, think about the referral scheme – will they be able to provide a discount to new users or do you want to give them some kind of cash-back once their referees make a purchase.

Think about 3 things, for all the stages:
  1. What is your customer thinking?
  2. What is your customer feeling?
  3. What can you do to make them feel WOW, to surprise them, and make their life easier?

What do you get from creating a customer journey?

The purpose of creating customer journey is to understand what customers are going through, so that we can improve their user experience, thus ensuring a flawless experience on all the channels we use.

Other benefits of creating a customer journey:

  • It helps to solve certain obstacles when buying
  • It helps build and increase conversion rates
  • It gives a better understanding of the way customers go through each phase of the cycle
  • It gives us valuable feedback on what brings back existing customers to buy from us again

To conclude

In order to help the customer make a decision, it is necessary to develop a trusting relationship based on content and important information you will offer to your potential customer. The customer will trust you once she realises she has received all necessary information from you in one place.

Read more blog posts with interesting topics similar to Customer Journey. Also, for more information about getting your SaaS to market, you can download our free E-book, where you will find everything about creating a successful marketing strategy.

Go-to-market strategy: Marketing personas

MARKETING PERSONAS

“Buyer persona” has become an inevitable term in modern marketing. Today we’ll talk about who those personas are, why do we even create them, and in what way they impact the growth of our business.

To get a better grasp of your customers’ needs, interests and problems and at the same time correctly offer your product/service in the right place at the right time – you need to put yourselves into the perspective of your ideal customer and thus create your own “buyer persona”.

BUYER'S PERSONA (1)
Marketing personas - the success key of every marketing strategy

Who are the buyer's personas?

We are focusing on marketing personas – imaginary beings that represent your end customer – people who you will be speaking with, who will be visiting your website, and who will decide on the fate of your business in the end. These are your ideal customers, based on market research and your existing customers (as defined by HubSpot). 

When you recognise your ideal customer, you will know how to create suitable content that will be useful and interesting to them. Furthermore, you will know where to advertise your product/service, how to develop your marketing strategy, and ultimately keep your customer. Here you can find more information about the importance of creating Buyer’s personas. 

7 common types of buyer personas?

As we have mentioned before, during the sales phase you will be in touch with many different personas, in average for enterprise customers you will work with 6,8 decision-makers before every successful sale. This is not just valid for enterprises, in smaller companies, some people wear many different hats, they play different personas during the sales cycle.

Generally, you will face 7 archetypes:

  1. Initiator – a person who started the buying process, one with the need.
  2. User – a person who uses the product regularly, every day.
  3. Influencer – a person who convinces others to buy the product.
  4. Decision-maker – final approver for the buying process.
  5. Buyer – a person who owns the procedure.
  6. Approver – a person who approves the spending, risk, etc.
  7. Gatekeeper – blocker for implementation.

So, how do you create a buyer persona?

FIRST STEP – COLLECT DATA

One step you cannot skip – do your research. This will pay in a long run. Understand your audience, who they are, what they do, how they act. Use data you have internally, look for industry reports, talk to your salespeople in direct contact with users. After you gather your intel – analyse it. See what makes sense, what fits in your ideal customers. Learn more about collecting data here.

This will also give you intel about people you do not want to work with, nightmare customers that drain you for little effect on your bottom line. Markdown things that represent that kind of customers – it will help you avoid them.

SECOND STEP – ANALYSE DATA – WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE

Now that you have all the data you can begin with creating your persona. Start with simple things – their name, age, place where they live (remember the demography part of segmentation). After that think about their background – where they came from, what is their occupation, what created them, and what put them in this position?

Next step – their needs. What is their pain, thing they are trying to solve, what do they need for their day-to-day job, to advance, to get more work done or bigger market?

The goals of your persona are next – their business and personal goals. What they want to achieve in the short run, long-term goals. What they plan to achieve when their needs are settled when their pain is solved.

For the final thing – think about the challenges they are facing – is it the lack of knowledge, lack of time, tough boss, money problems. There can be any number of things, pay attention that those are challenges that should be connected to/solvable with your product/service.

THIRD STEP – CREATING PERSONA

We can create buyer’s personas using the collected data. To make it easier, we can use some finished templates. (If you want to learn more about creating your persona check the Hootsuite article.

These are some of the essential elements used in our customer’s profiles:

  • Name
  • Photo
  • Demographic data
  • Summary
  • Frustrations
  • Goals and motives
  • BehaviorLearn
BUYER'S PERSONA 2
Buyer's persona profile

Final words

“If you are addressing everyone, you are addressing no one.”

Creating a buyer’s persona is not a long process, so don’t avoid it. This step in your marketing strategy can be crucial for designing messages and selecting channels through which we “reach” users.

Our best advice for the end of this chapter – never see this exercise as final, you can get back to this later in the game and change the persona that no longer fits.

Here you can read more blog posts with interesting topics which can blend with Marketing personas. Also, for more, you can download our free E-book, where you can look at everything about creating a successful marketing strategy.

Go-to-market strategy: Segmentation

Segmentation is a big part of every effective and organised business. Companies that successfully conduct segmentation can narrow down and focus on specific audience groups. If you would like to achieve the same, learning about the most common types of segmentation might help you reach your goal.

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