The Customer Journey for SaaS-Based Organizations

The Customer Journey for SaaS-Based Organizations

There is a question we all need to ask our Business Deployment Manager, Chief Marketing Officer, or a Director of Sales for our SaaS organization: 'How is the Customer going to buy?' rather than, 'How are we going to sell it?'

If we can start changing the framework of how we think, we will start understanding the root cause of the following symptoms:



  • We will not achieve our numbers for this year



  • Sales and marketing are not speaking the same language



  • Our marketing is more of a fulfillment department of activities but not helping in enabling our sales team



  • We are losing market share



  • Our MRR is going down



  • Our churn rate is going up



  • Our clients’ lifetime value is shrinking, and our client acquisition cost is going up



  • Our hand-off process between marketing and sales is broken



You will quickly find out that the real cause of the problem can be uncovered by asking two different questions: “Do we understand the customer journey,” and “When does the customer journey start?”

Six Paths

There are usually six paths where the customer journey will start:



  • A content marketing campaign leads to an inbound lead from nurturing.



  • Word of mouth results in inbound leads through a referral.



  • The sales team reaches out in an outbound sales call, email or LinkedIn InMail.



  • A community event to encourage word of mouth marketing.



  • Search engine optimization leads to competitive ranking against a search query which results in an inbound lead.



  • Social media interaction, such as a tweet, blog post, or linking/sharing/commenting on an article.



Regardless, you have to plan your marketing to excel on those six paths. Traditional sales and marketing organizations will always think that it is a marathon and that they are running against time. In a SaaS organization, we will need to remember that sales are not the finish line.

Recurring Revenue, MRR, a happy customer, multi-year relationships—these are the new podium finishes, and you must structure not only your race plan, but your training, mental game, and marketing and sales teams accordingly.

A successful SaaS start-up is based on rapid growth measure against MRR; anywhere from two to 100 times over a 12-month period.

Traditional vs. Saas Marketing

Traditional marketing activities are:



  • Branding



  • PR



  • RFI/RFP Process



  • Tradeshows



  • Websites – big projects that take 3-6 months to implement



SaaS marketing funnels should reallocate more effort on:



  • Help clients gain awareness



  • Offer client education



  • Assist clients with the selection process



  • Help clients with onboarding



  • Enable clients to USE your online SaaS platform and help them with the pilot so that they can go for expansion



  • Educate them to understand the value of enabling other applications on top of the core or the base platform



  • Create a stream of ongoing monthly activities on the website to keep it fresh and new (Growth Driven Design)



  • E-commerce inbound enabled process



Your marketing and sales processes need to be an inclusive, unified process. For a VP of Sales, you need to shift your thinking into a marketing enabled sales organization. For a VP of Marketing, you need to challenge your department by asking, “How can I re-align my team and resources to help bring in revenue?”

Many new start-up organizations now have a new title. CRO, Chief Revenue Officer (someone who consolidates both processes together and is responsible for creating a repeatable machine that can bring revenue in on a monthly basis).

A Dying Sales Process

Here is a traditional example of sales process that is dying and been proven to be very ineffective:



  • Contacted



  • Qualified



  • Demo



  • Proposal



  • Closed



Why is it obsolete? Because it is centered around your sales cycle and not your customer buying cycle. What should the new sales process be? Are sales and marketing working hand in hand in all aspects? There is no hand-off between sales and marketing. What do customers want?



  • Customer: Will be searching for a problem – Marketing and sales should be helping them find your company through the process.



  • Customer: Further research it online to understand the exact impact and decide if this is a priority – Marketing and Sales should inform and educate them, share more insights and simplify the problem (visually). Let them follow your company to understand what your approach to fixing the problem is.



  • Customer: Does not want pop-ups on your website. They do not need an inside sales manager hunting them after 5 minutes of looking at your website.



  • Customer: Wants to take their time to talk to 2-3 vendors before deciding. They want more information and proof that points out that your platform is the correct online (SaaS platform) that will fix their problem.



  • Customer: Wants someone to walk them through the options, but while you are doing so, answer three questions for them: “Why do I need this? Why Do I need this now? Why should I pick your platform?”



To achieve this new nirvana, MSPs need to understand that it’s a new age of technology sales in which customer focus is the key. It can be an uncomfortable change at first, letting go of traditional sales methods. But, with this change, MSPs have an opportunity to outshine their competitors.

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