The importance of marketing automation is well understood by SaaS companies — to a certain extent, every SaaS business is a provider of automation itself. The modern age runs on the power of automated systems, and marketing is no different. Marketing is best managed as a system, and like any system, its constituent parts must work together smoothly to ensure the successful functioning of the whole.
Your entire marketing strategy should take into account the sales funnel. A well-organized sales funnel is crucial for SaaS companies, especially those who have a large variety of offerings around a single product line. For example, a sales funnel for Adobe Creative Cloud might start with the free one-month trial, add in single products and end with the full Creative Cloud membership. As Marketo points out, once you have a potential customer’s name and email — whether they download an eBook from you or signup for a free trial — it is your job to stay in contact with them and nurture those leads until they become full paying customers.
With automation, businesses can create a sales funnel that naturally cycles leads through the process of upgrading by automated email notifications, webinar invitations and blog updates. Rather than manually taking someone through that process, a good marketing automation system will automatically cycle your leads depending on the actions they take, which all bring them to the next step in the marketing automation process. The outline of the sales funnel is that series of actions, which signal stages in the lead’s progress toward becoming a customer.
After designing a sales funnel, it’s important to automate the follow-up for various actions a customer can take. If a customer signs up for a free trial, an automatically triggered thank-you email should be sent along with resources that can help them fully engage with the product. That might be a help section, webinar, eBook or series of blog posts that are especially useful for those who aren’t very familiar with your software. As the trial goes on, you should check in regularly to offer more advanced resources and detail advantages of a full paid subscription. Though this is an automated process, your customers should always feel that they’re able to reach out to a real person to answer specific questions.
You will probably need to use split-level testing to ensure that your sales funnel and automatic follow-up meet customers’ needs without creating information overload or being too salesy.
Social Media Management
Social media management can consume vast amounts of time and labor in order to reach certain target markets at the best times. For example, if you are running a software system targeting solopreneur start-ups, your target market may not be online during regular office hours. With automatic social media marketing, you can split-test the best hours to reach your target market and schedule the posts to go out automatically no matter what time of day you work. Additionally, you can automate certain functions such as favouring retweets of your own tweets during certain hours so that you don’t need a staff member constantly monitoring your Twitter. The overall goal of social media management is to maintain a consistent presence on the networks where your target audience resides, without the large expense of manpower such a presence would otherwise require.
Automated marketing notifications are essential to reduce your stress and increase your marketing team’s efficiency Tweet. These notifications include automated thank-you emails and other customer communication, as well as alerts forwarded to members of your sales team informing them who signed up for a trial, requested more information, or hasn’t been active in a certain number of days. As your customer list grows, automated notifications will ensure your team is able to keep up and be consistently aware of where everyone is in the sales funnel and what the next steps are.
As a SaaS company, it shouldn’t surprise you that marketing automation can reduce stress and increase efficiency for your team — both in marketing and customer support. A customer who was engaged in the product with effective nurturing before they signed up is likely to be a more informed user and, therefore, stick around longer. Marketing automation isn’t just about getting leads to become customers, it’s about starting a cycle of engagement that will keep those customers coming back for a long time to come.
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