Enterprise SaaS Marketing Strategy: 2023 Guide
In this guide, we lay out the high-level marketing strategy that is optimal for SaaS companies targeting enterprises. This approach has three elements:
- Establish your marketing goals and audience personas within the companies you target
- Select the most effective enterprise-focused marketing channels for user acquisition
- Measure results and adjust accordingly
We’ll begin with establishing your marketing goals.
Establish Your Marketing Goals
The first step when developing an enterprise SaaS marketing strategy is the same as it is in any marketing campaign: Identify your goals with as much precision as possible. Doing so will shape the rest of your strategy.
Common marketing goals for enterprise SaaS companies are:
- Expand to new markets
- Increase market share
- Lower CACs
- Client loyalty & user retention
- Customer engagement
With your goals established, the next step is to understand who your audience is, and develop personas for each. Are you targeting the high level decision makers (i.e. C-suite, Directors, VPs), or boots-on-the-ground users (e.g. engineers, designers, product managers) with the aim of making them evangelists for your product? Your answer to this question will determine the language you use in your marketing content, the pain points you address, and the channels you invest in.
Select the Most Effective Enterprise-Focused Channels
The table below shows the audience you should target and the best channels to invest in for each common enterprise SaaS marketing goal, as well as which KPIs you should track for each.
|Expand to new markets||Decision makers & all stakeholders||PPC
|Increase market share||Decision makers & C-suite||SEO
Monthly Unique Visitors
|Lower CACs||Decision makers & C-suite||SEO
LTV to CAC Ratio
Lead-to-MQL Conversion Rate
|Loyalty & Client Retention||End users||Thought Leadership
LTV to CAC Ratio
Lead-to-MQL Conversion Rate
|Customer Engagement||End users||SEO
LTV to CAC Ratio
Visitor-to-Lead Conversion Rate
Another factor to keep in mind when creating your marketing strategy is which channels complement one another. For instance, organic LinkedIn and email nurturing are simple additions to a content marketing campaign that can greatly improve your overall return without adding much cost.
Two marketing concepts deserve attention here, as they are especially adaptable to other channels, and both relate to Google Search—the most common channel from which enterprise SaaS businesses acquire users.
The first is keyword research, and the second is thought leadership content.
Understanding keywords and keyword research is fundamental to both of the two most popular SaaS marketing channels: SEO and PPC. Without the right keywords at the beginning, any marketing strategy that includes either SEO or PPC will fall apart before it ever begins.
SEO is a critical element to online growth for SaaS companies. It is more likely to generate organic leads, providing a top-notch ROI over an extended period when contrasted with leads generated by other channels. A high ranking page also requires little upkeep and maintenance, bringing down the cost of acquiring new customers once keyword dominance has been established.
PPC, on the other hand, is valuable for its fast results despite the fact that its costs scale linearly with its results. It’s an excellent way to test out new markets, and bridge the gap between the time an organic campaign starts and when it begins delivering results. By combining the two, the keyword research you conduct can be used for both campaigns, reducing the overall cost of each.
We’ll give you the quick and dirty version here, but we highly recommend that you refer to our full guide to B2B keyword strategy. Above all, use the Hub & Spoke model, which involves creating clusters of content around organizing hubs. Here’s how to do that:
- First, choose your Hubs: These are broad keyword categories (also called “containers”) that you’ll plan your campaigns around
- Then, develop Spokes: These are highly transactional, longtail keywords that include the container keyword, and are both effective investments in themselves and signal to Google that you’re obsessed with your niche
Essentially, Hubs usually present as shorter bases upon which spokes are added to narrow in on the specific search intent of a potential client. For example, a SaaS enterprise specializing in network infrastructure might use the hub “IT network,” to which they might add the spokes “IT network trends,” “IT network technology,” or “IT network model.”
The second especially adaptable marketing concept is thought leadership content.
Thought Leadership Content
Thought leadership is expert content that seeks to teach readers about a given topic rather than explicitly selling products or services, whether through an informational blog post or a landing page that clearly explains the pain points your product solves. The reason it’s so important is that the vast majority of enterprise software users are more interested in educational material than sales copy. Again, we have a full guide on creating thought leadership, but we’ll go over the basics below.
Good thought leadership content starts with addressing the search intent of the reader. If an article uses the targeted keyword “IT network trends,” it is important that the article address the needs of the person searching that keyword. The quickest way to fail at writing thought leadership content is not to deliver on the implied promise of the article’s title.
The content model establishes trust with your readership base and increases the likelihood that they will continue to move between related articles on your site. To do so, every piece of thought leadership content should:
- Take care of the reader
- Stimulate their minds
- Conclude with practical next steps
Whether you focus more on organic channels or paid user acquisition, it’s important to understand which ones make the most efficient use of your marketing dollars. Here’s the average CAC on 12 popular enterprise SaaS marketing channels, taken from our own client data.
SaaS CACs of The 12 Most Popular Enterprise Marketing Channels
|Marketing Channel||SaaS CAC||Marketing Channel||SaaS CAC|
|Organic Search (SEO)||$508||Trade Shows||$1,420|
|Paid Search (PPC/SEM)||$817||PR||$1,051|
|Email Marketing||$470||Account Based Marketing (ABM)||$4,084|
|LinkedIn Ads||$705||Outdoor Advertising||$2,907|
|LinkedIn Organic||$803||Video Marketing||$966|
Measure Results & Adjust Accordingly
Running marketing campaigns is as much an art as a science, meaning that a) the channels you chose, or the keywords you targeted may not be as successful as initially hoped or b) your content may not initially speak to the needs of your target audience. When that happens, you need to know as early as possible and understand how to adjust accordingly.
First and foremost is using the right tools to know when a campaign needs to change track, in other words, using the right martech stack. An enterprise SaaS marketing stack should include:
- A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform such as Hubspot or Salesforce to track leads and customer relationships
- A Content Management System (CMS) such as WordPress for publishing and managing web content
- Collaboration tools such as G Suite and Asana to keep your team working together effectively.
- Analytics and reporting platforms such as ahrefs and Google Analytics to track leading indicators and campaign performance
Once you have an effective martech stack in place, you’ll need to understand which KPIs to track.
SaaS Marketing KPIs
Choosing the right KPIs allows you to understand the exact state of your SEO campaign and (more importantly) the areas where it can be improved. The key KPIs for SaaS companies are:
- ROI: The total profit or loss compared to the cost of a marketing campaign
- CAC: The total cost of all marketing efforts to acquire new customers, divided by the total number of new customers. This can be further segmented to determine your CACs by channel.
- LTV vs. CAC: The gross profit made from a customer vs. the money spent to gain that customer.
- Annual Churn: The percentage of customers lost in a year.
- Lead-to-MQL Conversion Rate: The number of people visiting the website vs.the percentage of leads in the targeted audience.
- Visitor-to-lead Conversion Rate: The number of visitors to the website who have provided contact information.
- Unique Monthly Visitors: The number of different people visiting the website.
Each metric listed above refers to a pain point in an enterprise SaaS marketing strategy. Luckily, each has a strategy by which they can be improved.
|ROI||Improvement depends on improving other individual KPIs – ROI gives an overview of campaign performance.|
|CAC||Invest in long-term, organic channels such as SEO that scale well over time.|
|LTV to CAC Ratio||Invest in organic channels to lower CAC, and improve audience targeting to attract higher LTV customers.|
|Annual Churn||Improve targeting to attract long term customers. Interview existing customers to find out why they stayed with the company.|
|Lead-to-MQL Conversion Rate||Improve content to match audience persona and the search intent of targeted keywords. Invest in lead nurturing.|
|Visitor-to-lead Conversion Rate||Improve content to match audience persona and the search intent of targeted keywords|
|Unique Monthly Visitors||Improved audience persona, targeted keywords, and thought leadership content|
Keeping a close eye on these metrics and measuring performance keeps the campaign alive and moving forward. Once these metrics have been established, an enterprise SaaS marketing strategy goes back to the drawing board when necessary; re-evaluating marketing goals, creating a new strategy based off that re-evaluation, and then re-evaluating from there.
An Enterprise SaaS Marketing Strategy That Works
A successful enterprise SaaS marketing strategy is a difficult thing to manage. With so many different elements to juggle, it is often the case that SaaS companies do not have the resources to invest in keyword research, producing quality content, and managing lead nurturing programs. As a result, many SaaS enterprises choose to delegate these responsibilities to an external marketing agency.
We have been working with enterprise-focused SaaS companies for more than a decade, building their SEO strategy and ghostwriting content for them based on the principles of search intent. If you’re interested in exploring a partnership with us, you can contact us here.
Evan Bailyn is a bestselling author and award-winning speaker on the subjects of SEO and thought leadership. Contact Evan here.