If you’re a digital marketer, there’s one truth you can take with you wherever you work: you’re going to use marketing tools at a SaaS company.
In a recent report, eMarketer found that 69% of U.S. marketing executives use at least 6 different types of marketing technologies.
31% relied on 10 or more.
This report underlines just how dependent the marketing profession is on technology.
Marketing technology – martech for short – is so common that marketing leaders must take a systematic view and consider how to organize their assortment of tools into technology stacks.
So what does a good stack of marketing tools look like for a SaaS company?
Here’s a list of the essentials:
1: Web Analytics
Unless you’re visiting a retro shop and stocking up on CD-ROMs, business software isn’t sold in brick and mortar stores anymore. People by software online, and that means your website needs to be optimized in every way possible.
Website performance includes a range of factors, like load time and user experience, but the most telling indicator of a good website is how people interact with it. And the best way to understand how people use your website is through web analytics tools.
Web analytics software captures behavioral data like how long people stay on your website, how many pages they visit, and how they got to your website in the first place.
The market for web analytics software isn’t very large, so most people use Google Analytics. A few other options exist, but Google’s platform is an industry standard.
2: Marketing Automation
People follow a process when they choose a software, and the best SaaS organizations market to potential customers at every stage of the buyer’s journey.
However, the buyer’s journey can be a complex series of events. The only effective to manage this is through marketing automation.
By scoring the myriad of actions people take in the period leading up to a purchase, automation tools can identify the interests of each specific person, and calculate who is most likely to convert into a customer.
Automation software is fundamental to scaling a lead generation program, so it’s no surprise that high tech companies overwhelmingly use employ this software more than any other industry.
3: CRM Software
If marketing automation maps the customer journey, then customer relationship management (CRM) software records how someone transitions from a qualified lead into a customer.
On the broadest level, CRM software equips salespeople with lead management tools so they can apply a more methodical approach to selling.
By capturing every interaction sales reps have with leads, a CRM acts not only as a record of sales activity, but also as a rich source of data regarding which activities have the greatest impact on closing new customers.
Given the software’s importance to generating revenue, it’s no surprise that every dollar invested in a CRM system yields $5 in return.
4: Content Management System
The SaaS growth model usually involves three steps:
1: Get people to your website or digital assets
2: Convert a certain amount of those people into leads
3: Nurture those leads into customers
This is a simplification, but the idea is that to grow your website traffic you must have content. If you don’t have content, the entire structure falls apart.
That’s the reason content management systems have become an integral part of the marketing stack – marketers need an intuitive way to organize their blog posts and web pages without calling in the development team.
In addition to acting as a repository for your website content, your CMS will function as a connector for web applications and plugins that add extra functionality to your site. For example, WordPress offers nearly 50,000 different plugins from which to choose.
5: Search Engine Optimization Software
The easiest way to develop content your audience wants to read is to use keyword data – plain and simple.
Where do you find keyword data? You could use Google’s Keyword Planner Tool, but your best bet is going with one of the main search engine optimization (SEO) software vendors, like Moz, semRush, or Majestic.
By displaying the search volume, relative difficulty to rank, and growth opportunity for keywords, SEO software lets you pinpoint what your audience is searching for. All you need to do next is produce some outstanding content.
SEO software also helps track your website rankings, compile your backlink profile, and research competitors.
6: Landing Pages
Landing pages are the building blocks of lead generation. Whether it’s email, paid search, or an inline CTA on a blog post, nearly every attempt to convert into a lead involves landing pages.
The larger marketing automation platforms usually include the ability to create landing pages, but there are a host of standalone landing page products that offer greater control over page design and multivariate testing.
Either option can work, but if conversion rate optimization is a priority, a standalone option like Unbounce, or Instapages may be best.
7: Conversion Rate Optimization Software
The conversion rates on your landing pages are incredibly important, but what about the conversion of your blog posts, or your pricing page, or your homepage?
These website elements may begin as a series of design choices informed by taste, but like everything in digital marketing, you need to blend creativity with science to ensure you’re deriving as much value from your site as possible.
From heat maps to time-triggered pop-ups, there are many different approaches to take with conversion rate optimization.
Some of the best platforms with a wide range of functionality include VWO, SumoMe, and Optimizely.
8: Social Media Automation
Almost 80% of Americans who use the internet also use Facebook, which reinforces what nearly all marketers know – social media is one of the main reasons people get online.
And where potential customers go, brands must follow. Consequently, social media automation vendors like Hootsuite, Sprout Social, and Buffer have dramatic spikes in popularity.
This type of software provides increases visibility into how your posts perform and allow you to schedule social content with pinpoint accuracy.
9: Project Management Software
SaaS companies usually adopt some form of agile project management, which means
1: there’s a lot of moving parts to each project, and
2: work happens quickly and in shorter time periods.
This type of management has tremendous benefits, but it also requires a high level of coordination. To keep everything organized, you’re almost certainly going to use some type of project management software.
Many products use a Kanban-style board with cards that represent key projects or deliverables. Organizing work by sections, like Trello’s card system, offers both better transparency into the status of projects as well as easier documentation.
10: Internal Messaging
Project management software will help organize your work and introduce more order into the (occasionally) chaotic world of SaaS organizations, but it won’t speed up real time communication between colleagues – at least not much.
That’s why it’s a good idea to introduce an internal messaging platform for your organization. These products are essentially social networks for your company, but they only focus on work related activities.
The benefits include faster communication between remote teammates and less time spent investigating email chains to find a specific reply.
Slack is the undisputed champion of this space, but Facebook and Microsoft have both introduced competing products.
Because SaaS companies rely so much on digital marketing, the tools you use to convert new customers, manage work, and communicate with your team are exceptionally important.
Thankfully, you don’t have to start from scratch. The software listed above covers most of the needs for any SaaS company.
If it all feels a bit overwhelming, you should schedule a free consultation with one of our experts and get a roadmap for growing your business.