How to Stay Ahead with the Latest in SaaS Marketing Technology

By: Arti Prasad, Director-Digital Marketing, MoEngage Inc.

Arti is an accomplished leader in digital marketing, offering over a decade's worth of experience working with B2B and B2C tech companies and international agencies. Her proficiency spans several key areas, including Digital Marketing, Account Marketing, Performance Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Public Relations, Brand Awareness, Project Management, and Team Management.

In a conversation with Women Entrepreneur Magazine, Arti Prasad, Director, of Digital Marketing at MoEngage Inc., shared her views and thoughts on how we can leverage data and analytics to measure the success of marketing campaigns in a B2B SaaS setting, as well as what key performance indicators are considered most important for evaluating the effectiveness of a B2B SaaS marketing strategy.

How do professionals balance inbound and outbound marketing strategies to generate qualified leads for a B2B SaaS product?

Great question! Both inbound and outbound strategies are necessary for B2B SaaS marketing. Hence, there's a fine balance that companies must maintain between both. Their implementation and the weight carried by both can differ based on the company's specific needs and the products they offer. That being said, constant refinement and adjustment based on analytic insights are crucial to a successful marketing strategy for the B2B SaaS landscape.

Aligning strategies with buyer journey: Many SaaS companies are creating a category where they are solving problems that many of their potential customers don’t even realize they have. In other scenarios, they are aware of the problems but are not actively looking for a solution. Hence, it’s crucial to map out activities across the buyer journey, from awareness to consideration and decision. I recommend complementing inbound marketing with an effective outbound strategy. For the initial stages or top-of-the-funnel awareness, prospects may lean more on inbound strategies, while outbound strategies can be optimized for bottom-of-the-funnel awareness.

Inbound marketing for long-term goals: A well-executed inbound strategy can generate ongoing organic, direct & referral traffic and leads. Great content that provides clear value to potential customers is the backbone of any inbound strategy. This could include blog articles, whitepapers, ebooks, webinars, etc. SEO optimization is also a critical part of inbound marketing to ensure visibility on search engines.

Outbound marketing for short-term goals and targeted Approach: Outbound methods like direct emails or cold calling can help in controlling the message and timing more directly, and targeting specific segments of the market.

However, in 2023, outbound has become harder due to a drop in engagement metrics like connect rate, open rate, and response rate for outbound sequence. And only way forward in 2024 is to start building outbound sequences based on inbound signals and create better, personalized messaging. For eg: Huddle with the marketing team to understand what are the top-performing headlines (to make subject lines for emails), what are the best-performing content pieces (to lead with value) and what are the best-performing short/long tail keywords (to speak to problems).

The key is to find a balance between short-term goals from outbound marketing and long-term brand recognition from inbound marketing and this requires constant testing, monitoring, and adjustment, to create a robust lead generation engine.

How can we leverage data and analytics to measure the success of marketing campaigns in a B2B SaaS setting?

Data and analytics are crucial in measuring the success of marketing campaigns in a B2B SaaS environment.

The first step starts is defining North Star Metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

A North Star metric helps in aligning teams around the one goal of growth that’s most predictive of a company’s long-term success. For any metric to qualify as a North Star, it must fall under 3 buckets: lead to revenue growth, reflect customer value, and measure overall progress. For eg: The most commonly used north start metric for Inbound & outbound marketing teams at a B2B SaaS Organisation is Pipeline which directly impacts the bookings and revenue metrics of the company.

Once you have defined your North Star metric, you should build the reporting and measuring structure that sits beneath and supports this metric. These are mostly referred to as Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Each project that your team works on should have its own set of KPIs, and these should designed to help the team contribute towards the cross-function north star metric. For eg: Some KPIs that B2B brands track are: High Intent MQLs, Brand Search Volume & Traffic, Digital Engagement & Conversions [High Intent Conversions], Account Engagement Funnel (prospects to customers), and funnel metrics like MQL to SQL, SQL to Opp %.

The second step is to enable reporting and measurement across functions by creating a Single Source of Truth (SSOT) that helps with better decision-making and improved collaboration.

The marketing & sale data is everywhere. It’s in your CRM (Salesforce), your marketing automation platform (HubSpot), your website analytics (GA4), your paid advertising platform (Linkedin), and more. Having all this data without making any sense of it all is useless.

And that’s where SSOT comes in. It provides information and data from various sources within an organization and gives a complete and accurate view of your marketing & business performance. It supports management decision-making and business analysis.

For eg: A global MIS report with a region-wise break up providing insights into the performance, operations, and activities of an organization. These reports are generated at regular intervals such as weekly, monthly, and quarterly thus helping in monitoring performance, identifying areas for improvement, and making informed decisions.

It's essential to continually review and adjust your KPIs and analytic strategies as your business goals, and the marketing landscape evolves. Be open to learning from the data and willing to make changes as needed. Analyzing marketing data is not just about proving the value of your current campaigns, but improving future ones as well.

What key performance indicators are considered most important for evaluating the effectiveness of a B2B SaaS marketing strategy?

I spoke about this in the previous question as well. Some of the key performance indicators that B2S SaaS brands track are:

1. Lead metrics: New high intent MQLs, Reconversion from Low to High MQLs, SQLs

2. Funnel metrics: Lead to MQL ratio, MQL to SQL ratio, SQL to Opp ratio, etc

3. Brand, Organic & Website: Brand Search Volume, Organic, Direct & Referral website traffic

4. Account Engagement: movement of account from unaware to pipeline to booking

5. Marketing effectiveness: Spend vs pipeline, etc

What marketing technology tools and platforms are considered essential for B2B SaaS marketing, and how can we integrate them into the strategy?

As the digital landscape becomes more complex, a variety of marketing technology tools and platforms have become essential for B2B SaaS marketing. However, considering the current economic climate and constrained budgets, B2B companies are focussing on optimizing their existing martech stacks instead of trying out every new tool that emerges on the market.

I strongly recommend that before going ahead and adding a tool to your martech stack, first, you should focus on solving the problem and then use the tool to scale the solution. You should not expect the technology to solve your problems but depend on it to automate your strategies.

That being said below are some of the key categories and how you can integrate them into your marketing strategy:

1. Customer Relationship Management (CRM):

Example: Salesforce, HubSpot.

Integration: CRMs store contact data and lead interactions, helping teams understand and manage customer relationships. They can be used to segment audiences, track sales pipeline, and analyze customer behaviors for personalized marketing strategies.

2. Marketing Automation Platforms:

Examples: Marketo, Pardot, Eloqua.

Integration: These tools automate repetitive marketing tasks like email sending, social media posting, and ad campaigns. They can help with A/B testing, personalizing messages, nurturing leads, and tracking interactions for ROI calculation.

3. Content Management System (CMS):

Examples: WordPress, Drupal, Contentful.

Integration: A CMS is used for creating, managing, and optimizing content. Whether you're creating blog posts or landing pages, CMSs can be integrated with SEO and analytics tools to attract and convert leads.

4. Analytics Tools:

Examples: Google Analytics

Integration: Analytics tools help you understand the performance of your website, campaigns, and content, tracking user behavior, traffic sources, bounce rates, conversion paths, and more. These tools can guide data-driven decision-making and optimizations.

5. Social Media Management:

Examples: Hootsuite, Buffer, Sprout Social.

Integration: These tools allow you to schedule posts, engage with your audience, monitor brand mentions, and analyze social media traffic. They can be crucial for brand awareness, lead generation, and customer engagement strategies.

6. SEO Tools:

Examples: Moz, SEMRush, Ahrefs.

Integration: SEO tools can be used to perform keyword research, track rankings, analyze backlinks, and audit your site's SEO health. These insights can guide your content strategy and improve your online visibility.

7. Customer Feedback:

Examples: SurveyMonkey, Typeform, UserVoice.

Integration: These tools capture customer feedback through surveys, polls, or forums. They can be valuable for understanding customer needs, improving products, and fueling content ideas.

8. Collaboration Tools:

Examples: Slack, Trello, Asana.

Integration: These tools help teams communicate and collaborate effectively, whether it's for organizing tasks, sharing files, or maintaining communication. They can greatly improve project management and workflow for marketing teams.

For a cohesive strategy, integrate these platforms for a unified source of truth. For instance, your marketing automation platform can be connected to your CRM to feed in lead data, your social media management tool can be linked to your analytics software to track social media engagement, and so forth. Your ideal marketing tech stack depends largely on your business size, objectives, budget, and team structure.

How do business leaders stay updated on the latest technologies and innovations in the SaaS industry, and how do they incorporate them into their marketing strategies?

In today's world, we have more customer data than ever before, which can make it hard to understand consumer behaviors. This problem is amplified by the many ways we can communicate with customers. Marketers, therefore, face a challenging puzzle.

But the challenge doesn't lower customer expectations. Customers look forward to 2024, hoping for top-notch experiences from brands. Brands know where they want to go, but leaders can find it hard to follow rapid changes and make sense of all the data.

Yet, this situation presents a great opportunity. Marketers who can master and make sense of the data and communication channels will stand out. They will make smarter choices, improve customer experiences, and maintain market share, even as living costs rise.

Hence staying updated with the latest technologies and trends in the SaaS industry is essential for business leaders to maintain competitiveness. Here are some ways they do it and incorporate these updates into their marketing strategies:

1. Following Relevant Publications and Blogs

2. Participating in Industry Events, Conferences, and Webinars

3. Monitoring Competitors and Market Leaders

4. Joining Online Communities and Forums

5. Leveraging Analytics and Reporting Tools

6. Engaging with Customers Regularly

Incorporating these updates into marketing strategies requires constant strategy review, early adoption, experimentation, training, and upskilling teams and always having a customer-first approach.