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Category 5

13. 02. 2017

How to build a Smarketing strategy for your SaaS company (8 Steps to do)

Nowadays, sales and marketing alignment and creation of the smarketing strategy has the largest potential for improving a company’s performance. When sales and marketing departments unite around a single revenue cycle, they dramatically improve marketing ROI, sales productivity, and most importantly, top-line growth.

According to a sales and marketing alignment report by Demand Metric, it was found that about 66% of companies that reported complete alignment between the two teams have achieved their revenue goals, compared to only 41% of companies who reported no alignment. That’s over a 50% increase in meeting revenue goals! 

“No matter how the CRM industry evolves, getting the sales and marketing teams to synergize is organizational goal number one. Every success comes from their collaboration and free exchange of ideas, because you cannot serve the customer right when your best people are working blind.” - Marshall Lager, managing principal of Third Idea Consulting.

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Photo by Freepik

In aligned companies, sales and marketing work together in a coordinated effort, in order to achieve the ultimate goal: revenue. Here are some facts that prove the company-critical outcomes of alignment:

  • Companies with tightly-aligned sales and marketing teams have 36% higher customer retention rates and achieve 38% higher sales win rates. (MarketingProfs)
  • Companies with dynamic, adaptable sales and marketing processes have an average of 10% more of their sales people at or above quota. (CSO Insights)
  • Aligned companies achieved an average of 32% annual revenue growth, while less aligned companies reported an average of 7% decline in revenue. (Forrester Research)
  • Companies with tightly-aligned sales and marketing operations achieved 24% faster growth and 27% faster profit growth over a three year period than their unaligned counterparts. (Sirius Decisions)

Companies which have achieved strong sales and marketing alignment are getting the most out of their sales systems and are working within the framework of one of the most advanced organizational structures.

So what does it really mean to “align” sales and marketing?

When talking about alignment, think of marketing and sales as two separate entities, with two separate systems that are fully and effectively integrated. Sales and marketing alignment is characterized by:

  • Alignment of the two departments with regards to attention of the lifecycle of the customer
  • Creation of agreed-upon definitions of what constitutes prospects and customers at each stage of the sales pipeline
  • Definition of how each department should operate and the strategies that should be used to achieve revenue growth

So, now that you know why sales and marketing alignment is so vital for your company, let’s move on and present eight ways to build a Smarketing strategy for your SaaS company.

1. Budget for success

The first step you need to take in order to have a powerful Smarketing strategy is to make sure that you have allocated enough resources - both money and personnel, to accomplish your SaaS company’s goals for the approaching year. The size of your sales and marketing budget depends on how much you are able to invest and how quickly you would like to see results. If you have big dreams but a small budget, it’s probable that you will be disappointed by your lack of results, which will frustrate your team when they realize that they lost their ability to meet your expectation. That’s why creating an appropriate, and realistic budget is the first and probably the most important step in building a Smarketing strategy.

Here are some excellent articles that might be useful for you when it becomes the right time to establish your Smarketing budget.

2. Define goals and objectives

There can be no strategy without clearly defined goals and objectives. To make sure that your strategy will be adhered to, you need to have clear, concise and to-the-point goals for your sales and marketing teams. Define the business objectives and directions with which the sales and marketing strategies are supporting. Here, you need to ensure clarity and understanding so there are no questions left for your sales and marketing after you’ve briefed them on the new approach your company will be taking.

Having clearly defined objectives can also help you measure results. After a decent period of time, when you see that no goals are being met, that’s an effective way for you to understand that your Smarketing strategy is not working and you need to change your direction.

3. Review and update buyer personas

In your Smarketing strategy, you need to review and update your ideal customer profile and personas. Look back at your best customers and try to identify the characteristics that made them profitable and enjoyable to work with. Create ideal customer profiles and buyer personas accurately and update them as necessary to reflect the types of customers that can help you reach your growth goals.

Here is a useful guide by HubSpot that will help you create detailed buyer personas for your SaaS business.

4. Document the buyer’s journey

Now, after your buyer personas are created and updated, you need to document the journey each persona will take toward becoming your customer. All of your contacts take a lot of small steps along the way to becoming a buyer. Plot out every interaction point your personas will have with your company or with your content. This is your buyer’s journey - and each persona has their own.

For documenting the buyer’s journey, it’s wise to start at the end - what will they do immediately before signing a contract with you? What’s the step before that? The one before that? At each point along the way, identify the persona’s main questions, motivations and potential objections. Next comes the time to identify the type of content that you need to create in order to satisfy their needs at each point of their journey. Here, CTAs play a huge role: they can easily lead your contacts to the subsequent stages of their journey all the way to sale.

5. Create your strategic position

In line with the key brand values and desired outcomes for customers (for example price, speedy turnaround, high quality), define the position that your SaaS  company should occupy within the marketplace. Perform a competitor analysis to understand what are your strengths, weaknesses and what opportunities your company already has in the market. Make sure to be clear on what makes you different from your competitors. Talk to some of your customers and find out what are the main reasons they choose your company and what would make them potentially buy from your competitors.

This review will lead to the definition of a unique selling proposition (USP) relative to other SaaS companies, which can be emphasised in marketing and sales activity.

6. Review and organize your marketing collateral

When creating a Smarketing strategy for your SaaS company, you need to make sure that your marketing collateral (print, online, outdoor) is written and designed in a way that will attract your ideal customers and will communicate your company’s unique qualities to prospects and customers.

Just because SaaS companies are mainly advertised through online marketing, make sure to take a look at your website and social media channels to ensure that they are designed according to your guidelines. Constantly ask several questions to yourself: is your branding and messaging consistent? Are you engaging with the right target audience? Is your content compelling and educational? Such questions will always keep in you in the right direction.

7. Review and document your sales process

Is your sales process set up in a way to close the quality and quantity of customers you need to reach your company’s growth goals? Does everyone in the sales team follow the same process for qualifying and nurturing prospects? Is your CRM system setup to support your process effectively? Can you make use of any automated tools in order to make your process more efficient? Is your sales process documented?

All of these questions should be answered when creating a Smarketing strategy. Document any issues you uncover while you are reviewing your collateral, processes, and templates. This will help you identify the “dark areas” where your prospects can become lost or ignored because of lack of time, energy or resources.

8. Track the progress and evolve tactics

For the last step of your Smarketing strategy, you need to make sure that you have defined useful metrics for measuring success and have assigned individual team members to be accountable for solving different issues. For higher effectiveness, set up regular meetings to review progress, identify and solve different issues and align activities across the teams.

To grow and be a successful team, you need to learn from your mistakes as well as victories and evolve your tactics as needed to maintain your traction!

Here we have it: 8 steps to build a Smarketing strategy for your SaaS company. Do you have any other tips to add? Share them with us in the comments below and let us learn from your experience.

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David Tashjian
David is the token American here at Incredo. Raised as a native English speaker in the United States, he lends his English expertise to generate impeccable content. With professional experience in business development and marketing, David knows how to write content that sells. In college he studied history, philosophy, and international relations. Unlike his fellow talented teammates, he speaks little Armenian, but he is working on it. His personal interests include making music, cooking, and exploring Armenia, his newly adopted homeland. David is the eldest person at Incredo, and gifts his teammates with an endless fountain of wisdom.
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