A well-planned SaaS marketing strategy includes both inbound and outbound to target ideal customer profiles and bring as many conversions as possible.
However, most SaaS brands can only tend to manage either inbound or outbound well, while forcing the other to take the backseat.
They generally struggle to balance their marketing and juggle between the two, in hopes that one will provide continuous ROI. The thing you need to understand here is that both marketing tactics take time to mature and deliver ROI at their own pace.
While outbound can deliver exceptional results initially, inbound marketing tends to be cost-efficient in the longer run. But first, what do these inbound and outbound marketing mean?
Coined and explained by HubSpot co-founders, inbound marketing is an approach where you write tailored SaaS content to attract the target audience. It emphasizes building connections with newfound users who are actively looking for solutions to problems they face.
The customer journey in inbound is driven by the following stages:
Inbound marketing for SaaS involves creating a gilt-edged Saas content strategy to attract, engage, and delight people with an exceptional customer experience.
Outbound involves the use of conventional ways of marketing where a sales team carries out all the tasks from lead generation to conversion. The customer journey in outbound looks something like this:
Outbound tends to be pushy and interruptive as no one likes to get a call or email describing a solution they don’t need or don’t realize the need until the problem slaps on their face.
Here, customers are generally in a state of unawareness of the pain points or the ones aware of them aren’t ready to take action or haven’t found the perfect solution yet.
This leads marketers to push the limits of sanity and make their outbound efforts too frequent to bring in a few high-paying clients.
As a SaaS marketer, your first job is to understand the basics of both and then create customized plans to blow conversions out of the park. Here are a few pointers to further help you make a distinction between the two:
As explained by HubSpot, inbound marketing works on the flywheel model and not the funnel.
The goal here is to attract new customers and convert them without much sales interaction. That’s where various SaaS content types come in handy to educate users about your product and increase the sign-up rate.
Such a level of flexibility appeals to most SaaS marketers and has become a go-to approach for them. The only function of your SaaS sales team here remains to remove any obstacles on the path to conversion.
On the other hand, outbound is based on a funnel approach where the sales team is often the first point of contact. It includes seminars/exhibitions, cold calling/emailing, and advertisements to push the information out.
Up until now, it was an ideal go-to-market strategy as brands can deploy all the means immediately and generate outcomes quickly.
Though the outbound sales cycle is much longer and returns may diminish over time. Due to this, outbound lacks the scalability factor while the same for inbound is not true.
This pushes brands to take an innovative approach where inbound and outbound marketing are perfectly blended to generate initial sales with plans to sustain the growth longer.
Inbound lead generation is often designated as pull marketing due to its nature of pulling audiences inward by creating and using insightful product content. Here, the prospects are encouraged to take the next step and learn more, request a demo, or buy your SaaS software.
Outbound lead generation, often termed push marketing, is where you push your brand message using ads, direct mail, cold calls/emails, and other methods. For the same, you’ll need a strong sales team that can persuade leads to purchase your SaaS products.
In a nutshell, inbound is where your prospects choose the time and place to interact with your message while outbound is where your sales team selects the time and place to interact with potential leads.
Customer acquisition is the final stage after lead generation. However, the path to customer acquisition is often too long in inbound as leads are first nurtured by providing tailored content in their journey to product discovery.
The whole process of acquiring new customers depends on how well your content is optimized for prospects to access it on the internet and persuade them to take the next step. Here’s how the process looks like:
Identifying Channels > Create Tailored Content Assets > Build Optimized landing Pages > Optimize Content > Run Series of Marketing Campaigns > Nurture Leads > Customer Acquisition
In outbound, your sales team is often responsible for providing a tailored experience, nurturing your leads, and bringing them down to the funnel. Depending on your team’s ability to nurture clients, customer acquisition may get shortened.
Still, here’s how the process looks like:
Identify the Ideal Customer Profile > Execute Your Campaigns > Work on Your Message Deliver > Customer Acquisition
The outbound sales department is quick to set up and easy to execute. All you have to do is work on creating persuasive messaging when conversing with prospects in person, on call, sending an email, or through any other means.
Inbound and outbound are two extremes of the marketing spectrum that SaaS startups find difficult to deal with simultaneously. Thus, they need a more sophisticated approach that amalgamates both in a manner to supplement one another. Here’s how:
Inbound marketing is an organic way of growing your SaaS brand that includes,
By incorporating these organic strategies, you can attract the right audience, engage them with your content, and delight them with your personalized experience. The only downside is organic ways can take longer to deliver the expected ROI.
On the other hand, you can expect quick results from outbound or inorganic ways of marketing your SaaS product. Here, your team will be in charge of reaching out to interested prospects using various inorganic methods, so you don’t have to wait for them to come knock on your doors.
While the organic ways prepare your SaaS brand to take off, you can balance your revenues initially by employing inorganic methods. And indeed, you’d have to make your SEO and SEM/paid ads work in sync to achieve phenomenal results.
Proper assessment of your prospect’s fit as your target audience enables you to position your inbound/outbound marketing channels.
Practice sending email newsletters by segmenting your target audience based on the data collected while capturing their email IDs. Accurate segmentation based on the demographics, location, or industry they belong to can help improve cost efficiency and maximize the ROI.
Also, the same rule of thumb applies when sending direct mails. Personalized direct mails that pinpoint exactly what your value proposition is and how it’ll meet end-users expectations can be a starting point for building fruitful relations.
However, the digital copy has a short memory span in users’ minds, while direct mails tend to stay longer. Thus, while you wait for emails to bring in profits, direct mail can give you the necessary fuel for the initial get-go.
The harmonious amalgamation where your automated inbound campaigns meet the telemarketing outbound campaigns to attract new SaaS clients.
Automated campaigns such as SEO, email newsletters, website optimization, and others can bring quality leads.
But sometimes, the human tendency of talking to real people can kick in and telemarketing can become a deal-breaker here. However, it’d only be effective if leads have entered your SaaS funnel and need a little push to jump the edge.
When included and offered a balanced personalization and human touch in your automated and telemarketing campaigns, your SaaS product can yield phenomenal results.
The whole base of inbound is dependent on tailored content creation and marketing. But as we know, it takes time to show desired results, especially if your SaaS brand is new in the space.
Even if your content ranks at the top of Google SERP, users will find it hard to trust someone new. While you wait and allow your content to show its magic, what else you can do is target specific accounts intensively.
Doing so helps you deal with time-constraint issues you may experience with content marketing. Also, you can heavily personalize your marketing approach by building trust and relationships with clients first.
However, the only drawback of account-based marketing is it can seem a bit intrusive and interruptive for your targets, which can be tackled by sending value-packed content that addresses their specific needs.
Email marketing (not cold emailing) can work well to engage your audience with your SaaS brand and promotional events.
Holding offline events like seminars and exhibitions is an excellent way for you to meet new prospects. It allows you to gather information such as emails, niches, and demographics for targeted marketing campaigns.
With email marketing, you can drive your community to attend your offline events by sending personalized invitations. Keep in mind to include details like what the event is about, the value you’ll deliver, and the place it’s held at.
Further, you can set up exclusive benefits or incentives on your SaaS product purchase to encourage people further to attend your events.
Once the event concludes, send each one a “Thank You Note” and try to upsell your SaaS if someone has missed out on it during the event.
In essence, this combination of email marketing with offline events to attract your community is indeed an effective way to balance your inbound and outbound marketing.
A hybridized approach where one acts as a supplement to another can be a catalyst to your SaaS brand’s success. It can bring a sense of maturity to your brand’s sales and marketing strategies.
Outbound can give you early success, which will wear off over time as there are only so many calls you can make and customers you can target. But with inbound, the possibilities are limitless when your tailored content experiences begin to show their effectiveness.
Image source: Hubspot
Featured Image by Pexels