“Should I hire a SaaS marketing agency?”
This is the one question that has plagued many SaaS CEOs and new founders. And if you're reading this guide, then you probably have asked the same question at some point.
Of course, hiring an agency will cost you money, which could be why you haven't given it much thought. Maybe your in-house team currently takes care of your outreach and marketing strategy, and you’re seeing some results. But should you continue that way or does it make more sense to go all out and outsource your marketing?
The thing is, if you cannot describe yourself as a marketing expert, then there's a risk that you are lagging in some crucial areas of your inbound and outbound endeavors. The problem is, you may not even know it. Mastering the art and science of digital marketing requires a significant time investment, and that's something you possibly don't have in abundance as a business leader.
One mistake you shouldn’t make is to chase everything else and neglect the marketing side of things. In the long run, doing so will only affect your company negatively, sending all your hard work down the drain. It's one thing to have the best products and services, but it’s yet another to beat the lead generation and marketing style of more competitive brands.
At this point, getting a prolific SaaS marketing agency on board could be the solution that helps you scale and propel your brand to newer heights. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about hiring a SaaS marketing agency for your company.
How to Know if You Need a SaaS Marketing Agency?
Before setting out to find a SaaS marketing agency, you must evaluate your business to determine whether or not that’s what you need. So how can you tell if now is the right time to outsource your marketing to an agency? Consider 5 signs that show you need one.
1. You lack a clear plan
If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail. Take a bird’s-eye view of your entire marketing structure to see if there is a clearly defined plan. Are you just deploying your time and resources without having a clear-cut strategy? Remember that your digital marketing strategy will succeed only if you stay consistent. But consistency is possible when you have clarity and direction. So if your analysis shows that you cannot come up with a plan and keep going at it until the finish line, then get a marketing agency to take care of things.
2. You’re swamped with work
Do you feel like taking care of marketing operations in-house is overwhelming? If yes, then it’s time to consider outsourcing to an agency. As a business leader, you have so many tasks to deal with already just so you can match the speed at which your company is growing. It makes sense at this point to get external support. You can leverage the resources and expertise of a SaaS marketing agency to stay on track and not let this important aspect of your business suffer.
3. Your strategy lacks results
You might have a plan in place already. But working with a plan doesn't necessarily guarantee that you will see results over time. So if your current strategy isn't creating the impact intended, consider bringing a SaaS marketing agency in to evaluate your entire process and see where the problem lies. A good agency knows to find out where you need to make adjustments, as well as the tools to get the job done.
4. There’s no way to measure your results
What's worse than poor results is having no method or process to evaluate the results of your marketing activities. It's almost like walking blind in the dark trying to feel your way around. If you have no idea whether how your strategy is paying off or not, seek help from an agency. One perk of working with an experienced marketing consultancy is that they understand the value of reporting. Tracking, measuring, and reporting is the right way to determine how effective your sales strategy has been over time, and that’s something great SaaS agencies excel at.
5. Metrics have taken a downturn
Are you no longer having as many conversions as in the past? Have you recently noticed that your leads and traffic are beginning to dwindle, thereby affecting your top and bottom line? If that’s the case, do everything you can to save time (and your business) by hiring an expert marketing agency to come in and salvage the situation. Once they’ve got it under control, creating a better strategy to fix the problems and get the business on the path to success again becomes easier.
Important Things to Know Before Bringing a SaaS Agency Onboard
Right now, it’s almost like you are at sea with no way of telling how deep the water is. You don't just want to dive in headfirst. That's how it is when looking to enlist the services of a SaaS consulting agency. You should have an idea of what you’re getting into before proceeding. It’s imperative to possess a solid understanding of these key areas below before taking the leap.
We've seen this happen all too often and it’d surprise you to know that many SaaS companies out there do not really know who their ideal customers are. They might have some vague idea about who their product serves, but they lack an extensive understanding of their customer base. Before bringing a sales/marketing agency on board, use concrete data to come up with comprehensive buyer personas.
What channel drives the most traffic to your website? Do you get more leads from paid ads or would you say organic search and social media perform better in your lead generation strategy? If you can't identify where your customers come from, then you need to work on knowing those channels before speaking to a SaaS marketing agency.
This might sound funny, but it's also true that countless SaaS companies do not have a great understanding of their product. They only create a product and expect it to generate demand from a user base. Understanding your product or service goes beyond just knowing what that offering is. It’s more about being able to identify how your core offering can benefit your ideal client. So research your product more to see how it brings value to users before thinking of hiring a SaaS consultant.
Can you explain why you are losing customers? SaaS marketing experts can help you figure out how to reduce the rate at which your customers leave. Still, it also makes sense to understand, at least, the behaviors and habits of your ideal clients, so you can share your insights on why you’re losing them with the agency.
Bringing in a SaaS marketing agency will require money and that’s a fact. It’s not cheap, especially if you are looking for the best quality service. But try not to see whatever you spend hiring an agency as wasted funds. No! Instead, view those costs as money invested in your marketing operations for which you expect returns.
The truth is, outsourcing your marketing is not as expensive as it sounds. You might even be spending more by having an in-house marketing team that requires office space, monitoring, salaries, and benefits. To make it worthwhile, do your due diligence and consider every possible cost requirement. Then see whether or not you have the budget to cover the expenses required to hire an out-of-house SaaS marketing team. In a nutshell, work with a budget but remain flexible.
Get SMART Before Moving to Hire
You’re now approaching that phase where you get to research and choose a marketing agency to outsource to. But keep in mind that without a clear sense of direction, it's almost impossible to tell if an agency's marketing efforts were a success.
What does this mean? Set an overall SMART goal for your SaaS business before speaking to an agency. Doing so helps to create a platform on which unified actions can be taken. This is the best way to inform your marketing efforts. Let’s walk you through the SMART framework that will help you build out your goal into one that you can work on and achieve.
The only way to be clear about your goal should be to make it as simple as possible. It shouldn't be one that others find hard to grasp. Instead, your ultimate goal should be easy to comprehend. Just wanting to scale your business doesn't qualify as a goal. That's because it lacks clarity as to how you intend to set about achieving it. Get specific with your goals so you can easily identify the actions required to achieve them.
Defining the metrics to be measured helps to evaluate and ascertain whether you are one step closer to achieving your goal or not. By metrics, we mean the key performance indicators that help to track your progress towards your goal and signify when you’ve hit your targets. So point out what parameters define success for you. Are you looking to improve your conversion rate, get more leads, or boost customer lifetime value? Spell it all out.
Set reasonable goals, that is, achievable goals. You don't want to go about spending resources and wasting valuable time pursuing targets that aren’t feasible. To keep your team motivated, come up with goals that are not impossible to attain.
Many SaaS company leaders tend to have a hard time coming up with goals that positively impact the long-term direction and success of their brand. If you are setting goals that are influenced by factors beyond your control, then such goals lack relevance and you'll be better off discarding them. Your goals should be relevant to who you are, what your company stands for, and the products you offer.
The reason for defining the time element when setting goals is that it helps to protect you from the bad effects of procrastination. Trying to carry out tasks with no clear deadlines will see you get derailed along the way. Such tasks eventually don't get completed because you’ll keep switching from one objective to another. So it's in your best interest to specify a timeframe within which your goals must be completed. Such timelines could look like this:* Increase our conversion rate by 5% within 90 days
* Achieve incremental revenue of $500,000 in the next 6 months
* Reduce cost per lead by 27% within 45 days
*Create a bigger presence for the brand within one year
What Services Do SaaS Marketing Agencies Provide?
Choosing the right marketing agency for your business requires that you know what to expect. Acquainting yourself with the different ways a saas agency can benefit you through its services will help you put your best foot forward during the selection phase. Here are some valuable services offered by these agencies:
SaaS companies have to answer critical questions when it comes to getting inbound leads. Are you able to drive quality engagement by putting all of your marketing tactics together? How well do you understand your customer journey and is it in sync with your efforts? Do you consistently come up with new techniques to boost lead generation? These questions are important if you are keen on results and a SaaS marketing agency can provide the answers.
Inbound marketing comprises different tactics and strategies, some of which we’ll discuss below. Because of its broad nature, you can’t risk getting it wrong with your inbound marketing strategy, and that’s why it makes sense to let the experts handle all things inbound for you. A SaaS agency will come up with a holistic approach that, when deployed, will get you a large chunk of the inbound traffic pie.
According to research, no other marketing method generates as many prospects as content marketing. That's what makes it one of the most crucial aspects of your digital marketing operations. Your strategy will be incomplete without proper content marketing. So if your SaaS business carries out most of its processes online, keeping in touch with your customers will mainly get done through content marketing.
A good content marketing strategy recognizes the importance of a blog in establishing your company as an authority in your niche. That implies your blog section has to be regularly updated with educative and informative content which provides value to your audience. Best practices suggest that posting on your blog 11 to 16 times monthly can see you drive traffic by up to 3x the current amount.
The beauty of outsourcing your marketing to an agency is that you’ll find marketing brands who’ll do the writing, designing, editing, and publishing on your behalf. You'll also get a wide range of content types, including newsletters, PRs, reports, case studies, infographics, ebooks, and videos. Having an agency handle content creation will free up enough time for you to focus on other important aspects of your business.
There's no denying the value that comes with organic traffic. That's something you find many businesses trying to attract to their website. It's the right thing to do and you should be focusing most of your efforts on generating organic leads. But there are times when you need to give your marketing strategy a lift. Pay-per-click advertising (also known as PPC) was designed for that purpose. You can leverage paid ads to position your brand directly in front of your prospects.
Pay-per-click advertising simply means sponsoring adverts on different platforms and then incurring a cost when a prospect clicks through to your website. Although Google might come to your mind first when speaking about paid advertising, social media platforms allow you to run ads as well. One standout benefit of PPC is its ability to retarget your website visitors.
You can also draw on it to explore a new market or tweak your messaging. SaaS brands like yours can benefit the most from paid advertising because it offers great support to content marketing when it comes to creating awareness and gaining visibility for your company.
Running pay-per-click campaigns is no walk in the park because it requires you to optimize for user experience, carry out keyword research and targeting, come up with the ad copy and design, collect data to generate reports, etc. This might sound complex but it's a field that SaaS PPC marketing agencies have mastered from end to end.
Search engine optimization
Your ideal clients are probably searching for solutions to their problems using search engines like Google. So you want to position your content in a way that makes it search engine friendly and easy to locate for your prospects. This is where SEO comes in. Did you know that search makes up for over 90% of online experience? That's why you need to optimize for searching engines. Failing to do so means that your brand will become hidden and you’ll miss out on the influx of potential clients.
A SaaS marketing agency has the knowledge and experience necessary to provide this valuable service to your company. They will have their SEO experts jump on your content to ensure it gets optimized. But having optimized content alone isn’t enough to rank on Google and the agency knows this. So they’ll employ the best techniques to ensure your website is optimized using keyword research among other best practices.
Brand development is a crucial part of your marketing strategy, and that’s another area where SaaS companies seem to be lagging. If you think that your product or service will create its own demand and generate revenue just because you consider it great, think again. Of course, a great offering will catch some eyes, but it can only do so much. Remember, you're probably not the only SaaS company offering such a product/service. What sets you apart from the competition and positions you as a unique brand is your image.
When building a brand image, you want to consider the different channels through which you will be projecting your values and creating awareness. You’ll most likely be using emails, social media, and your website. The secret to creating a good brand image lies in your ability to send out a consistent, authentic message about your brand regardless of what channel you’re using. Since the market is crowded, crafting great stories and telling them through these channels helps to build a stronger connection with your prospects.
You can see that building a great brand image that will gain the respect and admiration of your prospects requires solid work. It needs you to be creative, a pro! Now that's where a SaaS marketing agency comes in. The consultant will help you build an image that makes you stand out.
It’s Time to Pick a SaaS marketing Agency – Here’s How
If you’ve followed this guide closely so far, it's safe to assume you’ve taken some time to analyze your business and how you operate. And then you’ve used that information to come up with a strategic goal for your brand. Now it's time to head out and find a SaaS marketing agency that has what it takes to help you hit your targets and get your brand to that next level.
But in what areas should you be evaluating these agencies to find the best fitting one? We’ve compiled a list of 8 parameters on which to vet them. Let’s consider them now.
Your goals can either be tactical or designed to fit into a much bigger picture. Whatever the case is, you want to have the most knowledgeable people in the SaaS marketing agency handling your case. The best way to have an inside view of what it looks like to work with the agency and ensure you’re getting the attention of the most innovative people is to evaluate the person who’s pitching you. Ask relevant questions. Who’ll be handling your account? Will it be some rookie analyst?
You also need to ascertain what process they employ when handling client projects. What’s their approach regarding strategy ideation and execution? Are the processes they intend to apply to your brand unique or do they just copy and paste the same process and strategy for every brand?
For a strategy to be the most effective, there has to be a careful consideration of your specific needs. To illustrate, if you’ve already matched your product to the right market, then your strategy should be about how to scale and develop marketing channels to speed up your growth in your specific industry.
Understanding the agency's process in implementing every marketing-related initiative is also crucial. For that to happen, you need to know if the agency outsources some aspects of their work and to whom they will be outsourcing. Do they have a dedicated creative? Asking the right questions will help give you an idea of what kind of working relationship you’ll have with the marketing agency you choose.
Every agency that offers SaaS marketing services has a range of tools with which they execute their work. It could be tools like MailChimp, Salesforce, HubSpot, or something entirely different. The tools they love to work with should give you an insight into where they have the most experience.
Consider how those tools will get integrated with your systems or if they’ll even be compatible. And if the agency doesn’t use the kind of tools that are best for executing your workflows, that means they’ll need some time to learn.
Such delays could lead to issues in the future, so you want to consider if that’s something you’re willing to risk. If not, ensure that the marketing agency has the technological expertise to integrate your systems with the right tools and get started with your marketing as quickly as possible.
It’s the digital age, but there's nothing wrong with resorting to old techniques when vetting your agency. How? By asking for the contact of its previous clients and making sure to get in touch with them. That’s the fastest and most authentic way to get feedback about the agency. This is necessary because every agency will say nice things about itself, so you need to dig deeper to find red flags.
Get in touch with recent clients, including those who have cut contact with the company because they no longer needed their services. Listen to what these previous clients have to say and you’ll have a clearer picture on which to make a sound decision.
SaaS marketing is a lot more different when compared to digital or traditional marketing. One of the foremost places to check and confirm that the agency knows how to bring about everything it promises is its blog section. A quick look at their blog posts can tell if they really know SaaS. Do they create content around SaaS alone that shows they are knowledgeable about your niche? Or do they just throw in some content here and there, only brushing the topic?
Your assignment is to make sure that the agency you choose has lots of experience handling the marketing operations of SaaS brands.
There will always be changes in dynamics when it comes to getting your brand out there. This is something that experienced marketers understand. Yes, there might come a time when there will be an urgent request to tweak some aspects of your marketing to fit some new need. Will your preferred marketing agency be willing to adapt and accommodate your new needs? How swiftly can they do so? And will they be effective at it? Take steps to determine beforehand how the agency handles new needs and requests.
Every niche has this language, and so does yours. The right marketing agency should be able to speak your SaaS language, not learn on the job. So you want to check their level of experience in your industry. While you may find that some SaaS marketing agencies are not necessarily adept with your language and message, at least, check if they have experience tackling complex verticals. That should give you an idea of how much time they’ll need to familiarize themselves with your niche.
We’ve encountered cases where clients complained about how a certain marketing agency put out false evidence of work done, and how they eventually got to realize that it was all hype and no actions were being implemented. That's something you want to avoid as much as possible when hiring experts to do your SaaS marketing. A good way to make sure it doesn't happen in your case is by asking the agency how it plans to report the work done. You also want to know what modalities it has in place to let you in on the results.
There has to be a match between the agency’s size and your SaaS company because this should be a connection between equals. So you want to verify how big or small the agency is and how that compares to the size of your business. Is your brand bigger than the kind of clients the agency handles on a regular? Do they have the capacity to give your needs the dedication that you require?
Consider looking elsewhere if you find out that your case will be thrown into a basket of client problems with no one paying any special attention to you. Remember, you are not here to hire the fanciest of agencies with the biggest tools. Rather, what you want to find is the agency that fits best.
Conclusion – Go with your gut
With proper research, you can vet and hire the right SaaS marketing agency for your business. Keep in mind that even the biggest agencies are not necessarily the best for you. So apply the advice in this guide and use the information herein to carefully select an agency that feels like the best fit for you. Now’s the time to make a decision.