There is an awakening in the SaaS industry as more and more businesses that care about increasing their sales and revenue are turning to marketing consultants to help them achieve their goals.
Studies show that businesses that work with consulting specialists achieve more sustainable results within a shorter period compared to companies that choose to use their in-house team.
Therefore, choosing the right SaaS marketing consultant is critical. To achieve this, you need to consider some factors. That way, selecting the best consultant that aligns with the goals of your business becomes easier.
1 – The difference between conventional marketing and SaaS marketing
SaaS companies deal in software, which isn’t a physical product but a service. They are the direct opposite of traditional businesses that sell tangible products that customers can see and touch.
Of course, this is the most obvious difference between them.
Moreover, selling a t-shirt to a buyer seems to be much easier than trying to convince them to purchase software to grow their business.
But, is there any difference between promoting physical products and promoting software products?
Well, our answer is yes!
First, most SaaS models rely on monthly subscriptions. Traditional businesses, on the other hand, can generate enough revenue from one-time sales.
Also, most SaaS products seem to have a sales process that is in three steps, which is different from that of a traditional business. SaaS products have a sales cycle that looks like this:
Acquisition: acquiring new users by giving lots of value upfront with the hope of turning them into paying customers later.
Monetization: converting acquired users into customers through the delivery of successful events during the process of onboarding.
Retention: making sure that the paying customers continue to renew their subscriptions. Therefore, there’s the need to keep delivering value to the customer.
In regular firms, marketers only concentrate on the acquisition stage. However, no SaaS business will make that their focus.
There is a reason for this. According to research, the relative impact of one percent improvements on each stage was compared. The acquisition stage was found to have the lowest impact of the three stages.
We can therefore argue that focusing solely on the acquisitions stage will be counterproductive to a successful SaaS business. This is because even though acquiring new customers is great for every business, you need to put the energy into the other two stages if you want to succeed with SaaS business.
Hence all three stages must be included in your SaaS marketing strategy for the best result.
2 – Factors to consider before selecting a SaaS Marketing Consultant
First, determine whether you want a functional specialist or strategy expert.
Generally, there are two types of consulting resources, which are the functional specialist and the strategy expert.
The strategy expert handles the strategic issues faced by the company in its entirety. This type of specialist (whether it’s an agency or an individual) will offer you advice and let you design changes.
On the other hand, the functional specialist is responsible for bringing specific special skills to your company. This specialist is more likely to act as outsourced support because they will be doing more tactical compliance and adjustments, and less strategic advising.
These two consulting resources are completely different from each other, and you will have to decide which one your company needs.
Choose between a bottom-line and top-line focus
Most marketing consulting companies focus on taking care of the current operations of a SaaS business. The goal here is to cut down on bottom-line costs. When looking at a bottom-line cost, you’ll talk of elements such as reducing expenses, improving quality, managing employee headcount, and increasing operational efficiency.
In contrast, a top-line focus is common among the marketing consultants who focus on driving growth. This can include customer relationship management, marketing, and sales, go-to market strategies, positioning strategy, etc.
You have to decide which one is of benefit to you.
Make sure their main service is consulting
You should consider companies that offer consulting as their main service, rather than something they do on the side.
The moment you begin your search, you will be faced with many offers from various firms. However, you should always go with a marketing consultant, instead of an advertising or marketing bureau that just has consulting included in their list of offers.
And here’s why…
When companies are not offering consulting as their main service, they tend to classify every issue into something their internal resource team can manage.
Take a look at their client portfolio
Any strategist with a significant level of experience can come up with an effective marketing plan and provide solid advice. If you speak with a seasoned marketing consultant, he or she will be able to understand your business needs. Furthermore, a marketing consultant should understand the message you are trying to pass across to your potential customers.
However, tread with caution!
Anyone can come out today and proclaim themselves as a marketing guru, so you need to your own due diligence and observe their clients’ testimonials and portfolio. You should go as far as speaking with some of their past clients if you can.
Check them out on LinkedIn
LinkedIn remains an amazing tool that drives B2B deals and recruitment exercises. LinkedIn also makes it possible to check the competence of any consultant just by looking at their previous experiences. Furthermore, you will see if the consultant has been able to successfully market and sell their stuff on the platform.
Make sure they possess vast skills and experience in digital marketing
Before choosing a consultant, it’s important to ensure they are conversant with the market’s current trends. Things are always evolving in the current digital space. This gives you enough room and opportunity to grow and expand your business.
Also, companies don’t use traditional hard-sell tactics anymore. Instead, they focus on setting up strategies that attract and engage consumers on a specific service or product.
It’s therefore important to go for a marketing consultant with the right ideas and innovation for your business. They should be proficient in strategies such as SEO, social media marketing, PPC, etc. The more digital skills they have, the better for your company.
Don’t say no to a free consultation
You should always look beyond the right skillset when looking to hire a consultant. The relationship between you and the consultant has to be on a partnership level, and it’s very important.
If you are offered a free consulting gig by a firm, you should accept it. This will give you an idea of what the actual working relationship will be.
You will probably quickly realise that your ideas are different from those of the consultant. However, seasoned experts should be able to back up their claim and argument with the right data and case studies.
Explore their website
Taking some time to look at a marketing consultant’s website will often tell you more information about them.
If a so-called marketing expert doesn’t have a website, it’s better to move on. Moreover, if they have a poorly designed website, that should raise another red flag. In today’s digital space, every serious marketing agency should have a professional website.
Once you land on their site, take your time to explore it. Observe their type of content and decide whether it addresses your challenges. For instance, you should be able to find something about how to tackle certain marketing issues, plus some of the benefits they intend to deliver to your potential clients.
After conducting your research, it’s time to analyse what you feel.
Do you feel like calling them to learn more about how they can help you? That shows that they have what it takes to sell their own service. Therefore, there’s a high chance that they are capable of selling your service too.
3) Who should you hire? A marketing agency or a SaaS marketing consultant?
While a SaaS marketing agency can help bring in more sign-ups in many ways, it’s not necessarily the best approach for any SaaS firm.
Sometimes, hiring a marketing consultant instead of an agency is more beneficial for reasons such as:
- Have a better understanding of your market and customers
When dealing with a marketing consultant, it’s almost guaranteed that the professional will conduct thorough research to understand your market and your customers better.
Let’s face reality. Most businesses have no resources or time for extensive research. However, you can make up for that if you work with a consultant that can commit fully to your firm.
The right marketing expert will help you make crucial marketing decisions in your business.
- Prioritise the most important marketing activities
It is not uncommon for companies to choose a certain marketing activity because it seems to be the easiest. Yet, it might be a move in the wrong direction for your business.
A marketing consultant will ensure you stick to the marketing tactics that can deliver results for your firm.
- Avoid wasteful spending
Furthermore, more and more businesses continue on the path of least resistance when it comes to marketing strategies. But you need to only invest in activities that are beneficial for your company.
It’s the job of a marketing consultant to help you discard those activities that add no value to your business.
Before you make any decision, you need to first make clear the how’s and why’s of your business tactics. But you need not rush your decision. After all, it’s a decision that can have a huge impact on your business. In the meantime, please check out our SaaS Marketing Services available for small business.