Guest post by Kaleigh Moore, freelance writer for eCommerce platforms and SaaS integrations.
When it comes to B2B SaaS, there’s a lot of talk about growth — and these conversations often include buzzwords like “growth hacking.”
For good reason: Everyone wants the go-to-market hack or shortcut that will help their brand launch and scale more quickly (and outpace the competition while they’re at it.) And for many B2B SaaS companies, that growth is already happening. Data shows that in 2016, the median growth rate for B2B SaaS was 48%.
The trouble is: There’s a lot of misinformation out there that can put growth on the wrong trajectory.
If you’ve ever wondered where to draw the line between fact and myth around go-to-market strategies for B2B SaaS, you’re in the right place. In this post, we’ll look at the top five most common myths in this realm, as well as insights from experts that help break down false information.
What is “go-to-market”?
Before we jump into the myths, let’s first get on the same page about what “go-to-market” means.
Go-to-market (or go-to-market strategy) is how an organization delivers its unique value proposition to customers (via inside and outside resources) that ultimately helps the brand achieve a competitive advantage.
Essentially, this is the series of tactics a SaaS company uses to grow. It can include marketing and sales strategy, funding, user acquisition and onboarding tactics–anything that will help the business grow and scale at maximum velocity.
With this in mind, let’s now take a look at some of the myths floating around in this realm.
Myth #1: It’s almost impossible to compete with VC-backed giants who already have an established position on the market.
If you’ve ever heard that bootstrapped SaaS companies can’t compete, you have false info on your hands. Just take a look at a company like Basecamp that’s achieved incredible growth and massive market share without a cent of outside funding.
“If you have a great idea and a good product, it doesn’t matter who the competition is–you can bootstrap your way to success despite the big players in the industry that have secured millions in funding and that work with a team of hundreds of people. Experts or founders on different platforms might advise you to go after another market or niche because that one is saturated and dominated by X companies with deep pockets–but that’s not a good enough excuse. There is always room for another company and a great product that can achieve great results.”
Myth #2: You don’t have to do much research when it comes to content–just crank it out and go.
Content is indeed an important go-to-market strategy that B2B SaaS companies use pretty much across the board. But quality and strategy are two key components that have to be part of that approach. Without them, companies can tie up a lot of time and money with lackluster results.
SaaS writer Amy Ahrens expanded:
“Typically, I hear things like: ‘I just need a bunch of content to help our SEO.’ While there is some truth to this, what needs to happen first is research. By that, I mean that you should research your company’s competitive set and try to find something that isn’t covered and do that well. Also, the algorithms have changed and now content marketing is all about pillar-based content and how that affects SERP. Do these two things well and I guarantee that your SERP placement will improve and your content will resonate better with your audience.”
Myth #3: Businesses can’t onboard themselves into a tool.
Onboarding is another area where SaaS companies get things wrong thanks to best practices that don’t work across the board. Sometimes, breaking industry norms and testing new strategies that let users guide the way is the best path to success.
SEO expert Brendan Hufford shared his firsthand experience with this:
“SaaS usually is entirely self-serve or entirely something you have to go through a sales team on. But a different option is to let people sign up and get started and then have the sales or success team come in from there. We tried both self-serve and very hands-on onboard assistance for Happy Meter. Both produced poor results for differing reasons. The best option we found was to hop in to assist at a strategic time. I think in B2B SaaS there’s often this myth that it has to be a high-touch service or self-serve and that’s it. It creates a false dichotomy.”
Myth #4: Sales and marketing teams can work independently.
Silos are never a good thing–especially in the world of B2B SaaS. Even big brands with years of success under their belts are finally taking note of this and implementing changes. If your go-to-market strategy pivots on teams that work independently, it’s time to reconsider your approach.
SaaS writer Elise Dopson explains why this is so important:
“Misalignment between these sales and marketing departments leads to low conversion rates since the marketing people are referring irrelevant leads. Huge companies like Mars and Coca-Cola are appointing new people for this, but the same applies with B2B SaaS. The people you’re selling to have long, complex sales processes. Confusion and overlap between teams when convincing them to buy + their sales process = long time to see results.”
Myth #5: You can get by without having much ‘go-to-market’ content.
Circling back to the topic of content, let’s talk about content that is specific to go-to-market purposes. Is it okay to skip over it? In most cases, the answer is a resounding no. You need content that helps inch the buyer closer to the conversion point through the customer journey.
Jordie Black, a B2B expert, explains:
“SaaS buyers, especially those in B2B, much prefer to self-educate in order to come to a buying decision. Too many companies put more focus on gearing up their sales teams as opposed to gearing up their content arsenal to ensure that they have enough content that supports a buyer at EVERY stage of the buyer’s journey.”
Final Thoughts: Don’t Fall for the Myths
Information is power, and hopefully the myths we’ve busted here will help you get back on the path to rapid growth. Just remember: Don’t take someone’s word for it when you hear blanket statements about SaaS growth or hear about one-size-fits-all approaches to always work.
In the go-to-market environment for B2B SaaS, you always need to keep and open mind and put information through the ringer before letting it guide your decision-making process.