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Branding, Content Marketing, Guest Posts, SaaS

Why SaaS Companies Need a Messaging Strategy Document (And How to Create One) by @kaleighf

Guest post by Kaleigh Moore, freelance writer for SaaS companies. 

Especially for new SaaS companies, figuring out the appropriate messaging can be a daunting task. When you’re trying to grow and scale quickly, messaging is an element that often gets pushed to the back burner. It seems like a “nice to discuss” not a “must discuss RIGHT NOW.”

But the thing is: Messaging matters. It matters a lot.

If you don’t to who you’re writing for (or how that voice should sound, or what it should be saying)–you might be hurting your company’s growth efforts.

You’re essentially just “winging it”. I call this the spaghetti method: You’re throwing language noodles and hoping something sticks. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t, but overall, it’s not the most strategic approach.

So what can you do about it?

I always encourage SaaS companies to develop a comprehensive messaging strategy very early in the launch process. Doing so helps ensure everyone is on the same page right from the start–and it makes scaling content efforts a whole lot easier down the road.

Let’s look at what you should include in your messaging strategy when you need to develop one of your own.

Getting Started with SaaS Messaging Strategy

One of the biggest reasons for developing a SaaS messaging strategy in the first place is so it can act as a roadmap for all customer-facing content. From website copy to marketing materials, these notes on writing voice, style, and more will add consistency and uniformity across the various customer touchpoints you’re building.

A few months back, I had a founder come my way who needed some help putting together a messaging strategy document for this very purpose. He was looking for help strengthening the company’s value proposition so that the copy was tight, polished, and customer-centric upon launch. Together, we developed a well-documented messaging strategy that he then used before, during, and after launch.

Documenting was a key step in this process. Many brands discuss their plans for messaging, but don’t take the time to put them down in writing. In fact, according to Content Marketing Institute, as of 2016, just 37% of B2B marketers and 40% of B2C marketers had a written content marketing plan.

With this in mind, let’s look at some of the key elements of a messaging strategy that you’ll want to document and share across your entire team so that everyone is on the same page.

How to Create a SaaS Messaging Strategy Document

Your messaging strategy can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be, but there are a few key elements you’ll want to include at a basic level.

What to include: The Basics

  • What we do: Define what your SaaS does in 2-3 sentences
  • Value proposition: The unique value behind your product or service
  • Stats to leverage: The hard numbers/stats you can showcase to reinforce your value proposition
  • How we’re different: Why a customer should buy from you over a similar SaaS
  • How it works: The 3-5 step process that outlines how one can become a new customer
  • Target customers: Who you’re trying to sell to (customer personas work well for this)
  • Target customers’ pain points: What obstacles/problems you can solve for the customer

What to include: Style Guide

  • High level content objective: What are your big picture goals for content? Define them and set benchmarks for success.
  • Content-specific goals: What are your content-specific goals for mediums like email, blog posts, website copy, etc? Define objectives that give you data points to strive for.

  • Notes on tone, voice, and style: How should your brand voice sound? Friendly? Formal? Will you use em dashes in lieu of semicolons? Make detailed notes on how you want your brand to look and sound in writing.

  • Competitors (not to reference): If you’re going to be bringing on external help, it’s good to have a list of competitors not to reference (data-wise, and link-wise) in materials.

Need more inspiration? This template messaging map can help get the ball rolling.

💗 Check out Nichole’s Services for SaaS startups 💗

Customer Success, SaaS

Budgeting for Customer Success in 2015 [Video, Slides & Budget Template] ft. @GainsightHQ

Budgeting for Customer Success

Budgets are boring – as a rule. But Customer Success, once you realize how much it can do for your SaaS company, is thrilling. Customer Success has been an up-and-coming concept, and this year, it’s safe to say, it has arrived. More and more companies are looking for ways to shift their perspectives towards Customer Success, especially in SaaS industries. It’s the next big step towards ongoing, sustainable SaaSy success.

Gainsight’s CEO, Nick Mehta, took part in a webinar with Byron Deeter (Partner at Bessemer VenturePartners) earlier this year to talk about how to budget and plan for Customer Success in 2015. Here are the parts of their conversation I found the most useful, although they into far more depth on the numbers than I will here.

In a discussion of budget, these two surprisingly didn’t open the conversation with proving ROI, how much to pay new hires, and how many people to bring on board (although all of these issues were addressed later). Instead, they opened with what Customer Success is really about: a proactive strategy for drilling down to what delights your customers, and delivering it.


When planning your budget, before you break out the calculator, you have to break out the whiteboard and sketch out your Customer Success objectives for 2015. As Mehta says, “Customer Success isn’t ‘rinse and repeat;'” it’s about improving customer experience and predicting their changing needs and wants. However, it’s not just the customers’ needs and wants that may change over time – your company’s needs and wants will change too.

SaaS companies just starting out will likely want to focus their Customer Success efforts on retention, renewal and churn avoidance. But, a few years in, that focus may well shift from preventing the negative to promoting the positive (ie. up-sells and forming strategic relationships). Figure out what your focus is for this year, whether that is mitigating risks and reducing churn, or building on an already strong foundation. Define measurable goals with an eye to improving your ROI in order to gain support from the higher-ups.


When your goals for 2015 depend on bringing more people into your Customer Success department, you’ll have to really sell it to the boss. To do this, you need a value proposition to explain how these additional people will affect the long-term value of new and existing customers. When pitching, be prepared to explain the ROI already gained in terms of reduced churn and increased up-sells, and be ready with a plan to increase those numbers with more staff.

As a rule, fast-growing companies should have a lot of Customer Success staff. Gainsight, for example, is a 140-person company, and by the end of next year they expect to have 15 people working on Customer Success. That’s nearly 11% of their workforce! As Deeter put it, hiring five people may cost a million dollars, but if you can prove that you’ll make a million dollars on an ongoing basis, that’s a good trade in the long-term.


Enter your budget meeting with a list of processes you’ll be improving in 2015, focusing on two main areas: Efficiency and Team Effectiveness. To get the best results from your team, you need to invest money in automation and great content, and invest time into prioritizing initiatives, training, and ensuring your Customer Success reps are contacting your customers at the right time.

To prove the ROI of your efforts, track the customers who enter the “watch list” (ie. those who may leave) that your Customer Success department end up managing, and keep records of how many accounts you save (those who renew). Add up the total dollar amount saved, and you’ll have a compelling reason to invest more in Customer Success.

Mehta and Deeter summed it up eloquently when they said “The important part of Software as a Service isn’t the software – it’s the service.” When you have a great product paired with responsive, proactive service, you’ll strengthen customer relationships, reduce churn, and make bank.

But, for that to happen, you first need a strategy, people, and processes with metrics in place – which will inform your budget.

Download this Customer Success budget template to get started!

Slide deck from the webinar:

Budgeting for Customer Success in 2015 from Gainsight

Video from the webinar:

Additional Resources

💗 Check out Nichole’s Services for SaaS startups 💗