Chances are you know what the term B2B means.
Chances are you know what SaaS means.
But… What about B2B SaaS?
What makes this category of SaaS unique? What are some of the benefits and challenges of being a B2B SaaS company?
And, most importantly, what are some unique B2B SaaS marketing opportunities and ideas?
We’ve got you covered.
B2B SaaS or Business to Business Software as a Service, is a cloud-based software distribution model where companies sell access to their software to another business.
Rather than downloading software to a desktop PC, businesses can access SaaS products through an internet application or web browser. B2B SaaS products can include any kind of software such as office management, customer support or communication software used within a business.
Here are four key advantages of SaaS that make it valuable to a business:
Accessibility: A major advantage of using a SaaS product is accessibility. Being able to access the software from any web browser allows businesses to effectively manage operations without the need to be at a specific location or an operating system.
Cloud Updates and Patches: As a cloud-based service, SaaS businesses can automatically update the product without impacting the user’s operations. Additionally, with cloud-based applications, there is no requirement for storage or hardware on the end-users side.
Data and Analytics: Because SaaS software is centralized and highly automated it is easier to capture data and provide in-depth analytics – in fact there are many SaaS businesses that provide unique software for interpreting this data. Businesses using SaaS products have access to reporting and visualization tools that provide valuable insights into business operations.
Cost effective: As Saas is a cloud-based application, they eliminate the need for businesses to own products, systems and hardware that can be costly. SaaS can also be fully scalable, meaning businesses can purchase exactly what they need to operate.
Overall, B2B SaaS allows businesses to run smoothly and efficiently, and automate internal functions and operations of the business at a relatively low cost.
HubSpot - A cloud-based inbound marketing and sales platform, HubSpot is used among businesses that need to generate leads, manage customer relationships, and nurture prospects. HubSpot offers tools for CRM, web analytics, content management, SEO, and social media analytics.
Google - Famous for its search engine, Google also owns and operates more than 130 different SaaS products. Some of Google’s services include a search engine, online advertising, document creation, digital analytics, and other services. Though people with Google accounts can use these services for free many enterprise companies upgrade their accounts and pay a fee to get additional features, including customer support or unlimited cloud storage.
Adobe - For many Adobe is known for its graphic and video production capabilities however, the company offers more than 50 computer software products in digital marketing, digital media, printing, and publishing areas. They recently acquired the marketing automation platform Marketo.
Slack - Slack is a well-known service designed for communicating with your colleagues. Slack offers multiple features, including video conferencing, group and private messaging, productivity bots, and file sharing accessible at any time.
MailChimp - A cloud-based B2B SaaS company, MailChimp specializes in email marketing. Using an open API MailChimp encourages other B2B SaaS services to integrate with its email-marketing engine. Currently, it offers integrations with PayPal, Google Analytics, Shopify, Salesforce and several others. MailChimp makes it easy to send email newsletters to your customers, manage your subscriber lists, track marketing campaign performance, and sync your email marketing with social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
Shopify - Shopify is the most popular eCommerce platform for online stores and retail POS, providing hosting, storefront, shopping cart, and other key functionalities for online merchants. With many built-in features supporting B2B eCommerce, users can also integrate other SaaS products on their eCommerce sites.
SurveyMonkey- SurveyMonkey is a cloud-based, online survey development software. This company offers surveys, paid back-end programs, and aides data analysis and representation.
MathWorks - A mathematical computing software popular among product developers and engineers MathWorks products include SimEvents, Stateflow, ThingSpeak, Simulink, and the most popular, MATLAB.
PieSync - PieSync syncs data between applications to a central location, quickly transferring information regarding sales, invoicing, CRM, and marketing.
Salesforce - A pioneer of SaaS and cloud-based applications, Salesforce is most well known for its Sales Cloud, a CRM platform that helps salespeople and marketing teams manage pipelines and interactions with new customers and existing customers. Salesforce is the leading SaaS platform for customer acquisition and sales management.
ServiceNow- ServiceNow provides enterprise automation solutions to streamline IT systems, manage workflows, and communicate across an organization. ServiceNow has a variety of cloud-based applications from IT service management, IT operations management, IT business management, human resources, customer service, and security operations.
Square- A popular credit card processing application used in many small and medium sized businesses. Square provides users with a SaaS POS where businesses can accept credit transactions at a nominal fee.
Zendesk is a cloud-based customer service and CRM platform that helps businesses track, prioritize, and solve customer support tickets. Zendesk services implement omnichannel customer support strategies to offer a generous customer experience across all channels including email, phone, chat, and social media.
Splunk- A leader in operational intelligence software solutions, Splunk allows businesses to search, monitor, analyze, and extract useful information from machine-generated big data. It's continuously developing new data analytics and machine-learning features to help customers enhance their data-driven business and decision-making capabilities.
Dropbox- A cloud-storage service provider, Dropbox Business lets users manage and share files with teams from anywhere. Because all the files are stored in one centralized location, everyone in the team can access the latest version minimizing errors that may impact a business.
There are several SaaS models - B2B, B2C, B2B2C, and B2C2B. Let’s first focus on the difference between B2B SaaS and B2C SaaS.
While B2B Saas and B2C SaaS sales and marketing share the same end goal -- helping customers get more done -- there are many differences in the process that make the need for a strong sales strategy important.
One of the stark contrasts of the B2B SaaS and B2C SaaS sales process is the B2B selling process is more logic driven, while the consumer sector relies more on emotions. In this, it is seen that business subject service providers to more scrutiny than consumers might, as businesses are making decisions that not only affect it’s enterprise but could also affect its customers.
Additionally, the B2B SaaS sales cycle is much longer and more complex than the B2C SaaS sales cycle. Primarily, businesses generally have more than one buyer on a team communicating with many sales reps and maybe even sales teams, where consumer purchases are usually done between one customer and one sales rep. With B2C SaaS, a user can directly input their credit card information and start using the product - while a B2B SaaS deal often requires a demo and onboarding process.
As B2B SaaS companies grow, they usually deploy an enterprise sales team that enables them to effectively target enterprise-sized companies who have unique needs.
For startups finding the right marketing strategy that will attract new sales and build brand awareness can be challenging. From targeting the right audience to preparing sales teams for a competitive market, marketers may find it challenging to get their SaaS product in customers hands.
Below is a roadmap of sales tips and marketing strategies used in B2B SaaS sales that can help any startup succeed.
The SaaS market is incredibly competitive. To meet company sales goals, marketers need to elevate their company above the competition. To do so, this often requires positioning your software above and against your competitors. Use data-based metrics to prove why your SaaS products are the superior choice for meeting your clients needs. This could mean using case studies or conducting surveys.
As business needs and software solutions are constantly changing, building a strategy that includes customer retention could set your business apart from others. Many SaaS businesses focus on customer acquisition as a growth strategy rather than retention, seemingly ignoring customer acquisition cost (CAC). While acquisition can be beneficial to a company's growth, it is important to balance customer acquisition cost with the churn rate and potential loss of monthly recurring revenue (MRR).
To ensure that your business is well-positioned, continue to prove to customers why your software fits their needs. To encourage customer retention SaaS sales reps should incorporate upselling to meet a changing demand for more advanced software and create a customer experience that is unmatched in the industry.
Product trials or freemiums are becoming an integral aspect of lead generations for SaaS businesses. Product trials offer potential customers a limited-time self-serve experience of your service at no cost. Self-service is effective at lead generation specifically, for high-tech systems and clients where there may be a need to experience the product rather than speak with a sales rep about the benefits of such.
To ensure positive customer experience, consider implenteting an onboarding process or support network such as webinars or automated emails that help introduce new customers to the service. Product trials also help determine qualified leads, as there is a direct correlation between product trails and a customer's intent to buy. By incorporating this marketing strategy into your startup, you can better position your SaaS business in the industry.
Whether you’re in the market for a B2B SaaS solution or you work for one, understanding the nuances of B2B SaaS is critical. From incorporating enterprise sales to adding in free trials, there are nuances you can deploy to make yourself successful in both the buying and selling process.
If you’re looking to increase your B2B SaaS sales, try Apteo’s no code analytics platform. We can help you understand which buyers are the best, predict your pipeline, and help you predict which users are most likely to churn. Request a demo now.
Shanif Dhanani is the co-founder & CEO of Apteo. Prior to Apteo, Shanif was a data scientist and software engineer at Twitter, and prior to that he was the lead engineer and head of analytics at TapCommerce, a NYC-based ad tech startup acquired by Twitter. He has a passion for all things data and analytics, loves adventure traveling, and generally loves living in New York City.