How to Marry SaaS Marketing and Development in Order to Win Users

Editor’s note: the following was written by a guest blogger. If you would like to contribute to the blog, please contact [email protected]

Do you know why great marketers fail when launching a SaaS campaign? Here is the usual process. 

They write a perfect conversion-focussed text, work with a top graphic designer to create cutting-edge graphics for ads, choose a perfect audience to target, and then… hit that “launch campaign” button. 

They wait a week or two, a month, or even a quarter. Results? Conversion rate is low and leads acquisition is expensive while, at the same time, users don’t stay for long.

It’s a pity as many marketers would start to believe they have failed at what they thought was one of their strengths.

In such cases marketers are not those to blame. So what hurts your SaaS conversion and retention rate when your marketing is at its best? 

In this article, I will explain how to mark up your conversion, user and client retention without giving up on your marketing. No matter if you are a marketer working with SaaS products or a SaaS founder looking to improve your key SaaS metrics, you will learn how to make things work.

The biggest threat to your SaaS growth

You have probably heard a lot about how collecting users’ queries and picking up their feedback is indispensable for creating a product that sells. However, not many startups would know how to put this approach in practice and some others would not do that regularly.

Without adopting a process of collecting feedback, a SaaS product has minimal chances to succeed and remain in the market for long. Marketers should stop focusing only on copywriting, building landing pages, or recording social media videos for their next campaign. Instead they should start with understanding their target audience better. That’s where surveys, user interviews, and in-app feedback popups will help.

The reason why even the best campaigns fail lies in building the wrong message that doesn’t resonate with users and often gives the wrong idea about the product. That is why after signing up for a trial, users will soon become disappointed with the product because what has been promised on a signup page has not been fulfilled in the product itself.

Let’s see how marketers can choose better strategies to finally reach users’ attention and convince them to try out a new tool? How can product and marketing work together to maximize the impact  and reach the users who will stick around and experience value?

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1. Get marketers to use user insights

While there are dozens of different methodologies on collecting user feedback and prioritizing product development, I’d like to bring all of them down to a simple formula.

Marketers have to take part in conversations with users as product managers do. Learn how to ask the right questions to discuss user objections and understand why users choose their tool among others. 

Talking to at most 5 users is sufficient to identify the biggest issues with a product and help understand where your tool compares against the competitors. These findings will later be a great material to formulate a product’s value proposition better.

These findings mean that you don’t have to go wild on talks with users as if you were to exceed that magic five number, you will get incrementally diminished results.

Usability graph
Image source: Source: Nielsen Norman Group

Pro-tip. You don’t have to be the best tool on the market, because being the best is relative – there is always going to be some tool or a new competitor that can live up to users’ expectations better. By catering to one particular group of customers better than your competitors, you can become the best tool in the minds of your customers. 

By getting out there on Zoom calls with users from time to time, showing them the latest marketing page and asking them to share their opinion is sufficient to identify the biggest issues in communicating the product.

Here is an example:

When working on the promotion of SaaS products, I saw a major difference in how efficient marketing was on a foreign market compared to a domestic one. 

By getting on a few calls with clients, showing them the product, and a landing page, things became clearer for me. I learnt about a market-specific regulation the product did not account for, I got some useful feedback on the landing page copy, and heard the questions users asked that I haven’t accounted for in the pages. 

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The findings I took from those calls helped the product team improve on the product to comply with market regulations better and finally get users experience product value.

Protip. When reaching out to customers with an invitation for an online call, make sure your emails don’t land in spam or are sent to a wrong email. That can happen to everyone, right? To ensure your email deliverability stays high, avoid spammy titles, invest in a dedicated IP, authenticate with DMARC, and avoid spam lists at all costs.

It’s that simple! You can use some webinar software to arrange three to five calls with users, show them your tool in real time and ask them to share their screen. Then you can give your users certain tasks to perform and encourage them to talk about their impressions. 

While understanding the best way of improving the product and getting that feedback from users more effectively is not always a piece of pie, by having this user-centric mindset you are a few steps towards more marketing- but not user-focussed competition.

2. Engage marketers in dev conversations

black flat screen computer monitors

Engaging the frontline of your company in conversations alongside your product team is important especially for smaller SaaS companies. Teams can have different outlook on the product and they would most likely have different priorities. However, diversity in tech is rather a good thing than bad as diversity in opinions and approaches to product development results in better ideas teams can generate together.

Marketers can share what challenges they are facing when trying to promote the product and emphasize product malfunctions customers are mentioning as a reason to leave. If it is a marketer who often talks to users, they can also share some findings from interviews with the product team and founders.

Set up regular calls with your team (and different departments) to bounce ideas and define the next development priority that all sides of the discussion will find right to adopt.

Having these conversations is also useful as marketers can better understand the limitations of software and feasibility to develop a certain segment of a tool. By getting everyone aligned on the tool’s strengths and the updates that are the easiest and fastest to implement will lay the ground for future marketing communication as well.

From both marketing and product development sides, launching a feature that makes the most impact on the predominant number of users, is valid.

For developers, it is easier and faster to ship, while for marketers such features help retain more customers.

Everyone should be aligned with the product vision and know what direction the product will be developed. This will lead to a more consistent product plan as well as clearer communication of product strengths on all marketing channels.

3. Act on feedback

Once the team knows what needs to be done to tailor the product to user needs better, it is time for action. Identify quick wins that your development team can introduce and deploy changes according to the schedule you agreed upon.

Once a new feature is live, your marketers can update their changelog, knowledge base, and record an explainer video to announce a long-awaited feature that many customers have been asking to introduce. 

Act as one team – create a workflow for marketing and development to exchange information on progress and next steps faster. For example, you could create a “Deploys” channel on Slack so that anytime a new feature has been deployed, everyone in the team knows about it and can proceed with the next steps.

If you are planning for a new module of your software, you might want to engage marketing professionals in helping with getting beta testers and collecting feedback from them. Other than that, marketers can also leverage their skills in designing the flow for collecting feedback with in-app messages or filter through product reviews to look for patterns.

This way, you can get feedback on the newly deployed features faster and continue working on adjusting the product even more to your client needs.

Pro-tip. In SaaS startups marketing and developers professionals should know how to work effectively together. For example, if a new feedback widget has to be introduced in the application, it is usually developers who help it go live. When developers receive lots of such requests, smaller teams have to prioritize better. Otherwise, one will end up with lots of tasks in progress and nothing done on time. With  better prioritization, features can be launched faster, and tasks will balance out better in your project-management software.

In smaller SaaS teams, developers and marketers work in tandem, especially if this is the stage when your company is growing fast and every team member has to cover multiple tasks from different domains. 

By getting development and marketing work closer, together you will get a clearer understanding of what needs to be done to make your SaaS product stand out on the market and finally become the best out there in the minds of your customers.

Meet the Author

Margo Ovsiienko

Margo Ovsiienko is a Growth Marketing Strategist and Product Marketing Manager at InvoiceOcean. She creates content that converts website visitors into paying customers for SaaS companies and tech agencies with sales funnels.

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