What happens when you shift from selling packaged software to selling Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)?
A subscription is an ongoing relationship, not a one-time transaction.
To convert the prospect to subscriber, the SaaS marketer must address concerns related to the long-term relationship. The essential tasks of the SaaS marketer include:
- Earning trust before the initial conversion
- Demonstrating value after the sale
Before signing up, prospective customers want answers to many questions:
- Is your business going to stick around?
- How careful will you be with their data?
- Do you know what you’re doing?
- Will they find more success in their jobs or joy in their lives by becoming a customer?
Marketing SaaS isn’t simply a matter of selling features. You must earn trust and maintain it over time. Content marketing, done well, is a highly effective way to earn trust.
Subscription customers must decide, again and again, to remain customers. In many cases, they won’t deliver a profit until they’ve made the renewal decision at least once.
At each renewal, customers must decide that the value of being a customer exceeds the cost of renewing.
As a marketer, you can tip the balance of that equation by adding value to the customer experience. Fill up the value bucket and customers will continue to renew, and perhaps upgrade or recommend the solution to others.
Note the phrasing: the value of being a customer. That value doesn’t always live in the solution itself; it might live outside of the software, in the relationship with your business.
That’s why marketing that focuses on features isn’t enough in the world of SaaS marketing.
Marketing needs to demonstrate value before the initial sale; the entire company reinforces the experience of value long after the sale.
This post is part of a series addressing the challenges of marketing Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). Read the first post: Subscriptions Are Eating Software.
Read the revised, expanded edition of Subscription Marketing: Strategies for Nurturing Customers in a World of Churn.