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How to Set Marketing Goals for SaaS Companies


What does your company look like when you’ve “made it?”

How can you set marketing goals to get you there?

Growth companies often look at marketing as a necessary “cost of doing business,” rather than using it strategically to accomplish their overall business goals. The assumption being that their SaaS product or service will “sell itself” once it gets in front of people.

The truth is that it takes more than merely brand awareness to drive sales. However, that’s typically the only perspective many growing companies’ marketing strategies are focused on. This blog will cover how to set marketing goals for SaaS companies to reach their ultimate business goals. (read more about what marketing goals are in this post)

How Can Marketing Goals Affect Revenues?

Think about the sales funnel. Many people go into the top, but not many make it to the bottom.

This abandonment primarily happens for two reasons:

  1. The audience isn’t qualified before going into the sales funnel.
  2. There are holes in the sales funnel that that audience is slipping through.

Marketing goals aimed at increasing revenue can address these two issues to improve conversion rates. This is why only running brand awareness campaigns isn’t going to get you the growth you want. Sure, it’s likely that putting more people into your sales funnel will result in more sales, but they may be the wrong audience or they may all fall out of the sales cycle at the same spot.

Ultimately, addressing these two issues will streamline your sales cycle, qualify your audience, and lower customer acquisition costs.

Qualifying Your Audience

Yes, it should be a marketing goal to qualify your audience early and often. The best starting point is to develop personas for your audience. This persona, or ideal customer avatar, will give you and your marketing team insights into what matters to this customer segment and where they spend their time.

For example: If your company sells software as a service for banks, you might develop a persona that looks like local, independent banks in small communities. It would be beneficial to buy digital ads and post content on LinkedIn with the hashtag #smallbusiness rather than Snapchat. Additionally, you’d want to target people who list “supporting local businesses” as interests on their profile.

Okay, that may seem basic, but in your marketing, how about taking it a step or two further? Make sure the messaging in your digital ads and content uses qualifying language like “Used by Company X” or “For companies in the Y industry.”

Using qualifying language early and often tightens up your sales funnel so that the right audience gets in.

Filling Holes in the Sales Funnel

Filling the holes in your sales funnel can actually work against you if you have the wrong audience in there to begin with. Very important: this comes second to qualifying your audience.

Increasing numbers like website traffic or email subscribers costs money-sometimes upfront, but sometimes a little more hidden. If you have people who won’t ever become customers in your funnel, it wastes money. In the email list case, if too many uninterested people are getting your emails and mark them as SPAM, this could affect deliverability rates.

Quick example: Suppose you have an email drip campaign and you notice open rates are good until one particular email. Take a look at the subject line and subheadline and A/B test some better ones. Or survey your customers to see if the topic of the email is even relevant.

An effective marketing goal of filling gaps in the sales funnel requires some analysis first, but it will pay off. In addition, there are many aspects of your sales funnel you could analyze.

If many people find your website through organic search, you could make a goal of focusing on SEO to increase your ranking in search engines and crank this channel up even more. Or if your website isn’t ranking in the top 10 search results for a desired keyword, make a goal to increase that ranking over several months through content, SEO, and link building. Designate specific weekly or daily actions to achieve these aims.

How to Set Marketing Goals for SaaS Companies

You’re probably familiar with SMART goals-that is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely. You probably use them for overall business objectives and you should use this framework to set marketing goals, too.

Example of poor marketing goal:

  • Increase website visitors

Example of good marketing goal:

  • 20,000 website visitors with 5% conversions in the next 12 months

With a specific goal set, you can develop a plan of action to achieve it based on what’s worked in the past. If you’re trying out something completely new, research how other companies have had success.

Not sure where to begin? Hiring a marketing agency is great for companies that don’t have a marketing team or one capable of fulfilling all their needs. Outsource the execution to the experts and focus on your core competencies.

But What If I Don’t?

If your current tactic is “throw it at the wall and see what sticks,” you might think you don’t need marketing goals because you’ve figured it out.

Unfortunately, this is the most expensive way to do marketing. Instead, having a plan for each marketing dollar to go as far as possible and create as much return as possible is much more efficient. Switching over to this method can help propel your SaaS business towards the growth you want to see.

If you have an unlimited marketing budget, hey, don’t listen to me. But if you want to squeeze the most out of those dollars you do have, set strategic marketing goals, and execute them.

How Do I Get Started?

First, you can start by reading more in-depth on growth strategy here or check out our ebook on applying a goal-based marketing strategy in a SaaS company.

Second, you can start working with a strategic marketing agency like us! At Hot Dog Marketing, we help create strategic marketing plans that help companies achieve their overall business goals. If you’re interested, contact us today, and let’s start putting your marketing dollars to better use.