- Posted by Katerina Kanteraki
- On September 4, 2020
At Metavallon VC we work with world-class founders building B2B SaaS companies such as Useberry, Citizen, Mist.io, and Covve (for a full list of our investments and exits, please click here). In today’s blog, we’re going to take a deep dive into the most prominent, tried-and-true growth strategies employed by our B2B SaaS companies.
Suppose that you’ve built a well-developed MVP, defined your target market & ideal customer base and secured funding. You now need to generate a steady, scalable and repeatable sales model that will go beyond retargeting and affiliate marketing and pump up your SaaS KPIs and ultimately take you to Series A. Wonder how to do that? Look no further, below are 5 techniques our founders swear upon.
- Content Content Content
Content Marketing is an alternative to directly pitching your business which instead focuses on generating and publishing truly useful and consistent content to address problems of a clearly defined audience. This technique is vastly deployed by niche SaaS startups. Why? Because it works even with a small marketing budget. It notably helps businesses educate, attract and retain customers.
Citizen is one good example of content marketing in action. In fact, the cardless open banking payment company, has identified content and search engine optimisation (SEO) as their single most rewarding growth hack.The company writes articles centered around the niche problem they solve and the buyer’s thinking – prioritising conversion over volume. They publish on popular third party websites such as medium to drive targeted traffic through backlinks to their website – increasing their domain ranking (DR shows how many quality sites link to yours scored from 0 to 100). They primarily focus on their readers’ journey encouraging them to provide their email (in return for content insight) rather than merely go for pageviews. They notoriously rank first on Google for “open banking gambling” and “open banking gaming” either organically through content marketing and SEO or via paid Google AdWords.
- Free Product Trials
Free online trials are undoubtedly a popular pricing component for client acquisition employed by approximately half of the B2B, SaaS companies out there according to Totango. Getting your free trial plan right as an early stage SaaS startup is not entirely straight-forward. One thing to consider is whether to offer an opt-in or an opt-out trial and its length, another is requesting payment information or not, while the usage and feature limits are also critical coupled with the prospect marketing you employ during the trial and the user metrics you get.
Mist.io has sorted those out offering an opt-in 14day free trial that asks for your credit card details to automatically convert to a Pay As You Go (PAYG) plan upon the end of the trial period. As holds for most niche deeptech enterprise SaaS, the hybrid cloud management company’s usefulness increases exponentially as the amount of effort for setting up one’s environment increases; here comes in the 1 month’s data retention the company offers which extends further to the free trial period and serves as a way to entice the user to convert while the probability to do so is still high. For Mist, the free trial, has proven way more efficient than the freemium model initially attempted, mainly due to the energy efficiencies of automatic conversion and the natural selection that happens when requesting payment details before “unlocking” a free trial.
- Community Platforms
Community platforms are increasingly the place to be for SaaS business, as through them, you can learn more about your audience, boost your authority, and get more high-quality traffic. Take Reddit that boasts an average of 21 billion screen views per month and an average of 16 minutes of content consumption per visit, while it is available in multiple languages and is the 17th most popular website in the world (source, source). The case is similar for Quora, DesingerNews, HackerNews, ProductHunt, Slack, and other specialized/closed community groups. Not convinced?
Useberry has turned Reddit into a customer acquisition-driving machine. The codeless prototype testing and analytics company, doesn’t fall into the pitfall of bluntly posting “spammy” adverts on Reddit, but instead offers useful resources and practical solutions to common problems, contributing to popular online discussions as “guru”. A simple post they made on Reddit for instance, received numerous visits on their Blog, which had a 12% conversion rate from blog to signup; cost: $0 and 15 minutes of searching and writing.
Cross-selling is a sales technique used to prompt a customer to spend more by purchasing a product that’s related to what’s being bought. It differs from upselling which typically involves trading up to a better version of what’s being purchased. Popular such strategies include “customers who use this also use” and “frequently used together” type of widgets. Seeing the top 10% of SaaS companies realize 41% ARR growth from cross- and up-selling, makes you wonder how they do it. Here’s how.
Covve got creative with this growth hack. The smartest, simplest contacts management company, launched a 4.9 out of 5 star reviewed universal card scanning app, that ended up with customers buying their flagship personal CRM product. Covve scan hit #3 position in card scanners in the US App Store counting more than 10k installs a month at a positive LTV/CAC, which increased qualified traffic to their CRM product by 10%. In fact, the company was thrilled to witness their PPC brought down to $0 from cross-selling. Covve is now optimizing their cross-selling strategy through card scanner in-app teasers and exclusive discounts for their personal CRM platform.
With co-marketing one refers to co-hosting webinars, guest blogging, shoutouts on social media, co-hosting events, co-branding eBooks etc. So what is this about? For instance, if your SaaS offering integrates with Zapier, you can ask to interview an expert of that company and post an article outlining industry trends and best-practices. This tactic is set to help you increase your audience reach, build brand equity, organic traffic, and increase the click through rate (CTR) to your website.
Mist.io followed a simple yet powerful recipe tapping into the hidden power of popular open source project platforms. The hybrid cloud management company, tracked down open source projects they already used internally and those they integrated with. Then they found their websites and submitted their company name, description and website under their “used by” or “supported by” sections. Such lists exist in pretty much every website. Mist, put its name down and ever since it enjoys a steady amount of traffic every month.
In the B2B Space business models and growth techniques are evolving at a rapid rate, and no two businesses are ever the same. Common themes do emerge though, so it is important to have peers and mentors who “have been there” and can serve as a guide for others who want to take up the challenge of growing a leading SaaS business. If you are among those SaaS founders who want to land with smart growth capital, get in touch!