More and more SaaS businesses that wish to achieve great change or growth goals have now realized the importance of hiring a marketing consulting to gain success.
It has been found that enterprises that choose to employ a consulting specialist obtain results that are more permanent over a shorter period of time compared to companies that attempt to drive change solely in-house.
Therefore, it is vital that you select the right SaaS marketing consultant for your firm. In order to do so, there are some key factors you need to examine. These will help you arrange your selection process and choose the best consulting supplier or SaaS marketing agency for your company.
1 – The differences between SaaS Marketing and other Marketing
SaaS businesses sell software, which is not a tangible product but rather a service. Opposite to traditional product-based companies, which sell physical products that consumers can touch and feel.
This is without a doubt the most noticeable difference between a SaaS firm and a product-based firm.
Moreover, it seems to be easier to convince a potential buyer to purchase a pair of jeans or a new television, than getting new users to buy your online tools to help grow their company.
Having said that, is it then much different to promote digital software compared to selling a physical product?
Yes. We argue that it is!
Firstly, most SaaS models are heavily dependent on continuous subscriptions. This is not the case for most product-based companies because they are capable of generating revenue even from just one-time sales.
Furthermore, you will find that several SaaS products follow a distinct, three-step sale cycle process, which is different from the typical B2B cycle. The SaaS sales cycle process is as follows:
- Acquisition: Earning new users buy delivering value that can turn prospects into consumers.
- Monetization: Converting those users into paying customers by delivering successful events during the onboarding process.
- Retention: Convincing those paying buyers to stay with your firm. Therefore, you need to deliver constant value to the client to prevent churn.
Usually, most marketing managers in traditional firms focus mostly on the acquisition stage. However, that should not be the primary focus for any SaaS company.
The reason is based on a research study that found that if you compared the relative impact of 1 % improvements in each of the three stages, the acquisition stage had a much less significant impact than the monetization and retention stages.
Therefore, it can be argued that in order to maintain a profitable SaaS business you cannot solely focus on the acquisition stage. Because even though new customers will clearly help to grow your firm, you need to focus at least the same amount of attention on the last two stages in the sales cycle process to be profitable.
Hence, all SaaS marketing strategy has to include all three stages in order to be effective.
2 – Factors to look into when choosing a SaaS Marketing Consultant
Know whether you want a strategy expert or functional specialist
Overall, you can find two different consulting resources; the strategy expert and the functional specialist.
The strategy expert’s approach and expertise are based on strategic problems that involve the entire company or large parts of it. This kind of specialist, whether it is an individual or an agency, will essentially advise you and allows you to design changes.
On the contrary, the functional specialist will be one that brings a specific technical skill to your firm. This type of specialist will often operate more like an outsourced support because there will be less strategic advising and instead more tactical adjustment and compliance.
These are two various types of consulting resources, and you have to clarify what kind you need for your enterprise.
Choose a top-line focus or a bottom-line focus
The greatest amount of marketing consulting firms concentrates on handling the existing operations of a SaaS business. This means that the main focus is on reducing bottom-line costs. With a bottom-line focus, you will be looking at elements such as improving quality, increasing operational efficiency, reducing expenses, and managing employee headcount.
On the other hand, you will often see a top-line focus, among the marketing consultants that are focusing on creating growth. Such top-line elements can include introducing new product or service, go-to-market strategies, positioning strategy, customer relationship management, sales and marketing, and the like.
You need to decide which is beneficial to you.
Make sure that consulting is their primary service
You want a firm that offers consulting as their primary service, rather than as a secondary offering.
Once you start searching, you will see that many enterprises will offer a range of resources. However, it is always best to hire a marketing consultant, instead of a marketing or advertising bureau that also offers to consult on marketing strategy.
Why is that?
Because all companies that do not have consulting, as their primary source of revenue seem to have a need to classify every problem as one that their internal resources can handle.
Check their client portfolio
It should be one of your main priorities to check out a firm’s client portfolio.
Any strategist that has plenty of practice and knowledge will be able to design a reliable marketing campaign and offer well-considered advice based on what works. If you are faced with a real marketing expert, he will have the skills to recognize what your business needs. Furthermore, the specialist should be able to understand the message you want to send to your prospects.
So let’s state the obvious.
The more businesses a marketing consultant have worked for in the past, the higher the chances that they have experiences from a variety of enterprises and different situations.
However, be careful!
Today digital age allows anyone to call themselves a “marketing consultant” in a short amount of time. So you need to spend time researching and looking into the agency’s client portfolio and their clients’ testimonials. Even better would be if you could get to talk to a couple of previous clients.
Check them out on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a great tool to use in business-to-business selling and recruitment activities. You can also use this platform to check if a specific consultant is competent based on their previous experiences. Furthermore, you can see if the consultant is capable of marketing and selling their own services on this platform.
Yet, one more useful function on LinkedIn is the LinkedIn Recommendations sections. Unlike recommendations on most other websites, the recommendations on LinkedIn are not editable. They are formulated by experts in the field and can give you important information about the people you might consider hiring.
Make sure they are proficient in digital marketing
It is very important that the consultant you chose to hire is informed about the current trends in the market. In today’s digital age, things develop and change all the time. This creates a wealth of opportunities for you to expand and grow your company.
In addition, companies are no longer trying to persuade prospects to buy their products or services by using aggressive push marketing. Instead, the focus has changed to creating strategies that attract consumers and engage them in a specific product or service.
Therefore, you want to find a marketing consultant with the right knowledge and insights. They need to master everything from social media marketing, SEO to PPC. The more aspects of marketing they understand the greater the likelihood that they can create a unique marketing strategy for your firm.
If they offer a free consulting gig, say yes!
When hiring a marketing consultant you should not only be looking for the right skill set. What is just as important is the relationship between you and the expert(s). This needs to be operating as a partnership between the two of you.
If an agency offers you a free consulting session, you need to say yes! This gives you the best chance to determine how the relationship will be between you.
Most likely, you will experience that you and the consultant want to do things in different ways. However, great and knowledgeable experts should be capable of providing informed arguments and past case studies to back up their ideas.
Check out their website
You can always check out a marketing expert’s or agency’s website, which can tell you a lot about the consultant.
If a person claims to be a marketing expert but does not have a website, we advise you to skip them. Moreover, if their website do exist but is of poor quality that should also be a red flag as well. In today’s digital world, all people or agencies that call themselves experts should have a solid website.
Once you get to their website, spend some time to browse around. Look at the type of content on their site and analyze whether or not it affects you. Especially, you should be able to find information about how to approach particular marketing issues, as well as a list of benefits they are offering potential clients.
Once you have done your research, take a minute to examine how you feel.
Are you tempted to contact them and hear more about the services they are offering? If so, it shows you that they are actually able to sell their own service. Therefore, chances are that they might also succeed in selling your offerings.
3) Should you hire a SaaS marketing consultant rather than a marketing agency?
While hiring a SaaS marketing agency can help increase overall sign-ups in various ways, this is not always the best solution for any SaaS company.
In some cases, it can be more beneficial for you to hire a marketing consultant rather than an agency for the following reasons:
1. Understand your product better
A marketing consultant specialist will be able to help you understand some of the key metrics that are important for your business.
Once you have learned and understood the different metrics, you will also see how you can use those most efficiently to grow your firm.
2. Understand your customers and your market better
When hiring a SaaS marketing consultant you are almost guaranteed that, the expert will undergo extensive research in order to understand your customers and your market better.
Let’s be reasonable. Many businesses simply do not have the time or resources for intensive research. However, this can all be changed if you choose a consultant that is dedicated to your firm.
With the perfect marketing specialist, you will get help to make more informed decisions about your marketing strategies.
3. Focus on the RIGHT marketing activities
It happens that companies choose a specific marketing tactic because it seems to be the easiest solution. Yet, that might not be the best solution for your company.
With a marketing consultant at hand, you make sure you follow the marketing strategies that are efficient for your enterprise.
4. Stop wasting your money
Furthermore, it is found that more businesses continue with the same marketing strategies, only because it is easy and comfortable. But you need to be realistic about which activities are beneficial for your company.
A marketing consultant will help you cut off the strategies that do not contribute to anything relevant to your business.
4 – Conclusion
So as you can see, it is not a simple process to select the right marketing consultant for your enterprise. The above-mentioned elements are all some crucial things you have to consider before you hire a marketing expert.
Before making a decision you should have made your why’s and how’s clear so it will align with your overall business strategy. We hope and trust that this article have given you a good starting point.
You can use the article as a structure for how to begin your search for the best expert that can help change and grow your company. But don’t rush the decision. After all, it is an important one that can have a large impact on your future enterprise.