Marketing for SaaS is cutthroat today. Generating leads in abundance is not a measure of success now. Your bottom line metrics are under more scrutiny than ever before.
How qualified your leads are, and how much of them are your true ICP matters more.
And to bring in these changes to your marketing DNA, you need to think about how you can influence the B2B buyer journey.
For far too long, a good buying experience in B2B took a hit in the name of optimizing for conversions and pipeline. But it needn’t be this way.
So how can your marketing efforts elevate the buyer journey and hit pipeline goals? Let’s find out.
Understanding your B2B buying journey
A B2B buyer journey is how you map the various touch points that a prospect goes through before turning a customer.
Especially for inbound, it helps you visualize how a prospect found your product, expressed interest, and filled up a form.
Conventional marketing divides this into 4 stages. Let’s look at them with the resources
- Awareness: Helpful resources like “how to” blogs, social media, SEO, PPC, newsletter
- Consideration: Problem statement in home page, reviews, word of mouth, customer testimonials
- Purchase: Website, feature page, integrations, free trial, freemium, BDR outreach
- Retention and advocacy: Community forum, after-sale support, self-serve, in-app stickiness, collaborative efforts and partnerships
You’ve probably seen an image like this when you try to “google” buyer journey. But has it actually helped you chart out a clear journey with all the touchpoints?
Don’t worry if you haven’t been able to. Because it is woefully outdated for today’s complex buying patterns.
Sure, it’s a great way to get to the grind and start thinking about a buyer journey for your GTM. But the problem is that these journeys are not linear. That’s a part of why SaaS buying is complex as it is today.
You don’t get a prospect to sign-up for a demo just from one paid ad, a blog post, a customer testimonial post on socials. No single touch point drives your pipeline in the buyer journey.
Here’s a more accurate representation of how chaotic your B2B buyer journey actually is:
Take a leaf out of your attribution to understand your B2B buyer journey
Meet Sarah, who is on a quest to find the perfect meeting scheduling tool to streamline her team's Go-to-Market (GTM) efforts with better meeting scheduling and lead routing.
Discovery: Her journey begins with a simple Google search: "What’s the best Chili Piper alternative?" A click on the resulting blog introduces her to a host of scheduling software. However, she doesn't make a hasty decision; instead, she bookmarks the blog for future reference.
Research: Over the next few days, Sarah casts a wide net in her pursuit of information. Social media posts from RevenueHero fill her LinkedIn timeline, which adds a recall value to the brand.
Awareness: Sarah refines her search to a more specific inquiry: "How to improve lead routing and meeting bookings." Remarkably, the scheduling software's blog reemerges, offering valuable insights on the subject.
Fallback: While she’s about to zero-in on this product, she realized there’s a problem. There’s still 11 months of contract left with the incumbent meeting software. Forcing her to avoid joining the call that she set up from an ad landing page.
Abyss: The possibility of deploying the new tool fades. She instead looks out for temporary solutions that could improve her company’s scheduling tool’s functionalities.
Outbound: An SDR connects the dots from her data in the CRM. She reaches out to Sarah 9 months before their renewal of their existing tool. To take care of a potential objection, she also lets Sarah know about the contract buyout option that this tool offers.
This changes everything!: Instead of settling for another 9 months of process inefficiencies and poor lead management, Sarah finally takes the demo call and the rest is history.
Yes, we took a leaf out of how the B2B buyer journey looks like at RevenueHero. Imagine the number of fallbacks we haven’t covered. It could be a negative review, a champion suggesting another product on a Slack community, product discussions on Reddit, and so on.
How do you tune out the noise amidst this complex buyer journey? At RevenueHero, we take a hybrid approach to attribution and B2B buyer journey.
Here’s Vikash Koushik, our Head of Marketing, putting B2B buyer journey and marketing touchpoints in context to work for the pipeline.
So, by combining these pieces of the puzzle, we get a pretty good picture of our buyer journey, and also fix any marketing attribution issues that improve pipeline visibility.
Optimizing the B2B buyer journey while giving a good buying experience
If your inbound pipeline is predominantly built around a free-trial or a demo request play, your value proposition needs to be ironclad. Because what’s the incentive for them to check you out otherwise?
Your prospects need to instantly relate and connect with what your solution stands for; and how it can be a painkiller to their daily work.
The thing is SaaS website templates and copies have reached an impasse. They all look the same, with swaying copies, product screenshots, customer testimonials.
Think about how you can speak directly to the pain points of your target accounts. Address their internal concerns and unspoken objections right then and there so that it never crops on the demo call.
Not to boast, but Ryan James of Rocket SaaS used RevenueHero’s homepage as an example of a great headline copy.
What does your website to demo workflow look like?
When someone’s ready to request a demo, they have more context about your product than any other prospect out there. They’ve done their initial research to get here. You never know when their intent cultivates into a demo request.
So, you need to always be ready to provide a buying experience that validates their preliminary understanding and evaluation of your product and brand.
That’s why this one’s a clincher. You either totally nail your demo booking experience or it’s just another form pushing leads into an MQL spreadsheet.
There are a few ways you can reduce friction in your demo booking:
1. Simplify the form
Make sure the demo request form is user-friendly and straightforward. Minimize the number of required fields to reduce friction, asking only for essential information such as name, email, and company name.
For instance, RevenueHero uses native form enrichment to fetch important data such as country, disposable emails, and timezone to avoid these in the form fields.
2. Don’t make your qualified leads wait
GTM teams are still plagued by the issue of late-touch from an BDR or AE after a form-fill. Why? Simply because lead qualification is done manually — manual outreach, manual BDR routing, manual meeting creation, manual AE handoff, manual everything!
Deploy a scheduling tool that can qualify leads instantly and enable your prospects to schedule meetings on your website — right after a form-fill.
Because by the time you respond to them with an inefficient qualification and routing process, they’ve already shopped around enough and have lost the initial curiosity they had on your product.
3. Nurture prospects who don’t schedule a meeting or don’t turn up
Meeting no-shows are like the abandoned cart of the B2B buying journey.
Yet, when a prospect doesn’t show-up to a meeting, the process isn’t as fluid as a cart abandonment message or email.
Follow-up sequences with “do you want to reschedule” and “when would you like to circle back” carry no value without a nudge.
You have their contact information and their intent recorded. Why would you add more friction by getting them to respond to emails or fill up a form again?
To smoothen this part of the buyer journey, tools like RevenueHero offer 1-click magic links. There are links that BDRs can generate and embed on emails instead of asking the prospects for the availability again.
Just like the product and checkout link you receive when you abandon cart in an online store.
4. Add personalized meeting links to your ABM campaigns
You’re running a personalized campaign to a specific set of target accounts only because you believe in their potential to convert. So what can you do to enhance their experience even further?
Make your meeting booking page stand out from the rest by adding your own twist!
The above screenshot is an example of a personalized meeting page created by Spendflo using RevenueHero.
It’s not just the mechanical parts like calendar and routing that get the trick. But adding a stamp of your brand tone and personalization goes a long way in ABM or any retargeting campaigns.
5. Make your BDR-to-AE handoff fluid
The sales processes of SaaS companies vary a lot depending on the product complexity and sales cycles. In many of them, BDRs fetch initial context even if it’s inbound and then handoff the lead to an AE.
But the handoff process is full of time-consuming manual inefficiencies.
BDRs end up tracking AE calendars on a spreadsheet ahead while simultaneously coordinating with prospects’ availability.
By the time a prospect and an AE agree on a meeting slot, the damage is already done to the buyer experience.
Here’s where a purpose-built handoff automation will help you fix the buyer journey. RevenueHero, for instance, lets BDRs embed calendar slots of the best available AE directly into a prospect email — enabling a 1-click meeting handoff.
A similar workflow can be deployed for an after-sale journey by handing off the prospect from AE to an implementation specialist.
6. Use in-app prompts to fortify your PLG motion
If your company is PLG-led, your prospects are already in your product. While it is understood why you can’t have a demo or meeting play ahead of a sign-up, you need to pay attention to your customers once they’re on the product.
Here’s how you can do it.
- Deploy an in-app widget that enables high-intent users to directly book a meeting with the right product specialist. Create rules to recognize these users based on their actions in the freemium plan. This barrier for entry need not apply for a paying customer.
- Alongside the scheduling widget, create a personalized video that’s a quick walkthrough of your product or the particular feature they’re on. If they still feel the need for a call, they can go ahead and pick a calendar slot.
- With in-app scheduling, you can also activate users who aren’t up to speed with your product yet. Product adoption is key in PLG and sales-assisted motions and an in-app scheduler can tap into the right intent signals when users are testing your product.
Navigate your B2B buyer journey from awareness to advocacy
Your buyer journey boils down to identifying which marketing efforts are truly driving your pipeline.
While your social media game, blog posts, Google and LinkedIn ads, and email campaigns can drive initial demand, closing your buyer journey with the right marketing processes matter more.
Because people land on your brand and product with varied levels of awareness from different touchpoints. But with the rising CAC, you need to be ready for that curiosity to turn into real intent at any point in the journey.
In a nutshell, it’s no longer about choosing between making buying easy with memorable experiences and optimizing for conversions. They need to go hand in hand with an integrated approach to bridge the gap between B2B buyer journey and marketing efforts.
We hope the article gives you a holistic way of understanding how fixing your B2B buyer journey will help your pipeline soar with qualified leads.