(2022) How to create a foolproof SaaS go-to-market strategy
Founder of Saas Camp
A go-to-market strategy helps SaaS businesses prioritize what can help them gain traction and grow fast in their niche.
The industry has surged more than 5x over the past 7 years. According to DevSquad, 80% of all businesses plan to switch their systems to SaaS by 2025.
If you’re looking to successfully take your SaaS product to market, the first step is to create a competent plan to get and retain your first clients. SaaS Camp is helping founders develop winning GTM strategies and put their best foot forward during the toughest stage of growth.
Let’s begin by breaking down the components of a robust go to market strategy template.
What does a SaaS go-to market strategy entail?
Founders can depend on GTM strategies for the following purposes:
Bringing a new product to an already thriving market
Spreading awareness about a new feature of a current product
Promoting an existing product to a new market or target audience
Summarily, a comprehensive GTM plan consists of your buyer persona, market, messaging, distribution, pricing and messaging. Once you’ve clarified what and whose problem you’re solving, it’s wise to begin your GTM plan before developing your product further. Your strategy drives your product, not the other way around.
Why is having a SaaS GTM plan important?
A go to market plan helps you create a plan and consider all the variables that there are with growing successfully.
It'll specifically focus on gaining the initial momentum your product needs to get going. By compiling all the key information into a concise action plan, your decisions and direction will be carefully informed. You’ll save big on costs and time by streamlining the process early on.
Timelines and objectives can help keep track of expectations and outcomes. Data such as churn rate and activation rate will also indicate progress, which we'll explore further later.
Why do you need to nail your go-to market strategy?
A go to market strategy for startups provides the perspective necessary to avoid pitfalls, manage risk and allocate resources. And if you have a team behind you, it keeps everybody on the same page to give your product a timely and coordinated push.
SaaS consumers are being presented with new and innovative solutions all the time. G2 Crowd reports a whopping 34,727 SaaS products across 745 vertical industries. The industry may be saturated, but a concise GTM strategy should begin to outline how you can distinguish your offering from competition.
SaaS is intangible and prone to confusing messaging. A GTM plan will also make sure potential customers have a strong impression of who you are, what you sell, and why it matters from the first point of contact.
Finally, nailing your GTM strategy may help you get your first batch of clients loyal to what you offer that will help you spread the word out on your great product:
What are some things you need to consider in your SaaS go-to market strategy?
Turning fledgling ideas into full-scale money machines takes precision. GTM strategies should provide comprehensive insights toward the following:
The Target audience
Marketing and Messaging
Sales strategy and Pricing
All these elements need to work in tandem for a successful product launch. Even one weak link can sever the connection between the audience and your product.
Knowing the right move takes experience and judgment, and I've used mine to turn the products of over 50 SaaS founders into thriving businesses.
Creating your SaaS go-to marketing strategy
1. Target market: who are you trying to sell?
Begin by developing an intimate understanding of the struggles your product solves, and the people who most need it. Consider your ICP (ideal customer profile) meticulously. Your target market will provide the basis for the rest of your strategy.
Research to find who is already successful in your space by conducting an analysis for both direct and indirect competition. Then, keep an eye out for mistakes that have already been made for you, as well as proven systems or techniques you could adopt for yourself.
From there, you can branch out your SaaS GTM strategy, along with your message, and how you’ll deliver it.
2. Messaging: how will you communicate your product?
Messaging describes your values, what you do, and why your audience should care. Once you’re aware of your audience’s frustrations, you can tailor your offer to address them directly.
Your value proposition is your opportunity to differentiate yourself from competition. Tweak the language and focus of your messaging so that it resonates strongly enough for customers to explore your product further.
Are you crystal clear on what you’re offering and why? Reexamine your audience.
3. Sales and pricing strategy: how will you drive and close deals?
How will users fall in love with and purchase your product? Are you going to encourage them to explore the benefits through trials and limited access, or use sales skills to seal more committed deals? Alternatively, a community-led strategy can leverage brand identity for greater retention long-term.
Your approach will depend on your product, its price, the people it's for, and the ones behind it. The hotly-debated sales vs product-lead growth approach is broken down in detail over at journey.io.
When it comes to pricing, there's a handful of options to choose from, including freemium, flat rate, user-based, per feature, tiered and pay-as-you-go. Now rare, flat fees make clear-cut offers - which is great for focused messaging - but with consumers operating on a wide range of budgets, many SaaS products have diversified their pricing.
You can find a full-list of pros and cons for each pricing strategy at co bloom.
4. Marketing distribution: how will you reach your customers?
Which medium will you use to connect with customers and drive sales? Your audience will reveal where and how you can best find and engage with them. Your distribution will also be informed by your sales strategy. SEO and content marketing, for example, is a popular approach to build long standing authority and trust.
Additionally, you can experiment marketing through respected creators, or begin to nurture a community on social media by locating hangouts, delivering valuable content and building a high-caliber email list.
Whilst paid ads can be effective, I’ve had incredible results generating 200+ sales called with $0 ad spend.
Providing a free product can be an effective growth hack if you have the funds to do so. Why?
Early social proof will be effective in snowballing conversions. For instance, Affimilate significantly increased their conversions by showing relevant testimonials of the niche it’s targeting. Getting your first batch of users may help you acquire the right amount of reviews and testimonials you need to start your word-of-mouth growth.
Get product feedback. This can help you figure out what your target audience wants and effectively monetize your product. Remember any type of data that can help you steer towards the right direction is worth its weight in gold.
6. Onboarding process: how will you convert and keep customers?
Your ability to raise awareness will depend on your marketing, but your product's user experience will determine how successfully and quickly you can onboard new customers.
First visits should be customized, interactive, frictionless, meet expectations, and provide clear guidance on usage. Here’s a few key points to keep in mind
A polished presentation and coherent user interface for your product will be among the first indicators that it is indeed worth the customer's time.
The path to realizing value should be short. Accelerate the ‘aha!’ moment at which users understand how your product is exactly what they need. You can use one of the tools mentioned below to pinpoint where the onboarding flow is making or breaking. Ideally, aim to reach the time-to-value before you ask for a sign up. For trials, The Close recommends a cool 2 weeks.
After welcoming users, segment them to the relevant places, where your messaging and UI can personalize the process. Don’t leave them with the infamous white canvas fear of a blank page. An introductory tutorial can set the swing in motion for newcomers to comfortably explore the product.
7. Tracking metrics: pick your measures of success
Get your numbers straight and always know where you stand. You can measure your progress through a handful of key statistics. Some of the top metric benchmarks for SaaS last year can be found in detail on Klipfolio.
Collecting data from the start is good practice, and can inform your roadmap with a more sophisticated insight moving forward. Strong examples of social proof you can gather, review and present include testimonials, case studies and reviews.
7 high-quality tools for SaaS analytics are listed on Smart Karrot for things like CMS, subscription analytics, and tracking user behavior, including interaction and engagement in real-time.
Nail your GTM
The countless variables at play can make assembling your GTM strategy seem like an insurmountable challenge. Your consistency and persistence might have as much to do with your outcome as your plan. However, unless all of its components align, your strategy will likely fail your product’s potential.
I developed SaaS Camp to stop that from happening. Its 8-week curriculum has helped over 50 founders grow their SaaS businesses to thousands in revenue. We’ll get your go-to-market plan in fighting shape for a successful product launch.
If you earnestly execute your GTM strategy and your revenue doesn’t increase by 30k ARR in 90 days, we’ll work with you for free until you 3x your investment.