5 Things I’ve Learned In 3 Months Of SaaS Marketing

SaaS Rollercoaster

3 months ago I left the hotel marketing world behind me, embarking on a new career challenge as Marketing Manager within a SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) startup, Administrate.

Quick background on my new role; Administrate produces an industry leading, feature rich, cloud based Training Management System (TMS) and Learning Management System (LMS). In a nutshell we help training companies and internal training departments automate their admin tasks, increase course signups, reduce overheads and deliver elearning.

It’s been an exciting roller coaster ride so far, extremely fast paced and varied. And it’s a real buzz to be part of a company that believes that ‘nobody is ever done learning’.

So what are the 5 key things I’ve learnt in SaaS so far?

1. Leads. Leads. Leads.

Moving from roles where the main focus was £/$ conversions, generating MQL’s (or Marketing Qualified Leads) has been an interesting change. The complexities with lead gen are many and varied – outbound vs. inbound, quality vs. quantity, a handful of high value leads vs. multiples of low value etc. It’s an ever changing, constantly evolving, beast and keeping track of what’s working tests your attribution skills and then some.

2. Conversions are a lot more complex.

Most recently I’ve dealt with the hospitality industry where conversion tends to be pretty simplistic; Website Visit > Hotel Booking. Easy. In SaaS land, conversion can mean Outbound Approach > Free Trial or Free Trial > Demo Booked or Demo Booked > Deal Made. In many cases, marketing can only really impact the first conversion point, therefore our mission is quality leads at the top of the funnel. Better to have 500 > 50 > 5 than 1,000 > 30 > 2.

3. SaaS moves FAST.

Having come from an agency background for the last 4 years I thought I’d be well prepared for the pace of SaaS. The best way I can think to describe it is that agencies certainly move fast, but generally along a straight road. SaaS moves just as quick, but veers across every lane, into a field, through a pond and back onto the road again. It’s a wild ride.

4. Gratification is SLOW.

Although we’re hurtling along at an incredible rate of knots, the buying process is much more tortoise-paced. The impact of marketing efforts may not be realised until 6, 12 or even 18 months down the line, depending on the size and complexity of the opportunity. Patience is a virtue.

5. There’s a whole new language to learn.

Working in digital marketing, I’m familiar with an acronym or two. I also learned the language of the hospitality industry from my last role. In SaaS and EdTech there’s an entirely new language to learn. Three months in and I’m not fluent, but I can converse on the basics now – I’m probably at the ‘can order a beer’ stage in my language learning. Writing an ‘EdTech Jargon Buster‘ has certainly helped, but I’m a long way from fluent.

So what next?

There’s lots happening at Administrate over the coming months.

We’re hiring, so if anyone reading this is (or knows of) a Software Engineer, Test Engineer, Graphic Designer or Marketing Delivery Executive, then do get in touch. We’re also getting ready for our 2nd annual EdTech conference, LITE 2016, on September 22-23. It’s got an awesome line-up of speakers already confirmed – check out http://www.liteconf.com/ for more details.