Your Q4 2020 SaaS Marketing Game Plan
25th September 2020
Major trends emerging within the SaaS market
Usually, as the holiday season fades and we head into Q4, we expect a bounce as clients gear up to get right back down to business.
However, 2020 is a year like no other. For some SaaS businesses COVID-19 has been a cloud (excuse the pun) with a silver lining, whereas for others, plans have had to be redrawn as budgets come under pressure. In some cases, businesses have folded. It’s the familiar story of change creating winners and losers.
Across the SaaS sector we are seeing 3 major trends:
- Products that are in demand because they chime with the market remade by COVID-19, or those that have quickly pivoted to adapt, resulting in rapid growth
- Products experiencing reduced interest and companies making the most of the quieter time by focusing on strategic activities or tackling major projects, such as new websites
- Products for which it is largely business as usual, albeit with a few bumps or slower growth
Perfect never happens, so just get on with it
The tendency for knee jerk reactions which characterised the first wave has largely given way to more reasoned thinking; we have learned to live a little easier with our anxieties in the ‘new normal’. However, much uncertainty remains, and there are still unanswered questions, including:
- When is the vaccine going to be available?
- How bad is this recession likely to be?
- How soon can we get back to the ‘old normal’? (If we ever do!)
As part of the natural ebb and flow of economics, before the pandemic hit, recession was on the horizon. It’s just the way the cycle of boom and bust works. So, last year we were writing about preparing your SaaS business for tougher times. And naturally in more prosperous times, it follows that we might talk about maximising the gains during boom times.
The trouble with thinking too rigidly along these lines is we could fall into the trap of waiting for ‘perfect’ conditions for growth. Perfect never happens!
As we move into Q4 of what was meant to be the first year of an exciting new decade, we find ourselves in a far, far different world from one that perhaps any of us could have imagined. So, what should your marketing focus on? Here are some items you might wish to consider.
Keep marketing and selling
It’s Q4, and it’s still a good time to think sales. B2B SaaS has never been in more demand. Of course, there are variations for different product types.
If you provide software and a services platform for managing field teams such as sales, then the reduction in travel and face-to-face activities, that has been the hallmark of COVID-19 infection prevention, might mean your sales activity is relatively static.
However, if you are geared to providing software for companies providing digital financial solutions, say, it might be a different, more upbeat story, because people always need to be paid and need a new solution when teams are working remotely. Should you be an enabler of home or remote working, then you may be experiencing a significant uplift.
Whatever situation your sales funnel is in, keep things going, if you can. You may have to adapt and do it differently and change your expectations about targets and what’s do-able. The baselines by which you measure the volume, tempo and rhythm of business likely need to change.
What strategic or ‘important, non-urgent’ work can you focus on?
Reviewing your business is of course an essential process. ‘Conventional’ best practice suggests that a periodic appraisal should be made annually. However, in today’s world, the business environment is so fast moving that the approach to strategic review should be flexible. In short, you need to be able to initiate a review based on the importance of any changes that impact or are likely to have relevance to your business, whenever they arise.
The top-level strategy of your business is likely to be simple. But as you drill down it is going to be more complex and nuanced. Consider reviewing these elements that might form part of your overall strategy.
- Business positioning and direction – Is your product/service pitched right for your marketplace? Do you need to change from an enterprise to a mid-market/SMB focus? Or vice-versa?
- Increase marketing – Do you have the capital or investment to increase marketing budgets? Quite simply, consider marketing harder to win more of the busines that is still out there…
- Think about pivoting – Is there potential to tap a buoyant market sector by modifying the product/service in some way? Do you just need to reskin, repackage and remarket, or do you need to make some functional changes to what your product/service does first?
- Forge partnerships – Are there opportunities to leverage relationships with businesses that are winners? Working as partners may be symbiotic and solve problems for both of you.
Q4 is typically a time to create your Marketing Strategy for the following year and consider what new marketing initiatives you’ll be undertaking.
Other ‘important, non-urgent’ work to consider is:
- Updating your branding
- Updating or building a new website
- Reviewing your onboarding strategy
- Creating more content
- Looking at new software and upgrading your marketing stack
Plan and execute your strategy with Xander Marketing
Xander Marketing has helped over 175 B2B SaaS businesses grow revenue, sales and leads with outsourced marketing since 2009.