The perfect SaaS marketing department and Roman Empire at its prime are extremely similar.
Let me explain:
SaaS is huge.
And extremely diverse.
So it would be naive to think that marketing in such a vast and competitive environment would be easy, it’s not. There are countless channels to be present on and numerous topics to direct your focus towards; all of which will possibly have over-the roof ROI.
The world 2000 years ago was also huge, and extremely diverse (it still is); managing 5 million square kilometers of land with all the people included was not easy too.
So how did they do it?
- A huge, organized (arguably the greatest) army,
- Laws and policies that outlined the processes,
- And a rich culture.
So, I’m guessing for your marketing team to dominate the market, you’ll need,
- A huge, organized team,
- An outline of responsibilities and processes,
- And, well, a rich culture.
In this article, I’ll try to explain what the structure and strategies of successful marketing departments, especially for SaaS look like.
The Essence of a SaaS Marketing Strategy
In traditional marketing, resonating with the emotions of the audience can be enough to have a killer marketing strategy.
However, the best way to market your SaaS company is not by using emotions but rather the logical side of your product.
Your marketing efforts should help you make your services more visible while providing answers to customers’ questions such as:
- How can your product help in streamlining work processes?
- What are the key features?
- Are the features easy to use? Or, is the onboarding process on your platform smooth, fast, and easy?
- What does your service mean to your customer’s businesses?
- Will your service save resources, money, and time for your customers?
- What is the estimated ROI companies can expect with their purchase?
Buyers in the B2B market can be tricky to satisfy. They have their needs and desires, which are motivated by their ambitions. They want a service that will make them look like a rockstar, provide fresh and real data, and have it all wrapped up in one neat little package.
SaaS Marketing Strategy Discipline
Consistency is the key to any good marketing campaign.
I’m saying this because as a SaaS company, you would want your services to be useful for startups, small companies, and even large enterprises. But advertising to those three groups requires different strategies and skillsets.
If you want to please many customers, go and start advertising to them. But if you want your business to be successful, market segmentation is critical.
Marketing campaigns that appeal to all the segments in a B2B field have been shown time after time not to work as well as those that focus on one segment at a time.
And yes, marketing in today’s economy can be difficult as there are many audiences vying for attention, but when you know who your customers are, things become easier. When you identify what type of customer you want to provide service to, you should stick with them and stay disciplined.
I know that it’s tempting to advertise to any audience because they might all need your product or service, but doing so inevitably leads to suboptimal results since not everyone wants the same thing from your company.
Different SaaS Marketing Teams and Organizations
If you want to build a successful software company, it is important for you to understand the different SaaS marketing models that are being used by successful companies. These companies all have different structures and goals, but they still use a variety of marketing methods.
Inbound marketing is a way to attract customers by creating valuable content and experiences tailored to them.
While outbound marketing interrupts your audience with content they don’t always want, inbound marketing forms connections they are looking for and solves problems they already have.
A company’s digital presence is imperative to its success in today’s marketplace. Inbound marketing, a strategy that typically includes content marketing, social media marketing, and search engine optimization (SEO), helps businesses establish themselves online by attracting customers with relevant information and increasing the visibility of potential B2B clients while maintaining an authentic message.
Out of the many inbound marketing teams we’ve seen, HubSpot is one of the most organized. The HubSpot inbound marketing team is organized so well that they even offer their B2B inbound marketing services to other companies. Their CMO has access to four separate departments:
- Demand Generation
- Product/Service Marketing
- Brand and Buzz
- Content Marketing
Inbound marketing manager and Channel specific marketing manager are in the Demand Generation team.
The Demand Generation team is in charge of generating leads for the company by taking advantage of all possible marketing channels.
A Channel-specific Marketing Manager is assigned the task of advertising via email, social media, and paid services like Google Ads.
The Inbound Marketing Manager is responsible for the strategic marketing of brands. This includes person-specific marketing, international marketing, and growth hacking. The team also handles analytics and operations which are crucial to any business’s success.
The Service Marketing Manager is a key player in the development and success of any new service launch. Her team’s responsibilities include sales enablement-helping customers make informed decisions about services through informative content and web development to maintain an interactive and up-to-date website as well as show customers how to find what they need.
Brand and Buzz is a department focused on marketing and PR. They take care of public relations, establish connections with influencers in the field, organize events, etc. They often use creative graphic design services from other companies or have a dedicated creative graphic designer in their team who does all this work for them.
The Content Marketing team is in charge of attracting potential customers by providing interesting, engaging content that solves problems and meets their needs. They do this through blogging, educational resources, and various offers.
Elastic Marketing Organization
Elastic marketing organizations provide a flexible structure that will allow you to easily adapt to changing needs and market reach.
This is great because it provides an opportunity for growth, flexibility, and the ability to meet your company’s needs as they arise.
The departments go as follows:
- Service Marketing
- Marketing and Ops
- Content and Communications Manager
- Creative Services
- Field Marketing
In this model, Analytics is placed in the hands of the Marketing and Ops department, while Creative Services uses this information to create engaging content that corresponds to current market needs and requirements.
The Field Marketing team is responsible for generating demand and fostering customer retention efforts.
Top-of-the-Funnel Growth Organization
The marketing team built around top-of-funnel growth relies heavily on content and service marketing to generate the best content for their customers.
They rely on the creative team to create engaging content that will attract attention and keep viewers coming back.
This type of company focuses on post-lead metrics in order to further customize their marketing efforts, minimize churn and maximize growth. This type of organization is based on three functional departments.
The first department is in charge of the web, marketing, and service.
The second is focused on paid marketing efforts, communication with prospects and customers, and analytics.
The third one takes care of content marketing, direct B2B marketing, and lead nurturing.
SaaS Marketing Team Structure
The question of how many people should be in your SaaS marketing team is a much-debated topic.
There are various factors that go into this question, and the size of your company plays an important role.
According to the research by Insight Squared:
- A SaaS with less than 50 employees has a marketing team making up 5.5 percent of the workforce
- A SaaS with less than 50 employees has a sales team making up 11.7 percent of the workforce
- Companies with more than 50 people have marketing teams making up 7.4 percent of the team
For any SaaS business, marketing is an often overlooked and crucial aspect of success.
You need a team of people that can cover many different roles. These teams should be structured and have clear responsibilities, so they can work together more efficiently. A comprehensive strategy for B2B marketing can only be created when the CEO, CMO, and other members of the leadership team work closely on it together with all involved in order to establish clear marketing goals.
Common SaaS Marketing Job Titles
Here is a quick rundown of some of the more common marketing job titles seen in SaaS companies.
CMO: The Chief Marketing Officer is responsible for strategy and measurement.
VP of Marketing: Responsible for the implementation of the CMO’s strategy (or the delegation of work to achieve that strategy).
Communications Director: Responsible for messaging, communications, and press relations.
Brand Director: Responsible for brand name and brand development.
Content Director: Responsible for all cross-channel content used to build and educate about the brand.
Creative Content Director: Usually reports to the Content Director and is responsible for selling the product or service via creative content such as storytelling or other visuals.
Director Growth/Digital Marketing Director: Highly prized in startups, the Growth and Digital Marketing Director uses data-driven marketing to grow the business.
Directors of Outbound Marketing, Inbound Marketing, Product Marketing, and Product Marketing will all likely report to the Director of Growth and Digital Marketing.
Mid-level sales and marketing roles in SaaS companies usually include:
Digital Marketing Manager: Responsible for managing and executing digital initiatives and keeping track of important metrics such as SEO, PPC, SEM, social interactions, etc.
Growth Marketing Manager: Responsibilities here are similar to those of the Director of Growth but on a smaller, more specified scale.
Marketing Operations Manager: Responsible for the smooth operations of the marketing department.
Brand Manager: Responsible for a specific brand that the company produces, not for the branding of the company as a whole (which is what the Brand Director must oversee).
Marketing Project Manager: Responsible for managing the project management and task/duties assignments of growing marketing teams.
Channel or brand-specific sales and marketing roles that are important for SaaS success on the level of individual users include:
Content Marketing Manager: Responsible for all content on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis with fixed and measured outreach and engagement goals.
Social Media Manager (or Coordinator): Responsible for content, accounts, team members, vendors, and social account management and maintenance.
Product Marketing Manager: Responsible for the implementation of marketing initiatives for a specific product.
Digital Advertising Manager: May report to the Product Marketing Manager but is more involved in social marketing and sales.
Events (or Virtual Events) Manager: Handles all aspects of event management.
Customer Marketing Manager: Responsible for keeping the customer happy and can include many activities from different areas, such as events, social posts, discounts, giveaways, and user-specific content generation.
SEO Manager: Works with content and social managers to ensure high ranking in customer searches.
Community Manager: Responsible for specific communities or products to drive engagement and onboarding.
Partnership or Affiliate Manager: A more specific role than customer or community management, these managers handle marketing and sales with partners and affiliates.
Sales and marketing roles that are very important at all levels and across all departments and channels and are needed to ensure that activities are smooth, consistent, and in accordance with the strategies outlined by executive management include the following.
Marketing Coordinator: Coordinates marketing efforts within a department.
Digital Marketer: Executes digital marketing initiatives for a customer group, industry, or product.
E-Commerce Strategist: Develops and may execute e-commerce initiatives based on analytics.
Conversion Rate Specialist: Relentlessly focuses on improving conversion rates.
Marketing Assistant: Assists with any and all marketing efforts on an as-needed basis.
Graphic Designer: Creates visuals or other forms of content for marketing purposes.
Copywriter: Creates content for multi-channel use. This content can be for outreach, education, onboarding, or otherwise.
Web Designer: Focuses on designing appealing, intuitive, and performant online pages.
Content Marketer: Similar to a Copywriter, the Content Marketer creates blogs, email blasts, and other content that is used specifically for marketing.
Content Strategist: Similar to the above but leans more toward strategic decision making and measurement than implementation.
Social Media Marketer: Uses social media content to drive growth and engagement.
PPC and SEO Specialists: These employees run PPC ads on different platforms including social sites and manage SEO initiatives, including keyword research and efforts to improve domain authority.
For all of the functions above, there are also Analyst and Associate roles that are designed to help drive implementation and measurement on a very granular level. These positions include Marketing Analysts, Social Media Analysts, Account Specialists, SEO Specialists, and Content Associates.
Every SaaS company has its own unique product, features, design, and specific target market. This means that there is no universal marketing team that could be used for every business. What one needs to do is figure out their strengths and weaknesses to find a perfect team for them.
And yes, I know that building a marketing team can be an intimidating task. However, by studying the structures of successful companies you will be able to put together a strong marketing team that will enable you to reach your goals while staying true to who your target market is.
Once you’ve put together your team, it’s time to create a successful marketing strategy for your SaaS.
Frequently Asked Questions
How is SaaS Marketing different than Traditional Marketing?
In SaaS Marketing, you’re trying to sell a product that isn’t physical and is more of an experience for the consumers; so convincing the audience to buy your product becomes more difficult and requires additional strategies and more effort.
How big is the Marketing department in a SaaS company?
For SaaS companies, as it is for any other industry, the size of the marketing team depends on the size of the company. For companies under 50 employees, the average marketing team size is 5%, while it is 7% for 50 employees and above.
How much does an average SaaS company spend on Marketing?
On average, since there are no physical products or manufacturing costs in software, an average (successful) SaaS company spends at least half of its Monthly Recurring Revenue on marketing.