b2b saas marketing playbook

The Ultimate B2B SaaS Marketing Campaign Playbook

Kaia D'Albora
Aug 16, 2021

Most marketing campaigns are doomed to fail. 

They’re complex and demanding and can cause gray hairs, but it doesn’t have to be that way with the right methodology.

That being said, marketing campaigns are critical for your organization and even more critical to get right. Whether you’re fresh into your marketing career or looking to improve your marketing function, developing campaigns to build awareness and drive conversions is a necessity for achieving your business goals.

Developing a B2B SaaS marketing campaign can be daunting. I know, I’ve been there. There are so many facets to use and deciding which to use can be difficult.

At Kalungi, we’ve developed hundreds of campaigns for our clients ranging in size from smaller nurture campaigns to larger, full-service campaigns complete with ABM, paid search, display ads –– you name it. 

Our methodology is simple: Always ask why. 

Four marketing campaigns every SaaS company should implement

Different campaigns require different strategies and tactics to meet your audience where they are. You need to have a deep understanding of your target audience’s pain before developing a campaign around that pain. The more focused, the better.

For example, a pain like siloed departments and poor cross-department communication that a specific enterprise organization might have would require a very targeted ABM email campaign with incredibly personalized messaging that speaks to those pains.

You can address more general pains such as targeting users of a competitor by hitting anywhere those users might be—email, socials, paid ads, LinkedIn. This will help you achieve your marketing goals.

Listen to your audience and then dig a little deeper. 

1. Nurture

The first campaign you need is a campaign that caters to your existing customers. If someone signs up for your product—free or paid, doesn't matter—you need to be constantly nurturing those people. Communicate with them. Offer them new ideas, new content. They have given you their email address, they have trusted you, they said, “Hey, follow me home, here are my contact details.” Treat this great respect and attention. By giving you their information, these people meant to tell you, “I want to be kept in touch.” Update them on what you do, on new things about your product they can learn, on how to best use your product.

2. Refer

The second most important campaign is a referral program. Make it easy for existing customers to share their excitement with their friends, family, and peers. Get happy customers to share the news and to help sign up more people for your product. I wrote a blog post on how to build your first referral program.

3. Retain

The third priority is to have a campaign that helps onboard and retain your customers. Educate them on how to use your product correctly and get the most out of it. Make sure they are satisfied and are not going to leave you.

4. Post-Churn

Churn happens. Someone decides to leave you, to cancel the service, to stop using the product. Have a campaign that aims to get them back without being obnoxious and respecting their choice. Service them in a way that is interesting and caring. "Hey, why did you leave? Can we learn something from you so we can help our next customer better?" Be very attentive to these people. If you're able to get them back, if you're able to find out why they left, that's an amazing win. Those return customers could become your biggest fans.

Only after you've done these 4 basic campaigns can you start thinking about your unique audience, tribe, customer segment, or community that is easy to define and that will benefit from the product or the service you have to offer. Know how to talk to them, how to listen to them, how to understand their needs. Do all this, and you will build a vertical market-segment focused campaign that will get your audience excited, engaged, and lead them to become your best customers. 

With something more general like targeting users of a competitor, hitting anywhere those users might be - email, socials, paid ads, LinkedIn - will help you achieve your marketing goals.

Listen to your audience and then dig a little deeper. 

Three elements of a successful B2B SaaS marketing campaign

At a quick glance, here are the first 3 steps (and a few suggestions) to building a successful B2B SaaS marketing campaign.

  1. Research to develop a deep understanding of your audience. Who are you targeting? 
  2. Pre-campaign prep to determine your goals and KPIs. Where do you want to end up?
  3. A campaign blueprint to hone in your approach. Is this relevant to your audience?

1. Research your ICP

Before you solidify your goals and begin to plan a successful B2B SaaS campaign, you need to do your research. A solid understanding as to who your target audience is, what pains you can solve for, and what benefit you can bring to their life is crucial. 

Remember, it’s all about them. Not about you.

Start with asking why questions:

  • Why are you running a campaign?
  • Who is your target audience? (Hint: it should be your ICP and Buyer Personas)
  • How targeted is this campaign—users of a specific competitor? 
  • Is it a one-to-one targeted ABM campaign, just focusing on Personas at a specific company? 
  • Or is it broader?

Once the target is acquired, then comes the fun part: research! You may think you know your target audience but you can always know and understand them a little better. Understand your target audience’s pains. Why should they change?

Talk to the sales team. Gather their findings in talking to prospects similar to the ones you’re targeting in this campaign. If you’re feeling gutsy, mystery shop - but be careful not to blow your cover. Another good place to get the voice of the audience is online forums - Reddit and Quora are sites that allow users to be more casual and potentially more honest than they would be in another situation. 

Understanding the pains of your audience is crucial to any campaign. But to make sure your messaging is well-rounded, you need to flush out why anyone in your target audience would choose you. Do this by asking yourself:

  • What are my company’s claims?
  • What does my solution bring to the table that they’re missing in whatever they use (or don’t use) now? These can be anything from product-specific to service-specific.

So you know how to get your audience to change and to choose you. That’s great. But what if they’re not ready to convert? To complete your research, you need to answer the question, “Why now?” What does the audience member gain by choosing you? What will make their life easier immediately by switching to your solution?

A helpful tip: once all of the pains, claims and gains are finalized, put them into a comparison table and list out the pains and link them to the complementary gains and claims. If you're targeting multiple personas, it also helps attach the pains to each specific persona and match specific gains and/or claims. This will help when building out messaging as well as prioritizing what to put on the landing page.

2. Pre-campaign preparation

Once you know all the ins and outs of your ICPs, it’s time to prep for your B2B SaaS marketing campaign. Begin by establishing clear goals and marketing KPIs. Knowing what your audience wants will help you define your goals and accurate performance indicators to define success. 

Your KPIs should be challenging but attainable. Nothing too comfortable. Being able to track the success of your campaign is critical—especially when you need buy-in from the leadership team. 

Marketing goals frequently revolve around Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs). Building KPIs around the amount of MQLs is a good start. But in order to truly measure success, you also need to measure bounce rate, open rate, traffic to the site, etc.

If you are new to KPIs or need a refresher, we utilize a version of them at Kalungi. Objectives and key results (OKRs) are our guides—both personally and with clients. Learn how to build and manage effective KPIs/OKRs here.

3. Develop your campaign blueprint

You’ve done the research. You laid the groundwork for your campaign. Now it’s time to develop a blueprint to follow. When planning a campaign, start at a high level. List out all of the possible outlets you want to use. What functions do you have? How much (wo)man power are you willing to put to work to create and own a campaign?

A SaaS marketing campaign at Kalungi typically includes:

  • ABM emails
  • ABM LinkedIn outreach
  • Inbound prospect nurturing
  • Paid search (PPC)
  • LinkedIn paid ads 
  • Content to surround your ICP's fears and dreams 
    • Blogs
    • eBooks
    • Other options: Battlecards, infographics, product videos
  • Organic social posts
    • Typically revolving around content
  • Landing pages 
    • Communication with a salesperson CTA
    • Relevant content download to nurture

Depending on the campaign, it can require more than the options listed above or less. For example, you could need to develop a new video for a product release to add to nurturing, paid ads and landing page content. Or you could do very specific ABM targeting that only requires an Outbound email sequence.

It may seem obvious, but understanding what’s needed at a high level helps you prioritize. Blockers you may run into include budget, (wo)man power, and time. Listing out resources, timelines and potential roadblocks will allow for a clearer strategy and ultimately help you achieve your KPIs.

To dive deeper into the meat and bones of a campaign, download this ebook.

b2b saas marketing campaign playbook

Download the full marketing campaign playbook to: 

  • Plan and create inbound and outbound nurture strategies
  • Track your campaign's success with KPIs 

Set your SaaS marketing campaign up for success

Yes, building out and successfully running campaigns can be daunting. But it’s a huge part of how you achieve your marketing goals and level up your business.

Next steps for your SaaS marketing campaigns

  • Set up a nurturing campaign and update it on a regular basis with new information. In other words, keep in touch with your existing customers.
  • Sign up for a referral program service, like Referral SaaSquatch.
  • Create how-to videos, write an FAQ for your website, publish white papers. Produce content that will help educate your customers on how to use your product.
  • Develop a survey or a questionnaire for customers that decide to leave you, to understand what made them do it.
  • Make sure to lead all your visitors to dedicated landing pages to make it easier to analyze their search behavior. Some greats tips here.

Remember, you have to meet your audience where they are. The messaging should accurately reflect where they are in their buyer’s journey, and always ask why.

And with that, godspeed!

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