What Does A SaaS Marketing Team Do?
There are three primary things a marketing team for a SaaS company does:
- Identify Demand
- Generate Demand
- Capture Demand
Most marketing efforts will be devoted toward one or more of these goals, and it's important that the right metrics are being used for each effort.
For example, efforts intended to generate demand will not necessarily lead to more demand being captured. You can measure how effective your demand generation efforts are through proxies such as brand awareness and favorability, recognizing that if these don't directly impact revenue, that may be a problem with demand capture, not demand generation.
Company philosophy, size, stage in the product life cycle, and target audiences will impact how many resources your marketing team devotes toward each goal.
There are many different lenses to look at marketing through, but two of the most important are by channel and by marketing assets. Each channel and asset is usually better suited for certain types of marketing efforts than others.
For example, social media is a good channel for identifying and generating demand, but not for capturing it.
Landing pages designed to overcome objections and convince a prospect to try a free trial are good for capturing demand, but not for generating it, and only indirectly for identifying it (through A/B tests, for example).
When constructing, managing, and leading a SaaS marketing team, it's important to start with these high level concepts.
- When do you prioritize demand identification, generation, and capture, and what mix of these is best suited for your SaaS and your company philosophy?
- Which channels and assets should you focus on for each goal, and which assets work best with which channels?
SaaS Marketing Team Structure and Org Charts
Obviously, every marketing team will be structured differently, depending on how big your budget is and which areas are best to invest in for your target markets. Even so, there are certain roles that you will want to fill, or at least consider filling, even if it means some team members will be acting in multiple roles.
While every member of the team should be involved in contributing ideas, the team's strategist is the one most responsible for setting goals and planning how to execute them. The strategist identifies target markets, where to find members of the those markets, and the reasons they would use the SaaS.
They then use this information to determine what the marketing strategy should look like and how best to implement it. They will also be most responsible for evaluating what is working and what isn't, and for adapting in response to that information.
Useful metrics for a strategist include:
- Marketing qualified leads: leads that have taken an action indicating interest. The number of them, and their value compared to other leads.
- Marketing ROI and contribution to revenue
- Lead to opportunity conversion rate
Content creators write content for landing pages, blog posts, guest editorials, whitepapers, and so on. They should be skilled at researching topics and synthesizing information quickly, and understand the psychology behind how content influences lead's decisions, and what is likely to get accepted for publication or achieve popularity on various platforms.
Different types of content creators may be necessary for different types of content, since the psychology behind influencing hot leads on a landing page with pithy content can be very different from the psychology behind building trust with cold leads over an extended time period with useful advice.
Useful metrics include:
- Web traffic captured by site content or referred by publications on other sites
- Leads generated by content lead magnets
- Value added to leads who have interacted with more content
- Conversion rate of landing pages
These roles may be filled by search engine optimizers (SEOs), conversion rate optimizers (CROs), and web managers, and these often should be roles filled by different people. What unites them, however, is their focus on using data and technical skill to identify opportunities to create business value.
SEOs can identify opportunities to capture more visits or value from search engine traffic. CROs can identify opportunities to increase conversion rates from site visitors. Web managers can edit site code, improve site speed, connect various marketing platforms, automate various tasks, and resolve technical issues. Most should be skilled at tracking marketing campaigns, reporting, and offering data-driven feedback on progress.
Some useful metrics:
- Search engine traffic, rankings, pages indexed, conversions, and revenue
- Conversion rates
- Page load time
- Server and code validation errors
- Site uptime
Marketing Ops Manager
A Marketing Ops Manager may have a lot of overlap with the Optimizers section above and in some cases may be the same person or people. Ops Managers oversee marketing tools and their integrations with one another, your website, various campaigns, and other channels and platforms.
They should have expertise with marketing automation, CRM, data enrichment, analytics, and reporting. They also likely play the role of overseeing how sales and marketing communicate with one another.
Paid Acquisition Manager
We don't emphasize pay per click, pay per impression, remarketing, and other paid channels at Northcutt, since these primarily contribute to monthly, rather than cumulative, revenue. That said, paid channels typically offer easily measurable ROI and can sometimes work faster than inbound marketing methods.
A Paid Acquisition Manager creates, monitors, and optimizes paid marketing campaigns. They run multivariate tests and experiments to continuously improve messaging, keywords, and platforms, and to identify where to invest the most resources to get the most out of the budget. A good Paid Acquisition Manager will also work closely with inbound marketers in a way that strengthens both approaches.
- Cost per lead
- Cost per opportunity
Marketing Life Cycle Manager
To varying degrees this job may be done by a combination of Strategists and Optimizers if it doesn't make sense to create a separate job title for the work. A Marketing Life Cycle Manager is responsible for overseeing the marketing funnel from beginning to end.
This means tailoring the marketing approach to each step of the customer journey, from exposure to purchase to customer retention and remarketing. They will also likely focus heavily on customer segmentation for various different funnels.
Social Media And Outreach Managers
These may be two separate roles, but they are often fulfilled by the same manager or team since a key focus is on building relationships. A third role for PR Manager is sometimes made distinct as well. All of these roles share a focus on the top of the funnel, building exposure and building relationships with influencers who can further expand your reach.
Good Social Media managers not only expand reach, but use the platform for customer service, for getting feedback on your SaaS, and for identifying needs in the market. Social media is very rarely a channel that leads directly to sales, so as a stage in the funnel, the goal should primarily be to eventually move leads to higher ROI channels.
Most marketing efforts are ongoing, so executing marketing events well often relies on a different kind of thinking that may require a separate role. Event managers organize events like conferences, meetups, gatherings, and workshops. They should be skilled at planning, promoting, and overseeing the event itself, as well as estimating value and measuring and reporting on results.
Org charts will look different for every SaaS depending on the marketing and management philosophy of the company. Obviously the names of the roles aren't always identical to the titles we used above either.
SaaSX recommends dividing it up into two teams built around assets and channels:
If you are selling multiple SaaS under one brand, Sponge's approach recommending teams for brand, demand generation, and product is a good option:
Don't rely too heavily on templates to decide what your org chart should look like. It should be primarily driven by company philosophy and marketing approach.
What Size Is A SaaS Marketing Team?
According to 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
- Companies over size 50 have sales teams making up 27.5 percent of the team
It's important to realize that this data may simply be telling us that companies with more employees have more employees because they have larger marketing and sales teams. Nevertheless, it does set some benchmarks for roughly how resources tend to be distributed.
The more important numbers to focus on are the marginal revenue vs cost of each new member of the team, as well as whether customer support, and in some cases the product team, can keep up with the growth the marketing team is generating.
SaaS Marketing and Sales Teams: Is There A Difference?
The role of the sales team is different in the SaaS industry and there's a reason why it's so often called the "customer success team" instead. While this may seem like a buzzword painting over an old concept, and sometimes is, there are genuine reasons for this shift in language.
The emphasis on content marketing, inbound marketing, SEO, and free trials in the SaaS industry means that most prospects have already educated themselves a great deal about a product before ever speaking to sales. In fact, most prospects will have already signed up for a free trial by the time they speak with "sales."
The marketing team does much of the work that was once done by the sales team. Since the most obvious barriers to sales have usually already been addressed by the customer's journey through the inbound marketing funnel, by the time a prospect speaks with somebody directly they are expecting something closer to customer service than to traditional sales.
For this reason, the customer success team really is as much about helping the customer succeed with the SaaS as it is about selling them on a product that, more often than not, they are already using a free trial for.
In short, the most important quality a SaaS sales rep should have is product knowledge.
The goal of a SaaS sales rep should be to offer the prospect trust and comfort that they will be able to accomplish what they need to with the platform. And this is best accomplished by somebody who could tell them, step by step, exactly how to do it.
For more on SaaS marketing, visit our SaaS Marketing Agency page, and consider working with us as your marketing agency.