How To Effectively Promote Your Collaboration Software

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collAs more collaboration software options enter the market these days, the competition becomes tighter and tighter. This also comes after less business solutions like project management and CRM apps become viable alternatives to many collaboration software platforms. To ensure that your software gets the biggest slice of the market, you need to offer more than just best features or awesome customer service. Here are some of the things you can do to make more than a dent in the saturated SaaS sector:

1. Maximize your exposure on B2B review sites

Understand that a buyer’s purchase journey starts with a generic search. That’s what we learned from Google’s most recent findings. If your potential clients are searching for collaboration systems, they tend to type general phrases such as “top collaboration software” in the Google search box. Nobody will start their search with a specific product name. The first thing you’ll notice with the SERPs is for the more general keywords is that it’s very often dominated by popular B2B review sites such as FinancesOnline. Although we can’t say how the Google algorithm operates exactly, it’s clear that it tends to favor sites that are user-focused rather than product-centric. Hence, the domination of B2B review sites in the search results.

SERPs for the keyphrase “top collaboration software” show review sites like FinancesOnline higher than product sites like Wrike.

SERPs for the keyphrase “top collaboration software” show review sites like FinancesOnline higher than product sites like Wrike.

Simply put, your product needs to appear on all popular B2B review platforms if you want to get your potential clients’ attention during their initial product research journey. These platforms are where the real action of comparing software occurs.

However, don’t settle for a free or basic listing on as many review sites as possible. You need to be aware that your competitors are also present there, muscling their way to get your clients’s attention. To gain a significant advantage,  you have to be sure you can distinguish yourself from the competition so that the users choose your product instead of theirs. That’s where premium marketing plans offered by most review platforms become very useful.

Here's how a product review page looks like in one of the B2B directories: FinancesOnline.com

Here’s how a product review page looks like in one of the B2B directories: FinancesOnline.com

For example, FinancesOnline (one of the most popular B2B platforms out there) offers a premium plan to vendors who want to promote theid collaboration software and get an edge over their competitors. This plan includes premium positioning of your product which will appear at the very top of the category pages and top10 lists ensuring its the first thing users see when browsing for a solid collaboration software. Your product will also be suggested as a reliable alternative even when users compare products of your competitors. These elements can have a huge impact on your lead generation campaigns and test show they will increase your conversion rates by 14% on average. If you run a PPC campaign on a review site the premium plan is a great way to maximize your sales. If you want to start optimizing your review you can easily request more info about the premium plan here.

Here's how a product can be highlighted when a client is comparing his or her options

Here’s how a product can be highlighted when a client is comparing his or her options

2. Give your blogging more focus

A corporate blog is a good idea but you need to make it work. That means you need to upload fresh content on a regular basis and if possible, daily. According to Hubspot, 82% of marketers who blog daily acquired a new buyers. In contrast, corporate blogs that are updated monthly only nab 52%. It may be a tall order for a young SaaS enterprise, but you can always delegate this non-core task to professional writers who focus on your industry.

When you blog, bear in mind that focusing on topics that are related to specific industries can be more rewarding than making content on a general subject. For example,  you can discuss unique collaboration issues in industries that you want to penetrate, like events marketing, construction, or software development. Every industry has its own collaboration requirements and demands. By offering specific content that your targeted audience can relate to, you have a better chance of attracting decision-makers to your blog.

To achieve this goal, you have to have a journalist’s mindset. You can begin by asking industry experts for an interview or ask them to share their thoughts on your blog. You may also obtain some insights from your CRM by asking customers to share their experiences with specific problems related to workflows. You can also refurbish the interview to spin more content for other purposes like articles, whitepapers, case studies, and ebooks.

This ebook from Wrike doesn’t talk about their software but about the need for collaboration to offload tasks.

This ebook from Wrike doesn’t talk about their software but about the need for collaboration to offload tasks.

The same strategy may also work if you target your content to specific professional groups (e.g., event organizers, software development teams, construction teams) or regions if you’re aiming for a global market.  (North America, UK and its affiliated commonwealth countries, India, etc.).

If all these seem hard, always bear in mind that blog marketing is essential to the success of your SaaS business, so better set aside a budget for this purpose.

3. Join communities

You may already have a clear image of your ideal customers. If not, you can try these tips on how to create an image of your ideal customer. This is essential as you need to know how they behave, what their likely course of action can be, so that you can easily relate to them and them to you. This is especially important if you want follow them online and join their communities. When entering a community, avoid projecting yourself as a salesman. Do not sell. Rather, engage them in interesting conversations where you can show your expertise. Let your knowledge brand you as an expert and they will be hooked to your credentials.

LinkedIn, the top social network for B2B marketers (according to B2B Content Marketing 2015 Benchmarks), has a large number of professional and discussion groups about collaboration that you can enter. However, it’s wise that you join these groups using your professional LinkedIn account instead of your software company one. Many of these communities are allergic to sales pitches. However, if you join as a CEO or top executive of your company, your credentials may be a welcome addition that make group discussions more valuable and interesting, which in turn, cultivate trust that can rub off onto your product.

LinkedIn groups like this one that has 1,080 members are prime property to get leads.

LinkedIn groups like this one that has 1,080 members are prime property to get leads.

4. Build your own communities

Forming your own community also has its rewards. From wikis, blogs, self-help websites, and forums, you can gather people with the same interests, who share the same goals and, together, find best practices, FAQs, discussions, tips and tutorials, case studies, and more. Encouraging users to contribute their insights or tips should be a habit, while you moderate content to make sure they are of high quality and consistent with the goals of the community. You can liven things up by offering freebies or rewards to the most active users to encourage others to participate. A good CRM software can help you set up a knowledge base or communities like wikis and forums based on customer queries.

Likewise, you can form your own communities offline by tapping brand ambassadors and building your community around them. These can be  customers who are very vocally positive about your software in social media and they happen to have a large following. You can invite these high-value customers and include them in your online marketing campaign with a more formal arrangement. That means providing them some freebies or a fee in exchange for their positive comments. At times, brand ambassadors need not to rave about your product, but simply discuss your product that is incidental to their own content. For instance, a MICE organizer can discuss the obstacles and events that lead to a major business conference, while occasionally and subtly presenting your collaboration app as a great way to iron out a few kinks.

5. Sell to old customers

Always Saty in touch with your old customers as it is much easier to sell things to them in comparison to selling to strangers/new clients. It is also a cost-effective tactic as you don’t have to spend a huge amount of money to market a product to them as you would with new and potential clients. Email marketing to old clients is far cheaper than costly paid advertising and large-scale outreach marketing efforts to attract new customers.

For a SaaS product, you can upsell or cross-sell in four ways:

  • Sell an updated version or feature of the software
  • Ask the customer to upgrade to a premium plan
  • Sell add-ons to customers with specific needs (use CRM to sort these needs)
  • Sell complementary products

The beauty of selling to old customers is you can employe automation to speed up the whole upsell/cross-sell pipeline as you multitask to get new clients. You can opt to deploy various CRM software services to help with the automation process. A customer wasn’t impressed with a premium plan? Then follow up with a limited deal for the plan. If he brushes it off, you can send an email about an add-on a week after or bundle the plan with another product. Keep upselling and cross-selling your customers with different offers, but make sure that the campaign is paced to avoid being an annoyance.

6. Humanize your benefits

benefit

Many SaaS vendors make grand claims about their software’s benefits as being either faster, better, or cheaper than their competitors. The problem with this approach is that the vendors channel the attention to their product, not the customer. So what if your software is more feature packed? All that matters to a customer is how it can actually make his work easier. Simply put, market the benefits from the customer’s perspective. For instance, instead of  simply discussing how your software’s collaborative features can connect every member of the team, illustrate how it can shorten the entire idea-to-product launching process. Instead of just boasting about your 24/7 support, show scenarios how that has put real customers in significant and advantageous positions in the past.

That said, don’t put all efforts into making things focused on a buyer’s perspective. Make sure that you humanize the benefits as well. B2B marketing may look and feel cold in contrast to consumer marketing, but it can still be adjusted with a bit of personalized approach. Talk about the software’s benefits not only from the customer’s point-of-view, but from his personal point-of-view. In our example, think of the personal values when a manager is able to speed up the idea-to-product launching process. Inspiring the big bosses? Reducing levels of stress? Improving your customer’s reputation as a project manager? When a B2B buyer sees himself in the picture, he is more likely to connect with your software.

CONCLUSION

The tips above have already been tested by successful B2B marketers and proved to give great effect. If you look at the tips close enough, it’s all about engaging buyers and customers to like your product. Hard selling customers still works, but the vendor that engages buyers, not just to sell, but to talk with them about their issues, problems, or stories, will have a better crack at winning customers’ hearts.

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About Author

Kate Stephens is a young and creative graphic designer as well as the mastermind behind AlternativesFinder.com her own startup company aimed at providing customers with reliable and often cheaper alternatives to various popular brands and products from all possible markets.

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