As a B2B SaaS owner, you’re probably working late hours and feeling overwhelmed with responsibilities, from managing your team to improving your service. Planning is a crucial aspect of any business, regardless of the industry. However, with everything happening in your B2B SaaS company and the market changing so rapidly, you probably have little to no time to plan anything.
Having a proactive instead of reactive approach in all business areas enables entrepreneurs to be prepared for any outcome and ensure their entire team is managed well and is not working under pressure. As most SaaS business owners will rarely prioritize planning their marketing activities, although it provides endless benefits, there is a lack of time management and quality B2B marketing strategies in this niche.
Building a SaaS marketing plan template allows businesses to allocate the right resources to ensure their marketing produces the desired results. A SaaS Startup Marketing Plan will look very different from that of a mature B2B SaaS brand, because you have fewer resources, smaller advertising budgets, and a more minor marketing team. After all, in such a competitive environment, SaaS companies must create their SaaS marketing strategy template and plan for SaaS product development if they wish to be ahead of their competitors.
What is a SaaS Marketing Plan vs a SaaS Marketing Strategy?
A marketing plan outlines an advertising strategy an organization intends to implement to generate more leads and communicate efficiently with its target market. A good SaaS product marketing plan will lay out all details of outreach, PR, social media marketing, email, content, and other campaigns necessary to achieve the objectives. Besides campaigns, the company will also need to determine how to measure the success of each campaign and optimize them on time.
Now, you might ask yourself, ‘What is a SaaS marketing plan template?’ if all B2B SaaS businesses have unique objectives and challenges they face daily? More importantly, should you find a marketing plan template before working on it with your team? Most B2B SaaS owners and employees will not have enough marketing experience to create their marketing plan from scratch.
SaaS companies with a marketing professional on their team will probably prefer to use a SaaS marketing plan template and spend more time finding ideas that might bring them more success instead of spending days thinking about how to make a marketing plan step by step.
B2B SaaS Marketing Plan Example
For a marketing plan to be successful, it must consist of a few components that provide the company with a framework to move its marketing activities in the right direction.
The executive summary is the foundation of your marketing plan. It will remind you of the business vision and mission to ensure everything you’re planning aligns with the overall business objectives. This plan should include the higher-level strategies that bring the vision of fast growth marketing and your overall marketing plan.
Marketing and Business Objectives
The goal of every SaaS marketing plan will surely be to get more customers and build customer loyalty, so make sure your objectives are very specific. Use the timeline to determine your sprint workflow and track the progress of your campaigns. Each goal you add to the plan must be measurable as well.
Market Position Analysis
- Who are your competitors
- How successful are they with their marketing
- Are there any legal or economic forces that might affect your marketing results
- Plot your weaknesses and threats (SWOT) that might negatively affect the outcome of your marketing plan
- At the same time, consider what makes you better than everyone else on the market and how to utilize your USPs in your marketing message across every channel
Marketing Program Assessment
Does your strategic marketing program address the three key marketing questions your audience is keen to know?
- Why should we consider adopting this change into our tech stack or a marketing plan
- Why should we pick your B2B SaaS over competitors who might be cheaper or have XYZ in their offering
- Why should we do it now as opposed to later
SaaS marketing is a special business case, so we typically ask a few more questions since customers typically start with a trial or a single-user subscription like a Free or limited basic plan.
- “Why should I buy more from you?” (give them a reason to do more business with you with upselling strategies reinforced in value for the current or future customer)
- “Why should I continue doing business with you, not your competitors?” (to ensure they remain in the retention stage of your marketing funnel and, of course, move them to advocacy.)
Knowing your competitors is one thing, but truly understanding the needs of your target market is what will ultimately result in growth.
- Who are the ideal customers that can get you to MVP (minimal viable product) and then PMF (product-market fit)
- What is your customer ICP (ideal customer profile)
- What does their technographic, psychographic, or geographic profile look like
- Are you designing a blue ocean or red ocean strategy
- How do they make their purchasing decisions today, not yesterday
- What are their habits that can be useful to you
- Can you survey your current or potential future customers
The best way to go about things and boost customer acquisition is through keyword research and competitive analysis. You can learn a lot about potential customers by checking the data in Google Analytics; demographic data is vital in this particular case as it shows the ideal customer demographic. User intent is particularly important here as it shows you how people interact with your content and website.
B2B SaaS businesses desperately need advertising today to be at the core of their marketing strategy to get the kind of hockey-stick growth results they’re after. That means you must figure out a specific ad budget for your media buys as part of your advertising strategy and agree on the creatives you will run and the value they will contain for your target audience and ensure product led growth.
- Decide on the timeline of your advertising campaigns
- Will they be evergreen or a mix of short and long-term campaigns
- Will you plan and run marketing and advertising campaigns every quarter
Always remember that paid ads are significantly different from some other marketing campaigns. Before investing in PPC, you should optimize your site so visitors have a positive experience when they reach your landing pages. In other words, paid strategies usually go hand-in-hand with search engine optimization.
You should launch paid campaigns only when you’re completely ready for it. For example, you need to be certain that you have the proper logistics and inventory management to satisfy the needs of incoming clients. This short-term tactic is perfect for brands that want to convert as soon as possible and don’t have time for developing social media presence or search engine visibility.
If you go through the best SaaS marketing examples, you will notice that, besides a great plan, they all had a great execution plan.
Determine how you will track the progress of your campaigns, measure results, optimize underperforming elements, and which MarTech you will need to do all of that. Within the execution plan, outline your lead nurture strategy to ensure you’re constantly generating leads. You can always look at something like HubSpot or ActiveCampaign as your ultimate MarTech for lead nurturing and marketing automation.
Marketing Plan vs. Marketing Strategy
Even when searching online for a B2B SaaS marketing plan template, you might notice that many websites confuse a marketing plan with a marketing strategy. These two terms are not interchangeable, and not knowing the difference will impact your marketing campaigns’ success.
A marketing strategy will entail an overall view of what your company wants to achieve, and a marketing plan will discuss in detail how this can be achieved and when. The crucial difference between these two terms is that the marketing plan is focused more on the timeline and ensuring all actions are completed. On the other hand, a marketing strategy aims to gather and funnel the best ideas and projections for the company.
In reality, marketing strategy and marketing plan are two sides of the same coin. When discussing marketing strategies for B2B SaaS brands, keep in mind that the more structured it is, the more it will help you develop a comprehensive plan of action for your marketing team to follow.
For example, suppose your strategy defines content marketing as one of your main marketing pillars to capture new leads and nurture those relationships with new customers to get them to engage with you long enough to become paying customers.
In that case, your plan of action should determine deadlines for each article in the next month, quarter, or year and assign it to your SaaS content marketing team or your outsourced content writers. You should identify how digital content production will fit into your SEO strategy, link building, and PR outreach on a tactical level and where it will strategically fit into your marketing funnel.
Determining the Appropriate Marketing Channels For Your B2B SaaS Marketing Plan
Because it follows your marketing strategy, the marketing plan will need to consolidate all marketing channels you plan on using. Each marketing channel can help you generate leads, re-engage existing customers, establish yourself as an industry leader, and improve your online presence. However, utilizing a particular marketing channel is more important than how many media you use in your SaaS marketing plan template.
If you have a strong content marketing team and your customers prefer reading articles over Google or Facebook ads, crafting a well-thought content marketing strategy can achieve better results than running inefficient campaigns on ten marketing channels. Ultimately, this should improve your marketing effort and ability to maximize each potential SaaS customer.
These are the marketing channels that work well for B2B SaaS companies:
- Email marketing
- Content marketing
- Conference/trade show booths
- Paid search
- Public relations
- Affiliate marketing
- Influencer marketing
- Paid social media
- Video advertising
- ABM (account based marketing)
There are lots of factors you need to consider before choosing a mix of channels for your marketing campaign. The methodology is commonly tweaked so you can cater to the ideal buyer persona, but also according to your industry and competition. For example, some verticals might be hard to penetrate with search engine optimization, which is why you might prefer traditional marketing channels or social media.
The choice of strategies might also vary based on the fact that you’re a large or small business. Companies with unlimited budgets might go for Google Ad campaigns, while others might prefer affiliate marketing and per-per-lead methodology. If you want to achieve maximum results, your best course of action is to research potential clients with Google Analytics and similar tools, to get a better grasp of market needs.
Outlining a successful SaaS Marketing Team Structure
You will need a team to execute your plan to work. That team comprises marketing professionals with the skills to achieve your marketing goal. Regardless, if you have a couple of 2 or 50 marketing experts on your SaaS Marketing team today, you will need to figure out how they’ll fit into your near-future marketing plans, which should be tied to the stage of your SaaS.
We now see four key stages of B2B SaaS growth:
- Nailing MVP and PMF product-market fit
- The single-floor phase
- The scaling phase
- The enduring phase; is when you’re likely managing at least five levels of management, 1,000 people, and $200M in revenue
You need to figure out where you are in the 7-step T2D3 framework: this will help you understand what your marketing team should look like at each stage and how to budget for growth, given your business objectives.
- Step 1: Product development process toward a product-market fit
- Step 2: Reach a $2 million ARR (annual recurring revenue)
- Step 3, year one: Triple to $6 million
- Step 4, year two: Triple to $18 million
- Step 5, year three: Double to $36 million in ARR (annual recurring revenue)
- Step 6, year four: Double to $72 million
- Step 7, year five: Double to $144 million
To do it properly, you should divide your marketing plan into four main stages: attract, convert, close, and delight. These stages are also known as inbound marketing phases, which allow business owners to understand in which phase each potential customer is.
Assigning your team members to specific stages will also help them understand their mission in the overall marketing process.
To attract customers, you should optimize your existing content, campaigns, and social media pages. Think about what you could do better, and always consider customers first when crafting your SaaS marketing plan template to ensure you build brand awareness.
- Would they be attracted to your social channels (Social pages, YouTube channel, social community, social groups)?
- Are your recent thought leadership pieces aligned with your marketing goals and ICP’s intent?
- Are your new prospects finding you through different channels you utilize and convert (paid search, organic search, paid social, programmatic)?
An attractive team will typically consist of the following:
- Content writers
- YouTube production team
- SEO specialists
- Community managers
- Email marketers
A common issue in marketing (noticeable among teams with a limited budget) is that the same person performs several marketing tasks. As you can presume, this is a big no-no. If you’re serious about growing your business, you should hire numerous specialists, each proficient in their respective roles. While this might require additional micromanagement, the end results will justify your efforts.
If you manage to get leads onto your website, social media page, landing page, or subscribe to your newsletter, how will you convert them from prospects into leads? Is your content intriguing, valuable, and informative enough for them to stick around? Think about where you can provide more value to your target audience.
A converting team will typically consist of the following:
- CRO specialists
- PPC Managers
- Growth Strategists
- Community builders
- Digital Analytics specialists
Many businesses completely neglect conversion teams. A common misconception is that a content writer or email marketer can do the job of a CRO specialist. While everyone is responsible for their performance and how well they convert incoming traffic from their channel, we still need conversion and growth experts to squeeze even more value from these leads.
Who will work on closing your leads? Even the best content in the world will not close a new customer alone. You will need to think about the team members who know how to encourage leads to make a purchasing decision. Without their involvement, you will lose your leads, who will probably go to the first competitor who knows how to close them.
A closing team will typically consist of:
- SDRs and BDRs
- Director of Sales or higher
- Customer success managers (for upselling or cross-selling opportunities)
Everything else falls in the water if you don’t have an effective sales team. These experts convert the incoming traffic, basically making or breaking the entire funnel. A sales team is crucial for products and services with long customer journeys or high purchasing values.
The last stage of the marketing journey is to nurture existing relationships and drive brand loyalty. This can be done in numerous ways as long as it is relevant to your target market. For instance, if your target audience is not a fan of receiving text messages but responds better to newsletters, you shouldn’t insist on reaching them on their phones.
A delighting team will typically consist of the following:
- Account managers
- Marketing Automation specialists
- Customer Success Managers
- Community Managers
One person should ideally belong to one team to ensure efficiency. If you have a small team and don’t have enough people to build four teams, give each two consequent stages to help them manage the leads and an existing customer more efficiently.
Template for SaaS Marketing Plan
To help you create a winning framework for your already crafted marketing strategy, we bring you this B2B SaaS marketing plan template. Use this framework to create your marketing plan and make adjustments where you think it’s necessary.
A well-thought-out marketing plan will consist of all elements mentioned in our article, but it should follow the order outlined below.
B2B SaaS Marketing Plan Cover
The cover of your marketing plan should consist of the following elements:
- Company logo
- Company name
- State it’s a marketing plan
- Short description of the objective (1-2 sentences)
- Authors of the document
Table of Contents of Your SaaS Marketing Plan Template
This is the page your marketing director will edit last during marketing plan creation. It should contain the list of all your sections and their page numbers.
The executive or business summary helps everyone understand their role in the marketing plan and how they help achieve the ultimate business goals and hit growth KPIs. These are the elements you should add to your executive summary:
- Short description of the company (one sentence)
- List of marketing leaders with their roles and responsibilities in the marketing plan
- A brief analysis of the company (e.g., SWOT analysis)
With an executive summary, we determine our place and capacity on the market. Overstating or understanding your potential can easily stifle your growth, preventing you from exploiting market gaps or reducing the effectiveness of your investments. In fact, SWOT analysis will tell you how competitive you are in a specific vertical and whether a business is even feasible.
B2B SaaS Business Objectives
What SMART goals are you trying to achieve with your marketing plan? Explain each of them briefly, and below each, add a B2B SaaS metric or KPI that will help you track the success and allow you to optimize for success on time and budget. Here is what you should add under your business objectives:
- A short statement of your OKRs or initiatives broken out quarterly
- List of metrics to track the success of each KPI by channel
“PRO TIP: Make sure to keep your objectives up to three maximum. It will help you stay on track and ensure you have enough time to complete everything from your marketing plan.”
Target Market and Brand Positioning
Being clear on your target market and whom you’re serving will help everyone on the marketing team, from the content writer to the account-based marketing leader and CMO (Chief Marketing Officer), understand whom they’re marketing to and align their marketing messages. These are the elements B2C and B2B marketers should include:
- List of targeted industries and sub-industries
- Deep descriptions of the buyer personas from the buying committee
- Competitive SWOT analysis with a list of competitors and their value propositions (features, USPs, pricing models)
- 1st and 3rd party customer data to align marketing data with business goals
- Psychographic data, geographic data, technographic data, demographic data, and behavioral insights
- Brand vectors and market positioning
SaaS Market Positioning Strategy
Here, you will need to think about how to market your products or services based on the information you have so far about your competitors and customers. Your market positioning strategy should include the following elements:
- Product features and USPs
- Brand vectors for superior positioning
- Price and reasons for setting up a flexible pricing strategy
- Promotional offers activities
- List of people responsible for the market strategy and its success
“PRO TIP: Don’t confuse market strategy with marketing strategy. One refers to how you will market your product, while the other includes marketing in general, from building brand loyalty to customer retention methods.”
SaaS Marketing and Advertising Budget
You cannot start executing your marketing plan if you haven’t decided on your B2B SaaS marketing budget. You will need to know exactly how much it will cost to implement all the activities from your marketing plan. To do that, you will need to include the following:
- List of marketing expenses with prices
- The date or timeline when the expense will occur
- Alternative or cheaper solutions to each marketing expense
- Total marketing team expenses (salaries, advertising budgets, MarTech costs)
SaaS Marketing Channels
You must outline all the marketing channels you and your marketing team consider necessary to bring your marketing plan to life and achieve customer satisfaction. That will also help you realize if you need more people or other resources to start executing your SaaS marketing plan template. This section should include:
- List of marketing channels (paid search, paid social, programmatic, display, video, traditional channels)
- Purpose of each marketing channel (tie it to SMART KPIs)
- KPIs to measure success for each channel
“PRO TIP: Think about the SaaS demand generation program and your SaaS channel strategy in a holistic and innovative way. Research to understand where your audiences might be hanging out, but your competitors aren’t crowding those channels too heavily just yet, so you’re less likely to be competing with them for the same customers as you would through organic search. Perhaps testing out Quora Ads, Reddit or TikTok’s new advertising platform might be a good way to attract your new customers in a cost-effective way.”
Which tools, platforms, and software solutions will you need to implement all activities to achieve your objectives? When considering technology for marketing success, these are the elements you will need to think about:
- Marketing CRM and data management
- Email marketing software
- Marketing automation software
- Content optimization and experience software
- Advertising and promotion platforms
- Social media management platforms
- Blogging platforms
- eCommerce and Sales
- Video hosting software
This SaaS marketing template can save much time you typically spend crafting your first marketing plan. However, not including only a few of these elements in your marketing plan might hinder your business objectives. Another thing you should keep in mind is that your marketing team should work with you on the marketing plan. Their insights and ideas are precious in a situation like this. Ideally, the CEO and CMO or (Fractional CMO) would go over the critical business objectives and pass that on to the SaaS marketing team to design the specific KPI frameworks to measure success appropriately, so take the time to think through your key objectives as a team.
If this seems overwhelming or time-consuming for you as a B2B SaaS owner who needs to think about hundreds of other CEO things, you can always reach out to us, your trusted SaaS marketer. We will help you implement the marketing plan and assist you in determining what is essential with our deep SaaS industry knowledge, digital marketing skills, and killing SaaS marketing plan templates.