Are you just talking about marketing or are you actually doing something?

 Lots of software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies are thinking and talking about marketing.  They’re sitting in on webinars, downloading white papers, hiring marketing experts and agencies, and even reading newsletters (like what you’re reading right now.)

If they want to grow, the folks that run these companies know they need marketing: a cost-effective program to generate leads, convert the leads into paying customers, and keep those customers.

They can’t rely on their sales team to bring 100% of their opportunities.  Though it may work in the company’s early stages, it’s tough to make that method scale.

So these executives do lots of research, develop comprehensive plans, even engage with marketing professionals to put in place a well-structured customer acquisition and retention plan.

Marketing gets derailed by shorter term priorities

All of this activity is a good start.  But that’s all it is: a good start.  The research, the plans, the experts only matter if you put them to work.

And that’s where things get complicated, especially for smaller firms eager to grow. 

For companies in this spot, their resources are stretched.  There’s simply too much to do and not enough resources to get it done.

So urgent needs take priority, and the marketing tactics get pushed down the action list:

·      “Yes, we need to prepare customer success stories, but this week we need to prep for 5 demos.”

·      “Yes, we need to coordinate an email campaign, but right now we’re focused on this RFP.”

·      “Yes, we need to get out that quarterly newsletter, but these 2 deals need immediate attention.”

·      “Yes, we need to prepare a webinar for prospective customers, but today we need to [ fill in an urgent item of your choice here.]

Don’t let another year go by

I get it: you’ve got lots of stuff on your plate.

And implementing effective marketing plans takes a sustained commitment.  It doesn’t happen by itself, and there’s no magic, one-time fix. (See “Going viral is over-rated”) 

If you’re serious about growth, spend the time and spend the money it takes to cost-effectively acquire and keep customers.  According to a survey of 378 privately-held SaaS companies, the fastest growing companies spent the most on customer acquisition, and marketing accounted for at least 30% of those costs.   

 So, if you’re putting your plans together for next year, now’s the time to commit to marketing.  Not just the planning, but also the doing.  Find resources within your company, bring on new people, or use outside experts. 

 I don’t mean to scold you here, but a year from now, you don’t want to look back and regret that you’ve made no real progress.  Start with a marketing plan and then put it into action.