SaaS advisor, founder and investor Jason Lemkin is a skeptic, bringing a discerning mind to every facet of his career. He’s especially skeptical of the PR industry — and that’s exactly why his opinion should be trusted, even though he’s been fired as a client by at least three PR firms. Jason and I don’t agree on everything PR related, but we agree on PR’s impact on the entire SaaS business — from recruiting to fundraising to social proof. We at BLASTmedia call this impact the ‘Four Pillars’ of B2B SaaS PR: investors, employees, partners and customers. Here’s why those pillars are important and how PR impacts each:
Another SaaS expert and VC Mark Suster said, “great PR could add $10 million to your valuation or increase your chances of closing a round 2x, and either case is a reason to make sure you have good press. It’s much harder to get funded as a company nobody has heard of.” Investors are in fact human beings, and they’re influenced by the opinions of others. The third-party validation and perceived expertise that comes from company and thought leadership media coverage has a direct impact on how a VC views a startup.
People issues are some of the most insurmountable for SaaS leaders. Recruiting, retention and satisfaction of high-end talent don’t come easy and certainly don’t come cheap. Positive PR for a company of any size is an asset at any point in the employee lifecycle. Highlighting a truly unique culture and leadership style through a contributed article from the CEO on Entrepreneur or Inc., securing a feature on VentureBeat about a funding round or a local business journal writing up a growth story all bring attention to the potential growth a company can provide for a talented employee. Our clients often see an influx of resumes when one of these stories hits and they plug it into their digital ad recruiting strategy.
From channel to integrations, potential partners want to know they’re working with the leader in a category. B2B SaaS PR helps businesses set themselves apart from the competition, specifically in crowded spaces like HR and marketing tech where there are thousands of players all pushing similar messages. Business development leaders can harness the power of PR for supporting current partnerships, as well as growing new ones. You can also leverage PR via case studies with shared clients to tell a story of how your partnership can drive success, showcasing your partner and strengthening your relationship.
Marketing leaders in SaaS businesses are often measured on one main metric: leads. While B2B SaaS PR isn’t going to be your only — or frankly your most cost-effective — direct lead driver, thought leadership, company and product coverage all feed the lead funnel at different points.
- Awareness – Often the first touchpoint with prospects, targeted media coverage can elevate your brand, product or executives to the right audience for the first time – putting them into the sales funnel.
- Consideration – What specific problem does your product solve? Coverage demonstrates a problem and its solution, as well as addresses market gaps, providing answers to prospects’ frequently asked questions.
- Purchase – B2B software decision makers don’t buy after the first touch point. Product coverage, analyst relationships and a thought leadership strategy work in tandem to drive customers to purchase.
- Retention – Media coverage gives customers confidence that they are working with the market leader. Prescriptive thought leadership content and media placements that continue to educate customers and keep them engaged with the brand.
- Advocacy – The best customers are believers, and the right press can turn them into outward advocates. Case studies that highlight customer outcomes and use cases in vertical industries make for impactful PR coverage that participating customers share.
Redpoint VC Tomasz Tungus told the SaaStr audience that SaaS isn’t even close to maturity but in its third inning of its proverbial baseball game. The relative immaturity of the SaaS market ripens it for innovation and leadership, and strategic, impactful B2B SaaS PR is a main driver for the latter.