The New Corporate Narrative That Buyers Demand, with Lindsey Groepper

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Millennials, who value purpose and meaning when choosing SaaS vendors, comprise most of today’s B2B decision-makers. So why are you still pushing narratives centered on products and features?

Today’s modern corporate narrative has evolved from CEO-driven corporate talk tracks to more personal, human-centered narratives to form connections with a new generation of buyers. This week, SaaS Half Full’s host, Lindsey Groepper, flies solo as she unpacks the current demands of the modern corporate narrative and how to evolve yours to build trust and establish connections.

The importance of brand 

“I still have conversations with SaaS founders and CEOs who question the idea and the ROI of brand,” said Lindsey. “Brand could not matter more than it does right now.”

Businesses win categories by humanizing their brand and showing up in a way that resonates with today’s new buyers. Millennials make over 75% of all B2B buying decisions — decisions often determined by the answers to these make-or-break questions:

  • Do I trust this brand? 
  • Do I feel a connection with this brand? 
  • Do I see a purpose in this purchase? 

While companies still comment on earnings, momentum and new products and features, that commentary just doesn’t cut it as the only strategy. 

So, what does cut it? How do you humanize your brand? Lindsey suggested the following approaches. 

Leverage subject matter experts.

Humanize your brand by lifting the CEO and corporate spokesperson and the more non-traditional subject matter experts, including your Chief Human Resource Officer (CHRO), Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) leader or your sustainability and corporate responsibility program leader.

“The storylines and the programs running underneath those departments are storylines that you need to uncover and promote externally,” said Lindsey. “Maybe you’re literally running the best, kick-ass, most invested mental health support program in the industry — you need to tell the world about that and not keep it a secret.”

Share these stories externally. Pitch tier-one media. They want to hear from leaders who’ve implemented interesting and successful programs. 

Embrace Vulnerability

Founders and CEOs need to embrace discomfort. This journey of self-discovery helps them understand who they are as leaders and what that means for their teams. After all, people seek an authentic leader, and a culture add to the partners, talent and customers they bring on. 

Lindsey urges founders and CEOs to embark on a journey of self-reflection, asking: 

  • How can I show up as a real human outside of just wearing my corporate hat? 
  • What drives my leadership approach?
  • How do I feel about certain programs, initiatives, or regulations that have been passed? 

By embracing their humanity and articulating their opinions, leaders foster deeper connections with their teams and cultivate a more genuine brand identity.

“Your goal here isn’t to appeal to everyone,” said Lindsey. “Your goal here is to be completely authentic and transparent so that, again, you’re a culture add to those around you. And once you put your opinions and true self out there, it’s up to those people in your ecosystem to join it or not join it. And that’s okay.”

Prioritize transparent and consistent communication.

Today’s buyers demand openness and expect brands to respond quickly in all situations, good or bad. “They need you to be agile in that narrative,” said Lindsey. “They want you to be transparent.”

In addition, customers want to know how companies handle their data. Lindsey advised that brands embrace a “data privacy and security first” approach in their messaging.

Modern brand storytelling also needs messaging alignment across channels and spokespeople. Lindsey cautioned that brands can’t “show up on one social issue and then disappear for the rest of the time until the next big social issue.” Instead, they must weave their narrative into the fabric of their communication, reinforcing it regularly. While narratives may evolve, consistency builds credibility.

Stay authentic

Amid pressure to appeal to everyone, brands must remain loyal to their core identity. When you have the vocal minority piping in, you know you’re being authentic,” said Lindsey. You know that you have an opinion or point of view that is authentic to you, that doesn’t necessarily match everybody else, and that is okay.”

However, as you develop your narratives for the year or look at your positioning, you must go beyond discussing products, features and benefits. 

“Scaling your revenue will certainly help you win quarters, but building a strong brand that people trust and connect with will ultimately win categories,” said Lindsey.

Listen to episode 366 of SaaS Half Full for more of Lindsey’s actionable insights on humanizing your brand.

Surviving a New CEO Transition with Paige O’Neill

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You’re a SaaS CMO and have received news that you are getting a new CEO. Super! Super? Super, right?! In this episode, Paige O’Neill, CMO of Seismic, shares her story of transitioning to a new CEO in her previous role.

From what the first meeting should entail to the pressures of balancing old and new, Paige gives an honest account of what she learned in the transition and the two years that followed. Bottom line? A new CEO means starting over, which can simultaneously be extremely positive and challenging for the incumbent CMO.

There’s no such thing as a stupid question.

So you’ve just been hit with the news about your new CEO. More likely than not, your brain is firing on all cylinders. Who is this new CEO? What does this transition mean for the company and my role? Is marketing going to be valued moving forward?

These are fruitful questions. But Paige advises CMOs to reverse the paradigm and ask themselves what their new CEO is thinking, too.

“Spend a fair amount of time thinking… ‘What’s gonna be top of mind for the CEO coming in? What’s the charter that they’re gonna have? What are some of their initial priorities gonna be in the first couple of months that they’re in the business?'” Paige said. “Trying to get in on the ground floor of those priorities as early as possible… is one of the most crucial things you can do.”

Finally, consider what your marketing colleagues and reports are asking each other. They’re probably equally anxious about the new CEO and will look to you for answers. Paige said that providing a professional level of transparency during these uncertain times is the best way to enable a successful transition.

Never stop — evolve.

Most marketing campaigns have significant lead time, with many activations not bearing fruit until nine months to a year down the pipe.

With long-term results at stake, facing a new CEO is nerve-wracking. Paige’s advice? Don’t allow a shakeup in the C-suite to derail your department’s progress. If anything, use the shift to build momentum.

“You’ve gotta really go in and balance and say [to the CEO], ‘Look, I understand that you might have strategic levers that you wanna pull. This is what we’re doing now, and this is what it’s generating from a pipeline perspective,'” said Paige. “‘Let’s make sure that as we make these decisions, we’re making them in a way that’s not going to cut off pipeline in mid-flight.'”

If your new CEO isn’t sold on the utility of current campaigns, Paige suggested using data to your advantage. Every CEO approaches marketing differently, but cold, hard data is difficult to argue with.

Treat every day like your first

You’ve heard of treating every day like it’s your last — but what about the reverse?

“I used to do an exercise with my team. If I’d been there a couple of years, I would pretend like I just started, and I would say, ‘All right, pretend I’m walking in the door as your new CMO.
What would you tell me that you probably aren’t saying to my face right now?’… [Getting a new CEO is] kind of a similar exercise,” said Paige.

With a new CEO, CMOs (and their teams) have the opportunity to re-align around revised objectives and brainstorm new ideas. This degree of change can be scary, sure. But it can also be incredibly freeing and productive.

Listen to episode 365 of SaaS Half Full for more of Paige’s insights.

Marketing’s Vital Role in Customer Expansion, with Karen Budell

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For most SaaS organizations, the customer success function has two players: the CS lead and the salesperson. But in this episode, Lindsey speaks with Totango CMO Karen Budell, who suggests that customer success should use a “three-legged stool approach,” with marketing as an equal leg completing the third role. 

Karen believes the three functions should work together to develop and execute customer expansion campaigns to drive more revenue from existing accounts. In a down market, this strategy costs less — and takes less time — than securing new logos.

Evolving Roles

The role of the CMO and marketing teams has evolved to focus more on driving revenue, not just bringing in prospects. These leaders are zeroed in on how marketing impacts the entire revenue pipeline.
Because marketers have always prioritized knowing their customers and audiences, they’re well-positioned to bridge the gap between sales and customer success (CS) leaders.

“Traditionally, we’ve seen tension between sales and CS over unclear handoffs and relationships. And, let’s face it — marketers and sales leaders have navigated their own challenges in this area over the decades, although that relationship has improved tremendously in the last 5-10 years,” said Karen.

“Customer marketing offers a great opportunity to bring unity. It looks at how to leverage your best advocates, understand your ideal customer profile, see what products and services generate success, and replicate all this data to find more customers,” she said. “On the marketing side, customer marketing means finding and targeting more ideal prospects. On the CS side, it means driving growth through advocacy and expansion with existing, happy customers.”

In other words, marketing provides the perfect third leg for a sturdy stool.

The three-legged stool: Better support for everyone

Among those leading customer success today — marketing, CS or sales — who’s responsible for renewal or upselling — or is it a combination? In this economic climate, renewal managers focused specifically on renewals are increasingly important. They need visibility into upcoming renewals and an action plan for each account in forthcoming quarters.

“In a typical CSS handoff, the contract ink dries, the deal’s complete and the account moves to someone else responsible for checking in periodically to see how things are going,” said Karen. “But when you just abruptly throw the handoff over the fence, so to speak, that’s when things go wrong.”

Karen suggests bringing the CSS team into the conversation before closing and onboarding a new customer. Making this shift, having these conversations sooner and getting your customers or buying committee used to this process ensures a smoother, more collaborative handoff. 

“When companies are in that more mature stage of having a post-sale organization built out, there’s more alignment, collaboration and connection,” said Karen. “While we’re seeing that evolution happen with sales and CSS, there’s another department that should be involved in the process: marketing.”

Traditionally, we think of marketing as bringing in the leads, with sales closing the deal and CX renewing and upselling the products or services. Historically, as marketing leaders, CMOs have focused on how marketing drives the revenue pipeline; they’re looking further down the field to see where the next order of revenue comes from.

Marketers, meanwhile, have always focused on knowing their customers — their audience — first. These folks are perfectly positioned to bridge sales and the CSS leader. Marketing can ask the following key questions:

  • How do you identify and tap into your most enthusiastic advocates?
  • Who are your best-fit customers in terms of profile and product usage?
  • What factors make some customers more successful than others?
  • How do you find your best customer advocates?
  • How do you leverage happy customers to drive growth through referrals and advocacy?

Expansion efforts: If you have two systems, you have no systems

Different people are often responsible for internal expansion, but there’s no clear owner. 

“You could say that if everyone’s responsible, no one’s responsible,” said Karen.

In an ideal world, who should drive expansion efforts? 

“The classic answer is that it depends on the organizational structure and roles. Totango is passionate about empowering the leader of customer success to drive expansion,” said Karen. 

Regardless of the title — chief customer officer, chief revenue officer, etc. — whoever owns the post-sale customer relationship should look to drive adoption, connect with product to deliver additional value, tap into sales to champion advocacy and referrals, and leverage marketing to support growth. 

Listen to episode 364 of SaaS Half Full for more of Karen’s insights.

It’s a Crapshoot: Category Creation & Positioning, with April Dunford

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In this episode, Lindsey speaks with positioning expert and author of Sales Pitch: How to Craft a Story to Stand Out and Win and Obviously Awesome: How to Nail Product Positioning so Customers Get It, Buy It, Love ItApril Dunford about the realities of creating a category and defining positioning to win in SaaS.

Drawing from years of data and experience consulting for SaaS companies, April surfaces the signals indicative of a positioning problem, pinpoints where product demos go wrong and gets candid about VCs’ and startups’ illusions about category creation.

The red and beige flags of positioning

As a seasoned marketing leader and consultant, April has been around the positioning block. She’s developed a keen eye for the signs indicating a company’s positioning may be in crisis (red flags) and signs that their positioning needs tweaking (beige flags).

According to April, a significant shift in market forces constitutes a red flag. For example, did a top partner get acquired? Then, it’s time to revise your positioning.

Geopolitical events can also impact positioning. “A lot of companies came to me when Covid hit,” said April. “That was obviously a big, big change of affairs… Some companies had sections of their market that were closed basically, and so no business was gonna happen over there, but other sections of their market — [for example,] those that served healthcare or emergency response — [were extremely active].” Leaders should take a page out of Chandler Bing’s book in these situations and pivot.

But less apparent signs may also indicate a positioning pivot is in order. April advises marketing leaders to sit on sales calls to ascertain these potential hiccups. Do customers compare your solution to a market competitor? Do they fail to see the benefits of the solution? Or, equally importantly, do they seem confused by approved sales language? These beige flags suggest it’s time to revise positioning.

Category creation isn’t the end goal.

Many startup leaders have approached April for advice on “creating a category.” But April said category creation is far less glamorous than it may seem.

“I don’t believe that companies create categories. I believe that categories emerge, and some companies are wise to that. They see that problem early. They see this emerging need. Then they build a solution for that — but they didn’t actually create the category,” said April.

But there’s glory in creating a solution for a niche, emerging problem. Finding an emerging category is far more beneficial than attempting to create one from scratch. After all, building a category requires leaders to convince consumers of both (1) the problem and (2) the solution — double the work for the same number of conversions.

Product demos need an overhaul.

Does your company’s sales pitch start with a demo? If so, you’re in good company. But this age-old tactic may be burying the lede for new clients.

According to April, sales pitches walk a dangerous tightrope: They must establish the problem the solution solves, showcase said solution and differentiate from competitors. However, many pitches focus on differentiation too late in the process.

“We need to do a couple of things in the sales pitch first. Instead of jumping directly to features, we should explain the problem. And then, if we think about that, we can then look at all the alternate ways you could solve the problem and say, ‘There’s pluses and minuses to this,’ and then get the customer aligned with our way of looking at the world. And then, when we show the demo… [it showcases] the value we could deliver.”

Listen to episode 363 of SaaS Half Full for more of April’s insights.

The Art & Science of Freemiums & Free Trials, with Krish Ramineni

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SaaS marketers know we’ve entered the era of the self-serve buyer, where prospects expect price transparency and free trials. While this might not work for complex enterprise deals, there are lessons to be taken from a PLG motion that most SaaS organizations should employ.

Krish Ramineni, Co-founder and CEO at Fireflies.ai, dishes on how to execute a free trial successfully, what it takes to offer a freemium product and shares his personal story on ignoring his investors’ advice to stay away from a PLG model.

Go with your gut when starting up.

When Krish and his co-founder were starting out, they knew they wanted to develop their business through product-led growth motion. However, not everyone believed that was the best course of action.

“The advice we got in the beginning was, ‘Hey, this technology is really expensive…so, find a market where you can sell it to the highest bidder, which is salespeople, and charge them up the wazoo,'” said Krish.

Despite his investors’ imploring, Krish stood his ground and moved forward with the PLG model.

“We wanted to build something that was super affordable, super easy to install and get going with. Our value prop was, it should be one-tenth the price of the best product on the market, we need to provide ten times the value and it needs to be used by every person inside an organization, not just salespeople,” said Krish. “It just felt that the best way to go to market was creating something that had a freemium free trial, PLG motion where you can try it before you buy it or you can use the free tier perpetually.”

Be the painkiller, not the vitamin.

One of the most important aspects of attracting customers is having a solid value proposition. If your product provides a solution to customers’ problems, you should be able to get them to pay you…at least in attention.

“The currency in this world — whether it’s SaaS, whether it’s a consumer good, whatever it is — is attention,” said Krish. “Why should a customer give you attention enough that they should pull their wallet out and buy your product?”

Krish likens a valuable product to a painkiller — something fast-acting that addresses specific pain points and has obvious value to customers. Compared to a vitamin you may take daily, it works in the background, not necessarily solving a particular issue.

“If you don’t get that value, if people only see you as a vitamin and not a painkiller, that’s hard,” said Krish.

The key to being a painkiller? Determining how to create that novel, sought-after value that retains customers.

The case for self-service

Most B2B buyers want a self-serve process, but many companies have yet to take steps toward making this model a reality. These businesses are most concerned with what will help their bottom line, and they mistakenly believe salespeople are always the right foot in the door. But in the modern age, many customers want to access product information independently without involving salespeople. Here’s where self-service comes in.

“When you’re self-service, and you have pricing up on the page, you’re being very transparent, and you’re not making special deals or discounting or any of that…..what you see is what you get,” said Krish.

Krish said it’s about putting the customer and their needs first. Sure, you may leave some money on the table, but you’re also creating a frictionless customer buying journey that keeps customers coming back — and makes them more likely to recommend your product.

“The whole point around PLG and self-service is also to help you find more buyers and find different people within the org who can then go up to their, executives and say, ‘Hey, I’ve been using this. I like it. Maybe we should consider it,'” said Krish. “That’s a much more powerful source.”

Listen to episode 362 of SaaS Half Full for more of Krish’s insights.

What Biden’s Order on AI Means for Marketers, with Conor Bronsdon

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With Biden’s recent executive order addressing the safe and secure development and use of AI, data privacy is even more mind top of mind for SaaS marketers. In this episode, Conor Bronsdon, Director of Marketing & Communications at LinearB, breaks down the order and discusses the new privacy demands on marketers, plus how to build buyer trust in today’s AI economy.

“Be prepared to win eyeballs.”

Many constituents — of both the political and consumer variety — feel hopeless about modern privacy (or the lack thereof). In 2019, six in ten Americans believed it was “impossible” to protect their data from marketers. Conor suggested that Biden’s executive order on data privacy and AI is a long-awaited band-aid for these concerns.

Remember, policies protecting digital consumer privacy aren’t new. The EU has led the charge on robust privacy protections via GDPR, and even individual companies like Apple have limited consumer trackability. And, in just one year, the death of third-party cookies will further 

transform how digital marketers obtain leads.

According to Conor, yet another significant pivot is on the way. Say goodbye to demand capture and hello to demand generation.

“If you’re a marketer today, you need to be prepared to win eyeballs on a platform and not just redirect them,” said Conor. As part of that process, you must identify your brand’s ‘marketing flywheel,’ or content of interest: “[LinearB’s DevInterrupted] podcast is one of our key flywheel places. It doesn’t have to be the right choice for you. Maybe it’s short-form video you really need to lean into… Then you turn that all into, you know, six, seven snippets every week.”

Trust is tantamount to success.

Omnichannel experiences have improved customer satisfaction, it’s true. But they’ve also flooded the airwaves — and in a deluge of content, sometimes releasing marketing materials feels like yelling into the void.

Conor’s take? Don’t let the noise stop you from producing organic content. If influencers have taught us anything, customers love to consume well-intentioned content and advice. All it takes to get there is a little trust.

“Sales teams may want us to take away pricing on a website so they can, you know, maneuver the pricing more in the background, but that’s not how buyers want to buy today. Buyers want to be able to sign up…. They want to be able to try out the product for free. They want to be able to upgrade easily. And they’re going to do that if they trust you,” said Conor. “And the better way to [gain trust] — instead of trying to over-engineer around some of these privacy issues — is to actually approach this as okay, ‘How can I get people to come to me?‘”

To solicit consumer trust, Conor suggests stepping up your transparency game. For example, when a cybersecurity event inevitably occurs, communicate that information to your constituents. You may be surprised by the positive long-term dividends it’ll pay.

The ultimate data privacy checklist

In closing, Conor provided a checklist for marketers hoping to get ahead of Biden’s executive order. Worried about data privacy regulations? Make sure you’ve completed the following by H1 2024:

  • Obtain SOC 2 compliance, a voluntary standard guiding consumer data use.
  • Create role-based access control (RBAC) protocols within your own operating procedures and in any consumer-facing interface(s).
  • Develop and maintain a strong relationship with your enterprise’s security compliance leaders.
  • Don’t conduct outbound marketing from the same domain as your internal email. Doing so could land your entire sales and marketing team in an import prospect’s spam folder.
  • Understand global privacy regulations like GDPR and enforce privacy standards that allow you to continue operating in critical markets.

Listen to episode 361 of SaaS Half Full for more of Conor’s insights.

The Fame and Flops in Creating Memorable Brands, with Melissa Rosenthal

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SaaS marketers understand the importance of a strong brand, but are you clear in your strategic narrative today? If “efficiency” is driving your narrative, this episode is for you (because, spoiler alert, “efficiency” ain’t it.) In this episode, Melissa Rosenthal, Chief Creative Officer at ClickUp, unpacks the elements needed to create a memorable brand in the face of new market demands and how to measure effectiveness. Plus, she’s brave enough to talk about one of her biggest brand failures and what she learned from the experience.

Brand touches every aspect of the business.

We’ll debunk a common misconception right away: Brand isn’t solely influential because it drives awareness and sales. Sure, this is part of the brand puzzle, but Melissa said the importance of brand goes far beyond traditional sales playbooks.

“[If] you wanna IPO, you wanna have an exit, eventually you wanna be acquired, right?… That roadshow that you’re putting on — that is marketing, that is branding. For investors to take a bet on the company, of course, that’s revenue, and that’s efficiency, and that’s metrics. It’s also brand,” said Melissa.

Because brand influences every business function, organizations with brand-savvy CEOs often perform better than their competitors. We know this thanks to brand metrics like unaided and aided awareness campaigns, which Melissa suggested as a potent first step toward understanding brand awareness among your audience and competitor set.

Melissa’s other suggestion? Viral content. (Yes, even for B2B enterprises.)

“What does virality look like? If everyone within the developer engineering community is talking about a video you created, that’s going viral to me,” said Melissa. “So, I think it’s understanding that and then building that differentiated perspective based on where you wanna be and who you’re speaking to.”

Memorable = authentic.

Merriam-Webster recently announced that 2023’s word of the year is “authentic.” Aptly, authenticity also guided much of Melissa’s conversation about brand.

Melissa said there’s no magic wand to wave when crafting your brand’s tone or direction — it all comes down to what’s natural for your product or service.

“[Your brand’s] identity should match your television ads, your performance ads, your Instagram ads. That all has to feel cohesive,” said Melissa. “I think it starts very much at the top. It’s like, how would you describe the founder of the company, the mission of the company, the vision of it? What is it supposed to do? What is it supposed to feel like? And then take that and weave that into every single thing that you do.”

You can even interrogate yourself to ascertain the specifics of your organization’s brand (its vibe, if you will). For example, Melissa was attracted to ClickUp for its humorous, vibrant and adventurous tone. She said she feels most successful in building ClickUp’s brand when she leans into those positive attributes.

It’s okay to swing for the fences.

Brand activations are sometimes memorable for the wrong reasons — and that’s okay. As Michael Scott once famously said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. -Wayne Gretzky.”

Melissa even shared an instance in which ClickUp’s humorous tone fell flat. During an audio ad read, a ClickUp presenter read a funny line in a sultry voice (“To challenge the conventions of hustle porn culture”). As a marketer, Melissa loved the ad; as a listener, she felt it went too far.

“I did what I said I hated every time… I didn’t test [the ad] with the world,” said Melissa. “You have to avoid groupthink…. And I think that’s what happens. You get attached to an idea, and people at the top get attached to an idea, and then all of a sudden, that becomes the idea.

And, you know, you don’t externally do any surveying. And then it goes into the world, and it’s like, ‘What is this?'”

Listen to episode 360 of SaaS Half Full for more of Melissa’s insights.

Why It’s Time to Axe “Enterprise Marketing,” with Sarah Emmott

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Whether you have added enterprise selling into a PLG motion or have always focused on the segment, SaaS marketers understand the different pain points and nuances of prospecting to the enterprise. But, should you literally market to “the enterprise?”

According to Sarah Emmott, Head of Brand for Work Management at Atlassian, the answer is no. In this conversation, Sarah unpacks how enterprise prospects actually search for solutions and explains why ditching the term “enterprise” in your marketing efforts is the way forward for maximum influence.

It’s time to verticalize the enterprise.

Maybe it seems contradictory to break enterprise selling out into verticals or departments. But, according to Sarah, this strategy sells — so much so that “enterprise” selling in its original form may be dead.

“When we talk to our own enterprise customers, they very adamantly said, ‘I see myself as a certain vertical, and that’s where I look for products. I see myself as a certain department, and that’s where I look for services,'” said Sarah. “[So, from a marketing standpoint,] we talked to them in a specific way, had those certain case studies, had the social proof and had all personalization… But then you met their needs with a salesperson to say, okay, here’s how it’s specifically broken down for you. Here’s the pricing.”

You may read this and balk as you consider the number of verticals your products or services interact with. Sarah suggests taking advantage of the expanded content opportunities presented by large-language models (LLMs) like ChatGPT and Bard if that’s the case. These tools make it easier to personalize outreach or repurpose existing content with expanded or otherwise updated SEO.

Micro-influencers can have a macro impact.

According to Sarah, creating and sharing high-quality content that engages a vertical’s audience will drum up better engagement than generic content. This logic also applies to user-generated content (UGC) and influencer relationships. The more niche your spokesperson or influencer is, the more likely they’ll generate interest among relevant verticals.

Remember, Alix Earle isn’t the only influencer in the game — nor do influencers solely operate in the B2C space. We’ve entered the creator economy era, where marketers can leverage TikTok, Instagram and other previously B2C-only venues.

But where can marketers find influencers? Sarah said the answer may be simpler than you think.

“You might not even need to step outside of your customers and community if you have a micro-influencer who is super active on LinkedIn or producing a ton of YouTube content, [or if they] have an incredible amount of really engaged followers,” said Sarah. 

Luckily, micro-influencers have already decided on their lane and accrued a highly relevant audience. If your product or service fits within that lane, your micro-influencer can make exciting content that reaches the right audience at the perfect time.

(And, if all else fails, you can always amplify their content through a paid ad campaign. 😉)

A marketer’s job is never finished.

You’re probably familiar with the Atlassian workflow management suite, including Confluence, Trello, Jira and Atlas. Despite this elevated awareness, Sarah said the fight for brand recognition never stops. In fact, the Atlassian marketing team strives toward a 4% increase in brand awareness YoY, as gauged by unaided and prompted awareness surveys.

The lesson here? “There’s always a new challenge ahead. We might have an existing community that’s amazing, but the next frontier [could be landing a] specific profile,” said Sarah. “There’s always growth as part of the equation, and finding new audiences is certainly part of it.”

Listen to episode 359 of SaaS Half Full for more of Sarah’s insights.

Navigating Audience Data for Early-Stage Marketers, with Ryan Sonnenberg

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Are you an early-stage B2B SaaS marketer? Or maybe a seasoned marketer with limited resources to uncover the audience data you need to succeed?

In this episode of SaaS Half Full, Lindsey sits down with Ryan Sonnenberg, Director of Marketing at SavvyMoney, as he spills the tea on how B2B SaaS marketers are leaving valuable audience data on the table and what tools early-stage marketers can use to help them in their audience identification journey.

Think big, get big results.

Let’s face it: 2023 has been a rough year for marketing. Most departments are dealing with tough economic headwinds and tightened purse strings.

Still, we’re all searching for ways to keep kicking ass and taking names. Ryan’s biggest piece of advice? “Think about audiences in a bigger, broader context. So think about regional location, job title, industry, these kinds of bigger things and then reduce down from there,” said Ryan.

It may seem counterintuitive to think big when trying to “do more with less.” But Ryan said thinking in broad strokes can help spark creativity as you hone in on your ideal customer profiles (ICPs).

For example, if you’re boosting ads through Meta or Google and want to engage with a well-established company based in Miami, why not exclusively boost your ad to Miami-based audiences? Chances are, those ads will find your ICPs — and from there, your regional brand recognition will grow, leading to a much more productive top-of-funnel conversation.

Lean on your trusty tech stack.

More likely than not, you’re incredibly familiar with analytics tools like Google Analytics. Ryan also suggests becoming acquainted with other budget-friendly but essential tools. At SavvyMoney, his team employs the following (among others):

  • HubSpot — Tool for directing ad spend and understanding audience segmentation.
  • Hootsuite — Social media planning and scheduling tool that integrates with HubSpot.
  • Customer Match — A new tool from Google that allows marketers to synthesize and understand their ads en masse.

Of course, marketers should also conduct due diligence around pivotal platforms like LinkedIn. On these established platforms, it’s not always about running ads but building a robust content engine that signals your market understanding to interested prospects.

“If you’re brand new to LinkedIn, I would [suggest using] it as a tool to get information, but then keep posting and make sure that you make it a regular cadence for yourself,” said Ryan. “Then, pull that information and pull data in while building your audience.”

Forget B2B and B2C — it’s time for H2H.

Around here, we like to focus on the nuances of B2B vs. B2C marketing. We’ve discussed how these realms continue to merge as professionals spend more time on platforms like TikTok. But Ryan suggests an even more poignant newcomer on the scene: H2H, AKA human-to-human connection.

It’s easy to get lost in all the acronyms. But, great sales and marketing strategies should revolve around genuine connection. How can marketers create a productive back-and-forth between their prospects?

Ryan suggested leaving the overtly promotional tactics at the door (when appropriate). For example, at a recent event, the SavvyMoney marketing team provided “savvy” travel tips to non-locals, including information about the best nearby restaurants, coffee shops and trails. This outreach established a strong line of communication between SavvyMoney and several industry vets.

“As marketers, we’re facilitating a connection. So even if it’s a happy hour, you might be facilitating or conversing with a prospect, [and] they might meet someone else who helps check off some of their business goals,” said Ryan. “They’re going to know that you facilitated that and think, ‘Wait, they were really helpful for me to do this. How are they going to help me with other instances and other parts of my business?'”

Listen to episode 358 of SaaS Half Full for more of Ryan’s insights.