Research and Insights

Solving the SaaS Problem: The Ultimate Tech Stack for B2B Marketers

By October 31, 2016 2 Comments

Marketing technology is evolving at an incredible pace.

The advent of cloud platforms in particular has made cutting-edge technology more accessible. In addition to allowing rapidly growing SaaS companies to take-on incumbent industry giants, cloud technology has provided the latest generation of marketers with incredible new tools. The types of marketing strategies that once seemed the realm of science fiction are suddenly within the grasp of every marketer.

But with so much choice available, how can you separate the must-have technology from the expensive shelfware? What are the core tools that should go into a SaaS marketer’s arsenal? Today, I’m exploring the 12 key marketing technologies that make up the ultimate tech stack for B2B SaaS marketers.

1) Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Effective marketing strategies, no matter how diverse, share a single trait in common: They’re all customer-centric. A CRM is a one-stop shop for visitor insight, allowing you to record every engagement with your website visitors as they progress from lead to customer. From the blog posts they read to the emails they open, a CRM is designed to tell the story of where your visitors have come from, and where they’re going, allowing you to tailor your marketing strategy to the pains and passions of your customers.

Example: Salesforce

2) Content Management Systems (CMS)

Whether it’s a sprawling white paper or a custom microsite, a product pricing page or an educational blog post, content is at the heart of modern SaaS marketing. But content without structure would be chaos. Visitors would struggle to find the resources they need, and we’d fail to stay on top of an ever-expanding archive of website pages and resources. Thankfully, content management systems provide a framework for creating, organizing, optimizing, and delivering your content—turning chaotic content into purposeful marketing.

Example: HubSpot COS

3) Social Media Marketing (SMM) and Brand Monitoring

Social media can be an effective channel for reaching potential customers, but it requires serious and concerted effort to achieve results. Thankfully, that’s where social media marketing tools come in, allowing you to schedule content weeks in advance, choose the perfect publishing schedule to reach as many people as possible, and analyze your best performing social shares. Many even offer live brand monitoring functionality, making it easy to engage with potential customers as-and-when they’re talking about your company.

Example: HootSuite

4) Marketing Automation

Email is one of the most powerful marketing tools. After all, how many other marketing channels can get your company, directly and near-instantaneously, in front of as many people as you have contact information for? The latest generation of marketing automation can supercharge your campaigns, using segmented emails and lead management to get your message in front of the right people, at the right time.

Example: Marketo

5) Outreach and Promotion

It isn’t enough to churn out great content and hope that it finds its way into the hands of the right people. Active outreach and promotion are vital to the efficacy of content marketing, and specialized outreach tools provide dedicated resources to help identify industry influencers, share your content, and monitor the efficacy of your outreach.

Example: BuzzStream

6) Paid Advertising and Optimization

Search engine advertising, paid social media promotion and remarketing: the modern marketer’s arsenal of paid advertising tools has swollen dramatically in recent years. With good reason: fueled by the latest generation of content-driven advertising (promoting blog posts, eGuides and landing pages), paid advertising is no longer the sinkhole of wasted resources that it used to be. This has been helped hugely by a growing number of advertising optimization tools: software that takes the guesswork out of paid advertising, and automatically optimizes your spend and targeting.

Example: AdStage

7) Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Keyword Research

Google alone handles over 3.5 billion searches a day; and entire industries have been won and lost on the battlefields of search engine optimization. Thankfully, SEM and keyword research tools shine a light into the dark and murky world of search engines, and give you the insight you need to improve your own search performance: allowing you to identify search trends, optimize content for high volume keywords, and track, identify and acquire new backlinks.

Example: Ahrefs

8) Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)

Small changes can yield dramatic results, from switching out blog post titles to changing the Hero image on a landing page. CRO software make it quick and easy to trial these small variations, using A/B testing and a wealth of other data-driven tools to gather meaningful data, and use it to roll-out optimized marketing strategies that work at peak efficacy.

Example: Optimizely

9) Live Chat and Survey Tools

No longer the preserve of customer support teams, live chat and surveying tools are playing a growing role in SaaS marketing. Instead of second-guessing the interests and needs of website visitors, it’s now possible to directly ask visitors, leads, and customers about the content and marketing resources that really help them.

Example: Qualaroo

10) Discussion and Community Building

There’s a reason forums and social media sites are some of the most active, engaged websites on the internet: the online experience is fueled by discussion, whether it’s swapping stories, asking questions, or trading advice.

Instead of restricting this collaboration to third-party sites, community building tools make it possible to capture the conversation that happens around your product and industry—giving you a myriad of chances to engage with and add value to visitors, prospects, and existing customers.

Example: Jive-x

11) Marketing Analytics or Business Intelligence

The days of marketing as a “dark art” are long gone, and nowadays, we expect our marketing strategy to generate a demonstrable return on investment. No modern marketing stack is complete without a comprehensive analytics tool—software designed to dig-up cold, hard data on the real-world impact of your marketing strategy, from awareness raised to customers generated.

Example: Domo

12) Marketing Operating Systems

With so many different tools around, there’s a growing need for marketing solutions that tie each of these disparate point solutions together. For smaller companies, APIs and custom integrations can help piece the marketing jigsaw together; but for bigger SaaS companies, increasingly complex marketing strategies demand a dedicated resource.

That’s where Marketing Operating Systems come in: all-in-one platforms that encompass the entire breadth of modern, content-driven marketing, allowing you to execute, distribute, analyze and align your marketing strategy from a single, central resource.

Example: Kapost

Building the Ultimate Tech Stack

Technology is a crucial part of modern B2B marketing – but tools alone won’t generate visitors, leads or customers. Marketing technology needs to be used to support strategy, and not the other way around: but armed with a pragmatic approach to software investment, each of these tools can play an incredible role in building the ultimate tech stack for effective SaaS marketing.

Ryan Law

About Ryan Law

Ryan Law is CMO & co-founder of  Cobloom, a team of marketing, sales and customer success experts that help customer-centric SaaS companies gain traction and scale.

2 Comments

  • Yes, it’s very common topic. Thank you for sharing such useful tips, I hope it help me to increase my marketing skill and gain my work results. Your blog is very interesting and all posts are really useful for people from marketing sphere. Good luck, waiting for new posts from you!

  • JeffEpstein says:

    This is a great redux on core martech requirements. Truly helps pinpoint the must-haves of any credible stack. But what about the component that helps marketers plan and manage spend? You don’t have to rely on disconnected spreadsheets and your ERP system to do that (since when were they built for marketers anyway?) I’m talking marketing performance management, the solution that consolidates marketing plans with actual investments and results so marketers can measure impact and ROI in real-time. If ‘marketing technology needs to be used to support strategy’, which it should, then a strong command and control for budgeting and spend management is vital because it helps keep teams aligned and strategically focused, and gives the CMO the insight needed to make better decisions. Allocadia is one such platform built for the cloud (full disclosure – my employer). http://www.allocadia.com

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