Understanding the SaaS Sales Cycle And How It Impacts Your Content Strategy

by Vivian Tejeda

SaaS content marketing can be a bit confusing. You can’t take the average content strategy, slap it onto your SaaS product, and expect the sales to start coming in. There’s a bit more nuance to pay attention to when you’re shaping your content strategy around your SaaS product. 

While a content approach to a B2C or an ecommerce business might be more straightforward, the SaaS sales cycle can tend to be an involved process on more complex timelines. This means you need to be increasingly aware about the type of content you publish and the purpose it serves. 

Below, we walk through a few differentiators that make the SaaS space unique as well as how you can map out your content to effectively nurture and educate your customers towards the sale. First, you’ll want to consider your sales timeline. 

Longer sales timeline

Chances are, your target audience is going to come across your content multiple times before even considering the decision to buy your product. Whether your product takes three months or half a year to sell depends on things like who your customer is, how your pricing structure is set, how affordable or expensive your product is, or even if you offer shorter or longer free trials. 

What exactly does this mean for your content strategy? As you create content, you’ll need to consider how you’ll keep your prospects engaged throughout the process. In essence, you need to tackle two things with your content:

  • Building brand awareness
  • Converting customers

Say you sell project management software. While one of your beginner customers might be searching for content on how to manage a team, your more seasoned customers might want more information on how to use your specific calendar integration tools. That makes for two very different but necessary pieces of content that should be part of your content strategy. 

On a longer SaaS sales timeline, you want to make sure you’re building content for every step of the process, whether that’s building brand awareness by creating beginner-friendly content or creating more product-specific content for solution-aware customers. 

Multiple decision-makers

In the SaaS space, you’ll likely need to get through multiple decision makers before getting buy-in. This adds to the complexity of it all.  77% of B2B buyers state that their latest purchase was a complex process. Not only that, the typical number of buyers that make a decision on a B2B product is anywhere between six to 10. 

Source: Gartner

In a B2B transaction, there are stakeholders with different interests and pain points in mind as well as different needs. While the team manager might be looking for software that comes with team-oriented solutions to his project management problems, the team lead might be looking for specific tools that solve specific bottlenecks in his workflow. 

Creating content that speaks to each of them takes two different approaches. Consider the decision-making process that any SaaS product is bound to go through, and then shape your content with that in mind. It takes being aware of the multiple pain points your product solves and the benefits that come with that. In other words, it takes empathy.

Once you’re clear on the pain points you solve it becomes easier to create content that speaks to different decision makers. Creating effective SaaS content takes knowing and outlining your customer segments first, outlining their specific pain points, and creating content that speaks to those pain points.  

Constant software updates

The beauty of a cloud-based SaaS product is that you never have to touch anything physical, it’s easily scalable, and you’re generally only selling one product. Yet, its digital nature can make your content strategy a bit more challenging due to the inevitable software updates your SaaS product will go through. 

Maybe you’ve added new features, or there’s a list of brand new integrations, or you’ve fixed some technical issues. But how will your prospective customers know about any of these changes if your content doesn’t reflect them?  

Constant software updates means you’ll need your content to keep up with those changes. Maybe you’ll need to create more content about the new features you offer, or you might want to refresh old content to make sure it’s up to date. 

With SaaS products, a set-it-and-forget-it approach to your content strategy won’t help you meet your sales goals. It’s necessary to constantly create fresh content that’s relevant and speaks to your different customer segments.

Where content and the sales cycle meet 

The majority of B2B buyers consume branded content from a businesses’ website. This is good news for you, because it means you can give them exactly what they’re looking for with the creation of strategic content. 

When you’re thinking about where content and the sales cycle meet, it helps to think about the buyer’s journey. This way, you have an easier time mapping out content ideas. The buyer’s journey can be broken down into three main sections. These are the Awareness Stage, the Consideration Stage, and the Decision Stage.

Source: HubSpot

In the same way, you can break down your content in three stages and write from a relevant angle for each. Say you’re creating a content strategy for project management software. As you create content for the awareness stage, you want to create content that hits on beginner topics like “what is project management?” or even “how to manage a project.” 

As you move down the buyer’s journey and try to speak to customers who might be in the Consideration Stage, they know a solution exists, but they aren’t quite warmed up to the idea of making a buying decision just yet. 

Here’s where you’ll want to create content that’s more in-depth, speaks in their language, and solves a specific pain point. Continuing with the project management example, you can consider creating content on topics like “how to manage project resources from beginning to end” or even “5 strategic ways to approach resource planning.”

Finally, you want your content to speak to customers in the Decision Stage. This is where you’ll want to create content that speaks about the specifics of your product. What problems does it solve? How does it make their life easier? What’s the long-term value they’ll get from choosing you over other options? 

As you map your content to the nuances of the SaaS sales cycle and the buyer’s journey, you’re able to get more buy-in from customers that need what you’re selling. 

Align your content strategy with the SaaS sales cycle

Creating content for a SaaS product isn’t an easy task. Still, it becomes easier once you understand the fundamental principles that create a need for a different approach to content.

As you create content, consider your sales pipeline, who your buy-in decision makers are, and the updates your product will go through. It’s important to ask yourself how you’re educating, qualifying, and converting your target customers with your content. This way, you’re creating content with a strategic approach that speaks to the people that matter.

Admittedly, managing the content creation process can be a lot to take care of on your own. Yet, it’s hard to ignore the fact that content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing. If you’re interested in hitting your content goals and making more sales without the added stress Audience Ops can help. 

We create content that speaks to your target customers, builds brand awareness, and increases conversions. Schedule a free consultation with us here.