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Adding music to your Instagram stories is pretty easy — at least since June, that is. That’s when Instagram added customizable story music... > Read More
According to our Amazon advertising experts, there’s been a large shift detected recently among Amazon’s Sponsored Brands (formerly known as Headline Search Ads)…. > Read More
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According to our Amazon advertising experts, there’s been a large shift detected recently among Amazon’s Sponsored Brands (formerly known as Headline Search Ads).... > Read More
Before you decide to use a select menu for your form field ask yourself a question. Will users know their input without looking at the list of options? If the answer is yes, do not use a select menu for it.
Before you decide to use a select menu for your form field ask yourself a question. Will users know their input without looking at the list of options? If the answer is yes, do not use a select menu for it. Instead, use an autocomplete field.
It’s unnecessary for users to scan and scroll through a long list of options if they already know their input. Select menus force users to do this extra work which frustrates them and slows them down. It’s even worse for them on mobile where only a small part of the list is visible and keyboard search is not available.
An autocomplete field is better because it saves users time and effort when they’re selecting known input. The user only needs to type the first few characters of their input before they see it appear as an option. They can then press the down arrow key and to select it from the menu.
Instead selecting from a large amount of options, they’re selecting from a minimal amount of options. The more they type the less options appear, making it even quicker to find and select their option. The number of options displayed to the user is reduced, which also reduces the error rate.
This usability violation of select menus is often found on fields involving time or place input. Country and state fields are big culprits as well as day and month fields. Users know their input for these fields and shouldn’t have to waste time scanning irrelevant options.
Make it quick and easy for users to fill out your form by using autocomplete fields instead of select menus for known input. It’s much like going to a familiar restaurant. If you already know what food you want to order, reading the menu is a waste time.
Google’s two-year-old free reporting and data visualization platform, Google Data Studio, is now generally available.
Integrations and data connectors. Data Studio, now part of Google Marketing Platform, has native integrations with Google Analytics, Google Ads, Display & Video 360, Search Ads 360, YouTube Analytics, Google Sheets and Google BigQuery. Marketers can also connect to hundreds of other non-Google data sources.
A crop of data connectors from companies like Supermetrics, a digital analytics and reporting tool provider, has also sprouted to help marketers pull data from multiple sources into Data Studio.
More new features. Over the past two years, Google has steadily added features and capabilities to Data Studio. As of this month, Google Marketing Platform (GMP) users can access Data Studio reports in other GMP products, including Analytics, Optimize and Tag Manager. Among other updates, in August, Google added the ability to combine data from multiple sources in a single chart or table with data blending (shown above).
However, in today’s marketplace, the field is very limited out of the box. Absent multitouch attribution flexibility, you really only get one lead source on a record within the database. But what about second, third and fourth touches?
There are a few options utilizing just lead source on its own, but they all have limitations:
We can ignore all touches after the first and stick to the original source only. This is often the method we see used at most companies, and it leads to inaccurate data
The second option is to override the existing lead source with each new touch. This leaves you with the most recent lead source only. Unfortunately, this destroys info and creates inaccurate data, leading to really scary decision-making.
The last option is to create a new lead record for each touch. This approach is the most disruptive, leading to mass confusion and degraded data quality.
So, how do we measure the big picture of a combination of channel influence and maintain the integrity of the database? The answer is to use campaign tracking alongside a customized lead source architecture.
In this post, we’ll focus on how to get your lead source field customized with a level of granularity that serves the business while maintaining the integrity of the data.
Lead source field review
Out of the box, the default lead source list in Salesforce is not granular enough. This list predates most of the channels we utilize in marketing today — rolling all digital channel activity into one bucket labeled “web.”
Neglecting to customize this list during a Salesforce implementation leads to pandemonium and frustration once data begins to populate the reports, and marketing can’t see the results of their efforts clearly enough. Which then leads to shooting in the dark and misalignment between sales and marketing.
We highly recommend you perform an audit of your lead source field options and customize them for your organization. Get rid of lead sources that don’t serve you and add lead sources you would like to track. This can easily be done with a simple spreadsheet to allow everyone to come together and agree on what level of granularity you would like to see.
Customize Salesforce lead source
Once you have gone through your existing lead source list and pruned the lead sources that don’t belong, you can draft the new lead sources that should be added. Now, it’s time to go through and look for missing granularity and opportunity to consolidate.
Effective marketers and data folks always want things tracked as granularly as possible. This often leads to a new lead source for every single activity, event and campaign, which creates a bloated database and makes for difficult reporting.
You’ll likely find that you have several lead sources that can be combined or eliminated. Look for opportunities to standardize your lead sources similar to Google Analytics parameters. If you need additional details, add more fields.
Standardize data entry
Once things are cleaned up, we highly recommend you standardize and automate your data entry. The lead source field should be locked down and set automatically by the system, not by human hands. You can do this using a web-to-lead form (first touch email acquisition) or by passing data from your marketing automation tool (first touch visit).
Once the data is set, don’t allow it to change or allow it to map to other objects.
Strategic management of the lead source field within your Salesforce setup will allow you to unlock the magic of campaign tracking and really measure the efforts of your paid media campaigns and content efforts.
Right now, there is a tsunami that’s coming to wipe out thousands of SaaS companies. In this article, I’ll walk you through the three tidal waves coming ashore and show you how to avoid their potentially disastrous consequences. The Three Tidal Waves Coming for Your SaaS Business Tidal Wave 1: Buyers now prefer to self-educate. […]
Right now, there is a tsunami that’s coming to wipe out thousands of SaaS companies.
In this article, I’ll walk you through the three tidal waves coming ashore and show you how to avoid their potentially disastrous consequences.
The Three Tidal Waves Coming for Your SaaS Business
Tidal Wave 1: Buyers now prefer to self-educate.
This isn’t limited to the B2C space. Three out of every four B2B buyers would rather self-educate than learn about a product from a sales representative, according to Forrester.
Let me ask you two questions:
Would you like to see and use a software product before buying it?
Or would you prefer to go through a lengthy sales process to see if it’s a good fit?
If you’re like most people, you’ll opt for trying out the product on your own. This doesn’t apply just to small and mid-size businesses. As Aptrinsic notes, “Enterprise buyers also expect to try and evaluate software in an easy, frictionless way.”
Tidal Wave 2: Startups are more expensive to grow.
In one sense, this is counterintuitive: It has never been cheaper to build a SaaS company. (HackerNoon even goes so far as to claim that you can now build a SaaS product with $0.)
However, because of this low barrier to entry, there’s no shortage of competition. As a result, argues Andrew Chen, it’s becoming more expensive to acquire customers. Just take a look at these three channels:
Facebook: 171% Increase in Cost per Thousand Impressions, or CPM (2017)
There are other channels, of course, but these numbers give us a hint that, well, marketing isn’t getting any cheaper. According to ProfitWell, customer acquisition costs (CAC) have increased by over 55% in the last 5 years:
At the same time, customer willingness to pay for features has dropped by 30% during that same period:
So, on one hand, we have rising costs; on the other, we have a lower willingness to pay. You don’t have to be a financial whiz to understand that this means your expenses go up while your profitability goes down.
If you have high churn in your SaaS business, this tidal wave may be lethal. Wouldn’t you agree?
Tidal Wave 3: Product experiences have become an essential part of the buying process.
If you’ve used Slack or Dropbox, you’ve witnessed this first-hand—you didn’t read a lengthy whitepaper on the benefits of strong internal communication or cloud-based file sharing. You wanted to see the damn product in action!
Wouldn’t you agree?
If you’ve been agreeing with everything that I’ve said so far, you’ll also agree that these tidal waves aren’t stopping anytime soon. They’re here to stay. Consumers (like us) demand it.
Now, your SaaS platform might be able to weather one of these tidal waves, but do you really want to take a chance on surviving all three?
To put your SaaS in the best position to win, you need to pick a go-to-market strategy that will place your SaaS on high ground.
Put Your SaaS Go-to-Market Strategy on High Ground
First off, what is a go-to-market strategy? A go-to-market (GtM) strategy is an action plan that specifies how a company will reach target customers and achieve a competitive advantage.
Before we dive into which SaaS GtM strategies might work best for your business, you need to take four elements into account:
Battle environment (i.e. market conditions) and competitive positioning
Target or enemy (i.e. ideal customer)
Weapon of choice (i.e. product offering and pricing)
Tactical plan (i.e. customer acquisition process and channels)
Knowing each of these elements will help you choose a GtM strategy that will acquire, retain, and grow your customers in the most capital-efficient way.
Other strategies, in contrast, are ripe for disruption and put you at risk.
Is your SaaS Go-To-Market Strategy at Risk?
Two classic SaaS GtM strategies are at risk of being disrupted: the sales-led and marketing-led GtM strategies.
1. The sales-led GtM strategy
Tidal Wave 1 – Self-Educate
Tidal Wave 2 – Rising Acquisition Costs
Tidal Wave 3 – Product Experience
What is a sales-led go-to-market strategy?
A sales-led go-to-market strategy is a growth engine that leverages a sales team to reach their target customers. Essentially, if you want to make a sale, the whole process starts and ends with your sales team.
Cons: Expensive customer acquisition cost (CAC) and hard to scale.
A big downside of the high-touch sales model is that the CAC is out of control, and the sales cycles are extremely long. As you can see in the graph below, high-touch sales is a leading indicator of CAC.
To make sure the high-touch sales model remains profitable, the LTV naturally has to be high enough to recoup the cost of acquiring each new customer.
To reach that LTV, most sales-led businesses have to charge their customers a hefty premium. That premium price isn’t because the solution is more valuable but because the customer acquisition model is more expensive.
If you currently use a sales-led GtM, a competitor with a more efficient customer acquisition model can deliver a more affordable price tag and steal your market share. To put yourself on higher ground, the next best SaaS GtM is a marketing-led GtM.
2. The marketing-led GtM strategy
Tidal Wave 1 – Self-Educate
Tidal Wave 2 – Rising Acquisition Costs
Tidal Wave 3 – Product Experience
What is a marketing-led go-to-market strategy? A marketing-led go-to-market strategy is a growth engine that leverages a marketing team as a key lever to drive demand for a product.
The marketing team is responsible for driving Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) while the sales team works to further qualify these leads as Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs).
Pros: Lower CAC than a sales-led GtM strategy.
Cons: 98% of marketing qualified leads don’t result in sales.
Marketing-led GtM is much more efficient than the traditional sales-led GtM; however, when it comes to customer acquisition, it has a big leak. According to SiriusDecisions, 98% of marketing-qualified leads never result in closed business.
One of the reasons this conversion rate is famously awful is that the MQL model has hidden flaws:
It encourages marketers to gate content to hit their MQL goals.
It focuses on content consumption as a leading indicator of intent.
As a result, there is often a disconnect between marketing and sales. Should we really be surprised though? Does downloading a whitepaper mean you’re ready to buy?
That said, the marketing-led GtM strategy isn’t the worst option, but there’s still lots of room for improvement. If you want to create a SaaS business that can weather a tsunami, you may want to consider adopting a product-led go-to-market strategy.
Why SaaS businesses are adopting product-led go-to-market strategies
The future of growth belongs to product-driven companies. At HubSpot, we realized this a few years ago, which is why we disrupted our own business model before anyone else could. – Kieran Flanagan, HubSpot
Over the last five years, countless SaaS businesses have switched from a traditional sales or marketing-led GtM strategy to a product-led GtM strategy.
These are just a few great stories of notable companies that have made the switch.
What is a product-led go-to-market strategy? A product-led go-to-market strategy relies on product features and usage as the primary drivers of customer acquisition, retention, and expansion.
Tidal Wave 1 – Self-Educate
Tidal Wave 2 – Rising Acquisition Costs
Tidal Wave 3 – Product Experience
This is the strategy that many well-known SaaS companies have adopted successfully, including Grammarly, Slack, and Dropbox.
Gokul Rajaram of Square, another example, summarizes the rationale: “Truly great software businesses are self-service first.”
Pros: A significantly lower CAC, wider top of funnel, and rapid global scale. Works great with a large total addressable market.
Cons: Hard to implement correctly.
Product-led SaaS businesses have an unfair advantage and enjoy access to a dominant growth engine and significantly lower CAC.
Dominant growth engine
Free software gives you the option to scale faster than your competitors in two powerful ways:
Wider top of funnel: A free trial or freemium model opens up your funnel to people who are earlier on in their customer journey. This is powerful because—instead of prospects filling out your competitor’s demo requests—they’re evaluating your product.
Rapid global scale: While your competitors are busy hiring new sales reps for each region under the sun, you can focus on improving your onboarding so that you can service more customers around the world in a fraction of the time.
A significantly lower CAC
Free software also builds a moat around your business in three ways:
Fast sales cycles: By having your prospects onboard themselves in your product, you can significantly reduce your prospect’s time-to-value and sales cycle. Once people experience value in your product, the next logical thing to do is upgrade. The quicker your users can accomplish a key outcome in your product, the quicker you can convert your free trial users into paying customers.
High revenue-per-employee (RPE): Software was always built to scale well, but with a self-service approach, you’re able to do more with fewer people on your team. Less hand-holding means higher profit margins per customer.
Better user experience: Since your product is built for people to onboard themselves, the overall support requests are often minimized while the user experience benefits.
As you can see, using a product-led GtM strategy gives you an unfair advantage in your market. But it doesn’t stop there.
This is not for everyone. One thing I hope you’re not inferring from this article is that you need to be a self-service business. If you don’t know what you’re doing, adopting a product-led GtM strategy might kill your business instead of helping it.
Many ambitious entrepreneurs have tried and failed. Rob Walling, the CEO of Drip, offers a warning: “Freemium is like a Samurai sword: unless you’re a master at using it, you can cut your arm off.”
Pumpkin spice is not the only thing in surplus this month, take a look at some job postings around experimentation and personalization. Here are our picks: Director, Digital Strategy – Universal Orlando is looking for a Director to “champion the consumer’s journey across channels to achieve business and campaign objectives and collaborates with leaders of […]
Pumpkin spice is not the only thing in surplus this month, take a look at some job postings around experimentation and personalization.
Here are our picks:
Director, Digital Strategy – Universal Orlando is looking for a Director to “champion the consumer’s journey across channels to achieve business and campaign objectives and collaborates with leaders of non-digital channels to ideate and recommend campaign integration opportunities.”
Senior Web Experimentation Lead – The marketing experimentation team at esurance is looking for a leader to “embed an experimentation culture into the esurance DNA in San Francisco. This role will deliver increased cost savings, additional revenue and industry leading user experiences through the power of site testing technology and the scientific rigor of controlled experimentation.”
Senior User Experience & Small Business Project Manager – Lenovo is seeking a candidate in Raleigh, NC to drive “UX projects to improve the online customer experience for Lenovo.com globally. The project manager will manage the identification, conception, definition, design, testing and implementation of UX projects with the goal of improving the customer experience, online engagement and purchase conversion.”
Manager of Digital Testing & Optimization, Analytics – Join the digital analytics and optimization team at L Brands in Reynoldsburg, Ohio and “lead digital testing and optimization efforts. This person will champion the advancement of testing and optimization capabilities and be viewed as the optimization evangelist for different brand partners.”
Digital Marketing Manager, Personalization – looking for an ambitious learner to lead a test & learn strategy through experimentation for our digital marketing channels. You will be the leader and subject matter expert of A/B testing with the goal of developing the strategy and approach on personalization.
E-Commerce & Digital Operations Manager – In New York, Zacharys Fine Wine is looking for a candidate to plan and execute “digital and website activities for retail including: content, merchandising, landing pages, site search, product recommendations, personalization, loyalty and other on-site conversion optimization tools.”
Sr. Integrated Marketing Manager – Web Analyst – Microsoft in Redmond, Washington is looking to fill a role to “work with the web lead to strategize, create, manage, execute and optimize web analytics. This includes building experimentation and personalization programs for Dynamics 365 and Power BI.”
Director, eCommerce – “Drive the strategy, development, implementation, and continued improvement of the eCommerce booking experience for Carnival Cruise Line” in Miami, Florida. “Help lead the presentation across the eCommerce website and mobile app, supporting the integrated programs, promotions and initiatives across the organization.”
Sr Analyst A/B Testing & Site Optimization – Help “drive and support A/B and multivariate testing initiatives on the Homedepot.com site” in Atlanta, Georgia. “The Sr Analyst will be responsible for statistical design, analysis, and reporting aimed at the continued improvement of Homedepot.com onsite experience, with a focus on partnership for making data-driven decisions that drive improved conversion.”
User Experience (UX) Designer – Join the Brooks Bell’s UX team in Raleigh, North Carolina. “The core function of this role is to research, concept, design, user test, and produce all files needed to execute A/B tests for our clients. This includes creating digital assets that are consistent with the development team’s standards and templates, as well as selecting images, designing layouts, and creating digital experiences that answer user issues outlined by our digital analytics and user research sessions.”
Trying to fill a position in testing and optimization? Send us your posting and we’ll include it on our next post!
With Q4 rapidly approaching, utilizing advanced advertising strategies on Amazon will be pivotal for a strong finish in 2018. Although some of the biggest… > Read More
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With Q4 rapidly approaching, utilizing advanced advertising strategies on Amazon will be pivotal for a strong finish in 2018. Although some of the biggest... > Read More
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Google has officially rebranded its famed AdWords advertising service to Google Ads. The rebranding was first announced back in June of this year,... > Read More
Every buyer (potential or otherwise) is different and works through their purchasing decisions at a different pace. Calls to Action (CTAs) exist to be clicked on, to help facilitate those decisions, but the reasons why buyers click on them vary. As con…
Every buyer (potential or otherwise) is different and works through their purchasing decisions at a different pace. Calls to Action (CTAs) exist to be clicked on, to help facilitate those decisions, but the reasons why buyers click on them vary. As consumers drift further and further away from human interaction, preferring the convenience of online shopping, it’s becoming even more difficult to engage with them. This is where the buyer’s journey comes in. It’s vital that you understand and leverage this journey and its stages in order to create the most effective CTAs. You need to meet your prospects with...