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The State of Marketing at SaaS Companies

Marketing survey SaaS Companies

Recently, we conducted a survey among the members of our SaaScommunity network.

They shared their opinions and experiences when it comes to the marketing of SaaS companies. And that gave us some really interesting results! 

In short, these are the most striking results from the survey:

  • Lead generation is the most important marketing goal for SaaS companies, followed by generating sales and brand awareness.
  • Shortening the sales cycle is the biggest marketing challenge for 2021. Producing high-quality content and generating meetings with target accounts complete the top 3 challenges.
  • The biggest marketing trends for 2021 are marketing automation, personalization, and video marketing.
  • More than half of the respondents say that COVID-19 has an influence on their marketing, with the lack of events and tradeshows as the biggest change.

Read more about the details of the survey below. 

 Which marketing channels do you use?

We started off with some insights about marketing channels, by asking the question  ‘Which marketing channels do you use?’. There are some marketing channels that really stand out:

  • Email marketing (100%)
  • Social media (94,1%)
  • Content marketing (82,4%)
  • Search engine advertising (82,4%).

which marketing channels do you use

Affiliate marketing, offline promotion, chatbots, and retargeting are also mentioned by respondents. 


What percentage of your budget goes to marketing?

  • When it comes to the marketing budget, more than half of the respondents (56,3%) say that 0-10% goes to marketing.
  • This is followed by 10-20% of the budget going to marketing, which was the answer of 25% of the respondents in the survey.


Top 3 marketing goals SaaS companies

There is a clear top 3 when it comes to the marketing goals of SaaS companies:

  1. Lead generation: 94,1% of all respondents selected this answer as an important marketing goal.
  2. Generating sales: 70,6%.
  3. Brand awareness: 58,8%.


Top 3 marketing challenges & trends for 2021

Most SaaS companies see ‘Shortening the sales cycle’ as the biggest marketing challenge for 2021 (58,8%). This is followed by producing high-quality content (47,1%) and generating meetings with target accounts (47,1%).

Joris from Apicbase:

“Our biggest marketing challenge is to move upmarket. Our product is moving more towards bigger businesses and enterprises, which has a big impact on our marketing activities. This starts with our branding and value proposition, all the way to use other channels to reach our target audience.”

And what about the biggest marketing trends for 2021?

Our respondents see a big trend when it comes to marketing automation, personalization, and video marketing.


Marketing of other SaaS companies

Most of the respondents use marketing services of other SaaS companies (82,4%). When it comes to companies that inspire them with marketing, we see a lot of prominent names. HubSpot is mentioned several times, because of its highly valuable content. Other companies on the inspiration list are Mailchimp, CoSchedule, Backbase, PayFit, Marketo, TravelPerk, and VendHQ.


Influence of COVID-19 on marketing activities

58,8% of the respondents mention that COVID-19 has an influence on their marketing activities. But, this is not only negative.

A lot of respondents say that COVID also opened up new doors for them.

  • The biggest change is the lack of events. Susan from Neovation: “The loss of trade shows and in-person networking events limited our planned reach, but freed up some budget to try other channels”. Kirsta from Sievo: “No in personal events, including our annual customer event which normally is a major driver of upsales, case study creation, and customer retention.”
  • There are also some other big changes in marketing activities because of COVID-19. Mark from Data2Vault: “PPC ad costs increased by 1000% due to large vendors moving event budgets to PPC. Trusted channels have become more important in engaging with prospects.”
  • Syrian from Digitevent: “We had to recalculate all the content in the calendar and instead created a lot of content about COVID, instead of sector-specific content.


We asked our community: which SaaS company inspires you with their marketing – and why?

Recently we asked our community members about the marketing of SaaS companies. A lot of our members (82,4%) also use the marketing services of other companies. Another question we asked them in this survey was ‘Which SaaS company inspires you with their marketing – and why?’. 

Get inspired yourself, by checking out the answers below.


Sharing valuable content and best practices

Hubspot is praised a lot for its marketing. One of the responses came from Lyle from “Hubspot, because of their great presence and tactical marketing.” Susan from agrees: “HubSpot, because of their highly valuable content to create loyalty and engagement.” Silva from PLM Group also mentions HubSpot and adds Marketo and Salesforce to the list of companies with inspiring marketing. Mark from Data2Vault: “Hubspot and Mailchimp. Innovators that share best practices and share what works for them.”


Communication, focus and great design

Let’s look at some other inspiring companies that were mentioned in the survey:

  • Dunja from BrandMaker: “At the moment companies like Triblio inspire me to also explore new possibilities to engage with prospects.”
  • Ohyoon from WeQ: “Robinhood investment, because of their great design and content.”
  • Joris from Apicbase: “TravelPerk. I’m kinda biased, but they are hyper focused and sometimes have a contrarian view on the marketing and industry, which makes them stand out compared to the others players in the market.”
  • Syrian from Digitevent: “Swile and PayFit. Very good communication and brand image.”
  • Krista from Sievo: “CoSchedule is a company that really inspires me. It’s a marketing project management platform that offers very relevant and useful content for their audience in a visually consistent way.”

As you can see: there are many SaaS companies that can help you with inspiration for your own marketing. What’s your favorite? 


We asked our community: which marketing advice would you like to share with other SaaS companies?

Marketing is an important topic for all SaaS companies. And why not share knowledge and learn from the experiences of others? In our recent survey, we asked SaaS community members about the marketing advice they would like to share.

Get inspired and read their advice below.


Personal communication is key

Mark from Data2Vault:

“Understand what compelled the customers you already have to subscribe to your service and build a marketing program to find more of the same.”

Susan from Neovation:

“Don’t lose the H2H (Human to Human) when pursuing B2B.”

Syrian from Digitevent:

“Try to sound as authentic as possible in every bit of communication and marketing technique you use. Never lie or sound false to your clients or prospects.”

Silva from PMG Group:

“Find your buyer personas and design personalized digital buyers journeys for each persona – no mass e-mailing.”

Data, ROI, and testing

Anthia from AG5: “Being data-driven is great! Just make sure you know what you want to measure and what you want to learn from it. With so much data available, it’s easy to get lost in the numbers.”

Lyle from “Drive growth.”

Joris from Apicbase: “Validate your assumptions and ideas by testing them in an agile way, that way you will soon see what gets traction and whatnot, and then double down on the wins.”

Dunja from BrandMaker: “It is important to have transparency on your own marketing operations to show ROI on marketing activities and to work smarter. That means marketers need to have real-time visibility and control on campaigns, budgets, people workflows, and marketplace performance.”

What’s your marketing advice that you would like to share with the SaaS community? Contact us, we would love to collaborate.

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