Amidst oversaturated markets and economic downturns, how are SaaS companies navigating acquiring more users and hitting high-profit margins?

ClickUp has grown and found its voice in an industry of category players, with a staggering six million users within five years. Chief Creative Officer Melissa Rosenthal and Chief Growth Officer Gaurav Agarwal share the secret to ClickUp’s rapid growth through big bets and bold marketing tactics. 

The state of B2B SaaS

Recognizing the current state of your product’s market is the first step to conquering it. We discovered this by first analyzing the changes in the B2B SaaS industry, which stemmed from generational shifts in the following areas:

  • B2B ecosystem. Two decades ago, B2B companies relied on a central figure in the entire company calling the shots on budget and software to invest in. These decisions soon shifted to the department heads and different company executives to figure out. Now, power lies in the hands of the end user, which has led to even more dynamic products that meet their evolving needs.
  • Workforce distribution. By 2025, more than half of the workforce will be made up of millennials and Gen Zs, with the innovative ideas they bring to the table. 
  • User behavior. Users are becoming more tech-savvy, value flexible, and prefer to be attracted to a brand rather than sold to. 
  • Content channels. The distribution of work operation tools has also taken a different look. Microsoft no longer dominates this market, as Google apps are almost on par with Microsoft. 

The culmination of the above factors has resulted in the consumerization of SaaS, which is behind the tactics profitable companies are using to gain a competitive advantage. 

Tactic #1: Talk like a human

ClickUp plays in a market that directly impacts work productivity, and they had to look for a way to position themselves as allies in their users’ minds. The corporate-speak had to go. 

The first step to achieving this was by infusing creativity into their ads. How? By creating amusing, visually appealing ads with relatable scenarios portraying the product as the solution for a non-headache-inducing approach to work.

Also, don’t restrict yourself to just one marketing channel in your communications. For example, ClickUp created a podcast and live conferences as better channels for reaching their target audience while positioning their product in a non-sales manner.

Tactic #2: Prioritize personalization

Personalization used to be the result of the right message at the right time in the right place. Now, it’s different. Flip the script by proactively tracking customer’s journey, segmenting them into different categories with a tailored message for each category. ClickUp did the same. Even if customers are not actively searching for the solution, they know it exists. This knowledge will bring them back to ClickUp when they need us. 

“Think of a time you abandoned a cart on a shopping platform, and they followed you all across the internet with that exact product you abandoned.”  – Gaurav Agarwal

Tactic #3: Think like a B2C company

Adopting the B2C approach of bold ads and creative marketing will pay off if you intend to stand out from your competitors in the industry. The goal is to constantly fuel your audience’s curiosity so you’ll be top of mind when they need you. Here are some suggestions from ClickUp’s experiments:

  • Create large out-of-home campaigns in top tech cities.
  • Sending out polarizing ads that threw jabs at competitors and made a bold statement.
  • Buying into the biggest advertising platform there is—the Super Bowl.

“From day one, we needed to differentiate our brand and understand how we could be bold and stand out.”  – Melissa Rosenthal

Tactic #4: Always be testing

Testing is at the heart of growth marketing. Experiment with every marketing element to see what works and doesn’t. With every experiment we run, the goal is to be right 20% of the time. Anything higher shows you are not taking big enough risks. Anything lower should prompt you to rethink your business strategy.

Tactic #5: Uplevel your social strategy

Your social media handles should not only indicate an online presence. Use social media to reach your target audience, engage with them, and keep tabs on industry trends. Encourage your employees and top executives to create thought leadership content, particularly on LinkedIn, to help push themselves and the business forward. 

Tactic #6: Use community as a moat

Having allies on your side is another effective tactic for standing out in a competitive marketplace. Community building makes your company appear more relatable and creates raving fans of your product.  Send out branded swag and create ambassadorship programs with badges to foster engagement in your product’s community.

“Your community are the people who will be championing your brand, shouting from the rooftops, and talking to other people about your products. These are the people you need to advocate for, talk to, and treat like the real people they are.”  – Melissa Rosenthal

Key takeaways

Winning the B2B SaaS game will involve rethinking your user engagement and marketing approach. By being relatable with your content, improving what works, and prioritizing user needs, your company will be on its way to becoming a category player with a high conversion rate and user growth.


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