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3 Ways to Increase SaaS Revenue With Inbound Co-Marketing

By William Steward on Mon, Sep 14, 2015

Your SaaS company isn't alone in its attempts to reach your buyer personas. No matter what industry you're in, or who you're trying to target, there's other organisations and individuals that are trying to connect with those people too. 

The majority of these organisations and individuals don't compete with you, and have their own audience you can reach with great effect. 

In this post I explain 3 inbound co-marketing tactics you can use to leverage relationships with these entities to generate leads and revenue. 

1) eBooks, eGuides & Whitepapers

If you've been doing inbound marketing, your company will have published eBooks, eGuides, whitepapers and other pieces of premium content. In-depth pieces that deep dive into a particular topic, and help your buyer personas to overcome business or personal challenges. 

Think about the problems and challenges that frustrate your personas, and identify one you could reduce by producing an in-depth piece of content with a partner. 

For example, if you sell a CRM solution, you're probably trying to reach senior sales people. Why not partner up with a sales training company, and produce a whitepaper that explains how sales executives can reduce churn in their sales teams?

When the whitepaper is complete, you can co-brand it, publish it to each of your websites, and share all the leads generated by the campaign. When you appropriately select partners, you'll generate more leads than either of you could working alone. 

2) Webinars

Many great SaaS companies host regular webinars. It's a great way to generate leads, nurture existing leads and increase customer lifetime value.

Instead of producing and hosting all these webinars internally, think about who else you could work with to deliver a webinar that helps your buyer personas in ways you couldn't alone.  

For example, if you sell customer helpdesk software, you could partner with a customer experience consultancy business to run a webinar on optimising user experience for increased customer retention. 

By each of you promoting the webinar to your target audiences, you'll generate more leads, engage more people and add more value to webinar attendees. All things which help both partners to increase revenue.

3) Free Tools & Apps 

Another highly valuable inbound lead generation tactic is the development of tools and apps. A perfect example is HubSpot's free CRM. By marketing the free sales tool, they generate leads (plus a ton of value for prospects!) which they can nurture and turn into marketing automation software sales. 

You don't have to go this far though. There's a plethora of simple apps which can be developed: quizzes, browser plugins, wordpress plugins, phone apps and similar. All of these can add value to your buyer personas. A perfect example of this was HubSpot's much more basic marketing grader, a tool which was fundamental for their early lead generation efforts. 

These tools and apps don't have to be built in isolation, though. Whilst co-developing software introduces challenges (you probably don't want to have development teams at both organisations working together to build the software), you can work together to come up with a concept which you co-brand, and co-market. 

For example, if you sell HR management software, you could work with a HR consultancy firm to develop and co-market a grading tool which your target personas can use to assess weaknesses in their hiring process.

By promoting it together and sharing all the leads generated, you'll both have a steady stream of leads that have identified HR problems both your companies can help them to solve. 

Caveats

Whilst inbound co-marketing is an excellent strategy to help you and your partner(s) generate more business, there are things you need to be aware of throughout the process of selecting a partner, and working with them to execute the campaign. 

  1. Both parties must understand their buyer personas - if either of the parties involved don't really know who they're trying to reach, your campaign is unlikely to be successful. 

  2. Identify any conflicts of interest - if this isn't given thought, you'll have problems. Be weary of overloading leads with marketing emails after the campaign, and try to develop a way to nurture the leads engaged by your campaign that works for both partners. Never work with competitors! Indirect competitors can take thought to identify.

  3. Agree the details - it's essential that you agree all campaign details before you begin. Who will do what? When will they do it? Establish firm deadlines, and agree everything in advance. Put together a project calendar, detailing specific activities you'll each do and when. This is especially crucial if either of you are promoting the campaign with paid advertising.

    If all the details aren't agreed upfront, one partner will end up feeling like the other isn't doing enough, and the relationship will break down. 

  4. Assess the value of your partner - think carefully about who you work with. Do they do inbound marketing well? Do they have a large enough audience to really add value to your campaign? Is their existing audience actually a good fit? Does your team like them? Will they be easy to work with? Will being associated with their brand improve your reputation, rather than hurt it?

If you want more specific advice on how your SaaS company can increase revenue with inbound marketing, download my free 71-page eBook by filling the form below.

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