I was at SaaStock in Dublin a few years ago and attended three talks in a row from prominent SaaS companies about how they achieved their rocketship-like growth.
One did it all via paid acquisition, in those days, it was Facebook ads
The other did it via outbound sales,
And the last did it with content marketing (with a splash of what we’d now call Influencer Marketing).
The end result was 3 SaaS companies that were all well into the 8-figure ARR range, and all three did it in very different ways.
But the thing is, they all did it Just One Way.
How you go about acquiring customers is usually defined by these few variables:
- Your skills as a founder (or founding team) – what have you done successfully in the past that you can leverage in this venture
- Your industry – where do your potential customers usually hang out and how do they buy
- Your pricepoint – if you’re running a $19/mo SaaS (like I do), then paid acquisition is pretty tough.
- Your funding – more money = more options, most of the time.
Sure there are a few others, but this is the shortlist.
But here’s the catch, you rarely see a company pulling off more than one acquisition channel well.
Of course, we all get a few trial signups or leads from different sources, but our main focus is almost always just one place.
At Castos, that has always been that beautiful blend of content marketing and SEO. With our roots as a bootstrapped company (and still pretty bootstrapped-esque today) and our pricepoint, it is the most logical move.
But, we added a sales team to the company in August 2021. What I didn’t realize is that the instant you add sales to the mix in a SaaS company, you start to dilute down the focus of each website visitor or lead you acquire.
It’s just natural, as a marketer you want to funnel high-quality leads to your sales team. But also as a marketer, you’d also like some of your website traffic to convert into paying customers in a self-service mode.
You can’t have your cake and eat it too.
I think we’ve struck a pretty nice balance at Castos with this, but it’s been a learning opportunity (euphemism for we flailed around a lot not knowing what to do).
At this point, we divide up our inbound traffic based on the topic of the page/article that someone lands on. Based on the intent we assume someone has while visiting that page, where we believe that page lies in the funnel (BoFu, MoFu, ToFu), and a few other variables, we define the main goal of the page should be.
For some, it’s to start a conversation and book a sales call.
And for others, it’s to ask folks to start a free 14-day trial.
The point is there’s no universal right answer when it comes to the goal of traffic once you have both marketing goals and sales goals for your website traffic.
When I talk to founders who have historically been an organic, self-service signup kind of model and are thinking about adding sales to the mix, I warn them about this.
It’s certainly possible to serve both camps, to drive leads to sales, and to drive trial signups, but it just takes a bit more planning and intentionality when mapping out your on-page CTAs and email nurture sequences.