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Marketing Our SaaS?

Drew Harris

We've spent the past 7.5 years building the right combination of software and services.  Now that we have an incredible offering, I am trying to figure out how best to "offer" it to the world.  I am a developer and an entrepreneur, but I am no marketing whiz.  I often think that God did not make me with the 'marketing gene'.  Most of the time exploring my network of contacts provides the right person or persons who have done exactly what I am needing help with at the time and more often than not, the people in my network have done bigger and better things than what I need help with.  Usually, my tasks are 'small potatoes' for them.  Yet, this time, I have yet to find anyone to date that has a solid proven track record with a successful launch of a SaaS (Software as a Service) via marketing.

Oh sure, I have a few marketing savvy people in my network, but no one that really stands out with a record of success with marketing and pushing anything like what we offer.  So, I am reaching out via this blog entry and social media to see if I can find any advise or help.

We have a solid product, top notch support and service, a loyal and extremely happy local customer base but we are ready to offer what we have to the world, just not sure how to reach them.  We even have buyer personas developed for our potential buyers along with a handful of ideas on how to reach out to them.  But at this point, ideas on how to reach our potential buyers are just that... just ideas.

These are some of the things we are considering, I'd love your input via a comment to this post!

  1. Find the right marketing company with the right experience to partner with to market our SaaS
  2. Sell part of our company to another company who has experience to market our SaaS with their sales force
  3. Build our own marketing plan and sales force over a longer period of time and do it ourselves

I am sure there other options that I am not considering at this point.  I'd love to hear your input!

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Posted by: Brian Mays On July 29, 2009
That is a tough one. Maybe you can request proposals from companies that have work that intrigues you. If you decide to go this route I would request specific case studies and references that you can do some legwork yourself on to get an idea of what they did for that client. Maybe a combination of option 1 and option 3 could be good? Anita's suggestion of OpenBeta would be good as well. I haven't been to one yet but know a number of people who have.

Posted by: Drew On July 29, 2009
Brian, As time sensitive as SaaS is to technology and market conditions, I am afraid that option 3 leaves us at the highest risk even though it is indeed appealing as we could maintain tighter control of things. Right now, Option 1 sounds the best to me, but I am coming up empty on who that company is, any recommendations on how to find the right one?

Posted by: Drew Harris On July 29, 2009
Anita, thank you! I'd love to hear more about the OpenBeta events you make mention of.

Posted by: Anita Parks On July 29, 2009
If your company plans to expand or needs venture capital to grow you should think about the following resources if they are not already involved: 1) Oklahoma Dept of Commerce may have some insight or services; 2) As to present at an Oklahoma Venture Forum meeting for potential investors; 3) I'm sure you are familiar with RefreshOKC? What about presenting at one of the OpenBeta events?

Posted by: Brian Mays On July 29, 2009
If it were me, I'd shoot for option 3. Option 1 would be my second choice. Option 2 personally wouldn't appeal to me much. I would feel like I've lost a bit of control that may bite me later. And then if it doesn't work...? If you go with option 3, it's likely incurring less cost than Option 1. No one knows your business better than you, and no one has a vision of what that should be better than your own company. The advantage of using an outside firm or individual would be that they might see things with a fresh eye that you see as plain and everyday. Just some loose thoughts.