There’s no single definition of a SaaS marketer. They wear many hats and have different skills, depending on their area of expertise. Who you’re looking for, on the other hand, will depend on where you are with your SaaS product and your current team structure. In this article, we’re taking a closer look at the must-have characteristics of SaaS marketers in different capacities and how to see if your candidate is the right fit for your business.
A SaaS marketer is not an entirely different breed of marketer. But the job does require some skills and experience that are specific to the niche – and that’s on top of what you would look for in a marketer in general.
Depending on who you hire (more on the specific jobs within marketing a little later on), you’ll need different types of marketing knowledge and diverse experience. But let’s look at what all good SaaS marketers have in common.
Marketers have different types of backgrounds, and whether you’re hiring someone to run your social media channels or display campaigns, look for someone who understands the sales cycle for SaaS, including things like:
When you’ve found a candidate who looks promising and fulfills the above criteria, there are tons of things you can ask them about. Find the ones that make the most sense for your business.
Ask about specifics, but also look for a more general outlook your candidate has on SaaS marketing. You might ask questions like:
A common dilemma in SaaS marketing is whether to hire someone who can strategize and manage processes or actually go and do things. A combination of the two exists but is rare – and is usually counterproductive in the long run, as one person only has limited hours in a day (as we all do.)
Below’s a quick list that might help determine who to go for, if you can hire just one person.
In this case, obviously strategy and management come first, assuming you have a team for the person to lead.
Look for someone who knows how to manage marketing and sales processes and people (something a lot of SaaS business owners forget about.) It’s especially important now that many SaaS marketing teams are distributed and work online, which poses new challenges for the person in charge.
Go for someone with a vision, but who’s not afraid to get their hands dirty if necessary. Anyone who’s ever worked on a SaaS marketing team will know it’s rarely one or the other – and you often will engage in operational activities even if you manage a team.
If you’re only just starting out and hiring your first marketing person, you’ll probably need to find someone who can get you started with the strategic side but also get the execution going.
Good full-stack marketers are hard to come by, mostly because it’s simply impossible to be equally good at all areas of digital marketing. That’s why it’s a good idea to look for a T-shaped marketer – someone specializing in one area of marketing but with knowledge of the related areas (which they can quickly go deeper into if necessary.)
As you grow, you’ll probably quickly see you’ll need to expand your team with people who are experts in their individual fields (like copywriters, SEO experts, or analysts.)
There are at least two types of SaaS content marketers:
Even if you can find one person who can do all of those things, it might (and probably will) be hard for them to actually do all of them efficiently in the long run.
And since entire SaaS marketing strategies are built around content, it’s certainly an area of marketing you should pay close attention to.
Consider your needs and find someone that matches them. For example, you can go for a strategist who will work with external authors on the execution. Or a creator who will work closely with your marketing lead on the strategy and content promotion.
But don’t forget about either of the two – strategy won’t go a long way if you don’t have anyone to execute it, and execution without a strategy will only go so far.
A conversion rate optimization expert in SaaS is usually someone who has hands-on experience analyzing marketing performance and improving the metrics.
In this case, you’re looking for a doer with an ability to look strategically at things. Someone who can take data, analyze it, come up with creative solutions (executed with the help of other marketers, copywriters, and designers) and test them to improve conversions.
Like in the case of content marketing, you can have two types of SaaS social media marketers:
Again, you can find someone who can do both – but realistically, this depends on the number of channels they’ll work on daily. If there’s too much day-to-day operational work (like replying to upset customers on Facebook Messenger,) there’s hardly any room for strategic thinking.
A pay-per-click expert should be able to complement your marketing strategy with paid ad campaigns on Facebook or Google. If you have a small team, look for someone who can strategize and advise on budgets, run the campaigns, optimize their performance, then report on the results.
A lot to do for one person, but of course, a lot depends on the number of campaigns to run. If you want to be effective, adjust your hiring plans to your marketing plans.
And if you’re looking to outsource PPC, take a look at this article about hiring a PPC agency.
Before hiring a SaaS marketer for your team, do your share of the work: look closely at your needs, goals, and priorities. A SaaS marketing team can be as small as a couple of people, and as big as a few dozens of experts specialized in narrow areas of marketing.
So assess your budget, and define where you want to be in a year or two. Then find someone who will take you there.
And if you’re looking for expert freelance SaaS marketers with a proven track record, let us know.
As Director of Content Marketing and Social Media at Autodesk, Dusty DiMercurio oversees their award-winning publication, Redshift. Get a behind-the-scenes peek into how he works with industry experts and journalists to create best-in-class content.
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