How 40+ SaaS marketers have adapted to the challenges of COVID-19, remote work, and a market downturn18 min read

SaaS marketers covid-19

Following the economic disruption, personal uprooting and financial disarray that COVID-19 brought with it, in some parts of the world the dust has begun to settle into a strange new normal. Marketing budgets have been cut. Teams are learning to do more with less. Stress levels are high, and there’s still a great deal of uncertainty. 

At SaaStock our mission is to make a real difference to the lives and companies of the SaaS community. We feel strongly about helping wherever and however we can. So we wanted to help SaaS marketers navigate this ever-changing environment. 

We reached out to over 40 SaaS marketers to understand the biggest challenges they’re facing, or have faced, during the rise and the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, how they’re approaching these challenges, and what their advice for fellow SaaS marketers is during this time. 

40% said their biggest challenge right now is cutting through the noise. 

12% said they are having to implement their marketing strategies with shrinking resources. 

Only 9% are having any issues with keeping up with the change of pace. 

A major trend that we found is that catching a customer’s attention, and cutting through the noise, is where marketers feel most challenged right now. During this pandemic, whether B2B or B2C, it’s not just the company’s behaviour that’s changed; the consumer’s behavior has changed too. 

This article brings together insights from 20 SaaS marketers, and at the end you can find the full list of 40+ incredible marketers who replied to me. We hope that you’re able to read at your own leisure, gain insights from your peers, feel inspired to adapt, survive and thrive beyond COVID-19, and above all: feel a part of our community. 

A | C | D | G | J | K | M | N | P | S | V | W | See full list

Aggelos Mouzakitis, Growth Product Manager at Growth Sandwich

Growth Sandwich is all about strategising, conducting customer research and delivering insights-driven experiments that can help build a better product and optimise existing conversion funnels.

Biggest challenge(s) as a SaaS Marketer

Cutting through the noise

How are you approaching these challenges?

“Cutting through all that noise tends to become a very big problem for the SaaS industry. Users are bombarded with ads and new solutions every day. As a result, they have developed immunity in commercial messages and they start pushing back to the idea of adding another software in their stack.

Being stellar and extremely accurate in the jobs your product is doing and communicating it effectively can be achieved, in my point of view, only in one way: qualitative data.

I address these problems by dedicating, literally, half of my working week, speaking with our ideal customers, our fresh users and our power users, trying to bridge the value gap between all of them with the right product and effective communication of our value proposition.”

What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to another SaaS marketer during this climate?

“The best piece of advice I have given to a fellow marketer is to find answers in the following questions:

  1. What is the budget you are taking from?
  2. What consumes this budget at the moment within your target customers?
  3. Why would make these people give this budget to your product?

They might seem like obvious questions but, in reality, having robust answers in these questions means you know what’s your competition and the jobs-to-be-done which are things any marketer must know in order to sell a product.”

Alva Horgan, CEO at LoanGuru

LoanGuru enables businesses to access a panel of dozens of business lenders, from major names to small specialists. Their mission is to help small business owners get the capital they need to grow. 

Biggest challenge(s) as a SaaS Marketer

Cutting through the noise

How are you approaching these challenges?

“More email marketing, google search campaigns, google display ads, more blogs.”

What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to another SaaS marketer during this climate?

“Keep Going”

Ana Leal, Account Manager at GuestCentric

GuestCentric is a provider of cloud-based digital marketing software and services that help hoteliers promote their brand, drive direct bookings and connect with customers on all digital platforms.

Biggest challenge(s) as a SaaS Marketer

Keeping up with the change of pace

How are you approaching these challenges?

“Through content marketing and research.”

What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to another SaaS marketer during this climate?

“Be original and think how to make a point in a different direction.”

Aoife Flynn, Chief Marketing Officer at Payslip

Payslip is an Automation & Integration technology for global payroll in multinational companies. Their technology empowers payroll professionals to streamline the international payroll process and manage international data, resources, and vendors efficiently from one user-friendly platform. 

Biggest challenge(s) as a SaaS Marketer

Brand messaging

How are you approaching these challenges?

“Mix of an extensive content strategy and paid advertising using the Google ad and LinkedIn networks.”

What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to another SaaS marketer during this climate?

“A consistent content strategy will improve SEO and positioning.”

Cristina Vila, Founder at Cledara

Cledara helps technology companies collaborate, coordinate and scale their buying processes so they can save time and money. The Cledara team is on a mission to provide the building blocks for tech companies to tailor, automate and embed their banking inside business process.

Biggest challenge(s) as a SaaS Marketer

Education of the market on a new problem

How are you approaching these challenges?

“A/B testing messaging and owning the idea space by attending conferences and being featured in podcasts and publications.”

What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to another SaaS marketer during this climate?

“Don’t talk about Covid anymore and start talking about how you can help customers in the new reality we all face.”

Daniel Remedios, Chief Growth Officer / Chief Product Officer at Ebsta

Ebsta empowers companies to drive customer engagement at scale with a suite of customer intelligence & sales enablement tools for Salesforce.

Biggest challenge(s) as a SaaS Marketer

Brand messaging

How are you approaching these challenges?

“1. Talking more to our customers and prospects to understand how they perceive and explain Ebsta.
2.
Leveraging simple language and the words used from point 1 to clearly articulate Ebsta’s value.
3. Testing the messaging time and time again, through ads, product messaging and website CRO.”

What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to another SaaS marketer during this climate?

Always start with the customer.

New call-to-action

Gail Moch, Marketing Manager at ActiveConversion

ActiveConversion was founded in 2007 on the idea that a company’s online presence should generate more than just visitors – it should help grow their business. ActiveConversion  developed robust Conversion Software to help industrial companies succeed online and expand into new markets with a full cycle sales and marketing system.

Biggest challenge(s) as a SaaS Marketer

Brand messaging

How are you approaching these challenges?

“Researching competitors, refining our competitive advantage, talking to prospects and customers directly.”

What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to another SaaS marketer during this climate?

“Determine what makes your solution a no-brainer for customers.”

Jackie Hermes, Founder & CEO at Accelity Marketing

Accelity was founded in 2013 and is located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. A group of entrepreneurs and marketers, the Accelity team works with B2B software and service companies to sell more with inbound marketing..

Biggest challenge(s) as a SaaS Marketer

Shrinking resources

How are you approaching these challenges?

“Especially during COVID-19, our client’s budgets have been evaporating. We are evaluating strategies to ensure they have the most effective and affordable approach in place so they can still see results from marketing during this time. Showing our value as B2B marketers is more important than ever.”

What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to another SaaS marketer during this climate?

“Pick 1-2 marketing strategies and carry them out. ALL THE WAY. Dabbling in 5, 6, 7 + strategies means you’ll master nothing and see very little success. You can only test and measure when you go deep into each strategy to find out what works.”

Joy Corkery, Content Marketing Lead at Latana

Latana is a brand analytics tool that provides customers with the means to tailor marketing campaigns for their audiences and improve brand performance.

Biggest challenge(s) as a SaaS Marketer

Brand messaging

How are you approaching these challenges?

“We are in the process of doing a total rebrand. In this day and age, in a time when the competition is high in all industries, we need to really connect with our target audience and show them the value we provide over the competition.”

What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to another SaaS marketer during this climate?

“It’s no longer good enough to concentrate your marketing campaigns on product and price. Convenience is the key trait that will hook your target audience. In this case, understanding customer expectations has never been more important and is key to building a strong brand. Take the time to understand what your target audience expects from you. Make sure there is consistency across your entire brand. If different departments are producing images, campaigns, articles, etc. with different messages, you won’t be able to hook your target audience.”

Kameron Jenkins, Director of Content & Brand Marketing at Botify

Botify helps companies uncover missed opportunities and turn them into profitable business outcomes, all in a platform that’s built for the size, scale, and complexity of your enterprise website. 

Biggest challenge(s) as a SaaS Marketer

Cutting through the noise

How are you approaching these challenges?

“As a marketer in an industry that’s fairly commoditized and established, I’m trying to focus on using our customers’ pain points as a launchpad to take the conversation in new directions.”

What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to another SaaS marketer during this climate?

“Instead of bringing your assumptions, ask questions and listen! Hearing your audience/customers out will always produce better marketing and result in less wasted time building campaigns that don’t resonate.”

Max van den Ingh, Head of Growth at POP

POP is a fast-growing all-in-one Messenger marketing platform, with a mission to help people start conversations that grow their business. They’ve been enabling people to reach their audience directly through chat since 2016.

Biggest challenge(s) as a SaaS Marketer

Cutting through the noise

How are you approaching these challenges?

“Cutting through the noise is simple but not easy. Especially in B2B, everybody can buy customers using ads. But that’s not a sustainable growth model (in my opinion). We’re trying to be real with our audience. We share everything we know and break it down into actionable strategies they can use today and try for free. This seems to resonate, which is the leading indicator that you’re providing something people actually need. But still, it’s a tough game to play, as it takes determination and resources to keep doing this consistently.”

What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to another SaaS marketer during this climate?

“Marketers should be aware that a lot of companies are definitely up for buying, but simply not right now. Ignoring those people in your marketing efforts will lead to guaranteed catastrophe down the line. You have to stay top of mind, show why you’re still relevant and keep providing value. It’s always a good time to build an audience. If your budgets are cut; use it as an opportunity to shake things up. Go back to the roots of marketing, study human psychology, analyse customer behaviour and improve your messaging accordingly.”

Nick Dunse, Chief Marketing Officer at Shuttle

Shuttle is a payments technology platform for software vendors. Shuttle was built with the goal of minimising the amount of effort that goes into building and maintaining integrations, enabling companies to put more time into focussing on building their own product.

Biggest challenge(s) as a SaaS Marketer

Keeping up with the change of pace

How are you approaching these challenges?

“Reading, viewing content, employing the right people.”

What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to another SaaS marketer during this climate?

“Be human.”

Nikolett Lorincz, Marketing Specialist at OptiMonk

OptiMonk came alive in 2014 in the heart of Europe with one goal in mind: to engage website visitors without hurting the user experience. From a simple exit-intent solution, they became a powerful on-site message toolkit.

Biggest challenge(s) as a SaaS Marketer

Cutting through the noise

How are you approaching these challenges?

“At OptiMonk, we always strive to think like our customers. Whenever we create content, we ask “What’s in it for our customers?”. We believe that putting our customers first and helping them instead of blabbing about the product will make the message get noticed and cut through the noise.”

What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to another SaaS marketer during this climate?

“Don’t focus only on profits. Be a human! Be there for your customers, understand their problems, and help wherever you can. When everything is back on track after COVID-19, they will remember how you treated them.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

“This time could be a great opportunity for companies to take a step back, rethink their marketing strategy and processes, view your website and content with fresh eyes, and uncover new opportunities for your business.”

Paul Ard, Head Of Marketing at CMAP Software

CMAP is cloud-based project accounting ERP software that supports professional services companies with efficient project delivery & project profitability. CMAP is designed to be useful for everyone in a professional services firm, centralizing the entire project lifecycle under one, easy-to-use system.

Biggest challenge(s) as a SaaS Marketer

Brand messaging

How are you approaching these challenges?

“Expanded the departments we’re working together with on Marketing projects, like Customer Success and Product, so that the messaging is aligned across the whole business.

What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to another SaaS marketer during this climate?

“During times of market uncertainty, don’t reduce your marketing budget unless there are overriding financial reasons (i.e. cashflow risk for your business) why you should.  

Your competitor’s natural instinct will be to reign in marketing spend across things like paid ads for example. This provides an opportunity for your firm to fill the gap left by them, sometimes at a lower cost too due to less competition!

Talk to your CFO and explain why you want to keep the budget in place. Remember that your measurements for success may need to change (e.g. Demand Generation changing to Awareness) so make sure these are communicated to your Senior Leadership Team clearly.”

Sançar Sahin, VP of Marketing at Hotjar

Hotjar is a behavior analytics and user feedback service that helps you understand the behavior of your website users and get their feedback through tools such as heatmaps, session recordings, and surveys.

Biggest challenge(s) as a SaaS Marketer

Pricing and positioning

How are you approaching these challenges?

“As our product matures, so do the types of companies it attracts. We’re fully aware that our pricing can be clearer and better communicated to the Experience teams who use Hotjar. To tackle this, we are talking to lots of customers, listening to a lot of feedback, and are working on ways to simplify and clarify our pricing structure.”

What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to another SaaS marketer during this climate?

“Something I’ve learnt in my career in SaaS Marketing is to think of every initiative or opportunity as part of a portfolio. Much like a financial portfolio, it’s important to manage the balance. If you’re doing only things that are high confidence but low return, you’ll be stagnant. On the other side, if you’re only doing things that are high-risk but possibly high return, you’ll back yourself into a messy corner. If you find the right balance, you’ll thrive.”

Saravana Kumar, CEO at Document360

Document360 helps teams create, collaborate, and publish a self-service knowledge base for software. 

Biggest challenge(s) as a SaaS Marketer

Shrinking resources

How are you approaching these challenges?

“An open ongoing brief to identify skillful talents across agencies and freelancers is in place. In addition, we are ramping up our inhouse hiring strategy for key marketing roles.”

What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to another SaaS marketer during this climate?

“We have to accept the new norm post COVID19 and recalibrate marketing strategies to adopt 100% Digital Transformation. Prioritize taking care of your existing customers while you race to acquire prospects.”

Stephan Stergiou, CEO/Founder at OpenClaims

Openclaims is on a mission to reinvent insurance, based on the belief that a healthy insurance ecosystem is the motor for stability and economic growth in our society.

Biggest challenge(s) as a SaaS Marketer

Pricing and positioning

How are you approaching these challenges?

“We sell to insurers and leasing companies. Knowing their tech set-up, our position in this ecosystem and the added value our platform delivers are essential to position ourselves correctly and to build a good pricing strategy. We are currently doing three things: First of all, we are talking to our current customers to find out the real reasons for working with us and renewing their contracts with us. Secondly, we are monitoring the return on investment of our platform, which we use as input for our business case and our pricing structure. Finally, we are talking to other software providers in our domain to get a good overview of the ecosystem and get insights regarding their pricing strategies.”

What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to another SaaS marketer during this climate?

“Our priority was to find out the impact the current climate had on our customers and prospects. We took the time to understand what their situation is by having in-depth talks and performing surveys. Based on this input, we focussed on running implementations, and the middle and the bottom of our sales funnel. We are lucky that our customer segments are not hit as hard and that our platform directly lowers the cost base of Insurers and Leasing companies. This allowed us to scale up our activities on the top of the funnel and early-stage sales trajectories pretty fast.”

Stephanie Bowker, Head of Marketing at Spendesk

Spendesk has combined smart payment methods with smart financial software to create an all-in-one company spending solution, enabling companies to decentralize the spending process without compromising on control.

Biggest challenge(s) as a SaaS Marketer

Cutting through the noise

How are you approaching these challenges?

“By building a community-first brand that focuses on the customers versus a product-first brand that focuses on features.”

What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to another SaaS marketer during this climate?

“Get uncomfortably narrow on your audience, your messaging, and how you focus your time and resources.”

Vincent Jong, Founder & CEO at FunnelFox

FunnelFox is an intelligent customer data platform that helps companies using account-based sales to speak with the right people at the right time. Used alongside your tech stack to find relevant prospects at your target mid-market and SME accounts, turn invalid contact details into warm opportunities and automate CRM updates for pipeline visibility and accuracy.

Biggest challenge(s) as a SaaS Marketer

Cutting through the noise

How are you approaching these challenges?

“Solving a real problem and making sure our customers can get excited about our solution. This works in any environment.”

What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to another SaaS marketer during this climate?

“Be data-driven on current spend but don’t redefine entire strategies based on results you are getting now. We don’t know yet what the new world will look like…”

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

“This is the best time to get customer feedback. People are at home and have time. Talk with your customers!”

Wojciech Jasnos, Founder at RocketLink

RocketLink is a tool that lets you add retargeting pixels to any link you share so anyone who clicks it can become your target audience on multiple platforms.

Biggest challenge(s) as a SaaS Marketer

Pricing and positioning

How are you approaching these challenges?

“For pricing, we are testing different ways to include features and limits in plans. We don’t have a freemium plan, but we recently switched from pay upfront to a 10-day free trial. The free to paid conversions are good so far. We still need some changes in our pricing strategy to better address different personas. Our app is used by small brands, freelancers, SMBs but also large enterprises like RedBull, etc. What we are going to do is to add annual plans which we don’t have right now. We are also working hard to analyse the current usage of different features by specific customers. The major challenge for us is to raise prices again. We did this 2 years ago for the first time and it was a great idea. We increased our monthly prices by almost 100% and the only change we noticed was 2x higher MRR. Now we would like to create different pricing for large companies that need more complex reporting and analytic features.”

What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to another SaaS marketer during this climate?

“Don’t spam your audience with emails about COVID-19, “uncertain times”, etc. unless you really have to. Everyone has had enough of this.”

See the full list of responses

We had so many incredible responses to our survey that it was impossible to include them all in this article. See the full list here:


New call-to-action

Sign up to our newsletter

LATEST | POSTS

Blog Banner

The Hottest Sessions at SaaStock LatAm Online

SaaStock LatAm Online has been planned and developed in collaboration with SaaS leaders from the region and internationally, designed to help the SaaS community of South America refocus priorities, overcome new obstacles, and help their companies gain traction, growth, and scale.  We’ve hand-picked some of the hottest sessions for SaaS founders and leaders looking for…

Podcast Banner (Landscape) - 1200x628px (4)

Larry Gadea (Envoy): Building SaaS products for the post-COVID workplace

Larry Gadea, CEO and founder at Envoy is this week’s guest on The SaaS Revolution Show. He founded Envoy in 2013 to start a ‘revolution for the workplace’. Envoy is building smart tools to help offices run more smoothly – like welcoming visitors, receiving mail, and booking meeting rooms. But a global pandemic that closes…

The Ultimate Guide to Running an Online Conference

The Ultimate Guide to Running an Online Conference: How We Pivoted, Pulled It Off, and How You Can Too

This guide will walk you through how we ran SaaStock Remote, and what you need to consider when planning and running your own online conference or event. It’s pretty long, so use the contents and the navigation links throughout to jump to the sections you’re most interested in. Throughout we’ll mix together the how-we-did-this tales…