The types of services and products available to business and consumer product customers have changed in the 21st century. Customers not only have far more options than ever before, but they can also access the products and services they need in different ways.

Now, we’re not talking just about downloading books or music. That’s as common as sneezing. In today’s market, even enterprise products with seven-digit price tags are being delivered in the cloud. The rise of SaaS products in the market is a key indicator that a model of rapid deployment and continuous innovation are becoming the delivery and operating method of choice for fast-moving, progressive companies. That becomes both an opportunity and a challenge for marketing professionals.

SaaS products are high-touch and can actually be tested and used in the sales cycle. Demos and free trials tend to lead to higher conversion rates, so a huge effort is made to drive potential customers to these tools. Because of this, the competition for the attention of prospects is fierce. It’s normal for these companies to spend upwards of 35-40% of their operating budgets on sales and marketing efforts.

With aggressive marketing tactics being the norm, SaaS companies must have effective lead nurturing in place in order to grow. Sales cycles are also typically much faster for SaaS services, so everything about the marketing process is accelerated. When deals — even large, six- and seven-figure deals — are closing in 30-90 days cycles, business have to align all their efforts to move fast. The process for managing leads needs to mirror the pace at which business is taking place.

Companies need to create tactics that demonstrate rapid ability to process leads, and a focus on telling the right story. When combined, effectiveness at those two things create a killer go-to-market strategy.

The need for lead speed

Slow response time can be a killer for SaaS companies, and to meet needed speed demands of the cloud-based product sales cycle, companies are increasingly outsourcing lead engagement to Verse.io as a way to optimize conversion rates.

Creating leads for SaaS companies can be done in a way that is far more targeted than through more traditional channels like print and mail advertising. Digital ads and content distribution channels enable a highly targeted approach that uses information like IP address, company, industry, job title, and other data points to identify key leads. Smart targeting can save time, as well, and ultimately, this method can deliver a better quality of lead. Verse uses this type of data to identify high-value leads so customers can emphasize their tactics on those that have a statistically higher likelihood of converting.

But speed is only valuable if the follow-up is done intelligently and in context. Buyers want a quick response, but they also want to know they are understood and that they are getting usable, helpful information about the services they seek.

Verse helps sales and marketing teams identify and apply information about prospects to turn both speed and background information into important tools. For example, data about email open rates, response to CTAs, or other positive top of funnel engagement may reveal patterns that enable marketing campaigns to be more focused. Additionally, with a workflow to get leads into the hands of SDRs, and providing contextual data about those prospects, SDRs can respond not only with very little time lag, but will be equipped with data to make their follow-up more targeted.

With a targeted, rapid follow-up, SaaS companies not only push leads through the sales cycle faster, but are better positioned to fail fast, learn from testing, and apply continuous improvement.

Tell the right story

Software developer Chris Herd made an important point about the efficacy of marketing and lead generation when he said, “You don’t need a better product, you need a more powerful story.” The most effective channel for taking that story and imprinting it into the minds of your prospects is through lead nurturing.

Buyers connect with stories and often look to them to make smart buying decisions. It’s one of the ways that complex products can be made understandable and connectable, and because of that, stories are essential for SaaS products.

But just telling the story is only part of what’s needed. Prospects have to also actually feel something in order to make actual sense of it. This is a big differentiator for Verse. Most lead generation tools rely on canned scripts and datasheet content that blankets any and all prospects. Verse, however, applies artificial intelligence to deliver marketing messages in a variety of formats, including chat, texting, and email, all using data derived from website behavior to engage with the vertical market you’re targeting.

Verse helps SaaS companies maximize their stories by providing a channel for sales and marketing teams to take advantage of buyer personas in their lead targeting, and to address prospect pain points in email campaigns and follow-up content.

SaaS companies operate in a competitive environment, so they have to move fast and demand results. With Verse as a critical piece of their lead generation and nurturing playbook, these companies can move rapidly to turn prospects into customers, all while exceeding high expectations and operating in shortened sales cycles.