Having the right tools in your marketing technology (martech) stack is an integral part of your growth plan. The correct set of tools can make your everyday work more efficient and enable you to grow your business.
As much as we want to promise you that growth will be effortless with the right tools, it’s not. It will still require continuous effort. But having the right tools will most certainly make your life MUCH more manageable when they are in place to facilitate your work.
At the same time, choosing the right tools can be challenging. There are so many options to choose from. 😭 And you can’t implement everything at once — certainly not all 7000+ of them.
Where do you even begin to prioritize the tools you need? 🤔
When you’re building your sales, marketing, and customer service toolset, it’s vital to lay the foundation right from the get-go.
The tools you select create the core of your tech stack and set the standard for your daily marketing operations. Now repeat after us☝️:
The tools you select create the core of your tech stack and set the standard for your daily marketing operations.
What it means is your initial selection sets the base for other tools you’ll need a little way down the road.
There are three main tools that every B2B SaaS company needs to run their digital business:1️⃣ Content management system (CMS)
Separately, each of these tools is crucial to the success of your B2B SaaS business. The ideal situation is to have them work together to support the functionality of each other.
Seamless integration between these tools will provide you with a competitive advantage.
Let’s dive in!
In the B2B SaaS sphere, it’s safe to say that a company doesn’t exist if it doesn’t have a website — it’s the pathway to your sales funnel.
To run your website efficiently, you need a Content Management System (CMS). A CMS allows you to update and maintain the content of your website, create new pages, post blog articles, and such.
A good CMS will make your everyday life easier and enable you to run growth marketing efficiently. When choosing the suitable CMS, here are a couple of options to consider:
With HubSpot, you can build your website exactly as you wish or use ready-made templates. HubSpot offers a very flexible and easy-to-use way to create new content and update the pages on your own.
It is also a complete digital marketing ecosystem with sales, marketing, and customer service tools, making it a strong candidate and the preferred choice among many B2B SaaS businesses.
In the last couple of years, there has been an emerging martech tool known as the lo-code CMS — one of them being Webflow.
It is designed for ease of you, and you don’t need any development skills to build a website with these tools. However, there is a specific limit to what you can do with these tools.
There is plenty of functionality to support building a website from scratch in most cases. If you’re looking into creating a website but don’t have any HTML or CSS knowledge, consider exploring WebFlow as an option.
The next critical piece of your martech stack is your customer relationship management (CRM) software.
A CRM stores all critical customer data, and helps manage relationships with customers, leads, and partners. Modern CRMs don’t only store information but also include a variety of functionality to improve your sales processes through:
🚀 Predictive analysis
🚀 Integration to other tools.
When implemented right, your CRM also utilizes other tools through integration to use existing customer data in the best way.
If you’re wondering what’s the best option for you, here are two platforms to consider. These are our top choices for one reason only:
Apart from being a CRM that stores customer data, they also offer a complete ecosystem of tools to build upon when needed.
HubSpot CRM is a great choice to begin with. It’s user-friendly and easy to use. Starting with HubSpot is also a low risk since the basic CRM software comes free of charge.
Even with the free version, you can still run core customer and sales processes. If you find it to fit your needs, you can opt to upgrade to a more advanced package.
Traditionally, it was built to generate leads and support B2B sales. They’ve recently rolled out the latest feature that allows users to create customized funnels — it’s an excellent choice for B2B SaaS companies.
Salesforce is the pioneer of CRM platforms and has been the leader in the CRM world for a long time. It has a great set of features and flexibility that allows you to configure it to fit any of your needs. Combined with its sales tool, Salesforce is the best the market offers.
On the other hand, the implementation process requires more work and resources. For SMBs, Salesforce may be a slight overkill. But it's an option for enterprise companies with larger sales teams to consider.
The Salesforce ecosystem includes marketing tools so those can be connected to the CRM quite easily.
The third essential component in your martech stack is your marketing automation software. If scaling your business is at the top of your priority list, then this is where marketing automation tools come in.
You can control multiple marketing channels, from email and websites to social media and paid advertising with marketing automation.
The tool you select should tie these channels together and, most importantly, automate campaigns and marketing tasks so that you don’t need to run them manually.
Your marketing automation tool makes it possible for you to build automated rules that trigger suitable campaigns for each of your customers when the time is right for them.
There are a few options to consider with marketing automation:
Once again, HubSpot is a strong contender in the marketing automation space. It provides a complete toolset for digital marketing actions covering most channels like email, social, paid advertising, and websites.
It also offers a variety of tools that help you personalize messages for your customers in different channels.
Despite its vast set of functionality, the learning curve is still not too big. All you need is some practice, and you’ll be able to run it smoothly after a couple of days.
Pardot is a part of the Salesforce family and is a feasible option if you’ve opted for Salesforce as your CRM.
While there may be a steeper learning curve for Pardot, the functionality certainly matches up with the other competitors in this space.
However, if you’re using other CRMs other than Salesforce, it’s best to check beforehand whether you’re able to utilize your data in the best way possible with Pardot
Advance Insider is basically like a newsletter but better. 🖖
A few times a month, 2500+ SaaS founders & marketing pros get our newest insights, podcast episodes, and blog posts delivered in their email boxes. You in?
Your goal with martech tools is to ensure your CMS, CRM, and marketing automation software are well connected, work together, and act as a whole.
Even though your core tools can work separately, they really shouldn’t. Integrating these tools allows you to collect customer data efficiently AND use the data in your marketing operations.
Here are some of the use cases an integrated martech stack allows you to do:
If your current visitor is already a customer, you can personalize the content on a website to suit their needs. That way, returning customers and first-time visitors will have targeted content to help them achieve what they want on your website.
If you have multiple customer segments, you can highlight different products and services on the front page of your B2B SaaS website accordingly. Your website shouldn’t be static. Instead, it should align with the data you have collected about your customer (with consent).
When your CRM is connected to a marketing automation software, you can easily build automated marketing campaigns for each step of your customer's lifecycle.
For example, with new leads or new customers. You can automate nurturing or onboarding programs to guide them further down the funnel. If you have multiple customer segments, these should be customized for each target audience.
Your CRM should be connected to your website to enrich your customer data automatically. Apart from integrating data into your CRM, it should also take note of a contact’s behavior.
It allows you to target your marketing efforts based on their needs. For example, if you have information about a visitor who landed on your pricing page, you can target them with relevant information.
With a connected CRM and marketing automation tool, you can use your existing customer base to create similar audiences in social media and paid advertising.
In practice, you can drive target audiences who match your ideal customer profile (ICP) to your website and turn them into customers when the time is right.
Your core three martech tools are essential in your customer's life cycle phases. They set the foundation for you to build targeted solutions as your customers move through the pirate funnel.
This is a typical SaaS customer lifecycle through the lens of the pirate funnel.
As a general rule of thumb, you should continuously improve the funnel as a whole. That’s in an ideal world. The reality is, it doesn’t always work that way. Usually, some parts of the funnel work better than others.
In this case, it’s worthwhile to determine ways to improve specific areas based on what your data tells you — and utilize your martech stack to do the job for you.
With over 7000 tools available on the market, the possibilities in the martech landscape are endless. We’ve cherry-picked a few examples to help you in different phases of the customer journey to save the headache.
In the awareness phase, your goal is to get the audience to your website to know you exist and have a solution they may be interested in.
The martech tool you use in this phase should enable you to reach the right people who are your ideal customer profile. If your goal is to increase the number of reaches, consider looking into one of the following tools:
If you have a specific product or service and your sales process relies on personal contact, you’ll want to have a very targeted reach. Zoominfo has a great listing of companies with a solid database of decision-makers.
If you know which type of companies would benefit from your service but are unsure whom you should reach out to and how to get their contact information, Zoominfo is worth a try.
Smartly.io gives you great flexibility to optimize your social media marketing. With Smartly, you can easily make large-scale social media advertising, create multiple ad versions, target different customer segments, and optimize your reach.
LinkedIn is a platform for finding the right contacts. With LinkedIn Sales Navigator, you’ll be able to get in touch with the people who would benefit from your services.
Google Ads is an online advertising platform to get in front of customers when they’re searching for businesses like yours.
This stage measures the number of people that landed your website. If you already have a solid base of visitors but want to increase engagement on your website, here are some tools that can help you:
📊 Website CMS and CRM
Whichever tool you’re using as your website CMS and CRM, they are crucial in this lifecycle stage. Integrate your tools properly to fully utilize them to engage visitors and contacts on your website.
Google Analytics is the most commonly used tool and is essential in understanding the behavior of your website visitors. It helps you identify what works well on your website and gaps to improve on.
📊 Website content A/B testing
If you’re getting a good amount of traffic on your website, then it’s time to start A/B testing different types of content, CTAs, and conversion forms. This process will help you determine the key to taking your website visitors further down the funnel.
While there are multiple A/B testing tools available in the market, Visual Website Optimizer (VWO) is a strong candidate to begin with.
Activation is the phase where visitors are ready to take the first action towards becoming a customer. For example, creating a new account, signing up for a webinar, or starting a free trial.
In this stage, you have the contact information of the person and can begin to target marketing directly to them. In other words, they deem your offering worthy enough in exchange for their personal details. Think of their contact information as a form of currency.
To keep taking them taking them down the funnel, you’ll need tools for:
🤝 Customer relationships management
Your CRM tool is the most important one at this point. Ideally, it should start gathering a profile for people activated. The data you collected during this stage is later used for targeted marketing activities.
🤝 Marketing automation
The next in line is your marketing automation tool. It’s essential to use one that integrates well with your CRM. This is the tool that executes automated marketing activities based on the data collected in your CRM.
🤝 A chat or a chatbot
Having a chat or chatbot is a good option for when you want to contact potential customers directly — especially when your website visitors need immediate answers from you. Our recommended tools include LiveChat or Olark. On top of that, CRMs such as HubSpot also offer chat as an add-on.
Webinars are another great way to reach out to your potential customers. Organize webinars around various topics of interest and value to your target audience. Make sure to follow up with them after the webinar!
During the retention phase, your goal is to make certain customers start returning after the first contact. It is crucial to start building, or strengthening, your relationship with the customer. You don’t have to meet every single one of them face-to-face. But you could utilize martech tools to nurture the relationship. For example:
❤️ Customer Service
You’ll need a customer service platform or a ticketing system to handle and organize customers’ requests properly. The chosen tool should have all the necessary functions to manage and keep track of each request so that you can personalize help, services, and communication accordingly.
If you’ve ever come across a chatbot or a help center that sends you in circles without providing any support, you’ll know how frustrating that can be.
What are some of the tools we recommend?
HubSpot Service Hub is a great option for customer service if you’re already using the platform as a CRM — it’s that convenient! Zendesk is also another strong option in the field but may be a slight overkill for some. If so, you can consider other alternatives such as HelpScout.
❤️ Customer Success
While the customer service team reacts to the requests, the customer success team is responsible for managing and improving customer relationships.
Whether your customers choose to stay with you or churn highly depends on your customer success team — that means proactively solving possible challenges before any given situation escalates into a deal-breaker.
The tool you use should provide predictive data that shows you all of the above. Having customer success platforms such as Planhat can make a huge difference in the way you serve your customers.
❤️ Knowledge base
Having a knowledge base platform is an excellent way to educate your customers on using your solution more efficiently. Don’t underestimate the power of this platform. Even the most straightforward solution has its complications (that you’re not aware of).
Have a collection of resources to help your customer make the most out of your product or service. You can also integrate your knowledge base with your chatbot.
As for tools to do so, both ZenDesk and HubSpot offer good solutions for building an effective knowledge base. Sometimes, all that’s needed is a little guidance towards the right direction and resources before talking to an actual customer service representative.
And finally, the growth of your MRR! The revenue phase is when customers are ready to start paying for your products and services. This is the result of a solution that meets their needs.
However, just because they’re willing to pay doesn’t mean it’s okay to neglect this part of the funnel. Any form of friction at any stage is a risk for churn. To make it easier for your customers, use tools for:
💰 Online payment
Make it easier for your customers to pay with an online payment system that allows credit cards. Configure the tool to enable automatic renewals and easy upgrades in the future.
💰 Contract management
If your solution requires contracts with customers, opt for a contract signing service such as ContractBook that will help you efficiently create, organize, and sign contracts online.
Some of these tools have integrations that connect to your CRM. When a deal is closed, it will also automatically trigger a contract generation for the customer. Workflows for the win — no need for manual tracking!
Referral is the best (and more cost-effective) way to grow a B2B SaaS customer base. To avoid sounding like an MLM salesperson, use:
✅ Net promoter score (NPS) measurement
If you haven’t been measuring your NPS, then it’s time to do so.
An NPS system helps you identify your best and most satisfied customers willing to act as your brand ambassadors with a public referral. If you’re unsure which tool to use, consider using either Trustmary or Questback.
Testimonials are equivalent to reviews you seek when trying out a new product or service. Having testimonials on your website with tools like Trustpilot is a great way to demonstrate your strengths and build trust.
Having the right software in your marketing technology (martech) stack is an important for your growth plan. Before you dive into other areas and sea of 7000+ tools, make you have a solid toolset for your:
💻 Website (CMS)
🤝 Customer relationship management (CRM)
📨 Marketing automation software.
The tools you choose for these areas must integrate well with each other. Your best option is to invest in a tool that allows you to do all of the above within an ecosystem — for example, HubSpot.
In case you need a summarized version of tools to consider for each stage, here it is 👇: