Jason Lemkin on SaaS Marketing Mistakes

In this extract from the article “15+ of The Top Sales & Marketing Mistakes SaaS Startups Make,” Jason Lemkin highlights major mistakes in marketing that may inhibit SaaS success.

Editor’s Note: Jason Lemkin is a 3x founder, 1x VC and constant SaaS enthusiast who regularly shares his insight and observations on all things SaaS. He has led or sourced the first VC investments of many leading enterprises, to include a SaaS leader in the eDiscovery ecosystem, Logikcull. 

An extract from an article by Jason Lemkin from SaaStr

Recently I assembled my “Top 15” list of Sales & Marketing mistakes SaaS startups make as things start to take-off. We’ve touched on quite a few of these before on SaaStr, but I thought this might be a helpful checklist to challenge your thinking at a minimum. We’ve all made many of these mistakes ourselves, myself included I’m even making a few myself again. But if you see yourself making any of the mistakes below, it’s fairly easy to make a course correction. Just do it!

Marketing Mistakes

  • Hiring a mediocre PR firm. $8k-$15k a month down the drain for nothing. Only the very best folks (and very best PR) are worth it.  Only a handful of firms can really get you the placements you want.  $15k a month to be in some third-tier blogs you’ve never heard of?  Not worth the soft or hard costs.
  • Hiring a brand marketing firm. See prior point. May make sense later.  But in the beginning, you have to figure out who you are, and where you sit in the universe.  You can’t outsource this.
  • Hiring lots of “agencies”. See above. Get rid of this marketer.  If your head of marketing’s first actions are to hire a bunch of agencies, that’s the wrong person in SaaS.
  • Hiring too junior of a marketing person. If they’ve never had a true revenue commit (see below), or owned a number, they are too junior. Do not save money here.
  • Outsourced content marketing. OK, this is sort of OK as long as you don’t expect much. But if some 3rd party is writing your content, don’t expect too much. Including not too many leads.
  • Way too much SEO + SEM talk. Both are important, but in SaaS, both likely will be relatively minor sources of customers.
  • Hiring a B2C marketer for SaaS. Related to prior point. The skills are not that portable.
  • Doesn’t make a lead / opportunity / pipeline / revenue commit.  If your head of marketing won’t commit to a number, that’s not a SaaS head of marketing.  If she or he won’t sign up for a number to hit in her first quarter on the job — she/he never will.  Move on.  More in this classic SaaStr post here.

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