B2B tech buyer behavior is perennially volatile, but never more than in the post-pandemic era. Recent macro factors dominate business news in the USA as well as B2B international headlines,leading to unprecedented flux at accelerated speed.
B2B associations like Insight Inbox have surveyed B2B technology purchasing decision makers in the US and UK and report some significant findings. Much of what B2B tech end users and B2B service providers do won’t come as a surprise, but they are all important indicators of what makes B2B news important.
In this article we will start with a rundown of business news. In this section, we won’t be recapping the news of recent years. We will use Insight Inbox survey data to identify the kinds of headlines that drive SaaS sales.
Then we take a look at SaaS marketing news. In this section, we will review the ways that the SaaS industry is responding to the stated needs of end users—or not. Then we will take a closer look at SaaS marketing trends and SaaS marketing strategies.
Our intent in this article is to go beyond rehashing what you already know. We’ll take an in-depth look at how to find the news you can use to capture your share of the world’s booming SaaS market.
SaaS World Business News
It’s great to keep up with domestic and world business news by reading the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and Ic., and by subscribing to a B2B news network that gives you B2B ecommerce news and B2B sales news. But wouldn’t you rather be making the news?
The way to boost your bottom line is to know what your customers are looking for so they do your publicity and advertising for you when they are delighted with your product. Here’s what US and UK survey data tell us about the features in SaaS offerings that motivate sales.
IT Tech Buyers Are Looking for Particular Features
There are certain kinds of news headlines that grab the attention of IT tech buyers in the US and UK. A majority of IT tech buyers are concerned about cloud security, for instance, while fewer than 10 percent are looking for managed hosting or hybrid cloud platforms.
Ransomware attacks make headlines in the media, but IT tech buyers are taking a more holistic view of their security needs, focusing on data security first and protection from ransomware attacks second.
Data center management edges out Infrastructure as a Service as a top IT manager concern. Most IT tech buyers install their data visualization tools as firmware. For Devops, IT tech buyers are looking for CD/CI tools, not application release orchestration or batch management.
Headlines That Appeal to Buyers of Marketing Tech
It probably won’t come as a surprise that the biggest challenge in digital analytics for marketing professionals is social media. This suggests that solutions offering better visibility over social media performance and enabling more comprehensive analysis, if they are compatible with marketing automation platforms, would fulfill a high-priority need.
Marketing managers are looking for ways to automate customer relationship management. But SaaS providers need to be able to back up the metrics they claim for customer loyalty and customer retention as managed by these tools.
Headlines That Appeal to Buyers of HR Tech
Even in the 2020s, HR managers are looking for basic management tools. Their interest in employee experience, people analytics, employee recognition, and attendance control is secondary to their need to get their paperwork out. There is intense interest in SaaS that can be useful in promoting diversity and inclusion, however, and HR managers are always looking for tools that can help them address employee skills gaps.
B2B Marketing News
B2B marketing insights, of course, aren’t limited to the effects of B2B advertising on departmental IT buyers. Surveys of B2B marketing on a USA- and UK-wide reveal a number of end user insights that often escape B2B market research.
Cloud Marketing News
For instance, Insight Inbox found that 32.43% of IT professionals intend to invest between $250,000 and $500,000 on Cloud Management, while 13.96% plan on spending over $1,000,000. Of the IT professionals responding to the survey, 81.53% identified security as their #1 Cloud Management concern.
Cloud computing and cloud migration were cited as other areas of intense interest by IT managers.
The same survey data show that 37.07 percent of IT managers are looking to spend between $250,000 and $500,000 on Cybersecurity in 2022, with 30.73 percent planning to spend even more. Companies that do business in the European Union are under new, tighter regulations by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that force them to protect customer data even at a higher cost.
Data Management News
About a third of IT managers expect to spend more than $250,000 in 2022 on Data Management. The need to maximize the capacity of data centers is causing many IT managers to look at Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).
The market for DevOps is much more sporadic. In surveys, about the same number of IT managers plan to spend over $1,000,000 on DevOps as plan to spend $50,000 or less. When IT managers plan to make major investments in DevOps, however, they are looking for the full range of features, CI/CD tools, application release orchestration, batch management, and bug tracing.
Digital Transformation News
IT managers are making substantial investments in Digital Transformation. About a quarter of IT managers surveyed plan to spend up to $250,000 over the next year on digital transformation. Another quarter plan to spend between $250,000 and $500,000, and another quarter will spend up to $1 million.
Digital technology integration is the most sought feature in Digital Transformation packages. Changes in work rules and staffing are forcing companies to integrate diverse technologies across departments to facilitate operational agility, effect cultural change, and drive customer value. Features that facilitate smooth transitions catch the attention of IT buyers.
The majority of the 1500 companies surveyed by Insight Inbox plan to spend between $100,000 and $500,000 on customer experience software in 2022. Interest is about equally split between Customer Services, Customer Loyalty, Customer Retention, Customer Journey, and User Experience. This isn’t a surprise, because each element of Customer Experience complements all the others.
For example, poor customer service leads to reduced customer loyalty, poor customer retention, and bad user experience. If one element of Customer Experience is bad, the others also will be. Getting every element of Customer Experience right is mission-critical for every company.
Surely no one is surprised that over 70 percent of Marketing IT managers plan to increase spending for Social Media Digital Analytics in 2022 and 2023. Even in B2B marketing, social media plays a central role that is expected only to grow over the next few years.
User experience was cited by 50 percent of managers surveyed as another area for digital analytics.
More and more companies are aiming to achieve 1-to-1 customization of their email marketing campaigns. Achieving 1-to-1 personalization at scale is a major selling point for relevant SaaS offerings.
Complementing personalization strategies are nurture strategies that motivate 83 percent of Marketing IT managers surveyed to plan to increase spending on Marketing Automation. Most budgets for 2022 and the first half of 2023 range from $100,000 to $500,000.
Employee Engagement and Other HR Issues
Employee Experience for 61.36 percent of HR Managers and Employee Recognition for 59.85% of managers are focal points in seeking new SaaS solutions. However, nearly half of HR Managers are looking for software to enhance employee skills, and large numbers of managers are seeking help with talent management and employee health and safety.
B2B Marketing Trends 2022
While nearly all SaaS professionals understand the importance of B2B marketing, not as many are up to date on what their potential customers are looking for. Rather than looking too closely at the types of B2B marketing or reading up on the importance of B2B marketing, SaaS marketers need to take note of a single, simple fact.
Searches for information on SaaS are up 5275 percent over 12 months ago.
Customers are coming to you, if they can find you through Internet search. But it isn’t just searches for SaaS that have seen explosive growth since the beginning of 2021.
Searches for information on IT project management are up 3050 percent. Searches for information on management of mobile devices by IT departments are up 1050 percent. IT department buyers are looking for information on insider threats (up 512 percent), business integration (460 percent), hybrid cloud (407 percent), threat intelligence (407 percent), API (375 percent), cloud migration (343 percent), IoT (237 percent), and hackers (210 percent). But they aren’t especially in the mood for sales information about SD-WAN (up only 17 percent), cloud computing (10 percent). and managed hosting (7 percent).
SaaS is obviously one of the most important B2B marketing trends of 2022. Your B2B marketing idea should track the areas of greatest buyer interest. But don’t overlook the fact that your customers most likely are B2C businesses. Consider that your products help your customers sell their products through a much more subjective process of awareness, engagement, conversion, onboarding, adoption, escalation, renewal, and growth.
The customer outreach of a SaaS vendor should be logical, practical, and evidence-based. But SaaS is used for sales that aren’t.
B2B Marketing Strategies
This is a lot to think about, isn’t it? And while there are some wonderful B2B marketing strategies that consultants give out for free, there isn’t really a business marketing association for SaaS.
We’re here to give you your B2B marketing playbook.