Failure to Launch: 7 Challenges Preventing a Successful Inbound Marketing Strategy

Do you find yourself spinning your wheels on your inbound marketing strategy? Or maybe you’re just starting to entertain the idea of incorporating it into your overall marketing program and find yourself unable to get it off the ground. You’re not alone. There is no shortage of inbound marketing challenges, but there are far more rewards once you can move past some of those obstacles. 

Here are the most common challenges of inbound marketing that prevent you from having a successful strategy. 

Incomplete Strategy

When it comes to the various challenges of inbound marketing, this is one you’ll see often. Not for lack of good intentions, but because often people are ready to act before they analyze and plan. Don’t get us wrong, you don’t want to find yourself in a situation of analysis paralysis or placing perfection over progress, but you do need a plan in place before you dive in. 

inbound marketing challenges

The whole point of an inbound marketing strategy is to attract targeted and qualified leads and turn them into customers, so your strategy needs to be built around those clear buyer personas and have a plan in place for each stage of the buyer’s journey. So if you’re starting a blog, for example, you need to create a content strategy. If you’re planning to do social media marketing, you’ll want to identify the social sites that your personas are utilizing and create a posting schedule. Having clear strategies in place can often eliminate or at least reduce some of the challenges of inbound marketing listed below. 


As you likely know, this challenge isn’t specific to just inbound marketing. Having limited time and resources is often a challenge across the board. There just isn’t enough time (or money) in the day, right? And to put a solid inbound marketing strategy into practice, you need those resources, as it can be pretty labor-intensive. 

To implement inbound successfully, it often requires you to create a lot of relevant content and produce it consistently. Keyword being consistent. And more than just creating content like blogs, white papers, and case studies, you’ll need to master SEO, have a social media presence, and don’t forget about email marketing. 

If you don’t have the necessary time or resources to dedicate to your marketing rigor, you can often address the issue by partnering with freelance writers or agency partners. By going it alone, you might be inhibiting the success of your inbound campaign.  

Persona Alignment

You know all that content we talked about needing to produce? One of the challenges of inbound marketing is that you can’t write content for just anyone. You need to ensure that your content and inbound marketing strategy align with your target audience, AKA, your buyer personas. When you curate content designed specifically for your buyer personas, you might even be able to reduce the amount of necessary content that needs to be created. By narrowing your focus, you put quality over quantity, producing better results, and helping reach your potential customers. 

inbound marketing challenges - buyer personas
Image Source:

Beyond just reaching those potential customers, by creating a buyer persona and aligning your content to them, you can:

  • Maximize your ROI
  • Generate qualified traffic and leads
  • Collect data/insights on the right people
  • Use your ad dollars efficiently
  • Create a great customer experience
  • Improve engagement across all of your channels

More About Buyer Personas: Why Understanding Your B2B Buyer Persona is the Crux of all Marketing Efforts 

Creating the Right Marketing Tech Stack  

marketing tech stack

Since resources, or lack thereof, is one of the challenges of inbound marketing, it’s essential to work smarter when it comes to the tools you incorporate into your overall strategy. That said, it can be hard to find the tools that are right-sized for your business, and that will cover all of your needs and that you and your team will actually use. But it can be nearly impossible to execute an effective inbound strategy without a proper marketing tech stack. Tech like: 

  • A CRM 
  • Marketing automation tool
  • Email marketing tool 
  • Social media publisher 
  • Analytics 
  • Content management system  

Is marketing technology right for your organization? Take the free online assessment here.

If you’re lucky (and smart), you’ll utilize a tool that covers multiple bases. When you implement a marketing technology stack, you’re building the framework for a solid inbound marketing strategy. The tools you decide to use are the bones of your plan and enable your team to take your marketing to the next level. This includes:

  • Better aligned sales and marketing teams
  • Marketing automation and reduction of manual work
  • Increased lead generation and the ability to nurture leads
  • More impactful analytics, insights, and reports
  • Streamlined processes and the simplification of complex operations
  • Ability to generate and carry out a comprehensive strategy

Poor User Engagement 

Picture it, you have a clear strategy, you have the time and resources you need, you’re aligned perfectly to your personas, and have all the right tech, but you’re still seeing low user engagement. Your strategy must be off, right? Not so fast. What’s the doorway between your prospects, your brand, and a potential sales opportunity? Your website! Before you throw your strategy out the window, be sure to check your website.

Related Reading: The Surprising Ways B2B Website Design Affects Sales 

A poor website user experience can be a significant weakness and challenges of inbound marketing that will likely be reflected in high bounce rates and potentially low time on page. Be sure to look at things like poor website design, poor mobile-optimization, and poor user experience. If you find you have issues with any or all three of those areas, fix them. It really is that simple. 

Here are some ways to make the content and design of your B2B website purposeful in driving conversion: 

  • Create clear CTAs (Call-to-Actions)
  • Ensure a quality user experience
  • Use the right language and tone for your buyers 
  • Cluster content strategy around topics 
  • Have supporting pillar content with blog topics 
  • Humanize your images and videos 
content clusters

Learn more about how to master your B2B website strategy and drive growth here

Misalignment of Sales and Marketing 

We already noted the importance of having a clearly defined inbound marketing strategy upfront. Still, all of that can be for not if your internal teams, specifically sales and marketing, aren’t aligned. 

One of the common marketing challenges is that the marketing team has one viewpoint of what makes a great lead and the sales team has an entirely different one. If marketing is creating content to attract the wrong target, then the leads will likely have a lower conversion rate into sales. It’s a lose-lose. 

Aligning sales and marketing needs to be a priority for all involved if you want to get traction on your inbound marketing. Why? 

  • 209% higher revenue from marketing-generated leads (Marketo)
  • Win more customers – 67% higher probability that marketing-generated leads will close (Marketo)
  • Keep those customers – 36% higher retention rates (MarketingProfs)
  • 24% faster three-year revenue growth and 27% more rapid three-year profit growth for B2B (SiriusDecisions)

how to achieve sales and marketing alignment

Expectation Setting 

Remember, results take time. Even if you’ve overcome all of the challenges above, you can’t expect to grow your website traffic, write the world’s best content (at scale), generate new, quality leads, and convert them to customers overnight. Your expectations need to be realistic. Whether it’s internal or external stakeholders, make sure that expectations are set up front and well-aligned. Then give it time to work! Work your strategy, be consistent, measure results, and then adjust as needed. 

While the challenges of inbound marketing can be tough to overcome, it’s worth the time and energy to implement a successful strategy. But if you find that it’s more than you or your team want to take on, there are resources out there that can help—interested to learn more? Chat with one of our experts and learn how Lake One can help you take your inbound strategy to the next level. 

Chat With Our Experts

Get Social with Your SaaS: 7 B2B Social Media Examples

Marketing for SaaS and the products themselves are not simple things. Given the complexity of the industry, social media and the “entertainment” often associated with it, it might not seem like a priority, but it should be. Below we’ve compiled 7 B2B SaaS social media examples and why they work. Social media for SaaS is a great tool to use to: 

  • Drive traffic to your website 
  • Create brand awareness
  • Display product demo and update videos 
  • Offer tips in simple formats 
  • Share quotes, case studies and shoutouts 
  • Showcase your culture and recruit employees 
  • Share quality content that provides value to your customers 

Related Reading: SaaS Inbound Marketing: Taking Your Business to the Next Level

Product Demo and Update Videos 

As a SaaS company, your biggest feature is your product. So why not showcase that product where your customers are hanging out… on social media. Not only can you showcase your products effectively, but you have the added bonus of being able to utilize video. Video has a number of benefits on social media and your marketing efforts in general. According to our friends at HubSpot, posting a video to social media can gain you 48% more views. Those views usually translate to likes- when you’re publishing relevant content

In this example, Harvest created a quick video that captured their product updates perfectly and then promoted on LinkedIn. They could have drafted a couple of paragraphs on the updates instead, but a video simplified the concept and delivered the intent of the message accurately and in an engaging way. 

Offer Tips in Simple Formats 

Social media is also a place where you can be a thought leader or provide help to your readers. Offer tips, advice, and hacks that speak to your expertise and make things easier for your audience. What can you provide your users that will help them utilize your tools better? Offer tips to help them think outside of the box with your software and the basic functions.

In this example from Zapier, they offer a simple, everyday way to use their integrations. Zapier provides a solution that allows you to integrate systems where there isn’t an existing API already. These “Zaps” or connections are often used to automate larger business processes and data pushes. That’s why this social example stands out – it shows a creative way to use the tool beyond the larger processes people gravitate towards Zapier for. These small things build credibility and can make your tool more valuable. Even basic tips will accomplish a similar goal. 

Related Reading: Cut the B.S.: Business Focused B2B SaaS Marketing Metrics

Sharing Quotes, Case Studies, and Shoutouts

Another idea for social media for SaaS is to humblebrag a bit. This is a fantastic place to showcase positive reviews of your company, share case studies and client successes or testimonials, and give shoutouts whenever possible. After all, it’s your social channel- it’s already about you and should reflect who you are as a company. People are visiting and following to learn more about you.  

They call it humble bragging for a reason, because you can share your accomplishments humbly. Take this tweet from Databox, for example. They share a quote from a client and share a link to a post about how they use Databox to build SEO reports. 

Weekly Themed Posts 

Remember how we said social media a great way to showcase your culture and what you’re all about? This can easily be accomplished on social media. Whether it’s challenges, theme posts, sharing pictures from the company picnic or giving a shoutout the employee of the month. The possibilities are nearly endless. 

Highspot’s LinkedIn post is a great example of this with their “Win the Week” themed posts that we see here. It not only provides helpful tips for readers, but it gives people a chance to see Highspot’s personality and create engagement in a different way than just a blog post or even a video. 

Keep it Fun

We know SaaS is serious business, but that doesn’t mean all of your content and social posts have to be. That’s why it’s no surprise that our partners at Vidyard made the list of social media for SaaS examples. This “Where’s Waldo” style Instagram post is a great example of keeping it fun and yet another opportunity to show your companies personality.

Note: View at your own risk, you can’t help but try and find their V-bot!

Ask Engaging Questions and Then Respond

Who doesn’t like being asked their opinion or for their advice? This is a great way to engage your audience by involving them in your social posts. But remember, if you’re going to engage and ask questions, be prepared to respond. Either compliment them on the advice they give, thank them for their input, and/or tell them how you applied their answer.

In this example, SEMRush solicits their reader’s opinions. Throughout the feed you see them responding to or “liking” people’s responses. They also post an overall thank you message for all the responses. 

Share Your Content 

Last, but not least, this LinkedIn post from Adobe. Here we see an example of Adobe promoting a recent blog post and driving people to their website. While your social media efforts can and should incorporate a number of the examples from above, we can’t forget what a great tool this is to share original content and increase traffic to your site. You can promote and share blogs, articles, press releases, and much more. We don’t suggest sharing only your content all the time though. Be sure to mix in thought leadership pieces and some of the examples listed above. 

These are just a few examples of how you can use social media for SaaS. Regardless of how you use it, they are channels that shouldn’t be ignored. And while it’s meant to help serve your overall business goals, don’t forget to have a little fun with it every once and awhile.

New call-to-action

Press Play on Your B2B Revenue Growth: 6 Benefits of Video Marketing

Sometimes a new channel, platform, or tool comes along in the business world that you just know is here to stay. At least for a while. Video is one of them. It’s not one of those tools that’s “nice to have” anymore. Incorporating video into your sales and marketing strategies is a must-have that warrants your attention.

While video marketing has been around for a while in B2C, now thanks to the many benefits of video marketing we’re seeing B2B come around to it and use it in their:

  • Sales processes 
  • Marketing campaigns 
  • Social media platforms 
  • Lead generation efforts 
  • Email marketing 
  • Outreach pitches 
  • And More! 

Learn How Lake One Uses Vidyard for Video

What is Video Marketing 

According to HubSpot, video marketing is using videos to promote and market your product or service, increase engagement on your digital and social channels, educate your consumers and customers, and reach your audience with a new medium. 

What are the Benefits of Video Marketing for Business 

Increase Brand Awareness and Consumer Trust

Video is a great way to increase your brand awareness. It allows your customer base to grow by helping more people find out who you are and what you do in a more engaging way. With 54% of consumers wanting to see more video content from a brand or business they support, you need to be sure you’re one of those brands or businesses or your competitors will. 

Image Source:

Meet your customers or potential customers where they are and in the format they want. By incorporating video marketing into your strategy, you’ll increase your brand awareness, build consumer trust and increase your online presence.

Increase Conversion Rates

More than just increasing your brand awareness and getting in front of your prospects, one of the biggest benefits of video marketing is the increase it can provide to your conversion rates and generate leads. Smart Insights noted that embedding a video on your site can increase conversion rates by up to 80%

Here are a few ways to incorporate video to help boost your conversion rates: 

  • Add video to your high traffic landing pages 
  • Insert a lead capture form in your videos 
  • Add video to your thank you pages
  • Include videos in your prospecting emails 
  • Send a personalized video to high-potential leads who download your resources 
  • Add video to other pages on your website, client testimonials, such as solutions pages, and more

Boost Social Media Engagement

According to Animoto, video is consumers’ #1 favorite type of content to see from brands on social media. If you want to engage with your customers in a way that gets their attention, video is it. Not only that, but video is the most shared content on social media. 

In fact, Facebook actually places a higher priority on video content. Engadget says that Facebook will prioritize videos that people seek out and return to repeatedly. It will also add weight to videos that keep people engaged for at least a minute, especially if those videos are three minutes or longer. Facebook is placing a higher priority on video content because they know that’s what users want.

Remain Relevant in Your Industry 

Video isn’t going away anytime soon and if they haven’t already, your competitors will start using video in their sales and marketing efforts.

benefits of video marketing
Source: HubSpot

If you want to remain competitive and relevant in your industry and among your potential buyers and current customers, then video needs to be in the picture. Given the fact that buyers are consuming video at increasing rates, it’s not a matter of if you need to use video, but when. That “when” is today and right now. 

Increase Ad Effectiveness

Your buyers are inundated with ads on the internet daily. So much so that we as consumers have learned to tune them out to an extent. Sidebar, banner and other ads of this nature tend to just blend in now and are sort of white noise. Well, video helps cut through all of that noise and grab the attention of your prospects.  

Image Source: 

According to DreamGrow, the average click-through-rate of video ads is 1.84%. Out of all the digital ad formats, video has the highest CTR. They go on to note that for a 15-second non-skippable YouTube video, the ad completion rate is 92%. 

SEO Boost 

Looking to get a little SEO juice behind your content? Another benefit of video marketing is the lift it can give to your SEO (search engine optimization) efforts. How? Well, one of the things that Google factors in when it comes to search result rankings is time spent on the site. Are you providing what the visitors are looking for? Video is a great way to engage visitors and provide them with the information they need. So when they spend time watching your videos, Google interprets that as you providing the information the visitor is seeking, which can ultimately move you up in search result rankings. 

Strong ROI 

This might all sound well and fine, but we know what you’re thinking…. “Show me the money!” Or the stats in this case: 


  • 73% of B2B marketers say video positively impacts their ROI. (Tubular Insights)
  • 52% of marketers say video is the type of content with the best ROI. (HubSpot)
  • 89% of video marketers say video gives them a good ROI and 80% of video marketers say video has directly helped increase sales. (Wyzowl)
  • 83% of those using video believe they get a good ROI from it with 82% believing it’s a key part of their strategy (Smart Insights)
  • The global software company Zycus saw a 6.6x ROI on campaigns using Vidyard (Vidyard)

When measuring the ROI of video, you’ll want to monitor performance right away, based on metrics you’ve determined are relevant to your overall goals. Metrics like views, engagement, conversion rate, social shares, total cost, and whatever other metrics are important to you. 

Related Reading: How and Why to Incorporate Sales Videos into Your Selling Process

Now that you know all the benefits of video marketing, what’s stopping you from incorporating it into your strategy? Maybe you’re camera shy, not sure what type of content to create, or it could be that you don’t know what the best tool is to create quality, worth watching videos. We can help with that. As a Vidyard Partner, we’re here to help you turbocharge your growth engine with video for sales and marketing

Book a free 15-minute strategy session with a Lake One Video expert.

Chat With Our Experts

5 Ways Lake One Uses Vidyard for B2B Video Marketing

The cameras are rolling around here at Lake One. While we don’t have our own personal glam teams (yet), we do have everything else we need to create solid content for our B2B video marketing efforts. How do we do it, you ask? Well, with the help of our trusty partners, Vidyard. If you haven’t heard of them, (which isn’t likely) Vidyard is an online video platform for businesses. From video creation, hosting, integrations, sharing, optimization, and analytics, they make it pretty impossible to have an excuse not to be doing video. 

Which, if you aren’t, you should include video as part of your sales and marketing strategy. B2B video marketing is a must and not just because we say so. The numbers speak for themselves. Content Marketing Institute found that 71% of B2B marketers use video marketing and 66% of B2C marketers use it. Not to mention the ROI. Optinmonster noted that video marketers get 66% more qualified leads per year and 93% of marketers say they landed new customers by using video on social media. 

B2B Video Marketing

Here are five ways that Lake One uses Vidyard for our b2b video marketing efforts:

Lead Generation/Prospecting

Ever feel like your lead generation efforts are the same old, same old? Looking to spice things up and even have a little fun? If only there was something that could help with that. 

Video is a great and often overlooked tool when it comes to lead generation and prospecting. A few ways to use video for lead gen: 

  • Add video to your landing pages 
  • Add video to other pages on your website, such as solutions pages, client testimonials and more
  • Add video to your thank you pages or send a personalized video to high-value leads who download resources off of your website 
  • Include videos in your prospecting emails 

Pro Tip: Be sure to include a CTA (call-to-action) at the end of your videos. Let viewers know what action you want them to take after watching your content.

Lead Nurturing

Since the goal of lead nurturing is to move someone through the buyer’s journey from the awareness stage to the decision stage, video is a great way to help achieve that. Especially for things like email nurture sequences (drip campaigns), it’s a nice way to break-up the content that’s in the emails and get your lead’s attention. Here are just a few types of videos you can use when nurturing leads: 

Related Reading: Turn Your Website Into a Lead Machine with HubSpot Lead Flows

  • Demo or explainer videos
  • Interviews with thought leaders
  • Promoting upcoming webinars or events your company is hosting or sponsoring 
  • Testimonials from clients that showcase the value they received from your product or service 
  • Educational videos that are relevant and provide value to your viewer 
Video Marketing stat
Source: Neil Patel

Client Management 

When it comes to managing client relationships, it can be easy to get caught up in an endless cycle of emails calls back and forth. While sometimes picking up the phone can solve for that, it doesn’t always accomplish everything you need it to. That’s where videos come in to play. 


It used to be commonplace to meet with clients in their offices for kick-off, monthly or quarterly meetings. That all changed virtually overnight, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. While Zoom and other video conferencing tools are great, sometimes what needs to be accomplished can be done in a video. Whether it’s a training, showing a client where to locate something, or a simple introduction video, Vidyard is a great tool to be able to manage clients. 


At Lake One, especially since we’re a virtual team, we love using Vidyard for training purposes, whether for ourselves or for clients. One team member, I won’t name names, even refers to their internal training videos as “Trainings with Tiffany.” We didn’t say you couldn’t have fun with the tool, in fact, we encourage it. 

With Vidyard you can record yourself on camera, record the screen or a combination of both, so people can see exactly what you’re doing when training. We’ve built up a library of sorts for training for both ourselves and clients. It’s a great way to go back and rewatch something or provide videos to team members who might have missed a live training session. 

Vidyard will also transcribe your videos too, whether you’re creating videos directly on the platform or uploading them from elsewhere. This is a nice feature for accessibility reasons, but also if you want to repurpose the video content, you already have the transcription ready to go. 


Which would you rather receive in your inbox? A generic email with a bunch of buzzwords, going on and on about guest posts and how much someone loves your “most recent piece” all in an effort to partner for link building purposes. Or, would you rather get an email that features an engaging video that’s short and to the point, briefly touching on the topics and value this person could add to your site? I don’t know about you, but I choose door number two.

We use video to either replace or support the messages we send surrounding our outreach efforts. It’s a great way to humanize ourselves and get our message across quickly. It’s also sometimes easier to explain an idea out loud, versus trying to capture it in writing. Plus, with any luck, you’ll stand out from the other pitches that your prospects are receiving. 


We know that video is a must when it comes to B2B video marketing and creating the type of content that buyers want to consume. Considering that 85% of all internet users in the U.S. watched online video content monthly on any of their devices, it’s no longer an option whether you incorporate video into your content plan or not. Here are a few places to use and types of videos you can create:

  • Blog posts
  • Social posts
  • Sales emails 
  • Demo or explainer videos 
  • Website, in place of other graphics 
  • Email marketing campaigns 
  • Long-form videos/webinars 
  • Customer testimonials
  • And more! 

Related Reading: How Engaging is Your Content Marketing? 5 KPIs to Measure Content Engagement

Thanks to Vidyards reporting capabilities, you’re able to see who’s watching your videos, from where, for how long, and get insight into how your videos are actually performing. Like any content, video for the sake of video isn’t a strategy and won’t drive the results you’re looking to achieve. Be methodical in the videos you’re creating and putting out there. These are just a few ways that Lake One uses Vidyard. If you have any fun ways you use it, drop a note in the comments.

Interested to learn how Lake One can help you with video? One of our strategists would love to chat.

Chat With Our Experts

SaaS Inbound Marketing: Taking Your Business To the Next Level

If a tree falls in the forest and there’s no one around to hear it, did it make a sound? If a great SaaS product is created and there’s no inbound marketing strategy involved, will it be as successful as it could be? Well, I don’t know about that tree, but I do know if you’re looking to 1) promote your SaaS product and services 2) standout in a crowded marketplace and 3) meet revenue goals, then SaaS inbound marketing should be a part of your plan to help achieve those goals. We’ll tell you why in this post, where we: 

  1. Define SaaS inbound marketing and methodology 
  2. Showcase why inbound matters for SaaS buyers 
  3. Identify tactics beyond just free trials to promote your SaaS company 
saas inbound marketing

SaaS Inbound Marketing 

SaaS inbound marketing is a business methodology that attracts customers by creating valuable content and experiences tailored to them. 

There are three ways that the inbound methodology can be applied to your SaaS buyers: 

  • Attract: Here is where you draw the right people (that’s key) with content and resources that they will find valuable. This will help establish you as a trusted source and someone they’ll want to engage with. 
  • Engage: This is where you will present your insights and solutions to their problems and goals. If you can either solve for their pain point or help them reach their goal, they are more likely to do business with you. 
  • Delight: Last but not least, delight. Here you provide help and support customers to find success with their purchase. 

inbound for saas
Image Source: 

Keep in mind that there are some unique considerations when setting out to develop a winning SaaS inbound marketing strategy though. Due to the number of decision-makers and the size of the transaction – content is key. 

Related Reading: How Engaging is Your Content Marketing? 5 KPIs to Measure Content Engagement

By and large, gone are the days of buyers reaching out to sales or requesting a quote first. Long before that happens buyers are consuming as much content as they can get their hands on. In fact, according to Gartner research, B2B buyers spend less than 20% of their time actually meeting with suppliers when considering a purchase. The remainder of their time is spent doing research online, offline, or with their peers. If you don’t have content and resources to meet them where they are at in their research process, they will find someone else who does. 

Why Inbound for B2B SaaS Buyers

SaaS inbound marketing is important because SaaS products tend to have a shorter sales cycle and are constantly evolving. Utilizing inbound allows you to address the buyer’s needs at every stage of the buyer’s journey. By providing credible information at each touchpoint, you’re creating trust between you and your prospects, while building authority for your brand. It’s a win-win. 

Inbound is also more suited for SaaS models, as it requires convincing your customer to integrate your product or software into their everyday life, which is different than selling someone on a one-off purchase. A SaaS product purchase means a change in habits and lifestyle, which isn’t as easy to sell. 

This Might Interest You: Signs Inbound Marketing Is Right For You

Put simply, SaaS inbound marketing is ideal for SaaS buyers because ultimately the goal is to answer your buyers’ questions. Inbound does that and does it well. To get buyers interested you need to start with focusing on them. By doing this, you will make their shortlist of potential solutions to their problem. Since the research tells us that B2B buyers are doing their homework long before they talk to you, by focusing on them you will have a trickle-down effect of driving downloads, leads, trials, etc. with the true measurement of success being revenue. 

The New B2B Buying Process
Image Source:

Know Your B2B SaaS Buyers

Now that you know why inbound marketing is ideal for B2B SaaS buyers, how do go about laser focusing the right efforts on the right buyers? Start with well-articulated buyer personas. 

A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your buyers and various stakeholders. By creating this fictional character as I’ll call it, it allows marketing and sales to put themselves in the buyer’s shoes and understand the journey from their perspective. It helps you know what questions they have, what motivates them, and what barriers they have to overcome.

Not sure where to get started? There are tools for that. You can use Hubspot’s Make My Persona to walk you and your team through the process. At a high level, here are some of the main questions you will want to answer when defining your personas:

  • What does success look like for them? 
  • How do they measure that success? 
  • In their role, what barriers do they need to overcome?
  • What questions do they have throughout their buyer’s journey? 
  • What terms are they searching at each stage of the buying and research process?
b2b saas buyer
Image Source: HubSpot’s Make My Persona

Pro Tip: Creating great content for each stage of the buyer’s journey is a must, but so is having a website that makes buyers want to come back to again. Learn more about that here.

SaaS Inbound Marketing is More Than Free Trials 

Once you have your buyer personas established, you can work to find the tactics that will help move them from personas to leads to customers. And while product trials are a popular route when it comes to marketing SaaS, SaaS inbound marketing is much more than just free trials. Sure, that’s one tactic you can and maybe should use, but when marketing for a SaaS company, you can’t be a one-trick pony. If you are, you will quickly find yourself left behind by others who are offering more. In an already crowded industry, you can’t afford to give your competition any help. So what else should be up your SaaS inbound marketing sleeve? 

  • Content Strategy: We’ve already discussed the importance of creating targeted, valuable content for each stage of the buyer’s journey, but it’s worth mentioning again. A solid content strategy can help attract visitors to your website, build your brand, and generate leads. This includes more than just blogs, emails, ebooks, and infographics. Think video content as well. According to Wordstream, using videos on landing pages will increase conversions by 86%.
  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization): Once you’ve created that really great content, be sure you’re optimizing it for search so you’ll actually get it in front of your personas, by doing both on-page and off-page SEO. Keep in mind, SEO is what we would call a “long game”. You likely won’t see results immediately, but all good things come to those who wait and when done properly, your B2B SEO efforts will be worth the wait. 
  • Paid Search: If SEO is the long game, then PPC (pay-per-click) is the short-game. Definitely a player to be played. Inbound can help reduce the amount you need to spend on Adwords, but millions of people still click on search engine ads every day. To avoid missing out on potential leads, you may want to consider investing in PPC. 
  • Account Based Marketing: More than just buzzwords, account based marketing is gaining even more popular because it works. It is a highly effective way to engage with potential leads. It allows sales and marketing to collaborate to create a personalized buying experience for high-value accounts.
abm roi
Image Source:
  • Here are just a few  tactics when implementing ABM: 
    • Host targeted events
    • Record and send a personalized video
    • Create and launch a LinkedIn In-mail campaign
    • Conduct account-based advertising and retargeting
    • Create custom landing pages for targeted accounts 
    • Send small gifts via direct mail and follow up via email
  • Social Media: While traditional social media channels should be a part of your SaaS inbound marketing strategy to a certain extent, SaaS companies can also benefit from being in unconventional channels where their users might be hanging out. There are forums that you can be a part of to position yourself as experts in your industry. Sites like CNet Forums, Spiceworks Community, and the like are examples of channels to explore in addition to your regular social platforms. 

We know SaaS is a complex industry, but the decision to launch an inbound marketing strategy doesn’t have to be. If you’re interested in learning more about SaaS marketing or want to take your efforts to the next level, let’s connect.

Chat With Our Experts

Fuel Your Startup Success: 6 Benefits of Marketing Automation

It’s nearly impossible to talk about marketing strategy today without discussing the benefits of marketing automation and the important role it can play in your startup organization. HubSpot said it best and said it simply: Marketing automation is all about using software to automate marketing activities. 

So, why does that matter? Well, I don’t know about you, but I don’t have unlimited time or resources to spend on repetitive tasks. Enter, marketing automation. A tool that can automate social media posting, ad campaigns, email marketing, and more, all while providing a personalized experience for customers. But that’s just the start. In this post, we’ll cover 6 benefits of marketing automation that will help fuel your startup success: 

  1. Time Savings 
  2. Lead Nurturing 
  3. Scalability 
  4. Aligned Sales and Marketing Teams 
  5. Higher Conversion and Close Rates 
  6. Reporting 
benefits of marketing automation

Time Savings 

Workflow Automation 

As a startup, you could likely benefit from a tool that allows you and your team to save time, be more effective and efficient. Marketing automation can be incredibly helpful in that department. It can allow for task creation, real-time routing, and follow-up across channels. 

The creation of workflows allows startup companies to have marketing automation systems work both smarter and harder for them. For example, startups can:

  • Route internal requests 
  • Create custom tasks by sales rep
  • Set subscription types automatically 
  • Send custom ‘Thank You’ emails 
  • Set service or product interest categories

Thinking about starting to use marketing automation? Take the assessment to see if it’s right for you. Start here.

List Segmentation/Pulling 

Another benefit of marketing automation and a real timesaver is the ability to both segment and pull lists automatically. It pulls contacts that meet a certain set of criteria based on the information you have set up in your database. Whether your contact database is massive or in the building phase, automated list pulling is a must to save both time and ensure you’re tailoring your messaging to your personas.

In the Lyris Annual Email Optimizer Report, when asked to indicate their top three results, 39% of marketers who segmented their email lists experienced higher open rates, 28% experienced lower unsubscribe rates, and 24% experienced better deliverability and greater revenue. 

Why List Segmentation Matters in Email Marketing

Lead Nurturing 

Lead nurturing is the building of relationships with potential buyers who are not currently ready to buy but could be an ideal customer in the future. The goal of lead nurturing is to educate the prospect, build their awareness of your organization and its products or services, and build trust. 

How does marketing automation play a role here? It allows you to create lead nurturing campaigns, otherwise known as email drip campaigns. These are a series of emails spaced out over time that help buyers move from the awareness to the consideration to the decision stage of the buyer’s journey. Depending on your persona’s needs and your buying cycle, what to include in your emails, how many to send, and how often, will vary. 

Related Reading: 5 Ways Marketing Automation Can Help Boost Lead Volume

A few examples of actions that can initiate a lead nurturing campaign for startups are if a lead: 

  • Attends a webinar you’re hosting 
  • Downloads one of your case studies
  • Requests more information on a specific service or product  
  • Downloads a piece of premium content like an infographic or ebook

But remember, while ‘automation’ is a large part of this, nurturing campaigns should not be something you set up and let run its course. It’s important to consistently monitor things like email open rates, marketing attribution reports, and engagement. This will allow you insight into what’s working in your workflow and what’s not and then optimize accordingly. 


Email Marketing 

Sending one email manually is easy. Sending a couple hundred or even thousands of emails that way, a little less so. That’s where marketing automation comes in. But how do you automatically send emails at scale without losing the personalization your buyers have come to expect? That’s one of the beauties of marketing technology. It allows for that personalization without all the manual labor. A few personalized “tokens” that you could include in your emails include: 

  • Recipient name 
  • Company name
  • Role or job title 
  • The last piece of content they downloaded 
  • Recommending content related to other pieces they’ve viewed or downloaded 
  • And more! 

Pro Tip: Get creative with your personalization, because we know personalization drives more replies, but don’t overdo it. Studies have shown that once you alter 50% or more of your email marketing template, the impact on the reply rate was negligible. Don’t waste precious time and resources on over personalizing. Learn more about more B2B email best practices here.


The use of email goes beyond just personalization though. Although an important piece, it’s just one of the ways you can use it. So, what other benefits of marketing automation are there when it comes to email marketing?  

  • Create and save email templates 
  • A/B test your campaigns easily 
  • Automatically segment and pull lists 
  • Schedule emails and campaigns in advance 
  • Better reporting on what’s working and what’s not 
  • Automatically follow up with your leads 

Related Reading: Email Marketing for Startups: 5 Things to Consider Before You Hit Send 

Aligned Sales & Marketing Teams

Maybe a surprising benefit of marketing automation is the ability to facilitate collaboration between sales and marketing teams. Marketing and sales teams are able to use marketing automation to move leads through their buying funnel seamlessly. By creating automatic processes, this allows marketers to bring in leads, assess their readiness to buy, and send them to a sales rep without needing to manually intervene. Here are just a few ideas of sales collaboration oriented workflows: 

  • Assigning lifecycle stages and lead statuses
  • Transitioning Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) to sales
  • Closing the lead quality feedback loop
  • Assessing a lead’s readiness to speak with sales or lead scoring

Higher Conversion Rates 

Ultimately, the goal of all of this is to convert the aforementioned leads into customers. By using marketing automation, you can increase your conversion and growth rates, as it allows you to provide your subscribers with content that’s relevant to their buyer’s journey and as we know, personalizing communication and tailoring your messaging and content to your personas is key for engagement and effectiveness. 


But don’t just take our word for it. We’ll let the numbers do the talking. According to recent studies, 80% of marketing automation users saw an increase in their number of leads using marketing automation software, and 77% had an increase in conversions.


Predictions and Decisions for the Future

How does the saying go, “You can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been.” Or something along those lines. Well, the same is true for making predictions and decisions for the future when it comes to your business. You have to know how things are currently performing before you can make informed decisions on what to do next. 

At Lake One, we’re about data first. Show us the numbers. But what does that have to do with marketing automation you ask? Well, a lot, actually. One of the benefits of marketing automation is the platform itself and the ability to create different dashboards to view the numbers and reports that matter most. 

Master your B2B website strategy. Grab the guide here.

A few examples of reports you could create for your startup include: 

  • Email campaign performance 
  • Traffic sessions 
  • Lead source 
  • Landing page performance 
  • Contact lifecycle funnel 
  • Sales pipeline 

Marketing for startups can be challenging enough without adding unnecessary tasks and time to your already full plate. So whether your startup needs to save time, nurture leads, scale email marketing efforts, align sales and marketing, increase conversion rates, create reports, or all of the above, marketing automation has you covered.

Prove the Value of Your Program: How to Measure Sales Enablement Success

Making a case for sales enablement isn’t always the easiest thing to achieve, but once you secure that buy-in, measuring the success of your efforts is important. Even measuring the failures of your efforts is a must. Having insight into how things are performing allows you to know which activities to continue to invest in and which activities no longer serve you and your sales team. But sales enablement performance shouldn’t just be a concern for sales, marketing should also be actively measuring sales enablement success. Having the right metrics provides insight into what to expect from the investment that’s being made. 

Aberdeen found that companies with excellent successful sales enablement programs have:

  • 32% higher team sales quota attainment,
  • 24% better individual quota achievement, and
  • 23% higher lead conversion rate.

So how do you measure sales enablement success? 

How to Measure Sales Enablement Success

How to Measure Sales Enablement Success

When it comes to evaluating sales enablement efforts, different organizations may adopt varying metrics or KPIs to measure success. While some organizations might use different metrics based on their structure, we recommend starting with these:  

Related Reading: A Roadmap to a Sure-Fire B2B Sales Enablement Strategy

Lead-to-Customer Conversion 

If you want to measure the impact of your sales enablement activities, the lead-to-customer conversion rate is a good number to track. The ultimate goal of sales enablement is to help the sales team close more deals, right? Right. One thing to keep in mind is that this metric is influenced by other factors, such as the number and quality of the leads generated. But that doesn’t detract from the importance of it. If this rate is high, it indirectly indicates that your sales enablement efforts are working or at least improving. 

Content Performance 

Content for the sake of content doesn’t do anyone any good. Having compelling content, on the other hand, now that’s a different story. This is one of the most effective tools you can equip your salespeople with. But it’s important to measure how well content is performing. Determine this by analyzing the number of total downloads, number of likes, number of shares, ratings, etc. The more insight you have into what content is resonating best with your prospects, the better you can enable your sales team with those types of materials. 


Attribution Reporting

Once you know how your content is performing, you can run attribution reports to see how much influence each piece of content had in helping turn leads into customers. They will of course view many pieces of content, but this report provides insight into what content they read and are most interested in late in the buyer’s journey. 

Onboarding and Proficiency

When it comes to sales enablement and how to measure success, you’ll want to measure the effectiveness of each sales rep and how it relates to how long it takes for onboarding and ramping, but also proficiency. Ensure that sales teams are well-versed in the processes and materials. Cutting down the ‘time to productivity’ is a primary parameter that can help prove the effectiveness of your training efforts. 

Companies with a dedicated sales enablement function improved their sales training effectiveness by 29%.
Brainshark “6 Sales Enablement Statistics You Have to See (2018)  

Win/Loss Rates 

How are you stacking up against the competition? Looking at your win/loss rate can help you measure how well you’re equipping your sales team when they’re up against competitors. 


Actual Time Spent Selling  

Enablement programs that are set up properly should empower sales reps by providing all the tools necessary to sell when they need them. By having these tools and resources at the ready, it allows more time for the reps to actually sell and close more deals. Measure the percentage of each rep’s time spent on the actual sale and attainment. Allowing them to focus more and have fewer disruptions in their sales process should increase their close rate and overall revenue. 

Measure Against Sales Goals 

At the end of the day, the goal of sales enablement is exactly that: enable your sales team. Enable them to sell effectively, sell confidently with the materials they need, when they need them, and to close more deals. So it comes down to are they meeting or exceeding their sales goals? Are your enablement efforts and activities creating an effective sales team? 

Hint: if the answer isn’t yes, it’s time to readjust and look at what activities are actually serving you and which ones are hurting your enablement efforts. 

Sales Enablement KPIs  

As we mentioned, what metrics are most important can vary from organization-to-organization. Ultimately it comes down to what are your goals and which metrics are going to help move you closer to achieving those goals. Regardless of what metrics you choose to narrow in on, when measuring your sales enablement KPIs, it’s important to remember to: 

  • Analysis even before activities: If you don’t have a sales enablement program yet, that doesn’t mean you can’t still measure your sales activities and success. By doing this, you’ll have a baseline to start from to measure the impact and success of your sales enablement activities once you do implement them. 
  • Review results frequently: This is an iterative process, sales enablement. So don’t just set KPIs and call it a day. Be sure to review results frequency so you can pivot your efforts if needed. It’s also good practice to get a regular cadence of reviewing results with leadership to show them the impact of the enablement efforts. Especially if those results are good, it will show the ROI of the investment. 
  • Adjust KPIs if necessary: Just as you will refine your sales enablement process and materials, make sure you do the same with your KPIs. Tailor them to your sales team, materials, and sales enablement processes. As part of reviewing results frequently, be checking to make sure you have the right KPIs. 
  • Capture proficiency scores: When it comes to measuring program effectiveness, don’t forget that sales is an important factor. Make sure all your sales reps are at least on the same level from the beginning. This will make it easier to see changes in individual sales rep success and how that relates to sales enablement materials, strategies, and techniques being used. 
How to Measure Sales Enablement Success

Continual Feedback Loops

Once you know how to measure sales enablement success and what to be looking at, it’s important not to stop there. These efforts and iterations on the enablement activities should be an ongoing process, with sales and marketing aligning closely and sharing information frequently. 

Salespeople are the ones interacting 1:1 with prospects and new customers and as a result, they will have important insights on how marketing efforts can be improved or strengthened. Consider things like any direct feedback from customers. Did they mention liking or even disliking a specific piece of content or resource? 

This feedback is important to know what content is or isn’t resonating with your personas and customers. It gives marketing direction on what to focus their efforts on. But this is a two-way street. Marketing should be communicating and sharing their insights with sales as well. Analytics like open rates, conversion rates, traffic, etc. can be helpful for sales teams. Having that open, frequent dialog around set key performance indicators is a must. 

how to achieve sales and marketing alignment

Email Marketing for Startups: 5 Things to Consider Before You Hit Send

When it comes to email marketing for startups, there are five things we recommend considering before hitting that send button. These ideas might help free up time, resources, and money by being more effective and efficient in your email marketing strategies: 

Email Marketing for Startups

Laser Focus Your Lists   

You don’t want to send your emails to just anyone and not just anyone wants to receive your emails. The saying “quality vs. quantity” rings true here. Focusing your email marketing efforts and curating a select list of people will help with overall performance. Not all buyers are the same nor are they all in the same place in the sales cycle. 

Emailing all your leads? Click here to learn how lead scoring can help qualify and convert.

List segmentation allows you to pull contacts that meet certain criteria based on the information that’s in your database. According to HubSpot and the Lyris Annual Email Optimizer Report, 39% of marketers who segmented their email lists experienced higher open rates, 28% experienced lower unsubscribe rates and 24% experienced greater revenue. 

To make this critical step even easier, when you utilize marketing automation software, list segmentation can be done automatically. If you aren’t currently utilizing marketing automaton, we recommend it. Especially if you have a large list of contacts, combing through them manually to create your lists can take a lot of time you may not have. 

Get Personal 

Now that you’ve got your carefully crafted email and targeted list, you need to make sure that you’re personalizing your email marketing efforts. Don’t just write to your “list”. Write to Joe Anderson or whatever individuals are on your list. This should be a human-to-human experience. We’ve all been on the receiving end of an impersonal, maybe even spammy email… did you read it? And if you did, did you feel valued or motivated to engage with the sender at all? I’m guessing not. 

Here are a few examples of how to personalize email marketing for your startup: 

  • Address your recipient by name in the greeting
  • Reference their company name 
  • Reference their role or job title 
  • Reference product or product category of interest
  • Note mutual connections
  • Reference the last piece of content they downloaded 
  • Acknowledge seasonality
  • Send by timezone 
  • Include personalization tokens in the subject line

All that said, there’s such a thing as a diminishing return when it comes to personalizing your communications. In a study conducted by HubSpot, they found that personalization drives more replies, only up to a certain point. Once someone altered 50% or more of their email marketing template, the impact on the reply rate was negligible. Create your email templates and work to customize the important pieces that will drive results, but personalizing more than half of your template will not provide more replies. So save your time and energy for other efforts in your startup. 

Make It Mobile-Friendly

Admit it. One of the first things you do when you wake up in the morning is check your phone. I wonder if your buyers are doing the same thing? With 68% of email campaigns being opened on a mobile device, they probably are. That’s why it’s important to ensure your emails are readable and ready to go for mobile. 

When doing email marketing for your startup, how can you ensure your emails are mobile-friendly? Campaign Monitor suggests: 

  • Watch your subject line length to make sure it’s not too long  
  • Use pre-header text to add support to your subject line 
  • Keep your copy short and sweet to engage with buyers efficiently
  • Give thought to your images as they won’t all show up on mobile devices
  • Keep your CTAs front and center to get to the point quickly 
  • Make it click-friendly by leaving white space around links and CTAs
  • Test your emails across multiple devices and email clients 

In today’s digital age, customers expect emails to be mobile-friendly. If you’re not meeting that expectation, you’ll quickly find your emails in the trash or worse, viewers will unsubscribe. 

Focus on Lead Nurturing 

Sending one email does not an email marketing campaign make. To seriously make an impact with your email efforts, you need to focus on nurturing leads and not just spamming them with emails. 

For a valuable, long-term nurturing strategy that allows you to move leads through the sales funnel at their own pace, we suggest an email drip campaign for lead nurturing, or as we refer to them as, nurture sequences. A drip campaign is a series of marketing emails that work together to move consumers toward a final conversion point. (Just don’t make these mistakes!)

These sequences should consist of helpful information, updates, products, services, and notifications spread out over time, meant to educate and engage your leads. The keyword here is “drip.” This is not an all at once blast of information; they should be sent slowly, providing ongoing value to readers. 

Pro Tip: To ensure lead nurturing is most effective, we recommend having a lead scoring system in place. What this does is pinpoint where a lead is within the buyer’s journey and can provide you direction on how to best communicate with them going forward. To learn more about lead scoring, click here

Lead Scoring

Take Advantage of Technology 

As we mentioned above, one benefit of using marketing automation when it comes to email marketing is that you can automate your list segmentation. But that’s just the start. When you take advantage of automation software, you’re allowing the tool to work smarter and harder for you. Given the fact that none of us has an unlimited amount of time and money to dedicate to email marketing, we recommend this route. 

Related Reading: 5 Fundamental Marketing Automation Tasks To Fuel Startup Growth

Marketing Automation for Manufacturing

So, what other ways can marketing automation help with email marketing for startups? 

  • Segment and automatically pull lists 
  • Implement drip campaigns 
  • Schedule emails and campaigns in advance 
  • Personalize communications by including personalization “tokens” in your templates 
  • Create and save email templates 
  • Allows you to easily A/B test your campaigns 
  • Better reporting on what’s working and what’s not 
  • Automatically follow up with leads 
  • And more!

TL;DR (Also Known as Key Takeaways): 

  1. Segment your lists. Casting a wide net might get you a lot of fish, but they probably aren’t all the fish you want to catch. Be specific and targeted with who you’re emailing and nurturing. 
  2. Get personal. Personalize your communications, whether it’s a promotional email, a drip campaign, a thank you email, and beyond. This is true for leads and current customers. You’re emailing more than just an inbox, you’re emailing a person. 
  3. Make your email mobile-friendly. 78% of people use their smartphones most often for email. Your buyers are reading your emails on their phones, so make sure they can actually read your emails on their phones.
  4. Be intentional with your emails and focus on lead nurturing. Set up drip campaigns and spread out the communications to leads. Allow them to move through the sales funnel at their own pace while engaging and educating them. 
  5. If you can, use marketing automation. Make your life easier by putting technology to the test when it comes to email marketing. By automating some of the more time-intensive and manual tasks, this will free up your time and talents for other things.

Making Lemonade: Event Marketing Pros on Leaning into COVID-19

COVID-19 has had a profound impact on all of us. In the business world, one area hit especially hard is the world of event marketing. From conferences to experiential marketing, both B2B and B2C brands had to pivot fast. According to research conducted by PCMA in early April, 87% of in-person events were canceled and 66% were postponed as a result of COVID-19. With a critical piece of the sales and marketing tool belt wiped out overnight, how do businesses pivot, succeed, and plan for the future of events? We reached out to marketing and event leaders to get their perspective on event marketing in the age of a pandemic. 

Our Experts

Jenna Johnson | Communications Marketing Manager – Dominium 

Richard Rizzardi | VP of Client Engagement- Star 

Jackie Evans | Manager, Conferences + Accounts – Type A Events

Kristina Connor | Field Marketing Manager – Field Nation 

Stephanie Lindo | Manager of Next Generation Business Development – Heroic Productions

Watch the entire panel discussion