From Zoom’s overnight acceleration to clawing back market share from bigger competitors – the companies that make the biggest impact are those that are unafraid to throw down the gauntlet, and enter the market as a ‘challenger’ brand.
If there’s one thing that all businesses can be 100% certain of right now, it’s change. We’ve seen how fast things can move in just a few short months – and how we as individuals and as employees and business owners can adjust just as quickly.
Generally, when change takes place, there are winners and losers. Take the audio conferencing segment – which has experienced no less than 565% growth!
You don’t need to be a genius to figure out who commanded the lion’s share of this uptick – 91% of the entire market. Just one company: Zoom – who went from 10 million users in December 2019 to 300 million in April 2020 and saw year-on-year profits surge from $200K to $27 million in just 12 short months.
While that’s great where innovation and technology adoption are concerned, it does little to inspire competition. What do you do if you're one of the other players in this segment? When you have such a clear market leader, the perception is that, while, yes, there is opportunity, the best case scenario is to get acquired. And the worst case? Their market is completely cannibalized by one alpha brand.
Be A Giant Slayer!
But – pandemic aside – what’s new here? The plucky little guy standing his ground to take on the bigger player is as old at the tale of David & Goliath. However, there’s a valuable lesson here: the fact that, when the odds are stacked against you, with the right strategy, you can topple a giant.
Everyone loves an underdog. Just look at the impact that fast food brand, Burger King has made through its consistently clever marketing in their efforts to topple McDonalds. But technology – particularly SaaS – is a different beast altogether, right? Surely not all cloud-based service providers can go head-to-head with Microsoft or Google?
They don’t have to. You don’t have to. SaaS is a much more fragmented market – one where value is more likely to be realized as data encryption or user-friendliness; and where tapping into a pain point experienced by a specific role in a single industry can still pay dividends.
But regardless of whether you’re selling burgers or bitcoin, as we’ve discussed previously, what matters most is that you have a customer base that really cares about your product.
And if they don’t care, then you have to find a way to make them care. Luckily, when you have little to lose – at least from a brand equity point of view – you can proactively get your SaaS into an advantageous position.
A New Challenger Has Entered…
Here at Market8, we’ve successfully helped dozens of SaaS businesses capture more market share from some of their biggest competitors. In fact, we’ve built an actionable process around doing exactly that. We call it the Market8 Challenger system.
Let’s take a closer look.
1) Position Your SaaS To Win
This was the core focus of our other blog – but it’s a very important point. Knowing how you want your buyers to perceive your solution is particularly important – especially when they're comparing you to better established players in the market.
You need to know how your brand fits into the wider landscape. Positioning your SaaS for success is the first step you need to take.
2) Define Your Special Offer
Defining your special offer means pinpointing the central feature that’s totally unique about your business: and building as close a connection as possible with your target buyers.
Authenticity counts. Showing you have purpose, direction, and a human touch is a lot more effective than offering *everyone* a free trial. Connections lead to conversions. Empathy can help you stand out for all the right reasons
3) Marketplace Optimization
The category leaders – the ‘Zooms’ and ‘Slacks’ of the world – will always get top billing on marketplace and directory listings. But that’s why it’s even more important to make sure your business has a presence where your target customers go to evaluate all of the options available to them.
Not only that, you also need to create a profile that actually stands out. Your listings need to be optimized and capture attention.
4) Website Optimization
Where’s one the first places your potential customers will go once they’ve heard about your SaaS? Your website of course! That’s why it needs to be calibrated for conversions.
Think of your website as a portal – one where each visitor has a genuine interest in what you have to offer. What you need to do is remove the layers separating them from experiencing your product.
Getting demos and sign ups should be as friction less as possible – and the whole process should be an engaging experience that keeps their energy and enthusiasm high. Capitalizing on traffic in the right way will stop you losing out to competitors.
5) Landing Pages vs. Competitors
Even giants have their weak spots. Show how your SaaS shines via landing pages that compare your services with competitors – side-by-side.
Competitor comparison landing pages are about leveraging the cache given to the bigger brands in your sector and making sure your voice is heard alongside theirs.
And if your product is better, well, it’s only right that people know, surely?
6) Search Engine Marketing
Step six is all about setting up paid campaigns that target buyers who are already looking for product-specific terms, or alternatives to popular competitors, or reviews.
Getting them to sign up for more information means capitalizing on high-intent PPC search and remarketing campaigns. This will help you secure more leads at scale and is a great way of keeping prospects engaged and coming back.
7) Multi-Touch Outreach
No marketing channel is an island. Nothing works in isolation. Especially not spammy emails and LinkedIn messages.
Stop spamming, start connecting. Build relationships with buyers at scale who need your solution now.
But how do you actually go the extra mile and reach out to those that you know are a good fit with a relevant message? Be yourself. Stay humble. Stay human and stay connected – across all channels.
Want content that scales and gets noticed? Ramp it up with SEO.
A hard fact to accept is that no-one (apart from you) really cares about your blog posts. What they’re great at, however, is making sure you maintain a share of voice around key industry topics.
A lot of SEO strategies take between three and six – even up to 12 – months to yield results. However, when you don't have the luxury of time – and when you need results, well, yesterday – there are several ways you can get a jumpstart. A great way to do this is to analyze the major keywords you’re already ranking for and double down on those. This involves crafting a strategy to laser focus on those terms.
By doing so you’ll quickly start to see results. In this way you can dramatically improve your search rankings – and even start to get listed on page one. All it often takes is a few tweaks or a few pieces of content advantage.
9) Content Machine
Want to get your message everywhere fast? You need to create a custom content machine! Churning out content at a rate of knots looks complicated from the outside looking in. But all it really takes is a systematic approach – one that delivers your company’s message to the right audience at the right time, across all of the right platforms.
The best thing about this approach is that it can be easily replicated without a lot of effort. You just need to make sure you streamline every part of the process – setting up the production, distribution, and engagement processes in ways that complement all of the other things you’ve been working hard to get right.
The Challenger System: What’s Next?
By implementing the SaaS Challenger System, you'll be able to differentiate your offer in the right way and capture users that are already looking for your services – before your competitors get a look in. You’ll also learn how to reach your ideal buyers directly – in a way that cuts through the noise.
Ultimately, we have a tried and true system that’ll help get your message out there in a scalable, easily repeatable way. And we're very excited to start seeing it deliver even more results!