We’ve audited dozens of B2B SaaS companies over the past few months here at Elevate Demand, and found one constant growth killer: friction in the customer acquisition strategy.
Marketing teams focus their attention on ads, podcasts, organic LinkedIn, and brand awareness. All because thought leaders are pushing the “latest and greatest”.
The truth though, is that when your growth’s stalled and marketing results have plateaued, you need to focus on friction—adapt your strategy not your tactics.
And we don’t mean “strategy” sessions where you brainstorm campaigns, headlines, and ad copy.
Extra Friction is Tanking Your CAC
B2B marketing by its very nature creates friction. And that’s not a terrible thing.
It’s a problem though when most marketers take on easy friction. The amount of fields on a form or focusing on highlighting pain points and benefits. Easy friction.
Or maybe you optimize your market spend and change tactics to get more of what you want (leads anyone?). You populate your website with case studies and statistics that highlight your company.
Perhaps your focus is on more demo requests from paid search, more downloads from Facebook and LinkedIn ads, more leads from your gated demo video. Do you see how the focus here is all about what you and your sales team want?
The problem with this approach is that you’re not giving your audience what they want.
You are creating massive amounts of extra friction and in turn, mediocre results and a high CAC.
It used to work—in 2002—but today the buyer is in control, not the company or seller and they’re doing research on their own, in their own time.
Customers don’t trust the biased information, claims, benefits, and case studies they find on your website.
They don’t want to give their email when the opt-in pops up for gated content.
They just want to read the content and get help.
Instead of spending on what you want, you should be focusing on buyer-led growth.
Let the buyer qualify themselves by removing friction from the equation. The buyer’s journey, as it’s done traditionally, is all about how you want to sell the product. But it doesn’t work anymore.
You need to rethink your entire approach to growth and align your marketing with how your customers actually want to buy.
First, you need to identify what the other friction is that’s raising your CAC.
What is Friction, Really?
You have to start thinking differently about friction. Friction isn’t just a form with too many fields.
It’s a confusing value prop that your buyers don’t understand.
It’s a poor website experience that’s difficult to navigate.
It’s creating content and running ads because that’s what we do.
It’s demo requests that your company keeps because it so clearly aligns to revenue—but introduces excessive friction. Sure, sales wants demos. But what do buyers want? They want trials.
It’s creating “valuable” pain point content that is biased toward only your solution solves the problem. Offering your solution isn’t the problem, it’s the unbelievable social proof points and the clear bias that enhances the friction.
How Do You Remove Friction and Focus on Buyer-Led Growth?
So how do you remove friction and create more ease?
Simple. Not easy, but simple. You have to be willing to switch from a lead-focused to consumption-focused acquisition strategy. It might take 3-6 months to see the payback, or more if you have a longer sales cycle. You have to shift and understand the buyer’s current state of mind.
First—stop gating your content.
Let your customers consume all of your content without requiring them to provide an email or a phone number or anything else. Let your market consume it and educate themselves.
What you’re producing shouldn’t waste your customers’ time. So often companies create mediocre content and then gate it. Respect your customers’ attention and time. Make it worthwhile for them to consume what you offer.
Second—stop focusing on finding hot buyers.
Companies that are doing 10x better are great at one thing. Bringing in and creating new demand.
Start where your customer currently is in their head. Figure out the story for where your cold buyers, warm buyers, and hot buyers are at. You want to give rise to your buyers’ needs instead of starting by assuming they have a need. This is how you beat your competitors.
Third—value proposition and messaging
For B2B SaaS companies that focus on mid-market and enterprise buyers one of the biggest causes of friction is understanding their value proposition. In most instances these B2B brands make it difficult for a buyer to understand the product without someone showing them a live demo in context of what they’re trying to achieve, and while your price point might support this high friction model you can find a new growth engine if you lower this barrier to entry and reduce friction.
To get started with removing this friction ask yourself some key questions:
- What is the friction for my buyer to experience and understand the value proposition and how can we show this value before capturing value?
- What growth model will get someone over this friction the best?
- Where and when is the best place to add friction so that we can maximize our growth engine?
Fourth—start talking to your customers outside of a sales conversation.
You need to actually know what’s going on in their world. Plan 5-6 on-site customer meetings every quarter. Show up, ask curious questions, and listen.
Don’t pitch anything, don’t ask for sales. Just learn as much as you can. This will help you craft the content and ads mapped to the narratives for cold and warm customers, not just hot customers.
Following these simple steps will help you remove the friction and increase your inbound leads.
If you’re ready for a change and believe in Buyer-Led Growth, we’re here to help. Book a discovery call with Elevate Demand today.