Key Lessons from leading marketing for a B2B blockchain SaaS product

I worked with a B2B Blockchain SaaS company and my time with the company was the most rigorous work experience of my career, although I learnt a great deal about B2B marketing in the blockchain industry. I was leading tasks across various domains including Brand Strategy, Paid Media, Social media, Content marketing & SEO, Lead Generation, PR & Comms, Website optimization, Email Marketing, and Graphic design (I hated every bit of doing design).

Lesson 1 – Always find out about the team’s culture and ask a lot of questions about the role you’re being hired for before you join 

Brand & Product Diagnosis

Alright, let’s get to the real lessons. 

As a growth marketer, my work metrics are E.A.A.R.R.R – Education, Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Revenue & Referral so I immediately tried to integrate that into my work.

The company’s product allowed blockchain & crypto startups to manage custody of digital assets and transactions for their own users in a secure manner i.e they can provide Bitcoin and Ethereum wallets for their users via the product API. Some of the product’s competitors are Fireblocks, Bitgo and Copper – these folks have raised at least $700M combined. It was a tough road ahead. 

Immediately after I joined, I did a brand audit and some product research by jumping on a couple of sales calls with leads to learn how well they understood the product and how they perceived the brand. I quickly identified that the brand was lacking in tons of verticals:

  • Customers did not trust the brand because it lacked authority in the market. 
  • The website was poorly designed and potential leads found it difficult to understand what exactly the product offers and how it was different from other competitors
  • The website was not communicating the product really well and it had no CTAs to acquire leads
  • The product had no strong unique value proposition in its messaging and poor positioning in the market
  • And so much more

Lesson 2 – Talk to your customers as frequently as possible….You’ll solve 50% of all your problems

A quick glance at Google Analytics confirmed my diagnosis about the website messaging was right, as 80% of the visits to the homepage bounced right off. My first task was to optimize the website’s messaging to reflect more authority with clear CTAs to convert more leads. 

Building the Brand

As I mentioned earlier, the product had no strong brand messaging and story to connect with the potential leads. So I did a competitor analysis to understand how the product differs from the rest, turns out the product was superior to the competitors, it was not as known as its competitors.

However, with the feedback, I got from our customers and potential leads I built a brand strategy which included – Brand messaging (How we describe the product to the market), Brand Tone (How we talk to our potential customers across all communication channels), Acquisition channels (Where are the places to meet our potential customers), Content Strategy (What content to create to educate and close leads and where to distribute them), Positioning (How we told our potential leads we can solve their problems) etc

The company had a backlog of leads that were not closing, so my immediate priory was to figure out a way to close them. With responses such as “We are not capable of using your services right now” &  “Who are the other clients you have worked with”, it was obvious that the leads were either not financially buoyant to buy our product or they did not trust the brand

One of the things I did was to push for a joint PR with one of the big clients that were recently signed by the sales team when I joined. I wrote the PR piece and made sure it positioned the product as an industry leader and a must-have for all digital asset companies.

I practised ABM (Account-Based Marketing) to close the leads in the pipeline, I literally did an in-depth audit of each of the leads we had problems closing and wrote down all the painpoints I figured they were struggling with and used that to build the messaging in the pitch decks and marketing materials the sales team used. We were able to get the leads very much interested and some of them requested demo calls. Well, it’s no longer in my hands. The sales team took care of the rest.

Lesson 3 – B2B marketing is gangster. The sales process is usually longer as there are more decision-makers involved to make the sale. It’s like taking a woman on a date and enduring all the boring conversions just to get to the interesting part. 

Content is King even in B2B

I did a shit ton of writing that I stopped enjoying for some time. I had to build a content plan and calendar for the funnel stages – Awareness, consideration, decision and purchase. My process was creating content that answered questions from leads, explained how the product works, and also informed and educated on how our product could help our potential customers. 

This content was distributed on social media, blog and newsletter, all while following the brand messaging I had created at first.

My initial approach to writing the blog post and newsletters was well detailed, well informative content, mildly long but readable in 5 mins. If a company wants to pay $100k for software, they should get all the details they need and be well convinced. Well, my management said otherwise, I was told that our target audiences are too busy to read a 5 minutes article that could save their company hundreds of thousands of $$ so it should be made as short as possible. It beat my logic and made sense at the same time. So I kept it short.

Anyways, I quickly learned that distribution is what matters the most in today’s content marketing campaigns. Social media was 70% repurposing content from blog posts and newsletters. A calendar helped me manage that but I didn’t spend too much time there (Not my fault, I was handling 7 other domains). The website’s SEO wasn’t so great but SEO wasn’t exactly my strength, my SEO attempt was all keyword and website optimization via a CMS.

We had access to data from our internal dashboard, really solid data and I suggested creating an industry report off that, we could share it with platforms with better distribution – media publications, journalists, events, an in-house event or figure out a way to leverage such piece of content to gain more authority in the industry, subsequently clearing our pipeline and signing a bigger client. However, I was met with a lot of resistance with talks about engineering and financial resources so that idea literally died a natural death

Lesson 4 – Content is king even in B2B, the distribution is what matters most

Customer Acquisition

The customer acquisition strategy was mainly dependent on Account-based Marketing,  Content Marketing, Lead Generation (LinkedIn) and referrals. To run paid LinkedIn campaigns, I installed a LinkedIn insight tag on the website and allowed it to build up to 300 audiences so I can re-target our website visitors with content to convert them for demo calls with the sales team.

I tested this by running a targeted LinkedIn campaign to the Indian and Kenyan markets, then I set up a following retargeting campaign with “How to save costs on operation” content. It performed decently. I set up a test lead generation campaign with a $100 budget. I got just 1 lead from the campaign. Hahaha-tears-help me-hahaha. I ran a $50 Google paid search test. It totally bombed as well.

I quickly learned that I needed to educate the market first but my management needed results as fast as possible. I was caught in an endless Genjutsu, helpless and clueless. It felt something like this 

Management –  “I need 50 customers”

Me – “I need a budget to do that”

Management – “Get me 50 customers and you’ll get a budget’

Me – ‘Fuck!!’

Then it occurred to me, why don’t we ask our already signed customers to recommend our product to their network and give them a discount on their payment? I mean founders and CTOs belong in networks of other startup founders and teams.

It worked! 

Lesson 4 – If you have delivered good service to your customer with your product, always ask for a referral from them and incentivize them to do so. Word of Mouth marketing that pays the highest ROI

I learned some amazing stuff and I also realized that marketing is one hell of a humbling profession. It is also a very important part of billion-dollar companies that it has caused tons of blockchain companies to fail

Lesson 5 – Marketing is a humbling profession. Always test your crazy and stupid ideas, you never know which one will perform best

Have a 15 mins session with me to discuss your SaaS, Crypto, and Blockchain marketing problems. Send me a message on Telegram

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