This article is the first in a series about go-to-market (GTM) strategies for cybersecurity SaaS companies. Before we get into the ins and outs of product marketing for cybersecurity companies, let’s talk about GTM strategies more generally.
What Is a GTM Strategy?
A GTM strategy is a step-by-step plan, usually created by your marketing team, to successfully launch a product to market. No matter your industry, a GTM strategy involves carving out your target audience, identifying their market problem or pain point, and then positioning your product as the solution. It should also include defining performance metrics, researching your competitors, and developing messaging based on market research.
A detailed GTM plan is absolutely critical because it reduces the time it takes to get a product to market, reduces the financial risk of a failed launch, outlines a clear plan and direction for all teams, and most importantly, ensures the best experience for customers. While even the best GTM strategy can’t guarantee success, it can help you clarify goals, manage expectations, and iron out any kinks before you invest in bringing a product to market.
Where Does Product Marketing Come In?
If you’re a cybersecurity SaaS company, your GTM plan will have a product marketing component. Product marketing is the process of promoting and selling a product to an audience, with the ultimate goal of driving demand and generating adoption of your product.
Product marketing is essentially a bridge between the product development team and the sales team. At a SaaS startup, the product marketing team collaborates with developers, understands the technical minutiae of the product, and then articulates the product’s value in a way that resonates with the target customer. An effective product marketing team can therefore drive the long-term success of your business: by studying the competition and predicting industry trends, your team can ensure that the product evolves to meet the changing needs of your target market.
How Does This Apply to Cybersecurity and Infosecurity Companies Specifically?
While product marketing has some core components across all industries (you may have heard of the 4 P’s), there are some specific things to consider when marketing a product in the SaaS space.
Pricing & Trial Strategy
As with any startup, you’ll need to put a lot of thought into pricing your product. Pricing cybersecurity software is particularly challenging because what you’re up against is so unpredictable. That is to say, because you can’t predict the scope and frequency of attacks, it’s not always easy to nail down the precise value your software delivers to customers. If you focus on preventative measures and avoid remediation guarantees, you’ll be able to strike a balance between the value provided to the customer and the cost to you for providing it.
Additionally, with technical products like cybersecurity SaaS, the product’s value is not always apparent to the customer. So, your pricing should clearly demonstrate how the service justifies the expense. Make sure the customer weighs the benefits of your product along with the less obvious costs of cybersecurity breaches, like reputational damage or disruptions to service (otherwise known as “snow days”). And offering tiers of service can also be helpful here because clients can then choose the offering that they believe delivers the most value.
Another way to give customers a sense of value is to allow them to try before they buy. You should consider a free trial model or an online demo that gives potential customers a good understanding of what you offer.
Your channel strategy, whether direct-to-customer or via your partner network, should fit the product and include digital marketing tailored to your target audience. One thing to keep in mind is that, in the cybersecurity SaaS space, your target audience is usually split between buyers, decision-makers, and end-users. Therefore, your messaging and channel strategy should look different if you’re targeting high-level executives and financial decision-makers (whose considerations might include overall cost, budgetary constraints, etc.) versus end-users of the product (who will be more interested in ease of use, automaticity, and compatibility with existing infrastructure).
Your channels might also change depending on the stage of your business. For early-stage businesses, attending trade shows and larger cybersecurity industry events (such as RSA Conference) might help you identify potential partners and increase brand awareness. But if your business is in a later stage, you should build your sales pipeline by identifying specific verticals and then planning to “swim in their lane.” This means engaging certain verticals where they hang out, rather than hoping to cross paths with them at a security-focused event. By networking at, say, a healthcare event, you can build relationships, learn about that vertical’s specific pain points, and then tailor your outreach so that you end up on their short list when they source cybersecurity solutions.
Marketing in the cybersecurity space is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Every customer will have different levels of cyber-resilience (e.g., a greater number of remote workers, more sensitive data, or a lower tolerance to the financial impact of a breach), so your marketing should take their specific vulnerabilities into account. You’ll want to be well-versed in multi-layered security and be able to highlight how your product’s features address predictable methods of attack at each layer. Of course, your messaging around features will have to be accessible and as non-technical as possible, but we’ll get into that in our next article in the series.
Product Marketing for Cybersecurity & Infosecurity SaaS with RFDM
In a saturated market like cybersecurity SaaS, a GTM strategy is essential, and you’ll want to make sure that your product marketing plan takes the unique facets of the cybersecurity market into account. This means using detailed and transparent pricing models that make the value of your product clear, especially as it relates to prevention. And because many customers will need to see the software in action to fully understand its value, offering a free trial period or online demo is a smart move.
When designing your channel strategy, we suggest focusing on two things. First, think through how you can reach people at different levels of an organization and then tailor your message based on their position, content knowledge, and decision-making power. Second, consider how you can target specific verticals by meeting them on their turf in order to build relationships and better understand their particular needs and pain points.
Finally, match product features with each client’s level of cyber resilience. This means knowing each client’s specific vulnerabilities and pitching a certain product feature as the solution. The challenge is to do this in a way that the customer, likely not a cybersecurity expert, can digest. This will take some collaboration between developers and the sales team, but with a strong product marketing team in place, it’s absolutely feasible.
Read the second in our series on go-to-market strategies for cybersecurity and infosecurity SaaS companies now:
Value Proposition for Cybersecurity & Infosecurity Saas Companies