B2B SEO activity in Q4 – What does this typically look like for a tech / SaaS company?
Whilst we are all behaving as consumers, franticly experiencing retail sales and purchases in the final big push up to Christmas, as B2B Marketers the story is quite different.
Q4 does not drive the same uplift and opportunity necessarily for tech / SaaS companies in the same way as other industries.
When buying into technology, a prospect is usually one of many decision makers involved in the purchasing process, and because this takes time, sales opportunities are often ongoing and can span across several quarters before materialising into a transaction.
So, what does typical activity look like for a tech / SaaS business in Q4 (Oct – Dec) of the year?
For those tech companies that are approaching their 31st December year end, the period is typically used to reflect on performance, and plan for the next fiscal year. This would include
- Reviewing all SEO investments
As a B2B Marketer, you’ve gone through the year trying to increase demand for your companies SaaS platform, and you will have made progress in some areas but not in others. The first thing you should be doing is evaluating what’s worked well, and what hasn’t worked, and more important, why.
Its hard to sometimes be brutally honest about challenges and barriers to achieving success, but its critical in any performance evaluation. As there are so many aspects to conducting a B2B SEO Strategy, it’s imperative that these successes and challenges are all documented to allow consideration and planning for the next period ahead. Typical blockers we experience at POLARIS with our B2B SEO campaigns is always technical integration onsite, and also connecting with product owners to mine use case data from them regarding persona profiling.
We know that we must conquer these two typical challenges head on, early on, if we are going to maximise the return possible from the SEO initiative at hand.
- Determining what opportunities were driven from SEO & Content
Demand generation is a key outcome of any SEO campaign or partnership. Many if not all B2B SEO strategies are designed to deliver demand into your SaaS company, driving prospects into your funnel at either awareness, consideration or conversion phases. Measuring the performance of your SEO content, on page tactics and technical enhancements to bring this uplift about is key in determining what opportunities where driven from SEO & Content in the year to date.
As a B2B Marketer, you will be evaluating metrics at a number of levels
- Traffic and onsite performance metrics through tools such as Google Analytics 4
- Content and landing page performance metrics also through tools such as GA4
- Early funnel conversions such as gated content downloads (GA4 or marketing platforms such as Pardot)
- Hard leads driven through bottom of funnel conversions such as demo requests or pricing (from CRM systems)
By looking at CRM data for leads driven from your SEO strategy and campaigns, you will hopefully be able to see total opportunity value overall driven from the investment, and a sales pipeline breakdown across
- Opportunities in progress (value)
- Opportunities qualified but lost (value)
- Opportunities closed won (value)
All of this data will help you to determine the exact return you have achieved from SEO in the year to date.
Where you cannot get the above data (and many B2B companies can’t) then determine success based on rankings and traffic, as well as search share against key competitors. This will still give you a good indication of the progress you have made and how it can be further built upon going forward.
- Creating projections with the business on SEO performance to drive demand in the next FY
Using the financial data above but also with insights from the wider business and usually C suite, you will be able to take the overall commercial goals for the business in the next fiscal year and then calculate what you can expect to achieve from SEO against those targets.
Using a demand generation calculator can help you by plugging in the conversion rates of your website and the average deal value of your product to output the amount of organic traffic you need to drive to achieve the number of enquiries you need.
This type of tool is helpful when it comes to planning and is an excellent way of knowing what content to invest in to drive the coverage you need.
- Planning a content strategy that targets prospects at various stages of the funnel
Content is a key part of any B2B SEO strategy, and content should be organised based on target customer profiles, their business challenges / pains, and also the stages they travel through to engage with your SaaS business.
When planning content, you need to evaluate what the target customers pains are and also desires, to determine how to shape content that helps them on their particular quest.
Review what content your b2b website has already, how its performing in ranking in a target search engine, and how its assisting your target customers to progress on their journey (what pages are visited after key content pages you may have invested into already) and then you can use this information to see what can be improved on in the next year ahead.
A content gap analysis is also a worthwhile exercise, whereby you evaluate what gaps you have in content as compared to
- Competitors ranking in the SERPs
- The needs of your target customers (you do this by interviewing existing customers or prospects)
A content gap analysis will help you to realise further content you can create to assist potential prospects on their journey for solutions to their challenges and in doing so they can then engage with your brand and your sales journey online.
- Working with B2B SEO agency partners to audit the performance on the ground
If you have a B2B SEO agency that you partner with, they will be able to help you review performance but also evaluate the search landscape that contains key competitors you need to consider. One of the most effective areas that the team at POLARIS look at is competitive market share and how competitors of a client are utilising SEO strategy to drive B2B demand for their SaaS product.
This is a smart way to learn from the market and reverse engineer learnings that have already been applied and are driving targeted traffic for the same business need.
Use your SEO agency for this intelligence and it will fuel how you plan your next years activity to increase market share and demand for your platform.
- Creating a B2B SEO Strategy for the next fiscal year that builds on the success of the current period
If you follow this system of reviewing your SEO performance, you will be able to collate all of this to create your B2B SEO strategy for 2024.