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5 Common Customer Acquisition Mistakes — and how to avoid them

You can’t have a business without customers.

Almost goes without saying, huh? 

So, no matter how great your product or service offering is, you’ll likely have to do some work on customer acquisition

What does that look like in the B2B world? Why do you really need to focus on it? What major mistakes should you sidestep to get right to the good part — converting and retaining customers

Answers ahead.

Understanding B2B customer acquisition 

In the B2B SaaS space, customer acquisition is about generating attention, connecting with your ideal audience, nurturing relationships, and showing potential buyers why they want to invest in your offering. Hopefully, for the long term. 

As it occurs in various funnel stages — including awareness, consideration, and conversion — many other teams must interact with sales to pull of flawless acquisition. Think marketing, customer support/success, creative, and more. 

Customer acquisition strategies focus on building touchpoints with your audience, including content marketing, referral programs, email marketing, and more.

And one last thing that’s really important to note about B2B SaaS customer acquisition: 

Continuous optimization is key to its success. 

We’ll provide tips on that just after we throw a few more stats at you to prove the value of customer acquisition. 

Why to prioritize customer acquisition 

Source: Statista

In the United States alone, there are over 9,000 SaaS companies

In other words, competition is high.

Part of sales is differentiating your product and showing off, frankly, why you’re better than your competitors. 

Yet, a study by CB Insights found that 19% of startups fail due to being outcompeted and another 14% due to poor marketing. 

Additionally, today’s audience expects companies to personalize marketing to them.

Research by McKinsey & Company found that 71% of consumers expect businesses to deliver personalized interactions. When you don’t meet those expectations, your business can suffer, with 76% of people saying they get frustrated when a company doesn’t create personalized experiences. 

So of course, personalization drives growth. A study by Epsilon found that 80% of consumers are more likely to buy from a company that offers these kinds of personalized interactions. 

This is where savvy customer acquisition strategies come in to shape up and show out when it comes to personalized messaging that wows consumers in the exact way they want to be wowed. 

Considering the constantly evolving technological landscape, SaaS companies have plenty of tools to ensure that they understand consumer behavior. And pivot their customer acquisition efforts to address each potential buyer’s wants and needs.

Buyers might not always know exactly what they want, but it’s essential to listen, respond, and keep iterating to deliver on what they’re looking for. Marketing, sales, and support that doesn’t relate to their interests aren’t going to cut it when it comes to high-competition customer acquisition. 

When you don’t tailor your outreach, it can result in a bad relationship and, thus, lower sales. It can even result in you losing the chance to retarget that potential customer. If you consistently send emails out to someone that doesn’t relate to their interests, they’ll eventually unsubscribe, which can hurt your chances of being able to contact them again. They may even mark you as spam, which can harm your sender score and make ongoing marketing even less fruitful. 

Learn more: Deliverability and Email Sending Best Practices for New Accounts

But when you carefully tailor your customer acquisition methods, such as segmenting your audience and personalizing your email marketing toward each segment, you’re showing that you’re listening to your customers. All buyers ultimately want to feel heard — even the B2B ones (hey, they’re humans, too!). 

Top 5 customer acquisition mistakes and how to fix them

It’s clear that a modern, strategic approach to customer acquisition can help you overcome the challenges of the SaaS landscape.

But it’s still easy to fall into common pitfalls that detract from your efforts. Let’s look at some of the more popular customer acquisition mistakes and actionable solutions for avoiding or moving past them.

1. Neglecting to define your target audience

McKinsey’s research also found that companies that excel at personalization generate 40% more revenue than other businesses.

What does personalization look like? 

More than half of consumers surveyed said they expected:

  • Relevant product and service recommendations
  • Messaging tailored to their needs
  • Targeted promotions

When you offer personalized interactions, customers are more likely to make a purchase, recommend you to a friend, and repurchase later. 

However, you first need to understand your audience to personalize your interactions with potential customers.

That means, defining your customer profiles and developing buyer personas. According to a case study by MarketingSherpa, building your marketing around buyer personas can result in a 900% increase in website visit duration and a 171% increase in marketing-related revenue.

B2C companies often have a broader audience, but SaaS buyer personas typically need to be very specific and targeted. You’re most often looking to connect with those who have purchasing power — or at least are very influential to those who do.

When creating a B2B buyer persona, it’s important to include information like:

  • The usual: name, demographics, job title, etc. 
  • Psychographics such as values may be helpful
    What their role means in the buying process
  • What their biggest work challenges are (time constraints, bad tooling, internal politics, etc.) 
  • Their personal goals (promotion, etc.) and organization goals (improve onboarding, etc.) 

Information like this will really help you accurately address your different target segments, ensuring better, more customized interactions. 

2. Resisting support from modern technology

In the past few years, you likely heard AI talked about everywhere — for better or worse.

While there are plenty of (legit) hesitations around using AI, the truth is that adopting it into your workflows in a thoughtful way can be better for your bottom line.

A study by McKinsey & Company found that companies that say at least 20% of their EBIT is attributable to AI use are already using AI across multiple business functions, from marketing to product development, more than other organizations. 

According to IBM’s 2023 Global AI Adoption Index, the most common reasons companies are hesitant to invest in AI is due to limited AI expertise, too much data complexity, and ethical concerns. 

From a marketing perspective, today’s AI-enhanced technology can admittedly be a time-saver and create more effective customer acquisition efforts. For instance, investing in an AI-powered CRM can help marketers better understand customer data and receive actionable insights into each segment of their audience. This understanding allows marketers to create the personalized experiences that today’s buyers seek.

Plus, sales folks that share a smart CRM with their marketing cohorts are likely better prepared to deliver on-time, perfectly-personalized messaging that moves hot leads through the funnel. 

Utilizing today’s tech requires an initial investment, both time and money. It also requires understanding that tech evolves, and so, too, must the people who use these tools. Ensure that you plan for workplace training regarding the use of these tools and make it a part of your company’s professional development opportunities. 

3. Overlooking customer experience improvement opportunities

So your company shelled out all that time and expense building, testing, and deploying a flawless free trial sign-up experience, hands-off onboarding workflow, and product-led feature walkthrough, complete with lots of excruciatingly planned payment tiers at the very end. 

Just to fall victim to a stumbling block as old as the internet — cart abandonment. 

It might hurt to know that the average, global cart abandonment rate is 70.19%, according to research by the Baymard Institute, but that rate is the harsh reality companies are facing.

Of course, elements like seats, custom pricing, higher prices, product complexity, and so on are key considerations with bigger SaaS offers, but a high cart abandonment rate is also partially a user experience issue. 

What experiential elements can businesses improve to squash cart abandonments and grow acquisition? Try:

  • Surprise costs that show up late in the checkout flow 
  • Unclear security measures that create feelings of unease using the company card 
  • Poor selection of payment methods
  • Endless fields and pages collecting seemingly unrelated information (Why do you need to know what city I was born in?!) 
  • Mandatory account creation 
  • Annoying upsell attempts
  • Doesn’t work well on mobile, tablet, etc. 

Consider using A/B testing to gain insight into your customers’ interests and preferences. You can run A/B tests on your website, with part of your audience receiving a control version of your website and other potential buyers seeing a variant. From there, you can see what’s resulting in the most conversions and continue to iterate from there.

Pro Tip: Don’t stop testing at your website’s digital experience. If email marketing is a key acquisition channel for you, you can also use A/B testing there! Encharge makes it easy to run A/B tests with your email marketing, allowing you to optimize your strategy for your audience. 

4. Ignoring data quality

According to McKinsey & Company’s research, companies that rely heavily on data analytics to make business decisions are 23 times more likely to outperform their competition in terms of customer acquisition. 

How do you improve customer experience? You need data to understand what you need to work on.

How do you personalize your marketing outreach? You need data on your customer’s demographics, desires, and interests.

How do you build a better product? You need data on what your customers love and dislike about your software. 

In other words, businesses should actively seek opportunities to collect, maintain, and analyze data at almost every turn. 

But it’s not just about building complex spreadsheets full of numbers that you don’t know how to use or keep up to date. To make the most of data today, you need tools to help you analyze it and put it to work.

To use CRM as an example again, modern platforms already exist to help you source, import, clean, and use relevant data that strengthens your customer acquisition efforts. It’s all about seeing the need here and building out the sales and marketing tool stack that delivers on your contemporary data needs. 

Data quality is critical. After all, Gartner’s research found that poor-quality data results in businesses losing an average of $12.9 million per year.

5. Lacking brand consistency across channels

Studies show that companies that invest in developing and marketing their brand identity have higher customer loyalty, brand trust, and perceived value.

But, it requires commitment. An ongoing one, at that. 

Imagine if you were to see an ad that interested you. You go to the company’s website (or, at least you think you do). There, you see that they’re going by another name and using a different logo, and their messaging just feels entirely misaligned with that ad you loved. You might assume that you’re in the wrong place, or you may even deduce that something fishy is going on. Either way, you likely won’t trust the brand and will probably leave the website pretty fast — pushing up their bounce rates and running up their ad spend with no ROI.

Now imagine if that website is yours

Yikes. 

Maintaining a consistent brand identity means following a cohesive cross-channel approach. That applies not only to your website but to all the marketing, emails, ads, social media posts, sales scripts, mailers, and literally every other piece of messaging you put out.

This matters because, again, the secret to B2B acquisition lies in slowly but surely engaging, converting, and retaining customers across the many touchpoints they encounter with your business.  

Brand consistency is an entire role in many organizations, but here’s how someone in a customer-facing position can make sure the message they’re about to send out is on point:

  • Check it against brand guidelines (which have hopefully been provided to you!)
  • Look at and click any links and logos to ensure they’re accurate and current.
  • Try not to customize any sales enablement resources to the point where they’re no longer on brand.
  • Ask yourself if something aligns with the personality your messaging and software typically try to exude.
  • Make sure it speaks to the target audience for whom it’s intended.
  • Set up a regular check-in with branding or creative personnel to double-check that you’re staying consistent 

How will you level up customer acquisition?

Customer acquisition going off the rails? It happens to the best of companies.

One main reason is that the company stops listening to its customers — and/or to the sales, marketing, and support front-liners who interact with them every day.

When building a successful customer acquisition strategy, it’s critical to understand the customer experience to continue improving it by sharpening up your target audience, building the best tech stack, implementing decision-worthy data, and instilling a brand image that resonates. 

With a customer acquisition strategy that relies on taking a proactive approach to connecting with the right people at the right time and in the right way, you can build and nurture bonds that lead to fruitful relationships.

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Meet your new marketing automation platform

Customer messaging tools don’t automate workflows outside your product and marketing automation tools are bad at behavior emails. Encharge is the best of both worlds — a marketing automation platform built specifically for B2B SaaS businesses

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Camille Richon
Founder Payfacile
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