In a previous article, it was mentioned that user experience improvement is a trend in to B-oriented SaaS products. However, there will still be a high threshold for the use of B-end products, which puts the growth of B-end users into a difficult dilemma.
Recently, I was studying the benchmark cases of SaaS and found that they are all building their own SaaS alliances to promote user growth. This move is also in line with the methodology of inbound marketing (content marketing), but also in line with the network effect in economics. This article will discuss with you the origins of the SaaS alliance and the economics behind it.
1. What is a SaaS Alliance
Let's take a look at a simple description of the e-commerce telemarketing list SaaS unicorn shopify's self-built alliance:
“The Shopify Affiliate Program supports educators, influencers, review sites, and content creators to educate their audience about entrepreneurship with Shopify and earn commission for their referrals.”
The SaaS alliance mainly completes two tasks:
educate audience: education SaaS customers;
earn commission: Earn a commission.
That is, SaaS vendors hope to educate SaaS customers through various content (to make them understand the value of SaaS products), and at the same time give educators (content creators) a certain return.
Does it smell like a little red book? But Xiaohongshu is mainly for the C-side, while the SaaS alliance is for the B-side. There is a big difference between the two.
2. Why have a SaaS alliance
Why have a SaaS alliance? We know that most of the to B SaaS products have very obvious industry characteristics, such as financial SaaS services; Industry and retail will be very different.
For such products, the product is the tool, the industry knowledge is the soul, and the knowledge itself bears the great responsibility of how to use the product efficiently.
Correspondingly, in order for such products to impress customers and users, in addition to the product itself, it is also necessary to instill and implant industry knowledge. Because customers need industry knowledge and keep learning, and industry knowledge can resonate with them.
Note that the industry knowledge output here is not a user manual, but industry knowledge. For example:
How to enter an entry, this is a user manual.
How to effectively manage the company's capital flow, this is an industry knowledge.
The author once read the alliance content on the official website of some SaaS manufacturers very seriously, and the content is very high-quality, which makes people want to buy it. Naturally, these articles have the attributes of inbound marketing (simply understood as content marketing). You will see a certain position in the text, and often the registration link of the product will be implanted, or you need to leave email and other contact information to view the full text.
Students who are familiar with CRM can be very sensitively aware that at this time, these contents become customer acquisition channels. This content marketing telemarketing list method is a type of inbound marketing.
In the beginning, the contributors of these contents may be the team of the SaaS manufacturer, but the SaaS manufacturer's own contribution is limited after all, so they began to invite their benchmark customers to become content contributors, but people can't contribute content in vain, what is the reward? Commissions come. For example, shopify's official website clearly states that if a customer registers and pays through the content author's transfer chain, the author can get a 2-month subscription fee as a commission (this item also indirectly reveals that shopify's customer acquisition cost is a 2-month subscription fee) .
This forms a "coalition". Interested students can watch the alliance content on the official website of the following SaaS vendors:
Education module in hubspot's resource section;
Blogs, courses, and communities in Shopify's learning section;
Blogs, online courses in the Amplitude resource section;
SalesForce's resource section.
Note: Inbound marketing emphasizes attraction, not push marketing. The basic concept of the famous CRM product Hubspot comes from inbound marketing. Hubspot itself is a practitioner of inbound marketing. Hubspot products also reflect the core idea of inbound marketing, such as tracking the number of visits, click-through rates, and conversion rates of all content. , A/B test the content, etc. You can go to hubspot's own official website to learn the concept of inbound marketing.
You can simply understand these content contributors as the content creators of Xiaohongshu, and this "Xiaohongshu" was built by shopify. Through the appearance of this "Little Red Book", let's take a look at the essence behind it.
3. The economic principles behind the self-built SaaS alliance
First, let's look at the relationship between SaaS vendors and customers when there is no SaaS alliance.
The figure below shows that the current B-side SaaS products often use the customer acquisition method, that is, SaaS manufacturers invite (authorize) agents to act as agents, and manufacturers give agents a certain commission. In China, the commission is between 20% and 80% of the annual subscription fee. It can be said that the cost of customer acquisition is very high, and the renewal of the next year will still take effect. Although the proportion may be reduced, it will not be too low. This customer acquisition model constitutes the tree-like customer relationship structure in the figure below.