SaaS providers have discovered something that other marketers might want to consider -- that gated content no longer works. Nor do web sign-up forms, according to Sales and Marketing Lessons From The Top 100 SAAS Companies of 2018, a study by Drift.
Of the privately held Cloud 100 firms studied, only 27 now use gated content, down from 31 last year. At the same time, 32 are utilizing conversational marketing to connect with leads, versus 15 who did so in 2017.
That group is part of what Drift calls the #NoForms movement.
The report states that SaaS sales and marketing teams have historically followed the same playlist for capturing and qualifying leads:
Step 1: Get people to fill out lead capture forms on your website.
Step 2: Follow up with those leads later via phone or email.
This process no longer works because it’s not fast enough. Yet 79% still use lead capture forms to begin sales conversations, and the number of mandatory fields has increased from six last year to seven in 2018.
According to Drift, it is more effective to add messaging to your web site and “give potential customers the ability to connect with you when it’s most convenient with them,” when they are live on your site.
On the positive side, 90% of firms provide video content on a regular basis, Drift notes.
The most popular tool used by the Cloud 100 is Google Tag Manager, adopted by 90%. G Suite has jumped into the No. 3 spot, going from 46% adoption in 2017 to 72% this year. Marketo has 59% usage and Facebook Ads 57%.
There also are several new additions, including Nginx, Hotjar, New Reliec and Drift itself.
In a discussion of methodology, Drift notes that SurveyMonkey is the top Cloud 100 firm in terms of funding — it has raised $1.5 billion. But it will lose that title because it has gone public, raising $180 million.
Slack is second, with $1.26 billion in funding. However, Slack is also reportedly considering an IPO. Tanium is next with $600 in financing, followed by avidXchange and Dataminr, with $577 million apiece.